So, of all the Biblical representations of God, you go for the loving Christ. Let us forget, for a moment that you have to ignore the genocidal God of Exodus and Joshua and the manic destructive God of Revelation. (Ignore , or come out with some 'mysterious ways' expo.)
Do you maintain that Jesus/God's love is unconditional? I get the impression that you think He would love more those folks who, like you, get excited about all those Biblical number puzzles.
Does He love less those who, like me, will dismiss all that stuff as of purely historical interest, or even those who, like Ariadne, rate 1948 as more important than 1844 in the Great End Times countdown?
I hope you can see why, to any outsider, your ideas seem ridiculous. To an outsider like me, who was once inside an SDA offshoot (the JWs) which got even more excited about similar, albeit ever changing, Biblical sums, your outfit is definitely one to warn folks about.
Not at all, brother...
"For there is no partiality with God." Romans 2:11
God loves people like you and I just as much as He loves people like mother Teresa, or whoever we see as "good" in this world, because
"we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousness is as filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away." Isaiah 64:6
I've heard it said that in God's eyes the distance between the world's greatest saint and the world's worst sinner is virtually zero. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
Seems like the key word in these verses is "ALL"...we are all in the same boat. If you gave your heart and life to Christ today, He wouldn't love you any more than He already does and always will. If you became a monster like Hitler and slaughtered millions of people God would love you no less than He does right now.
Those "biblical number puzzles," as you like to call them, have no merit in God's eyes...
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing." - 1 Cor. 13:1-3
It's all about love in God's eyes. "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." 1 John 4:8
It is His love that compels Him to destroy sin and those who refuse to let it go...because He knows that destroying sin is the only way to bring His creatures true happiness...a happiness we can never know or even imagine until we experience a world without sin. But, please believe God when He cries out,
"...As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" - Ezekiel 33:11
When that day of judgment finally comes and our God of love must finally destroy sin once and for all...it will be the most painful moment in eternity Him.
I'll go with the unconditional love thing, fundy. In order to follow that, though, much of the Bible - all the violent hate bits that I've pointed out - have to be sidelined. And the numbers, dates and beasts are no help in the love direction either. Their study, and the crazy assertions that some folks make as a result of that study, has been at the root of much sectarian, religious and racial strife.
Interpretations of Biblical and Koranic prophecy are at the heart of much of the hatred that is poisoning the place known as 'The Holy Land'.
I think you're absolutely right...interpretations of Bible prophecies have caused much pain and strife in this world.
If none of them were ever placed in the Bible the Gospel message of God's power and love would remain the same...they are completely non-essential to a Christian life of love. The only difference would be that we'd be flying blind, never sure of how long we've got until Christ returns.
I'm not sure of God's purposes in having these time prophecies, but I could speculate based on passages such as the following that they are calculated to increase our faith in God when we see events unfold just as the Bible predicted, and to encourage us to let Jesus Christ, the Morning Star (Rev 22:16), reign in our hearts...
"And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." - 2 Peter 1:19