Friday, December 23, 2011


Books are published, videos are produced and websites are uploaded almost daily now, millions of words are tossed out in great passionate fervor to calculate and predict the exact timing of the end of the world. From the Christian perspective the focus is on when the Great Tribulation period begins because that defines the last seven years of the earth as we know it. Daniel’s timeline is often the basis for the development of charts and equations that prove, for the one who is predicting, the year that marks the beginning of the end. Others look to the mysterious Mayan calculations that point to 2012 as the end. Over the centuries, predictions come and pass and then elaborate excuses abound for the whys and wherefores things don’t pan out and the predictions continue without missing a beat so long as they can be contained in a future yet to be proven.

What bothers me about these kinds of predictions, based on "evidence" and precise mathematical formulas and charts is that they leave out one important factor: God created and owns time and uses it as He wishes, and He always has. Thus God is not bound by our clocks or calendars or hieroglyphics carved in ancient stone wheels. Furthermore, I think the reason God doesn't give us a specific date as defined by our earthly measurements of time is because we are so human and as such human nature causes us to obsess and focus on the precise computation instead of just depending on Him for our daily bread.

What should we do instead with this moment given to us? All God asks of us is our daily walk of faith. We don't have to spend the precious moment we are in right now trying to figure out what tomorrow might bring. He expects us to listen, obey, and trust Him today, to serve Him today knowing He could come and change everything in the blink of an eye. Do not be persuaded otherwise, we are most certainly commanded to be prepared at all times. What do you have to do to be prepared? Believe He is returning? Live as though you believe it, knowing there is a judgment awaiting us? Am I prepared? Absolutely! Come Lord Jesus! But how does my knowing the exact hour and day change what I will do in this minute? It does not. We are supposed to live as though we know He could come at midnight tonight but also as though He might tarry because that is His divine option. What would you do today if you knew absolutely that Jesus was coming at midnight? Would you stop harvesting your garden, because why bother? Would you gather your people and sit in a circle? Would you run out and warn people who would think you needed to be fitted for a tight white jacket? Would you not cook meals and feed your children or give them water all day because what is the use of food and drink? You see, knowing the exact time is debilitating and actually defeats what God requires of us, i.e., be His vessels until He comes and that means up until the very last second.

I know people who are constantly on hold, believing there is no point in starting anything because tomorrow the rapture might whisk them away. And there are others, who do not believe in pre-trib rapture, who are just as obsessed with the day/hour as well. What is the difference between those who are paralyzed by the expectation of the day of the rapture and those who obsess over knowing the year of the beginning of the Great Tribulation? My response to those who think they shouldn't live today because they might be gone tomorrow is: so what? So what if you start to build an orphanage and you can't finish it? So what if you start to gather clothes and food for the poor and the Lord comes? Would it not be better to be found in the middle of serving than just sitting and waiting, doing nothing? And that is what happens when we count on pinpointing the day and hour of Christ's return. We hedge against stepping out to serve because we fear we won’t have enough time to finish. To me, that is the work of Satan whispering in our ears that there is no point in starting because there is no time left.

God owns time. What part of that do we not understand? From the human standpoint, we are finite; we have distinct limitations based on earthly time. The flesh is given only so much time to exist. Within that constraint, if we consider ourselves true servants, why would we squander a minute of the fleeting time allotted to us wondering what day it will end?

For centuries, mankind has been fixated on when the end will come and individuals have duly arisen to pin their own mandate for determining the timeframe on Scriptures like Luke 12:56  Ye hypocrites, Ye can discern the face of the sky and the earth, but how is it that you do not discern this time? But there is often hidden agenda in the self-appointed “end days prophets” who often use this and other Scriptures, not as alerts to the wise and discerning but as launching points for the more subtle pulling into other individually defined doctrine. End days prophecy is coming increasingly hot and heavy now, especially and probably because of the accessibility and ease of reaching multitudes on the internet, but it is often used like a hook instead of a spoon. It is a simple and universal bait, a siren call to the compelling human need to know when the end will come. If the calculations, formulas, charts and definitions are proof enough to those who are desperately seeking answers to the ancient question then they also conclude everything else that is said by the one doing the calculations must be true as well. It is a process of conviction as old as recorded history. New religious sects and even cults are born and flourish because the very first thing that is disarmed is simple spiritual discernment using seemingly irrefutable conclusions; if you can believe this, then you also must believe this. Gotcha!

But ultimately, we answer to God only for how we spend the time given to us. The way is straight and narrow and the Word is always best interpreted to a humble heart by the Holy Spirit, Himself. Those who set themselves up as the only correct interpreter will have much more to answer for than the innocent sheep they lead away.

(Revelation 22:12) Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is. 

One thing is true, however, time, as we define it, is destined to conclude. Christ will come and put a punctuation point on the sentence that is now being written. It could happen in my puny lifetime, or not. That is not for me to know because if I did I might not do what He wants me to do when He wants me to do it.

That is the knowledge that surpasses all understanding that I need to seek and focus on.

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