The Mayan Calendar, The Watchtower Society, Dispensationalism & The End of the World

tumblr_lp5vqyDmXd1qfuohco1_400As you can see from the date of this post, today is December 22, 2012 and I am still capable of posting a blog post. What this essentially means is that the prediction that the world would end on December 21, 2012, based upon the Mayan Calendar, didn’t come to pass. To some this was a surprise but to others it wasn’t. The Mayan to my knowledge, never predicted the end of the world through this calendar but it was based on an assumption by some individuals. There were many folks who believed the end was near with some were even contacting NASA to see if the prediction could be true out of some sort of possibility or fear that it might be. Regardless of all the panic, the world is still in tact and another day has dawned. The only benefit from this false prediction is that there might be a few people who may have given a moments thought to the idea that it could happen that the world will end some day.

I heard much ridicule in my place of employment by my colleagues who couldn’t help but see how foolish it is to make such predictions. How could anyone think that the world could end especially without some massive build up prior to the end of the human race. Some of my co-workers couldn’t understand why a Christian like myself wouldn’t make a big deal out of this but as a Christian who is an Amillennialist, why would I made a big deal out of a prediction based upon a New Age Religion. I believe that Christ will return but that no one knows the day of that return and that we who are Christians should live in light of the fact that our Lord could return at any time. I believe the return of Christ is my blessed hope because that is the day that there will be a New Heavens & New Earth so I don’t see the end as something negative but the positive step towards God’s final redemption.

Screen shot 2011-12-09 at 10_00_08 AMWith all the chattering, I did overhear something interesting from  an individual who is a member of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society uttering her digust with the whole “end of the world” thing. She ridiculed the idea of someone being able to predict the end of the world.  Unfortunately, this individual obviously doesn’t know the history of her religion very well seeing that the Watcthower has made several similar predictions in the past which they seemingly apologized for afterwards. The Society was quite vocal in  making Harold Camping’s false predictions come to light through their Watchtower Magazines. I honestly don’t think you can get more hypocritical in my mind. My co-worker was obviously ignorant of the predictions or she just doesn’t see a problem with it if it’s the organization doing it.

Now, there are other folks within what we would refer to as “orthodox” christianity who would scoff at both the above mentions of failed prophecies yet hold to a dispensational understanding of prophecy. They, much like the Watchtower, don’t always know the history of predictions made on behalf of people who come from the dispensational camp. Dispensationalists have been making predictions for quite some time. While some predict exact dates, others are satisfied with using a “to and from” dating system which basically places their secret rapture within their lifetimes but doesn’t pinpoint a specific day. Regardless, it’s their system that forces them into making these sorts of predictions based upon their understanding of Israel becoming a nation in 1948. Dispensationalists have  set false dates more frequently than the Watchtower Society! While I would not class these folks in the Dispensationalist camp in the same way as I would the Watchtower or the New Age folks who based the end on the Mayan Calendar sicne I would say that they are Christians, it is important to realize that, in regards to their eschatology, they have the tendency to set false dates as these two groups.

I think that people need to really think about all this. When someone professes to hold to a biblical understanding of prophecy yet makes these types of false “end of the world” predictions, it can tarnish our reputation and the reputation of the bible. These date setting extravaganzas also have a bearing on our outreach with the gospel.  How can an individual trust the message of the gospel from the bible if they believe that the bible is off on the time of the end? Unbelievers don’t see the difference!

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