Millennium Madness

With all the hype about a worldwide computer crash and other major disasters in the year 2000, you'd think we'd all be running scared. But that's not God's plan at all.
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Frank Black gets inside the minds of killers. In flashes of insight, he feels what they feel and sees what they see, even if they are long gone from the crime scene. And he does it about once a week—on the TV show MillenniuM.

Black, a former FBI man, has joined a team of ex-law enforcement professionals known as The Millennium Group, which is concerned about the rising bloodshed accompanying the approaching millennium. The graphic murders featured weekly on this show are extremely disturbing. What's also disturbing is that the show exploits the beliefs and fears many people have about the coming millennium. As the official MillenniuM Web page puts it: "As the millennium approaches, so will the ultimate battle between good and evil as foretold by ancient prophecies."

This is the type of millennial hype we're going to get even more of this year. A lot of people are running scared, believing the absolute worst is going to happen very soon. Just think about how much we've all been hearing about the Y2K problem—the major computer glitch that some people say will cause computers worldwide to crash on January 1, 2000, erasing bank accounts and sending everything into chaos.

And that's just the beginning. Doomsday cults are predicting that the world will end when the year 2000 arrives. Even some Christians believe the millennium will mark the beginning of the turmoil foretold in the Book of Revelation.

So is the end really near?

Who Knows?

Some Christians believe that many of the world's problems are "signs of the times" and that the end is very near. So, they say, if the end is near, the Second Coming of Christ must be right around the corner. One writer said it would happen between September 11 and 13, 1988 (wrong), and another claimed the world would end in September 1994 (wrong again). One TV preacher recently predicted that the return of Christ (preceded by World War III and Armageddon) could happen anytime between 2000 and 2010.

The people who offer these predictions argue that the Bible gives plenty of signs of the end times, citing specific passages from Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation. But Jesus made it very clear that predictions are just a waste of time. Not only has every Second Coming prediction in history been wrong, but in Matthew 24:36, Jesus said even he didn't know the "day or the hour" it would take place! And if Jesus didn't know, then how could any of us claim to know?

OK, so we don't know exactly when the end will come. But lots of people have plenty of ideas about what will happen when it gets here.

End Times Confusion

Pointing to passages like Mark 13:3-27 and Revelation 13:16-17, some Christians conclude there will be a "tribulation" before Christ comes—a time of intense turmoil during which "the beast" (the super-enemy of Christ, also called the "Antichrist") will wage war on all things good. During this time, violence will increase and persecution of Christians will get worse. Christ will return at the end of this time of tribulation. Theologians call this the "posttribulation" view.

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