****** Spoiler Alert: This will not be a short post!*****
On January 1, 2000, when all of the computers on Earth crashed and the world was thrown into turmoil, the chaos that ensued led to… wait… that’s not right.
I remember in the 90’s, the fear that gripped many people (even some of my personal acquaintances) drove many into a survivalist mentality. If the world was going to end when the computers crashed, they were going to be prepared to survive in their own personal bunker. They began stockpiling food, supplies, and of course weapons; after all, the desperate will be looking to steal resources from the resourceful. Killing the robbers would be essential to survival.
Many people, like me, said, “If all the computers in the world crashed… so what? We survived millennia without technology that is only a recent development in our history.”
Throughout human history, there have been many, many times when people became convinced the end of the world was imminent. Instead of treating each day as if it may be our last, they search for ways of surviving the cataclysm.
Okay, for a moment here, I may sound like a preacher. Words like “Apocalypse” and “Armageddon” get tossed around a lot these days. In fact, I just watched several programs on this subject on a network that I frequent as a lover of history, science, and discovery. According to these programs, experts say “Apocalypse” is just around the corner. As scientists, they examine different scenarios that could lead to the end of the world. They look at near-earth objects (asteroids, for example) colliding with our planet. This is, according to these experts, a very likely scenario that could destroy all human, animal, and plant life on Earth, within months. They use the example of the asteroid collision that initiated the Ice Age, and wiped out the dinosaurs. Even theologians refer to this as the star named “Wormwood” that falls from the heavens, poisoning the land and sea and killing a large amount of the current population, as foretold in the Bible. I’m not going to dispute that point; it may be accurate.
But now to those two words that get tossed around a lot. As a writer and Bible student, I recognize the power of words to capture imagination and evoke emotion. Fear is a powerful emotion. However, since Apocalypse and Armageddon refer to Biblical events, let’s honestly look at what these terms mean:
- Apocalypse literally means “revealing”. It refers in the Bible to the revelation of the fullness of God’s plan, which does indeed include the destruction of this world. It does not refer to any man-made or conceived destruction of the human race; but rather the utter elimination of the planet. Humanity has the capability to wipe out life on Earth, but we do not have the capability to utterly destroy the planet. This may seem like a minute point. But, we need to grasp the totality of this end. There will be no survivors in this world. This will be the work of God. Christians should not fear this. We should look to this end as necessary to bring about the new and perfect world promised to God’s children. Why would people of faith fear that? But many do.
- Armageddon refers to the final battle between God and His army of angels and Satan and his army of demons. Satan will lead a vast number of his disciples (humanity) into this battle, because he believes he can overcome the Lord God with the use of God’s precious creation. Many of these disciples of the devil will simply be the scores of humanity that see the end of this world as an evil event. I hate to say it, but that may include many christians. The battle is slated to occur in a valley called Megiddo, with ramifications felt throughout the planet. There will be no armies of humanity involved in this swift battle. The Lord will defeat Satan and his armies by His own might.
So, now with that out of the way, let’s consider how the broad and loose use of these terms affects humanity:
- Fear. Because for multitudes, this world seems all we have, the termination of it is an evil that must be averted. The loss of life and all that is held dear would be hell on earth. Fear leads the “PREPPERS” (A term I just learned from those programs on TV) to plan ways to escape and survive the cataclysm. One of these preppers on the program showed his cave outside of Los Angeles, where he intends to watch the mass destruction. He believes he has studied survival and attained the knowledge that will enable him to live through the end of the world. Others are terrified by the thought and simply don’t think about it. They live daily in the security of the here and now. And yet some live in anarchy because they have decided nothing matters anyway.
- Utopians. Throughout human history, there have been those who believe that, with the knowledge of good and evil, that humanity can achieve the ultimate perfect world. Through unity, knowledge, and pacifism, a heaven can be manufactured right here on Earth. This is not a new idea. Has anyone ever read the book of Genesis in the Bible? The forbidden fruit was the “tree of knowledge of good and evil”. Prior to the disobedience of Adam and Eve, they knew only good. But with the advent of this new knowledge, humanity has tried throughout history to recreate paradise. Several ancient Greek philosophers held this belief; but even more modern examples would be Marx, Hitler, Nietzsche, and many more. If we could do away with war and all of the causes of war, we could live in peace in this world (religion was sited, accurately, as one of the prominent causes of war by some Utopians). With advanced technology, humanity could then eliminate sickness, starvation, poverty, and yes, even death. Humanity could be immortal in a man-made paradise here on Earth. Unfortunately, this contradicts what God has said about us.
Wow, I guess I am still in preacher mode!
In conclusion, I can state with utmost certainty that this world will end, completely, permanently, and there is nothing we can do about it. As a Christian, I do not fear the end of this world. I live in this world, but I am not of this world. I appreciate the wonderful things in this world, and I grieve for the wickedness in this world. But my hope is not in this world, nor in any machination of humanity to sustain it. My hope is in the coming perfect world created by my Lord.