The end is near! Remember the predictions of the end of the world that we’ve had in recent years?
There was the mayhem of January 31st, 1999. Even if the apocalypse didn’t hit the earth when the clock struck midnight (and of course that was going to be in the Eastern time zone!), remember the widespread fear that the computers were going to get screwed up because of the change-over from the 1900s to the 2000s, and the planet was going to shut down? But it didn’t happen.
Then it was Harold Camping saying May 21, 2011 was the day Jesus would return. Remember that? People went pretty wild about this. Some of Camping’s followers dumped their whole life savings to go around the country in mobile homes plastered with doomsday messages. Camping’s ministry bought billboards all over the country. “The Bible guarantees it,” the signs said. When May 21 came and went, he admitted he made a mistake, but now he had it right. The big day was now going to be October 21, 2011. But 10/21 came and went with no end of the world. One of Camping’s employees estimates Camping spent $100 million (mostly from the sale of property) on advertising the end of the world. Throughout his life, Camping actually made 10 different predictions. All wrong.
Then the end was supposed to be Dec 12, 2012! Remember the Mayan Calendar, which supposedly predicted this? But, nope, we got that wrong.
Or maybe the end would come in 2014? Ancient Norsemen predicted Ragnarok, which translates into “doom of the gods,” would take place on February 22, 2014. Nope.
Then some scholars said that all the hubbub about Mayan calendar in 2012 was wrong because of a misinterpretation. Now they said, the correct interpretation of the Mayan calendar reports that the world would end on May 15, 2015. Uh, no.
That brings us to 2016. Did you hear the most recent prediction? The world was supposed to end on Valentine’s Day 2016. That’s last week! Take a look and listen closely:
Wrong again. Ok, so that was kind of a joke, as it was part of a fictional movie. The point of all this is that there have been a lot of end of the world predictions lately, and they can leave you feeling stressed or anxious.
I am a fan of the band REM, and one of their songs gets played often around these end of the world predictions. Remember this song? It’s the end of the world as we know it, and what? I feel fine!
If we’re honest, while we laugh at the predictions, many of us do not feel fine about the end of the world. I was talking with a guy at the gym this week, and he knows that I am a pastor, so he randomly started asked about the end times. He listens to TV preachers who have him convinced we are living in the end times. Are we? What do you think? Actually, the most important question, I think, is “What did Jesus teach about the end times?”
Before we read what Jesus has to say, is it possible that not one of us knows with certainty if we are living in the end times? We look at what is happening in the world, and the news from around the world sure makes us wonder. We get iffy when we hear about Russia invading Ukraine. When we hear about ISIS beheading Christians. Recent bombings in Syria. The internet, talk of people being implanted with computer chips, drones in the sky and so on. I could go on and on. Despite all that, though, we do not know if we are living in the end times.
It would be much better for us to say “It might be the end of the world as we know it, then again, it might not, but either way…I feel fine.”
That’s right, it is possible to feel fine even if it is the end of the world. I think REM was actually on to something. You might be thinking, “How could we feel fine if it is the end of the world? That’s an awful thought!” Well, that’s a good question. I agree that the end of the world is a terrible idea. But maybe it is possible to feel fine about it.