Kawazu

So my longtime friend thinks Pope Francis is the Antichrist

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… And I'm figuring out the most Christlike way to respond to that.

Background:

We've known each other since before graduating high school and that's been 15 years ago. My friend, he is some sort of evangelical and I am LDS. He's big into the rapture. Really big. In our school days and after, it seems to be he mainly followed end-times events that swept the national consciousness here in the United States (Y2K, 2012 and so on.)

Couple years back, he started down the YouTube road. Now there's a new high alert rapture watch every couple of months. He seems really excited about this asteroid that could collide with the planet, not excited about the people dying but about the rapture and Jesus coming back.

Which makes perfect sense. He has a disability, somewhat similar to my disability, so the ideas of rapture/resurrection represent having a perfect body with a few less woes then we have right now.

I ask him to tell me how he imagines his post-rapture life, when he will be able to fly and explore the whole universe.

Myself, I imagine it like a Bible themed Dungeons & Dragons role-playing campaign. (I play a lot of D&D.) In fact, during a time when he was having a lot of "high rapture watch alerts" to manage my own exasperation, I thought, "If you can't beat him join him." So I bought some regional snacks from Jerusalem, and I ordered some frankincense essential oil (enough for both of us) to set the stage for a rapture party to be held over video chat. His share of the snacks are already at his house.

I figure a rapture party is like a New Year's Eve party except at midnight, instead of a ball dropping, Jesus comes back?

At any rate, myself, my friend, and another friend we went to high school with have an informal Bible study group. (I'm the only LDS one. I think they like me to participate because they have faint hopes of converting me. It can be a little awkward sometimes. Yesterday, they did ask me if I was saved, to which I responded: "I should hope so! I just gave the opening prayer to this study session.")

Side note: How ethical is it, on a scale of 1 to 10, to passive aggressively send LDS missionaries over to my evangelical friends' houses? I'm thinking I'm letting down Team Mormon by not trying to convert them in return? :P My one friend, whom I am talking about, did agree to occasionally read the book of Mormon with me…

Anyhow, my friend drops the Pope Francis thing during the last study group. I told him that I had to go right now but we would be talking about it later. Thinking about it for a day or so, I feel like I am going to listen to what he has to say during our one-on-one. And hopefully I will share my impressions, which are:

1.) I am thinking that the antichrist would probably be more charismatic than Pope Francis.
2.) I will ask my friend about how he feels concerning the moral implications of possibly falsely accusing a fellow Son of God of being the antichrist? It seems like a rather impolite thing to do to another still-living human being.

WHAT I'M SEARCHING FOR FROM THE FORUM

Note that the first part of my plan involves listening to what my friend is to say. Do you guys have any general conference talks or Scriptures that highlight listening intently to or trying to learn from people with a different perspective than yourself?

It's hard for me because I'm often fighting against the impulse to label religious people as whackadoos, even though I am a religious person myself. The hardest thing about LDS church was Fast and Testimony Sunday – imagine someone gets up to the microphone, starts talking about how they felt tempted by the adversary to have a cup of coffee or that they were grateful to be prompted by the spirit where they put their car keys so that they would start the morning off without taking out some of their frustrations on their little ones.

There is nothing wrong with the sentiments. I just cringe a little because my worldview is most of the time rooted in practical cause and effect. I play in the mindset of prophets and Angels and Demons on Sunday, as a thought experiment to keep myself intellectually limber. I'm one of the less churchy of the church people and at the same time I think it would be a disservice to write off the entirety of the human religious experience, if that makes any sense.

Thank you for reading. Any responses would be appreciated.

Edited by Kawazu

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I remember you! I remember being consternated by what I perceived that the time to be your strong personality but also that you were very funny. :-) Am I losing my marble or did you also happen to have some kind of punk rock profile picture? The profile picture memory is definitely on the hazy and unreliable side.

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Wait...are my eyes deceiving me?  Is it the long lost Kawazu?  Oh my gosh.  Welcome back!!

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Oh, I'm just stopping in for my once a decade lookee loo. There was a period of time after the site updated a long time ago where I would have to click login multiple times to login successfully and there was this persistent, annoying banner that would not go away. I'm glad that's gone whatever it was. It's good to see your gingerbread face!

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35 minutes ago, Kawazu said:

Oh, I'm just stopping in for my once a decade lookee loo. There was a period of time after the site updated a long time ago where I would have to click login multiple times to login successfully and there was this persistent, annoying banner that would not go away. I'm glad that's gone whatever it was. It's good to see your gingerbread face!

Well I hope you stick around for awhile.  We could use you here.  :)   

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Yes, that the great idea! I forgot we had an evangelical minister on staff. I remembered him but I forgot he was the moderator. How do you manage to practice your religious tolerance hanging around a bunch of kooky Mormons, good sir?

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1 hour ago, Kawazu said:

I remember you! I remember being consternated by what I perceived that the time to be your strong personality but also that you were very funny. 🙂 Am I losing my marble or did you also happen to have some kind of punk rock profile picture? The profile picture memory is definitely on the hazy and unreliable side.

Hi again!

2263250351_f05e2de9d3_z.jpg?zz=1

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33 minutes ago, Kawazu said:

I always wanted to ask you who that was in the picture. Is it a famous person?

As my old Penn State professor used to say, she's well-known to those who know her well.

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5 hours ago, Kawazu said:

Oh, I'm just stopping in for my once a decade lookee loo. There was a period of time after the site updated a long time ago where I would have to click login multiple times to login successfully and there was this persistent, annoying banner that would not go away. I'm glad that's gone whatever it was. It's good to see your gingerbread face!

Now tell the young people about the chat function.

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31 minutes ago, mordorbund said:

Now tell the young people about the chat function.

Oh my. So many forums used to have a chat feature. Then they would get banned for turning into drama factories. But we should totally bring ours back! 🙂

 

 Wait, because this is the modern age, does the more good foundation have a discord or telegram

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8 hours ago, Kawazu said:

Yes, that the great idea! I forgot we had an evangelical minister on staff. I remembered him but I forgot he was the moderator. How do you manage to practice your religious tolerance hanging around a bunch of kooky Mormons, good sir?

It's this mutual thing...I show respect, occasional 'holy envy,' and then I get to ask questions and explain my faith and traditions. This is a special place--one that is far too rare in American conversations today.

As for the rapture and conspiracy theories, yes I believe Jesus will return without notice and "catch away" his people prior to a 7-year period of tribulation and judgment. That said, date-setting is heresy, and guesses at who the anti-Christ is are wrong-headed. When the anti-Christ is revealed the identification will be obvious, and most with ally with him intentionally--out of defiance against the one true God. Already we see a good number of people saying, "Even if your God is true, I don't like Him, and I refuse to worship Him." They prefer the altar of self-gratification--especially in relation to sex.

Edited by prisonchaplain
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1 hour ago, prisonchaplain said:

It's this mutual thing...I show respect, occasional 'holy envy,' and then I get to ask questions and explain my faith and traditions. This is a special place--one that is far too rare in American conversations today.

As for the rapture and conspiracy theories, yes I believe Jesus will return without notice and "catch away" his people prior to a 7-year period of tribulation and judgment. That said, date-setting is heresy, and guesses at who the anti-Christ is are wrong-headed. When the anti-Christ is revealed the identification will be obvious, and most with ally with him intentionally--out of defiance against the one true God. Already we see a good number of people saying, "Even if your God is true, I don't like Him, and I refuse to worship Him." They prefer the altar of self-gratification--especially in relation to sex.

Curiosity question: what is occasional 'holy envy'?

Secondly, can you tell me a little bit more about what makes date-setting heresy and guesses at who the antichrist is wrongheaded because I would like to explore your thought process, if you wanted.

And say for example I were to call up my friend: "Hey, buddy, about the Pope Francis thing…" What might you say, if you have the time, Mr. Chaplain?

Often times, when I talk to people, I decided first if what I want to do is ask a question or make a statement about a preference for a future behavior. Example statement: "Hello, my beloved friend, you are able to think whatever you wish. My only request is that in 10 years when this Pope is dead, presuming he has not turned out to be the antichrist, that you may admit the error and consider for 120 seconds the gravity of proclaiming another human to be the antichrist. Fair or not fair?

Also, for the sake of curiosity I'm probably going to ask him why Pope Francis?

Thirdly, probably going to restate that he is welcome to share one apocalyptic event per season because I may be verging on rapture fatigue.

It may be easier for me to just send him the link to this thread.

Is there a specific subset of evangelicals that does this date-predicting thing? When I say that no one can know the date as far as I'm aware, he likes to say that blessings still come to those who watch and wait.

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An example of holy envy might be how successfully LDS observe our most conservative holiness codes. Modest dress, no drinking, smoking or sex before marriage, tithing, still dressing up for services, etc. Also, the system of volunteerism as a calling means active church members are almost always engaged in more than one or two-hours of church activity per week. I could go on, but you get the idea. We don't have to agree on doctrine to recognize some awesome traits in the other.

Scripture is pretty clear that no one will know the day or hour of Jesus' return. He will come "as a thief in the night." Still, there will be signs--and they are plentiful today. So, most rapture-believing Christians also suspect that the time is very near. As for identifying the anti-Christ, the main problems are that the exercise is speculative, can lead to disappointments (when the guessing is wrong). and there is a history of those guesses being theologically or politically convenient. During WWII Hitler was the anti-Christ. Some thought it was Reagan. Adventists have said it was the pope who instituted Sunday-worship. Others have said the 666 is the barcode, the credit card, GPS, etc. etc. It's all interesting at the time, but really amounts to nothing more than semi-educated guessing that is baptized in Christian-sounding words.

As for your friend, sure, ask why he believes it's the pope. At least you will find out what his real trigger issue is. He may be anti-Catholic, or it may be because the current pope is perceived as liberal. If you are not prepared to take his answers too seriously, I would be cautious about asking too many follow-up questions, though. He may believe you are interested in converting, and will be sorely disappointed when he finds out otherwise.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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Oh, he knows I ask questions just to ask questions. This is my way. I'm pretty sure he already asked me if I would consider converting in high school, to which I responded, "I will if you will." He has not taken me up on my game of religious conversion chicken yet. 😉 I think I'm going to tell him about this thread and see how it goes.

 Thanks, again!

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This is how it worked out with my friend. Apparently, I accidentally misstated his fundamental position. He did not say Pope Francis was the antichrist but instead a false prophet, which is to me at least a few rungs down in intensity from the literal antichrist. He read the thread and wanted me to stress that he is always looking to Christ.

 

We talked about some of the Bible verses he uses to say the rapture might be predicted, if not the actual second coming, itself.

We talked about some of the reasons he says Pope Francis is a false prophet and even though I expressed my skepticism of what he was laying down, I listened to where he was coming from.

He said he would dial it back a bit about the apocalypse alerts. I told him he could send me a countdown timer via a web applet that read 17 days, 2 hours, 24 minutes and I would know what was for. He told me he had been giving me a lot of rapture updates because he feels like the time is sooo close and he is soooo excited.

He wanted to know if a bunch of Mormons were going to show up at his house. I told him to, "Open [his] curtain. See the man on the bicycle? He's one of ours." Because we do manage to have fun, the end of the day.

So I guess the conversation was a success? Thanks, everyone!

 

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9 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

As for the rapture and conspiracy theories, yes I believe Jesus will return without notice and "catch away" his people prior to a 7-year period of tribulation and judgment. That said, date-setting is heresy, and guesses at who the anti-Christ is are wrong-headed. When the anti-Christ is revealed the identification will be obvious, and most with ally with him intentionally--out of defiance against the one true God.

 

What if the rapture never happens and the followers of the LORD need to go through the tribulations before He comes back?  I hope you won't lose faith in the LORD.  I am afraid that many will lose faith and not have enough "oil in their lamps" to endure hardships and trying times of faith.  I hope I can endure trials that the followers of the LORD will have.

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Your concern is the one expressed by those who suggest the rapture will happen at the end of the 7-year tribulation. Those in my doctrinal camp are equally concerned that those who are not expecting a sudden, imminent return will not be in a state of readiness for the return. They may be ready to "prep," and endure hardships--but not for the unannounced "like a thief" return of the LORD. This doctrine, in itself, will not deter one from salvation. Those who believe as I should indeed be ready to be wrong, and endure what sufferings may come. Our brothers/sisters in persecuted lands have much to show us in that realm. Likewise, those expecting to endure should also be on constant watch--soul ready--for Jesus' return.

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13 hours ago, Kawazu said:

He wanted to know if a bunch of Mormons were going to show up at his house. I told him to, "Open [his] curtain. See the man on the bicycle? He's one of ours."

What a relief! I thought Antifa was doxing me or something! (Seattlelites, you gotta love us)

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When the Silence in Heaven Ends (Beginning of the Seventh Seal) this is what the Doctrine and Covenants has to say:  Section 88
 

Quote

 

95 And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled;

96 And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him.

97 And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened; and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven

 

If your friend is right and this happens would verse 97 count as zombies for those playing Apocalypse Bingo?

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, estradling75 said:

When the Silence in Heaven Ends (Beginning of the Seventh Seal) this is what the Doctrine and Covenants has to say:  Section 88
 

If your friend is right and this happens would verse 97 count as zombies for those playing Apocalypse Bingo?

 

 

 

A couple of thoughts:

First - Wouldn't silence in heaven for an hour and a half be proof (at least up to that point) that there are no women in heaven?  😨

Second - on a more serious note - It has long been a theory of mine that the sign of Christ is a star.  At his birth the star was a sun gone supernova about 600 or more light years away.  This would hit the earth with enough energy to cause the ozone to become fluorescent which would account for the night in the Americas of perpetual light.  Since the entire sky would light up there would be no shadows.  The supernova would also be visible during the day.   In Matt chapter 24 there is a reference to the sign of Christ.  Again I theorize that this is also a star but unlike the previous supernova this would be within 400 light years from earth - would rise in the east and cause a catastrophic extinction event of all life on earth with the exception of those caught up to meet the Christ.   

Another possibility is the star Betelgeuse which is estimated to be just over 600 light years away.   However, Betelgeuse is a giant sun and when it goes supernova would be most problematic for life because of its size but may not be an entire extinction event.  And Betelgeuse is in the life cycle to go supernova.   Its size and brightness has been unstable lately.

Anyway - this may be a good time to repent.

 

The Traveler

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1 minute ago, Traveler said:

A couple of thoughts:

First - Wouldn't silence in heaven for an hour and a half be proof (at least up to that point) that there are no women in heaven?  😨

 

I know you are joking... But that is a level of Apocalypse invocation that I am not comfortable with  <Steps as far away from Traveler as he can get.>

 

3 minutes ago, Traveler said:

Second - on a more serious note - It has long been a theory of mine that the sign of Christ is a star.  At his birth the star was a sun gone supernova about 600 or more light years away.  This would hit the earth with enough energy to cause the ozone to become fluorescent which would account for the night in the Americas of perpetual light.  Since the entire sky would light up there would be no shadows.  The supernova would also be visible during the day.   In Matt chapter 24 there is a reference to the sign of Christ.  Again I theorize that this is also a star but unlike the previous supernova this would be within 400 light years from earth - would rise in the east and cause a catastrophic extinction event of all life on earth with the exception of those caught up to meet the Christ.   

Another possibility is the star Betelgeuse which is estimated to be just over 600 light years away.   However, Betelgeuse is a giant sun and when it goes supernova would be most problematic for life because of its size but may not be an entire extinction event.  And Betelgeuse is in the life cycle to go supernova.   Its size and brightness has been unstable lately.

Anyway - this may be a good time to repent.

The Stars and the Heavens are explicitly setup by God for Signs, Warning and Season.  So watching the Heavens is wise, just beware of Satan's counterfeit of astrology.

Given that Planets anciently meant "Wandering Stars"  I tend to lean toward the planet Conjunction theory myself but that is just a personal thing.  And if we are looking for Apocalypse pointing signs in the Heavens there is Revelations 12: 1-2 which some make the case for having already happened.

 

 

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