Wednesday, May 18, 2011

THE END IS NEAR!

(With Harold Camping proclaiming that May 21 is the date for the Rapture and the Day of Judgment, I thought it was a good time to re-post this blog from last year.)

The iconic image of the religious fanatic is a mangy looking man in a robe holding a sign. What does it say on the sign? "The End Is Near."

Why is this the universal language for "religious fanatic?"
  • The man with the sign is anachronistic. He is on a modern cement sidewalk next to modern city buildings being passed by modern people in modern business attire - but he is barefoot, wearing a robe, with long (wild) hair and beard.
  • The man's message is trite. Many have said that the end is near and some have predicted the exact date and time for the end. But we are still here. The end has not arrived. The promise (or threat) is unfulfilled.
  • The man's point is vague. What exactly does he expect people to do about it? Can they avoid the end? Should they try? Is there any way to prepare for the end? Will panic help?
  • The man's authority is questionable. Who told him the end is near? Did he figure this out on his own? Is there astrological evidence? Was this direct revelation? Has he broken some secret code from some sacred text? Why is this man alone in his proclamation?

Nevertheless - it is my fanatical duty to state in no uncertain terms that "the end IS near." (In the interest of full disclosure I will admit that: I do have a beard - but it is short. As I write this I am dressed in a polo shirt and shorts and my feet are bare.)

THE END IS NEAR! How near? I'm not sure, but I am sure that it is nearer than most people would like to think.

At the very least, our personal end may be VERY near! Hundreds of thousands of people die everyday. Old people, young people, good people, bad people, white people, black people are dying right now. They die of disease or in an accident or by murder - for them, the end has arrived. And what makes you or me any different from them? You might be carrying some unknown disease that has not yet appeared in symptoms or tests. You certainly cannot know about the accident you will have this afternoon.

Even if our personal end is years ahead of us, it is nearer than it may appear. I am 54 years old. I don't feel much different than I felt when I was 27 - half my life ago. I am unlikely to live another 54 years - but what if I lived another 27 years to the age of 81? The last 27 years have passed like a flash of lightening! I suspect that the next 27 will seem just as fast or faster.
(James 4:14) ...you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

So, the end is near. But what is the point of saying so? There are several...
  1. Make the most of the time you have left. There is no time for procrastination. The opportunities you have today are not guaranteed for tomorrow.
  2. Don't be presumptous about your ability to keep yourself alive. Acknowledge your dependance on your Creator who has granted you life - and honor Him with your life.
  3. You had better find out now what God requires of you. You do not know when you will be called to account. What answers will you be able to give God when He examines you - and will they be sufficient?
(2 Peter 3:3–4) knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts,
4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”

What about authority? Up to this point I have used logical authority... everyone has an end that is more or less near. But beyond this we have revelation from God - the Bible - that clearly says God will someday call a halt to the current order of things.
(Romans 13:11–12) ¶ And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
(James 5:9) ¶ Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!
(1 Peter 4:7) ¶ But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
The end is near! Do not ignore this warning!
(Hebrews 9:27) ...it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

1 comment:

Lauralee said...

It really is near. Amen.