Matthew 24:36: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
A false prophet claimed that today would be the end of the world as we know it. Well, today has come and his predictions were untrue. What a surprise. (Note sarcasm.) Clearly, Harold Camping needs to read his Bible more often. There are some who even predict the year 2012 will be the end of the world. The verse above makes it clear that even Jesus and the angels have no idea when the end of the world will come; only God knows. The Bible says Jesus’ second coming will be when we least expect it: “For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night” 1 Thessalonians 5:2. If we knew when someone was going to rob our homes, we would be prepared for it! Even though we don’t have specifics, we know Jesus will return one day, and we can always make sure we are ready. We need to exercise patience, and be diligent about doing the Lord’s work while we are here on Earth. Below are some good ways to prepare for the “end of the world.”
First, we can read our Bibles. The BIBLE is our “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” God gave use the Bible as our blueprint for life. It contains everything we need to equip our minds, souls, bodies and strength for what may come each day. The Bible is full of prophecies that have been fulfilled and many that have yet to be fulfilled. Some prophecies will happen before Jesus returns. This should be one indication Harold Camping’s predicted last day was untrue. The Bible even gives us a glimmer of heaven and what life will be like when we leave Earth, and paints a rather frightening picture of what those face who convert to Christianity after the rapture and during the end times. The Bible is full of hope, promises, and God’s love. It will sustain us when we face the worst trials and tribulations in this life. It is not a book full of doom and gloom. Our God is just, merciful and shares His grace as a free gift to all who believe in Jesus.
Second, we can be aware of false prophets like Harold Camping. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. The Bible gives many warnings of false prophets and even describes their characteristics and motives. They are bent on deception (Matthew 7:15), they are not doing the Father’s will in heaven even though they may be capable of doing seemingly great things (Matthew 7:21-23), they claim the work they do is in name of Jesus (Matthew 24:4-5), they try to seduce through signs and wonders (Mark 13:21-25), as leaders they will destroy the church (Acts 20:28-31), they use good words and fair speeches to trick us (Romans 16:17-18), they preach their own gospel and desire to please men instead of God (Ephesians 4:17-19), they greatly anger God and will experience a swift destruction (2 Peter 2:1-3), they allure through lusts of the flesh (2 Peter 2:8), and they will transform themselves into apostles of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). I encourage you to spent some time reading about what the Bible says on the topic of false prophecy. If we spend time reading and studying the Bible, we will be able to recognize “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” In others words, we will be able to distinguish the Truth of God’s Word from the lies of false prophets, who are really just the devil’s puppets and mouthpieces.
Third, we can share God’s word with other people. We can introduce them to the Bible and Jesus. No one wishes eternal damnation for the soul of any person that perishes and no one would wish for someone to be left behind when the rapture comes. No one would wish for someone to convert to Christianity during the last days instead of converting now. No one would wish for the enemy to keep attacking a person who could be brought from darkness into light. Mark 16:15 says we are to “go out unto all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” We should always be prepared to give an account for what it is we believe. People long to hear the Truth, and many will come claiming they have it. “ Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” 2 Timothy 4:2-5. People will believe anything that greatly moves them inside. Let’s make sure that the people God places in our lives believe in Jesus and His glorious and redemptive work on the cross!
There are many other ways to prepare ourselves for Christ’s return. We can develop our relationship with God through prayer and study; commune and fellowship with other Christians; serve the poor, needy and those afflicted with every kind of suffering; and share the love of God in variety of ways with all people in every corner of the Earth. Ask yourself this personal question: “If I were to be raptured today, would I Jesus be pleased with how I have spent my time here on Earth?”
Our days are numbered. Let us use each one of them wisely. On a personal note, I have been experiencing my own exercise in patience. It has been 376 days since I last saw my mom and dad. They are flying from San Diego to Boise as I write this blog. It is with great anticipation I await their arrival. I have been preparing for this day for a long time. I have gone to great lengths this week to clean the crud out of my home. Let us be patient and anticipate the day of the Lord’s return! Let us go out into the world and share the love of Christ and the hope within us! Let us do some housekeeping right now. Ask God to show you what kind of crud you can remove from your life.
Pray this Prayer: “Dear God, we thank you for each day you have given us here on Earth. Let us use each day to further the work of your kingdom. May we share your love and Truth. Let us share with people what they need to hear — your Word — and not what they wish to hear from false prophets. Help us to stay on guard against the enemy in every area of our life and help us fight off the enemy when he is attacking others around us. Please help us to exercise patience as we wait for your return. Let us prepare for your arrival each and every day of our lives, and let us be prepared in and out of season to share our beliefs with those who have yet to see the light and step out of darkness. Show us where we have dust and cobwebs in our heart and help us to ‘clean house,’ and submit and surrender these areas to you. Amen.”