Friday, May 20, 2011

IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!!!

A preacher named Harold Camping has stated that the rapture (what he believes is the event that will take Christians out of this world) will be Saturday, May 21, 2011. His “We Can Know” website also states that the destruction of the world will be October 21, 2011. 

This announcement from Mr. Camping has created quite a stir. In fact, there has been considerable media attention regarding this assertion that the end is near. 

I personally do not subscribe to the belief that we can know when Jesus will return. While Mr. Camping gives his reasons on the website, I find them to be a gross twisting and misapplication of the Bible verses he quotes.

When Jesus was asked by His disciples about His return, Jesus plainly said in Matthew 24:36, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Jesus goes on to teach His disciples that the most important lesson is to always be ready because we do not know when He will return. 

I also do not agree with the teaching about the rapture taking away the Christians from the world in the month of May, then the world coming to an end later in October.  It has always amazed me that you cannot find the word rapture mentioned in the Bible. Granted, I know that "rapture" not being found in the Bible is not in and of itself an argument killer.  A word like "Trinity" is not found in the Bible, yet it's a teaching I would believe in. 

But if I am reading the context of Matthew chapter 24 correctly, Jesus said that it is the wicked that are taken out while the righteous are left behind. (Please check out Matthew 24:39. Jesus says Noah went into the ark, and then the flood came and took everyone else away. In context, Jesus is saying the wicked are the ones taken away, not the righteous.) 

The point I want to make is that I believe it is very dangerous to try and presume upon things Jesus said no one knows for sure except God the Father. 

In Matthew chapter 13 Jesus is asked by the religious leaders of His day to show them a “sign.” In other words, they were putting Jesus to the test. They had to see something miraculous in order to believe. Jesus rebukes the religious leaders by saying, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign!” (Matthew 13:39)

There is a principle in this verse that we must always remember. It is not the reflection of a pure heart to seek after signs. I do not take this to mean that it is wrong to wonder about the circumstances surrounding when Jesus will return. I also do not take this to mean that it is wrong to study the Second Coming of Jesus. But we must guard against putting God to the test and misinterpreting Scripture to fit our agenda.

What is extremely sad to me is how many people will have heard Mr. Camping’s claims, and then when nothing happens on Saturday, they will turn and mock the name of Christ.

I also worry that some young or na├»ve Christians, as well as people in the world, might possibly reject Christ because of this false teaching.  I wish the media could spend more time focusing on the good things Christians do, rather than the few on the fringes of Christianity who do not accurately represent Jesus Christ.

When all is said and done this weekend… we may still wonder: Is the end near?  I think the best answer is simply, “Yes. We are closer now than we’ve ever been to the return of Christ.”

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