The awaited return and the ensuing suffering despite a no-show from Jesus

The awaited return and the ensuing suffering despite a no-show from Jesus

This Spring Some Christians won’t stop believing

by Jason Whited
July 14, 2011
from LasVegasCityLife Website

A planet consumed by a war, millions dead from rampant pestilence and famine, a demonic overlord imbued with the power of Satan.

Ask many christians to describe what the end of the world will look like, and these chipper scenes make nearly every true believer’s highlight reel.

    “We’re neither worried nor joyful about it, but these are things we know have to happen,” says Eliot Jones, pastor of Truth Apostolic Church in the central valley.

    “Man was created in the very beginning to hang out with Jesus, with God… then, when Adam and Eve messed up in the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – at that point, a time frame was put on human life.”

That seems pretty harsh for a cosmic father whose son preached the need to forgive and forget, but read even the first chapter of the Bible, and it’s apparent how seriously God takes disobedience.

By Page 4 he’s kicked Adam and Eve Adam and Eve out of their beloved garden and cursed them for all eternity.

According to some local christian thinkers, all this future war, famine and general awfulness are merely hallmarks of God’s grand endgame. God, they say, has to clean house so He can prepare a new Earth for His followers. Because of man’s sinful nature, God has no choice but to judge us.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves and sort of missing the whole point. Before all this hell on Earth, Jesus Christ is supposed to come down to “rapture” his flock, spiriting them away to heaven as Satan is given a free hand to ruin things down here and punish the wicked.

Christians say we’ve done it to ourselves: our greed, our lust, our penchant for violence that seems to be hard-wired into the human brain. All these irredeemable qualities inherent to most of humanity – which apparently escaped God’s attention as he was creating us – have sealed our fate.

Despite recently erroneous predictions of Jesus’ imminent return – think California pastor Harold Camping and his promise that Jesus would come for the faithful on May 21 – some local christians believe the end times are close.

    “I can’t speak for all christians, but I personally believe [recent floods, wildfires, earthquakes and wars] are signs of what is to come,” says John Phipps, associate pastor at Desert Spring United Methodist Church in Summerlin.

    “The Bible makes it very clear the end times will be catastrophic, according to the Book of Revelation, and that there will be great famines, earthquakes, wars and rumors of war… I think we’re starting to see a little bit of that now. I think we are getting close to the end times.”

It doesn’t seem to matter that christians such as Camping have been predicting the end of the world almost since the time of Jesus.

Things are different now, some say, and a big reason has to do with Israel. When the modern state of Israel declared its independence in 1948, many christians say, God’s cosmic egg timer began to tick in earnest.

They point to verses in the 21st chapter of Luke (the third book in the New Testament) which says, in part, that,

    “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

Many christians, even mainline believers, say the Bible teaches Israel had to be restored as a nation before end-time events could kick into high gear.

Further into Luke the scriptures say,

    “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh… This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.”

Phipps agrees.

    “When Israel became a nation, that changed things greatly,” he says, although he adds these world events don’t allow anyone to know the precise day all this end-time shit is supposed to go down.

Eliot, like Phipps, says no one can know the exact hour of the rapture and the ensuing earthbound annihilation, but,

    “It’s not that you’re excited about it, it just is, and you have to make sure you’re prepared.”

    “All these people seem to be thrilled by this notion that a significant amount of humanity will be slaughtered as the faithful are being raptured or taken off the planet somehow,” says D.M. Murdock (who occasionally goes by her pen name, Acharya S.), author of the 1999 book The Christ Conspiracy – The Greatest Story Ever Sold.

    “This is obviously pathological and not part of a healthy mentality.”