JIM CREES: The end is nigh ...

I don’t know if you actually will be reading this column or not.

It’s a problem.

I write, but there is a distinct possibility that no one will be reading this - or at least no NICE people.

I recently received a Letter to the Editor postmarked Mid-Island, New York. In the envelope there was a brochure - what is called in more evangelical circles a tract.

The tract announced “OCTOBER 7, 2015 WILL BE THE END OF THE WORLD” - all capital letters. (Why wouldn’t it be printed in all caps? This is important stuff!)

“According to what the Bible is presenting, it does appear that 7 October will be the day that God has spoken of: in which, the world will pass away,” said Chris McCann, the leader and founder of an online gathering of Christians headquartered in Philadelphia.

“It’ll be gone forever. Annihilated.”

Yowzah!

So ...the End of the World may have already happened. If so, you probably aren’t reading this. If, on the other hand, we’re still here, I’d like to address the topic.

The folks figuring the Oct. 7 End of the World date really are a touch weak on explaining why. Why Oct. 7?

There is no real explanation other than this date is based on the “fact” that the Day of Judgment took place on May 21, 2011. I could possibly buy that, BUT ...there is no explanation for why the Day of Judgment took place on May 21, 2011.

AND ...if the Day of Judgment did indeed take place on that date, why didn’t I know about it before now??!!??

The tract’s author simply makes statements about dates of importance to his program and follows up with a Bible verse to prove his point. But it makes no sense!

For example, we read: “On May 21, 2011 the Bible indicates that God shut the door of Heaven.”

This is followed by Biblical proof: “Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

That’s like me proving the function of a ball-peen hammer by peeling an orange!

C’mon, team. If it’s gonna be the End Times, I need a little more substantial evidence than a bunch of random dates tied far too loosely together by random Bible verses which make zero sense when taken out of context.

Look, I can find eight random verses in the Bible which have as the first letter in the verse an “E” and then a “N” and then a “D” and eventually “discover’ hidden proof of the End Times.

It’s silliness.

And this silliness was not unknown in the past, nor will it end any time soon.

In 365 A.D. Hilary of Poitiers predicted the end of the world would take place that year and Pope Innocent III suggested the year 1286 A.D. as the end of the world - 666 years after the founding of Islam!

Neither happened.

Martin Luther (of Lutheran fame) suggested the world would come to a flaming end some time before the year 1600 A.D.

It didn’t.

Much later, the famous American Puritan preacher Cotton Mather said the end was nigh in 1697.

Herbert W. Armstrong predicted the end of the world a couple times - the first in 1936.

Much more recently, TV evangelist Pat Robertson said the world would come to an end in 1982. He, sadly enough, is still preaching.

There have been dozens of predictions regarding the end of the world - dozens and dozens. There’s an entire field of theology based on a study of the End Times - Eschatology and Apocalypicism.

Both are more fear-based than joy-filled. They involve a destruction of the world and the salvation of only a precious few while everyone else dies a miserable death.

In the words of the ol’ Waylon Jennings song (written by Willie Nelson)

“Sometimes it’s Heaven and sometimes it’s Hell

“Sometimes I don’t even know.”

Whatever the case, I always find it interesting folks get so wrapped up in the End Times theology and spend so much time figuring on the ‘who,’ the ‘how’ and the ‘when.’

This obsession can’t be Bible-based or scripture-driven.

Paul warned his followers in Thessaloniki, “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”

Peter repeated the point suggesting his team not spend too much time planning for the end noting, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night ...”

Even Jesus said “ ... ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

But apparently some folks on Long Island know.

So ... if Oct. 7 really is the end of the world, my apologies for having wasted your time.

If, however, you are reading this on Oct. 7 or Oct. 8 ... I’ll see you next week!