The End Times

The news is not looking so good lately.
Earthquake. Hurricanes. Fires. North Korea stuff. Nazis.

Some of my Christian friends are upset because they’ve been trained by scripture to fear natural disasters– these people are thinking they’re seeing signs of their god’s anger.

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Signs of the End

Matthew 24:5-7

5.) For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
6.) You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. These things must happen, but the end is still to come.
7.) Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.…
The excerpt above is one of many examples we could drag out of the New Testament. It is not hard to see that the end is a recurring theme in Christian thought. Christianity, for whatever reason, is obsessed with the end. Why? I’m not really sure, but I’m going to think about it for a bit with you.
Waiting and watching for the end is not what Jesus had in mind for his followers. It’s actually the opposite of what Jesus teaches in a few other places.
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Preacher William Miller, who led his followers to the Great Disappointment of 1844.

The Coming of the Kingdom

Luke 17:20-21

20.) When asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God will not come with observable signs.
21.) Nor will people say, ‘Look, here it is,’ or ‘There it is.’ For you see, the kingdom of God is in your midst.
Do you see what he is saying?
Well, it is probably confusing because a bit later, in Luke 21, he starts yammering on again about the end.
25.) “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.
26.) People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
27.) At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28.) When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Buuut, if you look at the bigger context, you can see that right before this he is talking about the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.
  • Reading and thinking about the historical context, it is easy to imagine that our author is probably just some guy that is pretty freaked out about how Rome had just crushed Jerusalem, totally desecrating and then leveling the temple.
  • He is probably writing after the fact (after the temple was destroyed) to communities in fear. People were really confused and upset because of the deep changes taking place at the time.
    • Rome’s expansion, and the subsequent creation of roads, brought a flood of information which threw all the old and comfortable cosmological and soteriological assertions into question.

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Scholars think that Luke is based on information coming from Mark and a hypothetical document, a collection of sayings much like the Gospel of Thomas, called ‘Q’. Mark was written around 70 AD. But, Scholars put the composition of Luke somewhere around 80 – 90 AD.

Look at what Wikipedia says:

Most experts date the composition of the combined work to around 80–90 AD, although some suggest 90–110,[17] and there is evidence, both textual (the conflicts between Western and Alexandrian manuscript families) and from the Marcionite controversy (Marcion was a 2nd-century heretic who produced his own version of Christian scripture based on Luke’s gospel and Paul’s epistles) that Luke-Acts was still being substantially revised well into the 2nd century.[8]

Why am I telling you when Luke was written?

I want to show you that it was probably written after the temple was destroyed. So, when was the temple destroyed?

The Romans Destroy the Temple at Jerusalem, 70 AD. In the year 66 AD the Jews of Judea rebelled against their Roman masters. In response, the Emperor Nero dispatched an army under the generalship of Vespasian to restore order.

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/jewishtemple.htm

Why does that matter? Because all these ‘End Times’ prophecies come from people who had just witnessed HUGE change. Of course they’re going to make wild shit up about the End of the World!

John the Baptist

Anton_Raphael_Mengs_-_St._John_the_Baptist_Preaching_in_the_Wilderness_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

You know John? John represents those Jewish people that weren’t so stoked on the Jewish Priest’s, and the Jewish King’s, collusion with Rome. They were extremists in many ways.. purists.

John couldn’t wait for his god to come kick out Rome so he could make sacrifices in the temple. This kind of thinking is pretty much responsible for the current obsession with the end. Scholars call it ‘Apocalypticism‘.

Apocalypticism is the religious belief that there will be an apocalypse, a term which originally referred to a revelation of God’s will, but now usually refers to the belief that the end of the world is imminent, even within one’s own lifetime. This belief is usually accompanied by the idea that civilization will soon come to a tumultuous end due to some sort of catastrophic global event.

Jesus saw things differently. When John was killed (because he was talking shit about Herod’s marriage to his brother’s wife), his movement seems to have looked to Jesus for guidance. (welllll, “Jesus” is a title that just means “savior”. annnd, there were two guys called “Jesus” on the crosses that day! Jesus Bar Abba was set free! Look it up!)

But, Jesus turned the idea of a coming kingdom on its head. He preached that the Kingdom is already spread out on the earth but that people can’t see it. He taught that we are *children* of a *loving* Father and not subjects of a mean ol’ war god of the sky. Some of the followers of John still expected a physical army of God to come and fight with the wicked powers of Rome. We even read about their protests in our “New Testament”. Not everyone was real stoked on getting rid of the fear of the end. Some people did not want to abandon discrimination and enter the kingdom that is always available to those who can practice nondual awareness.

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I can’t expect everyone to understand what I’m talking about. My views here are influenced by Buddhist teachings as well as by other non canonical early Christian texts (some of which predate Luke, Mark, Matthew and John).

If you look around the site, read some stuff, you will catch my drift. Jesus is the Bodhisattva of Israel. He preaches a modified Mahayana to the deluded children of Jehovah. The End is an idea. Just an idea. Some dudes wrote about their ideas in the past. Good for them! Hahahahahha!

The End

(because I suddenly just got reaal tired of this subject).

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