“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” Mark 13:32 (NLT)
I could not help this morning but be reminded of a few months ago when an obscure, quack pot preacher named Harold Camping predicted the end of the world on May 22 and, because of a national billboard campaign, it became national news. He’d made the prediction before and was just as wrong. Just last year the news was all about the fact that the Mayan calendar ends in 2012 and, spurred on by a Hollywood movie that picked up on the storyline, everyone was predicting the world’s end.
Throughout my journey I’ve witnessed several doomsday predictions. Hal Lindsey‘s book 1983 Countdown to Armageddon was a big seller. I lived through 1984 when George Orwell‘s famous book of the same title created all sorts of doomsday talk. I lived through Y2K and the craziness of people stockpiling food and supplies for the apocalypse that was predicted. The Camping incident and the 2012 nonsense are just two more in a long string of doomsday predictions. As humans we tend to be obsessed with apocalypse. Knowing that, the news media loves to play into those base human fears.
Here is my easy three step guide for responding to end-of-the-world predictions. This is based on two very simple observations and one crucial teaching Jesus made:
- Doomsday will eventually happen. Don’t kid yourself.
- No one has inside information when it will be. Not even Jesus Himself. Period.
- We don’t need to be afraid: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:26 (NLT) “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28 (NLT)