Last article ended with these words: “LYNN NEARY, Reporter: Scholars disagree about what happened in the Christian world at the end of the first millennium, but, there are some dramatic stories about peasants burning their crops because they believed the world was about to end. The bible never said the apocalypse would come in the year 1000; in fact, the bible says no one should even try to predict the end of the world.”
“But, many Christians believe that after the world as we know it does end, Jesus will rule on Earth for a thousand years. It is this concept, says Michael Barkun that is at the root of millennial beliefs. Barkun, a history professor at Syracuse University who has studied millennial groups, says he believes in the possibility of paradise on Earth.
“MICHAEL BARKUN, Professor of History, Syracuse University:
‘It means that you anticipate the imminent end of history and the replacement of the existing social order with some kind of utterly perfect society free of all evil and suffering, at least as you define it. The kind of imagery that often accompanies this sort of thinking involves conflict, earthquakes, other natural calamities, violence; there’s a whole panoply of events of this sort that are associated with millenarians thought, and on the wreckage of the old order then is the assumption that some new and utterly perfected society will emerge.’
“NEARY: It’s common to associate such a belief system with groups like the Order of the Solar Tradition, or the Branch Dravidians. But, Charles Strozier, author of Apocalypse– A Study of the Psychology of Fundamentalism, says these beliefs are shared by millions of American Christians. Strozier says the current confusion in American society provides a powerful reinforcement for a belief in apocalyptic prophecies.
“CHARLES STROZIER, Author, ‘Apocalypse–A Study of the Psychology of Fundamentalism’: The appeal of the apocalyptic ideas is partly a sense of a really profound moral rot in contemporary life and culture, and modernism generally, and in a sense that the whole thing is about to collapse, you know? That the families are falling apart, that individuals are falling apart, that society’s full of crime, et cetera, et cetera, and that God is going to wreak vengeance.
“NEARY: But, you don’t have to be Christian to believe that the end of human history is at hand. With the second millennium just a few years away, Ted Daniels, publisher and editor of the Millennial Prophecy Report, says there are an increasing number of Americans who believe that some kind of apocalyptic change is imminent.
“TED DANIELS, Publisher and Editor, ‘The Millennial Prophecy Report’: What seems to be changing is that the rhetoric seems to be heating up. A lot of people have been apocalyptic anyway, but, I’m starting to observe that even the New Age is starting to get somewhat apocalyptic. They’re talking about a cleansing of the planet.
“NEARY: Daniels says it’s possible to be a millennialist, even if you have no religious belief at all. Among those he counts as millennialists are environmentalists who predict dire consequences for the Earth because of global warming.
“Mr. DANIELS: Because they’re talking about a sudden and complete planetary change, and I’m sure no theologian would agree that they’re millennialists, and they certainly wouldn’t agree that they’re millennialists. Still, they are talking about global transformation. Anybody that’s doing that is likely to have his ideas and predictions picked up and tossed around by people who more closely fit the millennialist mold.
“NEARY: Daniels says what sets cult groups like the Order of the Solar Tradition apart from other millennialists is a charismatic leader who seems to have absolute power over his followers, and who claims to know when the end will come. Syracuse University Professor Michael Barkun says such cults may flourish, along with other more temperate millennial groups, in the next few years because the idea of a new millennium has a powerful effect on our collective imagination.
“PROF. BARKUN: The fact that we believe that somehow the year 2000 is different than 1999 or 2001 sets up an expectation that significant change will accompany the millennial year, and that kind of receptivity, I think, draws people to movements that claim to understand what the nature of this change will be.
“NEARY: So, the year 2000, the experts say, is a powerful symbol, a magnet that pulls people filled with uncertainty toward a belief system that can transform fear into a future. I’m Lynn Neary in Washington.”
This news item is indicative of a growing interest in the subject of the return of Jesus Christ to the planet earth. This growing attention is reflected in several ways. Among the facts, which, demonstrates this, are the increasing number of books detailing the idea that Jesus will or should return–to the earth–in a manifest way, before or by the year 2000. Which of course did not happen at that time.
Aside from, and independent of, the views of the above quoted scholars, others of learning and the general public, is that there really is a man named Jesus, who has been living somewhere for the past two thousand years, who is planning, by his Father’s will, to return to this earth to complete his mission, which he began 2,000 years ago? Yes or no?
Is the man we have been taught named Jesus alive somewhere to soon return someplace on this earth in the near future? If Jesus is to return to this earth, where is he coming from? Where is he right now?
More next issue, Allah willing.