The apocalypse is coming – the world is going to end.
How many times have we heard or read these predictions? Christians have an entire book in the New Testament in the Bible (Revelation) and much of the Old Testament revolves around God rescuing his people by wiping out their oppressors and living with the expectation of a Messiah to come and do justice and create a Jewish- only world.
Psychologically we all need rescuing. Retribution for injustices that have befallen us needs justice. God’s chosen, the Jews, have certainly had their share of injustice and we see that not only in the Old Testament but in the history books. Evil vs. Good and the good guys always win! “Salvation” is a condition of permanent well-being (Catherine Wessinger).
Catherine Wessinger describes two types of people and their views on salvation and a time when suffering, hard times or oppression will stop. Immediately we think of situations worldwide but even in the United States there are individuals and groups of people who fit under these categories. Millennial religions offer the hope of salvation to these people. Wessinger describes in catastrophic millennialism, the need for these folks to believe that a savior will wipe out all of the injustice that befalls them before the kingdom of heaven can be established. There are others who are more optimistic about society and may adopt what Wessinger calls progressive millennialism. These folks are a part of the plan to build the kingdom through their outreach into the community and personal reform. They realize life isn’t fair and is full of injustices but they don’t expect “…catastrophic destruction to precede the establishment of the millennial kingdom” (Wessinger 61). Both types of millennial patterns speak to our need to be free from life’s suffering and we see them as providing much needed salvation. As individuals we may switch back and forth between these two patterns based on what we are experiencing at a given point in our lives.
So when is the world going to end? It all depends on what our experience is at any given moment.
Landes, Richard (Ed) and Catherine Wessinger. “Catastrophic Millennialism”. Encyclopedia of
Millennialism and Millennia Movements. New York: Routledge, (2000), 61-63. Web. 16 May 2013.