“And every one that hath this hope set on him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
–1 John 3:3
Through the years, many people have tried to pinpoint the exact date of Jesus Christ’s second coming. The Millerites were one famous example of this phenomenon. William Miller was a false prophet who got the date wrong three times, but while he was setting dates he caused much harm. His followers sold everything they had and neglected their responsibilities while they waited for Christ in white robes on a mountaintop.
Another man, Harold Camping, predicted that the end of the world would occur in 2011. I understand that he later said he was wrong in doing this, but both incidents are more sad than anything else.
Both of these men made big fools of themselves. Sadly, they also led many others astray in the process.
Jesus said that even He didn’t know the day or hour of His own coming, so we have no business setting eroneous dates. However, He did tell us that the time of His coming was for His father alone to know.
In our day we need to be careful, for many books and movies have been written concerning this subject. Don’t get me wrong–many of these resources are excellent. But in order to understand them correctly, we need to study the scriptures, which are our best resource. Instead of taking what man says as gospel, we need to filter everything through God’s Word. In other words, evaluate what you are hearing and see if it is in sync with what God says. If it doesn’t measure up, discard it.
I am greatly disturbed by the fact that most of us don’t do this. I emphatically believe that there is much in the Bible which points to the time in which we live. I will be the first to admit that prophecy can be fascinating, but we need to train ourselves to look past the sensational, and look to the imperitive. Most of us are so conditioned by the media that we only think in sensationalistic terms. We tend to put prophecy into neat little boxes, tucking it away for later.
To understand what I mean, think about the last time you moved to a new home. If you are like us, you probably thought you’d organize your things after you got settled, but there are two problems I see here. I would like to look at them briefly.
The first problem is that we never get some things out of their storage boxes, and it can be the same way with prophecy. By looking at it purely from a sensational perspective, we tend to tuck interesting facts away without letting God use them in our lives. So when you need direction, spend some time alone with God, and ask Him how His coming should affect your everyday life, in regard to the problems you face.
For In contrast to ignoring God, forming an intimate relationship with Him is really exciting. So many things described in God’s Word have already come to pass, so if we don’t stop to ask how prophecy can affect our actions, it can limit what He wants to do in and through us. While this is only one way that God molds and shapes us, it is powerful and cannot be overlooked.
Not being able to find things is the next culprit, so please think through the above example once more. A few months after we moved into our new house last year, I couldn’t find our good set of glasses in our storage room. After grumbling about missing them for a while, I figured that maybe I was to blame. I gave myself a good talking-to. “If you had taken better care of them when you packed,” I told myself, “they might not be lost now.”
But this is what can happen to us when we store an exciting fact from God’s Word in a haphazard way. Let’s look at moving from another perspective.
You might hate to do this, but if you keep things packed in an organized manner, you’ll be much more likely to find them again once you’re settled in your new home. I’m a born procrastinator, so a good plan of attack really helps me out when I finally get around to things that I would otherwise put off. Similarly, an organized and careful biblical study of the end times has truly blessed me.
Obviously, how you go about doing these two things is between you and God, since everyone’s situation is different. But in your quiet time, you might want to ask yourself this question: Since living life as though Christ could come back today will lead me to a more fruitful and productive tomorrow, how is God challenging me to do this?
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-775-7031, and our ID is 607518748. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.