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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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WHEN WILL JESUS RETURN?

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. (2 Peter 3:10 ESV)

DatesPeople have predicted the end of the earth for thousands of years. Since the beginning of Christianity many Christians have also attempted this same “game” by pointing to various verses in the Bible (usually out of context) to decide when the return of Jesus will occur.

In early October of this year, Chris McCann of eBible Fellowship announced that October 7th would be the last day. Yet, on October 8th, things continued as usual.

The second coming of our Lord is greatly anticipated by Christians. However, I continue to wonder why so many overlook what Jesus said on this subject in the following verse:

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. (Matthew 24:36 ESV)

When will Jesus return? NO ONE KNOWS “but the Father only”. Only God knows! It is futile to try to discover what God does not choose to reveal. In context, this verse is also a warning to be ready at any moment for the Second Coming. It may take place in the next minute, day, year, or ten thousand years from now. “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” (Matthew 24:42 ESV)

Finally, I appeal to all Christians to give up this “guessing game” concerning the Lord’s return. When the predicted day goes by and nothing happens, it gives the world cause to mock our Lord and the Christian Faith. We then bring disgrace upon ourselves and the name of Jesus – which is a sin.

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ARE WE DOING THE SAME?

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“The early Christians made it a part of their religion to look for his return. They looked backward to the cross and the atonement for sin, and rejoiced in Christ crucified. They looked upward to Christ at the right hand of God, and rejoiced in Christ interceding. They looked forward to the promised return of their Master, and rejoiced in the thought that they would see him again. And we ought to do the same.” (Practical Religion)

CHRIST IS YET TO COME AGAIN

J. C. RyleJ. C. Ryle:

Christ is yet to come again. The Great High Priest is yet to come forth from the holy of holies, to bless all the people who have believed on Him. One part of His work He did when He died upon the cross; another part of His work He is still doing, interceding for us at God’s right hand. But the third part of the High Priest’s office remains yet to be done. He has yet to come forth from the holy of holies, as the high priest did upon the day of atonement, to come forth from within the veil to bless the people. That part of Christ’s work is yet to come. He is now gone into Heaven itself, He is within the holy of holies: He is gone behind the veil. But our Great High Priest – a greater one than Aaron’s – shall yet come forth one day. He shall come in power and great glory. He shall come as He left the world, when He went up in the clouds of heaven. He shall come to gather from the north and from the south, from the east and from the west, all who have loved His name and confessed Him before men, all who have heard His voice and followed Him. He shall gather them together into one happy company. There shall be no more weakness, and no more sorrow, no more parting, and no more separation, no more sickness, and no more death, no more disputing, and no more controversy, no more fighting with the world, the flesh, and devil, and, best of all, no more sin. That day shall be a happy day indeed, when the High Priest comes forth to do the third, last part of His work – to bless His believing people.

Are All Points of Doctrine Equally Important?

WATCH FOR CHRIST’S RETURNVarious areas of Christian doctrine have received special attention at different periods in the history of the church. The peculiar interest of our age seems to be eschatology. I, however, hope that no doctrine of eschatology will be the center of the Christian’s faith. J. Gresham Machen writes on this subject:

We do not mean, in insisting upon the doctrinal basis of Christianity, that all points of doctrine are equally important. It is perfectly possible for Christian fellowship to be maintained despite differences of opinion.

One such difference of opinion, which has been attaining increasing prominence in recent years, concerns the order of events in connection with the Lord’s return. A large number of Christian people believe that when evil has reached its climax in the world, the Lord Jesus will return to this earth in bodily presence to bring about a reign of righteousness which will last a thousand years, and that only after that period the end of the world will come. That belief, in the opinion of the present writer, is an error, arrived at by a false interpretation of the Word of God; we do not think that the prophecies of the Bible permit so definite a mapping-out of future events. The Lord will come again, and it will be no mere ‘spiritual’ coming in the modern sense – so much is clear – but that so little will be accomplished by the present dispensation of the Holy Spirit and so much will be left to be accomplished by the Lord in bodily presence – such a view we cannot find to be justified by the words of Scripture. What is our attitude, then, with regard to this debate? Certainly it cannot be an attitude of indifference. The recrudescence [return again] of ‘Chiliasm’ or ‘premillennialism’ in the modern Church causes us serious concern; it is coupled, we think, with a false method of interpreting Scripture which in the long run will be productive of harm. Yet how great is our agreement with those who hold the premillennial view! They share to the full our reverence for the authority of the Bible, and differ from us only in the interpretation of the Bible; they share our ascription of deity to the Lord Jesus, and our supernaturalistic conception both of the entrance of Jesus into the world and of the consummation when He shall come again. Certainly, then, from our point of view, their error, serious though it may be, is not deadly error; and Christian fellowship, with loyalty not only to the Bible but to the great creeds of the Church, can still unite us with them. It is therefore highly misleading when modern liberals represent the present issue in the Church, both in the mission field and at home, as being an issue between premillennialism and the opposite view. It is really an issue between Christianity, whether premillennial or not, on the one side, and a naturalistic negation of all Christianity on the other. (Christianity and Liberalism)

Mayan Calendar Voodoo and What It Means for Christians

Mayan Calendar

What is this Mayan calendar thing about? Just what is supposed to happen today?

According to some, the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the earth as we know it on this very day. They believe that a significant planetary alignment takes place today, and along with the increased activity of the sun, there will be a catastrophic geological event on our planet – possibly wiping out most of the life on earth. Some predict that the earth’s plates will begin to move rapidly. Others predict major solar storms or that the earth’s magnetic fields will change. Some even predict that today there will be a New Age salvation event which enable us to get along better with each other.

John Henderson, a professor of anthropology at Cornell University says the Mayan calendar maps cycles in time and not time itself. In other words, it is similar to our yearly calendar, but much longer. Tomorrow is a kind of New Year’s Day for the ancient Mayans. This 5,000-year calendar cycle ends today – not the world. On December 22, a new 5,000-year calendar begins.

Earlier this year, the modern Mayan calendar myth was proved false at an archaeological dig in Guatemala. The team found a mural painted inside a residence that includes a calendar with predictions of dates thousands of years after this current cycle.

Last Days MadnessOf course, we Christians should not laugh too much. We too have suffered from our own charlatans and misinformed persons who have made the assumption they could predict the Second Coming of Christ.

In the first Millennium, many Christians believed the Second Coming of Jesus would take place in 1,000 AD. Many people disposed of their belongings, left their jobs, and abandoned their homes. When the date came and went with no apocalypse, the Christian authorities decided they had miscalculated Jesus’ age. Therefore, they decided the world would actually end in 1033 A.D. Apparently, they miscalculated again. Unfortunately, however, people are still playing this “prediction game”.

Edgar C. Whisenant said of his book, 88 REASONS WHY THE RAPTURE IS IN 1988,  Only if the Bible is in error am I wrong and I say that unequivocally.” When the rapture did not happen, he wrote a new book called THE FINAL SHOUT: RAPTURE REPORT 1989. He reported that his math calculations were off a year. Of course, we are still here!

Charles R. Taylor wrote in BIBLE PROPHECY NEWS in the summer of 1992 that Jesus’ return would occur in the fall of the same year.

Grant R. Jeffery wrote in his ARMAGEDDON: APPOINTMENT WITH DESTINY that he believed the year 2000 was the termination date for the last days. Still here!

Jerry Falwell, on a December 27, 1992 television broadcast, stated, “I do not believe there will be another millennium . . . or another century.” Still here!

Harold Camping wrote in 1994, Jesus would return in the fall of that year. As president of the FAMILY RADIO NETWORK, Camping also created a lot of excitement last spring when he predicted that the Rapture Feverworld would end in a series of rolling earthquakes known as “The Rapture.” After May 21 came and went without any signs of the Rapture, Camping moved his predicted date to October 21. Still, no Rapture!

I think it would be a good thing for those who predict dates for the Second Coming to remember how many before them have failed in their attempts. They never think that someone could say “Christians like you have been telling us for decades that Jesus is coming soon. Why should we believe you anymore?” By crying wolf and being wrong each time, the church is seen as a sham. Skeptics of Christianity are likely to conclude the Christian message is a fraud.

Jesus said:

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 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, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 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. 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)

G. Campbell Morgan writes:

“There is an arresting insistence upon the fact that the time is not known. In those words He solemnly warned His disciples, and us, and the whole age, that we know not when, not in this prophecy, nor anywhere else in the teaching of Jesus, not in the whole New Testament is there a single declaration that can help us to fix, even approximately within the limits of human almanac or calendar, the hour of the advent. Nothing could be plainer than this!”

Jesus will come again at the time of God’s choice, and we will never know the time until it happens. Christianity deserves better from its leaders and followers than to be compared to this modern hoax about the Mayan calendar. So stop buying those stupid end-of-the-world books; read your Bible, obey the Word, and strive to become more like Christ.

Here are two books (reduced price) to help you understand what the Bible actually teaches about the Second Coming of our Lord:

Last Days Madness (e-Book PDF Download) Price: $5.95

Rapture Fever (e-Book PDF Download) Price: $2.95

*The information above on Rapture predictions comes from Gary DeMar’s book, Last Days Madness.

Samuel at Gilgal

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