In case you haven’t seen the news reports circulating the past few weeks, I feels it’s only fair for me to warn you that Christ’s Return (and the accompanying Judgement Day) awaits us tomorrow, Sept 23, 2017. I thought you might want to go ahead and clear your calendar.
“Biblical prophecy claims the world will end on Sept. 23, Christian numerologists says.” That was the headline on one prominent online news site just last week. There it was, in black and white, and it was on the internet, so it must be true. I think the first clue that this prediction may be suspect was that it came from a “Christian numerologist.” At least he was kind enough to do the calculations for us.
For those who have not been keeping up, these supposed Bible “scholars” have interpreted a couple of Scripture passages (from Revelation 12:1-2 and Luke 21:25-26) and compared them to certain astronomical and astrological events with the alignment of the stars to come up with this particular date. They have even interpreted several recent cataclysmic events–like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and now Maria, the earthquakes in Mexico, and a couple of rare solar flares on Sept. 6–as signs of the apocalypse.
Of course, this is not the first time someone has set a date for the return of Jesus and the earth’s demise. In this decade alone, we have had predictions of the return of Christ and/or the end of the world occurring on May 21, 2011, October 21, 2011 and of course, the end of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012. I also remember back in 1988 when I first became a pastor one of the hot books that year was “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988.” The end was near, also, in 1994. If you’ll study church history, you can see that Jesus was coming back in 1918, and 1914, and 1843, and on and on and on.
I guess these folks missed the memo, when Jesus Himself made the point that “no man knows the day or hour” when He’s coming back (Matt. 24:36) But that doesn’t stop those prophecy prognosticators from doing their best at date-setting.
I will not argue, we’ve never been closer to “the end of the world as we know it.” Whether you’re reading the Left Behind series, The Late, Great Planet Earth or the prophetic implications of the evening news from the Middle East, it’s not hard to see the handwriting on the wall. Our time is running out. The end is near. Or, at least, near-erthan it’s ever been.
It may be next Saturday–or it may be today, for that matter–but it’s coming soon. Or rather, He’s coming soon! The question is not so much when will it be, but, are you ready for His return? Hear the warning of the apostle Peter to the first-century church, which we will be looking at in a few weeks in our fall message series. The words ring even truer to us today:
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything it it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming….So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.” (2 Peter 3:8-12, 14)
What’s the point? Get ready. And stay ready, because, like a thief in the night, the Lord promises His return will be unexpected, and He calls us to be ready for Him whenever that time arrives. So, may you “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him” today.