Constable: Are the End Times here? Well, no, says biblical scholar
A fridge-sized asteroid hurtles toward Earth as we cope with a pandemic, horrific storms, racial atrocities, wildfires, violence and political pandemonium. "We are at the end of time," warns a flyer left on our front porch. It proclaims the Earth will come to an end in 2020 with chaos, war, famine, natural disasters and a presidential election "like nothing you have ever witnessed before."
Granted, it does seem as if we're headed in that direction. But Lombard native Tom Meyer, 44, a biblical scholar who built a career reciting Bible books by memory, is still booking gigs for 2021.
"Fake news!" Meyer says with a chuckle as he labels the End Times flyer just another "cuckoo" idea in a world where we can find disasters lurking everywhere. The 11,000 lightning strikes in a weekend that sparked hundreds of fires across Northern California, where Meyer lives with his wife, Sarah, and their children, Hosanna, 8, Scarlett, 6, Abigail, 4, and Tommy, 3, might bring to mind Greek mythology tales of Zeus tossing lightning bolts at his enemies. But it's not a sign of the End Times, Meyer says.
"This is just what happens in our world," he says of disasters. "In no way shape or form is this the end. You'll know when it's the end."
That "the end is nigh" philosophy has been with us since Jesus Christ and his disciples.
"John, Paul, Peter -- the heavy hitters -- also thought they were in extra innings," says Meyer, who is comfortable using baseball analogies since he played catcher in a baseball league during his years in Israel. "Now, we are in what? The 20th inning?"
Meyer grew up in Lombard, the oldest of four children born to Thomas and Debbie Meyer. He left his job with his family's Meyer Paving business to attend Shasta Bible College in Redding, California, where he is now a professor.
He got master's degrees at Jerusalem University College in Israel.
"We got engaged in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve," says Meyer, who got married in Jerusalem in 2011. He says he spends "every single Sunday" reciting the Bible at some church or event and speaks "for 40 days and 40 nights" every year at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, and its sister attraction, Ark Encounter.
But he also embraces science and disagrees with those people who shun masks in the belief Jesus will save them from COVID-19. "Dude, that's like saying, 'I'm going to drive with my eyes closed,'" Meyer says. He masks up and will teach online at Shasta Bible College if necessary to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
Today's trials and tribulations are "not fulfillments of prophesies," Meyer says. "According to the Bible, you ain't seen nothing yet."
First comes the Rapture, Meyer says, adding that Christians have been waiting for that for 2,000 years.
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first," a verse in First Thessalonians says.
"Graves rip open all over the world. It's so fantastic. That's why they make movies about it," Meyer says. After that comes seven years of chaos depicted in the book of Revelations, with atrocities everywhere you look during the Antichrist's reign.
If the actual Antichrist were running as a presidential candidate in November, he'd get votes.
"Well, I'm not a fan of his adding the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to the Supreme Court," voters would say. "But the stock market hates uncertainty, and this guy has a commitment to end creation, so that should help my 401(k)."
You can forget about that asteroid that might arrive the day before Election Day. NASA's @AsteroidWatch tweets, "Asteroid 2018VP1 is very small, approx. 6.5 feet, and poses no threat to Earth!"
Instead of focusing on catastrophes and future End of Days, Meyer urges people to spend their energy in the present.
"It's God's clock, not mine," Meyer says. "It's out of my control. I just live my life the best I can. Dude, I go to Disneyland."