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Tag Archives: SECOND COMING

Some Satire from the Babylon Bee: Left Behind?


BACKWATERTON, AR—Local man Rayford Williams has been in a coma for the past month, so he was excited to get back to his church family. Unfortunately, he was totally unaware of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has caused most churches to move their services online.

“Oh man,” he said as he walked into the empty church building on Sunday, assuming he had missed the Rapture. “I knew I should have paid more attention to that Kirk Cameron movie.”

Luckily, the church had prepared for such an occasion with a pamphlet titled “So You’ve Been Left Behind” available in the lobby. Williams read through the material and searched his heart, wondering when he had fallen away from his faith. “It was probably that time I played Dungeons & Dragons with my kids. I ran the race for years only to disqualify myself at the end.”

“There’s no time to change my mind – the Son has come and I’ve been left behind.”

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2020 in RAPTURE

 

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Uploaded Video for My Kirkland Students — Eschatology!

Friends: Due to the Coronavirus I am not allowed to meet face-to-face with my Kirkland cohort (many are lifers) for the rest of the semester. I’m providing a couple of videos for them to watch. And you might like what I’ve done! This one is about 15 minutes long. Let me know what you think! Dr. D.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2020 in eschatology

 

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What Difference Does the Future Make? The Practical Application of Prophecy (Part 2)

As I prepare to speak at Cedar Valley Bible Church’s annual “Second Coming Conference” (November 16-17), I want to work my way through three prophetic sections of Scripture: I Thessalonians 4:13-18, II Peter 3:1-18, and I John 3:1-10.

I’ve been impressed by how frequently prophetic material in the Scriptures often focuses upon how we should live now. Let’s look once more at our first text, I Thessalonians 4 —

This passage gives us great encouragement as we look forward to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus.

What points of encouragement should we derive from this passage? We’ve seen that —
1. There ought to be a genuine care for those who have predeceased us (vv. 13-14).

We notice, secondly, that —

2.  We have a biblical grief mixed with hope (v. 13). We read that we are not to “grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.”

Thirdly, we see that —

3. We have a clear confession of faith (v. 14). We read “For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” What a wonderful (and succinct) statement of belief: Jesus died and rose again and will come back!

Lastly, this passage teaches us that —

4. We have a guaranteed certainty about our future (v. 17). We read “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” If Christianity is true and the Bible is the trustworthy Word of God, then the future of all believers is secure and certain! “And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

This wonderful text should encourage us on several levels. He is coming back! Maybe today! (to be continued)
 

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2019 in I Thessalonians 4

 

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What Difference Does the Future Make? The Practical Application of Prophecy (Part 1)

Friends — I’ve been invited to speak at Cedar Valley Bible Church’s annual “Second Coming Conference” (November 16-17). I spoke there two years ago and did a study entitled “From Here to Eternity: A Study of Heaven and Hell.”

For this year’s conference I’ve been working on the practical nature of prophecy. I’ve been impressed by how frequently prophetic material in the Scriptures often focuses upon how we should live now. I’ll be looking at three passages for the conference (and it may take several posts for me to think through what I want to say). Let’s look at the first text, I Thessalonians 4 —

I see this passage as a great encouragement in light of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. Notice the challenge at the end of the passage: “Therefore encourage one another with these words“ (v. 18).

Instead of being an encouragement, the doctrine of the Second Coming has often led to believers’ wrangling with one another. Such in-fighting has probably actually discouraged some new believers!

What points of encouragement should we derive from this passage?
1. There ought to be a genuine care for those who have predeceased us (vv. 13-14). These believers were “uninformed” about those “who sleep in death.” Sleep in the Scriptures is often used as a metaphor for the death of a follower of Jesus (see Acts 7 where we read,  “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.” vv. 59-60).

Our Seventh-Day Adventist friends are wrong when they declare that we only sleep in the grave until the resurrection, that we have no soul or spirit that immediately goes to be with the Lord upon our death (see Phil. 1:20-25 and 2 Cor. 5:1-10 where we read that to be “absent from the body” is to be “present with the Lord”).

Have you been to a Christian funeral lately? Sometimes the celebration (accompanied by appropriate grieving) is, well, shocking! There is rejoicing that this believe is NOW with the Lord.

Paul’s concern here is that the Thessalonians thought that somehow those who died “in the Lord” would be at a disadvantage to those who would be still alive at the coming of the Lord. No! Their bodies will be raised up — to join the souls or spirits of those whom “God will bring with Jesus” when He returns (v. 14)! The predeceased are already with the Lord, but in a disembodied state (awaiting their new, glorified bodies). (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2019 in I Thessalonians 4

 

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What Did Jesus Pray About? (Part 14)

Do you ever eavesdrop on someone else’s conversation?  Of course you do.  We all do.  But what if you are encouraged to do so?  We are given the great privilege of listening in on Jesus’ high priestly prayer — much of it for us! — here in John 17.  We’re on a bit of a side issue for several posts, because the Lord uses the word “world” seventeen times in His prayer.  That word “world” (cosmos) can mean (1) the planet; (2) the people of the planet; or (3) the pagan system opposing God and the things of God.  Let’s notice Jesus’ tenth use of that word today which is found in verse 15.

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before 1the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of 2the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for 3the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in 4the world no longer, but they are still in 5the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in 6the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and 7the world has hated them, for they are not of 8the world any more than I am of 9the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of 10the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of 11the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into 12the world, I have sent them into 13the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that 14the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then 15the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of 16the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though 17the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2017 in the world

 

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HAROLD CAMPING ADMITS HE WAS WRO . . . WRO . . . WRONG!

“Even as God used sinful Balaam to accomplish his purposes, so he used our sin to … mak[e] the whole world acquainted with the Bible.”
Harold Camping, calling his insistence that Christ would return on May 21 last year sinful and wrong.
Source: FamilyRadio.com

Here is the letter posted on Family Radio’s website:
An Important Letter from Mr. Camping – March 2012

THE BOARD OF FAMILY RADIO WISHES TO POST THE FOLLOWING LETTER FROM MR. CAMPING. IT WAS OUR WISH, OUT OF RESPECT FOR OUR LISTENERS, TO MAIL OUT THIS LETTER BEFORE POSTING IT TO THE WEB SITE. HOWEVER, BECAUSE IT WAS LEAKED TO THE INTERNET WITHOUT OUR AUTHORIZATION, WE HAVE MADE THE DECISION TO POST IT IMMEDIATELY TO AVOID CONFUSION. THIS LETTER WILL ALSO BE MAILED OUT TO OUR LISTENERS.

“God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” Romans 3:4
Dear Family Radio Family,

In this time of confusion and turmoil, God’s Word remains the only truth in which we can trust. God has shown us again the truth that He alone is true. In Romans 3:4 God declares: “Let God be true but every man a liar.” Events within the last year have proven that no man can be fully trusted. Even the most sincere and zealous of us can be mistaken.

The May 21 campaign was an astounding event if you think about its impact upon this world. There is no question that millions, if not billions of people heard for the first time the Bible’s warning that Jesus Christ will return. Huge portions of this world that had never read or seen a Bible heard the message the Christ Jesus is coming to rapture His people and destroy this natural world.

Yes, we humbly acknowledge we were wrong about the timing; yet though we were wrong God is still using the May 21 warning in a very mighty way. In the months following May 21 the Bible has, in some ways, come out from under the shadows and is now being discussed by all kinds of people who never before paid any attention to the Bible. We learn about this, for example, by the recent National Geographic articles concerning the King James Bible and the Apostles. Reading about and even discussing about the Bible can never be a bad thing, even if the Bible’s authenticity is questioned or ridiculed. The world’s attention has been called to the Bible.

We must also openly acknowledge that we have no new evidence pointing to another date for the end of the world. Though many dates are circulating, Family Radio has no interest in even considering another date. God has humbled us through the events of May 21, to continue to even more fervently search the Scriptures (the Bible), not to find dates, but to be more faithful in our understanding.

We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and He will end time in His time, not ours! We humbly recognize that God may not tell His people the date when Christ will return, any more than He tells anyone the date they will die physically.

We realize that many people are hoping they will know the date of Christ’s return. In fact for a time Family Radio fell into that kind of thinking. But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that “of that day and hour knoweth no man” (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. Whether God will ever give us any indication of the date of His return is hidden in God’s divine plan.

We were even so bold as to insist that the Bible guaranteed that Christ would return on May 21 and that the true believers would be raptured. Yet this incorrect and sinful statement allowed God to get the attention of a great many people who otherwise would not have paid attention. Even as God used sinful Balaam to accomplish His purposes, so He used our sin to accomplish His purpose of making the whole world acquainted with the Bible. However, even so, that does not excuse us. We tremble before God as we humbly ask Him for forgiveness for making that sinful statement. We are so thankful that God is so loving that He will forgive even this sin.

So we must be satisfied to humbly wait upon God, and trust He will guide His people to safety. At Family Radio, we continue to look to God for guidance. If it is His good pleasure for us to continue on with our original mission, the proclamation of the Gospel, God’s Word, then we must continue to look to Him.

We consider you to be a real part of this ministry and the tremendous opportunities which God, by His unfathomable mercy and grace, continues to give to us. And, your steadfast involvement and support is so appreciated!

May God bless you,
Harold Camping and the staff of Family Radio.

Some Comments on Camping’s Statement*:

1. “God has shown us again the truth that He alone is true.” As the above picture shows, the millions spent on billboards, vans, and buses implied that this was not only Mr. Camping’s interpretation, but was actually what the Bible teaches!

2. “Even the most sincere and zealous of us can be mistaken.” This humility was not present in any of the ads for the proposed Second Coming!  As we suggested in an earlier post, perhaps Mr. Camping’s greatest mistake was not listening to other members of God’s family.  His lack of accountability led him to embarrass Christianity in the eyes of the world.

3. How is at all possible to call the “May 21 campaign” “an astounding event”? Rather than “millions, if not billions of people” becoming concerned about the Second Coming, Camping misled millions if not billions with his dogmatism. This eschatological mockery may well have hardened millions if not billions to the gospel!

4. People “who never before paid any attention to the Bible” are now more open to what the Bible actually says?  This was a major part of Camping’s error.  He did not distinguish between what he believed and what the BIble actually teaches (see van photo above:  “The Bible guarantees it!”).  “Reading about and even discussing about the Bible can never be a bad thing, even if the Bible’s authenticity is questioned or ridiculed. The world’s attention has been called to the Bible.” But don’t cults do the same thing — drawing attention to the Bible to support their doctrines?  One could argue that Mr. Camping did not draw attention to the Scriptures, but to his own mathematical date-setting.

5. “Yes, we humbly acknowledge that we were wrong about the timing . . .” It took almost a YEAR for him to acknowledge that he was wrong.

6. I applaud Mr. Camping for giving up date-setting: “Though many dates are circulating, Family Radio has no interest in even considering another date. God has humbled us through the events of May 21, to continue to even more fervently search the Scriptures (the Bible), not to find dates, but to be more faithful in our understanding.” I appreciate his honest admission that “. . . But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that “of that day and hour knoweth no man” (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong.”  What does Mr. Camping mean by being “more faithful in our understanding”?

7. I am grateful for what appears to be an honest admission of serious error when he writes: “We were even so bold as to insist that the Bible guaranteed that Christ would return on May 21 and that the true believers would be raptured. Yet this incorrect and sinful statement allowed God to get the attention of a great many people who otherwise would not have paid attention. Even as God used sinful Balaam to accomplish His purposes, so He used our sin to accomplish His purpose of making the whole world acquainted with the Bible. However, even so, that does not excuse us. We tremble before God as we humbly ask Him for forgiveness for making that sinful statement. We are so thankful that God is so loving that He will forgive even this sin.” As pointed out in an earlier post, claiming that God said something that God did not say is a form of blasphemy.  The statement that “He used our sin to accomplish His purpose of making the whole world acquainted with the Bible” seems incredibly boastful.  Did the whole world become acquainted with the Bible through the May 21st campaign?

8. “So we must be satisfied to humbly wait upon God, and trust He will guide His people to safety. At Family Radio, we continue to look to God for guidance.” I wonder what Mr. Camping means by guiding His people “to safety”?

9. He closes his confession with a financial appeal:  “your steadfast involvement and support is so appreciated!” He should make every effort to refund the monies collected in light of his misguided prophetic declarations.  He should immediately resign as head of Family Radio, join a local church, and submit himself to the loving shepherding of its spiritual leaders.

One additional question remains: Will he repent of his aberrant views on the church and his appeals for Christians to abandon local congregations?

* I would like to make it clear that I have no personal vendetta against Mr. Camping.  As a theologian, I have seen the damage that well-intentioned date-setting has done to believers world-wide.  It has led some to suicide or others to the sin of abortion.

If you are interested in reading my past blogs on Mr. Camping, please click on the following links:

4 Days to Go

3 Days to Go

2 Days to Go

1 Day to Go

No Days Left

How to Pray for Harold Camping

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Second Coming

 

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THE DAY AFTER! HOW TO PRAY FOR HAROLD CAMPING

Harold Camping, 88-year-old radio preacher and owner of 55 Family Radio stations, was wrong about the Second Coming yesterday. Unbelievers in the gospel are already laughing at Christianity. Christians vacillate from deriding Mr. Camping for thinking he knew something Jesus said “no one knows” (Mt. 24) to anger to . . . praying for him?

Yes. We should pray for him and for Family Radio’s ministries around the world that are biblical and faithful.
But before we get too serious, please take a look at this VIDEO which shows Harold Camping’s reaction to his failed prophecy.

How might we best pray for Harold Camping?

1.  We should pray that he would publicly repent and refuse to make excuses, claim he had crunched the numbers wrong, or miscalculated.  With every news outlet he should quote Matthew 24:36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  He should spend his final days and years sharing the gospel with others and permanently resign from the prophecy business.

2.  We should pray for all who work for Family Radio and their families.  These will be difficult days for them to identify themselves as “employees” of Camping.  Rather than defend their boss, they should quickly acknowledge that he was wrong and re-focus their energies on recovering Family Radio’s ministries from this eschatological scandal.

3.  We should pray for all our unsaved friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers who will use this occasion to mock at or at least ignore the genuine claims of Jesus Christ on their lives.  How we believers behave can cause the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme His name.  Might I suggest that for the next few days we can engage our friends in a conversation that begins something like this:  “Aren’t you glad that Harold Camping was wrong about the end of the world?  What are your thoughts about the end of the world when it does take place?”

4.  Lastly, may I suggest that we pray for ourselves?  Most of us find this life way too comfortable to even consider the next life.  We cover over our needs with the trinkets of this world, forgetting that He has “put eternity in our hearts” (Ecc. 3:11).  C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which nothing in this world satisfies, the most logical explanation is I was made for another world.”  This world is important, but it is fallen and will one day be destroyed.  We should live our lives with those values in mind.

Discussion questions:  If you found yourself sitting next to Mr. Camping on a three-hour flight, what would you say to him?  Would you offer to pray for him?  How will you use his failed prophecy as an opening to share the gospel with someone today?

 
 

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NO DAYS LEFT! Why Harold Camping Should Return Everybody’s Money and Retire!

According to Harold Camping, octogenarian Family Radio station owner and self-taught Bible scholar, the 2nd Coming of the Lord Jesus should have happened by now. If you’re reading this, you’re either not one of the elect, or somehow Jesus overlooked you in the rapture, OR Harold Camping was wrong again!

I believe he was wrong again. And he should do at least three things before the day is out:

1.  He should apologize to the Christian family for embarrassing the name of Christ with his arrogant, gnostic, ridiculous calculation that, even though Jesus said we couldn’t know the exact date of His Second Coming, he was sure he knew.  Perhaps he needs to read up on failed predictions by our Seventh-Day Adventist friends, Edgar Whisenant in his Eighty-Eight Reasons Why Jesus Will Return in 1988, and one particularly troubling example from South Korea.  In 1992, Lee Jang Rim, the head of one of some 200 Protestant churches in that country, announced that the rapture would take place on October 28, 1992.  Based on a vision of a sixteen-year-old boy, twenty thousand Korean fundamentalists in South Korea, Los Angeles, and New York City took the prediction seriously.  Hundreds quit their jobs, many left their families, some women unfortunately even had abortions (presumably to make their own raptures easier).  Rim’s church bought costly ads in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.  They urged readers to get ready for the rapture and to refuse to have 666 imprinted in bar code on their foreheads or right hands.

On October 28, one researcher says, “Riot police, plainclothes officers, and reporters crowded outside Korean churches, flanked by fire engines, ambulances, and searchlights. Believers took the failure of the prophecy calmly, and there were no reported riots.  Only sadness. In December 1992 Rim was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison for having bilked $4.4 million from his flock. He had invested the money in bonds that didn’t mature until the following year!”

RECENT INTERVIEW ON CAMPING

2.  Camping needs to immediately retire from the ministry and put himself under the spiritual leadership of a local church and their leadership team.  This will be extremely difficult for him to do, especially in light of his cultic understanding that God has abandoned all local churches and that all Christians should disassociate themselves from local congregations.  But he should repent of his bizarre, unbiblical perspective on the local and universal Body of Christ (which He is presently building).  He should step down from radio ministry, turn the microphone and the good work that Family Radio stations do over to others, and humble himself before the family of God worldwide.

3.  He needs to do everything in his power to return every cent which believers have contributed to his ministry based on his wayward predictions of Christ’s Second Coming.  Here is his response to a caller who suggested he do exactly that on May 22nd, 2011:  RETURN MONEY?

He should spend some of his money to place billboards across the USA to undo some of the damage he has caused.  That billboard might look something like this:

Dr. James White HERE  accuses Camping of sliding further and further away from orthodoxy (apparently Camping advocates annihilationism as well as a kind of modalism, denying the deity of Jesus).

Discussion Questions:  How should we pray for Mr. Camping?  Is there any way that the wider Body of Christ can speak the truth in love to him and seek to bring him spiritual health before he leaves this vale of tears by way of death (or Christ’s Second Coming!)?

 

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ONE DAY TO GO! HAROLD CAMPING’S PREDICTION THAT THIS SATURDAY, MAY 21, WILL BE THE SECOND COMING!

24 hours.  The long-running TV drama “24” mesmerized many followers as Jack got into one pickle after another.

If Harold Camping, owner of 55 Family Radio stations, is correct, THIS COMING SATURDAY will be the pickle to end all pickles!  Based on his mathematical calculations, Camping believes he has figured out when Noah’s flood took place, has added 7000 years (“a day with the Lord is as a thousand years”), and has come up with MAY 21, 2011, as the date for the 2nd Coming of the Lord Jesus.

I have mixed feelings about Camping’s prediction.

1.  He’s been wrong before.  His book 1994? came with a question — and deserved it, because his math didn’t work out too well back then.  On Sept. 6, 1994, dozens of Camping’s believers gathered inside Alameda’s Veterans Memorial Building to await the return of Christ, an event Camping had promised for two years. Followers dressed children in their Sunday best and held Bibles open-faced toward heaven.

2.  Jesus said clearly that no one knows the day or hour of His return (see Matthew 24).

3.  If Camping is WRONG, it will be a bit hard to identify oneself with Christianity come May 22nd, especially for Camping’s followers.

4.  If Camping is RIGHT, Jesus Christ will come to the earth to fetch His bride, the Church, and those who are not taken to be with Him in heaven are in a lot of trouble.

5.  Although I long for the Lord Jesus to return, and believers ought to pray “even so, come, Lord Jesus!”, I would really love to see my 2nd grandson born on or around August 28th.  I’d love to keep teaching theology at Columbia International University.  I’d love to keep writing books that make theology and doctrine understandable (as I often tell my students,”Theology is not

"Look out, Djokovic! Here I come!"

boring.  THEOLOGIANS are boring!”).  I’d love to continue to improve my backhand crosscourt shot.  Here is a picture of me in action. (I know.  I know.  I look a lot like Nadal).

One of CIU’s two radio stations, WRCM in Charlotte, just had me on this morning for a few minutes to talk about Camping’s prediction.  You may listen here to those two-and-a-half minutes:  WRCM INTERVIEW

Discussion Questions:  What would you miss out on if Jesus came back?  The items that come to your mind — does that mean those things are too important for you or me?  What in the world makes us think that heaven will be less than the joys of earth?

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2011 in salvation, Theological Essay

 

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FOUR DAYS TO GO: CAMPING’S PREDICTION ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD

Harold Camping, octogenarian owner of 55 Family Radio stations, has mathematically calculated that the 2nd Coming will occur on May 21st, 2011.  So ……  you and I have four days left on planet earth — if we know Jesus.

Predictions of the timing of the 2nd Coming are almost as old as the New Testament.  But Jesus Himself said, “Of that day and hour no one knows!”  Christians have been routinely disappointed and embarrassed when the predicted rapture hasn’t occurred.

But one day He IS coming — and we should be ready.  Being ready involves being about His business which is to share the Good News of salvation with the world (the Great Commission, Matthew 28) and to show His love to all (the Great Commandment, Matthew 22).

If you knew you only had four days to go — how would your life change?  When asked that kind of question about the 2nd Coming, Martin Luther said, “I would still plant my apple tree and pay my bills.”  I like his answer.

Discussion questions:  What is wrong with looking forward to Jesus’ 2nd Coming?  How can we obey the Great Commandment and the Great Commission — and still long for His coming?

 

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