The apocalyptic attitude can lead to some very dark areas and activities. One example is doomsday cults whose leaders prey on others made vulnerable by their love for God and their yearning to understand biblical scripture. Cult leaders feed on these innocents to fuel their own ravenous egos. David Koresh of the Branch Davidians is a good, recent example. There are many more of which Jim Jones and the People’s Temple and Ti and Do of Heaven’s Gate are only a sample.
There were many people who, again, when the earth turned to the Third Millennium, predicted that the earth would end. Well, it didn’t. Now we have those who seem to think December 2012 will be the end of the world due to the end of the Mayan calendar and an unusual galactic alignment. Concerned people are calling NASA in panic over potential pole shifts, earthquakes, tsunamis and floods.
In addition, some people, not just cult leaders, convince themselves that they can interpret biblical scripture so precisely as to be able to pick out the Antichrist. There have been many guesses, from Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan to Winston Churchill. All of these predictions have had one thing in common: they were wrong. One of today’s favorites – for whatever reason – seems to be President Obama.
There is no doubt that people will continue to play pin the tail on the Antichrist, but this activity in not simply innocent conjecture. It presents a danger for our world leaders. For example, perhaps someone who is a little unbalanced to begin with actually believes the prediction that one of these men is the Antichrist? What if they decide to assassinate them to rid the world of evil? Such is the possibility when people begin to name names regarding a potential Antichrist figure. Again, it is not innocent conjecture.
According to the Religious Tolerance group, at the turn of the century, Israel feared Jerusalem would become a focal point for the gathering of mass suicide groups. Israeli security forces, who had expected an estimated three million tourists throughout the year 2000, were concerned terrorists groups could come to their city for the single purpose of starting their own “holy war” if Armageddon failed to occur on its own.
An Israeli police spokesman said, “If the Messiah doesn’t show up as expected, we fear some of the disappointed believers may take matters into their own hands and hasten along the end of times. Given all the problems we have here already, Israel can ill afford a Waco.”
Just prior to 2000 CE, the Federal Bureau of Investigation published a report called Project Megiddo outlining some of the problems American would face associated with the new millennium. Some of them included confrontations with white supremacist groups, black extremists groups, extreme groups who have a history of persecuting homosexuals, and citizen militias.
Pushing the Apocalypse
A fanatic is a man who does what he thinks the Lord would do if only He knew the facts of the case. – Finley Peter Dunne
Assuming there is an apocalypse in our future, it seems incredible and not a little nonsensical, that anyone would want to rush into world destruction. This indicates that these “believers” do not trust that God knows what He is doing and shows a startling lack of faith. If we are mere stewards of the earth, what right do we have to try to rush the end times? Who told us we were in charge?
The answer is none no one, respectively, and what a relief that is! Who would actually want the responsibility of such monumental decision making? In fact, the Bible clearly tells us, regardless of how important we think ourselves to be, we do not have all the answers and we are not by any means in control of the future. See Peter 3:13-14 below: the text says we are to wait not initiate. Moreover, how can we be at peace if we are stirring up a war?
I am not a biblical scholar, but I have common sense. It seems to me that being ready for the Second Coming of Christ does not mean selling all of our belongings and going out into the streets to wait for the world to stop spinning on its axis.
Instead of calculating calendar dates and trying to crack biblical codes, fictional or otherwise, we should go diligently about our daily business in a peaceful and productive manner that only true faith affords. If and when we are faced with the end times, we can look up with pride and say, “See? I have been busy while I waited. I have exercised my heart and stretched my soul. Now I am ready for the next step of my journey.”
We still have much to learn about the earth and each other. Let us greet the future for what it is: a time filled with potential for educational, social, scientific and spiritual growth. Let us strive for improvement while we leave the end of times to God. We must tend to our gardens while they grow.
The Bible and end times
Here are some passages from the Bible that remind us not to meddle with the plans of God. We are told in no uncertain terms that no one, not even Jesus himself, knows when the end times will happen. We are told not to try to force events into action before their times, and we are clearly warned to avoid false prophets who try to convince us otherwise.
The Old Testament
“Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light.”
“Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?”
“Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, prophesy and say to those who prophesy out of their minds: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’ Thus says the Lord God, ‘Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!’”
“’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways’, says the Lord.”
“And the Lord said to me: The prophets are prophesying in My name; I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.’”
“’Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams,’ says the Lord, ‘and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them; so they do not profit from this people at all,’ says the Lord.”
“Add thou not to His words, lest He reprove three, and thou be found a liar.”
The New Testament
“It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.”
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but instead are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.”
“When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, ‘Tell us when this will be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’ Jesus said, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name saying, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs.’”
“But about that day and hour, no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
“For in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
“But according to His promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth… since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.”
1 Thessalonians 5:1-2
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night.”