The UK’s Daily Mail published a news story last weekend speculating on the source of a “strange sound from the sky” that has been heard across the globe for nearly a decade.
Witnesses told the Mail that what they heard sounded very much like the blast of a trumpet. And that it was so loud it shook the ground beneath them.
In a sidebar, the Mail listed seven possible theories, from the unremarkable to the fantastical, that could account for the strange sound from the sky.
The first six included (in order) tectonic plates grinding, atmospheric pressure, trains shunting, construction work, aliens, a HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) weapon and aliens.
But the theory that caught this Christ follower’s attention was seventh on the list – the seven trumpets of heaven ushering in the Apocalypse, as foreseen by John of Patmos, author of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
To non-believers, that might be a laughable proposition. But not to Christians.
Indeed, on the cusp of the new millennium, Newsweek published a cover story – “Prophecy: What the Bible Says About the End of the World” – that included a poll in which 71 percent of Evangelical Protestants (as well as 28 percent of non-Evangelical Protestants and 18 percent of Catholics) said they believed the world will end, as written in Revelation, in a battle at Armageddon between Christ and the Antichrist.
Well, this Christ follower counts himself among the 71 percent of evangelicals who believes the end-times prophecy of John of Patmos. But unlike many today who believe the end of days is imminent, I am unconvinced.
Because Christ, Himself, declared that “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
Yet, that has not deterred false prophecies of the end of days.
That includes the so-called “Great Disappointment,” which occurred in 1844 when Christ did not return to Earth as predicted by the Baptist pastor William Miller, who had urged his followers to give away all their worldly possessions.
There was also Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society (the sect known today as Jehovah’s Witnesses), who published a text in 1877 in which he predicted the rapture of the saints in 1878 and the second coming of the Lord.
Edgar Whisenant, an end-times zealot, authored the book “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988,” and somehow managed to persuade Trinity Broadcasting Network to air special programming leading up to the rapture.
Then there was Harold Camping, the Christian radio show host, who predicted in 2009 that the rapture would take place May 21, 2011, and who lamented that he was “flabbergasted” that it didn’t happen.
Because there have been over the past two millennia so many who have been misled by end times predictions that have proven false, most Christ followers today think there next to zero chance that the rapture, the Apocalypse, the return of Christ will happen in their lifetimes.
And they almost certainly are right.
Yet, there remains that next to zero chance that ours is the generation that shall see the sign of the Lord’s coming, and of the end of the world.
And when that great and terrible day comes, when all the tribes of the earth mourn, when they see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, he will send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet.
A trumpet that might very well sound like that strange sound from the sky that has been heard around the globe.