I clearly remember my days as a bible-thumping Jehovah’s Witness, looking forward to the End of the World with ill-concealed glee. Of course there was always underlying trepidation which came from hoping that I’d done enough to be found worthy of God’s salvation.
But in spite of that, the end of the world was something that was vividly imaginable. Illustrations in the Watchtower literature depicted violent scenes of God’s wrath dealt upon on wicked mankind, usually with a small group of happy, smiling people (Jehovah’s Witnesses) simply walking away from it all.
As a young, impressionable woman I could picture myself as one of those people. Someone who had been delivered from all of the world’s suffering and pain, and about to embark on an historic journey to a paradise earth, just like God originally intended.
I have come across many others of different faiths who similarly look forward to God’s “day of divine vengeance.” Instead of believing that they will continue to reside on the Earth, these people more commonly look forward to deliverance into heaven after God literally destroys the planet. Regardless of the religion, images of the destruction at Armageddon are common and grotesque.
But what about all those poor souls who are destined to meet an untimely end? Did I really think about them? Was I joyful at the prospect of their horrific destruction as the Watchtower told me I should be? It was hard not to notice the artist’s depiction, which was often so detailed that it revealed tears streaming down the faces of the condemned, or bleeding gashes and cuts, people holding and weeping over the lifeless bodies of their loved ones.