Monday, May 23, 2011

Did I Miss the End of the World

May 21st 2011 was supposed to be Judgment Day. I guess I missed the rapture. The world today looks no different than the world I saw on May 20th. Life goes on. So why am I writing about it now? In a few days, Harold Camping, who runs something called The Family Radio Worldwide Network we be all but forgotten. He predicted the rapture would start at 2 a.m. on May 21st. He believed Jesus Christ would return and gather the faithful.

I felt pretty certain I could write about it after the fact. So here’s my take on the whole affair. First, I can’t believe how this story spread like wildfire. I’ve been a Christian since 1976, and Camping’s predictions are not something new. There’s been a multitude of people predicting the end of the world and the coming rapture. What’s new today is how fast the media can spread these crazy and ludicrous stories. Thanks to social media and the Internet, this story took on a life of it’s own.

I couldn’t believe it when I read about it in my local newspaper and saw it as a feature story on my nightly news. In fact, it was all over Facebook. One group set up a Facebook page titled, Post-Rapture Looting and offered this invitation: “When everyone is gone and God’s not looking, we need to pick up some sweet stereo equipment and maybe some new furniture for the mansion we’re going to squat in.” This group set up a rapture party and invited people to come. Amazingly, 200,000 people indicated they would be attending the event.

As a Christian, I found all of this troubling as the Scriptures are very clear—no one will know the hour or the day. But what I really find troubling is the underlying issue which supports this type of escapism and delusional thinking. I can’t count the times that I’ve had people come up to me and tell me that the end must be near. How can Jesus not come back with the world in such a state—debauchery of every shape and form, sin rampant and out of control?

Yes, I would agree our society has it’s share of problems. People’s hearts have grown resistant to Christianity. Yes, we have abortions, drug use, alcoholism, suicides, murder, adultery, and the list goes on and on and on. But what many Christians want is sort of a Christian bail-out. Just as the government bailed out Wall Street and the auto industry, we’re looking for a new start. And, of course, there’s no better exit strategy than to go to heaven.

Now, I realize not every Christian is embracing this kind of thinking. But some believe the world is just so evil and so corrupt that there is no hope, so why try? They think all they can do is to bunker down and protect their family. It’s basically a hopeless situation. But, wait a minute, that’s not what the Word of God talks about. We are called as a force to change this world and bring about the Kingdom of God. We’re called to be witnesses and tell people about the things Jesus did. In other words, by living out our lives, we live out His reality in our lives. That’s how we become a witness. I don’t see any instances in the Bible that tells us to stop being a witness for Christ because the world has become too evil. (Have we forgotten the story of Nineveh and God’s direction for Jonah to go there and pronounce judgment—which resulted in Nineveh being converted.

Here’s a news flash. Sinners sin. The world has always been evil since the fall. Today is perhaps no worse than any day in our history. Haven’t we seen it all before, mass murder, the Dark Ages, The Holocaust, wars, rumor of wars, earthquakes, natural disasters of all sorts. It’s all played out sometime in our history.

We just think we’re living in the end times, the worst of the worst. I have no idea when Jesus is coming back, and frankly it doesn’t matter. We just need to be busy doing God’s work. There is still hope, and many need to hear His message.

That’s my spin on this story. It’s probably one you won’t read elsewhere.

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