House Passes 9/11-Inspired Doomsday Bill (March 3, 2005)
“Members of the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill Thursday to speed up the election of replacements if they get killed in a catastrophic event, like a Sept. 11, 2001-type attack. On a vote of 329 to 68, the House sent the doomsday measure to the Senate for approval so that it can be signed into law.”
I had just arrived at work and was checking my email when the first plane hit Tower 1 at 8:46 am on September 11, 2001. President Bush was at an elementary school in Sarasota, FL. Nobody in America was ready for that morning’s catastrophic events. More than four years later, the United States government continues to introduce new bills directly related to this “doomsday” event.
The term doomsday is handed down to us from the Old English phrase “d mes dæg.” Literally translated, it meant a day of doom, or rather, “a day of final judgment.” While our culture regularly associates the word doom with utter destruction, despair, and turmoil, such as what took place on September 11th, it is disheartening to admit that so few Christians actually understand the true meaning behind such a day.
Acknowledging the Chatter
Are you listening to the chatter? Are your ears attuned to the groans of creation (Romans 8)? Do you look for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus (Titus 2:13)? When was the last time you woke up wondering if today would be the day of Christ’s return?
You cannot continue to live a Spirit-filled life until the possibility of Jesus’ imminent return overtakes your purpose for living. This is the model we get from the apostle Paul. He repeatedly instructed the early church to dwell on their Lord’s return. Jesus, Himself, emphasized the importance of looking forward to His second coming: “You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:40). The more passionate your hope for Christ’s return becomes, the greater your lifestyle will begin to reflect Him and the more prepared you will be to accept His return. You must not keep the greatest doomsday the world will ever see to yourself. To do so would be a sin.
Interpreting the Chatter
Anyone paying attention to current events can hear the “chatter” of a world in crisis. It is becoming increasingly popular to talk about the end of the world amongst Christian friends. The popular series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins has caused a stir in religious and non-religious circles alike. On April 13th of this year, 15 million viewers tuned in to watch the first episode in an ABC miniseries entitled “Revelations.” Understandably, doomsday predictions have become all the hype. Unfortunately, very few of them reflect biblical truth about the matter.
Since the day of Paul, there have been many incorrect predictions to the date of Christ’s return. In the year 365, a Catholic priest by the name of Hilary of Poitiers predicted that the world would end before the year was over. More recently, the Jehovah Witnesses have incorrectly predicted at least eight different dates between the years 1914 and 1994.
All of these predictions have two inarguable things in common with each other:
- They were wrong.
- They failed to take into account the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:36,42: “But of the day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone… Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”
It is important for us to understand the reasoning behind Jesus’ command to “Be alert.” He has not asked us to spend countless hours surfing the internet and the television for “signs of the times.” Christians are not to become arrogant in their preaching of Christ’s imminent return or anxious in the possibility of its truth. We are to simply, “Be alert.” While Scripture readily cites wars and rumors of wars, brothers rising against brothers, and natural disasters as signs of Christ’s return, it is important that we remember the many events fitting this description from time of Jesus’ crucifixion until today. His warnings are not to help us better predict the day or year of His second coming, but to keep us mindful of our reason for breathing.
Code Red: Living in the Final Days
On February 22, 2002, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, a magazine focusing on nuclear disarmament, moved the hands on their famous Doomsday Clock to seven minutes before midnight. The hands on their clock have been moved 17 times since the year 1947. While the clock itself could never predict when the next nuclear bomb will detonate, it serves as a constant reminder that the world’s total devastation is only “minutes” away as long as nuclear weapons remain an active part of military arsenals.
You and I are living in the final days, not because of wars and rumors of wars, but because Jesus Christ has told us we are. The war in Iraq, the tension in the Middle East, and natural disasters such as last year’s Indian Ocean tsunami all serve as reminders to this truth. Unlike the hands of a fictional clock somewhere in Chicago, the warnings in Scripture have been passed down from the only One who can say with authority that He knows when He will send His Son back to the earth.