Harold Camping’s apocalyptic claims have recently put the teachings of the “end times” at the fore front of everyones mind. When was the last time that you can remember hearing a journalist speaking on CNN explaining the rapture and what it would look like. Mr. Camping’s predictions spawned all kinds of things including a host of prank photos depicting clothing in various positions that were left bodiless because of the rapture.
As Christians I think the prediction brought about mixed feelings and reactions. I know I felt embarrassed when non-christian people would question me about what was said and I would try to help them have a better understanding about Christian teaching regarding the end times. Maybe you can relate or perhaps this was a awesome opportunity for Christians to have a chance to open up to people about their belief and hope they have in Christ’s return. I am sure that in many Churches this past Sunday the pastor was bringing a biblical understanding to the congregation regarding end-times. Hopefully this has been beneficial as there was obviously a lack of biblical knowledge and discernment in Mr. Camping’s followers and maybe we all need to more discipleship in this area of theology.
There is a growing awareness it seems these days regarding the “end of the world”. There’s blockbuster movies depicting what it will be like and even contractors bringing in big dollars for doomsday bunkers. When I talk to non believers they are very aware of the growing number of calamities the world seems to be facing almost on a daily level.
But for Christians this is our great hope, the return of Jesus. Yes we must live for today and not abandon daily life in favor of looking for the return of Christ. 1 Thes 1:9 gives a simple three step path to a Christian:
“They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath”.
1 – Turn from Idols 2 – Serve the Living and true God 3- Wait for his Son from heaven
Author John Stott writes regarding this passage:
“In Christian terms ‘serving’ is getting busy for Christ on earth, while ‘waiting’ is looking for Christ to come from Heaven. Yet these two are incompatible. On the contrary, each balances the other. On the one hand, however hard we work and serve, there are limits to what we can accomplish. We can only improve society; we cannot perfect it. We shall never build a utopia on earth. For that we wait for Christ to come. Only then will he secure the final triumph of God’s reign of justice and peace. On the other hand, although we must look expectantly for the coming of Christ, we have no liberty to to wait in idleness, with arms folded and eyes closed, indifferent to the needs of the world around us. Instead we must work even while we wait, for we are called to serve the living and true God.”