Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God

[3:1] This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, [2] that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, [3] knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. [4] They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” [5] For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, [6] and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. [7] But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
[8] But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [9] The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. [10] But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, 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.
[11] Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, [12] waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! [13] But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

(2 Peter 3:1-13 ESV)

Surely, after May 21, 2011 has now passed and Harold Camping's false prediction that the Lord was coming back on that day proved to be false, there will be many more scoffers to arise. "Where is the promise of His coming?", they will say. Granted, Peter was writing about false teachers in the church scoffing at this, to which we do have our fair share today. One thing that Camping has missed in all this is the following, despite him being "flabbergasted" that his prediction failed and that his new date is October 21, 2011, the date that he had set for the final destruction of earth.

[36] “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. [37] For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. [38] For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, [39] and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. [40] Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. [41] Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. [42] Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. [43] But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. [44] Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
(Matthew 24:36-44 ESV)
The audacity of those who set dates and even hours as Camping did, right down to 6:00 PM in whatever time zone you're in is astounding. Jesus said that no one knows the day or the hour and yet, Camping claims to know it. We've seen this before from both Camping and other false teachers/false prophets. This is all based on the expectation that the Bible contains hidden codes or mathematical formulas to be able to predict dates, the antichrist, and other people or events. In recent years, several people have written that the Bible predicts that Islam is the antichrist based on mathematical formulas. Before that, it was the U.S.S.R. Hitler's name has supposedly been found in the Bible through codes.  People are serious about this. I don't why people seem fascinated with finding this stuff out, but don't you just think that the Bible has already given us all the information we need, without trying to make it say stuff based on our own presuppositions?

Now to the point of all this. What if we did know the day and the hour of Christ's return? How should we then live our lives? Camping didn't tell his followers to help the poor in selling all they had. Jesus told the rich man to sell all he had and give to the poor. Not necessarily in anticipation of the Lord's return, but shouldn't we all live this way from day to day? What is your life like? Are you caught up in the materialism of this world? Do you think that all the goods you have acquired will make it? I'm not advocating a life of poverty and non-material goods, but what are you doing with the things you have that will make a difference for Christ? Is you life one of holiness? Are you looking in eager anticipation for the day of the Lord, knowing that He will say, "well done, good and faithful servant?" Or are you dreading that you have not done enough for the Lord? That you are only wasting your life and that if He returns this moment, he won't find you with your oil lamp filled with oil? I'm convicted by the very words I write. Forget all the predictions and live for Christ today that he may find you faithful. Live each day as if he were returning that very second.