Can we predict when the world will end?

Posted by Elaine May 20, 2011 at 12:00 AM AEST

You’ve seen and heard the news – the world will end December 21, 2012

Again in 2011 people sincerely believed they were right with their predictions.

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“Judgment Day will be May 21 2011”, was the last prediction and there were many before. Some stockpiled food in underground bunkers, living in fear.

Have you researched it for yourself? Here’s an article from Amazing Facts has to say:

These people are sincere, but they sincerely wrong….

Setting dates for the return of Christ is a big temptation for many students of apocalyptic Scripture. It’s tantalising to study prophecies and numbers and symbols in Daniel and Revelation with a calculator in one hand. Some feel compelled to roll up their sleeves, punch out prophetic figures, and do number crunching. Surely there is a hidden answer in Scripture predicting when Christ will come!

But if we are true to the Bible, if we seek the message of Christ’s words in Matthew 24 and 25 with an open heart, we will close our holy calculators. Preparation for Jesus’ return has less to do with figuring out a date and more to do with how we are to live in the present.

Harold Camping, a Christian radio broadcaster and president of Family Radio, has used mathematical predictions to predict that the end of the world will happen on May 21, 2011 at exactly 6:00 p.m. He is convinced that a rapture of God’s people will take place, then five months later, God will destroy the Earth and the universe.

Could this be true? The answer is not to be found in blogs, posts, or interesting articles. The answer is found by studying the Word of God for yourself.

What does the Bible say about the timing of Christ’s coming? Here are seven passages from Scripture that guide us in understanding whether Camping’s prediction is true.

Matthew 24:36 says, “Of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

The Bible tells us every effort we make to nail down the time for Christ’s return will fail. Camping directly contradicts Christ’s words.

Luke 21:8 says, "Don’t let anyone mislead you. For many will come in my name, claiming to be the Messiah and saying, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t believe them.

The Bible warns us there are false prophets who attempt to predict the timing of Jesus’ coming. Camping demonstrates that he is a false prophet by trying to set a date for Jesus’ return.

Matthew 24:32, 33 says, Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its buds become tender and its leaves begin to sprout, you know without being told that summer is near. Just so, when you see the events I’ve described beginning to happen, you can know his return is very near, right at the door.

While the Bible shows us we cannot know the precise time of Christ’s second coming, it helps us know from signs that it is near.

Matthew 24:44 says, You also must be ready all the time. For the Son of Man will come when least expected.

A repeated emphasis in the Scriptures is to watch and be ready always because we do not know exactly when Christ will return:

Luke 12:35-40 – "Be dressed for service and well prepared, as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks.

There will be special favor for those who are ready and waiting for his return. I tell you, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat!
He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, there will be special favor for his servants who are ready!

“Know this: A homeowner who knew exactly when a burglar was coming would not permit the house to be broken into.
You must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

""Matthew 24:50":// – the master will return unannounced and unexpected

1 Thessalonians 5:6 – So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be sober.

Acts 1:6, 7 says, When they were together for the last time they asked, “Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?” He told them, "You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business.

God has not revealed when Jesus will come again. Our focus is not to be on time-setting, but mission.

Luke 12:37 says, “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching.”
The passage teaches that no matter when the master returns, the servant is blessed because he is always ready. The servant is not fixed on a time for the master’s return.

Luke 12:45 says, “But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming.’”
Here is a warning that putting off preparation for Christ’s coming will catch people off guard. We must not smugly point out false predictions and neglect our own preparation for Jesus’ return or we will not be ready.

The Bible tells us that at the second coming of Christ the wicked will be destroyed.
Revelation 6:16 -17 – And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who will be able to survive?”

2 Thessalonians 2:8 – And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.

Revelation 19:20, 21 – But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

The Bible teaches that the wicked and righteous (tares and wheat) grow together until the harvest Matthew 13:30 – Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds and burn them and to put the wheat in the barn.

Then God’s people are saved and the unrighteous are lost. In the parable of the unfaithful servant –
Matthew 24:44-51 –
You also must be ready all the time. For the Son of Man will come when least expected.
“Who is a faithful, sensible servant, to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his household and feeding his family?
If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward.
I assure you, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns.
But if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’and begins oppressing the other servants, partying, and getting drunk —well, the master will return unannounced and unexpected. He will tear the servant apart and banish him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

There is no second chance.

So also the parable of the sheep and goats teaches that when Christ comes, people are either saved or lost (Matthew 25:31-46).

The parables of Matthew 24 and 25 teach us that because Jesus is coming soon, but at a time we do not exactly know, we should always be ready. It is not a test of our Christianity to know the specific time of Christ’s return. The judgment question of Matthew 25:45 says nothing about calculating a date. It teaches that how we treat those less fortunate than ourselves is what shows we are ready for the Lord’s return.

Is Jesus’ coming soon? The Bible is certain that Christ will come again. The Scriptures point to signs in the natural world, in the religious world, and in the increase of wickedness on our planet. Jesus predicted, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). Has this sign been completely fulfilled?

God calls us to be ready at all times. We should put away our end-time calculators and fall on our knees asking Jesus to change our hearts so that we will be ready when He comes. Are you ready?

The Bible also says:
All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine. Revelations 3:5 NLT

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