Well, the world as we know it did not end last weekend – much to the chagrin of a few Bible teachers.
I’ve been around long enough to remember the flurry of interest in a book titled 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988. When that year passed, the author followed up with predictions that Jesus would come in 1989 . . . then 1993 . . . then 1994.
Now another misguided prognosticator suddenly became famous (or infamous) by assuring us all that Judgment Day would definitely be last Saturday, May 21. What now will be the fallout for his devotees?
Don’t get me wrong. A time of worldwide judgment is indeed coming. Scripture is very clear about that. Paul confidently proclaimed, “God has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). But we get into trouble – big trouble – when we become more definitive than the Bible. Jesus said no one knows the day nor hour of His return to Earth (Matt. 24:36).
Of course, those with any spiritual sensitivity know that many signs are pointing to Christ’s return. Yet I’ve always appreciated both the humor and wisdom of Leonard Ravenhill’s terse reply to a man who asked him if he thought we were living in the Last Days. “I think we’re living in your last days,” Ravenhill said.
It has always amazed me that many believers who are so into End Time prophecy have little if any interest in missions and fulfilling the Great Commission. Whose Bible are they reading? Jesus patently said,“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14 NASB). Eschatology without evangelism can get weird quickly.
After His resurrection, Jesus’ disciples were in a stew about what would happen next on the prophetic calendar. “Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” they asked. The Lord’s response to them was sharp and pointed. In so many words He told them, “It’s none of your business!” He continued, “Here’s what is your business between the time I ascend and the time I return –‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth’” (Acts 1:8).
How long will we be here? I don’t know. This much I do know: We’re living in your last days, and mine. And our business until we’re out of here is to be Christ’s witnesses to everyone everywhere.
That is why we’re still here and still committed to a global advance of the Gospel.
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