The minute the earthquake in Japan happened, I told several friends that two things were coming: 1) talk of the end of the world 2) talk of God punishing Japan
But I was not prepared for was the quality of the sample that was to come. This article details the prophetic take of Cindy Jacobs [it opens in a new window] . She is an authoritative leader in Intercession Prayer circles and someone that I am very familiar with and had even quoted during my college years (the mid- 90s).
“In the early nineties, the Lord gave me a prophecy for Japan that it was a “sickle in the hand of the Lord” that will be used for great harvest. The physical geography of the islands look like a curved sickle with the handle being the island of Hokkaido in the north. One could also say that it looks like a curved sword. Where Japan has historically been a sword of war across Asia.”
“On the other hand, if you look at it another way, this island, Hokkaido, looks like the head of a dragon with the body being the rest of Japan. The people of Asia have worshipped the dragon for 5,000 years. If one looks at the place where the earthquake took place, it looks like the soft underbelly of most vulnerable part of the dragon.”
Can you believe it? The reasoning is that it ‘looks like a sword’ ? Are you serious? Does that mean as seen from space… or on a map… or… wait – I’m looking at a map right now and I am not seeing a sword, or a dragon for that matter.
Not that it matters. When you are being this imaginative and fantastical, I am not sure that the facts would be all that helpful.
I was making fun of this on Facebook and I referenced the best selling book by Harold Camping’s 1994 or Edgar C. Whisenant “88 reasons the Rapture will be in 1988”. How corny right?
A week later I get a text message from someone listening to NPR that Harold Camping is on the radio saying that the end of the world will be next May 26th. It will happen at 6pm. It will make it’s way around the world time-zone by time-zone.
Wasn’t that how Y2K was suppose to happen? Not that it matters…
Here is what I wish would happen: that we could make a deal as Evangelical-Conservative-Fundamentalist and Charismatic Protestants that IF this happens next May or even in 2012 at all – then those of us who doubt them will volunteer to go to hell.
BUT if it doesn’t happen then we will realize that nothing is going to happen like this – and stop doing this every time a natural disaster occurs.
Here is what I wish we would realize:
- human civilizations (brick and mortar) who live on fault lines and shore lines are impacted when the world does what it has always done – shift, evolve, and create.
- every generation can not imagine things continuing to progress beyond a point that they would find unrecognizable and thus they think ‘this must be the end’
- when we talk about the ‘eschatological hope’ of the resurrection we need to be careful to distinguish it from cooky dispensational “Left-Behind” mumbo-jumbo. We must distinguish because most people can’t tell the difference. In fact, sometimes I can’t tell the difference.
- Most of what Jesus said that gets chalked up to ‘end times’ stuff – like his story about two people in a field or on a road and one is taken, or how women will not want to be pregnant – he is talking about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 a.d. All that ‘flight to the hills’ and sky/moon turning red and a loaf of bread costing a bag of gold is about something that happened “within that generation” (Matthew 24:33-35). It is not about the end of the world.
- The book of Revelation was a political commentary on Rome of the first centuries CE. It is written in apocalyptic language because of the Roman oppression of the first century. It is not about the end of the world.
March 22, 2011 at 11:09 am
Jesus seems clear in Matthew 24:6-8. When I read this, I picture Jesus staring at us like an actor stares into the camera in order to make a point.
“. . . all this is the is but the beginning of the birth pangs.”
That is at once a hopeful and morbid statement, you know? Its like . . . there is more pain to come, yet the final result would be beautiful. Luckily, this lines up with my view of suffering (so its nice not to be challenged). 🙂
My view being:
It should be impossible for us to look at all of the pain and suffering in the world and to be able to say with absolute assurance, “don’t worry, it will be worth it.” It seems to me that we are, in a sense, living in the days immediately following Christ’s death but before His resurrection. A time of complete and utter despair for the disciples and Jesus’ family. They had been told about the resurrection…but couldn’t see it.
Much like us.
We are told about the resurrection, and our eventual resurrection, but its hard to see…so we take the easy way out and throw up some theories about the end of the world in order to try and make sense of suffering. But the truth is…
Jesus couldn’t make sense of suffering (evidenced by his cry on the cross), what makes us think we can?
So yeah, it seems impossible to see a good end to *insert cataclysmic event here*…but we have been told there is one in some way at some time, somehow, and somewhere… right?
March 22, 2011 at 11:13 am
this might be the most thoughtful response to any post I have ever put up.
Wow. I am blown away at the insight and wisdom in what you have said.
Thank you. I am inspired and will revisit some of this stuff with a renewed lens.
March 22, 2011 at 11:54 am
I think instead of the world becoming a worse and worse place until Jesus comes back to end it all, the Christ-followers will make the world a better and better place until it is worthy of His return. That being said, I don’t think it’ll happen any time soon.
March 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm
Sam : so those are traditionally known as Pre and Post millennial.
If you are interested in a third way… check out Pannenberg’s “Theology and the Kingdom of God”. It is different than anything I have ever read.
March 23, 2011 at 8:32 am
If the so-called self-proclaimed “prophets” are wrong, let’s stone ’em.
Here’s a link to throw into the mix just for the fun of it.
March 23, 2011 at 1:32 pm
oh boy 😦