Harold Camping, the Weather, and Dead Birds!
It was not that long ago when Harold Camping decided that Jesus was going to return on a certain day. So, on that day, he and some of his followers went into a rented hall, opened their Bibles, looked to the heavens and prayed. Nothing happened. Jesus did not physically return that day. They eventually left, Camping with egg on his face and his followers with embarrassment and frustration in their hearts.
As it turns out, apparently, the mistake was made because of Harold's math. He did not do the math correctly and because of that, wound up with a date that was way off. Now, it appears as though Camping has done the math again and has come up with another date, May 21, 2010. Isn't that exciting?
Look, the reality is that if people are going to continue to place an actual date on the calendar about Christ's return, they are saying that Jesus is a liar. Matthew 24:36 records Jesus' words and He said:
"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."
Now, exactly what is so difficult about understanding those words? What is it in that statement that makes people think that they CAN figure it out, or that God has somehow revealed the information to them, in spite of what Jesus stated? The worst part is when loads of people start believing someone like Camping. The other worst part is that those outside the Church start seeing all Christians as loons. We are not loons and we cannot be held accountable for what some individuals say that they have no business saying.
But as long as we're on the topic of the return of Jesus, there are some things that He DID say would happen and that is recorded for us in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21). Here, Jesus defines for us the times and the seasons. As life moves toward His return (whenever that has been determined), things will get bad. They will become in some ways inexplicable.
In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus speaks of the weather and world wars (nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom). We all know the first world war occurred with World War I (hence the name). Most agree that World War II was simply an extension of World War I. It was in 1948 that Israel became a nation and this is in direct result of the two wars.
Jesus also stated that even though there were going to be wars and rumors of wars, and stated that there would be earthquakes in various places, it was NOT the end. This was merely the beginning of birth pangs. In other words, the worst was yet to come.
I look around at life on the earth today and I stand amazed. I am amazed at how much tragedy there is on a day-to-day basis. In this past week, over 200,000 people in Australia have been displaced because of severe flooding. Beyond that, nearly 5,000 birds were found dead with no exact reason for their death. Scientists do not know what caused this phenomenon, however, they are fairly certain that the birds were killed in the air. Five thousand birds is a large number to see dead all at once. What could have happened? Certainly God knows.
Just yesterday, an earthquake measuring 7.1 hit Chile. A few days prior to that, a terrorist bomb went off outside a Christian church in Egypt killing numerous people. If nature isn't going crazy, human beings are and it's not pretty.
What can we expect when we have arrived at a point where wars and rumors of wars are continually present in our world, especially in the Middle East? That area of the world is a literal powder keg ready to explode and it will...some day.
Besides all the wars and rumors of them, the weather has also gone whacko. While it seems that the threatened global warming has turned into a slow freeze, weather patterns are changing throughout the world. We have experienced more earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and the rest than we care to count. Now, we have thousands of birds falling from the sky, as well as tens of thousands of fish dying in an area of about a mile or so.
People think that things are going to get better. They certainly will, but not until Jesus DOES return. Whether Harold Camping, or anyone else likes it or not, even HE does not know the date of His return - only the Father does, so how is it possible that Camping (or anyone) could be right? They cannot know and it is that simple.
Oh, and by the way, before someone jumps in to point out that Jesus said He did not know, therefore He cannot be God, hold onto your saddle. When Jesus made that comment, He was speaking from His humanity, not His deity. It is not a contradiction to say that in His deity, He knew full well when He would be returning, but in His humanity, He was completely unaware of that specific date.
Jesus' entire life on this planet was lived from the perspective of a human being, a perfect human being. He clothed Himself in humanity, while retaining all of His deity. By doing so, He placed Himself under God the Father's authority as all human beings are to do. The only time He used His deity was when it perfectly coincided with the Father's will and even then, He was still in complete submission to the Father, something that we will never be in this life.
I suggest that we get working. If we are authentic Christians, we need to continue to get the word out about salvation. As a volunteer chaplain, I visit the local county jail every week and lead inmates in a Bible study. I am privileged to see how God is working in their lives. They are in jail, but they are not unreachable. Sometimes, God will allow a person to get to the end of their own plans in order for them to begin to look up to Him. If that happens in jail, then so be it. If it was good enough for the thief on the cross who literally experienced a death-bed conversion, it is certainly good for anyone who is in jail. While God loves all people, often the consequences of decisions remain. These men I visit are paying the penalty for their errors, mistakes, and crimes. They do not claim to be innocent, nor do they believe that God should cause the system to pardon them. They are submitting themselves to God for His keeping. Many of these men are facing life in prison and they have come to grips with it. They have accepted their fate and have relinquished their lives to God for His safe keeping and for His guidance. They may never get out of prison in this life, but they are already free from the kingdom of the enemy in many ways.
Whether Jesus is coming back today, tomorrow, or next year is completely beside the point. Whether the increase in bad weather or the death of thousands of fish or birds signifies something or not, it does not matter. There is only one thing that matters and that is knowing and understanding that each of us will die. Not one of us knows the exact moment of which day that will take place. Are you ready? Have you given your life to Christ? Have you - like the thief on the cross - seen the truth about Jesus Christ and embraced that truth with your heart?
Romans 10:9 states very succinctly that if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved. This is not easy-believism. It is an earnest knowledge of the truth about who Jesus Christ is, and when we confess that truth with our mouth, we are making a statement about Him that is undeniable. Jesus is God, who came, who died a bloody death, who rose again for each one of us. Do you believe that? If you do, then I urge you to go to Him and ask for that truth to become embedded in your heart so that you will be able to speak that truth, knowing that it is truth! Do it today!
By Fred DeRuvo
Fred has written many articles and a number of books. More than 18 have been self-published and are available through Amazon.com. Simply go to Amazon.com and search for “fred deruvo” and the complete list of books will appear in the search results.
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