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The End Is Not Near, But It Can Get A Whole Lot Worse
The Tree of Mamre ^ | Jan 10, 2010 | Wanpeirui

Posted on 01/10/2010 12:50:40 AM PST by Wanpeirui

Back when I had easy access to bookstores that sold books in a language I could actually understand (English), I would often buy books on Medieval history. One of my favorites was Barbara Tuchman's history of 14th century Europe, A Distant Mirror.

Times were dark back then. This was the start of the Hundred Years War, a bloody conflict that actually lasted 116 years. The war was ruinous to the economy of Europe, as people were taxed to the point of death to pay for it. Meanwhile, every able-bodied man was marched off to fight, usually never to return.

Without workers, many fields lay untended. Then the weather changed, ushering in the Little Ice Age. While before, it was warm enough in much of Europe to actually have a winter crop, now even in autumn the fields were barren. It was almost like a cruel joke--those old people, children, and cripples who miraculously plowed and sowed the fields despite their poor physical condition received nothing in return for their efforts, and were relegated to eating the bark off of trees. Whole countries, which had never seen hunger for as long as anyone could remember, starved to death.

Since the feudal lords and their men were constantly at war, they were not present to protect their towns, villages, and homesteads. Renegade bands of mercenaries and bandits roamed the countryside in the absence of civil authority, ravaging, raping, and pillaging at will.

If this were not enough, there was the Black Death. Plague, probably brought to Europe from Asia, began its own rampage of death and destruction. In a few short years, between 30% to 60% of the population of Europe died. Like the war, the plague came in waves. There would be an epidemic in a village that killed without rhyme or reason--sometimes the elderly and the young would be spared, while the healthy would be slain. Other times, only the weak would be slain, like animals being culled from a herd. Then the plague would recede, and everyone would breathe a sigh of relief, only to see the plague come back ten or twenty years later and kill the survivors.

Death is inescapable for us all, but is dealt with only rarely by most people today. However, for people back then, it was a matter-of-fact part of daily life. Remember the old nursery rhyme?

Ring around the rosey,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes, ashes,
We all fall down!

Indeed, people carried pockets full of posies as a good luck charm, to ward off the plague, but it did no better than any of the other cures they had then available. Inevitably, there would be the round sore on the skin, mottled like a rose, and surrounded by a ring. Then there would be the trip to church where a cross of ashes would be drawn on the forehead--a sign of repentance. However, no matter how much the people repented, no matter how much they prayed, in the end, they all fell down.

Witchcraft and heresy were rife, as people threw off Christianity in a feeble attempt to find something, anything, that would help. Yet, even among Christians, weird fanaticisms and strange beliefs became the norm. People began worshiping relics, as though these talismans would give them some sort of protection from the evil in the world. Those who had the time and money became Palmers--they took pilgrimages to the Holy Land, bringing back palm tree fronds as proof of their piety and devotion. Yet, none of this eased the pain or made anything better. Consequently, many people thought--hoped--that it was the end of the world, that all of the troubles they were suffering would soon come to an end.

I do not have an answer to all of the problems currently facing the world, and in my heart I feel--I know--that things are going to get a whole lot worse than they are now. Yet, nothing within me believes that the world will soon come to an end, not now, nor in 2012, nor even at some distant date in my own or my children's lifetime. Are we in the end times? In one sense, yes, but we have been in the end times for 2,000 years. The world is always coming to an end. In another sense, no, because things are not nearly bad enough to think that we could be anywhere near the end. The truth is, no one knows when the world will end. Not even Jesus claimed to know the times and dates of such things. So, we must act on the one hand as though the world could end any moment, and we will all be called to account for ourselves, even while realizing that the end may well still be far off. We have fields to plant, walls to build, and arms to make, as we can never be sure what will happen next. We and our children may need to eat and be protected--it is wisdom to hope for the best, but to plan for the worst.

Some people place their hope in a secret rapture to bring them through the fire. Others say that one must just "have faith" and utter positive confessions over things. However, none of this is the Gospel I know. In Revelation, in reference to the end times, it repeatedly talks of those who overcome--only those who overcome will inherit that which God has for them. Overcoming directly implies that we will have to go through trials and tribulations--we will not be saved from them, but will be saved through them. This is the fellowship of Christ's suffering that Paul talked about--a fellowship that is a privilege to enter into. This is the Cross that all true believers are commanded to bear.

The Gospel I know is a gospel of suffering and a gospel of martyrdom, but it is a hard word to utter to those who have only known plenty, and who have only known a gospel of victory and peace. Will they fall away into witchcraft and heresy? Will they once again worship relics or become modern-day Palmers flitting from one holy site to the next, bringing back palm tree fronds as proof of their piety? Or will they once again turn to God and repent of their sin of self-indulgence, not so that they can find a return to the health and prosperity that they once had, but expecting nothing except to know Him?


TOPICS: Religion
KEYWORDS: apocalypse; revelation; suffering; tribulation

1 posted on 01/10/2010 12:50:41 AM PST by Wanpeirui
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To: Wanpeirui
Death is inescapable for us all, but is dealt with only rarely by most people today. However, for people back then, it was a matter-of-fact part of daily life. Remember the old nursery rhyme?

Ring around the rosey, ...

"Many have associated the poem with the Great Plague of London in 1665, or with earlier outbreaks of bubonic plague in England. ...

"Folklore scholars regard the theory as baseless for several reasons: ..."

- Wikipedia

2 posted on 01/10/2010 1:21:38 AM PST by wideminded
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To: Wanpeirui

Not a student of the Prophecy, I see.


3 posted on 01/10/2010 1:28:37 AM PST by roamer_1 (Globalism is just Socialism in a business suit)
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To: roamer_1

Actually, I have an MDIV from a conservative seminary and was fairly steeped in just about everything that came out of Dispensationalist Theology. I just no longer accept a lot that is being preached in the American church as being true. I believe in the Bible, yes. False prophets, no.


4 posted on 01/10/2010 1:35:33 AM PST by Wanpeirui
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To: Wanpeirui

Good for you, I gratefully accept that which He calls me to, whatever it may be. It’s a surrendering of our will, in order to even hear His calling us to Him.


5 posted on 01/10/2010 2:06:52 AM PST by exnavy (God save the republic)
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To: Wanpeirui

Interesting article!


6 posted on 01/10/2010 2:35:57 AM PST by john in springfield
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To: Wanpeirui

>>Not even Jesus claimed to know the times and dates of such things.<<

Denying the the divinity of Jesus is one of the oldest heresies. Jesus, the Son of God, knows all.


7 posted on 01/10/2010 2:53:09 AM PST by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners)
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To: Wanpeirui; wideminded; roamer_1; exnavy; john in springfield; NTHockey
BIG LIES such as the 100 Years War have been used on societies throughout history. Looking back on history the truth is obvious to us now but the truth was a secret to those who lived it. Today we are living through a series of BIG LIES and our society is almost universally blinded to the truth:

STIMULUS PACKAGE: An incredible sum of money used not to create jobs and stimulate the economy but money used to bribe "progressives" and other fools to continue their support of the takeover of the US Government

GLOBAL WARMING: A scam thought up by leftists to tax Western Societies heavily for the published purpose of limiting their use of energy to suppress their green house gas production. The real purpose is to tax the capitalists so heavily that their way of life is changed forever and seemingly endless funds are generated to continue the takeover.

HEALTH CARE BILL: The population is taught that FREE HEALTH CARE for the poor and the reduction of spending by the Federal Government is the purpose for this takeover of our health care system. The real reason is another entitlement program to strangle the system.

ISLAM IN OUR SOCIETY: An Islamic Major shoots dozens of unarmed soldiers, a president convinces Congress no investigation is needed. An underwear bomber is given Constitutional rights and the interrogation stops that might reveal more plots and might save lives. If the bomb had gone off and destroyed the airplane in flight, do you think you'd have ever known the truth?

BARACK OBAMA: A radical leftist that the press debates may be taking us toward socialism when his real purpose is to destroy our system of government and remove our individual liberties. He was created in a fairytale with his real background records sealed. Criticisms are labeled racists and he is given a magical pass that excludes criticism as he is erasing all of our radical racists past history.

As the Earth progresses toward a colder period, GLOBAL WARMING is renamed CLIMATE CHANGE. As HEALTH CARE cost projections grow to show the scam, the government meets in secret sessions to ram through this radical legislation (you do know that MEDICARE is a broke, don't you?). As the first STIMULUS PACKAGE is shown to be a total failure the radical FEDERAL GOVERNMENT proposes another package with the thought that the 10% unemployment figure would be worse if we hadn't done so much earlier.

You get the point: The government controlled press controls what you think. Nuts like Glenn Beck only see some of the trees in the forest but they too are blinded by the enormity of the lie. They reason like you, this series of lies could never happen in America.

8 posted on 01/10/2010 3:08:45 AM PST by politicianslie
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To: politicianslie
Stick around FR for a while and you'll get an education.

In the mean time, don't forget those meds!

9 posted on 01/10/2010 3:52:11 AM PST by exnavy (God save the republic)
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To: Wanpeirui
I just no longer accept a lot that is being preached in the American church as being true.

Just asking :)

As opposed to which church other than American which holds the truth.

I am unaware that the "American church" is that much different than say the "African church" or "China hurch"

What did you mean by "American church" or is that an euphemism for "Protestant" or non-denomination church?

10 posted on 01/10/2010 4:16:31 AM PST by Popman (Election 2010: Congress: your pink slips are coming ............... :)
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To: Popman

My statement was not in reference to the churches of other countries. It was in reference to the only thing left in America that resembles biblical Christianity—conservative, evangelical churches. Too many churches in America are preaching a feel good gospel, are enamored with different theological doctrines or controversies, or are just preaching to the choir with sermons about sin and hell. However, if the knowledge of God is missing, then none of this has any meaning at all, and none of this will help you in times of trouble. A Gospel without the knowledge of God and his ways at the very core is essentially a false Gospel, no matter how many Scriptures are quoted and how biblical it sounds.


11 posted on 01/10/2010 4:28:28 AM PST by Wanpeirui
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To: politicianslie
The government controlled press controls what you think.

So the "government controlled press" only is in control of our minds when dems/libs are in power?

I remember when the republicans were in control of the power in DC, there were daily multiple articles from "government controlled press" that exposed even the most mundane issues as well as national security secrets.

All in the name of a "free press"

12 posted on 01/10/2010 4:29:22 AM PST by Popman (Election 2010: Congress: your pink slips are coming ............... :)
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To: Wanpeirui
Thanks for the clarification and I can't agree more.

We recently changed church membership because the church we were attending changed pastors and was simply preaching pablum every Sunday.

My wife and I have always attended "conservative, evangelical churches" (non-denominational) since my conversion in 1989.

We decided to visit mainline denominations (Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodists and a few other) to see what was out there since we never have attended any before.

All I can say, it was quite depressing.

13 posted on 01/10/2010 4:39:35 AM PST by Popman (Election 2010: Congress: your pink slips are coming ............... :)
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To: NTHockey

You really need to become better informed before you start accusing others of heresy. It was Jesus who said, referring to the end times, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24: 36; Mark 13: 32). Since Jesus is the Son of God, then by your standards he is a heretic, because he said that he didn’t know.


14 posted on 01/10/2010 5:01:30 AM PST by Wanpeirui
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To: wideminded

Sorry, the Great Plague of London in 1665 was the same plague as the Black Death, and scholars have traditionally associated the rhyme with this event, no matter what the revisionists over at Wikipedia might say. Even if Wikipedia is correct, it does not at all affect the historical truth of the plague and peoples’ attitudes to and experience of it.


15 posted on 01/10/2010 5:09:12 AM PST by Wanpeirui
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To: Wanpeirui

A Gospel without the knowledge of God and his ways at the very core is essentially a false Gospel.

Would you mind sharing a little bit of what you mean by knowledge of God?


16 posted on 01/10/2010 5:15:20 AM PST by winodog (Forthcoming dislocations In the Chinese communist command economy could be legendary.)
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To: Wanpeirui

I thought your post was great.
I am 52 and have never really suffered, especially not for my faith.


17 posted on 01/10/2010 5:21:27 AM PST by winodog (Forthcoming dislocations In the Chinese communist command economy could be legendary.)
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To: Wanpeirui
Actually, I have an MDIV from a conservative seminary and was fairly steeped in just about everything that came out of Dispensationalist Theology. I just no longer accept a lot that is being preached in the American church as being true. I believe in the Bible, yes. False prophets, no.

That isn't what I had stated... I observed that it seems that you are not a student of the Prophecy.

I am not a Dispensationalist, but I am far closer to them (very close) compared to Replacement theology, Preterism, or others. Nor am I endorsing a pre-tribulation Rapture (The Bible clearly states that it occurs at the sounding of the seventh trump). We are sure to have to live through a portion of the tribulation. And it will be a very dire time.

The general gist of your OP I would accept to some degree, and admire...

But I would strenuously object to the idea that His coming is afar off. All of the Prophecy points to His coming soon.

18 posted on 01/10/2010 5:25:07 AM PST by roamer_1 (Globalism is just Socialism in a business suit)
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To: Wanpeirui

This fits with the last part of your post.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2424981/posts


19 posted on 01/10/2010 5:27:22 AM PST by winodog (Forthcoming dislocations In the Chinese communist command economy could be legendary.)
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To: winodog

Knowing him. Having a personal, living relationship with him. Walking with him, being dealt with by him. When everything else has been stripped away and all you have left to rely on is God and his promise, when only he can help you and sustain you and you no longer have any resources of your own to rely on, then you quickly discover what it means to know God, rather than just some creed, doctrine, or words on a page. Most Christians in America would fail this test in a heartbeat, which is exactly the problem I am trying to speak to. There’s not enough space here to give a complete testimony, but trust me, I’ve been through everything I’ve just described, and seen too many other people—in some cases friends—fall by the wayside because of comparatively minor trials, so I know what I’m talking about. There has to be more to one’s relation with God than just church, Bible study, hymns, and early morning devotionals if you really want to get through times of trouble. You have to know him.


20 posted on 01/10/2010 5:29:47 AM PST by Wanpeirui
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To: roamer_1

Sorry, my bad. What prophecies are you referring to? In what way does biblical prophecy mandate that the end times are now, as opposed to the many other times and dates which were supposed to be the end in the past? In my life, I have surpassed several dates that many evangelicals thought would be the end. My grandfather used to laugh at me because I was so sure that the end was near, because in the 1930s everyone was sure that prophecy would be fulfilled then, but it didn’t happen. I just remain a skeptic that this is the end. If it happens, hallelujah. But I’m not holding my breath.


21 posted on 01/10/2010 5:36:45 AM PST by Wanpeirui
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To: Wanpeirui

I too would fail that test at the moment. I have been much closer to God before, although I have trouble with “love”. Be it loving God, or an earthly helpmate.

Some divine discomfort would probaly do me some good.
But I would rather pray for grace.


22 posted on 01/10/2010 5:43:12 AM PST by winodog (Forthcoming dislocations In the Chinese communist command economy could be legendary.)
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To: Wanpeirui
This is another interesting statement. How do you reconcile this with the rebirth of Israel and the return of the dispersed Jews. Not to mention the military might that has been gathered in the region.

Yet, nothing within me believes that the world will soon come to an end, not now, nor in 2012, nor even at some distant date in my own or my children's lifetime

I am convinced that the draws close. Thanks for the convo this morning.

23 posted on 01/10/2010 6:13:48 AM PST by winodog (Forthcoming dislocations In the Chinese communist command economy could be legendary.)
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To: Wanpeirui
What prophecies are you referring to? In what way does biblical prophecy mandate that the end times are now, as opposed to the many other times and dates which were supposed to be the end in the past?

It isn't as easy as pointing to a few verses... anyone who would expect that does not know prophecy, or the nature of prophecy. I could give you incidental verses which point toward what I see, but they are incidental, and therefore unconvincing.

The seventh trumpet is an important time - The Revelation plainly states that the whole of the Prophecy is completed at that point - a very critical distinction, as it necessitates the salvation of the Jews (all at once) by that moment, which means that the salvation of the Jews MUST have taken place before the Rapture...

Tracking backward from that point, one can calculate the things which must yet happen - as ALL of the Prophecy is completed and revealed there.

What needfully MUST take place is that Israel must be established as a nation. This one has already occurred, and is a huge mile marker. the binding of Ephraim and Judah into one (nationally, if not spiritually), the building of the Temple (or at least the opening of the Eastern Gate, and the establishment of the Altar), and the War of Magog (which is separate from Armageddon). These are all precursors necessary for the beast to sit in the Temple, and for Christ to enter into the Temple.

But I look to Prophetic chronology for determination. While there are not "dispensations", there are "times" described in the Bible, and those times are finite and exact.

Among the long calculations, one should look closely at the Jubilee and grand Jubilee, and what they are meant to represent. This is the long calendar - plotting the length of times from the Creation.

The rest require a person to believe that God's Word is ALWAYS true - and that his promises to the twelve tribes continue to hold value (God's Word does not return to Him empty). And furthermore, that the Prophecy is evident to every generation - He has stated that this is His proof that He IS God. In that regard, the Prophecy has been ticking along, steady as a clock, and evident to those who will SEEK it, and believe.

The other chronologies are part and parcel with the TWO Houses of Israel, and are embedded in God's Holy Days. The promises toward all the tribes, and the ten northern tribes (the House of Israel) especially, must necessarily have taken place by now. Ephraim (The House of Israel) was the key for me. Rightly dividing Ephraim from Judah in both the prophecies and in history is paramount to any understanding at all.

There is a pretty specific chronology concerning the return of Ephraim to the House of the Lord. There is a finite and specific end to the "Time of the Gentiles." There is a precise chronology for the return of Israel as a state, and the time that Jerusalem is rebuilt (under Israel).

Major long calculations converge on a grand Jubilee year between 2037 and 2060. That is of course, the outside edge, as the time is to be "cut short". The Prophecy is the proof.

24 posted on 01/10/2010 7:55:46 AM PST by roamer_1 (Globalism is just Socialism in a business suit)
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To: Wanpeirui

And one needs to read the bible more carefully when using it as support for a position. The footnote to Matthew reads “with a knowledge He could communicate”. He knows, but it is not for us to know.


25 posted on 01/10/2010 12:18:43 PM PST by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners)
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To: Wanpeirui
I was not criticizing anything about the article you posted except for the association of the rhyme with the Black Death. Since the Black Death began in the 1340's and the rhyme was never written down until over 500 years later, there is no real evidence that the two are associated.

Sorry, the Great Plague of London in 1665 was the same plague as the Black Death,

They may or may not have been the same disease but they were hundreds of years apart.

and scholars have traditionally associated the rhyme with this event,

It's an urban legend. "Scholars" do not believe this now, if they ever did.

no matter what the revisionists over at Wikipedia might say.

If you actually read the Wikipedia article I linked to, you would see that it is well researched and footnoted and the reasons given there make a lot of sense.

Here is the snopes discussion on the same topic.

26 posted on 01/10/2010 12:36:56 PM PST by wideminded
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To: wideminded

The Black Death is identical to the plague that hit London years later—the plague continued on and off for hundreds of years. I’m sorry, but Wikipedia is good for spot checking and for a quick reference, but it is hardly a good authoritative reference on anything—fact-checking things is an important part of my day job, so I know. As for Snopes—you’ve got to be kidding


27 posted on 01/10/2010 1:19:01 PM PST by Wanpeirui
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To: NTHockey

You believe that footnotes in your Bible are as authoritative as the Word of God itself?


28 posted on 01/10/2010 1:21:27 PM PST by Wanpeirui
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To: Wanpeirui

No, but it helps us stupid humans to understand in some small way what God is telling us. Too many times we “have eye that do not see and ears that do not hear”.


29 posted on 01/10/2010 2:20:25 PM PST by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners)
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To: Wanpeirui
fact-checking things is an important part of my day job

I don't believe that you have fact-checked your position on the "Ring Around the Rosie" rhyme.

I used to believe the same thing about that rhyme, but I was open-minded enough to change my mind when I saw that there were much better arguments against the usual theory.

If you are looking for an "authoritative reference", Peter and Iona Opie were acknowledged for decades as the greatest experts on English children's rhymes. (Their work is referenced by both the Wikipedia and snopes articles.) They did not believe that this rhyme had anything to do with either medieval or more recent plagues. (You can read a quotation from one of their books on this page.)

30 posted on 01/11/2010 7:40:21 AM PST by wideminded
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To: wideminded

You sure are hung up on this.


31 posted on 01/11/2010 6:16:39 PM PST by Wanpeirui
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