The predictions are endless.
The end of the world was supposed to happen during the 2012 Maya Apocalypse. Harold Camping, a Christian radio broadcaster, predicted the end of the world as many as 12 times over the course of his life. In the 1800s, a religious leader named William Miller predicted that the world would end and Christ would return in 1843. Christians in 17th-century Europe feared the end would come in the year 1666 because of the year’s association with the Biblical number of the Beast.
Well, we’re still here. Every single one of these predictions was wrong. And yet several of these predictions drew close to 100,000 followers—and that was before the age of Twitter! There’s just something about the end that fascinates people.
Historically, it has been the Christian community that has been the most enamored with the apocalypse, and a long line of religious leaders have proclaimed the importance of recognizing that the end is coming. That end is, after all, alluded to over and over in the Bible, from the Old Testament to the New. Early Christians believed that Christ would return within their lifetimes, and that prediction has been revised over and over ever since.
So why the obsession? For many Christians, it comes down to concern. “The urgency was that the Rapture could happen at any time,” says San Francisco-based church information manager, Melisa Blankenship. For some, the feeling that, at any moment, all the world’s unsaved might lose their chance at Heaven can be terrifying.
But consider this: for Christians, the end of the world doesn’t matter. Not one whit. And in fact, giving this idea too much importance in your life might just be holding you back from being the best believer—and person—you can be.
It’s time to stop talking about the end. Let’s find out why.
It Leaves You Hopeless
In the Bible, the essence of most any passage talking about the end of the world is positivity—Christ is returning, all of creation will be restored, and all evil will be defeated, once and for all. This is a message that focuses on hope, redemption, and new beginnings rather than endings.
But for many, the end is the focus. This breeds hopelessness. This breeds despair. This breeds a sense that nothing really matters.
It also breeds anxiety. Imagine the weight of thinking that you know that the world is going to end very soon, that it could happen at any moment, that everyone and everything you love might be swept away in an instant. That is a burden few could bear.
An intense focus on the end of the world is extremely unhealthy. If we are to dwell on Christ’s return, we need to dwell on the positive.
Remember—in Revelation 21, God says that “I am making everything new!” He goes on to proclaim that He will “wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
We should be celebrating the beautiful world God has in store for us rather than focusing on the passage of the “old order”. It is there you will find hope.
It Changes You in a Bad Way
That hopelessness that comes from focusing on the apocalypse doesn’t just burden you—it changes you, too.
Our actions flow from our thoughts, and so if you’re overly focused on the impending end of the world, it’s going to affect how you live your life.
If you’re going to be more focused on escaping this world, and not focused enough on improve it, as well as the lives of the people who inhabit it. After all, if you think the world isn’t going to be around in a few years, what good is charity? What good is environmentalism? In the end, what good is anything that is of this world? This brand of thinking leads to a callous attitude.
Instead, we need to do as Paul instructs—“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and Godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”
And what does living “Godly lives” look like? Well, look to Christ for that. He aided the poor, healed the sick, and loved people through instruction and correction.
We should do the same, and let God be the main influence on our behavior, not the apocalypse.
It Discredits You
Finally, there is one aspect of end-times-obsession that many Christians overlook.
It discredits the Church.
Every time a Christian religious leader has set a hard date on the apocalypse, they’ve been wrong, and every time they’ve been wrong, the world sniggered at the Church.
We’re here to be ambassadors for God, and that means conducting ourselves in a way that brings Him glory, not disdain. Standing on street corners and handing out fiery predictions isn’t the way to bring others to God.
It’s not even good psychology. You can’t draw someone into a group with negativity—if you want to reach nonbelievers, focus on the positive. Focus on the goodness of God, on the redemption, on the renewal, on the community and love that can be found within the Church.
Don’t discredit the Church by focusing on the end. Bring glory to God by focusing on His goodness.
A Waste of Time and Words
Mark 13:32 reads, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
In other words, even Jesus doesn’t know when Jesus is coming back.
Let that sink in. No one can ever know when the end comes, save for God, Himself. And when we try to predict it, when we obsess over it and talk about it and preach it, we warp the positive message of redemption that God has for us.
So don’t worry about the end. Live for the now. Strive to develop all of the fruits of the spirit— love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And let these things guide your life.
Remember, God is a God of new beginnings. It doesn’t do to dwell upon the end.