Christianity 201

December 21, 2012

It’s The End of the World as We Know It

blank calendarAccording to some people, nobody will be reading this.

This is the day the Mayan calendar runs out, or, to be more precise, completes its present cycle and resets. But some people prefer to believe it simply marks the end of the world.

Personally, I don’t believe this end of the world scenario simply because there are prophetic markers that have yet to transpire. However, I want to qualify that by saying that I do believe in the possibility of prophetic markers being stacked up like dominoes, with an apparent chain reaction of events happening in quick succession, much like the 60s board game Mousetrap, or to use a more contemporary example a Rube Goldberg machine.

In The Church, much has been made of this verse in Matthew:

24:36 (NLT) “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.

and its parallel in Mark

13:32 (NASB) But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

but I am always quick to remind people that not knowing the day and the hour, does not mean we cannot know the times and the seasons.

Luke 21:8 (NCV) Jesus said, “Be careful so you are not fooled. Many people will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the One’ and, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t follow them. When you hear about wars and riots, don’t be afraid, because these things must happen first, but the end will come later.”

10 Then he said to them, “Nations will fight against other nations, and kingdoms against other kingdoms. 11 In various places there will be great earthquakes, sicknesses, and a lack of food. Fearful events and great signs will come from heaven…

…25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. On earth, nations will be afraid and confused because of the roar and fury of the sea. 26 People will be so afraid they will faint, wondering what is happening to the world, because the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then people will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to happen, look up and hold your heads high, because the time when God will free you is near!”

Now I hear you saying, “Wait a minute! This passage is referencing the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and was fulfilled in AD 70.”

skipping stonesThat’s true, Jesus says,

32 “I tell you the truth, all these things will happen while the people of this time are still living.”

I asked an old friend of mine and former seminary student about this, because it happens in the prophetic writings and also in the Psalms. He shared with me how the prophets see across a line of time, with the vision of someone following stones skipping across the water. So we find prophecies having fulfillment at various junctures in history; and while the the Luke text here would seem to have its primary fulfillment in the destruction of the temple, it could also be argued that this is actually a secondary fulfillment because it is a mere foreshadowing of the main events to come.

…For most of you, by the time you read this, we will be safely on the other side of the Mayan controversy.  But we’re also on the other side of the shocking news event of one week ago today, a reminder that while the entire world may not end today, your world might. Life is short.

We need to live each day in the expectancy and immanence of Christ’s return.

 

October 22, 2011

Just Because It Didn’t Doesn’t Mean It Won’t

Got friends emailing you to ask what happened to yesterday’s “end of the world?”  Tennessee pastor Clay Gentry offers some advice from his blog Sharing The Good News that you can copy and paste and email back.  Or better yet, you can link them to his blog, where this appeared under the title Live Every Day Like It Is The Last Day.

Today is October 21, 2011, and according to Harold Camping, the Lord is supposed to return today… again. You might recall that back earlier this year, Harold Camping predicted that the Lord would return on May 21st, well obviously He didn’t (Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Thessalonians 4:16).

It’s little wonder that the likes of Harold Camping and other date setters are unsuccessful in predicting the Lord’s return, because the Lord Himself, in characterizing His return by saying,

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” I will come (Matthew 25:13). 

And, the apostles, Paul and Peter, both established that the Jesus’ return would be unannounced, like a thief coming in the night (cf. Matthew 24:42-44).

“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2). 

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2 Peter 3:10).

These passages clearly establish that we cannot know the day, nor the hour, that the Lord will return. However, while the passages clearly show that the likes of Harold Camping and other date setters will always fail in their predictions. They do teach us, that as believers, we need to live everyday as if it is our last day on earth. We must live everyday as if it is the day of the Lord’s return. We need to live every day, as if it is the last day we will have breath and life.

Let me ask you a question; are you ready, are you ready to meet your maker? Are you living every day, are you living today, as if it is the last day? The same passages that we would you to establish that Harold Camping is wrong in his predictions, are the same passages that encourage us to live every day as if it is truly our last day.

I hope that you are making preparations in your spiritual life to stand before your Lord and Maker. If I can help you in any way with that, just drop me a line at clay [at] claygentry.com. I would love to hear from you. God bless you.

~Clay Gentry

Digging a little deeper:  Today’s reading for those of you who like to process things on a deeper level is a longer piece Clay wrote about how obeying God’s commandments begins with loving Him.  I encourage you to click over to It is Enough Just To Love God.