Friday, May 20, 2011

Will the World End Saturday?

A slight departure from the usual grist for the mill. If matters of faith and belief are not your "cup of tea", then note that we will return to our regularly scheduled programming shortly.

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I suppose, there is a sense in which, if true, this story should surpass every other one in the last couple of millennium, but, other than a bit in Doonesbury, it hasn't been covered that much in the MSM. Someone bought a full page on the back of USA Today proclaiming May 21, 2011 as being Judgment Day. I've also seen billboards along side I-5 and Hwy 880 in California proclaiming the same thing.

Now, in case you are not so inclined to rent a billboard or buy a full page ad, if you really believed the message, what else would you spend your money on between now and the end of the world?

I don't want to belittle these people. They are somewhat reminiscent of the Adventist movements of the mid to late nineteenth century. Convinced that the "Advent" of Christ was upon them, some believers wrapped themselves in white robes and went up into the hills to wait for Jesus to come back. When it was apparent that he had not returned as yet, the movements found ways to rationalize why their calculations were wrong and modified their beliefs to match their new reality.

This movement is fueled by the efforts of one Harold Camping. Mr. Camping is a fairly quiet and unassuming man, who believes that the Bible alone should be the guide to the Christian faith and the only guide to interpreting the Bible itself.

I've met Harold Camping. He does not strike one as a wild eyed street corner preaching proclaiming the "End is Near".

Behind thousands of “Judgement Day” billboards from rural highways to city skylines and a small army of volunteers that have traipsed across the country preaching May 21 as the beginning of the world’s destruction is a frail, 89-year-old California multimillionaire who runs one of the largest Christian radio networks in the world.

Each day, Harold Camping’s slow and sonorous Bible readings and his Open Forum call-in show broadcast for hours from the Oakland, Calif. headquarters of Family Radio.

Family Radio has been preaching and teaching the Bible as a worldwide ministry for many years now. My children, when they were little, used to listen to their children's programming on Saturday mornings. (Big Jon and Sparky) Big Jon Arthur himself became a convert to Christianity and was a part of Family Radio for many years up until the time of his death.

It is hard to fathom, how a man like Mr. Camping, who believes the Bible to be the infallible Word of God, can read something like Matthew 24:36, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." and then presume to make a prediction as to what day Christ will return.

There have been those through the ages who believed that times couldn't be any worse than theirs, that whatever tyrant or despot they faced was a fulfillment of prophecy.

Nero persecuted Christians, and many thought he was the Beast of the Revelation. Hitler was believed to be the Beast, as well. There is a sense in which they were all correct. For every generation, it is the last. Sometime in this generation, every man woman and child will stand before their maker. Because, dear friend, you are going to die. Someday.

So, if you consider whether or not the world will end Saturday, you can safely answer, yes it will...for someone. Maybe not for you, likely not for everyone, but for some. And for them, it will be, you'll excuse the expression, as serious as a heart attack.

I believe that was one of the reasons why Christ did not reveal a day or set a time. He wanted every generation to be as diligent to prepare themselves and their fellow men for eternity as if the world might end tomorrow. Because for some people, it will.

Note: I thought about frivolously asking if perhaps Obama listened to Family Radio, if he was trying to fulfill prophecy with his new anti-Israel policy. But, as much as I don't think it will foment thermonuclear war in the next twenty four hours, it's not for want of trying!

See? I told you we'd return to our regular programming!

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