Is The End Near?|
Is the End Near?
(I wrote the following article several years ago, but I thought it was appropriate to reprint it due to the current campaign by a group called "Family Radio” and a man named Harold Camping. This group has posted billboards all around Nashville and other cities to warn the public that the Lord is coming on May 21, 2011. They arrived at this date through a convoluted interpretation of prophecies of Scripture taken out of context. They claim to have received new revelations from the Holy Spirit through the Bible for the last thirty-five years. According to them, the "church age” ended when the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from all churches in 1988, and anyone remaining in a church when the Lord comes will be lost (compare to Matt. 16:18; 1Cor. 3:16-17; Eph. 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:21; 4:4; 5:23, 25-27). These predictions are in contradiction to the plain teachings of the Bible, which means that those who teach these predictions are false prophets (Deut. 13:1-5; 18:20-22). Their teachings regarding the church are filled with error, and so are their predictions. Certainly, the Lord is coming, but neither "Family Radio” nor anyone else can know when. – SED, 12/3/10)
Look around the world – earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides, wars, famines, hurricanes – are these signs of things to come? Is the end near?
The answer is, I don’t know, and neither do you. In fact, the Lord Christ does not even know when the end of the world shall come. He said it Himself: "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only”(Matt. 24:36; Mark 13:32).
Yet when disasters occur around the world, some begin proclaiming the eminent destruction of the earth. This reaction comes from a misunderstanding and misapplication of Matthew 24. In that context, the Lord predicted two different events - the destruction of Jerusalem and His second coming. Although this passage is difficult, we must be careful not to confuse the Lord’s teaching.
The fact is that no one can accurately predict the time for the end of the world. It is the height of arrogance to think that we can know that which even the Lord does not know. There have always been disasters, both natural and man-made. If every disaster was a sign of the world’s coming destruction, then the world would have been destroyed long, long ago.
Despite the Lord’s teaching, some have made predictions for the world’s end. Some have even built denominations on those predictions. Seventh Day Adventism originated with the teaching of William Miller who set the date for the earth’s destruction first in 1843, then in 1844, and then in 1845. The Jehovah’s Witnesses started with a belief that the Lord would return in 1874 and then changed the date to 1914. Other’s have made equally erroneous predictions and continue to do so.
What we do know about the end of the world is that it will certainly happen, even if we do not know when. Peter warned, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (2Pet. 3:10).
What this means for us from a practical standpoint is that we must always be prepared. Paul wrote, "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; but let us be alert and sober.” (1Thess. 5:4-6) Again, Peter wrote, "Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!” (2Pet. 3:11-12)
Whether the end is near or not should not concern us in what we do. The word of God teaches us to be prepared always as if the Lord is coming today. Not only that, but also we should hasten the coming of the day of God. It is not a day to be dreaded by Christians, but rather a day of rejoicing. Our sentiment should be like that of John when he wrote, "Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20) or like Paul when he wrote, "Maranatha.” (1 Cor. 16:22), which means, "Lord, come.”
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