by Jim West
Historically, one of the major duties of the Pastor has been to protect his flock from false doctrine. For my part, I have always taken this responsibility very seriously, and so offer for your consideration the following short work on the many predictions that are now floating around concerning the "end of time" in the year 2000.
There is an article in one of the supermarket tabloids you may have seen which maintains that the world will come to an end in the year 2000, based on "newly discovered scrolls".
First, the rag maintains that a newly discovered Biblical scroll has been found in Damascus, Syria that mentions a star which will come near the earth in the year 2000, pulling it towards the sun and its destruction. I checked with my friends at the American Schools of Oriental Research, the professional archeological society) and they know nothing of this so-called find. To say that my comrades there do not to know of such a discovery is like someone saying that Billy Graham does not know anything of Evangelism!
Second, in scholarly Biblical Studies a source must be cited which can be examined and verified. No such source is mentioned by the rag, and thus verification cannot take place.
Third, the writer of the story is not scholarly in his presentation as evidenced by the following statement, and I quote verbatim: "the runaway star, which has been code-named Wormwood, as mentioned in Revelations in the New Testament...". No Biblical scholar calls the book of Revelation, Revelations. There is no "s" at the end of the name; such an err or indicates the writer's complete lack of Biblical knowledge.
Fourth, specifically concerning the scrolls, I quote the article verbatim again: "The new scrolls containing the prophecy were unearthed several years ago by a team of American archeologists. We are pretty excited because the writing was ancient Chaldee, one of the earliest written languages, and found near Damascus, Syria, probably the world's oldest city , says Jackson Olney". "Dating set the age of the scrolls at approximately 5000 years, about the same age as Damascus, Dr. Olney explains".
Let me take these statements one at a time: first, writing material 5000 years ago was not papyrus or vellum (which scrolls are made out of), but clay tablets or shards of pottery called ostraca. Any Biblical scholar who knows the subject, knows this. Second, Chaldee, also known as Aramaic, is not one of the oldest written languages. In fact, it is relatively modern compared to Ugaritic, Eblaitic, Egyptian Hieroglyphic, Akkadian, and Hebrew. Chaldee follows all of these chronologically.
The "translator" of the scrolls, a Dr. Kevin Harris, an "archeologist", says (and I quote, verbatim): "The wording reminded me of similar prophecies... such as Revelations 8:10". Now, as mentioned earlier, no Biblical Scholar puts an "s" at the end of Revelation.
In sum what has happened here is that a story has been made up, out of whole cloth, simply to sell a rag. The author of the piece has gotten a couple of folks to say impossible things about something they are not familiar with in the hopes of drawing on people's fear of the future and their slight knowledge of the Bible and current interest in "scrolls".
As I have said in warning a number of times: as the year 2000 approaches, more and more of these "stories" will abound. The words of Jesus are here most appropriate:
"At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.
"So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man." (Matthew 24:23-27)
And so, likewise, shall be the end of history! Reader Beware!!!!
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