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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

September 15, 2017

The end is near (once again!)

Filed under CoG Potpourri

In my 48 years as a member of the church there have been more than one predictions of "the end", some from within and others from outside the church.

Some believed that the Feast of Trumpets in 1972 would signal the time for Philadelphia-era Christians to The end is near depart for a place of protection and be spared the wrath of the Great Tribulation, soon to follow. But I am still "here", so I guess I belonged to the Laodiceans back then, who were to be left behind. :-)

When Saddam Hussein 's army was about to be driven out of occupied Kuwait at the beginning of 1991, Old Testament prophecies were being quoted – also by some in our church – that supposedly identified Saddam as the "King of the South" and the impending military action against him as a fulfillment of end-time prophecy. When Saddam Hussein died 15 years later, it seemed quite obvious that he was not the "King of the South".

Later we had an "outside" date for the end time and the end of the world: December 2012. Obscure data from the ancient Mayan calendar supposedly even gave us the exact date for the end of the world. Five years have passed since then, so maybe the Mayas need to recalculate their calendar a bit.

And now the most recent end-time prediction: Last spring a new visitor at church asked me if I was aware of the very important situation involving September 23, 2017. I had to confess my ignorance. Later I got an email from the person, giving me the details. I replied that the material was incorrect, and the person no longer attended our services.

So what about September 23, 2017?

Astrologists tell us that there will be an alignment of heavenly bodies on September 23 that only occurs every 7000 years.

Revelation 12 tells us about a "great sign in heaven": "Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth" (Revelation 12:1-2).

On September 23 the sun, viewed astronomically, will cover the head of the "woman". The moon will apparently be at her feet. On this day the planets Venus, Mars and Mercury will also be within the star constellation "Leo" – made up of 9 stars. These three planets, along with the 9 stars of the constellation "Leo", will supposedly form a "crown" for the "woman". This arrangement occurs only once every 7000 years, giving rise to many lectures and videos on the internet, proclaiming September 23 to be the date of the "rapture", the "return of Christ" and other events associated with the end time.

Jesus tells us that not even He knew the exact date of His return (Matthew 24:36), so the computer programs needed to calculate September 23 as the date of the astronomical position of a constellation and three planets certainly did not calculate the date of His return.

We know that Jesus will return. We also know that the framework of biblical prophecy should guide as we follow world events, but not so we can know the exact date of Jesus ' return, but so we can be aware of our spiritual condition and not be found asleep when He returns.

What will happen on September 23? It is a Sabbath, a rest day. Enjoy the day and use it to strengthen your relationship to God.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath and a good preparation for the fall festival season!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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