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Monday, December 10, 2012

Have We Reached Our Expiration Date? By Linda P. Kozar



"A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished." Proverbs 27:12 

Is This The End, My Friend?

You may have noticed a plethora of apocalyptic TV shows airing, all in anticipation of the Mayan prediction of the end of the world at midnight, December 21st, 2012.

With that date in mind, a ground swell of doomsdayers are prepping and preparing to protect hearth and home, not only with food and medical supplies, but with guns and ammunition. The reason--anything from national emergencies, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, to end of the world scenarios. But when does prepping transform into hoarding and avarice? And how much is too much?

There's no argument that people should prepare for these scenarios (with the exception of alien and zombie attacks--C'mon now).

I've lived through enough hurricanes to realize the wisdom in keeping an emergency cabinet. There's even advice about preparing in Proverbs 6:6:

"Go to the aunt, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise.
Which, having no captain, overseer or ruler,
She provides her supplies in the summer.
And gathers her food in the harvest."



Of course, back in ancient times people had to lay up food in the summer to get them through the winter. Food was stored up in times of plenty to prevent starvation in times of drought and famine or times when war made agriculture impossible. That same logic, when applied to modern case scenarios begs the question, "Why not lay up food for the possibility of hard economic times to come, or to temporarily provide nourishment and creature comforts through natural or man-made disasters?" Many people are stocking their homes with that very purpose in mind.

But others are stocking away food and supplies for an extinction event.



Extinction Event

Just what is an extinction event?

An Extinction-Level Event or ELE, is a period in time when a large number of species die out above and beyond the normal background level, events not caused by changes in habitat or competition. ELEs are caused by catastrophic events (meteors, super volcanoes, etc.)

There have been five mass extinction events throughout the earth’s history: Ordovician/Silurian (450-440 Ma), Late Devonian (375-360 Ma), Permian/Triassic (251), Triassic/Jurrasic (205) and Cretaceous/Paleogene (65.5).

Preppers call such an event: TEOTWAWKI, an acronym for "The End Of The World As We Know It."


And some people are forecasting a sixth extinction event. Here are some of the ways scientists and end-time theorists are predicting the world might come to an end:

  • Asteroid Impact
  • Comet Collision
  • Orbital Obliteration (Orbits out of whack)
  • Pandemic (Bird Flu, etc.)
  • Terrorism
  • Antimatter (from Particle Accelerators)
  • The Machines Take Over (Computers/Robots become sentient)
  • Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) (The Sun goes all supernova on us)
  • Gamma Ray Bursts
  • Global Warming or Cooling
  • Loss of Biodiversity
  • Ocean Acidification
  • Solar Storm
  • Alien Invasion (Little Green Men with BIG eyes)
  • Supervolcano (Caldera)
  • Geomagnetic Reversal (Polar Shift)
  • Nuclear War
  • Artificial Black Hole
  • Zombie Attack (Really?)
  • The X Factor (Unknown Cause)
  • Judgment Day

Wow! Some of these predictions require a lot of imagination to entertain the thought (I'm picking on the zombie thing again). If I've left any out, please don't judge. I know there are more apocalyptic options, but I had to stop somewhere.

And while we're on zombies, for those of you who actually believe in such a thing, I might as well mention that aside from the resurrection at the end of the age, the dead will not rise, nor will they be hungry for human flesh. Corpses cannot utilize any of the five senses. They can't see or hear possible prey. They can't taste or digest. The neurons aren't firing in their brains. Their muscles and joints would no longer function, so shambling around, or any movement at all would be out of the question. Did I mention rigor mortis? Bloating? Aside from all that, insects and bacteria would make short work of the "living" dead. So there...
Stockpiling:

Many people have prepped way beyond their emergency cabinets and pantries. Their bedrooms, secret rooms and garages are full of food, gas masks, HazMat suits, weapons, seeds, tools and much more.

Hoarders typically fill their home and property with "stuff," eventually cramping their living space to the point where they are not able to move about freely. They believe they will use the items to scavenge and store someday.

If you're house is not so much a home as a storage facility, you might have a problem. You might have made the leap from prepper to hoarder.

Those who watch the NatGeo show, Doomsday Preppers on TV really get an eye and earful of what some people are doing to prepare. They are building huge compounds to house their families and friends, underground bunkers (some in abandoned missile silos or in caves deep underground), storing massive caches of food in a variety of locations, stockpiling medical supplies, weaponry and ordnance. And many of these structures are booby-trapped. One man even booby-trapped extra food supplies by lacing them with poison. Can you imagine a group of starving, desperate people--men, women and little children devouring those supplies only to perish?

Christians and TEOTWAWKI:

For Christians, the last ELE is of most importance. It is also the only event which has any meaning and it is definitely not a true extinction event (except for sin)! Funny, if you check out all the apocalyptic websites and forums, the return of Jesus Christ to judge the quick and the dead isn't at the top of the list.

Preparing for disasters is the smart thing to do. It's also the right thing to do, but obsession with prepping borders mental illness and certainly ventures into the area of sin. Now hear me out...


Prepping and Avarice

You might have read about the "Seven Deadly Sins" listed at various places in the Bible: Wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony.

Greed is also known as avarice or covetousness and like lust and gluttony, is a sin of excess. It expresses an excessive desire and pursuit of wealth, status and power. Thomas Aquinas wrote that greed was "a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things." Greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth.

Yet God proves over and over in the Bible that He is well able to provide for His people.

In 1 Kings 17: 1-4, Elijah prophesied the Word of God to all the people that a drought would be over the land. God commanded him to hide by the Brook Cherith, drink there and receive food from the ravens, whom God commanded to bring him food. And that is exactly what happened.

Later, in 1 Kings 19: 5-8, Elijah was despondent.  After a showdown with the false prophets of Queen Jezebel, she wanted Elijah dead, so he had to flee into the wilderness. Depressed and without resources, he prayed that he might die and fell asleep under a broom tree. He awoke to the touch of an angel who said, "Arise and eat." Then he looked , and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water." He ate twice and was sustained by that heavenly food for forty days and nights.

And remember the widow and her young son in 1 Kings 17:16? "The bin of flour was not used up, not did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah." God can keep provisions flowing, bring you to food or bring the food to YOU

God is well able to provide for His people. "A good man gives an inheritance to his grandchildren and the wealth of sinners is kept for the righteous" (Aramaic Bible in plain english). Though we are prudent to prepare for emergencies and disasters, there is no guarantee the things we have stored up will survive such scenarios or be accessible to us.

But should we worry and wring our hands together over the future? Proverbs 15:15 “All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil (by anxious thoughts and forebodings), but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast (regardless of circumstances).

The Book of Revelation is the last book of the bible. God's unerring and eternal Word that reveals to us how the end of the world as we know it, will conclude. There will be a time of great tribulation, such as the world has never known. At some point during the tribulation, believers will be raptured, taken up (harpazos) to heaven with Christ. 

This is the sticking point with many Christians who ask "Will we have to go through part or all of the tribulation?" If so, many wonder how and where they would live without taking the mark of the beast (who will require every person to take his mark--name or number--on their body in order to buy, sell or trade. Imagine this situation for a moment. If you were suddenly unable to buy, sell or trade, how could you buy groceries? Pay your mortgage? Buy gas? The answer is, you would not be able to. You and your family would be forced to bug out--to retreat into the wilderness to survive. And you would eventually be pursued, hunted down by the world government, totally under the control of the antichrist.

But as I pointed out earlier in this discourse, God is well able to take care of His people, prepared or not. Elijah was not a prepper. He was a pray-er!

We know from the Book of Revelation that almost all of the scenarios listed above will come to pass in the destruction of the heavens and the earth. We know that an asteroid or meteorite named "Wormwood" (Revelation 8:11) will be on a collision course with earth. It will poison the water supply. Most of the sea life and animal life will perish. Plants will die off. There will be wars, bombs, fires, floods, solar flares, volcanoes, earthquakes, starvation, plagues and suffering. Those who are left on the earth till the bitter end, will ask the mountains to fall on them so they can put an end to their suffering. "And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb" Revelation 6:16.

Jesus, the Lion of Judah will return and put a swift end to Armageddon. The antichrist and false prophet will be destroyed. Satan and all his fallen angels will be vanquished forevermore. The righteous will be taken away to heaven. Unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment and cast into Hell. Revelation 21:1 states: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. . ." The Holy City of Jerusalem will descend out of heaven with God to the new earth. 
To a believer, the end of the world is a good thing. The end of the temporal world will usher in the eternal reign of Christ who will sit at the right hand of the Father, ruling a new heaven and a new earth. In heaven there will be no more tears, no more strife--no more sin and the destruction that results from it.

The Seven Deadly Sins can be counteracted by the daily choices we make.  Instead of puffing up with  pride in yourself, be humble; instead of hoarding food for your own use, collect and share food with homeless shelters or your church's food pantry. Substitute love for envy, kindness for wrath and self-control instead of lust. Don't be a glutton--eat sensibly instead. And substitute a pure zeal for God and His call on your life instead of being lazy and slothful. 

People have wondered about the end of the world since the beginning of the world. Remember Noah?The poet, Robert Frost pondered the end of the world, sharing his thoughts on the matter in the poem below. Whatever you believe about doomsday, the world will surely end at some point. And you'd better be ready on some level, but the most important preparation to make is to ask Jesus into your heart if you haven't already done so. Salvation is the only prep you'll need for eternal life with God.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.