VOL:5 ISSUE:05 & 06



Signs of the times, eschatology, end of the world, last days, etc are most fancy subjects number of new-born denominations constantly interpret and mislead people. In fact these are the lifeblood of all cults. Disciples of Jesus understood that they lived in the last days. "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon on flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass that whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in the mount of Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call," Joel 2:28-32. St Peter declared the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost as the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy concerning the last days. "This was that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days says God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh," AA 2:16, 17.

'Signs of the times' was theological theme of World Day of Prayer, 2006. Another side theme was AIDS awareness with special emphasis on suffering women of South Africa. This year it was an ecumenical event. The worship material was prepared by women of "World Day of Prayer." Statements called attention to 'cry of unemployed, poor single mothers, addicted street children, citizens frightened by violence, HIV/AID victims, migrant laborer's wife, rape victims, children orphaned by AIDS, the aged and the widows, etc'. Prayers covered a wide spectrum of above said victims, HIV/AIDS sufferers, with special focus on the hardships of hapless women who are widowed and raped by infected persons and their children in South Africa. There was prayer also for government leaders, victims of natural calamities like flood, tsunami, earthquake, hurricane, draught, etc. It seems to me as though the proponents had slight intuition that the pandemic AIDS/HIV was an eschatological sign. "Confession and Forgiveness" section said, "We are afraid to confront wrong and thereby invite abuse into our lives. By not remembering that we are created in your image, we go astray." "Thanksgiving" section read, "We thank you for calling us to be prophetic women and men as Ezekiel." How one can have prophetic calling and be afraid of at the same time? Was Ezekiel afraid to call a spade a spade? Fear is unknown to prophets. "Final Commission," read, "You have opened our eyes to see Jesus as the true sign of the times. You have strengthened us to stand firm in our faith."

Slideshow which followed the worship enlightened various facets of South African life. Keynote speaker was a specialist in infectious diseases. Her well thought presentation was an honest attempt to educate how deadly is HIV/AIDS and its consequences.

However, some essential aspects were missing; in my view which are especially relevant because the world day of prayer is designed by 'Bible believing Christians.' (1) Except certain feeble general confession as quoted, there was no statement hitting the bull's eye; highlighting the need for human beings to adhere to minimum moral standard; that human being since created in the image of God individual's private life must conform to righteous standards of God. There are of course, many reasons for the spread of this deadly disease. Many innocent people are suffering victims. Blood transfusion is one reason but the chief resource is sexual contacts and sharing needles and that is widely rampant in gay/lesbian lifestyle. Bible says; homosexuality is sin against one's own body and also against the very purpose of creation and continuance of life on earth, "If a man lie with man as he lie with a woman both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death," Lev 18:22, 20:13. St Paul most emphatically asserts that homosexuals shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 1C6:9. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for this very reason, Gen 19, Jude 7. Dr Kelly Hallowell, scientist, attorney, law professor and founder of 'Science Ministries Inc' after thorough research said, "Same-sex marriage does not represent evolution of the human race. Same-sex marriage would bring reproduction to a screeching halt, leading to the eventual extinction of the human race that lesbian and gay behaviors are unnatural or crimes against nature. Even with tremendous amounts of genetic research done by the human genome project, no gay gene or genetic predisposition to homosexuality has been found. What's more, homosexuality does not even represent social or cultural progression. Growing support that homosexuality is a result of poor family dynamics or criminal abuse is also inconsistent with advancing the human race. Science does not favor homosexuality and its focus du jour of same-sex marriage," For the one who believes in God, there is only one lifestyle; there is no alternate lifestyle.

Why the organizers of world day of prayer failed to mention, let alone condemn, the core problem of human sin? That is because they either support or share or compromise with immoral lifestyle of formidable gay/lesbian lobbies; and did not want to incite their opposition which itself is a 'signs of the time.' If the bible says what they dislike or against what they do they will rewrite the bible to suit their abomination; example Mormon, Russell, Seventh Day, etc. '2004' reported that John Henderson a former Baptist minister already published a new version titled "Good as New" and among others, the archbishop of Canterbury has applauded its publication. Some verses in it read, (1) Mark 1:10-11, "As he was climbing up the bank again, the sun shone through a gap in the clouds. At the same time a pigeon flew down and perched on him. Jesus took this as a sign that God's spirit was with him. A voice from overhead was heard saying, 'That's my boy! You're doing fine!'" (2) 1 Corinthians 7:1-2,"Some of you think the best way to cope with sex is for men and women to keep right away from each other. That is more likely to lead to sexual offences. My advice is for everyone to have a regular partner." (3) 1 Corinthians 7:8-7, "If you know you have strong needs, get yourself a partner; Better than being frustrated." Please read the older versions like KJV, RSV, etc to convince difference.

When I casually mentioned my opinion to a clergy, just before starting the meeting, another clergy who sat next to me retorted, "Let us not judge." If we fail to profess what is right and wrong according to original version of Bible what is our Christian duty? The most favorite and commonly misquoted bible verse in recent years is, "Judge not, that you be not judged," Mat 7:1. Jesus hates censoriousness, the hypocrisy of criticizing others while concealing one's own sin. Literal interpretation of this verse might put Jesus in wrong position that He encouraged permanent closure of judiciary system around the globe. Jesus meant that human judgments are often defiled, devoid of fairness and often initiate condemnation of others for the same fault that he/she does. "Judge not" does not posit Christian a mute spectator of injustice, immorality and is not a permit to compromise with sin. When Christians compromise with evils, Glory of God departs from them. They will no more hear the prophetic messages for correction and that is the travesty of the present day, 1S 4:21. He who was given much will be required to account for more. He who unknowingly did what is punishable will be given less stripes, the Lord said. God gave more responsibilities to the clergy. He is ordained not only to simply conduct certain rites but also to pronounce prophetic message to reprove the sinners. But before that he has to examine his own situation. It is not the failure of social or secular or governments or their leader's that put society under God's judgment but lack of discernment, laxity and defilement in the ranks and file of clergies. A faithful recently wrote, "Cutting diamond with diamond" is what the clergies do and I believe it is true. Think about sex-scandal by priests, alcoholism, ordination of gays as clergies/bishops, vested interests, instigating people to violence, advocating disunity for selfish aggrandizements, dragging church into litigation, interpretations that are impetus to immorality; how then God's glory will rest with Christianity?

"I made you a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore hear the word of my mouth and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, you shall surely die; and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked ways, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand, Ezek 3:18. According to Ezekiel chapter 34 sheep went astray because of the failure of shepherds. Is a clergy expected to 'preach feel good theology' or a bishop being in Real-estate business? Speak the word of God; so a Christian? Compromising Christian is far more inimical to Christianity than atheists.

The presentation said that HIV/AIDS virus was first found in gay community and suggested that sexual contacts are the chief villains. It said that protected sex (condom use) would prevent spreading and presented certain statistical data but did not condemn immoral lifestyle, which might be politically correct for a professional. I dare not say that HIV/AIDS virus was the creation of immoral lifestyle or it emerged first in our times but surely the immoral lifestyle is the leading cause for its unabated spreading. Data relating to the Indian context pointed out that long-distance drivers, about 2.3 million, who contact sex-workers en-route get infected first and they infect their unsuspecting wives and that in very near future India will be leading in the number of HIV/AIDS cases; millions already died and more are set to die. Bible says; adultery is sin. "You shall not commit adultery," Ex 20:14, Deut 5:18. St Paul equates adultery to homosexuality and both sins merit same condemnation, 1C6:9. A Christian should bravely proclaim what the bible says for half truth is no truth at all rather it amounts to compromise.

My African acquaintances told me that African countries, without distinction of Islam or so-called Christian, practice polygamy in outright defiance to the Christian principle of monogamy. Women are mere commodities, bought and sold at the whims and fancies of men who buy them for a meager price. Parents of girls are often helpless to refuse an offer to buy a girl for fear of violence. The first wife has honorable status among the concubines. She is chieftain for other wives. The man who bought the woman decides her fate; torture, kill or send her back. There is no law to resist men. There shall be no cure or solution to HIV/AIDS unless people do away with inhuman treatment on women. Why the Christian women of the world day of prayer did not stress this point? Where are the feminists? People all over the world are greatly concerned that there is no cure for the disease. UNO, WCC, etc work very hard to make people aware of the deadly virus. Governments all over the world spend sizable amounts, next only to war budgets, to research and find new ways to contain it and yet no solution is in sight.

Princes Diana was shown in the presentation touching an AIDS patient to prove that touching, handshake and hugging would not infect virus. That news was good and yet my Christian perspective persuades me say that Princess Diana is not a good role model for presentation in a Christian context. The growing evasive tendency to pin-point and confront the real culprit which is 'immoral way of life' is also 'signs of the time.'

There is no other shortcut but to shun evil ways of life to contain this deadly virus. Neither the experts, nor the religious leaders, nor the political leaders have guts to stand against the immoral lobbies because most of them are corrupt in themselves or fear reprisal. What we can do when the glory of God departs from us due to immorality which God detests? Will a prayer under such circumstances bring about good result? Lord says, "Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; And when you spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you; yes, when you make many prayers, I will not hear," Is 1:13-15. Prayer without cleansing from the defilement of sin is hypocrisy; God will not hear it. There were many prayers seeking God's forgiveness. Merciful God is ready to forgive and cleanse us from all our sins and trespasses but that requires us to do away with evil. Asking forgiveness without firm commitment to forsake wickedness and cling to righteous conduct is of no avail. Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery and advised, "Go and sin no more," John 8: 11, read also 5:14. As partaker in the World day prayer event my feeling is that it was vain labor, devoid of sanctity.

Concerning the theological aspect of the subject, "sings of the time," sign is a symbol indicating the presence or existence of a reality which it signifies, says McKenzie. Creation and existence of humanity itself is a sign of God's compassion. Signs convey varied meanings and are understood chiefly according to situation in which they are employed. Rarely sign used in the sense of omen and divination, Is 44:25, Je 10:2. But the general biblical concept is different; it points to a coming event and distinguishing from other realities. Sign is symbolic of a tribe as in Num 2:2. Sign is the assurance that a promise will be kept, as in the case of Rahab, Jos 2:12. Sign is symbol of Yahweh's favor. Rainbow in the sky was sign of covenant to Noah, Gen 9:12. Circumcision and Sabbath were signs of covenant. Sign is a symbol of past event, a memorial, example, stones from River Jordan, Jos 4:6. Sign is symbol of God's warning such as Censors of Korah and his company, Num 17:3. Aaron's rod was a sign of his Priesthood, Num 17:25. Passover was a sign of Lord's deliverance. Jews in Diaspora was sign of Yahweh's deed of restoration, Is 66:19. God punishes people as sign of His righteousness, Deut 28:46, Ezek 14:8. Sign is a prediction of future events, Ex 3:12. Sign has celestial dimension, 2K 20:18. In the OT existence of Jewish religion itself was a sign of God's saving grace.



In the NT Jesus Christ is a sign of God's saving grace. Sign also denotes miracles that God in the OT and Jesus in NT performed. Sign is a meaningful token of what God has done, Roman 4:11. Jesus performed many miracles but refused to perform miracles to satisfy people's demand as opposed to the contemporary publicity stunts of TV evangelists and crowd attracting miracle workers. Jews demanded him to show sign, Mat 12:38; instead of obliging, he rebuked their intention calling them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign," Mat 12:39. Early church and disciples saw signs and wonders as the confirmation of the power of gospel, AA 2:43, and 2C12:12. However, Jesus assured his disciples through parables that he will return; fig tree, destruction of Jerusalem, etc which are still mysteries.

Looking at Jerusalem Jesus wept and said it will be desolate because of hardheartedness, 23:38. Disciples called Jesus' attention to the beauty of the building. The Jerusalem temple was indeed beautiful. Herod constructed it to please the Jews; replica of Solomon's temple. Josephus, eye witness and Jewish historian says, "The front of the temple was covered all over with plates of gold of great weight and at the first rising of the sun reflected back a fiery splendor... From a distance it looked like a snow mountain; size of some stones were 67.5' x 7.5' x 9'." Some archeologists put the temple value worth more than 87 Billion US dollars (in 1970). Ancient world never saw such a magnificent edifice elsewhere. Jesus said about its complete destruction "There shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down." Disciples grew inquisitive and asked two questions (1) when it would happen (2) what are the signs of the end, 24:3. Jesus said only the Father knew the time and more important thing than knowing the time was, be watchful and ready all the times. He explained certain signs of his second coming.

Mathew chapter 24 and Luke chapter 21 deal with signs in detail. They are: 1, many will take the name of Christ, 2, there will be wars, 3, nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, 4, there shall be famine, pestilence and earthquakes, 5, people will hate disciples shall deliver then to afflictions, 6, false prophets shall arise and deceive many, 7, iniquity (immorality) shall abound, 8, love of many shall become cold, 9, many shall be offended and betray each other, 10, gospel shall be preached over the whole world, 11, abomination of desolation shall occupy the holy place, 12, there shall be signs in sun, moon and stars, 13, distress and perplexity of nations, 14, the sea and the waves shall be roaring, 15, people shall be without fear in the heart, 16, powers of the heavens shall be shaken. Certainty of his return and uncertainty of the time of return is a serous subject for theologians of all times.

Jesus compared his return with the days of Noah, v37. Noah preached repentance for 120 years but not even one soul repented. They continued in their arrogance, lust of the flesh and ignored Noah. Noah as a preacher was utter failure. Longsuffering and merciful God patiently tolerated and gave the generation maximum waiting period before the final doom. God closed the doors and windows of the ark before the start of deluge. Rain and flood started at a time the people least expected them. Last minute panic to enter into the ark failed. Only eight souls, Noah's sons and their wives, who were inside the ark saved. Noah's ark is a sign of God's saving grace; this is the grace age; people shall be pardoned if they repent, believe in gospel and accepts the Lord as personal savior. Acceptance of the Lord is not mere profession of His deity, or certain dogma or leading a nominal life but complete turn off from lust of the flesh and other defilements and lead righteous life. "He that follows righteousness and mercy finds life," Pr 21:21. Noah's ark is type of Church and as those outside of the ark perished in the deluge those who are outside of the Church shall perish in their sins when the Son of Man returns in his great glory to judge both quick and the dead. "There is no salvation outside of the Church," said Jerome.

Fig tree is symbolic of Jewish revival. Cursing the fig tree was cursing the Jews. They failed to recognize Jesus the Messiah though they were earnestly waiting for Messiah. Mathew 24:32 clearly promises Jewish redemption. Some people say it talks about Jews as a nation and formation of Israel in 1948 as the fulfillment. I do not see that way. Jesus meant that some day Jews shall accept Jesus as Messiah; God waits for that and when that happens he will return.

Unexpectedness of the Lord's return is further explicated in the parable of thief, v43. Thief never gives advance notice. Thief cleverly plans and executes robbery so that the robbed shall be fully unprepared and defenseless and leave no trace. He hits his target in the most surprising and unexpected manner. In fact, all thieves and lawbreakers are clever planners but misguided and devoid of moral sense. Jesus further exemplified the rapidity through the parable of faithful servant. Jesus stressed the need to be watchful at all times. A faithful and wise servant shall not be sleepy, given to lust, wine, quarrels, or slack but ready to receive the Lord any time.

Through the story of ten virgins Jesus elucidated the quality of wise servants. Five of them were wise and another five were stupid. Virgins of both groups had a common purpose that was to receive the bridegroom. They both had common belief, hope and willingness to receive the groom. They both had lamps in their hands, both went and waited, both felt weary and fell asleep. Thus far all things being common the wise virgins had enough oil while the others did not take enough oil. Bridegroom' arrival was heralded. The wise virgins lighted their lamps without panic while the stupid virgins had run amok in search of oil. Bridegroom came when the stupid virgins were away for oil, their best intention could not be doubted, but intention alone would never help. Oil is symbol of Holy Spirit; inward piety. We are all Christians and worship Christ but what is the depth of our piety? Will it run out when unfriendly situation strikes us? Is there sufficient piety to overcome evils, temptations or will our patience run out in the face of lust of the flesh? Carrying the oil is doing the will of God; noble deeds, living a life of light in this world of darkness. Jesus told the parable of talents, the sheep and goats, etc which I do not discuss here.

Historically all these signs were fulfilled before writing the gospels. (1) Josephus continues, "Titus Caesar ordered to demolish the whole city and the temple except the highest towers and the west wall. All the rest was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug up to the foundation that there was left nothing to make those who came thither believe that it had ever been inhabited." Talmud places the date as 9th day of Ob. (2) Luke 21:24 adds, "Until the time of Gentiles be fulfilled." Daniel's prophesy, 9:27 says that the beast, which is the man of sin, shall cause to cease sacrifice and oblation and to overspread the abomination he shall make it desolate. Abomination of desolation shall stand in the holy place, v15. Literally, Antiochus Epiphanes fulfilled Daniel's prophesy when he desecrated the holy temple of Jerusalem in BC 169-168. Again it was desecrated in 66-67 AD. By law, priests only could enter the holy place of the temple. The zealots captured the temple, made it a camp, killed the high-priest, defiled it with blood and stopped sacrifice for ever. From 66 to 70 Jerusalem was besieged three times by the army of Gallus, Vespasian and Titus. Titus erected Roman eagle and statue of Titus in the temple site. These were profanation of the temple. Also Titus is alluded to antichrist mentioned in 2 Thes 2:4. 1.1Million Jews perished in those sieges. Some fled to other countries.

Wars as sign: Is there a time the history of humanity without wars and threats of wars? Whenever there is a war it is natural that people assume it as end of the world prophesied in the Bible. False prognosticators misuse it for their own benefits deceiving the innocents. I do not therefore dare a literal interpretation of any signs. It is pertinent to say that most scholars suggest that the reference of war and related topics concerns what is mentioned in the above paragraph because the gospels were written after the destruction of Jerusalem and all the details given in the gospel actually took place in that fateful event; thus all doomsday interpretations are foolishness.

Nation shall rise against nation: Selucia rose against Tigris, many were massacred. Greeks and Syrians joined hands to annihilate Jews and killed 50, 000 of them. 20, 000 Jews were killed in one hour in Caesarea, quotes Dummelow. This phenomenon is not a one time event so as to determine as a sign but happens all the time from the beginning of mankind until this day.

Famine: Famine is a natural byproduct of war because of soldiers plundering resources, destroyed infrastructure, scarcity of able-bodied farmers, disruption in distribution, etc. During the rein of Claudius in 46 AD there was acute famine in Palestine and many died from starvation. During the siege the Roman army having blocked all the incoming and outgoing transport starvation was so severe that some people killed, cooked and ate their own infants.

Pestilences and earthquakes: Provinces of Asia, Achaia, Syria, Macedonia, Palestine, etc were devastated by earthquakes and outbreak of pestilences and many people thought that was the end, says Josephus. There is nothing outlandish in this too because it happens all the time.

False prophets: There were a number of people who deluded public by claiming that they were divinely inspired. They took people to the desserts claiming that God shall give them victory. Epistles and gospel speak about the deception by false prophets, 2P 2:1, 1John 2:18, etc.

Flee to the mountain: Eusebius the historian says, 'men of repute who believed in Christ, inspired by divine revelation exhorted the members of Church in Jerusalem to flee from the metropolis. All believers in Christ in Jerusalem went thither; and when all the saints abandoned Jerusalem and the whole land of Judea, the vengeance of God finally overtook the lawless persecutors of Christ and His apostles.' Compare this with Sodom after Lot fled, Gen 19:23-24.

End will not come until the gospel is preached in all the world, 24:14. This statement "all the world" is infinite and inconclusive. Did the disciples understand the world as we understand today? Did gospel reach the entire world as yet? Ultra radicals persistently claim that unlike in the past Gospel is being preached all over the world in the present by means of TV and radio evangelism. Cult-leaders of all the time had staked such claim; but is it sign of the time? I do not think so. Such dubious calculus is evidence of moral bankruptcy and lack of spiritual rectitude. It is true that ignorant, ill-taught and unstable people are not satisfied with old fashioned ancient interpretations and Church spirituality. People get easily attracted to soothsayers and doomsday predictors because they offer a vent to release the hard tension filled industrial modern life.

New Testament positively addresses doctrine concerning eschatology. St Paul illustrates clearly the signs of the end of time in 2 Tim 3:1-8. They are 1, people shall not endure sound doctrine 2, men shall be lovers of their own selves 3, covetous 4, boasters 5, proud 6, blasphemers 7, disobedient 8, thankless 9, unholy 10, without natural love 11, trucebreakers 12, false accusers 13, incontinent 14, fierce 15, despise that are good 16, traitors 17, heady 18, high-minded 19, pleasure lovers 20, teach doctrines to satisfy their lust. In a sense this is true of our time.

Although the time was uncertain, Apostles understood that the Second Coming would take place in their own time. Jesus said, "This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled," v34. The Greek genea has a wider scope and means, a race, kind, breed, etc. Thus it is not confined to the earthly life of apostles, scholars say. But Jesus spoke Aramaic, not Greek. Some think that Mathew 16:28 which says, "There are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom" was fulfilled when Transfiguration took place immediately after the saying. St Paul wrote concerning the advent, "We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air," 1 Thes 4:17. Some followers lost faith in the promise of second coming because the Lord did not return soon as they expected. So St Peter encouraged them saying, "Lord is not slack concerning his promise, Lord will come like a thief in the night," etc 2 P 3:4-10. From these I infer that the apostles conceived certain amount of immediacy or did not consider a wider sense as some would interpret. They thought the return of the Lord could take place any time without notice and therefore admonished faithful to be ready always. Some people interpret John 21:22, which says, "If I will that he will tarry till I come, what is that to thee," that Revelation to John was its fulfillment. Revelation also repeats the same message, "Behold I am coming quickly," Rev 3:11. Revelation ends with the solemn assurance, "Surely I come quickly," and loud supplication to Lord, "Amen, even so come, Lord Jesus," Rev 22:20. Considering also that St Peter wrote that one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day to the Lord, which clearly diffused all the notions of immediacy or a particular time for Lord's return indulging in ambiguous calculations and settings dates of Lord's return comes from impious and immature leaders who are enemies of Gospel and who mislead the followers for personal advantage. Goal of faithful should not be to give in to loathsome interpretations but rather hold on to genuine faith and wait upon the Lord and be ready all the time persevering and in blameless conduct.

Early father of the Church were curious about the subject, looked at it with fear and trembling but dared not to loosely interpret and arrive at their own conclusion rather; they fervently instructed the faithful to be watchful always even as they were; thoughtful with fear and trembling of death, Judgment seat and hell. Our liturgy is replete with resplendent admonitions to hopefully wait for the Lord's return. Few examples, (1) following the establishment words consecrating the holy elements, the faithful say, "Your death, our Lord, we commemorate, your resurrection we confess and your second coming we wait for." (2) The celebrant says, "We make remembrance also of your fearful and glorious second manifestation when you will sit on your exalted throne and tens of thousands of angels and archangels will stand before you. When the river of fire will flow to burn the wicked mercilessly and men of old time will be answerable for their manner of life and will need neither accusers nor helpers for their deeds will follow them," Anaphora of St Saverius. (3) We carry the Holy mysteries with great veneration to westward by saying, "May absolution descend From Your atoning altar of God, upon Your servants, O Son of God, Who came for our salvation and shall come again for our resurrection and the restoration of our kind, forever." (4) Prayer before disbursement, "May we not be consumed in the fire at your coming," Anaphora of St Ksosthos. Albeit, do we seriously take these warnings?

After the middle Ages people started interpreting the Word of God to suit their private ends and there arose so many predictions as to the Lord's return. This gave raise to so many spurious cults. Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism and Russell, founder of Jehovah Witness wrote their own bibles and prohibited their followers from reading the actual Bible. Miller said Jesus would return on 31 March 1831. When that did not happen, a woman follower said Jesus came in mid-air and she saw because she was sinless and that gave birth to Seventh Day Adventists. In our own times we have seen many dooms day predictions. In 1964 the world as a whole and India in particular was traumatized by prediction of unnatural event that eight planets in the galaxy lined up in one axis heralding end of world. So many people sold their properties, ate their live-stock and waited for the end on Mar 28, 1964. People's concern was brought to the notice of Nehru who laughed and said, "Why planets will take interest in human beings?"

Some people packed everything, went to Kuttalam waterfalls and waited for the end and returned seeing the waterfall. Dave Breeze, radio evangelist predicted over 94.5 FM Radio, that rapture took place in 1991 and after seven years of tribulation that is on Oct 28, 1998 Jesus would return; after that day he said it was a spiritual event. C. H. Ming, cult leader in Texas predicted that Jesus would return to earth on March 31. 98. Then he said, “Because we did not see God’s message on channel 18 tonight, second coming of Jesus Christ is nonsense,” Del Times DT 3-26-98. Cult leader in Denver, Miller, vanished with 50 followers. 39 members of Heaven’s gate cult were killed. David Quresh, Jim Johnson, Vidwankutty of Kerala (ancharakar) etc still linger in our memory. Year 2000 was then picked up with Y2K phenomenon as the end of the world.

Signs of the great tribulation and the destruction of Jerusalem historically took place as noted above. We should not distort truth of the prophecy for private gains. Spiritual dimension is always significant and we ought to take serious note. There is no need for panic instead, adhere to the word of God and lead a righteous life. Let us not be anxious when the Lord will return but be watchful, expecting and ready so that we stand with boldness before Him without shame of sin and guilt. Faithful must bear in mind that despite the disciples' specific question Jesus did not specify a time of return. So then setting dates in opposition to Jesus is not a sign of good faith. It is questioning the sanctity of gospel and so it is moral bankruptcy. It is a sort of quick-fix to escape from the responsibility of leading morally upright life. "Second watch or third watch" mentioned in Luke 12:38 indicate the stages of human life such as youth, old age, etc. One's world ends with his/her last breath in this pilgrim journey. Will then be found ready?

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