From time to time, news media report one Christian group or another predicting the end of the world. Yesterday (October 6) it was The Guardian, among others, in an article you can find here. And, as today is supposed to be the day, I only have a few hours to finish this post on the subject.
Then again …
I find these reports deeply frustrating. They are a cheap shot, really. The effective subtext is usually ‘aren’t Christians stupid?’ when what is being ridiculed is not authentic Christian belief. If I’m going to be laughed at as a Christian, I’d much prefer it to be on the basis of genuine Christian teaching. (Actually, I’d prefer not to be laughed at at all, but that’s another story.)
So it may seem a bit pedantic, but allow me put the record straight.
However sincere, anyone who claims to know the date of the end of the world is contradicting Jesus Christ. The idea that anyone can predict the end of the world is ridiculous, according to the Bible. That puts me on the side of the Guardian reporter for a moment. But only for a moment.
While the precise timing may be unclear, the Bible teaches that the world as we know it will come to an end when Jesus Christ, who went up to heaven after his resurrection, returns to judge all mankind. At this point I’ve almost certainly parted company with the Guardian. Cue laughter again.
That’s laughter I can live with, though. I find the Bible’s explanation of the world we live in comprehensive and convincing. Its account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus backs up the claims he made in his teaching. An exceedingly sophisticated fraud? No, it rings true to me. So I do believe the world will end as Jesus taught, and that it is vital for each human being to be prepared for this.
I understand why people laugh. But I’m never sure how confident their laughter really is.
[If you would like to check some of Jesus’ teaching for yourself, you could read Matthew 24 and 25 in the Bible]