I read an article from Newsweek online called "Blood in the Water", which was the usual ignorance of "fundamentalist Christian" belief about the end times. Normally, I don't go in for this kind of tripe, but being long a student of Eschatology, I wanted to check it out, even though I knew it would be so off the mark. I wasn't disappointed. The reason I am even writing about it, and giving any lip service to the article at all, is because I've had this on my mind for quite a while, that there is so much confusion, error and lies about the Bible prophecies.
Consider the second part of the header of the piece- "To some Christian fundamentalists, the oil plume in the Gulf of Mexico heralds the apocalypse." Personally, I don't know anyone who believes in the literal prophetic writings who believes this disaster in the Gulf is part of Revelation. I know many of us have a thought that this is judgment on America for a variety of reasons, most recent is the appalling treatment of Israel by the antisemitic administration in the White House. But a part of Revelation which states in 8:8–11, “The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed … A third of the waters became wormwood, and many died from the water, because it was made bitter.” I seriously doubt this. Besides, as destructive as this disaster is, the Gulf of Mexico can hardly be considered a third of the world's sea!
This author writes, "Broadly speaking, these Christians subscribe to a theology called "premillennial dispensationalism." In this world view, they are warriors on the side of God: a cosmic battle—culminating in apocalypse, judgment, and, finally, the reign of Jesus in “a new heaven and a new earth”—will come soon. The most determined of these believers mine the Book of Revelation for signs that the end is near. (I'd call it studying- not mining) A text of terrifying and mysterious prophesy, Revelation forecasts the apocalypse in coded language; Christians have spent lifetimes trying to break that code by correlating its verses to current events..."
The article then goes on to tell about those who have predicted the end- but not bothering to mention that the Bible itself says that no man, not even the Son knows the hour of the judgment of the Lord. God has His own timing. I know there have been many predictions made over the years, even by some very knowledgeable folks. Fact is, when we do witness things which seem to fit, many Bible believing Christians tend to get excited because we are waiting for the literal return of Christ. Some do make the mistake of predictions, which do a disservice to the Word of the Bible, in that non or new believers get discouraged or become cynical about any of the end time Prophecies.
The part which really struck me though, was later on in the article when the author (and I use the term lightly) attempts to put a political spin on a deeply held conviction.
"But there’s a problem. In the place where American religion and politics intersect, signs of the end times have traditionally been interpreted by members of the right as punishment for ungodly behavior by those on the left. And because the values of the religious right have mirrored those of the Republican Party—at least before the last presidential election—the "good guys" in the cosmic battle have tended to look like Republicans on the far-right fringe and the “bad guys” like liberal Democrats.....Yet through a biblical lens, it’s hard to see the oil spill as anything but God’s punishment for greed and a disrespect of Creation—and both of those sins fall mostly on the shoulders of the Republicans....So the question for biblical literalists becomes one of political alliances. Does God wreak apocalyptic wrath on members of one’s own party—or only on the opposition?"
One part at a time deserves rebuttal here, and if this woman is supposed to be a so called religion correspondent, she needs care and do a little more homework! First of all, I know that more Bible believing Christians do happen to be on the conservative side of the political aisle- but to put it "signs of the end times have traditionally been interpreted by members of the right as punishment for ungodly behavior by those on the left" is just plain ignorant.
Yes, there are a lot of issues politically which make Bible believing Christians angry, sad or outspoken, but to say republicans blame democrats for the End of days as written in prophecy is a little too egotistical and ridiculous. To think that someone because of their political affiliation has an "in with God" to where we can say that Revelation is coming because of another political party is offensive. God didn't decide that the world would end because only Democrats or Republicans are all sinful and evil. He is bringing about a new heaven and new earth to complete His plan where His will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. All are sinful, no matter who we are. The only thing which separates us is whether one has a personal relationship with Christ, whether one is born in the Spirit and has received the gift of Salvation through Christ Jesus. It is not up to me as a conservative to determine that the prophecies are coming to pass because I don't agree with liberals.
Next she presumes to know the mind of God- something which liberals always accuse us "fundies" of doing. She says, "Yet through a biblical lens, it’s hard to see the oil spill as anything but God’s punishment for greed and a disrespect of Creation—and both of those sins fall mostly on the shoulders of the Republicans...."
Oh, Ok. I'm sorry I brought this destruction down on the Gulf of Mexico- on beaches including one of the states where I live. Please! If one wants to look at this oil spill as punishment, I would say that again, God curses those who curse His People. With our treatment of Israel during the past few decades, it doesn't surprise me. I have posted in the past the "coincidences" which have occurred whenever our Government has cursed by agenda, the Israeli people. I see this latest as perhaps another coincidence, but keeping in mind that with the Lord there are no such things as coincidences. Could be that this was just a tragic accident. There are such things you know. And as for greed, greed and corruption fall in any political party, social status or society. Greed, I assume this author is speaking of wealth? One can be wealthy, and give more to society than can one who has very little. Yes, there are some who are wealthy yet greedy. For a little sample of those, look at my last post on charitable giving.
As for the author's last snide comment, "So the question for biblical literalists becomes one of political alliances. Does God wreak apocalyptic wrath on members of one’s own party—or only on the opposition?"Again, is a rediculous comment, uttered only because she, like so many these days have a disrespect not of Bible believing Christians, but of the Bible- God's Word. The prophecies of the end of times has nothing to do with political sides. Again, the judgements of the end of times as described not only in the Book of Revelation, but throughout the Bible, are on those who refuse to recieve Christ. Plain and simple. I know there are millions who take issue of this and would call me, and everyone else who believes this every name they could think of- intolerant, inclusive, sexist, xenophobic, racist (huh?!) and ignorant. Go ahead, we're used to it. But beware, it is not us who you are calling names- it is Christ Jesus, because after all it is He who says these things.
Ok, so, I knew the comment section of the article would be as interesting and predictable as the article. Here is a sampling:
"You godbots have been predicted the end for 2000 years now. Grow up."
"For any fundies who really believe this nonsense, I have a question. Can I have your car since you won't be needing it after the rapture?"
"As Abraham Maslow said in 1966, "It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." If the focus of your consciousness is Revelations, then most of what you see will fit your interpretation - or you'll modify your interpretation to make it fit. How else would we see repetitions of the same predictions through history? People like drama, especially fundamentalists."
"I wonder when the world doesn't end, will these folks who are so sure it's going to, acknowledge they were wrong? I seriously doubt it. You'd think being wrong about something like that would have an effect on people's faith, but it doesn't really seem to. They just move on to the next "sign" and make up a new doomsday scenario, forgetting that they are always, inevitably, wrong. It is truly amazing that 60+ million Americans are completely delusional."
So, we are infants who like drama, and delusional doomsayers who willingly give up our cars at the rapture. See, I can be as sarcastic. Actually, it makes me sad. The whole thing, and so much of the attitudes of millions of unbelievers make me sad. They see, but are blind. They have heard but shut their ears. They, through pride or fear or anger refuse to acknowlege there is someone bigger than this life, that there is a greater purpose than this life. I'm not saying this out of spite or meanness- I say this because we have all put ourselves first- or our lives including our families, without acknowleging the One who created us. It is just that some of us have put our focus on Him now that we have found Him.
Moving on. You know what? I have had a similar discussion with family and friends who claim that every generation has believed they would be the generation that Jesus told about and that's true. Every generation has seen the decay and godlessness spread. Doesn't mean anything really though- there has been horrid rampant sin since the days of Noah. However, the point I make with everyone I discuss this topic with, is that no other generation had the rebirth of Israel. That, my dear ones is the clincher. Now, I am not going to predict that Jesus is coming this week, next month or 2 years from now. I have no idea when He is coming. All I know is that He will be coming soon. He gave us specific signs to look for, and those signs are now. Begining with the fig tree blooming- Israel reborn as a nation, the signs have been pointing along the way for the past 60 years. I am not going to go through them all here, as I have outlined them on Understanding the Bible Prophecies. There is a lot happening right now, as all news again and still is on Israel. There are some major things happening lately in which prophecies are coming to pass. Read Isaiah, Read Ezekiel, and you will see today's news headlines.
I do want to make a couple of points in wrapping this up however.
I have been wondering why I have such a fascination with Bible prophecy. It finally came to me. Even though I am reading the Whole Word, and can and try to find ways to apply it to my daily life, the prophecies are now. They are alive now. I look at the things happpening in the world and know that even though previous generations believed they were the ones, I know by history and present happenings that there were no way near the amount of things occurring as they are now which have already been told about in prophecy.
When I read the Word of Jesus, I see specifically the phrases: not yet..begining...then.... These from the Gospel accounts of what Jesus told His disciples when they asked for the signs of the times. A few of the commentors on the article had it right when they pointed out that the Revelation verse about the water turning to blood will be one of the judgments passed after the rapture. They will happen after certain other things come to pass, which have not passed yet. If people read the whole Word, they would not attempt to be so trite in writing such an article.
My last thought. I watched the movie 2012 this past weekend. First hollywood movie I've seen in quite some time. While I found it "hollywoodish" and I know the makers of the movie think Christians are nutjobs, after all he had great glee in the destruction of Christian symbols- the fact is, some day there will be horrible disasters come upon the world, something no hollywood producer could even conceive of. People think folks like myself are nuts because I believe what the Bible says. No, I don't believe the world will end on Dec. 31, 2012. I do know the world as we know it is coming to an end though. Jesus Christ will be coming soon- first for His own, then as the King of Kings , to make things right once and for all.
It is my sincere hope and prayer that instead of mocking, read the book. Read for yourself, with an open mind. After all, most claim Bible believing Christians are those with the small minds. Read the Gospels, read Ezekiel, Daniel, Psalm 83. Read Revelation. Ask for understanding. If you are not a believer, ask anyway- God, if you are real, please help me to understand and see. What can it hurt except your pride?
Jesus is coming. Some day every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess He is Lord. It would be much better for those to confess now willingly, instead of later.