With 2000 running out, focus will be on certain prophets

       In a short time the year 2000 will end, and so will the millennium. For years now certain prophets have cited this year as the deadline for major apocalyptical events and their credibility will come into question.

       We don't believe in discrediting seers. We realize that with prophecy, there is a human component. And for that reason, we take nothing that's uttered from a human as infallible (unless declared so by the Vatican).

       Most of the prophecies that have to do with 2000 are apocalyptical, alluding to the Anti-Christ, the end times, and the Second Coming. Each of these topics will be the subject of articles in the coming weeks, starting next week with a report about the Anti-Christ.

       We don't take such prophecies lightly, but we do try to balance the legitimacy of prophecy. We're well aware that apocalyptic predictions have come at every major juncture in history, especially, as in our own time, when there's a spiritual crisis. While the apocalypse has obviously not occurred at those historical junctures (proving the predictions wrong), the prophets were picking up a legitimate pulse. For instance, seers during the Middle Ages foresaw the end of the world, and while it didn't end, there was the catastrophe known as the Black Death -- which killed a third of those living in Europe! 

       Thus far, there are no indications that "end-times" prophecies are part of any major Church-approved site of apparitions. There is nothing quite so apocalyptic from Fatima, Beauraing, Three Fountains, San Nicolas (Argentina), Cuapa (Nicaragua), Betania (Venezuela), nor other sites that have recently met with full Church sanction. Nor is it a prophecy, as far as we know, from Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina -- where the Virgin has been appearing since 1981 and where seers have been granted up to ten secrets. One of them, Vicka Ivankovic, told me that her secrets do not contain predictions about the end of the world, the Anti-Christ, and the Second Coming. 

       Others there, when asked about a revelation that the twentieth century was the century of Satan, said that the remark was meant in a "general" way and doesn't mean that the devil's period of extended power ends exactly at 2000.        

       But that hardly diminishes the drama. Whether or not it's the "end times," it has been said at Medjugorje that this is the last time the Virgin will appear, or at least the last time she will appear in the way she has been appearing. 

       Does that mean a drastic shift in human history, or does it mean that Medjugorje is her last appearance during the current Church era (not her final for all time)?

       We don't know, and we won't know until the secrets unfold. The concept that the year 2000 would serve as a deadline has come from other, lesser-known seers, as well as a flurry of locutionists who have foreseen Christ's coming "in glory." 

       It has not come from a Medjugorje seer.

       But there have been those associated with Medjugorje who have come out with interesting statements. One of them, Father Petar Ljubicic, who has served as a spiritual conselor to seer Mirjana Dragicevic Soldo, told a crowd at St. Therese Church in Parkville, Missouri, last February that "these are the end and decisive times." 

        Others from Medjugorje have indicated that after the chastisements, the world will be a simpler place and people will live more like peasants.

       If they're right, that indicates not the end of the world but instead -- as we have long been discussing -- a major purification.

       While the odds are terrific that the world will not end before Monday at 12:01 a.m., this is hardly to pooh-pooh prophecy. In fact, in such times as these, prophecy is more important than ever. It indicates a real trend. It detects a real pulse. We are entering a period of tremendous chastisement but just have to be careful we don't fall into the devil's trap of exaggeration.

Next week: those who foresee the antichrist 

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The Final Hour
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