The End of All Things

For all those people who imagine that they are going to reign on the earth for a thousand years, I have some bad news.

"I will remove man and beast; I will remove the birds of the sky And the fish of the sea, And the ruins along with the wicked; And I will cut off man from the face of the earth," declares the LORD (Zephaniah 1:3).

"Neither their silver nor their gold Will be able to deliver them On the day of the LORD'S wrath; And all the earth will be devoured In the fire of His jealousy, For He will make a complete end, Indeed a terrifying one, Of all the inhabitants of the earth" (Zephaniah 1:18).

" Therefore wait for Me," declares the LORD, "For the day when I rise up as a witness Indeed, My decision is to gather nations, To assemble kingdoms, To pour out on them My indignation, All My burning anger; For all the earth will be devoured By the fire of My zeal" (Zephaniah 3:8).
See also: Isaiah 13:9, 24:6, 28:22; Jeremiah 4:23-26, 25:32-34; Malachi 4:1; 2 Peter 3:7, 10.

Yes, no one left to reign over as priests and kings, because 2,000 years ago (whew, an awful long time) "the end of all things is (was) at hand" (1 Peter 4:7).

This time it's worse than Noah's flood, because instead of destroying all the living things on earth, God is going to destroy the entire universe.

Well, it wasn't "at hand" and it simply didn't happen - unless I woke up on a new earth this morning and saw a different universe.

27 comments:

  1. "unless I woke up on a new earth this morning and saw a different universe."

    Technically, you did. Each time we rise from the unconsciousness of sleep (or the unconsciousness of dreams) our brains have to process the world anew again.

    As we go about our humdrum routines of half-wakefulness, we forget to look around us, and pay attention, to what is new or different or slightly off-kilter, from how it was before.

    The wheel of time and the wheel of the year grind on, tirelessly and forever, but in the larger repetition, there are always minute details that make the world around us slightly different than it was before.

    Yeah, yeah, you may now take me to task for being too "newage". ;-P

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  2. Don’t know where you get “God is going to destroy the entire universe”. These verses in Zephaniah are clearly talking about the earth, not the entire universe.

    I think you should read these things in the context that they are written in. e.g. Zep 3v8 you quote “for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.”

    OK – fine – but the very next verse says (Zep 3v9) “For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.”

    Now I don’t believe poor old Zephaniah had a sudden memory lapse between verse 8 and verse 9, sort of forget he had just said that everyone had been destroyed. Pretty obviously v8 does not mean ALL life is destroyed, or there would be no point in verse 9.

    The same could be said of the other verses you quote. Yes, it is talking of a time of serious destruction, but the surrounding verses make it very clear that human life continues.

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  3. What fun! You could find support in the Bible for just about any scenario you'd like to posit! Why? Because it was written by lots of different writers with lots of different viewpoints and redacted repeated by still more writers with still more viewpoints.

    Did poor old Zephaniah had a sudden memory lapse between verse 8 and verse 9? Nah, "poor old Zephaniah" probably wrote one of those verses and some pseudo-Zephaniah wrote the other, and some barely-literate editor 200 years later crunched the two together and didn't realize the contradiction.

    The Skeptic

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  4. I think the "reigning for 1,000 years" only appears in the book of Revelation, right?

    The inclusion of the Revelation in the New Testament books was very controversial. It was only settled in the fourth century. Imagine if it had been dropped, and we got the "Shepherd of Hermas" instead? That was popular among the 1st Century canon of Christian books.

    If that was the case, we'd believe some quite different things today.

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  5. Yes, the "thousand years" is only found in the book of Revelation. In that book the 13th apostle (Paul) is left out.

    It retains the "twelve" apostles but seems to name Paul as the false prophet.

    The book was written to the seven churches in Asia, the ones who had turned from Paul (II Tim. 1:15).

    The same churches that had tried those who said they were Jews and apostles but were not (Rev. 2:9; 3:9).

    They were the Nicolaitans (Rev. 2:6,15). They were the bishops appointed by Paul to be overseers of the churches.

    Paul was also the one who said it was okay to eat things sacrificed to idols (Rev. 2:14, 20) and he said it in (I Cor. 8).

    The Jerusalem church of James, John and Peter did not like Paul and Paul did not like them. (Gal. 1 & 2).

    Later, James set up Paul to be arrested (Acts 21:18-30). However, Paul had an ace up his sleeve, he was a born and bred Roman citizen. (Acts 22:25-29).

    Then since that made them afraid to mess with Paul they let the Jews proceed to slap him around? I don't think so, not a Roman citizen. It was the death penalty for Jews to strike a Roman citizen.

    But, since the whole book was made up, I guess they can make up the part about Paul being a Pharisee Christian too.

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  6. Corky said …..

    “Later, James set up Paul to be arrested (Acts 21:18-30).”

    Wow, what an amazing statement!!!

    So you suggest that James, the physical half-brother of Jesus Christ, sets up a scenario to effectively get Paul murdered.

    I have read and re-read those verses, and all I see is the request for Paul to openly show that he is not against the “law of Moses”.

    As Paul seems willing agree to this, it would seem to show that this indeed was his position.

    It was “the Jews” that were causing the problem some days later.

    Are you suggesting that this actually means “the Christians that supported James”

    This is an assertion with zero evidence. As Acts claims to be written by Luke, someone that you would consider to be a supporter of Paul, don’t you think he would want to make a big thing of deception like that?

    It would have been brilliant ammunition exposing such ‘dirty tricks’ and to support Paul’s position.

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  7. Questeruk said...
    So you suggest that James, the physical half-brother of Jesus Christ, sets up a scenario to effectively get Paul murdered..

    Yes. The Jewish Christians in Jerusalem (known as the Judaizers who Paul railed against in Galatians) wanted to be rid of Paul.

    I have read and re-read those verses, and all I see is the request for Paul to openly show that he is not against the “law of Moses”.

    As Paul seems willing agree to this, it would seem to show that this indeed was his position.
    .

    No it doesn't, it shows the willingness of Paul to pretend to be a Jew to the Jews (I Cor. 9:20).

    However, the Jews he was pretending to be a law keeper to were also "believers" (Acts 21:20). They were Christian Jews who didn't like Paul preaching against circumcisionm (v.21).

    How can you read that and not see it?

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  8. Questeruk,

    You BELIEVE that Luke wrote the Acts but there is obviously more than one author of the Acts.

    An example that is easy enough that even a fundie can see is the fact that Acts 1-16:9 is written in third person (they, them, their). Then after this verse to the end of the book it is written in first person (we, us, I).

    So, there are at least two authors of the book and probably several others besides.

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  9. “So, there are at least two authors of the book and probably several others besides.”

    So say you, Corky. But there is a much simpler and obvious reason.

    The author is telling the account of what happened from the ascension of Christ in chapter one of Acts, but it is only when we get to Acts chapter 16 that the author himself actually joins with Paul.

    You don’t have to be a ‘fundie’ to understand the logic of using the third person (they, them, their) up until the time when the author himself joined the travels in Acts 16. From that point the author writes in the first person (we, us, I).

    What other way would you expect it to be written? This is a perfectly normal way to write something, and I am sure you would never think twice about it in any other literature, except the Bible.

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  10. “it shows the willingness of Paul to pretend to be a Jew to the Jews (I Cor. 9:20).”

    I suggest that you are confusing pretence with empathy.

    I can have empathy with people of various religions, be it Muslim, Buddhist, even evangelical Christians. I can have empathy with the reasons they believe various differing ideas.

    I can also have empathy with many of the reasons a person professes to be an Atheist.

    However this does not mean that I pretend to be a Muslim, a Buddhist, an evangelical Christian or an Atheist.

    There is a great difference. Empathy is not pretence.

    Paul empathised – Paul did not pretend to be something that he was not.

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  11. Questeruk said...

    Paul empathised – Paul did not pretend to be something that he was not..

    I didn't know that you knew Paul so well. Personally, I never met the man but since you did, I guess I'll have to take your word for it.

    How old did you say you were, 2,000years old or something like that?

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  12. Questeruk,

    With respect, I think the burden of proof is upon you - to show from external sources that Christ was risen.

    And to do this without using the NT, which is a 4th century editorial selection from a range of diverse earlier Christian texts.

    But if it can't be shown that Christ was raised, then it's a matter of faith, meaning acceptance without evidence.

    And so Corky is right to declare it a story, or a myth, or a fabrication, etc. That doesn't mean it's without value; but not factual.

    Would be interested to hear a brief answer to this.

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  13. Questeruk,

    Do you know how to tell if a book is fiction or non-fiction? I mean other than the book or library shelf saying so.

    Do you know how to tell the difference by the content?

    Fiction tells of things that the writer couldn't possibly know. Things like private conversations when the writer wasn't privy to them.

    Preachers disagreed just as much back then as they do today. History tells of the arguments and fights over Christian doctrines and the Acts also tells of a falling out among them over the law and circumcision.

    Another falling out between preachers is told about in Acts 15:36-39. It's funny how Luke could have known that when, as you say, he didn't join them until the Acts changes to first person in chapter 16?

    Of course, the writers could claim that the holy spirit inspired them but so do the denominations and sects of today - all umpteen thousands of 'em.

    It's kind of strange that the holy spirit instructed Paul that circumcision wasn't necessary for the gentiles but the same spirit neglected to instruct Peter, James and John about it.

    People are still just as gullible today as they were in those superstitious times it seems.

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  14. Corky said...
    “Another falling out between preachers is told about in Acts 15:36-39. It's funny how Luke could have known that when, as you say, he didn't join them until the Acts changes to first person in chapter 16?”

    It doesn’t seem the slightest bit funny to me as to how Luke could have known.

    I’ll try spelling it out:-

    If Luke joins Paul’s party in Acts chapter 16, how could he possibly know what happened a few days/weeks before in Acts 15?

    Do you think that as he joined Paul’s party, that just maybe, Paul spoke to Luke, and discussed what had happened? Do you think that maybe that is a possible explanation?

    I would suggest that it would be rather funny if Paul had NOT told Luke the recent history of what had happened. They had plenty of time to talk about such things, the hours they were walking the roads together, with no ipods to listen to.


    You say “Fiction tells of things that the writer couldn't possibly know. Things like private conversations when the writer wasn't privy to them.”

    Yes, but if Paul tells Luke the conversations of a few weeks previous then Luke becomes privy to it, does he not? At least to Paul’s version of it.

    It’s what is called ‘communication’.

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  15. Questeruk said...
    Yes, but if Paul tells Luke the conversations of a few weeks previous then Luke becomes privy to it, does he not? At least to Paul’s version of it.

    It’s what is called ‘communication’.
    .

    Very good! Now try that same thing with Numbers 22.

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  16. Hi Questeruk,

    Sorry for any confusion. On Sept 5th, you said to Corky:

    "If you consider it’s a work of fiction the whole discussion on the doings of one of the author’s characters becomes all rather pointless."

    Your comment was in response to Corky, who said on Sept 3rd:

    "But, since the whole book was made up, I guess they can make up the part about Paul being a Pharisee Christian too."

    I think this is very relevant because 'Paul' writes to the Corinthians:

    If there is no resurrection, Christ wasn't risen: our preaching is vain, and your faith is vain. And we are found to be false witnesses about God.

    So, if you have confidence in Paul and Luke as the authors of these books, and confidence in the return of Christ and his future reign, then surely this stands on his literal resurrection after he died.

    So, can you demonstrate the NT isn't a work of fiction? Specifically, can you show from external sources that Christ was raised?

    Can you show its fact? Otherwise, it's all moot, right?

    -Fred.

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  17. "But if it can't be shown that Christ was raised, then it's a matter of faith, meaning acceptance without evidence."

    Having come out of Armstrongism not too long ago, I'm currently puzzling over things similar to what you are talking about here, namely, things that have to do with Biblical validity.

    I have a question, that maybe someone can answer, and I hope that it's not off topic.

    One of the things that is big in Paul's preaching is FAITH. He talks how FAITH is one of the main elements of Christianity. That we are "saved through faith" and that "without faith, it's impossible to please God", and things like that.

    Yet on the other hand, he tells us to "prove all things".

    Those two concepts seem to be contradictory to me. Does someone have an explanation for this?

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  18. Coco Joe said...
    Those two concepts seem to be contradictory to me. Does someone have an explanation for this?.

    Those concepts really are contradictory so why would you want an explanation for it? Why not just accept it for what it really is?

    Matthew's gospel says Jesus was born before Herod the king died in 4 BC but Luke's gospel says that Jesus was born at the time of the census in 6 AD.

    How many contradictions do people need to see before they realize that they are reading fiction?

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  19. Corky,

    If I am to be honest, I can't really disagree with what you are saying.

    After being a professing Christian for years, it's very difficult to face the idea that what was believed to be the inerrant "Word of God" is starting to look more and more like the ideas and thoughts of MEN.

    It leaves me with the question, Now what?

    Everything that I had believed to be true is slowly eroding away.

    I guess it's time to come up with a whole new philosophy about life, and God, and all those things.

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  20. Questeruk,

    Your explanation of Numbers 22 is the perfect example of "making stuff up" as a way to explain away the obvious.

    Do you believe that a man named Balaam had the power to put a curse on a people? Then you must also believe in witches riding on broomsticks.

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  21. Questeruk said:
    "It’s the best we can do. It’s a case of making a definite decision, based on indefinite evidence."

    Indefinite evidence, that's the problem.

    If scripture is God inspired, or God breathed, like people say, I would think that an all powerful and all knowing God could come up with something better than indefinite evidence.

    And so the answer, we're told, is to believe, and have faith.

    In something that cannot be positively proven?

    That seems more like something from MEN, rather than from God.

    And that is the fertile ground from which the religious con-man works.

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  22. Questeruk said...
    But then if you believe there are no higher powers, that man just happened by chance, a sort of cosmic accident, then obviously this will give you a problem..

    What a person "believes" doesn't really mean anything unless there is actual, real evidence to support it.

    Of course we do have lots of evidence for evolution! Read Darwin's Origin; even in 1859 we had great rollicking piles of persuasive evidence, and it's only grown since.

    Fossils show a pattern of change over geological time, and we also have molecular evidence to link all the diverse lineages of life on earth.

    Believing for the sake of believing is absolutely useless in the real world where reality trumps superstition every time.

    You wouldn't buy something unless it could be proved to exist, would you? I hope not.

    Yet you are willing to give your whole life and fortune over to something that you have absolutely no proof of except some bronze age men's word on it.

    Faith is a saving virtue, they say. Why is faith a saving virtue? Because they say it is. Why do they say it is? Because they have no proof of what they are telling you. That's the real reason for that thing called faith.

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  23. Coco Joe said... “

    If scripture is God inspired, or God breathed, like people say, I would think that an all powerful and all knowing God could come up with something better than indefinite evidence.”

    I agree, God could. So if there is a God, why hasn’t He? Logically you have to say one of three things:-

    1. There is no God.
    2. God is not interested in giving irrefutable evidence of existence to mankind.
    3. God is not giving irrefutable evidence of existence for a reason.

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  24. Corky said...

    “What a person "believes" doesn't really mean anything unless there is actual, real evidence to support it.”

    Yes and no on that one.

    Forward thinkers have often come up with ideas that they are convinced are correct, but are unable to substantiate it.

    De Vinci designed at helicopter. Design experts today know it could never have flown, but the idea was there.

    Through the centuries the idea was there, although often discredited by other scientists, but a form of power that would work had to wait until someone invented it!

    Evolution is one interpretation of evidence. God as a creator is another interpretation of evidence. On both sides useful evidence is emphasised, and contradictory evidence is played down, or ignored.

    I could cite examples from one side, and I am certain you could cite examples from another side.

    The evidence isn’t the problem – the interpretation of the evidence is. And I think both of us would agree on that, so long as we don’t get down to details!

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  25. Corky said...
    “Instead, the theist (that's you) uses the premise of God's existence (which hasn't been proved) to reach the conclusion that God exists. Then they extrapolate that it must have been this God that created everything.”

    Not the way I did things Corky.

    I have searched ideas of how the universe came into existence, and how life itself originated, and formed all its myriad of interdependent varieties without any sort of higher power. I particularly went into this when WCG was crumbling and splintering in the ‘90s.

    To me nothing shaped up without some sort of higher power. It was a case of ‘no god’ just doesn’t work, so there was a need of ‘some god’.

    In coming to this conclusion I particularly admired atheist scientist Sir Fred Hoyle, who at least had the guts and the ‘bottle’ to state that many of the theories of ‘science’ just could not work.

    This included evolution on earth, and the ‘big bang’ theory. In fact it was Fred Hoyle that named it ‘big bang’, as a somewhat derisory term, but the name stuck.

    Interestingly he had the honesty to admit his own ideas on the origin of the universe without a higher power also had flaws, and towards the end of his life, after years of atheism, can to the conclusion that some sort of ‘higher power’ had to exist for the universe, and life itself, to make any sense.

    He too met much opposition. In the same way as creationists are derided by ‘conventional science’, so too are atheists who are prepared to rebuff the whole framework of conventional science.

    Criticism of a detail is fine – but to suggest the whole basis is flawed, and even an atheist become a pariah.

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  26. Questeruk said...
    You and me both Corky – yet we still do it..

    Yes, except I told you why I do it. Let's hear why you do it.

    Left to my own thinking, I believe you do it because you can't stand for someone to not believe the same thing you do and you can't understand how someone can not believe in your magic man in the sky.

    The origins of the universe? I don't even care - that was like 14 billion years ago. It doesn't have anything to do with here and now for us to not know the exact answer.

    The things we do know the answers to are enough to disprove the Bible, like the real reason we have rainbows for example.

    If you want to believe that God gave spiders a special sign by creating a rainbow in a spider's web after a dew, that's your delusion, not mine.

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  27. Corky said,
    "Yes, but they were and are called "ideas" and not "truth" and "fact" that people have to believe or be damned. That's the tiny difference that makes a big difference".

    That statement pretty much hits the nail on the head as far as I'm concerned, and spells out my whole problem with Bible-based, organized religion.

    When people say "believe or be damned", that is, to believe something which there is no way of proving. To me that's unacceptable, and smacks of a con, especially when requests are made to send money, that really smacks of a con.

    Personally, for me, when I look at the earth and the universe, I see a creation, and I realize some people don't see it that way, and that's no problem. Nobody has to see it the way I do.

    When I look at trees and plants that grow food, I see a MIND behind that, and some people don't. Again, no problem.

    Whether through evolution, or whatever, doesn't matter to me, I see a MIND behind the things that exist, and some people don't. Fine.

    My problem is when people claim to be God's voice, or representative, and they offer stories of supernatural happenings, or books (like the Bible) and claim that God wrote it, using men as His tool, and that we have to believe it, or be damned, and that we have to send them MONEY to support their divine mission, well, that's where it starts looking like nothing but a big con-game, all for their own greed.

    And that is where I would make the case, that an all powerful and wise God, would not use a confusing, contradictory, and fable-filled book like the Bible to communicate Himself with.

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