Sunday, January 17, 2010

End Times?

'End Times' as Christians call it has always perplexed me, even when I was one myself. What confused me most about the whole saga was the fact that every single generation of Christians since the religion started thought they were living in the end times. The writers of the new testament most certainly thought they were living in the end times, and most of them thought that Christ would return in their lifetimes. Many modern groups have even predicted specific dates when they world would end. The Seventh Day Adventists tried twice, but they ended up sitting in cornfields looking like morons. The Jehovah's Witnesses also tried a few times, and looked equally stupid. These days though, most of the groups claiming these sorts of things are small isolated groups not representative of mainstream Christianity at all.

There are dozens of verses in the New Testament which indicate that the writers of the books thought that their lord would return soon, I'll give a short list of some of them.
James 5:8
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
1 Peter 4:7
But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
Hebrews 10:37
For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 
Revelation 1:1
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.
1 Thessalonians 4:17
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

In fact, the authors of the gospels claim that Jesus said the people listening to him would see his return.
Matthew 16:28
Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Luke 9:27
But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
Mark 13:30
Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

There are many more instances of all these kinds of passages within the New Testament, so it is no wonder that Christianity has had such a fascination with Armageddon and end times for the last two millennia. Though what should we make of these passages, some of them are spoken in a prophetic manner, for example the Jesus quotes from the gospels. If these really were the words of Jesus, he was most certainly wrong. By my understanding, that would therefore make him a false prophet. Do you know what the Old Testament says about false prophets? Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:20-22 teach that false prophets must be put to death. So perhaps Jesus had it coming to him, telling people that he would be back within their lifetimes and all, and it not coming true.

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