When I first thought of starting this blog I thought it might be somewhat difficult to come up with specific topics to discuss on a routine basis, such as daily, weekly, or monthly. Then Providence showed me a rather appropriate topic to get the ball rolling. This happened when I came across this article that was posted on the Daily News website that is based in Los Angeles, California. Let's see what topics rise to the top on this one.
The subject of the article is a woman who, having been, reportedly, led by a religious organization that is an off-shoot of the Roman Catholic Church called: the Cross of Love or Friends of the Glorious Cross of Dozulé constructed an almost 25 foot tall cross in her front yard. This group, according to the article, "was launched in the 1980s by members of a church in Dozule, France, who said God told them in a series of apparitions to build crosses to ensure their salvation."
Now, the obvious topic seems to be Salvation in this article, but upon researching this group a bit more I discovered there is much more here than Salvation to discuss. For instance, the author of this article did not report completely what this group is about. Yes, it was founded by a priest of a church in Dozule, France. But that is all they got right. This priest founded this group based on what he reported as apparitions and messages he received from Jesus, that "confirmed" prophecies that were made by a mother in the church, that had experienced an abundance of miraculous interventions. One of the prophecies happened to be just another apocalyptic prediction that didn't come true in the early 80's.
Of course apocalyptic predictions now-a-days are a dime a dozen, which should automatically lend themselves to disbelief by the general populous, but every now and then there are those who take these things seriously. Which, unfortunately, needs to be clarified by a simple truth about the end of the world, and to also reiterate there are false prophets everywhere, and Christians are called to be diligent to identify these individuals as the frauds they are.
It would be simple to just quote a very popular verse from Matthew Chapter 24 that indicates that no one knows when the end of the world will be, but it should be viewed in the entire context of the moment that Jesus is talking to his disciples about the end of the world, which also speaks of not listening to false prophets or those who say, "I am the Christ."
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?"
And Jesus Answered them, "See that no one leads you astray. For many will comein my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate on another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed thoughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
"So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect whose days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, 'Look, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out. If they say, 'Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the starts will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
"From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
"But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man."
Matthew 24:3-39 (ESV)
Jesus very clearly, in my humble opinion, articulates his point in this passage. No one, not even Jesus himself, knows when the end of the world will be. Of course there are signs that we can watch for, but God never intended us to constantly be obsessing over the end of the world. We are called to be prepared for it, yes, but not obsess over it. We are supposed to be doing His work, for His honor and glory until that day arrives.
This post has obviously become a bit long, but I welcome any comments and honest discourse in regard to this topic, or any others that may arise out of the article mentioned above, or the passage included here. And, we can also carry further discussions into other posts.