before the sun goes down

"Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in His sight" (I Chronicles 19:13).

Friday, May 20, 2011

MAY 21, 2011: A Bible Believing Christian's Response

TOMORROW is May 21, 2011. Many have claimed that Jesus will return on that day.  I have been asked what I thought about this claim.  Here is my answer...

There are people who believe and proclaim that on May 21st, 2011 (others say 2012), Christ will return, or the world will end, or it will be the day of Judgment.  There are many sincere people who have been convinced.  By the droves, they are doing foolish things, selling homes, quitting jobs, which ignores Christ's directive "Occupy till I come" (Luke 19:13).

I know of a least one man, who has abandoned his wife and children, and has frantically spent his savings to spread the word that Jesus is coming May 21st.  I think it a folly to do this when it expressly violates what a father should do.  "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (I Timothy 5:8)  I would think it one of the last things someone would wish to be doing when Jesus returns.  I fear that one reason that so many are deluded by these "prophecies" is because today's society, including Christians are woefully ignorant of the Scriptures!

I am not moved by all this hype and propaganda, billboards, etc.  I know the truth, and am serving the Lord, and if He comes today, tomorrow, or the day after, I am ready.  

I am pained however at the gullibility of many believers, and am most intensely stirred to realize that this movement is bringing reproach to the name of Jesus Christ.  The unsaved world is looking on, and many will assume that this is what all Christians are like.  The billboards say, "The Bible Guarantees It!" when the Bible says no such thing.  It is ludicrous.  With the psalmist, "My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies [and alas, even my brothers and sisters in Christ] have forgotten thy words" (Proverbs 119:139).

We are to NOT go by what man believes; rather we should ask "What saith the Scripture?"   There is no indication of this from the Bible.  Those leaders really are not taking the Bible literally, but are reading their own ideas into the Book.
  
Speaking of the coming of the Lord and the world's end (whether 2011 or 2012), I am glad to share my position.  I do believe that we are in the last days.  When we look around, we see a lot of what the Bible describes about the last days:

-Wars and rumours of wars (Matthew 24:6).

-Increase in earthquakes and other natural catastrophes (Matthew 24:7).
-Rise in wickedness and love waxing cold (Matthew 24:12).
-Abundance of arrogant scoffers walking after their own lusts, who mock the record of creation, the judgment of Noah's flood, and the coming judgment (II Peter 3:3-10).  I meet these on a regular basis.  It reminds me of Jude: "But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts"  (Jude 17-18).  When I meet a person who scoffs at the Bible, it affirms to me that the Bible is true, for God prophesied that mockers would come, and here they are.

And there are many more indicators.  Yes, we can "see the day approaching."  And it should stir us to live godly in Christ Jesus and preach the Gospel while we may.  However, I do not
 attempt to set a date or even estimate how much time we have left.  Studying the Scriptures, we find that God purposefully does not tell us.

There are people who believe that they can figure it out.  Down through history, there have been numerous groups of people, and scholars among them, who set dates for the return of Christ, the day of Judgment, or the end of the world.  They were sincere.  They were intelligent.  They had done their homework.  And they were all wrong, so far.  
   
I personally do not try to figure out when those events will happen.  Why?  Because God hasn't told us.  "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh"  (Matthew 25:13).



Jesus said that we do not know when He is coming.  I believe He said this because WE DO NOT KNOW when He is coming.  If He wanted us to know, He would have told us.  But He chose to not tell us, which means we don't need to know.  Why would God not tell us exactly when?  So that we would think "We don't know how much time we have, so LET'S SERVE JESUS NOW!"  Let's be doing what He told us to do.  

We are to be living for the Lord (Matthew 6:33; Titus 2:11-14), preaching the Gospel to the lost (Mark 16:15), reading and sharing what He wrote for us in the Scriptures (Psalm 119:27), and gathering together regularly as Christians in a Bible-believing local church to worship and serve God as a body (Hebrews 10:25).

Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Judge is coming soon.  He has been coming soon for two thousand years.  God is not bound by time.  He made it.  When is His return?  We do not know.  This is what I say with my fellow brothers in Christ: "Maranatha" (I Corinthians 16:22), which is to say, "The Lord cometh." The response is, "Perhaps today."  And so we keep before us that our Lord is coming, motivating us to be about our father's business and win souls!

But we are not to be trying to set dates.  We are to be watching (Luke 12:37) and working (Luke 12:43)!  Read I and II Thessalonians and see how we are told that the time is coming, but that we are to be active now in what He called us to do.  Our Master has told us to "Occupy till I come" (Luke 19:13).


I encourage you to use the time (you don't know how long you have) to remember your Creator, knowing Him as your Saviour and Master, and then share the Gospel with others, so that they might be saved from the punishment of their sin.  Let's use our time wisely (Ephesians 5:15-16)

"Blessed is that servant whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing" (Matthew 24:46).

"He that testifieth of these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20).


There is still time to win a battle before the sun goes down.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

To Speak of a Fool - A Bible Answer

I don't know if you've ever wondered about this, but thought I'd share it, just in case somebody approaches you about it. Remember, "The heart of the righteous studieth to answer..." (Proverbs 15:28).

Someone contacted me with this question that I now share with you.  I also have provided my reply to the individual.

"I was reading the King James Bible, and in Matthew 5:22, Jesus said,  '... but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.'  Then in Matthew 23:19, Jesus called the Pharisees fools.  Does this mean that Jesus is in danger of Hell fire?  Please explain." 

My Reply:

The question you asked is not too difficult to figure out if we look at the volume of the Book. 

The use of the word "fool" itself is not forbidden here, but the use of the word "fool" as an angry, hateful, unjust slander. Jesus Christ Himself on occasion called men fools. He denounced the Pharisees in public, calling them fools to their faces (Mt. 23:17,19; Lk. 11:40). After rising from the dead, Jesus called His own disciples fools when they did not believe in His resurrection (Lk. 24:25). 


In His word, God calls men fools when they live foolishly and reject the path of righteousness in favor of wicked ways (Ps. 14:1; 53:1; Lk. 12:20, and many places in the Proverbs).

The Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, called certain people fools who questioned the bodily resurrection (I Cor. 15:36). 

Often when someone finds an apparent problem, contradiction, or error in the Bible,
The truth can be discovered by considering well the context. The proper meaning of 
this admonition in Mt. 5:21-24 is given. Jesus Christ our Saviour addresses the issue of murder and is making it manifest that the heart is the root of the problem, that murder is in reality the result of hatred and strife between men. If you can resolve the hate in the heart (seen by God as murder- I John 3:15), you can prevent the physical murder.

So, remember, Matthew 5:21-22 is referring to murder (killing someone who is INNOCENT-- unjustifiable homicide), being hateful and angry WITHOUT a cause, and WRONGLY slandering someone else. So basically, the words in question are saying, Do not accuse a person UNJUSTLY (calling someone a fool who isn't one).

How should we use the word "fool?" Well, one good example is if God in His Book says that a person who says there is no God is a fool (Psalm 14:1), and you warn the wicked who reject the existence of God, calling him a fool, there is nothing wrong, for you are simply relaying a message from God to them, and calling them by what they truly are. 

While we are in this passage, I must point that in Mt. 5:22 some of the modern versions omit the words "without a cause." 


For instance, The [Pois]NIV says,
"But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment..." 

As well as the NASt,
"But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court..."

Whereas the KJV reads, 
"Whosoever is angry with his brother WITHOUT A CAUSE shall be in danger of the judgment…" 

This "little" omission creates a most serious error, because our Lord Jesus Christ Himself 
was angry at times. Mk. 3:5 says, "And when He had looked round about on them WITH ANGER…" This would mean that our Saviour was a sinner. God forbid! He "knew no sin" (II Corinthians 5:21). 

It is not necessarily a sin to be angry, for the Scripture says, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath" (Ephesians 4:26). However it IS a sin to be angry "without a cause." This is just one of many omissions, changes, and dangerous differences that are found in "happy cat" Bibles (purr-versions). I would counsel caution about use of them, and recommend using the Authorized Version (King James Bible) as the preserved word of God in the English tongue.

Now, 

If you'd like to get a good, informative book that answers seeming contradictions in the Scriptures, I would recommend you get the book, Things Hard to Be Understood, by David Cloud. It will be helpful in many areas. However, the best book to work out the "problems" in the Bible, is the Bible itself. Check Scripture with Scripture. 

I hope this has been helpful. May the Lord bless you as you continue to study, trust, 
and obey His Word.

Kevan Myers
Psalm 119:112

There is still time to win a battle before the sun goes down.