I cringe when Christians, perhaps well meaning, make claims that fly contrary to scripture.  Harold Camping claims that the End of the World is guaranteed to occur on May 21st-- yes, are you sitting down?  On May 21, 2011. 

What does he mean by this?  Does he mean that the Rapture of the Church (1st Thessalonians 4: 13-18) will take place on that date?  Has the antichrist... the man of lawlessness already been revealed (2nd Thessalonians 2: 3-6); which I tend to believe will not happen until after the Rapture of the Church.  Does Harold Camping mean that the tribulation has already begun and the stars are about to fall from heaven... the moon and sun darkened?  (Matthew 24: 29-31; Revelation: 19: 11-16). 

Common sense and scripture itself tells me that we are not quite there.  We know that the "spirit of antichrist" is in the world (1st John 4: 2, 3) in many forms.  We know that satan controls some people and they become operationally possessed by evil (Luke 22: 3; John 13: 27).  But... ask yourself?  Can we point and say that this specific person is the man of lawlessness; the end of time antichrist that will be fatally and totally possessed by satan?  This "it" of horror personified would need to be revealed and believers would know to recognize this vehicle of wrath because finally, there would be no room for doubt.  The consequences of letting "it" rule would be in our faces, standing to attention amid horrible persecution; devastation unparalleled. 

We are instructed to read our times, not to be taken unawares and to look for the events foretold by God for our benefit and protection.  This requires study.  It means we stop listening to a Harold Camping and dig into God's word for ourselves. The outcome of study is more fervent, heightened prayer. We are even told to pray that the escape from Jerusalem not be in winter or on the sabbath... praying for brothers and sisters we don't personally know and may or may not yet be born.

I read of Campings' claim this morning via a media inquiry and decided to check it out.  Here is an excerpt that apparently confirms that Camping has actually postured a specific date. 

"Camping, 88, has scrutinized the Bible for almost 70 years and says he has developed a mathematical system to interpret prophecies hidden within the Good Book. One night a few years ago, Camping, a civil engineer by trade, crunched the numbers and was stunned at what he'd found: The world will end May 21, 2011."  http://www.sfgate.com/

All through history God has had a problem with those who claim to speak for Him, but are in reality far from the center of His will.   Thus says the Lord of hosts, "do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you.  They are leading you into futility; they speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord (Jeremiah 23: 16). 

Throughout mankind's history God has shown us and taught us to test and be skeptical of those who claim to speak for Him.  Having the wealth of Old and New Testament scripture we are to use godly discernment in measuring such claims of prophecy against what is clearly communicated in God's word.  And most often we will find that such claims are common, plentiful, and wrong. 

Therefore behold, I am against the prophets," declares the Lord, "who steal My words from each other.  Behold, I am against the prophets," declares the Lord "who use their tongues and declare, 'The Lord declares.' " Behold I am against those who have prophesied false dreams," declares the Lord, "and related them and led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit," declares the Lord (Jeremiah 23: 30-32). 

During World War 11 many thought that Hitler was the anitchrist.  They looked for the Rapture of the Church or believed they were in the midst of the great tribulation of Revelation fame.  They had good reason to believe this.   Many signs were in place, though not the very significant sign of Israel being a sovereign nation after 2000 years of sojourning among those of other nations, but miraculously maintaining, not only a national identity, but a rich religious and cultural identity as a unique people group.  While Adolph Hitler was not THE antichrist he was a prototype, a perfectly possessed demonically controlled example of what is to come and those good Christian's who labeled Hitler an antichrist were not wrong to do so.  Every period has had such men.  They are operational examples of a future time when a world leader will usher mankind into apostasy so great that God will end the world.  

For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will.  Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days (Mark 13: 19, 20)  Also read: Matthew 24: 22.     

Looking for Christ and expecting his return is just what we are told to do.  The last lines in the book of Revelation reads: He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.  Come Lord Jesus.  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.  Amen (Revelation: 22: 20, 21) 

The disciples asked Jesus this very question.  "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"  Let's be clear that the end of the age spoken of here is the Church Age.  The Church Age spans from that time of Christ's death and resurrection to the start of the events in Revelation. It is that time in history when Christ works through His Holy Spirit to affect destiny; His will and His way through the hearts of men.

The disciples asked an immediate question and they expected an answer.  They got much more of a comprehensive answer then they bargained for; an answer that speaks to us as urgently as it did to them.  Jesus had just confirmed for them that the temple would be destroyed; something unimaginable to the Jews of that time.  Christ took their question and did what he often did... he expanded the answer to include what they didn't ask.  And he began by saying this:  See to it that no one misleads you.  For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many (Matthew 24: 4).

Note to Harold:  Sorry Harold.  When you make the claim that you know the date of world's end you presume to play God.  It's okay to meditate upon, to consider, to weigh the signs against this present age and then to preach of coming judgment; the need for spiritual preparedness; to step from darkness to light (Acts 26: 18).  It is not okay to state unequivocally that you know what not even the angles in heaven nor Christ knows.  But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.  For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah (Matthew 24: 36, 37).  So Harold and all you other Harolds' out there... all you false prophets now alive and yet to speak...  what about this statement is less true today than when it was uttered by Jesus Christ and then recorded by Matthew, Mark, and Luke?

The definitive word on End of World is the book of Revelation.  NEWS FLASH!  NO DATE!  All we need to know in order to compare our times against this future, final End of Time, lies within these twenty-one chapters.  And then it is our joy and privilege to read Old and New Testament references to this same.  Because we don't know we are drawn to precious fellowship and dependence on Jesus Christ. 

There is a warning for those false prophets who presume to claim a date.  I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God  will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book (Revelation 22: 18, 19.)  WHY YOU ASK?  In the words of Jesus Himself, our high and holy Savior and at the risk of being repetitive.   But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone (Matthew 24: 36). 

The problem does not lie with those who look for Christ's return, nor for those who speculate that it will happen very soon, as I have done many times.  The sin is in presuming to name a date. The massive weight of prophecy; both Old and New Testament makes clear that the end of the world is a certain event in the coming history of planet earth.

When we have a God-given talent or calling that others admire there is always a temptation to become personally enmeshed with an identity that denies the reality of us as both flawed and inherently sinful.  We are not bigger than our calling; whatever that calling happens to be.  That we maintain an awareness of weakness allows God to work in us. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him (John 13: 16). 

Looking back to the definitive chapter for all those persons who presume upon the calling of Prophet and us inclined to be mislead by a false prophet...   But if they had stood in my council, then they would have announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds (Jeremiah 23: 22). 

It is the role of a prophet to read the signs of the times and warn people both individually and corporately.  Behold the storm of the Lord has gone forth in wrath, even a whirling tempest; it will swirl down on the head of the wicked (Jeremiah 23: 19).   Prophets in their times are never popular.  They do not tell people what they want to hear and in tough times many Christians want to hear that the Rapture is happening on a certain date; that rescue is immanent. The gifting of Prophet allows one to see the big picture. Grounded in love prophets enter into the suffering of Christ; having compassion for lost persons.  But who has stood in the council of the Lord that he should see and hear His word?  Who has given heed to His word and listened?  (Jeremiah 23: 18).  Unremarked bond-servants, pastors and priests are prophets when the Holy Spirit speaks through them in the strength and might of a calling surrendered to Christ.  My own pastor, Arnold Roberts, operates often in the role of prophet.  People like Sean Hannity can also, at times, operate in this capacity when they call politicians and persons in power to higher standards of integrity.  Being convicted of sin is the prerequisite to seeking forgiveness or, if one doesn't already know Christ, eternal salvation.  Those who practice Evangelism and Prophecy as a spiritual gift-set are often rejected and spoken ill of.  They are often the focus of spiritual warfare and need our prayers. 

We will see more Christian vessels acting in the role of prophet during these last daysAnd it shall be in the last days, God says, 'That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on My bond-slaves, both men and women I will in those days pour forth My Spirit and they shall prophecy (Acts 2: 17, 18). 

In this verse Luke is quoting the prophet Joel (Joel 2: 28) whose ministry to Israel was early to mid 800 BC. At the end of prophecy what God ultimately offers us is glorious, wondrous, hope; hope impossible to disappoint.  And this is the way to have eternal life - to know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the One You sent to earth (John 17: 3). 

It is a blessed commission to pray and watch.  The end of the world will be an event mankind will finally welcome for the pain and horror of those times.  The coming Rapture of the Church will be unexpected and sudden.  Just as it began to rain one day in the days of Noah until all was washed away but for one family that remained Nephilim-free (Genesis 6) so the Rapture will remove untold numbers from planet earth.  This event will usher in the first of the Tribulation events lasting seven years.  In Noah one family was saved.  In Christ's removal of his people from such cataclysmic horror many are rescued though tragically, not all.  Read my blog of October 18, 2009; The Nephilim: Satan fails in a first attempt to corrupt the DNA of man.  Go to Archives left of the page / scroll down. 

Let's be ready.  Let's spread the word; THE WORD OF GOD. 

"No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me," declares the Lord (Isaiah 54: 17.)  Also read: Romans 8: 35-39.

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