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The Last Days Have Begun

The rapture of believers..is not an escapism to mock those left behind but a picture in which the inhabitants of a city go to meet their arriving king to direct him to their city. Nothing points to the horrors of those left behind. Christ's future takes place on earth, not in heaven..The pious dream of rapture contains a resignation that abandons this earth to destruction..A God who only waits to rapture Christian crews..cannot be a God whom one can trust.
The Last Days Have Begun

Why many Americans read the Bible as a Coded Timetable of World History

By Jurgen Moltmann

[This article originally published in: DIE ZEIT 51/2002 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,  http://zeus.zeit.de/text/2002/51/Weltuntergang. Jurgen Moltmann is an emeritus professor of systematic theology at the University of Tubingen and author of "Theology of Hope", "The Crucified God", "The Church in the Power of the Spirit", "The Trinity and the Kingdom" and "God and Nature: On an Ecological Doctrine of the Trinity".]

A regular flight with the jumbo jet over the Atlantic is on its way to London. The airplane is full to capacity. The stewardess suddenly goes to the captain in the cockpit. With shaking knees and trembling voice, she announces: Dozens of passengers have disappeared. Their shoes, socks and clothes remain behind. He looks around, finds everything in order in the first class while a woman cries for his disappeared husband in the second class. He calls Heathrow airport but cannot land there. Countless aircraft crashed because the pilots suddenly vanished and no one was in air control any more. (2000, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc/ www.leftbehind.com)

The pilot flies back to Chicago. The same chaos prevails there but a landing space was granted. The catastrophe is perfect: crashed airplanes, collided cars, derailed trains and thousands of dead. One sees pictures from delivery rooms where babies suddenly disappeared from the wombs of pregnant women, the bride was lost to the bridegroom at the altar and whole school classes dissolved into nothing in the Philippines. When the captain returned home, his wife had also disappeared.

What happened? For the captain, the matter with God was somehow okay but his wife went regularly to Bible studies and belonged to a group of born-again Christians. This put him on the track. His pastor explained to him: the last days have begun. As the Bible prophesied, true believers will be "raptured" in the clouds with Christ while the horrors of the end of the world come over the unbelievers left behind. The last days begin with the great rapture of believers and lead unbelievers for seven years into the great tribulation with plagues, earthquakes, tornados, floods and the terror of the Anti-Christ in the "sign of the beast". However Christ will return, kill the Anti-Christ and establish his thousand-year kingdom where believers will rule with him while unbelievers are destroyed.

The Hour Strikes

Obviously these are fictions but the readers are real persons. Since 1995 the series Left Behind (also filmed) of the two Sunday school teachers Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins that begins with this story has appeared in America in the novel form with more than 40 million copies. For volume ten "The Remnants", there were 2.5 million advance bookings this year. Only half of the readers may be evangelical Christians. Sales rose 60 percent after the attacks of September 11. Secular people also ask: Is the end of the world coming? Many love the doom and gloom in the world of detectives and science fiction. "Beam me up, Scotty!" is undoubtedly the most accepted way of dealing with evil.

In 1970, there was a similar fictional apocalypse in Hal Lindsay's book The Late Great Planet Earth also with editions in the millions. At that time, Armaggedon, the final battle between God and the devil, Christ and Anti-Christ, the good here and the kingdom of evil there in that valley were emphasized. The Red Army of the anti-Christian Soviet Union would be destroyed first and then the People's army of godless China with nuclear- or hydrogen bombs. Lindsay served Ronald Reagan as a Middle East- and Israel advisor and convinced the president of an inevitable "Armaggedon in our generation". Happily Michail Gorbatchev came with his peace policy. It seems that the apocalyptic scenario will always be attractive when secular people no longer understand the world as after the terror of September 11. According to Time/ CNN, 59 percent of all Americans fear that the apocalyptic prophecies of the Bible are coming true and 25 percent even believe that the Bible foretold the terrorist attack on New York.

What is the origin of the typical American delight in the end of the world? This is grounded theologically since 1860 in the dispensationalism of the English evangelist John Nelson Darby and was popular through the Scofield Reference Bible of 1909. Here the Bible is not read as a testimony of faith but as a coded divine timetable for world history. The number - for example 666 - becomes the key of world history. This reading of the Bible is called "biblicism", an achievement of the early age of the Enlightenment. As Newton demystified nature through discovery of natural laws, the early "prophetic Bible interpreters" wanted to see through the mysteries of history through knowledge of its planned end. The basic idea is simple: As God created the world in seven days, its history - called dispensations - will run seven ages. With Christ's appearance, we entered the sixth Christian age. Today the seventh and last world age approaches. Biblical prophecy should be historical prophecy. The prophecy for the last days is in the Apocalypse. Therefore the Revelation of John is the most important book of the Bible.

There are also interpretations of the Apocalypse by Sir Isaac Newton. His world machine was ultimately a world clock. One should recognize what hour has struck by the world's state or condition. In the age of general euphoria over progress, the apocalyptic prospect for the imminent horrors of the end-time gained importance for the fundamentalist reaction to the modernism and liberalism of the protestant world. This prospect comes from the same root of the age of the Enlightenment that sought to transport faith into knowledge.

Pious Rapture

This end-time scenario does not originate with Christ since "no one knows that day or that hour, not even the Son" (Mark 13,32). The "rapture" of believers about which Paul speaks in 1 Thess 4,17 is not an escapism to mock those left behind but a picture in which the inhabitants of a city go to meet their arriving king to direct him to their city. Nothing points to the horrors of those left behind. Christ's future takes place on earth, not in heaven. Thus it would be better if believers remain faithful to the earth even in catastrophes and not flee into the world to come. In contrast, the pious dream of rapture contains a resignation that abandons this earth to destruction. Whoever in his faith "leaves others behind" abandons them. That cannot be either a blessed hope or an expression of love. A God who only waits to "rapture" Christian crews from their aircraft so that the aircraft crashes and thousands of persons are killed cannot be a God whom one can trust. Rather that is the wicked idol of a pathological contempt of the world.

Such ideas have always existed in sectarian circles but have become a mass phenomenon in contemporary America. More and more Americans read and speak about the end of the world while this leaves European rather cold. Why? A land that justifies its destiny from the beginning in divine providence has a natural weakness for prophets. A nation that wanted to build a "new world" over against an "old world" is inclined to think in dualistic battle categories: here the good and there the evil and "whoever is not for us is against us". In the 19th century, the belief in progress mobilized America's ascent. However three apocalyptic movements of the "last days" also arose: the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and Adventists. Today many stagger between a messianic mission consciousness for the American empire and fears of the end of the world. These are two sides of the same medallion called egomania. In contrast, Christian faith is humble, lasting and sustained passion for life.

homepage: homepage: http://www.mbtranslations.com
address: address: mbatko@lycos.com


Oh my god!! 27.Dec.2002 10:20

Gertha

I too wish these were the last days of apocolyptic sociopaths. How long have people waited for their vindication to materialize in the form of God's wrath? How long have they paid caeser's dues, as commanded by Jesus? How long have they regurgitated pablum about the futility of struggle and the sole hope of armegeddon? How long have they eagerly awaited the holy slaughter of that portion of humanity that refuses to grovel to their God in the specific way they see as correct?
This disease is especially sickening in america, where the self-satisfied smirk of believers is cross-bred with the frothing howl of nationalism, xenophobia, and a perhaps subconcious rascism. Capitalism, war, conformity, sexism, gross objectification, and enviornmental destruction have all become linked to the Bible in the minds of millions of american christians.

My story is as good as yours... 27.Dec.2002 13:33

Take them off the planet lord

You mean to say that God is gonna take all these smirking, selfish, greedy, hater's of peace up into the sky and then cleanse the earth? I also heard "he" returns them to live on the earth so they can continue to rape, pillage, consume, destroy...for 1000 years.

i think we need a new God and a new story. Wasn't Jesus about peace and getting along with each other and watching after the children and stewarding the earth, and being at peace with all the species of the earth. What happened to Jesus in all this "christian" chaos?

I think we need a new story. Maybe it is like what Zecharia Sitchin said about there being some alien's who left us here but first they experimented on us and created this warpped race hoping we would evolve. Soon they are supposed to come back and reap what we/they have sown.

Genesis 6 in the bible is a good read.

Genesis 6:2 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the SONS OF GOD saw the daughters of men that they were fair: and they took them wives of all which they chose.

Genesis 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the SONS OF GOD came in unto the daughters of men, they vare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

This is what Sitchin says about this passed in Genesis 6.

 http://www.zetatalk.com/theword/tword12n.htm

21 years ago, Zecharia Sitchin (linguistic scholar & historian of ancient Hebrew, Sumerian, Akkadian, and other early Mesopotamian civilizations) published The 12Th Planet (1976) which discusses the periodic return to our solar system of a large, red planet called Nibiru by ancient Sumerian historians (and Marduk by the Babylonians). Nibiru was home to a race of war-prone hominids referred to in ancient texts by either their earlier Sumerian name of Anunnaki or their later Hebrew name of Nefilim (the word Nefilim is mentioned repeatedly in the Bible). The Anunnaki are described as handsome, well developed human look-a-likes who are physically larger than humans; averaging 10-15 feet tall. While the rank and file astronauts who first came to Earth were called Anunnaki by Sumerian historians, the ruling royalty were always referred to as gods. The Anunnaki were technologically capable of interplanetary space travel when they first arrived on Earth about 450,00 years ago.

Nibiru was called the 12Th Planet by the ancients because it is a member of our solar system (ancients included the Moon and Sun as planets). However, unlike the other planets in our solar system, which are in a singular orbit around the sun, Nibiru is in a binary orbit (Z) between two suns: our sun and another cold {unlit} sun far out in our galaxy.

Nibiru returns to our solar system approximately every 3,600 years. Nibiru is sometimes referred to as the red comet or red star in some ancient texts (and the 19th century channeled work, the Oahspe). Sitchin explains in his book that the 3,600 year periodic cycle of Nibiru is called a Shar or Sar by Sumerian historians. While a single shar occupies a time span of a little more than 3,600 years on Earth, it is equivalent to one year on the planet Nibiru. All told, ancient Sumerian clay tablets and cylinder seals record a total period of occupation/visitation by the Anunnaki of over 124 Shars. Sitchin provides compelling historical evidence that the Anunnaki actively participated in the affairs of mankind up to the final destruction of the great city of Sumer in Mesopotamia, about 2,000BC. The Anunnaki's original objective in coming to Earth was to mine for Gold; an element they atomically dispersed in their atmosphere in order to prevent core-produced heat from dissipating excessively into space. Since 99% of Nibiru's orbital cycle is too far from our sun to benefit from its heat, it has to retain its internally generated heat in order to survive The Anunnaki first extracted gold from the waters of the Persian Gulf area, but later switched to land mining in South Africa and other locations due to greater abundance of gold ore.

The Zetas report that the Anunnaki have access to a plant (or tree), native to Nibiru, that prevents normal aging and bodily deterioration. Sumerian texts referred to it as the Tree of Life. Later, the Bible referred to it as Knowledge of The Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden story. Only Anunnaki royalty had privileged access to the Tree of Life (sometimes called Ambrosiac in Sumerian texts). They absorbed this substance into their bodies by taking baths soaked with this life extending plant. This special bath water was the origin of the story of The Fountain of Youth (Z). Apparently, Anunnaki royalty enjoyed extremely long lives. Sitchin's research reveals that some members of the highest echelons of the royal pantheon participated intermittently throughout the entire 446,000 years of the Anunnaki's occupation of Earth.

Exodus and The 12th Planet

The last time the 12th Planet passed by the Earth was during the time of the Exodus from Egypt. In fact, the upheavals, cataclysms, and fear generated by the near passage of the 12th Planet allowed the Israeli slaves the opportunity to escape from the grip of Pharoah's troops-who had become completely overwhelmed by panic and confusion (Z). A red dust (iron oxide), along with larger chunks of debris. traveling in the tailing wake of the fast moving 12th Planet (as with other comets), rains down onto the Earth's atmosphere during a close passage. This red dust landing in water accounted for the Biblical account of the rivers running red with blood. The Bible also refers to fierce lighting storms and the red particle debris "reddening the face"of men. Electrical/magnetic storms of an intensity which only occurs during a close passage of the 12th Planet reacts with carbon materials thrown into the atmosphere by volcanic action. This produces a type of sticky carbohydrate substance in the atmosphere (Z). In some areas, this substance precipitates to the ground and is available as food if collected in the early, pre-dawn hours. When the substance falls on water, it appears whittish in color. Called Ambrosia in ancient texts (Greek), or Manna, this carbohydrate material is the biblical reference to milk and honey ("Unto a land flowing with milk and honey". Exodus 33:3)

You can read the rest of the story at:

 http://www.zetatalk.com/theword/tword12n.htm

even Christians gotta eat 27.Dec.2002 14:14

George Monbiot

Comment
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,864995,00.html
------------------------------------------------------------
Why vegans were right all along

Famine can only be avoided if the rich give up meat, fish and dairy

George Monbiot
Tuesday December 24, 2002
The Guardian

The Christians stole the winter solstice from the pagans, and capitalism stole it from the Christians. But one feature of the celebrations has remained unchanged: the consumption of vast quantities of meat. The practice used to make sense. Livestock slaughtered in the autumn, before the grass ran out, would be about to decay, and fat-starved people would have to survive a further three months. Today we face the opposite problem: we spend the next three months trying to work it off.

Our seasonal excesses would be perfectly sustainable, if we weren't doing the same thing every other week of the year. But, because of the rich world's disproportionate purchasing power, many of us can feast every day. And this would also be fine, if we did not live in a finite world.

By comparison to most of the animals we eat, turkeys are relatively efficient converters: they produce about three times as much meat per pound of grain as feedlot cattle. But there are still plenty of reasons to feel uncomfortable about eating them. Most are reared in darkness, so tightly packed that they can scarcely move. Their beaks are removed with a hot knife to prevent them from hurting each other. As Christmas approaches, they become so heavy that their hips buckle. When you see the inside of a turkey broilerhouse, you begin to entertain grave doubts about European civilisation.

This is one of the reasons why many people have returned to eating red meat at Christmas. Beef cattle appear to be happier animals. But the improvement in animal welfare is offset by the loss in human welfare. The world produces enough food for its people and its livestock, though (largely because they are so poor) some 800 million are malnourished. But as the population rises, structural global famine will be avoided only if the rich start to eat less meat. The number of farm animals on earth has risen fivefold since 1950: humans are now outnumbered three to one. Livestock already consume half the world's grain, and their numbers are still growing almost exponentially.

This is why biotechnology - whose promoters claim that it will feed the world - has been deployed to produce not food but feed: it allows farmers to switch from grains which keep people alive to the production of more lucrative crops for livestock. Within as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world's animals or it continues to feed the world's people. It cannot do both.

The impending crisis will be accelerated by the depletion of both phosphate fertiliser and the water used to grow crops. Every kilogram of beef we consume, according to research by the agronomists David Pimental and Robert Goodland, requires around 100,000 litres of water. Aquifers are beginning the run dry all over the world, largely because of abstraction by farmers.

Many of those who have begun to understand the finity of global grain production have responded by becoming vegetarians. But vegetarians who continue to consume milk and eggs scarcely reduce their impact on the ecosystem. The conversion efficiency of dairy and egg production is generally better than meat rearing, but even if everyone who now eats beef were to eat cheese instead, this would merely delay the global famine. As both dairy cattle and poultry are often fed with fishmeal (which means that no one can claim to eat cheese but not fish), it might, in one respect, even accelerate it. The shift would be accompanied too by a massive deterioration in animal welfare: with the possible exception of intensively reared broilers and pigs, battery chickens and dairy cows are the farm animals which appear to suffer most.

We could eat pheasants, many of which are dumped in landfill after they've been shot, and whose price, at this time of the year, falls to around 2 a bird, but most people would feel uncomfortable about subsidising the bloodlust of brandy-soaked hoorays. Eating pheasants, which are also fed on grain, is sustainable only up to the point at which demand meets supply. We can eat fish, but only if we are prepared to contribute to the collapse of marine ecosystems and - as the European fleet plunders the seas off West Africa - the starvation of some of the hungriest people on earth. It's impossible to avoid the conclusion that the only sustainable and socially just option is for the inhabitants of the rich world to become, like most of the earth's people, broadly vegan, eating meat only on special occasions like Christmas.

As a meat-eater, I've long found it convenient to categorise veganism as a response to animal suffering or a health fad. But, faced with these figures, it now seems plain that it's the only ethical response to what is arguably the world's most urgent social justice issue. We stuff ourselves, and the poor get stuffed.

www.monbiot.com

even Christians gotta eat
even Christians gotta eat

Open Arms, not Clenched Fists 27.Dec.2002 15:12

marc mbatko@lycos.com

Rightwing fundamentalists pervert faith into fear and horror. Deceived by their egomania, they confuse the law and the gospel and adorn their self-righteousness with religious rhetoric.
Jurgen Moltmann is a very distinguished Protestant theologian who has emphasized hope and anticipation as essential human qualities needing nurture. In our land of spiritual hunger and poverty where bonus miles and vulgar materialism symbolize nonstop consumerism and destruction of the environment, we ought to welcome critics of fundamentalists.
Diagnosis and therapy are repressed in the dominant culture. Prophets and critics are marginalized when criticism is borderline treason. In ancient Greece, critics who refused to identify the image with the reality were denounced (cf. Plato's allegory of the cave).
The positive is bound to the negative as transformation of energy is bound to conservation of energy (F. Engels). Can we see the positive and applaud those who warn and criticize? Can we unite on values and visions?
Without grace and charity, we fall to the law and Rambo. Without solidarity, we become wolves to one another.
Happy New Year! May we work to make the future open and not closed, full of open arms, not clenched fists!

mbatko@lycos.com

Hum... Interesting... 27.Dec.2002 18:04

Trilox

Those Jehovah's Witnesses used to come visit the commune where I grew up and they kept telling me that the world was going to end soon. That was 20 years ago so I guess their time moves at a different rate. Those cute little comics they gave me were really good for starting the woodstove though...

Trilox grew up in a Commune! 28.Dec.2002 18:09

a recovering and repentent Ugly American

"Those Jehovah's Witnesses used to come visit the commune where I grew up and they kept telling me that the world was going to end soon. That was 20 years ago so I guess their time moves at a different rate. Those cute little comics they gave me were really good for starting the woodstove though..."

Trilox grew up in a (hippie) commune! I guess this explains why he is such a Right Wing nutter. Must have a bad experience in his childhood with all those White hippy-dippy losers (and their superficial understanding of "Left wing" politics). Either that or Trilox once took a real bad hit from the communal bong. Now Trilox has been scarred for life and hates with a vengeance anything that reminds him of his youth.