By Virginia S. Saunders
TWO IMPORTANT WORDS in the study of biblical end time prophecies popped up this Sunday: the Greek word “parousia“, and a hard to spell word, “eschatology“. One refers to the second coming or presence of Jesus. The other refers to the study of crises or events that will precede the end of days.
Those who have been studying the book of Revelation, the prophecies of Ezekiel, Daniel, or predicting the Rapture, Second Coming, and the Great Tribulation, are the students of Eschatology, finding the impending signs of doomsday at every lunar eclipse, bloodmoon, earthquake, or tsunami as a validation of their calculations.
There are words in the Bible that predict so, although prophets have been predicting so in the last four thousand years or more.
Jesus did say one never knows the end of days although He gave a description of the Great Tribulation (Mark 13:1-29), exhorting all to be watchful. He said, “In those days after the great tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.”
He continued, “And they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory, and he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.”
In Matthew 24:3-31, Jesus spoke again about the great tribulation. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evil doing, the love of many will grow cold. He said “False messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect.” The author Matthew repeated His words in Matthew 24:29 that immediately after the tribulation of those days, “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
But omniscient as He was, Jesus didn’t know when this will all happen. He said in Matthew 24:36-44, “The day and the hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Therefore stay awake for you do not know on which day your Lord will come.”
In 2 Timothy 3:3-4, Jesus said that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lust and saying, when is the promise coming?
At His second coming, Jesus said in Matthew 25:32 that “all the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate them from one another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” He was quite specific about the sheep. They are the ones who did these acts of mercy: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”
It seems that in Eschatology, the goats are those who are wreaking havoc on the sheep of the kingdom. Eschatologists have identified these as ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, Taliban, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and all other scums of the earth who are on the war path of destruction. These also include the machete and hammer wielding terrorists and protesters, rioters, and arsonists at Ferguson, Missouri. There is no place for the wicked during the second coming, if they just continue to go on their war path.
Eschatologists however continue to be frustrated by the uncertain nature of their study, as they have been frustrated since A.D.1. I have gone through a long, long list of end of the world (EOTW) predictions made even before the first coming of Christ, and I can not help but guffaw over the fact that we are still here.
In 389 BC, the Romans predicted that the mystical number revealed for Romulus represented the number of days in a year, so they expected Rome to be destroyed around 365 B.C. Pope Sylvester II predicted EOTW to be January 1, 1000, calling it the Millennium Apocalypse. In 1284 Pope Innocent III predicted EOTW as 666 years after the rise of Islam. Between 1346-1351, the Europeans interpreted the Black Plague as the sign of the end of times. Christopher Columbus claimed that the world was created in 5343 BC and would last 7,000 years, which would put EOTW in AD 1658.
In the sixties, syndicated astrologer and psychic, Jeane Dixon predicted that planetary alignment on a day in 1962 will bring destruction of the world. This scared many, and mass prayers were reported in India. I remember praying at that time to postpone EOTW. Since 1966, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been publishing articles that Autumn 1975 would be 6,000 years since man’s creation, and that year will be Armaggedon. Before year 2000, evangelists Pat Robertson, Paul Crouch, Tim LaHaye, and Jerry B. Jenkins, stated that Y2K bug would trigger global economic chaos which the anti-Christ would use to rise to power. In 2008 pastors John Hagee and Mike Blitz claimed that the four bloodmoons in 2014 and 2015 may represent prophecies in the Bible relating to the second coming of Christ. A Sunni Moslem, Adnan Oktar, interpreted the Islamic Hadith, and said that EOTW will be in 2120. The Talmud and Orthodox Judaists claimed that the Messiah will come within 6,000 years and EOTW will be in 3239 AD. And so on.
And we are still here. All because of Divine Intervention, which I think the Lord willed to frustrate Eschatologists.
Jesus have given His believers the key to accessing the power of God through prayers, petitions, and intercessions. It is through prayerful believers, loyal to their mission and trustful of the exceeding love and mercy of God for His people, that Divine Intervention constantly occur. The Bible is full of stories on how God intervened in the affairs of men.
As believers in Christ, we have been told not to worry anymore, nor exert any unnecessary anxiety in our lives. “Sufficient for a day is its own evil”, said Matthew 6:34. It seems that doom will be a swift running event, but will also show a day to day series of destruction. Are we on that roller coaster now? We have ISIS members gleefully cutting other peoples’ heads and bodies, laying down those sawed off torsos and arms and legs on a hallway for people to look at and photograph for Twitter. We have mentally deranged terrorists in Ferguson looting and burning businesses, then queueing for food stamps. Then we have illegal immigrant criminals, ebola stricken carriers, going in and out of the border, asking for drivers licenses, then complaining about the quality of taco shells given them by DHS and ICE!
I am not calling for EOTW, nor disparaging those who make it their life study to predict when it will happen. But Eschatologists will always be frustrated by God whose Divine Intervention is assured when Christians kneel down and ask for it. This is exactly what we must do during these perilous times, when Christians, Jews, and believers of other faiths are being persecuted by insane radical Islamists. The only antidote is to pray for our persecutors. Proverbs 25:22 said that feeding the enemy when they are hungry, and giving them drink when thirsty will be like “heaping live coals on their heads.” As human beings we are just too ill equipped to handle a great tribulation, knowing men are like dimwits stumbling from one crisis to another.
That is why God sent a Savior through Jesus Christ.
As the year 2014 draws to a close, and I tally the different predictions for EOTW, I am however dumbfounded by some preachers on Trinity Broadcasting Network who squeal with glee about the end times. “Can’t wait! Jesus is coming!” Are all their family members saved, sealed, signed and delivered? Is their glee (real or not) for their own validation so they can say “I told you so!”?
And if the world actually ends, which the Bible assured will not come from deluvian flooding but in this case, nuclear frying, of what good will it serve to say “I told you so!” when we are all finally dead?
By Virginia S. Saunders
December 3, 2014