Monday, May 2, 2011

My Tea Leaves Just Look Like Wet Tea Leaves

There's a small group roaming the U.S. in RVs warning us that the world is ending in 19 days. Others say we have til December 21, 2012, which would stink since I'll have already bought all those Christmas presents. My position on prophecy is shaky; I don't have much of an opinion because I've never really bothered to think about it. And here's why: it doesn't matter. If it is going to happen, it will. If not, it won't. Should the world end in 19 days or 19,000 years, I don't think my knowledge of it is going to affect the outcome. It's an area I'm alright with being hazy. It's my duty to be right with God now and always, and to share His love in the present.

I get irritated with Bible math that calculates a "beginning of the end" date (and then recalculates when the date passes). Do they not see that every generation thinks it's the end? There has always been the signs of the evil leader, the extreme weather, the moral decay, etc. What makes today's signs so special? And what's so important about knowing a date? I think it would really shake my faith if I thought the Bible laid out a precise date for the end, and then it passed with nothing significant happening. For "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36 NIV)

But should some people think Bible math works and there is a key to calculating a particular date across the many translations, symbols, and varying calendars, I suppose there is no harm in it.

Unless they think they have to bring about the end times (especially through war), but that's another thing entirely.

Most of these ideas are in Revelation, which clearly some people take more literally than I do. Revelation to me is the red-headed step-child of the New Testament. While the other books are historical in nature, this one is full of visions and symbols. It's the odd book out, though it does provide that blockbuster ending. Even Christians in the 4th century debated about how tricky is was to interpret. Calvin ignored it, and I guess that's why my upbringing mentioned it as little as possible. I'm of the inclination that it was a message of strength to those early Christians in the Roman Empire (and therefore most symbols refer to Rome). The message that good overcomes evil despite tribulations. I do believe the overall prophecy that the end, whenever it is in whatever form, will be the result of good conquering evil forever. But that battle is not my concern. My concern is to be a foot soldier siding with good in the now.

I think prophecy for me comes down to what my grandfather said about the Left Behind series. "I don't need to know what happens after the rapture, because I won't be here for it."

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