We’re still alive! What happened?
The Mayan calendar story was hyped until it seemed to be real. The world should have ended yesterday, Dec. 21, right? If you are reading this, then that prediction failed. I knew it was wrong from the start. How did this false prophecy get such traction?
The visual aid of special effects in certain movies and the credibility given the Mayan calendar by documentary-type reports enabled it to take on mythological proportions. Gullible people, already caught up in an end-time feeding frenzy, bought into the latest excuse for despondency. Just because the Mayan calendar ended on that date, did not mean the world would end. Somebody read into it what it never intended to say.
But for those who embrace destruction as an end-time scenario for planet earth, the expected Mayan apocalypse was another reason to lament mankind’s fate, spreading dark dread like thick icing over their gloom and doom layer-cake of despair. They added a non-biblical disaster atop their fear of history’s dire date with death — one more justification for the “let’s get out of here” mentality of escapism. I’m not buying it.
Yes, history is moving toward a climax. Everything will come to a conclusion that has already been predetermined and described. But it will not be the history expected by the Left Behind crowd. Nor will it be the future envisioned by the secularists, socialists, atheists or scientists. Indeed, for those who possess real hope, the end will be glorious!
Any person who can predict the future must be a person outside of time, an observer who can view both the beginning and the ending, and then report back to us what he sees. That person is our creator, the God of eternity. Prophets in the Bible have given us their report. They have already accurately described events on earth before they occurred, so I trust what they have also written about future events that await us all. Are you ready for it?
Few among us think soberly about final events. Clear thought on the subject gets clouded with fear. Religious traditions can cause truth to be obscured. If we think we already know something, then attempts to picture it differently will invariably be distorted.
In the Bible, the study of final events is called eschatology or “the doctrine of last things.” There is a huge catalog of historical and canonical references for this area. A lot of notions popularized in recent years have taken firm root among evangelicals. Many such notions don’t stand the test of history, theology, or accurate interpretation of the Bible. It is easy to make an obscure proof text seem to justify a wacky idea.
Historical church theology is the study of what the church has held to be true down through the centuries. Just because we get a modern notion of how we think it might be doesn’t mean that our new idea is better or even correct. What did the Apostles believe? What does all of church history say? What does the whole counsel of Scriptures — taken together as a whole with no contradictions — say about the subject? Like a jigsaw puzzle perfectly finished, a true doctrine will not have any pieces (or Bible verses) left out.
Ron Wood pastors Trinity Assembly. Learn more at www.trinitymeridian.com.