When I was a boy I remember people telling me the arrival of the Halley’s Comet arriving in 1986 was seen as a coming of the end of the world. Rumours of end coming travelled fast. In the 1970s as the world faced so many different changes and complex things it seemed a perfect point for this second coming.
The next time I got so caught up in this desire by church seeking the signs of the times was in 1990 when many associated Saddam Hussein to Lucifer as described in Isaiah 14:12 -14. It seemed to them he was the king of Babylon.
Of course much of this came to nothing and I was out of the continent during the millenium so I did not get caught in that anticipation by some. In effect though as a people we are eagerly awaiting that second coming and sometimes I wonder if that is why we are so easily sold a tin of “magic beans” by those equivelent to internet urban rumour mongers.
Reading Rough Stone Rolling over Christmas I realized that many in the church have played the game of “guess when Jesus will come” all through our 178 years. It is certainly not particular to us as Christians even in Paul’s day anticipated the second coming to be soon enough he had to clarify, 2 Thes. 2: 3.
In 1000 AD many felt that a lot of the Viking raids were due to the punishment of the wicked before the coming of the Lord. Often those in the Christian world felt that a good round number was about perfect timing for him. Yet in all this anticipation one wonders what people think after things like that do not lead to his coming in glory.
For Adventists in 1844 it let to the Great Disappointment and the eventual establishment of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists.
Of course Christians are not the only ones as both Jews and Muslims (especially Shi’a) to some extent have their millenial ideas. Heck one could argue that Global Warming people can be Millenialists without the upside. Al Gore being their chief prophet. As others were advocates for the fixing the Ozone Hole and Earth Day in the 1980s and early 1990 when Green was so big our grocery store switched back to “paper”.
So my final story here is one I heard when I used to go to institute and was very typical of these type of things.
President Hinckley was suggested to have been talking to a leadership audience and said something to the effect that it might not be 50 years to the second coming. This of course was heard all second/third hand and it was not as big as I remember the old Isaiah verses and Saddam but yet it created a sensational ideas among a few in our area. For the life of me I have no real knowledge that he even said anything even remotely close but there we were.
Since then there may have been others, 911, Iraq and other events would certainly suggest themselves well for these kind of things but does anyone know of any really popular millenialisms going on now or recently amongst church members?