Friday, May 13, 2011

The Earthquake Diaries (Apocalypse...Now???)

by Barry Michael Cooper
"And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven."
Luke 21:11

Another day, another earthquake. A few days ago--11 May--there was a 5.3 earthquake in Lorca, Spain; ten reported casualties, scores injured. Let's rewind: on 22 February 2011, 181 people died in a frightening 6.3 earthquake that upended Canterbury region of Christchurch, New Zealand. Less than a month later--on 11 March--Japan was rocked not only by a devastating 9.0 earthquake--the most powerful earthquake to ever hit Japan--but a deadly tsunami that fractured a nuclear facility and claimed the lives of almost 15,000 people. 

Five days later, on 16 March, Chile was rocked by a 5.3 tremor. Last year, on 10 January 2010, an earthquake leveled most of Haiti with almost 500,000 deaths. In April, 327 tornadoes tore through the Southeast, claiming almost 400 lives; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) estimates that since the start of 2011, the U.S. has been hit with 881 twisters, the deadliest outbreak in U.S. history.

On Tuesday, 10 May 2011, parts of Memphis, Tenn., was submerged underwater, as the swollen banks of the Mississippi River flooded that city.  Yesterday--12 May--Mount Etna erupted in Italy, painting the nighttime Sicilian skyline in spectacular fiery orange hues of lava and ash. How about the baffling reports of dead birds falling out of the sky, and millions of fish washing up on shores across the globe?

What's going on?

There is a Christian broadcaster named Harold Camping, who has done a series of mathematical calculations tied to the books in the Bible, along with the Hebrew calendars, and he believes that Judgement Day will commence on 21 May 2011. That's right; next Saturday. Of course, Camping has been written off as another nutcase and religious huckster, who in fact, predicted that the world would end back on 7 September 1994. So much for that prediction.

Despite all of this, I have to say, Harold Camping is a very competent and faithful Bible teacher. I know this, because I have listened to many of his Bible studies, and he always says, "Don't trust me; trust the Bible." I have learned a lot as I listen to the ministry of Family Radio, but as Camping has correctly stated, I don't trust him, or any other Bible teacher. Or any minister. 

Let me say this; I am a flawed, screwed up guy; pride, adultery, anger, etc. An anxious glutton standing in line at life's transgressive buffet. I have absolutely no desire to judge others, except main man staring me back in the mirror. Which is why I need JESUS CHRIST as my LORD and SAVIOR. I trust GOD and the Bible alone. Period. I believe the Bible is the only way to study GOD's WORD. I take no man's word as gospel.

Like the Bereans in Acts 17:10-11, who "searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so...", I want to read the Bible for myself, study the Bible for myself, and pray and ask GOD for HIS Saving Grace, Guidance, Mercy and Wisdom to understand what I am reading. As I compare scriptures with other scriptures, and I am always blown away by the absolute cohesiveness of the Bible--both Old and New Testament--and how it all holds together. It is amazing, breathtaking, and liberating, to say the least.

I left the church almost ten years ago, because I didn't feel I was getting the full impact and exegesis--that complete interpretation--of Scripture. Though I gleaned much insight at the church I attended (a great Christian ministry, with folks I love dearly), I truly believe GOD has revealed a lot more to me in HIS Word in the last decade, via prayerful and careful study, and the use of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, which translates each word in the Bible from the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic text. 

As far as 21 May 2011 being the day that CHRIST returns, initially, I was extremely skeptical. Especially when I read this passage in Matthew 24: 36, as CHRIST spoke to his disciples, who inquired about the time of HIS return:
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."
For years I held on to that, but recently, I began to read a few more verses in that same chapter of Matthew 24, and the importance of watching:
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."
Matthew 24:42-44
I then cross-referenced the word watch in Matthew 24 with a passage in Mark 13:33-37, as CHRIST warns HIS disciples to watch:
"Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch."
Luke the physician--and an apostle of CHRIST--examines the word watch in Luke 21:34-36:
"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."
Here is my man the Apostle Paul warning the believers to watch, in I Thessalonians 5:1-6
"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." 
And this is CHRIST admonishing the church in Sardis in Revelation 3:2-3 to watch:
"Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."
The word watch is a constant theme through those Biblical passages, and it's a word that GOD does not want us to ignore. Therefore I'm beginning to believe that the calculations leading to 21 May 2011 are very accurate. 

In the meantime--LORD Willing--I'm going to love GOD, my family, my heart, and my friends, post on Hooked on the American Dream, monitor the Cirque Du Foole'-- a.k.a., politics--and global events on MSNBC, CNN, NY Times, Wash Po, BBC News, and Reuters, watch my favorite films and documentaries, wondering if Hip Hop has reached it's own fin de siecle, and thinking up ideas for essays, docs, scripted television, novels, and indie films. 

However, my priority is to continue to be steadfast in my watching, reading and studying the Bible, and most importantly, I will be praying to GOD to have mercy on a rotten sinner like me. I do believe all of these disasters is GOD warning all of us that HE Is on HIS Way. Whatever happens on 21 May 2011 is GOD's Will, and a monumental reminder to me of this one fact; this world is not going to last forever.

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