Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Judgement Day May 21, 2011

Just in case you haven't heard, Judgment Day is coming, and coming very soon according to some. This Saturday as a matter of fact, at least according to Harold Camping and his followers. Massive earthquakes, death, despair, and the end of the world as we know it. So, does that concern you, or do you just laugh it off?

Well, as you might guess, I have a few things to say about the subject. First off, there is absolutely not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that Judgment Day is indeed coming ...I just have serious doubts that it will be this Saturday! I base that on this piece of scripture:

Mark 13:31-32 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

My natural instinct is to do some research on Harold Camping to see how he explains that verse and what seems to be his contradiction of it. Ah, but is that really the best use of my time? Now if I have not taken those verses out of context or misinterpreted them in some other way, then what's the harm in taking some time to delve into Mr. Camping's prophecy? Just this. By calling out this Saturday as Judgment Day, I believe all that Camping has done is pretty well insured that this Saturday will not be Judgment day! But that leaves the rest of this week and any day after as distinct possibilities.

You see, while Harold Camping may be dead wrong on the day and the hour, one thing I cannot fault him for is having a sense of urgency. None of us is promised the next breath. So, what would be a better use of my time than researching the whole May 21 Judgment Day thing? One thing. Proclaiming the Gospel!

1 Corinthians 15:1-6 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

In these verses, Paul gives us a kind of "in a nut shell" account of the Gospel, or good news. Notice where Paul starts out, "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins ..." While that description of the Gospel does not leave sin out, it is only mentioned in passing. That, I believe is because Paul is writing to the Church at Corinth. A Church consists of born again believers; those who had already confronted the issue of their sin and found Christ to be their only hope. When presenting the Gospel to a lost and dying world, it is needful to go one step further back and talk about sin, for the lost either don't understand or don't care about their sinfulness.

Sin, reduced to its primary definition, simply means to fall short. You may be thinking, "that doesn't sound so serious, what's all the fuss about?" Well, in all honesty, it would not be so serious if were not for whose standards we were falling short of. But the standards are those of the one who merely spoke and brought all of creation into being! The King of Kings and Lord of Lords! The Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending! The one of whom the seraphim say Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory! The one to whom one day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess! Oh that every man might get just a small glimpse of the glory and the holiness of Jehovah, how could they help but understand just what a "big deal" it is to offend him.

It is only once a person begins to understand their sinfulness and begins to see the hopelessness of their case before the Righteous Judge that they can appreciate the grace and mercy extended by Christ Jesus in paying the penalty for their sins on the cross. And what a wonderful grace it is! It is the gift of God. Once armed with an understanding of the unfathomable holiness of God, there remain no silly thoughts that, in and of ourselves, we could in any way earn the forgiveness of our sins. The debt is just too large, too insurmountable. But the precious blood of Jesus was payment enough!

And that leads us to the rest of Paul's statement about the gospel as found here in 1 Corinthians 15. Christ was buried, but he rose again on the third day just as the Old Testament had said he would ("according to the scriptures"). This is our proof that Christ's payment was acceptable to God the Father! This is our proof that we are forgiven.

Now, you may notice that Paul's description here did not mention repentance. Does that mean that repentance is not involved in salvation? Certainly not, it merely means that Paul did not include it in his "nutshell" presentation of the gospel. Repentance, or turning from sin, is the natural result of coming to understand the enormity of sin and the overwhelming love shown by God in sending his son to die for that sin. If that doesn't lead a man to repent, then he certainly never received that glimpse of the holiness of God!

So, rather than researching the teachings of Harold Camping about Saturday being Judgment Day, I chose to spend the time trying to give a presentation of the gospel. If the world as we know it ends this Saturday, I feel this was time well spent. If the world as we know it does not end this Saturday, I feel this was time equally well spent. Either way, time is short. Have you ever gotten a glimpse of God's glory, of his holiness? I suggest you start by reading the book of John. You may still have time.


Dennis said...

Another excellent post, Lee! Thanks.

St. Lee said...

Well, here it is a little after 10 am on Saturday May 21, 2011 here in Minnesota. From what I heard (I did not bother to research it) Mr. Camping's predictions said that the earthquakes would begin at 6:00 pm local time; that is 6 pm for each time zone. I see that it is a little after 6 pm in places such as Athens Greece and Jerusalem Israel but those of you in Berlin and Stockholm still have part of an hour. Surely this event would begin in Jerusalem!

Is it possible that someone who claims to know more than the Son of God could be mistaken?

St. Lee said...

Just another update: Breaking news from the Jerusalem Post:

"Woman, 70, killed in car accident in Galilee
05/21/2011 19:27"

Let's see, 7:27 pm and massive earthquakes with untold numbers killed doesn't even make the breaking news? Not looking good for our friend Mr. Camping.