It’s September 24th and the World Didn’t Come to an End. Now What?

How can we make long-term plans that will last for generations if we have an escapist mentality?

The world was predicted to end on September 23, 2017. And yet the sun continues to rise. Now what?

By Michael Brown Published on September 24, 2017

Now that the latest date for the Second Coming and/or end of the world has come and gone, we need to ask ourselves some serious questions.

Why do we give any credence to these dates? Are we mistaking sensationalism for spirituality? And how can we make long-term plans that will last for generations if we have an escapist, “we’re out of here any minute” mentality?

If our Founding Fathers thought like this, we wouldn’t have a Constitution. If our early educators thought like this, we wouldn’t have many of our greatest universities. If the opponents of slavery thought like this, that insidious evil might still be with us.

Yes, I want to see Jesus come in my lifetime. But one thing I know: Every generation that set dates for His imminent return has been wrong so far. Perhaps we can learn something from this?

“Did I Miss Jesus?”

When I came to faith in late 1971 at the age of 16, there was a lot of talk about end-time prophecy. We were told that everything was falling into place and that Jesus would be returning soon … very soon … possibly any second. And when He returned, He would rapture out His faithful people — we would suddenly disappear — leaving the rest of the world to suffer seven years of hellish tribulation.

If my memory is correct, in the fall of 1972 or 1973 on the weekend when we set our clocks back an hour before going to sleep on Saturday night, I forgot to make the adjustment. Consequently, I showed up for Sunday school one hour early, and there was no one at our church building when I arrived. Oh no!

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For a moment I thought to myself, “Jesus came back and I missed Him!”

What a dreadful thought this was, but it illustrates the way we lived back then: At any moment, sooner rather than later, Jesus would return and we would be gone.

When The 1970s Were The End

The most famous Christian book at that time was Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth, published in 1970. Based on Lindsey’s teachings, it seemed that everything that was happening in the world — from Israel to Europe to America — fit neatly into a prophesied end-time scheme. Surely the end was at hand! And that book, which sold tens of millions of copies, colored the thinking of many Christians during those years, especially evangelical Christians.

In fairness, Lindsey’s book did cause many people to realize that the Bible remained relevant to this day. And he was certainly right in stressing the importance of the reestablishment of the modern State of Israel. It’s also true that many people came to faith in Jesus as a result of reading The Late Great Planet Earth.

But Lindsey was 41 years old when the book was published. He turned 87 last year. I seriously doubt that he thought he would ever see his 60th birthday, let alone his 87th. Surely Jesus would return before then.

Left Behind or Leaving Behind?

More recently, Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye teamed up to write the blockbuster Left Behind series, 16 novels which sold a total of more than 65 million copies. Unlike The Late Great Planet Earth, which attempted to interpret contemporary events in the light of Scriptures, these books were works of fiction.

But they espoused the same theology, thereby influencing another generation of readers. They were even made into films, with at least four movies based on Left Behind released to date. “We’re out of here any moment! The signs are all around us! Surely the end is near!”

Yet Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” Is this something that we consider? Or are we convinced that our generation will be the last?

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This short-term, short-sighted mentality stands in stark contrast with the biblical mentality: “[God] established a rule in Jacob; he set up a law in Israel. He commanded our ancestors to make his deeds known to their descendants, so that the next generation, children yet to be born, might know about them. They will grow up and tell their descendants about them. Then they will place their confidence in God. They will not forget the works of God, and they will obey his commands” (Ps. 78:5-7, NET).

I believe in living in readiness for the return of the Lord, with gives a sense of urgency and focus to all we do. But I also believe in pouring into the generations that will follow us if He doesn’t return soon. We can and should do both.

Our Legacy

What, then, does it look like when we think in terms of multiple generations? What does it mean in our everyday lives?

It means that we invest in the next generation at least as much as we invest in the current generation.

It means that we work towards the success and wellbeing of our children and their children at least as much as we work towards our own success and wellbeing — and I mean “success and wellbeing” in the most positive, God-glorifying way.

It means that we consider the impact that our actions will have on those living today and those who will live tomorrow.

Contrast this with one of the saddest verses in the Bible: “Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself the pillar that is in the King’s Valley, for he said, ‘I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.’ He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s monument to this day” (2 Sam. 18:18; elsewhere, we read that Absalom had three sons, so we can assume they all died before he did).

His legacy ended with him. May ours not end with us.

(Excerpted and adapted from Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Reformation.)

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  • Dant e

    The Lord Jesus purposely did not tell the disciples the day nor hour because of the reasons you`ve stated in your articles concerning this issue, not because He left it open for us to work out or predict, otherwise the angels would figure it out.

  • margaret jaeger

    My biggest problem with this ‘prediction’ was about an asteroid coming too close to earth at that time, was verified by NASA, and several good verifiable Christian prophecy sites also publishing a supposed correlated fact of a special constellation with Virgo and Leo and the ‘demon planet’…that asteroid…being within the special constellation configurement. How could They be wrong? I was worried, and got more so even tho ‘logic’ told me there were more scriptures to be fulfilled even before the Tribulation was to start, let alone a catastrophic event portend in the constellations. Official sites didn’t help allay those…just logic told me to wait and see. Thru the unusal events of one hurricane after the other and one earthquake after another appearing on this planet, it looked ominous. So, nightfall of Sept. 23, and still no sign of that …asteroid…I’m sitting on the back porch, talking on the phone, looking upwards, when a brilliant white comet with a very long tail, streaked across the sky..from the West towards the southeast. Started but not frightened, I wondered if anyone else saw it. But since it was about 8 p.m. with no sign of a giant rogue planet or asteroid, I was already calmed.

    A bit later, I found a message from my son that included a post from. UK Facebook about the ..tale of the rogue planet, Nibiru…claiming that it was an old internet traveling tale. I’d. Never heard of it before but the U.K. Article said it was a tale that has been circulating the internet for many years. Then, I got angry…at sites supposed to be valid Christian sites who had carried this tale forward as if it were truth….and so far, I’ve seen no repentance from them for doing so.

    My final conclusion was…I was ready with God thru Jesus Christ to meet them in Paradise and tho the flesh didn’t desire such from a sudden planetary disaster, there wasn’t a thing I could do about allying such disasters…except,pray, which I did many kinds of prayers, many times.

    I’m still angry …yes because of some embarrassment but because sites I trusted published that tale as truth…and I was numb enough to believe it more than halfway.

  • sheepdog writer

    Literally nobody thought that the world would end on 9/23. Not one person. National media wanted a quote, they got a quote from a “Christian numerologist.” Now they can spew ugly lies with it and claim falsely that “many” Christians thought (shove a bunch of words in their mouth).

  • Patmos

    In the very first verse of Revelation it says that the book is “to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass”. How many actual servants are there in the lukewarm church today? How many Daniels discerning the times?

    Any end time talk always seems to evoke a sense of fear, a sense of doom and gloom, but he has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. How many are actually Spirit filled in the lukewarm church today? How many Elijahs walking in the spirit and power of God?

  • Facebook User

    The world ending on this date was not the prediction. The event is seen as the beginning of the tribulations, the beginning of the end. God will not allow this filthy world to last much longer and you are a fool if you believe that He will. Get right with God before it is too late.

  • Trilemma

    Bummer. I was looking forward to not going to work on Monday.

  • Kevin Quillen

    “And he was certainly right in stressing the importance of the reestablishment of the modern State of Israel.”

    How much longer will it take for people to realize that this is modern day hogwash? If “GOD” established modern Israel, why did He only give them a tiny portion of the land He promised would be theirs forever? 69 years and counting. When does this foolishness end? The credibility of God is at stake. And we wonder why people do not believe?

  • David MacKenzie

    Michael Brown is right for emphasizing what he does here. While one cannot necessarily prove it, the amount of social and political fatalism produced by overly-zealous eschatology and apocalypticism in America is probably more significant than we realize. “Beam me up, Scotty!” seldom produces an abundance of cross-bearing believers.

  • Glenn Loewen

    Thanks for your comments….well done!
    Wisdom, being alert, (not afraid) , discerning the times, the power of the Holy Spirit,
    And loving God will all of who we agree all glorious necessities in this hour. I get nervous when people get cynical and react
    to the in almost “scoffing like ways” to some of the bad eschatology out there. Let’s do it right and not ‘throw the baby our with the bath water.’

  • Glenn Loewen

    Sorry folks for my bad typing…here’s what it should say;
    “Thanks Patmos for your comments….well done!
    Wisdom, being alert, (not afraid), discerning the times, the power of the holy Spirit, and loving God with all of out hearts, souls, mind and strength are all glorious necessities in this hour. I get nervous when people get cynical and react in almost “scoffing like ways” to some of the bad eschatology out there. Let’s do it right and not throw the baby out with the bath water..” Otherwise we come close to actually being the prophetic fulfillment of the last hour according to 2 Peter 3, where he writes…”In the last days scoffers will arise…”

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