A great deal is being made of this date. Perhaps you have seen the posters proclaiming that on May 21, 2011, a great earthquake will take place such as the world has never experienced. In a moment, less time than a camera of the highest technology can capture, millions of people will vanish - the Messiah will return, the rapture will take place, the utter and complete annihilation of this earth and universe will be at hand.
Or so we are told.
I feel a sense of sadness for those who have been caught up (no pun intended) in one man’s quest to be someone special in the divine plan of Almighty God.
Is he sincere? Perhaps. However one can be sincere but sincerely wrong.
I will not argue the plethora of theological points that refute this claim. I will not entertain futile dialogue with those who are (until May 22, 2011) absolutely convince that THIS is the prophesied date of Jesus’ return. But, likewise, I will not sit idol and allow this proclamation in the name of Christianity to take place without contrarily offering a few verses to “those who have an ear to hear”.
We are living in difficult times. If the economy has not affected you yet, it will. If wars have not affected you they have most likely affected someone close to you. If disease, loss, sadness, death have not darkened your door you are most fortunate. You no doubt know of someone who has experienced one or more of these events.
And what can we say about the groanings of the earth? How can we ignore the increases of strange weather patterns, earthquakes, natural disasters? What about apathy towards government? What about the lack of trust, honor and patriotism?
Signs of the times?
Certainly! But these have always been a part of the human experience; just as promised in the Bible. Are they on the increase? A snapshot of the news would indicate that, if nothing else, the frequency of such upheaval is on the rise. But rather than turn to one man’s allegorical commentary, I prefer to turn to the words of Jesus. He did not mingle verse upon verse in His discussion of the end times. He did not pay homage to numerology, contriving secret codes and mathematical equations to reveal what it was He wanted people to know. He simply addressed the issue in Matthew chapter 24. Here is a bit of what He shares:
“For then there will be great tribulation - affliction, distress and oppression - such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now; no, never will be [again]. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would endure and survive; but for the sake of the elect (God’s chosen ones) those days will be shortened. IF ANY ONE SAYS TO YOU THEN, LO HERE IS CHRIST, THE MESSIAH; OR, THERE HE IS; DO NOT BELIEVE IT. For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive and lead astray, if possible EVEN THE ELECT (God’s chosen ones). See, I HAVE WARNED YOU BEFOREHAND. So, if they say to you, Lo He is in the wilderness (desert), do not go out there; if they tell you, Lo He is in the secret places or inner rooms, do not believe it. For just as lightning flashes from the east and shines and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of man be. Where there is a fallen body (a corpse), there the vultures (or eagles) will flock together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed her light, and the stars will fall from the sky and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and beat their breasts and lament in anguish, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory - in brilliancy and splendor! And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect [His chosen ones] from the four winds, [even] from one end of the universe to the other. From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its young shoots become soft and tender and it puts out its leaves, you know of a surety that summer is near. So also when you see these signs all taken together coming to pass, you may know of a surety that He is near, at the very doors. Truly, I tell you, this generation - that is, the whole multitude of people living at the same time, in a definite, given period - will not pass away, till all these things taken together take place! Sky and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But of that [exact] day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” -Matthew 24:21-36
In verse 42 Jesus goes on to say:
“Watch, therefore - give strict attention, be cautious and active - for you do not know in what kind of a day [whether a near or remote one] your Lord is coming.”
Our’s is not to give a date. Our’s is not to share the Word of God [in affect] to simply bring honor to ourselves for having done so; supposing that WE are special for giving such a “spiritual dispensation” when the world appears so Godless. No. Our’s is to humbly admit that we stand daily before a Holy God. We stand naked and in need. Naked and exposed for who we really are - in our private times, in our hearts, known only to Him. In need of His loving touch and forgiveness.
The date of His return? Certain! The time? Precise! He has already taken care of it. The more timely question, the most immediate question, “are we ready?” We can know that we are ready by applying the Passover blood of God’s Sinless Lamb to our lives. No wonder Moses directed God’s people to apply the blood in such a manner so as to form a cross. No wonder it was applied to the door - the one access.
The only date that we can be certain of is now; now is an appropriate day to turn our lives over to a loving God through the death, burial and resurrection of a living, loving Jesus Christ. Do we understand it all? Certainly not. But in love He has given us enough to know our need and to know His fulfilling and forever sacrifice. Do you know Him? Does He know you?
Loads of love