Monday, May 23, 2011
End Of The World Predictions: Dudley Hall's Weekly Word
Now concerning the times and seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you... For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. I Thessalonions 5:1, 9-10 (ESV)
"In case you didn't hear, there was quite a stir among some because of messages on billboards, campers and other public pronouncements that May 21st had been calculated to be the end of the world. It was a sure thing according to the man who did the calculations. Since you are reading this, the latest prediction regarding the end of the world was another hoax. Why is there an endless procession of predictions? What should we do with them?
It must somehow relate to our need for purpose. We tend to connect the end of time with the purpose of time. If God somehow blows everything up according to a prophecy he has hidden in his revelations, maybe it will prove that life has meaning after all and that God really does know what is going on.
But we don't have to have a cataclysmic destruction of the created order just to find the meaning of life. The cataclysmic event has already happened. Jesus came to fulfill Old Testament prophecy and to inaugurate his kingdom on earth. In his coming, the Old Covenant was fulfilled and passed away. The new creation began. The greatest judgment the earth will ever endure happened on a cross outside the city of Jerusalem. We don't have to wait for sin to be judged. God has poured out his wrath on his own Son. Jesus took the just recompense of the sins of his people. They are not in danger of facing wrath again.
It seems that many are still living with an Old Testament hope. They await the day of the Lord when things will change. They are so focused on the next coming of Christ that they underestimate the first coming. For believers, the new creation has begun. We are the first fruits of the final new heaven and new earth. We are learning how to get along as "new creations" in the midst of a world that has not yet been fully transformed. It is interesting that the secret revelations the prognosticators discover are usually from the Old Covenant. Jesus declared that he was the subject of all those predictions and promises, and that history was moving toward his revelation, not total destruction.
I have often wondered why so many are so anxious for it all to end. Is there a hovering guilt in mankind that seeks the justice of destruction? Are we so victimized that our only hope of any satisfaction is the destruction of everything. Will that finally achieve equality for those of us who haven't been exalted in this life?
Though the apostle Paul was not fearing death, he was not fighting it either. He lived with a hope on each side of the divide. "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain." He was not anxious to know the dates of God's calendar. The big day had already come for him. The kingdom had arrived. He had been judged and justified by the Judge of all. His life was an expression of the resurrection of Christ.
I think there is a better hope than figuring the day of destruction. Let us rejoice in the day of his victory over sin and death. It is ours. We can live now and forever with the life he has given us." You can read Dudley's Weekly Word at http://www.sclm.org/