Thursday, May 19, 2011

Israel to be invaded Friday. World to end Saturday.

By Donald Sensing

What an interesting conjunction of events. First: "Facebook Groups Call for Mass Invasion of Israel on Friday."

The Third Palestinian Intifada on Facebook seems to have at least twenty different groups or pages, each with hundreds or thousands of fans. One group has 365,000 fans. According to Yedioth Ahronoth (YNet), these sites are now urging all Arabs to “rush the Israeli borders” after Friday prayers on May 20.

Look: This could be the work of one nerdy Palestinian in a basement in Ramallah. The fans could also be people who exist only in cyberspace.

But, these Third Palestinian Intifada websites could also be the work of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hizbullah, Syria, and the Palestinian Authority, all of which have problems of their own and for whom a diversion would be mighty fine. In fact, I think they are. Thus, this promised new aggression must be taken seriously and stopped in its tracks.

In any event, these Third Intifada facebook websites are suggesting that armed and unarmed hordes, masses, mobs of incited and hate-filled Arabs invade–“surge”–into sovereign Israel (as they have done for years to India.) The Indian press and police are too afraid to report it or to stop them. Israelis have no choice but to do so.
I do not think that the "surge" will be nearly as great at this piece's author, Phyllis Chesler, fears. But the turnout will still be high. There was, after all, a rehearsal held only a few days ago.
Palestinians rushed Israel's borders at Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of 15 Palestinians and many more injuries.

The Israeli Defense Force was caught by surprise but was able to defend the borders. But the crowds got what they came for: heaping more bad publicity on Israel. Most of the international media dutifully complied.
Interesting event number two: Christian Premillennialism, a variety of "end times" lore, insists that Isarel will be invaded by mortal enemies and that to save Israel, Jesus will return in person. And he won't be nice.

Third: Harold Camping, founder of Family Radio Worldwide, with a wide listener base, says that God closes the book on human history this Saturday.
May 19 (Reuters) - The U.S. evangelical broadcaster predicting that Judgment Day will come on Saturday says he expects to stay close to a TV or radio to monitor the unfolding apocalypse.

Harold Camping, 89, previously made a failed prediction that Jesus Chris would return to Earth in 1994.

But the head of the Christian radio network Family Stations Inc says he is sure an earthquake will shake the Earth on May 21, sweeping true believers to heaven and leaving others behind to be engulfed in the world's destruction over a few months.

"We know without any shadow of a doubt it is going to happen," said Camping, whose Family Radio broadcasts in more than 30 languages and on U.S. and international stations.
So: invasion of Israel Friday? Second coming Saturday? I personally think I'll go long on oil.

A fellow named Hal Lindsey wrote a novel in 1970 called The Late Great Planet Earth, though the publisher presented it as "non-fiction." It sold many millions of copies. It was a highly imaginative account of why Lindsey thought the world would end in 1988. Lindsey’s fictional account of the end times had the Warsaw Pact invading Israel from the north and the Chinese army invading from the east, and the United States in the middle, defending Israel. Nuclear war followed, which would have killed every human being except for the direct, personal return of Christ to Jerusalem.

It didn’t happen, of course. The Warsaw pact is gone. For that matter, 1988 is gone, too, and we’re still here. Jesus hasn’t returned yet. The Late Great Planet Earth is in its forty-plus printing; not a word has been changed and it still predicts the end of the world and the second coming in 1988. The track record of everyone who has predicted the end of the world has been one hundred percent in error. One supposes, though, that eventually someone will get it right.

According to the 24th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, we cannot know when comes the end of the age: "You do not know on what day your Lord will come," Jesus admonished his disciples. So we should not even try to predict. Jesus will come in judgment at an unexpected hour. Keep spiritually awake, Jesus cautions, don’t be asleep. Followers of Jesus are to spend their time announcing the Good News and being the body of Christ in this world, not in apocalyptic speculation.

The real pity of Mr. Camping's May 21 prediction is not that it will be wrong, but that it has inexplicably received so much media attention. His is a fringe movement, not even a flicker on the Church-o-meter. So why does his forecast get such media attention? Well, it gives pop culture another reason to dismiss all the Church and all its teachings.

The pity is that so many people will think that Camping-ism is normative of the Christian faiths. But it is not a message of hope nor a position of confidence. Campingism - and "Left Behind-ism" generally - is a theology of fear, and poor theology at that.

Vigilance for the day of the Lord is a spiritual condition. It means that we remain open to what our relationship with God demands. Let God take us in judgment, for that judgment is liberation and freedom. Whenever judgment comes, we should live now in faith, staying spiritually awake. Our Lord will break into our ordinary lives with extraordinary power, even when we don’t expect it.

Update: Here is a convenient flow chart on whether you will be raptured Saturday.

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