Wednesday, January 21, 2009

End Times

There are various groups that believe we are living in what they refer to as the "end times."  Each of them looks to a person that will reveal himself as the one that will bring peace to the nations and an end to suffering.  With so many various groups in a state of anticipation of great events, it's possible that an individual could come along and unify these groups and become a leader of the world bringing the peace that everyone is wanting.

Judaism teaches in the Talmud that the world will only exist for 6,000 years and that we are currently in year 5769, certainly close to the end of time.

Christianity continues to believe (as the Christians in the first century did) that the end is imminent.  They view current events in the middle-east as evidence that the end times are very near.

Mormons are watching for the return of the messiah as they believe that we are nearing the end of the 6th day (6000 years of existance) and the messiah will come and establish peace for the remaining 1000 years.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that we are already in the end times (begain in 1914) and are expecting all false religion to be destroyed and various other significant events to happen at any time.

Rastafarianism teaches that Haile Selassie (former emperor of Ethiopia) will reveal himself as god (he's dead, so he must come back to life I suppose - although some deny that he ever died).  They expect that this event can happen at any time now.

Islam followers believe that the Last Day (Qiyamah) is very near because many of the 'minor signs' that are to be used to predict the coming of the end times have come to pass.

Native American tribes also have end times beliefs.  As recently as 2006 a white bison was born that the Lakota believe is a sign that their end times prophesies are being fulfilled.  The Hopi tribe looks for the dawn of the "Fifth World."  And the Mayans have a calendar that is nearing a major milestone (see below).

Maya calendar completes it's 13th b'ak'tun on the Long Count calendar on December 12, 2012.  The beginning of the 13th b'ak'tun began the current creation and a new creation will begin at the start of the 14th b'ak'tun.  There are many (including the New Age movement) that see this date as being the end of the world.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Asking the Right Question

"If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties."  — Francis Bacon

Most are content (or possibly apathetic) with what they know or with their circumstances and so never grow beyond their current capabilities.  Those that want to expand their ability or knowledge have a number of possible ways to do it: listen to lectures, read books, observe and imitate someone that has the skill that they seek.  But the ones that truly excel are the ones that ask questions.  We see this in the story of the young Jesus of Nazareth:

Luke 2:46-52  And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.  (47)  And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.  (48)  And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.  (49)  And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?  (50)  And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.  (51)  And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.  (52)  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

But it's important in asking questions to make sure that you ask the right question (2 Tim 2.23, 1 Tim1.4, 6.4, Tit 3.9).  The ability to ask the right question is what separates the great from the average and enables you to really grow, learn, and excel in all that you do.

How do I know what the right question is?  In 2 Peter 3.4 we see a scoffer asking the wrong question: "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation."  They are focused on the perceived problem rather than properly evaluating the situation.  They are wanting to know where Jesus is.  Didn't he promise to come back?  But instead of asking a constructive question that helps them come to an answer, they ask a question that enforces the doubt that they started with.

It's better to ask a question that helps you to understand the situation that you are in and how you should respond to it.  Peter answers the right question "Is there any reason that Jesus would delay coming back?" when he says in verse 9 that Jesus is being patient and allowing time for all to come to repentance.  He then asks an excellent question that is much more constructive in the balance of the chapter (my paraphrase) "How should we behave as we wait for Jesus to return?"  We should look forward to his promises of a new heavens and a new earth, be careful to remain blameless, be careful of being led astray by false teaching, and continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Can Google Predict Things?

According to Google, "We've found that certain search terms are good indicators of flu activity. Google Flu Trends uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity in your state up to two weeks faster than traditional systems."  Check out the link, this is cool!

So I began to wonder what other kinds of things Google could predict.  I wonder if Google could actually predict the coming of the anti-christ.  Huh?, you might say.  Well, if they can predict the flu, then maybe it's possible.  Check out this graph of worldwide information on the search term Obama Antichrist.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Can you tell me why?

Are you a Christian?  That's an easy question to answer as most would be quick to say yes or no.  But why are you a Christian?  Or, why aren't you a Christian?  That becomes a more difficult question for many of us. 

Are you a Christian because you go to church or because your parents baptised you as a baby?  Are you a Christian because it's the religion you grew up with?  Is there some other reason?  Or if you aren't a Christian, then why not?  Do you have a good reason for not believing?  Is it because there are too many hypocrits in the church?  Because you have not seen God?  Can you tell me why?