I cobbled this together from different sources for my sermon yesterday. The question came up as to why there’s nothing to be hopeful about. When you study what’s been going on through government agencies, education, news media, entertainment media and The Church…You get the reason why something like—for instance—Harry Potter was so successful and makes people feel good.
(Just using Harry Potter as an example)
With all of the struggles and pain, the lead characters in the Harry Potter series go through…they always keep going…they always have hope…they always find joy. Which is unlike much of everything else that’s been pushed on the world for the last 100 years, where the powers that be seem purposed to rob us of all hope and future.
Just for fun…What follows are various things that have happened, been advanced and speculated on in order to affect our way of thinking about the future.
Predictions of Christ’s return
AD 500—Three theologians, including Irenaeus (early church father), predicted Christ’s return
April 6, 793—A Spanish monk pronounced the return of Christ
January 1, 1000—Pope Sylvester II predicted Jesus would come to end the millennium…When it didn’t happen he then redirected it to account for Christ’s birth and ultimate ascension to the year 1033
Other Predictions Made About Christ’s Imminent Return:
1260, 1370, 1504
February 20, 1524—a planetary alignment was the expected to be a sign of the Millennium.
October 19, 1533
1673,1694, 1700, 1757, 1793
1844—The Millerites predicted the Rapture of the Church on March 21. Then on April 18, then again on October 22…
Other Predicted Crisis:
(Not Church related but designed to affect how we think about tomorrow and in the end give us glimpse about what was coming in the future.)
In 1865, Stanley Jevons (one of the most recognized 19th century economists) predicted that England would run out of coal by 1900, and that England’s factories would grind to a standstill.
In 1885, the US Geological Survey announced that there was “little or no chance” of oil being discovered in California. In 1891, it said the same thing about Kansas and Texas. (See Osterfeld, David. Prosperity Versus Planning : How Government Stifles Economic Growth. New York : Oxford University Press, 1992.)
World War 1—Takes Place 1914-1918
Back to Spiritual
In 1926 a writer/Canadian Pastor named Oswald J. Smith wrote a book called: “Is The Antichrist at Hand” …In it he describes the world events taking place around him in 1926…and said that Italian leader, Benito Mussolini was the Antichrist…(To his credit there is a mention that in 1945, Smith agreed to return anyone their money if they brought a copy of his book back to him.)
In 1939 the US Department of the Interior said that American oil supplies would last only another 13 years.—Move a generation ahead and we might get a glimpse about the middle-east became so important to the United States…How we view tomorrow determines how we’ll live today.
World War 2—1939-1945
Post World War 2–Soviet Union becomes a nuclear power and Cold War begins. (Soviets explodes H-Bomb, 8/12/53)
Back to Spiritual
In 1948—Israel became a nation again and this became the launching pad for Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” that was published in 1970…Because that generation (a generation being 40 years) would not pass away until all of the Biblical prophecies had been fulfilled…And 1988 became a targeted date for Christ’s return.
In 1949 the Secretary of the Interior announced that the end of US oil was in sight.
Korean War 1950-1953
1967, the Six-Day War…and Israel reclaims Jerusalem…
In 1968, Paul R. Ehrlich wrote in “The Population Bomb” that the battle to feed humanity had been lost and that there would be a major food shortage in the US. “In the 1970s … hundreds of millions are going to starve to death,” and by the 1980s most of the world’s important resources would be depleted. He forecast that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980-1989 and that by 1999, the US population would decline to 22.6 million.
Ehrlich wrote in 1968, “I have yet to meet anyone familiar with the situation who thinks India will be self-sufficient in food by 1971, if ever.”
Fact: Yet in a only few years India was exporting food and significantly changed its food production capacity. Ehrlich must have noted this because in the 1971 version of his book this comment is deleted (Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource, Princeton: Princeton Univesity Press, 1981, p. 64).
Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
1970: “In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.” Paul Ehrlich, speech during Earth Day, 1970.
(Note in the 1973 film “Soylent Green” one of the big reveals at the end of the film was that the oceans were dying. The film centered around over population and hunger.)
1971: “By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people … If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” Paul Ehrlich, Speech at British Institute For Biology, September 1971.
1973, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s vote in Roe v. Wade was influenced by this idea, according to Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong: “As Stewart saw it, abortion was becoming one reasonable solution to population control” (quoted in Newsweek of September 14, 1987, p. 33.).
1974, the US Geological Survey announced “at 1974 technology and 1974 price” the US had only a 10-year supply of natural gas.
Data: In 1990, The American Gas Association said that gas supplies were sufficient for the next 1,000-2,500 years. (Julian Simon, Population Matters. New Jersey: Transaction Publications, 1990): p. 90.
1974: “… when metereologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing.—(“Another Ice Age,” Time Magazine, June 24, 1974.)
Secular & Spiritual
1974—Yom Kippur War (Israel against almost everybody else)—Oil Embargo hits the United States.—Odd-Even gas days…Combined with Watergate/Nixon’s resignation the churches were preaching the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
In the mid 1970s the US government sponsored a traveling exhibit for schoolchildren titled, “Population: The Problem is Us.” (Jacqueline Kasun, The War Against Population, San Francisco: CA, Ignatius, 1988, p. 21.)
1979-1980—Hostages in Iran/Russian in Afghanistan—The churches were preaching the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
1980—Election of Ronald Wilson Reagan.
Speculation about the number of letters in each of President Reagan’s names:
Three sixes and the argument was made within some (not all) church/prophetic circles was that Reagan could be the Antichrist.
1983—“The Day After” is broadcast on ABC depicting a nuclear war…”Threads” & “Testament” are other films with similar plots that come out during the early part of the decade at the height of the “No Nukes” movement.
1988—George H.W. Bush elected. Prophecy scholars immediately became concerned because Bush was said to be a Trilateralist and would help usher in a one-world government.
1988—Despite several predictions Christ did not come and Rapture the Church in 1988.
1989, the US Supreme Court was hearing the Webster case, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor brought the idea of overpopulation into a hypothetical question she asked of Charles Fried, former solicitor-general, “Do you think that the state has the right to, if in a future century we had a serious overpopulation problem, has a right to require women to have abortions after so many children?”
1989: The president of NOW (National Organization for Women) warns that continued population growth would be a “catastrophe” (Nat Hentoff in the Washington Post, July 29, 1989, p. A17)
1990: World Bank president Barber Conable calls for population control because “poverty and rapid population growth reinforce each other” (Washington Post, July 16, 1990, p. A13)
1990: Prince Philip advises us that “It must be obvious by now that further population growth in any country is undesirable” (Washington Post, May 8, 1990, p. A26)
1990: 37 Senators wrote President Bush in support of funding for population control (Washington Post, April 1, 1990, p. H1)
1990: Newsweek’s year-ending cover story concluded that “Foremost of the new realities is the world’s population problem” (December 25, 1990, p.44)
1990: A Newsweek “My Turn” suggests giving every teen-age girl a check for up to $1,200 each year that she does not have a baby “in order to stop the relentless increase of humanity” (Noel Perrin. “A Nonbearing Account”, April 2, 1990, p. 9).
1990: “[By] 1995, the greenhouse effect would be desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots … [By 1996] The Platte River of Nebraska would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers.” Michel Oppenheimer and Robert H. Boyle, Dead Heat, St. Martin’s Press, 1990. Oppenheimer is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University. He is the Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy at the Wilson School. He was formerly a senior scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund, the largest non-governmental organization in the U.S. that examines problems and solutions to greenhouse gases.
Secular & Spiritual
1990-First Gulf War—Churches began preaching the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
1992—Election of Bill Clinton—Would usher in the Antichrist.
1993—Seven-Year Tribulation would begin and the Millennium would begin in 2000.
1995—The bestselling 16-book series of “Left Behind” books begins. It continues through 2007.
1999-2009—Jerry Falwell—Predicted Jesus would come in this time frame.
September 11, 2001
2003—Second Gulf War Middle East—The imminent return of Christ was preached in the churches.
2006–“An Inconvenient Truth” a documentary about looming environmental crisis is released and wins an Academy Award.
2008—The financial meltdown
2008—Election of Barak Obama—Would usher in the Antichrist.
December 21, 2012, the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar.
2016—Election of Donald Trump—Would usher in the Antichrist
September 23, 2017—Points to the Rapture of the Church on this date. (If you want verification—type in the date on Google Search.)
A question is posed by science writer, Ronald Bailey: What will Earth look like when Earth Day 60 rolls around in the year, 2030? Bailey predicts a much cleaner, and much richer future world, with less hunger and malnutrition, less poverty, and longer life expectancy, and with lower mineral and metal prices.
But he makes one final prediction about Earth Day 2030: “There will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future–and the present–never looked so bleak.” …In other words, the hype, hysteria and spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions will continue, promoted by the “environmental grievance hustlers.”
Cannot the same be said of the prophecy hustlers…?
How can our young people/next generation gain hope when the same stuff they hear/see in the media/news is the same gloom and doom repackaged to give the “appearance” of Biblical truth?
In regards to our future, I’ll leave it with this…
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”—Colossians 2:8