It is picturesque, even idyllic. It is the highest peak in the Corbieres mountain range. And the Corbieres Mountains are the foothills to the Pyrenees Range that forms the geological barrier between France and Spain. This summit that rises from the Southern French countryside is called Pic de Bugarach, the “Bugarag Heights.”
As beautiful as the mountain is, it is also a geographically oddity. Rock samples from its peak appear to be older than those taken closer to the foot of the mountain, hence its nickname the “upside-down mountain.” Geologists believe the mountain was a volcano that blew its top that while airborne flipped and landed back on the top of itself. This would explain the older rock samples being on top of younger samples.
This geographical oddity has given rise to a strange following. About 20,000 New Age believers are camped at the mountain’s base. They believe the mountain’s geographical makeup is the ideal home to a host of aliens that reside in a spaceship in the mountain. They believe that just before the supposed Mayan Doomsday predicted to be December 21 this year, the aliens will emerge to rescue these believers and whisk them away to some safer far-flung corner of the universe.
They have other followers who may join them before the fateful day swelling their numbers to around 100,000. This made me wonder just how big that spaceship is and if the aliens have any reservations left. I may seem to be poking fun at these New Age folks, but that may hide the serious and tragic events that can be spawned by such misguided hope.
You may recall that one man who embraced Harold Camping’s predictions spent his life savings advertising the end of times on the side of buses in New York City. He is still here and broke. But his experience highlights the sad consequences that followed misguided predictions. The English writer G. K. Chesterton is purported to have remarked, “It has often been supposed that when people stop believing in God, they believe in nothing. Alas, it is worse than that. When people stop believing in God they will believe in anything.”
Many of the world’s current events seem to be a fulfillment of Christ’s predictions in the first few verses of Matthew’s twenty-fourth chapter. These descriptions are characterized by Christ as “the beginning of birth pangs.”
Before I go further, I think an explanation of prophecy should be made. I believe prophecy is an admixture of some things God has predestined and some things God foresees. I believe the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew is a good example. The proliferation of false Christs and prophets, wars and rumors of wars, and famines and earthquakes in various locations around the world have been foreseen by God. As people increasingly turn from God is seems clear they will turn on one another, and become increasingly prey to deception. Famines will surely result from competition and conflict over dwindling food resources.
As things worsen on the world scene, many will cast about searching for any prospect of hope like a drowning man struggling to be rescued. They forsake the truth of the Scriptures to indiscriminately embrace any false offer of hope. As times grow difficult their desperation will increase.
Surprisingly, I am not disturbed or depressed as human history inexorably approaches the culmination of this age. I am at peace with whatever God’s will brings knowing it will provide an unprecedented opportunity to share the true hope offered in Christ. D. L. Moody once explained his passion to reach the lost by saying he viewed the earth as a shipwrecked vessel and God had given him in the Gospel a lifeboat and this imperative, “Moody, save all you can.”
As the storm clouds gather, let those of us who believe prepare for the harvest to come. Let us focus not on becoming comfortable in this world, because this world is not our home, “but according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13).”
And, as the Lord tarries, save all you can.