Regarding Eclipses, Hurricanes, and the End of the World

A month ago we had an eclipse. Last week, a terrible hurricane hit Texas. Now, an even bigger one is headed for Florida. And there are more to come.

If you read the Bible, you know what all of this means.

It means that theological con-men will be coming out from under every rock to tell us that Jesus will be coming back on September 23, 2017.

My fellow Christians, please stop listening to these people. They aren’t cute. They aren’t interesting. They aren’t harmless. They are liars and false prophets who stand directly opposed to God.

In speaking of his own second coming, Jesus said in Matthew 24:36, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (English Standard Version). I think a lot of Christians have a different translation of that verse. It says, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows except the guy on the Internet who produces scary videos and makes wild speculations about constellations, hurricanes, and Israel. Go ahead and listen to him” (Gullible American Version).

I don’t know if a man could possibly reach a higher level of arrogance than to postulate that of all the people who have ever lived, he’s the one who knows what only God knows. Yes, with the help of his trusty star chart and sketchy mathematical equations, he has figured out what the Apostles Paul and John could not. Such a level of hubris makes Kim Kardashian-West look like Elisabeth Elliot. And yet, for some reason, Christians keep on listening to these hucksters.

Last month, some one who had been doing tons of research told me that the return of Christ would be on the day of the eclipse. When I reminded this person of how Jesus said that no man knows the day or the hour, the basic response I got back was, “Well, he didn’t say we couldn’t know the day before.” So there you have it. Jesus is coming back during the eclipse.

Spoiler alert: He didn’t.

Now, every time Kim Jong-un wakes up in a bad mood, or we hear about a new weather catastrophe, another preacher comes out to give us a date for the return of Christ. And his theory always involves talk of blood moons, constellations, beasts, and other scary stuff that sounds like it could perhaps maybe be in the Bible but actually is not. At least not in the way that he presents it.

What people forget is that we have always had eclipses and hurricanes and earthquakes and crazy world leaders. But we have not always had Facebook and YouTube, the new black lagoons from which Creatures of False Prophecy seem to crawl on a weekly basis. And the only reason they keep crawling out is because Christians keep listening to them.

Jesus really is coming back. I don’t know when, neither do you and neither does your Facebook friend who is constantly posting about blood moons and North Korea. But Jesus is coming back.

Until he does, his will for us is clear and it doesn’t involve trying to figure out who the Antichrist is or what day in September of 2017 the world will come to an end. Rather, we are to be busy loving God and loving our neighbor. We are to defend the cause of those who suffer from injustice. We are to train up disciples.

And we are to watch out for con-men who attempt to deceive the body of Christ with their latest theory on who the Antichrist is and what exact day Jesus will return. In the irony of all ironies, it is these endless speculators who themselves are the spirit of the antichrist.

Watch out for them.

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Apocalypse Tomorrow

In case you haven’t heard, somewhere back in history, Maya Angelou wrote a poem about life on our planet coming to an end on December 21, 2012 and put it in a calendar.

The following is a message to the people that will wipe us out in a few hours.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012, 9:30 p.m.

Congratulations on the victory and welcome to the planet!

Before everything came crashing down, I wanted to take the time to type out a few things that I thought you would find beneficial as you learn your way around our old place.  I hope this helps.

I have no idea what planet you’re from but I’m guessing that you’re going to need to eat.  Your best bet is a place called the Golden Corral.  In Georgia, the state where I used to live before you vaporized us, there’s one of these on about every third interstate exit.  Hopefully you left some of them standing but even if you didn’t, the food should still be just fine.

One time, in the third grade, I took home a piece of chicken from the all you can eat buffet at the Golden Corral.  I still have that piece of chicken and it looks exactly the same.  I’m sure that it’s still around my house somewhere.  Help yourself, if you can find it amidst all the rubble.  But you really should do all that you can to get to the actual restaurant because they have one of these.

I know that the sign on the sneeze guard says not to put your hand in the fountain but my friend Shane did it all the time and nobody ever said anything to him.  And besides, you just conquered our planet so you get to do pretty much whatever you want.  Heck, you could even go there in your pajamas if you wanted.  Come to think of it, before y’all attacked us, pretty much everybody that ate at the Golden Corral showed up in their pajamas so things might not be all that different in that regard.

You also need to know that Christmas is just a few days from now.  It would have been nice of you to wait until after this holiday to do us in but I guess that it’s too late to argue about that now.  Anyway, music is a huge part of the Christmas celebration and it’s important that you find the right kind.  Nothing ruins the Christmas season like happy people singing on key and in harmony with each other.  So instead, may I suggest this?

These two ladies were a big sensation on our planet before you guys came.  I’m talking about the biggest thing going.  It brings a tear to my eye as I think back on all the times when my family and I would gather around the fireplace with our hot cocoa and sweaters just to listen to this little ditty.  Hours of Christmas fun!

Well, I hope this helps you to get the most out of our planet.  I hate that things had to end this way.  It would have been nice if we could have gotten to know each other before the attack.

I always knew that not paying any attention to Maya Angelou would come back to haunt me.

Doomsday Fakers

Earlier this week I stumbled upon a show called Doomsday Preppers.  The show follows different families each week as they prepare for a doomsday scenario, which at this rate, should be happening sometime around the middle of next week.

In this particular episode a man was leading his wife and two sons through a drill because when the zombies attack, it’s a good idea to make sure that your zombie ray gun is in proper working mode.

The man had a bomb shelter dug out under his garage that was equipped to hold his family for up to six months.  For now the family would just be going for an eight hour stint.

Every member of the family had a job in this practice run.  The husband and his two sons had jobs that involved sitting in the bomb shelter and making sure the cans of Beanie Weenies tasted okay.  The wife’s job was to stand at the front door with a shotgun.

For eight hours.

So in the event of a terrorist attack or massive looting in this family’s neighborhood, the boys are supposed to wait things out by playing cards and hanging out with Chef Boyardee in the bomb shelter while mom stands behind the front door, waiting to fight off the attackers.

Sadly, this is a pretty good representation of the modern American male.

I’m sure that this man thought that he was doing a good thing for his family.  He was making sure they were prepared for the worst and that’s what real men do.  But in reality, he was hanging out with the boys while his wife did the hard work.

When I was a kid I watched reruns of shows like Three’s Company and WKRP.  Shows like this all had one thing in common – a dumb blonde.  This was the girl who cared more about her appearance and shopping than she did her intellect.  Every episode was about how she couldn’t manage to stay out of her own way.

Today the dumb blonde is gone.  Too offensive.  But she does have a replacement.  The new dumb blond is the man.  In television shows and even commercials he’s the butt of every joke.  He’s the one that cares more about looking or acting like a man than actually being a man.

I’ve never killed a deer with my bare hands and I don’t know how to reroute the solenoid valve in a ’86 Camaro.  Yet.  My time is coming.

But real manhood is about more than that.  Some guys do those sorts of things merely as an escape from their real responsibility.  For them, it’s playing the part of a man instead of actually being a man.

Being a man means leading your family, if you have one.

It means finding ways to love your wife like Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25).  This will likely involve folding clothes and packing lunches.  Those things are hard to do when you’re gone all the time.

It means daily and lovingly teaching your kids about the God who created them (Deuteronomy 6).

It means actually being committed to your church and leading your family to do the same (Hebrews 10:23-25).

Preparing for a catastrophe is wise but the Bible guarantees a doomsday scenario where no amount of ammo or beans can pull us through (Matthew 24).  Christ is our only rescue and it is before him that we will have to give an account for how we managed those who were placed under our care.

Real men lead by loving, protecting and guiding.

Real men stand at the door.