July 14, 2011
A planet consumed by a war, millions
dead from rampant pestilence and famine, a demonic overlord imbued
with the power of Satan.
Ask many christians to describe what the
end of the world will look like, and these chipper scenes make
nearly every true believer's highlight reel.
"We're neither worried nor joyful
about it, but these are things we know have to happen," says
Eliot Jones, pastor of Truth Apostolic Church in the central
"Man was created in the very
beginning to hang out with Jesus, with God... then, when
Adam and Eve messed up in the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of
the Knowledge of Good and Evil - at that point, a time frame was
put on human life."
That seems pretty harsh for a cosmic
father whose son preached the need to forgive and forget, but read
even the first chapter of the Bible, and it's apparent how seriously
God takes disobedience.
By Page 4 he's kicked
and Eve Adam and Eve out of their beloved garden and cursed them for all eternity.
According to some local christian thinkers, all this future war,
famine and general awfulness are merely hallmarks of God's grand
endgame. God, they say, has to clean house so He can prepare a new
Earth for His followers. Because of man's sinful nature, God has no
choice but to judge us.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves and sort of missing the whole
point. Before all this hell on Earth, Jesus Christ is supposed to
come down to "rapture" his flock, spiriting them away to heaven as
Satan is given a free hand to ruin things down here and punish the
Christians say we've done it to ourselves: our greed, our lust, our
penchant for violence that seems to be hard-wired into the human
brain. All these irredeemable qualities inherent to most of humanity
- which apparently escaped God's attention as he was creating us -
have sealed our fate.
Despite recently erroneous predictions of Jesus' imminent return -
think California pastor Harold Camping and his promise that Jesus
would come for the faithful on May 21 - some local christians
believe the end times are close.
"I can't speak for all
christians, but I personally believe [recent
floods, wildfires, earthquakes and wars] are signs of what is to
come," says John Phipps, associate pastor at Desert Spring United
Methodist Church in Summerlin.
"The Bible makes it very clear the
end times will be catastrophic, according to the Book of Revelation,
and that there will be great famines, earthquakes, wars and rumors
of war... I think we're starting to see a little bit of that now. I
think we are getting close to the end times."
It doesn't seem to matter that
christians such as Camping have been
predicting the end of the world almost since the time of Jesus.
Things are different now, some say, and a big reason has to do with
When the modern state of Israel declared its independence in 1948,
many christians say, God's cosmic egg timer began to tick in
They point to verses in the 21st chapter of Luke (the third
book in the New Testament) which says, in part, that,
shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the
Gentiles be fulfilled."
Many christians, even mainline believers,
the Bible teaches Israel had to be restored as a nation before
end-time events could kick into high gear.
Further into Luke the
"And when these things begin to come to pass, then
look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh... This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled."
"When Israel became a nation, that changed things
greatly," he says, although he adds these world events don't allow
anyone to know the precise day all this end-time shit is supposed to
Eliot, like Phipps, says no one can know the exact hour of the
rapture and the ensuing earthbound annihilation, but,
"It's not that
you're excited about it, it just is, and you have to make sure
"All these people seem to be thrilled by this notion that a
significant amount of humanity will be slaughtered as the faithful
are being raptured or taken off the planet somehow," says D.M.
Murdock (who occasionally goes by her pen name, Acharya S.), author
of the 1999 book
The Christ Conspiracy - The Greatest Story Ever
"This is obviously pathological and not part of a healthy