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O Lord I Missed the Rapture Again: Padre Steve Comments on yet another False Profit Prophet

Molly Advises me on False Prophets

Well it looks like Harold “I can predict the end of the world in 3 notes” Camping has missed his prediction again.  The “Rapture of the Church” didn’t happen as he so confidently predicted and once again we have to look elsewhere for the spot on prediction of the end time except that even Jesus said that “no one knows the day or the hour, not even him.”  I think that Jesus, had it right…no one knows except the Big Guy, his “Father in Heaven.”

However as a Christian, even an apostate type as some people in my former church referred to me I still believe the Creed where it says that “He (Jesus) shall come again to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.”  Of course nowhere in the Creed or for that matter Scripture does it give a date, time, year, decade or even millennia when this will happen despite the best for profit predictions of Mr. Camping, Hal “The Late Great Planet Earth,” Jack Van Impe, John Hagee and the hundreds if not thousands of for profit prophets running about, Christian, Jewish, New Age, Jehovah’s Witness, Adventists of various types and even Apocalyptic Atheists.  Yes my friends the End of the World is a money making operation especially when it doesn’t happen as predicted.

Since I was born in 1960 there have been well over 100 predictions setting the date or year of the Rapture, the Second Coming, Armageddon or the End of the World as we know it.  It is a money making industry and the more outlandish the prediction the more money is to be made.

This time was Harold Camping’s second attempt, his first swing and a miss being back in 1994. Now with Camping having to go back and recalculate so he can make another prediction to attempt to make more money as Edgar “88 Reasons for 1988” and “89 Reasons for 1989” Whisenaunt did and as Hal Lindsey continues to do every time that he screws up.  Heck Tim LaHaye has made a mint on his “Left Behind” series of religious fiction books and movies. It’s shameful.

There is an old joke about the passage in the Book of Revelation about why there is a 30 minute silence in Heaven mentioned in Revelation Chapter 8.  The joke is that the reason there is a silence is so that the prophecy teachers can correct their charts.  I’m sorry but anyone that claims to have cracked the code on the end times is a false prophet and I don’t care who I offend in saying this. So let me say it again. Anyone who claims that they have cracked the code concerning the end times is a false prophet. Back in the Old Testament false prophets got the death penalty and we crushed by heavy stones or in the case of the prophets of Baal that Elijah challenged got turned into cinders, poof and they were gone. Even Jesus had some harsh words for these kinds of knuckleheads and he was pretty loving and forgiving if I recall correctly.

Tonight I was in line waiting to get into Harbor Park to see the Norfolk Tides when Camping claimed the Rapture was to occur.  Well it didn’t happen, the Tides won 8-6 over the Louisville Bats and up in Boston the Chicago Cubs defeated the Boston Red Sox by a score of 9-3.  The Cubs may have won but they didn’t win the World Series so according to my understanding of the end times it isn’t time.

One of the funniest things I saw tonight was a man carrying a sign which said “Worst Rapture Ever.”  Now I don’t know if it was the “worst ever” but it had to be up there, especially for those that screwed up their lives and blew their fortunes promoting this heresy thinking that it was really going to happen the way that they said that it would.  Personally despite being a pretty big grace of God advocate I think that there is a special place in Hell for those that perpetrate such falsehoods under any pretense on people seeking hope in a chaotic world.  Who knows maybe they’ll get a place alongside Adolf, Saddam and Osama in this year’s South Park “Christmastime in Hell” episode.

I think that these kind of for profit prophets do all kinds of damage.  I think that they cheapen what Christians refer to as the “Blessed Hope” something that is both hopeful and holy although it is veiled in mystery is a time where justice and mercy embrace.  The actions of such people mock that hope and drive people away from God.  In fact such predictions by these charlatans are embarrassing, irresponsible and reprehensible.

May that sounds harsh and I actually mean it to be. Camping and others like him should be shunned by any responsible person.  Unfortunately there will be more like him and others will set dates because that is where the big money is to be made, making a profit out of “prophecy.”

God help us.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Discerning the Second Coming: The Cubs are the Key

This is a modified re-post of something that I did when I first started posting to this site.  At the time I had very few readers and this post was buried so far back that it was pretty much forgotten, except by me.  Since the Deity Herself speaks to me through baseball it follows that my eschatology, or theology of the end times has a baseball connection.Since the Cubs are currently in third pace in the NL Central with a record of 41 wins and 39 losses a week before the All Star break having just beat the Braves 4-2  I feel that is appropriate to re-address the topic.

The Creed says of Jesus that  “He will come again to judge the living and the dead.”  The Creed however does not say how or when. Since many guys with a lot less theological training than me are making mega-bucks writing books about the Second Coming of Christ simply by watching CNN, Fox News and a host of websites and newspapers.  I watch these guys vainly trying to match headlines to Bible verses to show why they are right, or at least how to make changes in order to publish another book,  I figured why not do this from Baseball.

While Hal Lindsey, Grant Jeffery, John Hagee, Jack Van Impe and groups like the Prophecy Club make definitive statements based on “years of study” of the Scriptures, history and current events  only to have to revise those predictions when people and nations refuse to do not as they predict; I prefer not to live my life waiting for Fox News to tell me that Jesus is on the horizon.  I remember back in the 1970s when I read Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth and had the shit scared out of me.  What was way cool over the years was to see the revisions to the book as the world situation changed.  Likewise the new books published by others during the Gulf War and every stinking conflict in the Middle East which basically repackaged the same tripe with slight modifications due to world situation, political change or technological advances.  Even worse are the Left Buttocks series by Tim LaHaye whose books and movies sold more copies than People Magazine’s coverage of the death of Michael Jackson

My hair brained theory says that it all comes down to baseball, just as everything else in life. My belief is that when the Chicago Cubs win the World’s Series that we’d better start looking to the East, and pronto.

I’m actually somewhat serious.  I have no emotional investment in the Cubs, I’m a San Francisco Giants fan who has a fondness for the Oakland A’s.  I enjoyed the hell out of the 1989 NLCS when the Giants won the NL pennant against against the Cubs. I love the Giants, Willie Mays was and always will be the best baseball player who ever lived to me and though far away, and I can name player after player for the team over the years that I admire and I am really pissed at the way Barry Bonds has been singled out while guys like A-Rod and Manny get their wrists slapped and continue to play. Since I am such a partisan Giants fan with no emotional or spiritual attachment to the Cubs, I think that I can honestly say that I am impartial observer of this prophetic event.  At least as far as the Cubs are concerned.  I hold no personal animus against the long suffering Cubs, they are not the Evil Dodgers nor related to the anti-Christ, unless you are a Cardinals or Brewers fan.

Last year I was actually somewhat concerned that the Cubs were going to see Jesus back into town.   The Cubs were a favorite to reach the World Series and maybe win it. They appeared to have the best team in baseball and it was 100 years exactly since the last series that they won.  I was worried because as much as I believe that Jesus will come again, I have to confess that I’d prefer he wait until some following generation to do it.  The Cubs finished the regular season with a 97-64 record, the best in the National League.  The Evil Dodgers swept them in the NLDS ensuring that the Cubs would not make the series and calming my fears that Jesus might come before I could see the Giants win a World Series.

One has to look at history and see all the disappointment that Cubs fans have suffered over the years.  Think of the times that the experts said it was the Cubs time.  In 1984 they blew a 2 game to none lead in the NLDS and lost to the Padres.  In 1989 the Giants took them in 5 games.  In 1998 swept by the Braves, Remember the 2003 NLCS against the Marlins?  Up in the top of the 8th in game six and then everything fell apart shortly after the errant Cubs fan reached out and caught a foul ball that was almost in the glove of the Cub defender?  Swept by the Diamondbacks in 2007 and again swept by the Evil Dodgers in 2008.  There has to be something to this.  It is too eerily similar to guys like Hal Lindsey and others who keep reading the headlines and predicting Jesus’ return, and when he doesn’t they have to look at the headlines again, wait for another crisis and write another book.  Those who follow the Cubs are like followers of the Christian prophecy movement are always disappointed when their playoff prophets are proved wrong again and again.

Thus, all this considered I must be right, there is a correlation between the Cubs and and eschatology.  I could be full of crap, but I think I have something here, the Deity Herself I think assures me of this considering her love of Baseball. In the W.P. Kinsella novel The Iowa Baseball Confederacy a young man ventures to the end of a rail spur and ends up transported back in time to 1908 to a place in Iowa where the Cubs were playing an exhibition against a team of local all stars.  The game took on mythic proportions, and not to spoil the book, which I highly recommend, it tells of cataclysmic and cosmological significance of the 1908 Cubs.

I guess that to paraphrase Colonel Nathan R Jessup in A Few Good Men “The Cubs playoff defeats while tragic, probably saved lives.” I’ll end here, but to those who expect the Cubs to win the World’s Series you’d better be careful what you ask for…when you are rejoicing that the Cubs finally have won, Jesus may come and spoil your parade.

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