Nothing much to worry about. Really. But having mentioned the end of the world in the previous blog, i feel i should qualify the statement with a few facts so that mass paranoia does not break out or, even worse, Christians start publishing cheesy alarmist books to cash in on yet another marketing opportunity.
The church has a habit of doing that – creating the occasion (millenial fever, etc), stimulating the paranoia, and then offering books, tapes, and the opportunity for people to either give money or increase attendence at church. Anything we ask for, actually.
But this one is a little different. It has the potential to be a real alarmer, but the church is playing it down. Good on us!
Here’s the skinny. October 23, 4004 BC is the supposed date of creation that was printed in all English Bibles many years ago. Irishman James Ussher (1581-1656) was the guy who decided on the date, down to the day. John Lightfoot from Cambridge shared the findings, and even added a time. Apparently, 9.00am on a Monday morning was the exact time when God created the world.
How punctual of God! Turning up at the office at precisely 9:00am, just in time for a hard days work. It could sound quite ANTHROMORPHIC to some people, who might criticize James and John for not only going to excess on the dating thing, but also making God in our own image. Me, on the other hand, would certainly not poke fun at such great men of God as these. Men who were so important that there numbers actually made it into the Bible alongside the words of God.
And so we have the Ussher-Lighfoot Calender, that tells us we are about to complete 6000 years of human exisitence. And then of course, a few people have said that 6000 is the allotted years of the time of men, after which, the judgement. And so we have yet another reason to run out to the bookstores. This is bad news for paranoid people – every time sometime someone predicts the end of the world, they fork out $15 for the book. 8 predictions in one year = 8 books = $120. Dang – thats enough money for an Airport Express! Every year! Multiply that by dozens of predictions and you see the problem. No wonder they get upset when Jesus doesn’t come back according to someone’s schedule.
I am sure James and John were not thinking about end of world predictions. They were not prophets. Nor were they naughty boys trying to stir up trouble. They were just a couple of geeks who were having fun with their new technologies of modern science. And trying to use their geekness to honor God . . . not a lot different than some of us.
Anyway, October 23rd, 2004, at exactly 9 in the morning GMT, we will be celebrating 6000 years of living. We should celebrate. Lets have a party! If the world ends (which i do not believe it will, since Jesus told us that “no man knows the time or the hour”) then we get raptured from a chat room or a blog site. If not, we get to celebrate life together. A party like that doesnt come along but every 6000 years. Even the Church of the Apathetic Agnostic suggests we celebrate this day.
And in case you need some cheering up after that news, a Mayan calender gives us another 12 years before the end of the world.
But why wait 12 years for that one. Or wait until October for that last minute prayer of forgiveness. Today is the day to get your life righted up with God. You can do that right now . . . and you dont even have to buy someone’s book.