UPRISING IN THE MIDDLE EASTLIBYAN CIVIL WAR; and CRISIS IN JAPAN are examples of captions used recently by the CNN in reporting recent global events.  The world has been devastated by series of disasters in the last couple of weeks. An earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand, another in Japan followed by a Tsunami and massacres in Libya and some other parts of the Middle East have all resulted in horrendous amounts of deaths all in the first quarter of 2011. These events considered alone may seem nothing out of the ordinary when considering the political and geographical peculiarities of these countries; but when taken together, they raise serious questions.

For those not familiar with the term Apocalypses: It is a Greek word (literary meaning “lifting of the veil”) that signifies the end of an age or a complete collapse of the world structure; an annihilation of the present world system and a beginning of a new era. Many consider these recent catastrophic happenings a fulfilment of age long prophesies that point to the end of this world.

Predictions as to when the world would end have traversed several generations. In the last decade, January 1st of the year 2000 was to be the harbinger of the apocalypse.  The propaganda was so great that even computers were not to be spared.  Some religious sects advised their followers to sell their properties in preparation for the after life. While many became ascetic, others embraced hedonism. Of course, that prediction turned out to be false.

With current events, the Mayan prophesies are next in the spot light. The Ancient Mayans based on star charting prophesied that December 21, 2012 would be the end of the world. A movie was even made to “sensitize” the world in the event that these prophesies came true. The movie 2012 released in late 2009 casting John Cusack and Amanda Peet gave a glimpse of the Mayan day of doom. A displacement of the Earth crust would occur which would begin to trigger earthquakes that will plunge cities into the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully, in the movie, some brilliant Yankee scientists (who else but the Americans are worthy enough to save the day) came in handy and built a craft that saved a few people around the world.

Although modern Mayans do not consider the date significant, and the classical sources on the subject are scarce and contradictory. Scientist and astronomers have rejected the apocalyptic forecasts as pseudoscience, stating that the anticipated events are contradicted by simple astronomical observations. NASA has compared fears about 2012 with those about the approaching millennium in the late 1990s, suggesting that an adequate analysis should preclude fears of disaster. (Source: Wikipaedia)

Another source of information on the “end of age” is the Holy Bible. The Bible warns of wars and rumours of wars. It also warns of earthquakes, disasters, famine (world food crises, poverty), and “troubles”.  But unlike the Mayan account, the Bible has not put a specific date as to when this end will come. It merely gives counsel on the signs of the times. It actually says that when we see all these, it is the beginning of sorrows (notice it said beginning and not the end). The earthquakes, “false prophets”, and increase in civil unrests around the world are merely pointers. The bible in Mark says the evil days have been shortened because of the elect sake (Righteous ones). So you can imagine the kind of sh*t we would have been in for if not for the righteous ones. (Refer to Mark 13:7-8)

The worst natural disasters that have ever rocked the earth have occurred within the last 130 years. In china, over 2,000,000 people were killed in 1931 by floods. In 1881, over 1,000,000 people died in the yellow river floods also in china. Last year, about 230, 000 people died in Port-au-Prince Haiti. These figures are staggeringly high and do not include several pockets of violence (in Niger Delta creeks, Sudan-Dafur region and people murdered by Boko Haram, and the Jos Crises), or disease epidemics, cyclones, land slides and deaths caused by poverty. If Biblical prophesy is anything to go by then maybe we need to pay a closer attention to the signs of the times that allude to the return of the Christ.

The concept of an all powerful God who loves man so much as to sacrifice is son only to come and destroy the same earth in which man lives is quite inconceivable to many. What then is the point of making him in the first place? Many cynics remonstrate these biblical claims. Their arguments have been these: Has there been any century in which there has been no war? Would Iranian president, Ahmadenijad ever hesitate to take out the US if given the chance?  And won’t the State of Israel always continue to generate unrest in the Middle East. There probably will never be a time where Shiite and Sunni Iraqis will seat at the same table playing poker happily.  And won’t Al Qaeda always remain pitched against Christians, Jews and Americans. It has never really changed and probably will never. Besides, it is a known fact that countries that border coastal areas are usually more prone to Earth quakes and other natural disasters. So the fuss over end time and other dooms day conspiracies seem all too recondite to them.

Although the interpretations of these recent world events differ amidst religious and socio-cultural influences, the more intellectually poised want scientific proofs. An oncoming comet or asteroid that would strike the earth, a shift in earth crust, global warming, anything at all that can justify the claims. They will not be carried away by religious sentiments. Was it not Karl Marx that once said: Religion is the Opium of the people? And so it seems that every Sunday we end time believers go to church, we get in on the “high” once more.

Whether or not anyone believes stories about the apocalypse, the uprisings in the Middle East have lent more credence to the end time preachers. The spread of rebellion against hegemonic governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, and now Libya has swept the Arab world. Political scientists would quickly attribute it to a socio-religious problem. They believe that if leaders like Hosni Mubarak, Ben Ali and Muammar Gaddafi sought actions that benefited the majority of people and not them, the crises may never have begun in the first place. But have you considered the possibility that these leaders may be playing the script engraved into their DNA’s? What if they were destined to act this way? What if all these events were meant to set the stage for the new world order headed by the antichrist?

As a Christian, my religion is based on faith and not on what can be seen or proven. And even as a trained scientist I still find it hard to accept that the most advanced and scientifically accepted theories of creation is one that points to chance. The Big Bang and evolutionary postulations are popular in intellectual circles probably because it is easier to accept that there are things that are yet to be figured.  It is a lot harder to believe that there is someone that can’t be figured out entirely. Because if you accept that there is someone out there who actually made the world in six (6) days then you would have to be accountable to him (God) and submit to his authority. You have to accept whatever he permits (which includes earthquakes, Tsunami’s, Cyclones, Wars and hail stones). You can’t have a conference or resolution against him. He is not man so you can’t fight against him: for woe is he that striveth with his maker and worse of, he doesn’t even have to like you; for I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy onJacob have I loved and Esau have I hated.  The “House” wins.  You have to kneel and beg for mercy and when you do, you will find his amazing grace. You will discover his love. But rather than be humble, they embrace Darwin and his theories instead and prefer to have gorillas and chimpanzees as distant cousins. It’s a lot easier for them.

So friends, what do we conclude over all these? Do we disregard these events as every day wahala? Or are you one to think that the ancient Mayans who were not able to predict their own cultural extinction can predict the end of the world? I do not pretend to have the answers but I do believe that there is more to life that we see. Something is happening and it is beyond mankind. I do not think, it would be the A-bomb or a comet that would take us out eventually. But whatever it is, whether global warming, or the coming of the Christ, I will prepare me self the best way I can and I sure hope you would too…

©2011 Ewoigbokhan Otaigbe Itua

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