Saturday, October 31, 2009

Debbie Downer on Steroids

Do you remember the popular skit on Saturday Night Live called Debbie Downer? "The character's name is connected to slang phrase which refers to someone who persistently adds bad news or negative feelings to a gathering, thus bringing down the mood of everyone around them. Debbie's cynical character would interrupt social gatherings to voice negative opinions and pronouncements, making her one of the top favorite sketches of all time." Wikipedia. It was hilarious. Every time Debbie would pronounce a negative comment, a trumpet would make the "wah-wah-wah" and everyone would get bummed out.

Well, Isaiah prophesies of a time when everyone on earth will be Debbie Downer. On steroids.

Not all of the end time prophecies are contained in the Revelation or even all in the New Testament. The Old Testament is rife with prophecies concerning the state of things in the last days and God's upcoming judgment of them. The most famous, of course, are God's prophetic clock in Daniel, and Ezekiel's Gog-Magog war, but let us not overlook Isaiah. The last four chapters of the book of Isaiah (24-27) describes God's promises on the judgment of nations at the end of time and Israel's deliverance. These chapters are known as "Isaiah's Apocalypse."

Early on in Chapter 24 we read this:

The gaiety of tambourines ceases, The noise of revelers stops, The gaiety of the harp ceases. All joy turns to gloom. ... The gaiety of the earth is banished.

--A state of joyful exuberance or merriment; vivacity.
--Merry or joyful activity; festivity: making preparations for the holiday gaieties.
--Bright color or showiness, as of dress; finery.

Can you imagine all gaiety being removed from the earth? Think on this for a minute. God is not talking only of prurient revelries such as Halloween parties featuring scantily clad ladies in belly dancer costumes, nor tailgate parties before the football game featuring twenty-somethings awash in beer and guffaws. God is talking about gaiety like this:

The joyful exuberance of children playing and laughing. And this:

Teenagers goofing around on a summer day. Or this:

Joy at marriage celebrations. Or this:

 Mothers and babies giggling. Or this:

Grandmother laughing at her birthday party. All gaiety banished from the earth. The simple and pure gaiety expressed through celebrations and festivities since time immemorial ... GONE. And you thought Debbie was a Dower. Imagine everyone on earth as Debbie Downer. On steroids! And now you have a good picture of earth in the very last days. What's the alternative? Isaiah tells us.

Isaiah 35:10 "And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Be where sorrow flees away, not where gaiety is banished! Joy everlasting. Now, that's an upper!

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