End Times? Again? REALLY?!

I adore my mother in law. I do. I think she’s a terrific lady, and I quite like spending time with her. But DAMMIT! She forms her opinions based more on magical thinking and less on facts, and it drives. Me. Nuts. WE ARE NOT IN THE BLASTED BIBLICAL “END TIMES”!

I swear, you people need to find something else to go on about. I am SO not kidding. What IS it with the whole “end times” thing? I google’d “end times”… 84MILLION hits! I’m sure there are a lot of duplications in there, but still! Holy crap! I then google’d “rapture”…15million. “Second coming” yields 25 million.

Okay. Deep breath. I want you to listen to me very closely. Okay? You need to stop. People have been predicting the end of the world since there have been village squares. The likelihood of anyone actually getting it right is now more remote than the chances of my beloved New York Knicks winning the NBA Championship come June of 2009. It just isn’t going to happen. Let’s look at a few facts.

In 30 AD, Jesus himself predicted the “end times” in the lifetime of his contemporaries. This cannot be a surprise. If any of you have actually bothered to read the Torah, it would be perfectly clear that by claiming himself to be “the chosen one,” son of God, Jesus is predicting the end of the world. That’s what happens. The world ends, game over, and God’s chosen people (guess what? Jews, not Christians) are all swept up, and EVERYone else (including Christians, sorry, you’re not Jewish) will be punished and left to inherit the earth, but won’t be going anywhere near heaven. Now you tell me. How’d that work out?

Okay, yes, I get it, you’re not convinced. Let’s go further. Now that we’ve totally revamped the Torah into the Bible, added an entire new book and all and reworded it to mean what Jesus REALLY meant (because of course, he isn’t going to abandon all his followers), and look at some Christian “end time” prophecies.

This site goes on for quite some time, so I’m just going to c&p a few of them and you can read the rest at your leisure.

ca. 2800 BC According to Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts (1979), an Assyrian clay tablet dating to approximately 2800 BC was unearthed bearing the words “Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common.” This is one of the earliest examples of the perception of moral decay in society being interpreted as a sign of the imminent end.

Okay, I know that one isn’t a “Christian” revelation, being 2800 years before Christ was even born….but if nothing else, it should hammer home the idea that people have been saying the world is ending for a long, LONG time.

ca. 70 The Essenes, a sect of Jewish ascetics with apocalyptic beliefs, may have seen the Jewish revolt against the Romans in 66-70 as the final end-time battle. (Source: PBS Frontline special Apocalypse!)
2nd Century The Montanists believed that Christ would come again within their lifetimes and establish a new Jerusalem at Pepuza, in the land of Phrygia. Montanism was perhaps the first bona fide Christian doomsday cult. It was founded ca. 156 AD by the tongues-speaking prophet Montanus and two followers, Priscilla and Maximilla. Despite the failure of Jesus to return, the cult lasted for several centuries. Tertullian, who once said “I believe it just because it is unbelievable” (a true skeptic if ever there was one!), was perhaps the most renowned Montanist. (Gould p.43-44)
247 Rome celebrated its thousandth anniversary this year. At the same time, the Roman government dramatically increased its persecution of Christians, so much so that many Christians believed that the End had arrived. (Source: PBS Frontline special Apocalypse!)
365 Hilary of Poitiers predicted the world would end in 365. (Source: Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance)
There are many stories of apocalyptic paranoia around the year 1000. For example, legend has it that a “panic terror” gripped Europe in the years and months before this date. However, scholars disagree on which stories are genuine, whether millennial expectations at this time were any greater than usual, or whether ordinary people were even aware of what year it was. An excellent article on Y1K apocalyptic expectations can be found at the Center for Millennial Studies. (Gould, Schwartz, Randi) 1033 After Jesus failed to return in 1000, some mystics pushed the date of the End to the thousandth anniversary of the Crucifixion. The writings of the Burgundian monk Radulfus Glaber described a rash of millennial paranoia during the period from 1000-1033. (Kyle p.39, Abanes p.337, McIver #50) 1184 Various Christian prophets foresaw the Antichrist coming in 1184. (Abanes p.338) Sep 23, 1186 John of Toledo, after calculating that a planetary alignment would occur in Libra on September 23, 1186 (Julian calendar), circulated a letter (known as the “Letter of Toledo”) warning that the world was to going to be destroyed on this date, and that only a few people would survive. (Randi p.236)

This goes on quite some time, and leads us to current day. ReligiousTolerance.org has a rather extensive list of recent and current predictions of the end of the world. As you can all see, none of them have actually come to fruition. Nor will they. There simply is no day written down where the world is actually going to end.

Is it going to happen? Certainly, some day. Either some huge asteroid will get through our atmosphere or we’ll be sucked into the black hole that will be created when our sun goes supernova or (and far more likely in my estimation) we’ll blow ourselves up. But regardless…it will have nothing whatever to do with Jesus coming back.

So. My advice to you is….stop worrying about it! Enjoy your life. Because really, it’s the only one you have. Stop waiting around for something you’ll never have and appreciate what you DO have. Life goes by fast enough….do you really want to miss it?

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16 responses to “End Times? Again? REALLY?!

  1. Yeah, i know what you mean. I think a few of the people that hang around me think I must be a bit of an end time nut.
    But I think there is another issue. I think we are supposed to be living our lives in such a fashion that Christ may well come back shortly.
    You might think that’s sounds weird but Christ does not want us to sit comfortably on our bums waiting for the majority of the world to go to hell.
    He wants us motivated going about doing His will, knowing that He says “behold I come quickly”
    Knowing that we have limited time is a great motivator and I think that’s exactly what the words of Christ and the Holy Spirit are supposed to do in our lives.
    Bless you. My regards to your mother in law from another “end time nut”

  2. Hey, fleethewrath, thanks for the comment.

    Here’s the thing. There’s a difference between waiting for the majority of the world to go to hell, and living every waking moment in fear of something that (from what I can tell) probably isn’t going to happen. It’s like teaching our kids to always be ready for the bus that is just waiting to come around the corner and squish them like bugs. It’s no way to live. It takes all the spontaneity and joy out of life.

    I guess what it boils down to is; we can still do good in our lives and in the lives of others. Life has whatever meaning we give it. It’s up to us. Even if you DO believe in God and Christ…you believe in free will. You can choose to do the right thing while still allowing yourself to live your life without the worry that it’s going to end tomorrow. If it is, there’s nothing we can do about it, and if it isn’t….you’re missing out on what makes life good.

    The concept of “safe” really is an illusion. There is no truly safe neighborhood or city. Life is uncertain, risky and short. Too short to live as if an invisible disciplinarian is going to punish you if you so much as live one day for yourself. Take care of your responsibilities; absolutely. But live. Go on that trip you’ve always dreamed of. Learn to cook something wildly decadent. Fall in love. Go to the floating gardens. Do something that gives you joy that you’ve always said “some day” you would do. Tomorrow isn’t a guarantee; yesterday is gone….only today is certain.

  3. Question: Do you have a background in religion? Either Jew or Christian?
    You just about covered every aspect of Eschatology but you missed the Preterist view:
    Preterist View Defined:
    In Mt.24:1-3, Mk.13:1-4 and Lk.21:5-7 the disciples asked Jesus when the temple buildings would be torn down, and what would be the signs of His coming and the end of the age. In Mt.24:4-35, Mk.13:6-31 and Lk.21:8-33 Jesus described the tearing down of the temple buildings, the signs of His coming and the end of the age. Jesus also said, “…this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.” (Mt.24:34) The preterist view shows a past fulfillment of all those things, specifically, a fulfillment in the late first century within the generation of the Apostles. Around 70 A.D.

  4. Comment may be in moderaion or caught in the spam filter.

  5. Sorry about that, beartracks, I was away this weekend.

    Yes, I have a background in religion. I studied under a rabbi for a year attempting to understand the differences between the Torah and the bible. As does my husband, who attended seminary school. We both left the church for similar reasons. However; I don’t believe it’s necessary to be a biblical/religious scholar in order to study something and form a logical, reasoned opinion. All that’s needed is a capable mind and an eye for inconsistencies.

    One of the things that I find most interesting is that Christianity as we know it came about not because of Jesus’ teachings (in and of itself) nearly as much as of the influence of the Roman Empire.

    There were many, MANY Christian sects after Jesus died, and they were mostly scattered, depending on where Jesus’ followers happened to travel. Most of them died out. Pauline Christianity was accepted by the Empire as a “real” religion in 313AD, if that gives you any indication of just how long it took to build up a decent “Christian base.” The Romans saw it as a decent tool for controlling the Plebes.

    But that’s another story. I merely point this out to say: every Christian sect after Jesus died taught something different. At one point, there were over 100 “teachings of Jesus.” To say that the Romans picked the right one, whether by wisdom or serendipity or whatever, is nearly as credulous as believing end time prophecies in and of itself.

    I repeat: By proclaiming himself Joshua, the chosen one, Christ was prophesying end times with his death. This is not some insight into the mind of god or arrogance on my part saying “I know what he was thinking.” That is, explicitly, what is said in the Torah. That the coming of Joshua, the savior of the Jewish people, would be a signal unto them that Yahweh’s chosen people (the Jews) would be lifted from conflict and saved to join their god, while all others would be punished.

    The OT is not a word for word translation of the Torah. There was plenty left out. But it’s still part of it, and for Christians to pretend otherwise (portraying Jesus as a white guy with blue eyes and blond hair cracks me up to this day) is not only self delusional, but more than a little prideful in and of itself.

    So. Back to the end times thing. Knowing now that Jesus was wrong, that all the scripture was wrong, that the church has been DEMONSTRABLY wrong, that many, MANY prophets have been wrong, and that people still…over and over…continue to believe that there is such a thing as “the end times” and continue to be duped by it; swallow it unquestioningly…makes me seriously worry for their sanity. And pointing back to a self-referential book as proof doesn’t really strengthen their case with me at all.

  6. I do not adhere with those who would otherwise proclaim (portraying Jesus as a white guy with blue eyes and blond hair) I always teach that Jesus is in fact a Jew. I reject those who say other so.

    I disagree with you in saying that Jesus was wrong. Just because a prophacy was spoken and has not happened does not mean that it will not happen.

    I understand you do not believe in a Supreme Being (God) and as such you will interpret scripture in light of that knowlege. There are basically two ways of interpreting scripture (as with the law) inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning. One can formulate an opinion and find scripture to support that opinion or one can formulate an opinion based on what the scripture says. The only way to interpret scriptuer is to allow the passage to speak for itself and keeping everything in context and in accordance with the mindset of the author.

    I do not try to prodict when the end times will happen. I do look at crrent events and see where we stand in the timeline of end time events. Our pastor, a preterist, says the boook of Revelation took place around 70 a.d. I take what he says as any other aspect of Eschatology with a grain of salt.

  7. *Our pastor, a preterist, says the events in the book of Revelation…

  8. Yes, but my atheism has less to do with it than the fact that Jesus was prophesying the end of the world with his death. That’s why he was wrong, and that’s why the Jewish people insist, to this day, that he was not who he said he was. He was not preaching Christianity. Christianity didn’t exist. He was a JEW. In religion, as well as ethnicity. He believed that he was Joshua, son of god, chosen one, bringer of salvation to his people. The Jews.

    He didn’t disagree with his religion or his people’s faith….he disagreed with the synagogue and how it was more about politics than it was about a relationship with god.

  9. He offered himself first as the Messiah to the Jews but when they rejected Christ, Jesus offered himself as the savior of all mankind. Yes Jesus was a Jew and he fulfilled all the prophecies upon his death. Link But the story doesn’t end there, three days later Jesus rose from the dead, walked among the people. Link

  10. Here is the corrected link for the resurrection of Jesus.

    Link

  11. Yes, but all we have to go by are accounts that were written long after Jesus’ death by people who weren’t even there.

    As I said, when he died, there were many, MANY “Christian” sects. How do we know for sure the correct gospel was chosen? We can’t even get his birthday right; the celebration for that was chosen 1200 years (ish) after his death.

  12. The New Testament was written by the apostles with in the first century. Most were written prior to 70 A.D. Like the Old Testament any book which has inaccuracies (historical or scriptural) were not included and were rejected. The rest of the books have under gone scrutinty and have passed historical and archeological tests. Link

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