“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” – Rahm Emanuel
There’s oil all over the Gulf. Obama is our president. Haiti had a devastating earthquake. Tyra Banks has her own TV show. These are clearly signs of the times…er…to put it in a less Christian-ese way, these are clearly evidences that the world is soon to live out the movie “The Day After Tomorrow”.
With every world incident, there always seems to be some oily politician shelling (no pun intended) out an extra helping of fear to the populace. And while some of these are legitimate cause for concern, we may as well all become nihilists because in 2012, the BP oil well will infect the entire ocean while draining the entire world of its oil suppy, the polar ice caps will melt and drown everyone on the east coast. But those who drown will be the lucky ones, as everyone else will either be consumed by African killer bees, turned into zombies by a mixture of Antrax and SARS, or be turned into zombies by the radiation of a North Korean nuke.
I bet you’re feeling better about your day now, huh?
Luckily, Christians have a messiah who has an easy yoke and a light burden. And he tells us to chill out and not worry about the future. And he tells us this multiple times in the Bible. So then why is this guy so popular?
Now, I don’t mean to single out Jack Van Impe. Although I disagree with a lot of his stuff, I kinda like him. He’s out of the box. But there’s this whole culture that’s almost obsessed with predicting the end times. And although some do it with pure motives, preaching that God will eventually save the day and it’ll be awesome, I feel their messages are counter productive, doing nothing more than installing fear in people. And every time there’s an earthquake, a conflict between nations, or anytime an Isreali gets heartburn, these doomsday prophets use these as Biblical proof that the world is about to end.
But what does the Bible really say about these warning signs for the end of days?
*THE FOLLOWING IS AN ATTEMPT TO KEEPING A COMPLEX BIBLE TALK AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE. SORRY IF I FAIL*
In Luke 21, Jesus is saying some pretty serious stuff about what will happen. Without quoting the entire chapter, Jesus mentions a number of crappy things that will happen like wars, earthquakes, famine, pestilence, Christians being put to death – and a partridge in a pear tree. Many believers think that this passage of scripture is talking about the end of days. Meaning, before God steps in and decides to make it all better, the world is really, and I mean really going to suck.
I have good news and bad news.
The good news is, I don’t believe that Luke 21 is talking about the end times at all. In this chapter, Jesus tells his disciples that the temple is Jerusalem will one day be destroyed. When they ask when that will happen, that’s when Jesus gives his speech about all the terrible and horrible things that will occur. And the temple was destroyed about 40 years later. Many people believe that he answered the disciples’ question in verses 8 and 9, but then started describing the end times in the rest of the chapter.
Why would Jesus do that? Why would he answer the disciples’ question and then immediately start talking about a completely different subject with no segway? That would be like me telling someone, “Tomorrow I’m going to go to the grocery store, then the bank, then people will cry at the funeral home and my grandchildren will receive my inheritance.” It just doesn’t make sense.
I believe that Jesus was doing nothing more than describing all the things that would happen when the temple got destroyed and not talking about the end times. A lot of those things (wars, famine, slaughtering of Christians) happened during that point in history.
Now for the bad news.
First off, I could be wrong. I mean we’re not %100 sure what Jesus actually meant. A lot of really smart scholars are divided on the issue. Secondly, even if Jesus wasn’t describing the end of days in Luke 21, whose to say that life won’t all of a sudden take a turn for the worse? Think about all the tragic events around the world that have happened in the past 100 years. Heck, think of all the things going on right now! We were lucky to be born in a sliver of time and in a country where safety and convenience is pretty easy to obtain. But life has a funny way of changing quickly and radically.
Great, now I’m the one peddling fear.
But more good news! Jesus commands us to chill out. We’re not supposed to know when Jesus is going to come back (Acts 1). Only God knows (Mark 13). We’re not supposed to worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6) or our life and all of its nuances (Luke 12). And in stead of having anxiety, we should rejoice (Philippians 4) because God is ultimately in control.
And so what if we turn into zombies? This life is such a small vapor in comparison to eternal hope we have in our salvation.
June 24, 2010