by Acharya S
from FreeThoughtNation Website
We saw five of these buses heading down Esplanade in a row.
The much-publicized "return of the Lord to rapture all righteous believers" predicted by an elderly man named Harold Camping is creating quite a ruckus in the United States.
As some may recall, Camping, who runs an organization called "Family Radio," has made this prophecy before, most notoriously in 1994, which came and went uneventfully.
Camping's recent prediction is that some 200 million people will be "raptured" on May 21, 2011, which means they will be taken up into the sky to meet with Jesus Christ, while the rest will be annihilated on October 21, 2011.
Evidently this notion of mass global genocide appeals to many, as they prepare for the "Lord's return" or "Second Coming."
One of the most common scriptures used for "proof" of "the Tribulation," which will supposedly accompany Jesus's return, is Matthew 24 (3, 29-34), the relevant parts of which are translated in the King James Bible, favored by evangelicals, as follows:
Exciting stuff, particularly for those who lead dull or traumatic lives and who may not wish to live any longer.
However, let us look
more closely at the most germane language here.
At Matthew 24:3, we read about the "coming" and "end of the world."
But is that really what is meant by the writer(s) of these passages? The Greek word translated here as "coming," as in Jesus's "Second Coming," is παρουσία or parousia, which also denotes "presence."
According to The Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary, ousia means:
As we can see, there is not necessarily a sense of future coming in
this combined word, which could mean, among others, "in the presence
of a being."
Hence, the phrase would refer to a period of time, rather than a physical destruction of the earth itself, although, of course, the passages that follow do depict a dramatic destruction.
However, this sort of "apocalyptic" thought represents a genre fairly popular at the time this passage was written, as well as beforehand, as in the Old Testament book of Daniel, which contains similar thought, as do various Jewish intertestamental and apocryphal texts.
Indeed, several other religions have their end-times scenarios also, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Zoroastrianism. Many of these concepts are pre-Christian and can be found in Egyptian, Greek and Roman mythology as well. Obviously, not all or even any of these notions may be true.
the centuries and even in pre-Christian times, therefore, there have
been countless "endtimes predictions," which have been as successful
as palm reading.
Moreover, for hundreds of years people have been interpreting these "predictions" as referring to their own times. Indeed, some of the biblical verses (Mt 16:27-28; 1 Th 4:15-17) appear to be referring to Jesus's audience of the time, as if it he would appear "soon," within the time of their own "generation."
Yet, he did not return, and,
It is likewise perilous to contribute to such
unwarranted catastrophic thinking that may indeed exacerbate a
situation that truly is degenerating, i.e., the general state of the
planet. Then there is the enormous personal toll this sort of
thinking has taken on thousands if not millions of people over the
past couple of millennia.
Now for my prediction: Camping will then issue a statement that the Second Coming was "postponed" because of this or that, as if he is in communication with Jesus and God, who let him in on his/their plans. Let us not be too hard on them, as, it seems many already having a rough time, which is why they're gung-ho to get off the planet in the first place.
Regardless of what happens, Harold Camping's
business abilities and capacity to garner global attention are