January 10, 2011
God is wringing his hands, pacing heaven, mumbling to himself, his brow wrinkled with concern, beads of sweat gathering on his forehead, eyes shifting as he shuffles. The angels have never seen him like this and want to help without becoming a nuisance. Gabriel summons his courage and asks, “Lord? Is there something you want us to do?” When the Creator remains silent in his pacing, Gabriel persists: “What is it, Lord? What has gone wrong?”
That’s when God stops and pivots to face one of his most-trusted creations. “They know,” he says. “Men. They know, and I don’t understand it. How could they know my plans? What am I to do now?”
Gabriel replies, “Lord, what do men know? What plans have they understood?”
God sighs. “They know the day. May 21, 2011. That is the day I have determined since before the foundations of the earth that I will execute the final plan and the world, as men have known it, will end. I have told no one, including you angels, and this man named Harold Camping has unwrapped it. How? And, what do I do, now?” The omniscient and omnipotent Creator put his head in his hands and sighed.
What I have written in the two preceding paragraphs is fiction, on the same level as the fiction that Harold Camping is selling to millions now with the help of the Internet and the media. How do we know that Camping’s prediction that the world will end May 21 is fiction?
Jesus tells us clearly in the Bible, speaking of the end of time, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Jesus also said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” Then Paul responded to confusion in the church about when Jesus would return and gather His saints when he wrote, “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”
What can we say about the day the world will end, based on these Scriptures? First, no one knows, and that includes Harold Camping. The Times-News article Monday quoted Chris McCann referring to those who try to figure out the last day: “It would be like telling the Wright Brothers that every other attempt to fly has failed, so you shouldn’t even try.” I smile at that. I have never given birth, either, but I should not try to conceive a child, should I? No, God is in charge of that, too, and he decided that birth should be woman’s domain. I resolve, then, not to try to have a baby, and not to try to figure out the day Jesus will return. Second, the Lord is coming back, and it will happen at a time when we do not expect it. That should provoke us to be ready every day. Third, each day you and I live is a gift. I would guess that none of you took your Christmas gifts, still unwrapped, up to your attic for safekeeping. Neither should we do that with one single day. Unwrap each day as a gift from God and live it fully for him. Tell your friends about Christ, not with billboards or bumper stickers, but with your mouth and with your life. Finally, don’t take my word for it. Read the Bible.