Friday, May 20, 2011

The world will end…but not tomorrow.

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:16

Perhaps you’ve heard the prediction of a semi-prominent American false teacher, Harold Camping. He’s predicted that tomorrow, May 21, at 6:00 pm Pacific Standard Time, Jesus will rapture His church.

I really wouldn’t mind if he was right. We Christians are “to watch and be sober” (1Thessalonians 5:6). Must of us want the rapture to occur sooner, rather than later. However, this penchant of setting an exact time is a flagrant offense against the Word of God.

Camping has previously predicted Christ’s return (1994) and there have been others throughout history who have attached a precise timing to Jesus’ return.

The Montanists established a community in Anatolia in 699 AD where followers could wait for Jesus’ expected return.

In 1284, Pope Innocent III predicted that Christ would return that year. He simply added 666 years to the date of 618 AD, the year Mohammed founded Islam.

The Millerites sold off their belongings and gathered in upstate New York on October 22, 1844 to meet Jesus at His return. But that day came and went causing Hiram Edson to report: "Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before... We wept, and wept, till the day dawn.”

More recently, we had 88 Reasons Why Christ Will Return in 1988 by Edgar Whisenant, followed up the next year by 89 Reasons Why Christ Will Return in 1989. Oh well.

The Bible is clear that we “know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13) and Jesus said “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:32-33). If Jesus doesn’t know when the Father has established His return, certainly Harold Camping doesn’t know it.

While the exact time of Jesus’ return is uncertain, that He will return is very certain. We may not know the day and hour, but we can know “the times and seasons” (1 Thess 5:1). And we are very close to the rapture of Christians, the return of Jesus and final judgment of the world.

John “saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:12).

Are you ready for judgment day?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Ben Liden Dead

Osama Bin Laden is dead. Hunted by America for nearly 10 years, this terrorist had his day of accountability. Certainly my patriotism abounds. When I think of the many spouses who had to adjust to life without their marriage partner; the many children who have grown up without a mother or father; the communities and workplaces that were weakened because of the loss and our nation that has been radically altered by intrusive security measures, I am glad that this enemy has been eradicated.

Spiritually, I am reminded by this action of our accountability to our Creator. In the words of the old preacher RG Lee, we all have a “payday, someday.” Bin Laden’s payday came this past weekend in Abbottabad, Pakistan, when a team of CIA operatives and Navy SEALS delivered American justice—swift and severe.

2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.” Our day of answering for our earthly deeds may be delayed, but the day will come.

Former President George W. Bush, speaking of this incident, said: “America has sent an unmistakable message: no matter how long it takes, justice will be done.” And that is also the message of the Bible regarding our spiritual accountability. No matter how long it takes, you will face the justice of God.

Fortunately, God opened the eyes of my heart to my evil deeds and showed me I cannot stand on my own and hope to be declared innocent. The Bible says: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

The only hope we all have, Americans and non-Americans alike, of escaping the judgment of God is by taking refuge in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.