“The earth is degenerating these days. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer mind their parents. Every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.”
Wow. Not sure how the author of that actual little quotation made the logical leap, but leap he did. Yes, some dishonest people have their pockets lined to serve the interests of a powerful few. Do you doubt that?
Yes, children have a mind of their own. That apple didn’t just fall from the tree and knock us on the head this morning.
Yes, everybody seems to want to write a book these days. Here’s mine. You can get it for three bucks. Please buy it.
But are those our “Shocking Signs of the End of the World?”
Anyway, those pearls of wisdom came from an Assyrian tablet, dated 2,800 B.C.E.
How about this one?
“The world is too big for us. Too much going on, too many crimes, too much violence and excitement. Try as you will you get behind in the race, in spite of yourself. It’s an incessant strain, to keep pace… and still, you lose ground. Science empties its discoveries on you so fast that you stagger beneath them in hopeless bewilderment. The political world is news seen so rapidly you’re out of breath trying to keep pace with who’s in and who’s out. Everything is high pressure. Human nature can’t endure much more!”
That one appeared in the Atlantic Journal. June 16, 1833. Even before the days of the iPhone 5. Or electricity.
So last night, when a civilization that had already seen the end of the world supposedly predicted the end of mine, I decided to brace for the inevitable by going to see “The Hobbit” with my son (well worth the price of the popcorn, by the way).
Prior to the movie, I think I counted four or five trailers for upcoming movies that have a common theme: The earth is toast. Or at least the people on it. But fear not – the hero is here to save the day! Or at least to buy your mineral rights before you’re vaporized, evacuated, sucker-punched by a zombie, or (even worse) your family farm is raped by the evil oil companies.
Good stinkin’ grief.
It’s In Our DNA
In a moment of early-morning coffee-infused clarity, I think I realized why we have such a fascination with planetary destruction: we’ve already been through that once. Of course, none of us were around, but whenever we see a rainbow or a massive flood or ducks walking two-by-two, we’re instinctively reminded: We’ve been here before.
This has already happened once, and every ancient civilization, it seems, has a flood story to account for it. It’s in our collective psyche.
What, pray tell, is our seemingly insane fascination with zombies? Where did we get the idea that once somebody died, they could come back to life? Okay, I’m stretching on this one but… It’s already happened once. Only this was no zombie. He’s the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who conquered sin and yes, the grave. He now holds the keys to the grave and promises clearly that one day He’s going to use them. And your grandpa, Aunt Sally, and even you will rise from the dead.
We won’t be haunting or hunting. We’ll be reigning with He who is the firstborn from the dead.
And while we’re at it, what’s our fascination and love for those epic heroes? Where does that come from? The ultimate hero story.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders. And hi name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
What a combination of strength and beauty, wisdom and love! Hollywood actors, preachers or politicians need not apply. This seat has already been taken; this role has already been filled.
This hero, this conquering warrior/prince who promised to never leave or forsake us and to be an Everlasting Father to us, left us with a book of stories. A book of truth. One of those stories – those truths – is different. At the very end of the book is a piece that, when the title is translated, reads, The Apocalypse of John.
Hmmm. It’s not just in our DNA. It’s in our destiny. Of course, in a world that runs from Christ and his truth, most of us brace for an apocalypse without a hero. Or one where the hero is Tom Cruise or somebody. But John has a different version:
Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all peoples on earth will mourn because of him.
So shall it be! Amen (Revelation 1:7).
This ain’t no zombie, friends. But somewhere in our collective hearts we know… or fear… that it’s true.