It’s late September 2017, and if the subject of a USAToday story is right (see this link), we won’t be here much longer! Happily, the linked story really does a lot of the “church history” work for me, so I don’t need to provide the background. The story does not, however, provide the kinds of links that I like to give you, so I’ll give them here in bullet-point form. Good luck, everyone!
- Cotton Mather (and other colonial apocalypticists)
- The followers of William Miller (a.k.a., the “Millerites”)
- Charles Taze Russell
- Florence Houteff and the Branch Davidians
- Harold Camping
(Update: according to a subsequent story — accessible at this link — the world isn’t actually going to end on the 23rd… but it will end soon.)
I’ll say that I’m always a little mystified by these kinds of things. I mean, it would be nice to know when Jesus will return, if for no other reason than to “get one’s affairs in order”… but FOUR DIFFERENT BOOKS in the New Testament (all presumably by very different authors, by the way) all say that that day will come “like a thief” — in other words, unexpectedly! The deeper concern I have, though, is that the Bible isn’t a book written in secret code. Christians believe that God wants to communicate with us, and that God has done so chiefly in Jesus! In fact, John 1:18 says that Jesus has made God known, or more literally, has “exegeted” God. We treat the Bible as though it is comprehensible in most other areas, but for some reason we sometimes act differently regarding the “end times.” That’s a story for another day and post, I suppose.
Image credit for Albrecht Dürer’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Wikimedia Commons