The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

An uncertain certainty

with 4 comments

The fact that the world is not ending today does not mean that the world will not end. As the apostle Peter writes in his second letter:

Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Saviour, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they wilfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. (2Pt 3.1-10)

Quite rightly, genuine Christians repudiate the nonsensical numerology of Harold Camping, knowing from the Scriptures that the day has not been revealed and will not be revealed to men. Peter makes that very point above: the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. A thief does not inform you in advance of the precise date on which he intends to pay a visit.

The Lord Christ himself assured us both of the coming end and of the impossibility of knowing when it will come, even as he warned us that it will come:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Mt 24.35-39)

So, to quote the over-used and much-abused billboard, the end is nigh, and, if we are Christians, we have a difficult task. We must at once prove from the Scriptures that there is a day of judgment at hand, and also that there is no way of knowing when that day will be. We must expose the foolishness of false predictions, and at the same time expose the folly of those who imagine that there is no such day. Furthermore, we must ourselves remember that such a day is coming, and that it should have a profound, pressing and perpetual impact upon the way in which we live. We must not allow the scorn of the world nor the errors of those who take the name but not the truth and the life of Christ’s disciples to dull our awareness. We must take pains that our distaste for such false teachers does not become a carnal scorn that actually undermines our own faith and the platform from which we must warn all men. Peter goes on:

Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation– as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” (2Pt 3.11-18)

So our preaching and our living must reflect the uncertain certainty of the last day, and we must think and speak and act with that edge that comes from the fact that we know that such a day is coming, and that we cannot know when it will come.

There may well be rapture parties held before the day is out, where men will be “eating and drinking” as if there was nothing to fear, and some will pillow their heads tonight full of scorn and perhaps, even, in their heart of hearts, relief. People will go on living as before. That would be foolish. It is not today. It may well be tomorrow. Faith in Christ, lived out every day, is the only way to be ready.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 21 May 2011 at 07:17

4 Responses

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  1. I am sure there will be some relief, somewhere.

    Jonathan Hunt

    Saturday 21 May 2011 at 10:21

  2. Thank you for putting together this very helpful collection of Biblical truth regarding predictions of the Lord’s return. We are in a rather awkward position as Christians sandwiched between the folly of Harold Camping’s predictions and the unbelievers who scorn them, but these passages are a clear guide for responding to both in faith.


    Saturday 21 May 2011 at 21:46

  3. […] […]

    The End of the World part I

    Tuesday 24 May 2011 at 22:38

  4. […] […]

    The End of the World part II

    Wednesday 25 May 2011 at 05:43

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