There is a psychology at work every Black Friday based on the principle called scarcity. It can be used positively or negatively for motivation. On Black Friday it is used to incite sales fervor by creating a limited supply of a product along with a limited time offer. Those limitations trigger a fear of lack that cause people to camp out for hours, stampede into stores and even get arrested in order to save $100 on the latest TV or electronic device. As someone said, "You mean people trample each other for sales one day after being thankful for what they already have?"
What happens when the same mentality is being fostered on a national scale by Christian leaders through faulty end time theology? The result is a latent fear of scarcity which manifests as hoarding, endless conspiracy theories, withdrawal from expecting the kingdom to increase, refusing to have children, distrust of anyone in government, foolish decision making, and yes even deaths.
In a fascinating article by Dr Cindye Coates called, "Christians Having Last Days Abortions?" she describes how studies have shown that just as many Christian women get abortions as those who are not believers. Over 30 years of hearing tearful confessions she noted one of the main motivations that kept coming up was rooted in scripture. Many of these Christian women confessed privately it was because of their fear that the Great Tribulation was coming soon, and in particular it was this verse: "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!” – Matthew 24:19 (https://www.facebook.com/notes/10153483132798438/?pnref=story)
This is no isolated story. One mother told me how she woke up every morning to check if her baby was still in the crib. It was her way of measuring if she had missed the rapture because she "knew" God would take all babies.
When false "prophet" Harold Camping worked up the whole world with his rapture and end of the world predictions one teenage girl in Russia hung herself because she was afraid of going through the tribulation. One man drowned after swimming out to the middle of the lake to wait for Jesus to come. Still another woman tried to kill herself and her children. When asked if he would take any responsibility for the influence his predictions were having he said, "I don't have any responsibility. I can't take responsibility for anybody's life. I'm only teaching the Bible." (http://www.christianpost.com/news/fearful-teen-commits-suicide-on-eve-of-harold-campings-rapture-50542/) Unless of course he wasn't teaching the Bible!
Scarcity is a powerful motivator, and when it is wrongly applied theologically it can be a catalyst for acting like every day is black Friday...at its worst. The greatest lack that is threatened is the LACK OF TIME till either a rapture or a Great Tribulation. Think about the message: the end of the world is near and great crisis will not simply happen, but will overtake the world. The antiChrist is alive right now, and you are powerless to do anything about it. Time is running out. The only thing you can do it get ready? How? No one knows, but be ready.
As you can discover in other articles on this site, the Great Tribulation is not in our future, but in our past. I won't try to prove that here, other than to say that Jesus said it would happen in "this generation" not "that" generation in some distant future. He also said "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be." (Mt 24:21) It was a once in a lifetime event where the convergence of covenant curse, earthquakes, famines, false christs, and the destruction of the city of Jerusalem would never happen again.
In particular, the "be ready" and "watch and pray" passages had a very specific purpose. In responding to the disciples question regarding the signs of when the end of the old covenant temple age would be, he said "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near." (Luke 21:20)
Their readiness was to be prepared to flee. They were to flee to the mountains, which was of course counterintuitive. It required great trust in Christ's words. The natural response would be to flee to the stronghold of a walled city, but Jesus warned them that the city was going to be destroyed. "Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes." (Mt 24:15-18)
The time that was running out for THEM wasn't the end of the world, but the end of the old covenant age. (Mt 24:3) It was the end of the Jewish world built around the temple, sacrifices, and priesthood. When he came in judgment "speedily" on the unfaithful city, Jesus asked if he would find "faith on the earth?" (Lk 18:8) Indeed he did, because according to history no Christians died in the siege by Rome against Jerusalem. Why? Because they believed Jesus.
We should not project a message that was meant for a Jewish audience, in the old covenant city of Jerusalem onto America or the rest of the world.
In fact, the Bible doesn't describe an end of the world. Ephesians 3:21, "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, WORLD WITHOUT END. Amen."
Nor does it describe the total destruction of the earth, especially in light of Genesis 8:21 where God looked over the results of the flood and in mercy, "The Lord said in his heart, I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living creature as I have done." He doesn't say, "except by fire". It is unequivocally a statement of mercy for every generation not a delineation of means of destruction. (What encouragement are we to derive from dying by world-wide fire verses a world-wide flood?)
The reason many ministers are confused about this subject is that they don't understand how to interpret apocalyptic language such as Jesus' words of "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken" (Mt 24:9).
These are to be taken in light of the entire Bible's common prophetic language of the destruction of a city or nation such as Isaiah's prophetic words to Babylon "For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine." (Is 12:10). Babylon was destroyed just as the prophet said, but the apocalyptic language is meant to convey the idea in our idiom saying, "your world is about to fall apart." The rulers and governing powers are about to be put out of place.
The fruit of all this confusion? The fear of the lack of time left in the world will drive people to do things they wouldn't normally do. Dear friends, we live in the time where the kingdom of God is increasing in the earth (of the increase of his kingdom there will be no end). Let's make every day thanksgiving instead of black Friday.
Dr Chuck Crisco