"But of that day and hour no one knoweth, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone."
Here we go again:
If there had been time, Marie Exley would have liked to start a family. Instead, the 32-year-old Army veteran has less than six months left, which she'll spend spreading a stark warning: Judgment Day is almost here.
Exley is part of a movement of Christians loosely organized by radio broadcasts and websites, independent of churches and convinced by their reading of the Bible that the end of the world will begin on May 21, 2011.
To get the word out, they're using billboards and bus stop benches, traveling caravans of RVs and volunteers passing out pamphlets on street corners. Cities from Bridgeport, Conn., to Little Rock, Ark., now have billboards with the ominous message, and mission groups are traveling in countries from Latin America to Africa to spread the news outside the U.S.
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"A lot of people might think, 'The end's coming, let's go party,'" said Exley, a veteran of two deployments in Iraq. "But we're commanded by God to warn people. I wish I could just be like everybody else, but it's so much better to know that when the end comes, you'll be safe."
I suspect that we'll start to see more and more of this sort of stuff in the near future. It's apparent to most that something is happening that's not like anything we've experienced before. Many of us believe that we are in the times foretold in the Bible. I don't think that we're in the end times but the changing of an era that will usher us into an age of peace as the Book of Revelation speaks of, before the return of Christ and the final judgement. Others would disagree. Many in the Protestant world believe in a "rapture", a relatively new idea that is outside any of the traditional mainstream Christian theologies. I think they're wrong but that's not the point.
The one thing that all Christians should be able to agree on because it's so freakin' plainly spoken in the Bible is that no one will know the time that whatever happens...happens. There are always groups and individuals that claim to know the future, that say they are speaking for God and that they know the time of the second coming or rapture or whatever their pet theory is and that we should follow them. And for some reason, even though the words of the Bible contradict them, people hop on board.
Then the time passes and nothing happens and the people that are prone to mocking Christianity and religion in general get to go on TV and radio making funny jokes and ridiculing believers. And many that may have been considering whether to ask God into their lives figure that this just proves how silly the whole thing is so they turn around and walk away. Another soul lost because somebody got all puffed up and consumed by their own fantasy and led others astray.
"Then if any man shall say to you: Lo here is Christ, or there, do not believe him.
For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Behold I have told it to you, beforehand.
If therefore they shall say to you: Behold he is in the desert, go ye not out: Behold he is in the closets, believe it not. For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be. Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together."
When the time comes, God won't leave us guessing. We'll know that it's the real deal. There will be many that are coming that will be able to use the natural world, to create signs and wonders that will amaze, but, if you've been praying and kept the channels of communication open, you'll know the charlatan from the King.
But get ready for one of the greatest medicine shows in the history of man as Satan tries to sell his man as the Messiah. And keep on praying.