This article was printed in the Lebanon Democrat, B21 reproduces it in full here:
A radio preacher who claims to preach the Bible (the same Bible that says no one knows the day or hour when Jesus will return, Matthew 24:36) says that the world will end around supper time on May 21st. I bet that statement grabs your attention. It sure grabs mine.
Preachers who pull out prophecy charts and start calculating End Time dates often grab attention and can even gain quite a following. The reason for this is that people are always fascinated by the “End Times.” That is why even non-Christians seem to flock to things like the Left Behind novels and films like “2012”, “The Book of Eli”, and “The Road.”
We are fascinated by talk about the end of the world because deep-down we know that history is headed somewhere, and we hope to find some “insider information” that will help us somehow be prepared for it. Our consciences bear witness to the fact that we believe, even if we won’t admit it, that there will be a day of reckoning in which we are all called to account for our lives.
The Bible does have a lot to say about the End Times (though it never gives us a date and time). The Bible tells us exactly what the Last Days will be like. There will be a judgment and there will be a resurrection from the dead. A judgment will be made, and some will be raised to everlasting life and others to everlasting shame (Daniel 12:1-4). Death itself will be overturned!
This has everything to do with the Easter season. The question of whether or not you can know the end ahead of time and be prepared for it is answered by the Easter Story. If someone wants to know when the Last Days will occur all they need to do is look at Jesus. On Easter Sunday morning almost 2,000 years ago when the corpse of Jesus of Nazareth ceased to be a corpse and walked out of that borrowed Palestinian tomb, the Bible says we entered into the Last Days!
The Good News of Easter is that God has pushed the Last Day forward into human history with the death and resurrection of His Son. The Final Judgment has already happened, and it fell on Jesus. The resurrection when death will be overturned has already happened, and Jesus was the only one raised.
If you want to know what the Last Days are going to be like and you want to be prepared for them, you don’t need to look to contrived prophecy charts or highway billboards. You can instead look to an ancient cross and an empty tomb. Our consciences testify to us that one day we will face a reckoning, but if we are joined to Jesus by faith the Bible says that our End Time judgment has already happened on Calvary’s cross, and our End Time vindication has already happened in that empty tomb.
So, this Easter Sunday Morning be reminded as you gather to worship the Risen King that you don’t need to be worried about Doomsday messages because the King has risen and we are already in the Last Days, the judgment has already occurred and death has already been defeated!
I appreciate your hotnsey here, Melissa. I was (am) so much like you when it comes to sharing my faith. Until this semester when God placed an atheist in my class (and I teach at a Christian college!) . . . at the same time that my pastor is speaking on God’s Answer to Atheism. I have started to realize, through wonderful discussions with my student (he’s really coming along, praise God!) that I should not be afraid to talk to people who don’t believe, because they are looking for the same thing we’re all looking for peace, joy, Jesus. The difference is, I have the TRUTH. With the truth on my side I have nothing to fear.
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