The End Is Near
I’m sure we all know a person who believes everything unleashed on us points to end times. For me, that person is my Aunt Edna. She says, “Jesus is returning to take us home. Are you ready for that?” My silence doesn’t discourage her. “There will be lots of sickness, famine, and death, but I’m not afraid. I’m excited.” I cannot say I share her enthusiasm.
Aunt Edna was excited in 1999 when the expectations were the world would end from a software bug. Unlike the “Millennium Bug,” people are dying from this one. The bug we are fighting today is more serious; some say it’s like the flu. I’ve never seen so many people in masks and gloves during flu season. They expected the Y2K bug to cause worldwide problems with water and food services, while debilitating other industries such as banking and transportation. None of that happened with Y2K, so maybe Aunt Edna has something to smile about as it’s all happening now.
I can’t believe this illness is crippling the state of the world. People have lived through pandemics before. Throughout time, “Aunt Edna’s” have warned their loved ones of the second coming. The epidemic of 2009 allowed us to prepare for the pandemic of 2020. However, new leadership took office and removed the protections placed by the previous administration, so it caught us with our pants down.
No matter what we prepare for, a recession appears to be inevitable. A recession followed the Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968. The Asian flu of 1957-58 experienced a recession, and the Spanish flu of 1918 experienced twin recessions. Don’t get caught up in the name, but focus on what follows. If 1918 is a good indicator of what happens when crowds gather causing a much more severe second wave, we may also need to prepare for twins.
When pandemics follow war, the soldiers returning home get blamed for the spread. Then the claim is the pandemic killed more than the war. During the pandemic of 1968, soldiers were returning home from Vietnam. During the pandemic of 1918, soldiers were returning home from World War I. In 2019, soldiers were returning from--
With tensions on high, we will blame the second wave of this pandemic on racism. The mass gatherings taking place when the economy was just beginning to reopen appear to have the same effect as the sizeable crowds celebrating the war ending during the 1918 pandemic. The cities and states that held large celebrations for the soldiers’ homecoming saw high numbers of new cases. The mass gatherings to protest police brutality after they took another black life, brought people together throughout the world to say enough.
If people think the world is ending now, they must have thought it for certain 100 years ago, with the war, the pandemic, the recession, the depression, it must have felt like Armageddon. My Aunt Edna got her ideas from somewhere. I imagine they came from Great Aunt Ester. I remember bits of a story she told me when I was ten. I felt like the horseman rode straight out of the book of Revelation and into the twentieth century.
The first horseman to appear had a distinguished look with his square chin, bushy dark brows, and sharp nose. The mask-less, clean-shaven, white-haired gent on the white horse presented himself as the man who could save all. His narrow brown eyes were just a little off. He rode through life with the idea that he was superior to all other life forms. The trusting souls who viewed him as their savior didn’t see the hate behind his eyes. He planned to conquer the world and wipe out the masses. He knew what he was doing would bring illness, isolation, and depression, but he didn’t stick around to watch the outcome. He had all but disappeared when another appeared.
An Asian man with flat black hair that fit well around his chubby square face was the horseman that followed on a red horse. He had thick square brows, a flat nose, and narrow brown eyes. His thick lips pursed together in the form of a pout. This horseman brought war, one of the greatest wars they had ever seen. Weapons and tactics were crueler and more advanced than any war in previous times. There were over 37 million causalities among the nations. Yet the causalities of war were less than the influenza outbreak that followed.
World War I ended and the flu pandemic set in. Cities around the world closed places of assemblage and people took action to avoid the deadly flu. The war ending was cause for celebration and some people had enough with quarantine life and took the streets to celebrate. Not all cities took part in celebrating the ending war, but those that held the festivities saw an increase in cases. Soldiers moving around internationally played a considerable factor in the second wave of the disease, and it was the second wave that had the highest death toll.
Once World War I was behind him, this horseman declared war against his own. He had an answer for disease and starvation. Just shoot them. They could not continue to spread a virus if they were dead, and those who were fighting for food were one less mouth to feed. Cremations took place before determining the cause of death. He poured a greater sense of fear and destruction onto civilization than disease or starvation ever caused.
It wasn’t just the enemy he looked to annihilate; he looked to destroy his own country. Aside from the bloodshed during the war, the cruel dictator killed off millions from his own nation. He tortured and executed people to purify the society. It was better to be poor and uneducated than educated and middle class under his power. Not everyone targets the poor.
The next horsemen followed on a black horse and left behind hunger. The food was not just lacking of supply, but from the demand of those who took more than they needed. The rider was another of Asian descent with heavy lips that stood out against his thin square face. He had a triangle nose and narrow brown eyes under thin eyebrows that extended only about half way from his nose out over the eye. Between the war and the pandemic, farmers suffered, as did their crops. Farmers had to produce more for less money with hopes to hold on to their farms, but prices dropped so low many lost their farms. A tariff war led to fewer exports, so the government helped farmers by extending more credit and purchasing their produce to stabilize prices, but it lowered prices instead.
The last horseman followed on a pale horse, and with him came pestilence. This horseman had a left side part to his greasy black hair. His oval face with cold brown eyes stood out against his pudgy nose and a square mustache above his thin lips. All who were different were sentenced to death. Those who were not dealt the card of execution by the previous horseman, died from disease or succumbed to starvation in concentration camps. Their legs could not hold the weight of their bodies, even though they were little more than bones.
Think of the evilest men in history and you will have a bird's-eye view of the four horsemen, who have appeared more than once in the last century. They claimed to have the best interests of their countries at heart. Maybe if we view their acts on humanity, we can gain an understanding of why they ride.
When we entered the new millennium, the horsemen returned. A dictator obsessed with nuclear weapons, wanted to strike fear not only in his country, but around the world. Public executions became common under the tyrant, but he desired to do more in terms of lives lost. Nuclear capabilities are still important to him. The leader may have a larger number of biological weapons than nuclear, but either could cause mass amounts of death if the opportunity arises for him to use them.
People suffer from the aftereffects of a disease and conditions continue to worsen. Dinosaurs got off easy when we consider the many afflictions endured by man over the last century. The dinosaurs didn’t even see it coming. Lord knows there were no astronomers among them, no media, no fear mongering, just a number of large reptiles that were not as cold-blooded as humans are today.
The pandemic was the first plague, but not the only one. Plagues continued to pour upon society. The plague that followed was murder hornets. Like a hypochondriac during a pandemic, I ran from a red flying insect that may or may not have been a murder hornet. I ran until I was out of breath and realized I had another reason to stay indoors. To ensure Americans know whom to hate for these hornets, they are also referred to as Japanese Hornets.
India’s skies turned black from the vast number of locusts that swarmed the city of Delhi, and I wonder what Asia did to upset God. When pestilence arrived, Aunt Edna claimed there were warnings, “The bible predicts during end times, pestilence, war, and famine will take the men, women, and the cattle. Plagues will pour over mankind, and insects will infest the land.” Then she added, “And the bible says through all of this, they mustn’t harm the oil and the wine.” I can’t stop thinking about how important oil and wine must be in the final days.
God sent a flood in the past to wipe out man and start again, but what went so wrong that He sent a new flood with the idea if the virus doesn’t kill them, then maybe some Murder Hornets will. No? How about mass amounts of locusts to destroy the crops? Blasted humans survived a famine. An asteroid has proven effective in the past. He must have thought—No, I’m more creative than that.
Great Aunt Ester believed the times they were living in caused God’s wrath to come down on them hard. Times did not differ from those of Sodom and Gomorrah. Enforcement of the prohibition was intended to decrease crime and increase morals. Women showed too much skin, which caused additional problems such as a movement for women’s rights. When we look back to determine the cause of plagues released on the world a century ago, we see that we have sinned again.
In today’s world we have discrimination, as we did 100 years ago. We have an opioid crisis. Around the time of WWI, a couple laws passed with intentions to gain control over the opioid crisis back in the day. People of all nationalities, sexual orientations, gender, and income levels believe they have the right to equality, which must be a sin, as the righteous want to return to a time of fewer rights. If alcohol was to blame, then the prohibition should have cured America of its sins.
Great Aunt Ester’s stories were a revelation in themselves. She lived it and believed through all of it she was living in end times. Tariff wars, governments bailing out farmers, a pandemic, governments extending credit to stabilize the economy, but cause a recession instead. If only we could draw on historical data to see what worked and didn’t work in the past, maybe then educated decisions could help stop the horsemen from riding again. Some say if you don’t learn from history, it will repeat itself. A century later, a world leader makes all the same mistakes, and it comes as a surprise to his supporters when he receives much of the same outcome.
The POTUS claimed the government would dominate its citizens during a time of high racial tensions, and a new war began. It was a war within a onetime great nation. Our nation made progress for so long, but then allowed a wealthy businessman to take our United States back to the racial disparity of the 1960s. People grew tired of hate being forced on them and looked for alternatives to remove it. Many who were not listening in the past began to listen, but not everyone. Not the president or the vice president.
The red horse and horseman ride again. People who have not previously harbored hard feelings against one another are fighting. Lives are lost over stupid misunderstandings from the simple fact everyone’s on edge from the previous bouts of calamity. With human rights issues and a downturn in the economy, a civil war began.
Intolerant people do their part to ignite the torch the protestors used to burn down structures, then they respond with pointing fingers at the fed-up masses, acting as though without the match to ignite the flame this would have all been going down just the same.
I have wondered more than once if the president of our nation is behind the charades or if it is his surrounding advisors who set him up to copy the evilest men of history. That day he posed holding a bible above his head, like he has ever read one word of the book. The man struggles to put sentences together at times, so you have to wonder who writes his speeches when the racism in them is clear as day. I am scared every day that this great nation will veer away from democracy and become a monarchy.
Those who endorsed the man will sit idly by and say, “When did that happen? I must have missed it.” Wealth and discrimination will divide the United States at a greater depth before the end is upon us. We will need a savior to get us out of this mess. The Conquer on his white horse will appear and people will look to him for guidance, just remember he is the same man that appeared before war, famine, and pestilence. With him, we will see the end.
Great Aunt Ester is no longer with us. God rest her soul. We are left with the memories of her stories and Aunt Edna to carry on her ideas. Aunt Edna said to me yesterday, “They will drink the wine of the wrath of God from the cup of their own indignation.” I knew she was quoting Revelation, and it hit me why no one was to harm the wine. We must reserve it for those who are left behind.