Many people worry the end of times may come soon. I worry it is not coming soon enough.
No, I am not one of those pesky contrarians, always disagreeing for effect – nor am I having a particularly bad day. I just happen to take a more spiritual approach to the idea the world is going to end. One that is not all fire and brimstone. Hear me out.
The belief that the world is going to end is one shared by many religions. In Judaism, the term “end of days” references a Messianic age featuring the arrival of the promised Messiah, the resurrection of the dead, and a new world to come. Islam tells us of the coming of an anti‑messianic figure (Al-Masih ad-Dajjal) and then the descending of Isa (Jesus) who will triumph and trigger a series of events that will lead to resurrection on judgement day. Hinduism and Buddhism are perhaps wiser on the issue: they tell us of the end of an age and the forgetting and then remembering of important teachings, respectively. Christianity, my “home court”, is not much different: we speak of difficult times and of an Anti-Christ to be vanquished by the second coming of the Messiah before the final establishment of the kingdom of God. Whichever way you look, tough, all seem to agree that there are better times ahead for us after a period of turbulence.
Why, then, does our common psyche insists on sharing a sense of impending doom? Why do we let ourselves panic over the notion the world will be destroyed?
Sure, our planet is not likely to be around billions of years from now as the sun continues to get hotter and expand , but I hope we can agree you and I are ok for now – and so will be our kids’ kids’ kids, etc. But even worrying about the destruction of the sun a million or a billion years from now may be nitpicking, anyway. The point here is that we are letting our religious interpretations work against the very message they come to bring us: one of hope, order, and the immortality of the spirit.
For Christians, in particular, it may be time to put these nerve-wrecking perspectives to bed. The entire Gospel Jesus brought us is a constant reminder of the Creator’s love for us – and of the survivability of our souls. After all, the main teaching we take away from Jesus’ journey on Earth is that life does not end. The resurrection is both the apex and the validation of everything He taught us. Through His words and, more importantly, actions, we too know we will live on after our bodies perish – and, reassuringly, so will everyone we love. There cannot be a more beautiful message than that in the entire universe.
Still, we tend to hold ourselves to the drama of the crucifixion, not the glory of the resurrection.
We focus on Christ’s few moments of suffering instead of a lifetime of joy. We forget that the very word used to announce His message, “Gospel”, means “good news” – and I think we can agree there is no good news on suffering or complete obliteration. Why, then, do we insist on remaining spiritually shortsighted?
Two thousand years after the greatest transcendental message ever and we still stubbornly cling to the idea that the physical is more important than the spiritual. In direct contradiction to the message we so dearly value, we often fail to embrace the spiritual perspective the Christ left us. Although words such as “my Kingdom is not of this world,” and “gather your treasure in Heaven,” still echo frequently in our sermons, these truths have yet to take full hold of our hearts and souls. He must come to terms with the fact we are spiritual beings.
As a group, we have made this mistake before: we failed to recognize Christ as the promised messiah two millennia ago because we expected a prince of the world who would command worldly power and bend others to Israel’s will. Some of us still wait for this day to come. We were expecting our supreme spiritual leader would to embody worldy values, not spiritual virtues. Worse yet, we may be doing it again when we let ourselves believe that we are physical beings who happen to have a spiritual side rather than the other way around. Simply put, we ought not to interpret the teachings of the most spiritual being to ever grace this world from a physical viewpoint.
Fortunately, the Christ knows us full well and anticipated we would struggle with this. So He left us with another reminder and a powerful tool to help us realize our spiritual nature: the Lord’s Prayer. In it, He teaches us to resort to God to ask for help in transforming ourselves and the world around us. When we pray it, we are literally invoking God’s assistance to make this world more spiritual by having His “Kingdom” come – which is further confirmed by the request we make to have God’s will be done on Earth as it is in “Heaven”. That is to say: our goal is to make this Earth indistinguishable from “Heaven”. How could that happen if this world were to be physically destroyed?
Perhaps, then, the apocalypse is not all fireworks, earthquakes, and explosions.
Perhaps the end of times all major religions speak of is really about the transformation we will necessarily undergo as a humanity to become fully aware of our spiritual nature – to become more Christ‑like. If that is the case, then the world as we know it would cease to be – cease to be as we think it is: a place where we remain more selfish and self-centered than giving and helpful; where we still worry more about the accumulation of physical riches than of spiritual virtues; where we insist on disconnecting more than connecting with each other, ourselves, and God. That is the allegorical world that is fated to end. That world has to go.
For that to happen, we must slay the Anti-Christ in us. That is to say: we must fight our tendency to deny all that is spiritual (represented by Christ) and which keeps us attached only to what is material. Everything that deviates us from the immortal truths of the Spirit is, in that sense, the Anti-Christ. Sure, it makes for better drama to think of a Leviathan of mythological proportions spewing fire and destruction everywhere or imagine the immediate disappearance of our less-than-worthy neighbors from the face of the Earth without a moment’s notice. But who honestly wants drama in their life? And where is the Love in that?
Spiritually, it is time for us to leave our teenage years behind. Life is more than the here and now, than the shiny car or other possessions, more than what other people make of us, more than belonging to exclusive cliques or tribes. And not all bumps in the road are the end of the world either: they are just a phase of growth that, in retrospect, we could have handled better. We often have evidence of that in our own lives: situations we once though were catastrophic afterwards turn to be good for us. When we have the benefit of wisdom and reflection, we frequently find ourselves grateful for those. Likewise, it is time to grow up and stop seeing the apocalypse as a physical event rather than the spiritual milestone it is.
All of this to say: the end of times all religions tell us about must be a moment of great spiritual transformation and not of utter physical destruction. And if that’s one thing Spiritism has taught us to do with its scientific mindset is to pay attention to messages that reveal themselves repeatedly, through different sources, and in different places. They are closer to the truth because God plays no favorites. This is one such case. All major religions bring us hope. To believe otherwise is to go against the core pillars of the same religions that delivered the message in the first place: that we are immortal spiritual beings created by a loving, all-powerful, all-knowing God that wants us to reach ultimate happiness and plenitude through our own efforts.
So, is the end of times coming? Great, let’s roll up our sleeves and speed things up, please. This believer over here can’t wait for it to come quick enough.