Okay. Time for a new blog entry. I've been trying to write, but failing throughout much of the pandemic. I've only been brave enough to admit that I am afraid. Warning - this entry is dumbed down as my brain is slow at the moment...
I’m an armchair expert in eschatology from a Christian perspective. That is the study of the end of the world for newbies. It is something we should be interested in. And I've got good news and bad news..
Firstly, although this is not the end of the world, we are a little bit closer and the hope of leaving earth before the sun collapses, explodes or whatever it is expected to do, is not, in my opinion, going to happen. Similarly, we simply are not going to evolve into spiritual beings who escape death. Not going to happen. We are also unlikely to escape this sick planet onto another planet either. Not impossible, but unlikely....
Welcome to the good news, or Gospel as we call it. Can you sense my heaviness as I write? Everything is conspiring to stop me from writing this, but you have a right to know. So here’s the bad news first. There is probably much less time left than you think. That, as you know, is a dogmatic statement. I can’t possibly know can I? No-one knows do they? We may destroy the world with nukes or we may have millions of years left before we rip the planet apart. Well, you and I don’t have millions of years. The bad news is that we almost certainly have a lot less time left than most people think.
The pandemic is not the end of the world. It is a result of the fall (as in the Bible fall, the original curse). It just happens. I won't get into the theological stuff regarding who is to blame and why God allows suffering because the greatest minds have not been able to solve it satisfactorily. So I don't think some obscure blogger will either. And you are unlikely to be able to do so either. Sorry.
But here are your top ten reasons why this is not the end of the
world, if you are into this kind of thing… It is supposed to bring you a little peace, that there is hope for the children, should you have them...
1. The Jewish temple has not been rebuilt. Sorry, but that has to happen if it is the end of the world according to most of the Christian meta-narrative. And do you know how many prophecies have really been fulfilled in our lifetimes? One. Uno. The Jewish people returning to Israel. The rest of the prophecies have always been going on. And you know what? Those who believe in the rapture will tell you that it could happen at any moment. But it is extremely unlikely. Because even this debated event is based on other things happening first...
2. You’ve got to look very hard at the Biblical prophecies. Here is number two and it is debatable. Jesus said that the love of many will grow cold. It is debatable. But there is still love and mercy and despite our selfishness, people can be loving.
3. A bit of a biggy. Visit The Joshua Project, it's an online statistical analysis of the great commission (the only commissions some of us get). According to the prophecies given from Jesus and the prophets, the whole of the world must hear the gospel. Yeah, God loved the world so much that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him might basically make it through to Heaven. But according to our favourite stats, we are only about 60% through. So does this mean that we are more concerned about this great commission rather than the other signs? No. In fact, this really big fact is probably the most ignored sign. We don’t like it because it means there is a lot of work to do. And as many know, immantisising the eschaton is an actual thing. In layman's terms that means trying to bring about the end of the world.
4. You’ve got to go deep into internet territory to get this one. I will put two-in-one for fun. Apparently the Nile will dry up, according to scripture. It hasn’t but maybe it did once and wasn’t recorded. No religious leader tells you this stuff (Which is why I’m blowing the whistle). And the second? Damascus in Syria has to be destroyed. Sorry Damascus. Still going strong there though, despite a few hairy moments recently.
5. OMG the Sun will turn to sackcloth and the Moon to blood. This kind of speaks of more than just eclipses and blood moons. So, before we feel too smug, remember that the Sun and Moon are symbolic references to our parents, if the Bible is to interpret the Bible and blah blah blah. And the stars to our siblings. And the end of the world to our own deaths. But the prophecy is literal too.
6. 6. 6. Nice obscure one for your attention. In the apocrypha Maccabees says that the Ark of the Covenant will be found in the very last days. Apparently it was made of acacia wood. Not sure how it is supposed to survive but think Indiana Jones. For those interested, it seems likely to be hidden in the mountain ranges of Jordan somewhere. Good luck finding it.
7. Oh, I’m sorry, where does the antichrist happen to be? Not here for a start. Not Trump. Not the Pope. Ain't nowhere to be seen. There are a lot of nasty characters out there, but that's all. No-one is a particularly good contender at the moment for that dubious position. I have been taught that he will most likely be a politician.
8. Again, slightly obscure, according to prophecies, Israel has to prosper within history. No problem with that, but at the moment the country is in survival mode. Nice defence policy though. Buy New Israeli Shekels.
9. Hey, apparently there is a timeframe in which the Messiah, or the Christ has to appear. Jewish people largely reject Jesus so they are largely expecting a Messiah to appear before 2240. Do the math. That gives us 220 years. Hurrah? (I've just realised my maths is wrong even though I was in the top set at school and got a B)... Might not be the Messiah of course as it is doubtful we will get a better one than Jesus.
10. Oh, I don't know. There is no Season 4 of Stranger Things. Whatever. Could be anything. Fill in the blank.
Some of these are debatable. But if the temple gets rebuilt you have to run to the hills. The vaccine is not likely to be the mark of the beast despite what Kanye West may say. It's the arm, not the hand or forehead. But don't get too smug, governments have hinted at stopping travel for those who don't take the vaccine. That's not fair is it? It's freaky. It's weird. And by the way, the people who are getting demonised are those who are questioning. The demonised are not the ones in power. That's not normal. That's freaky.
Finally, don’t you think it is kind of funny that the end of the world just so happens to have come at the same time as the digital revolution where news and information is shared so instantly? Unless we are under Sod’s Law, we have a little more time. And no, non-believers, not so much time as to evolve and escape the earth on spaceships before the sun kills us all, blasting us into smithereens.
Think happy thoughts.