It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The End Of Times

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Thessalonians 4:16 – 17

Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.  Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.  But of that day and [that] hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.   Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. Mar 13:31-33

Harold Camping must not have read Mark {one of the gospels in the bible} otherwise he would have known that pegging the rapture and the end of the world to a specific date is probably a set up for abysmal failure.

Despite the hundreds of billboards Camping’s group has thrown up in various parts of North America suggesting that “Judgment Day” and the Rapture is right around the corner to be followed by the end of the world come this October, apparently the vast majority of Christians aren’t buying it.

Believe me – I know!  I’ve offered, for a small up-front fee of $100 (non-refundable), to care for their pets come May 22nd (the day after they would otherwise gather in the clouds) and to date – not one person has taken me up on the proposal.  I can only surmise one of two things by this.  Nearly every Christian expects to wake up Sunday morning, May 22nd, here on earth, or Christians don’t give a damn about their pets!  I’m hoping it’s the former and not the latter!

For atheists, such as myself, there is no question that we would remain earth-bound post-rapture (regardless of the End of Time Date or EOTD), so I figured, heck, I’ll be here, I like animals – what’s a few more mouths to feed.  I mean, depending on the size of dog (or cat), $100 only buys so much IAMS – six months at best?  It’s actually a pretty generous offer and no takers!  By the way, the offer still stands until 20 May.  Please contact me here if you’d like to make financial arrangements for your pet care.

EOTD has long been a subject of fascination for humans in general but Christians in particular.  I remember reading Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth as a kid and my reaction was to go through the Yellow Pages and call pastors all around the Denver metropolitan area sternly questioning them as to why they were not preaching this EOTD message.  I mean, Jesus Christ (read into that what you will), the end is right around the corner – Hal pegged this whole fig tree parable – 1988 isn’t that far away – get those damn souls saved!

Several of the preachers I spoke with kindly took the time to talk me through this “episode” of my youth, explaining to me that it really didn’t work that way.  I’m sure Mark was well quoted, with a dash or two of Matthew thrown in for good measure citing that even Jesus was not in the know on the uber-secret EOTD. They patiently explained to me that as Christians, we just had to be ready with our faith at any point in the event the day comes.  I think a couple of them said something to the effect that Hal Lindsey was a snake oil salesman and a charlatan and not to be believed.

This shook me a bit.  I mean, Hal Lindsey provided a compelling argument, based on scripture and interpretation as to the great probability of EOTD to be in 1988 and, I obviously wasn’t getting any traction among the Denver ecumenical community to take up the cause.  Maybe I needed to do more homework on the subject.

Fortunately for me, on the heels of all this, I started puberty and soon found all kinds of new interests.  All of a sudden, EOTD was the last thing on my mind and if I thought of it at all, it was only in the context of “I hope it doesn’t happen before I have a chance to lose my virginity!”  Well, eventually that did come to pass and EOTD has not – so that was a win.  In retrospect, I don’t even recall praying for that – just didn’t seem like a topic worthy of bringing before god – so I don’t think it qualifies as a prayer answered.

Long before Hal Lindsey and Harold Camping tried pegging the EOTD to a year/date/hour, a slew of prognosticators have speculated on when Jesus would return and vilify the wicked, saving his flock from the dreaded antichrist and evil in the world.  Interestingly, when you read through the New Testament, it was pretty obvious the primary architect of modern-day Christianity – Paul – believed wholeheartedly that the day would come in his lifetime.  Paul was so confident that the EOTD was coming so quickly that he advised early Christians to not get married – what’s the point?  “The time is short!”  Corinthians 7:29.

Current prophesiers include Ronald Weinland, author of 2008 God’s Final Witness, who has pegged the EOTD to May 27 2012.  Bet he’s watching with keen interest the events of this 21 May!  Of course, 2012 has the Mayan calendar significance as well and probably makes much more sense than 9 days from today.  Besides, I’ve seen the movie – great special effects!

The list of EOTD predictions since the time of Jesus are frankly just too long and too uninteresting to list in the spaces of this article.  Never fear – if you want a sampling, just click here.

There is a point to be made here and one that both the majority of Christians and atheists can all embrace.  Whether you believe that no one person can call the EOTD or you just think the whole thing is nonsense and the earth will end in some 5 billion years when Richard Dawkins says the sun will run out of hydrogen causing the eventual vaporization of earth, we should all agree that EOTD speculation is not particularly helpful to anyone. 

Therefore, we should all agree, as a way to put an end to the Camping/Weinland types out there, to all claim to know at least three people that are simply no longer here on earth come May 22nd.  In conversation with friends and neighbors, say something along the lines of “Hey, I know this guy Charlie – we were supposed to get together this afternoon and play golf and I can’t get a hold of him.  Went by his house to check in on him and the front door was wide open and no one was home.  It’s like he just disappeared.”

Regardless of the validity of the claims – if enough of us can make a compelling case that the rapture did indeed come and go then maybe, just maybe, we can end once and for all these ridiculous speculations on EOTDs.

Note: Blogger, the host site, ate the previous version of this article. I’ll re-add links shortly.

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6 Responses to It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The End Of Times

  1. Steve Benson says:

    If Jesus himself, as a man did not know. Then any living man that says he knows, is either a fool, an idiot, or a liar. Period.

  2. Anonymous says:

    "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[a] but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."Mathew 24:36-44I think I'll buy a "I Survived Judgement Day" T-shirt tomorrow.

  3. Adam says:

    I have one of these billboards just around the corner from my house. In Brisbane, Australia. These guys are really keen to get the message out. Thing is, because we are 14 hours ahead of US EST, will the apocalypse happen on Saturday or Sunday our time? It's just that I have a bunch of things to do this weekend and I'm wondering whether to get them out of the way on Friday night, or if I've got all of Saturday to get them done. I'd like the house to be tidy if I'm having the four horsemen around for tea.

  4. Sean Asbury says:

    Adam – Pretty sure Camping said it would happen at 6pm in every time zone – so I think you have the majority of your day to enjoy – and giving the rest of the world a heads up! Thanks for reading 🙂

  5. Anonymous says:

    ha ha… Just ordered my "I survived May 21, 2011" shirt. Hope I get it before tomorrow!

  6. Anonymous says:

    this is absolutely rediculous..crazy no one knows when the world will end but GOD himself you people are very foolish

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