“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose,” Ecclesiastes 3:1

For some reason, throughout the history of time, people have been fascinated as to what happens after we die as well as what happens at the end of time, the end of the world.  This preys upon the latent fears of those who seek heaven, but are terrified by hell.  In the Old Testament, the rules are pretty clear:  follow the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:1-17.  I don’t know about you, but I actually had to look up the commandments.  In case you’re like me, here they are:

  1. You shall have no other gods before me
  2. You shall not worship idols
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord
  4. Keep the Sabbath holy
  5. Honor your mother and father
  6. You shall not murder
  7. You shall not commit adultery
  8. You shall not steal
  9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor (you shall not lie)
  10. You shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife or belongings

One of my close friends insists that the fear of God is preached to us in order to help us know how to behave.  A kind of fear tactic.  There is also a sense throughout the Bible that we may be running out of time.  Repent, and repent now, seems to be the general idea.  Ever since Christ first appeared, Christians have been prophesying the imminent end of the world along with many other religions.

Recent examples about the end of the world and the end of time include the radio preacher Harold Camping who marked October 21st, 2012 as the end of everything we hold dear, Nostradamus’ predictions about the end of 2012 marking Armaggedon, the inscription of the Mayan calendar, Jerry Jenkins book series “Left Behind,” the movie “Contagion” predicting a virulent pestilence sweeping away most of mankind, the book “The Year of the Flood” by Margaret Atwood, and of course, last but not least, the views of Jehovah’s Witnesses who go door to door with a gleam in their eyes and a sense of righteousness that the time to repent is at hand.  This brings me to another issue:  what’s the best way to circumnavigate those who preach zealously the end of time?  Personally, if you had asked me, I would preach to live not in fear and mortal dread, but make each day count.  Despite all the predictions, we don’t know what happens in the afterlife so we better make our borrowed time on earth matter.

As I mentioned, Jerry Jenkins wrote a whole series of books about Armageddon called the “Left Behind” series.  Despite my reluctance to sign on board any preaching about the end of days, I do feel Jerry Jenkin’s books and personal philosophy share one simple idea that makes sense.  A Jewish friend once told me, “Hell is eternal separation from God.”  Not a pretty thought, and it conveys a sense of desperation and loneliness.  This idea reminds me of the myth of Sisyphus where he is condemned to roll a boulder up an enormous mountain, and each time he reaches the top, the stone falls down and he must start again.  Personally, the God I worship is not so unkind or wrathful.  I’m more of a  Matthew 22:37-39 kind of guy:  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

As the hippies once preached, It’s all about love man!

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