Recently two short videos have been repeatedly forwarded in many Christian WeChat groups, concerning doomsday rumors from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The two videos have their settings in two international events that occurred in the past two months and share the same theme, "Doomsday is near".
However, as a Christian who has followed Jesus for more than a decade, I don't know any internal mysterious connection between the events and "doomsday".
Rather than showing news reports, the videos present most things such as biblical terms and verses.
"Doomsday saying in the Bible clearly tells us that the Third Temple of the Jews will be built during the incoming seven-year great tribulation. This temple in the end times will play a critical role in the seven-year adversity where the outlaws will do detestable practices."
Next, several Bible verses such as 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, Matthew 24:15, and Revelations 11:1-2 are given.
In the videos, "seventy years" is regarded as a special year for God's blessings for Israel and judgment of the world. In addition, two verses are added as the evidence.
Jeremiah 29:10 This is what the Lord says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.
Jeremiah 25:12 But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt," declares the Lord, "and will make it desolate forever.
Those verses are filled with an intensity of Jewish apocalyptic literature.
Declaring those messages, the first video finally mentioned U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
During his visit to Jerusalem on March 21, he visited the Third Temple's "production workshop"; he also posted the Temple's model and video on social media. But I fail to see any explicit news about Pompeo's "declaration of the forthcoming doomsday".
It is the claim from the author of the video that substitutes one thing for another.
Indeed, the video highlights the relation between "the reconstruction of the Third Temple" and doomsday (seven-year great tribulation), yet the move of Pompeo is used as the scapegoat. It takes away the verses relevant to "70" from the Bible and says that God gives 70 years to Israel before the judgment of the world. Pompeo is ranked as the 70th Secretary of State. Thus, his visit to Israel was considered something of a mystery.
Let's move on to the second video entitled, "[Message of Last Days] Netanyahu Continues to Hold Power, World Will See Doomsday Soon!"
The video claims that the continuation of Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu in power signifies that doomsday is near.
On April 9, Israel held a new round of parliamentary election notes. Three days later, the results showed that Netanyahu who leads the Likud party came top and some right wing parties that won parliamentary seats also supported him. Naturally, his future reappointment was not in doubt. But does the reappointment of the prime minister have the mysterious connection with "doomsday" ?
The video makes a fuss over the number "70" and states solemnly that Netanyahu will be the last prime minister, the 70th one. It works out "70", based on the calculation of the ancient judges and kings of Israel.
Coincidentally, the "last" prime minister, born in 1949, is 70 years old.
When Donald Trump vowed to become the president of the United States, was seventy years, seven months, and seven days old; the 777th day after his birth was the 77th day of Israel's establishment. At the 70th anniversary of Israel, Trump announced the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. The 70th Secretary of State declared that the Golan Heights belonged to Israel and supported the reconstruction of "the Third Temple"...
Why is there a big demand for the intimidatory eschatology? For example, some nominal Christian social media platforms recently released articles with these kinds of titles: "From Inner Mongolia! Another Sign of Jesus' Second Coming Amazingly Fulfilled! Dark Mass on the Spot...", "Big Sudden News from Russia! Shocking, God Starts to Warn...", and "Big Fire, Vision, Natural Disaster, Persecution... Everything Points to 70 Years and Will..."
These types of titles emerge from time to time and win many clicks.
Based on my observation and experience, three points can be seen from the phenomenon:
The problem lies in the fact that popular, intimidatory eschatology that should contain hope and joy is distorted into catastrophism and a statement of tribulations.
1. Christians feel too pessimistic about the world. It is known that the mainstream theological concept of the traditional Chinese church is pietism from the mystics.This mysterious and related concept pursues the internal spiritual life and holds a negative position of the world, that the world is doomed to be destroyed.
As a result, followers regard any disturbance or trouble as the sign of "doomsday" or the signal of the coming of the last days and urgently expect themselves to go to "heaven".
2. Christians only partially interpret the Bible verses about eschatology. Many verses about eschatology, whether in the Old Testament or the New Testament, mostly present various kinds of strange fantastic images with the characteristics of the Jewish apocalyptic literature.We should not explain those verses literally or mechanically apply them to some things or events in the present world. For example, "the moon turned to blood" (Joel 2:31) cannot simply be referred to as a full lunar eclipse.
3. The misinterpretation of these events as doomsday issues is due to a lack of expertise. You have to know the background of international trending news to explain the reappointment of Netanyahu and Pompeo's visit to Israel. If you happen to see an astronomical wonder of "a red moon" for example, you won't be surprised at seeing it as a sign of "doomsday" or a hint of "bloodshed", rather than simply enjoying it as the beauty of God's creation.
- Translated by Karen Luo