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Friday, 16 October 2015

Playing with prophecy.

You may have read, or heard, of Pastor Salazar, from the Global Church of the King of Israel, in Tokyo, Japan, who claims in an online video that is going viral that, on May 16 2016, a five-mile wide "murderous" asteroid will crash into the Earth - wiping out life on the planet as we know it!

The horrific event will, he informs, initially kill 1,200 million people and leave a world at the mercy of famine and disease for four years before the Antichrist descends to Earth!

According to the predictions by an American preacher in the past few days, the world was to end on, I think, Wednesday.  Well, that one was wrong - as have been so many over the years.  Now, a serious study of end-time events can be fascinating; and novels such as those that were popular in the 1960s and 70s (In the Twinkling of an Eye; The Mark of the Beast; The Late Great Planet Earth: etc.) can make for enjoyable, and even challenging, reading.  However, trying to predict the precise date on which the world will end, or the Rapture take place, or any other cataclysmic event occur, is foolishness of the first order!

At the height of World War II, the German protestant pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was imprisoned for having taken a stand against Hitler and the Nazis.  A group of Christians, who believed that Hitler was the Antichrist, asked Bonhoeffer, "Why do you expose yourself to all of this danger?  Jesus will return any day, and all of your work and suffering will have been for nothing!"  The pastor replied: "If Jesus returns tomorrow, then tomorrow I will rest from my labour.  But today I have work to do.  I must continue the struggle until it is finished."

Jesus told the disciples, in advance, about his death, so that they wouldn't be alarmed by it, but they missed the message.  They didn't understand that HaMaschiach (the Messiah) had to die before He could reign as King.  Even after the resurrection, they wanted a Kingdom timetable (Acts 1:6ff).  Jesus informed them that such knowledge was the Father's, and His alone.

Prophecy is not for playing - and seeking to predict that which is only in the Father's domain is, surely, tantamount to blasphemy.  Prophecy is to keep us working, confident that God is in control.   Someone has said that we should, "Plan as if Christ's return were years away; but live as if it were today!"  That's not a bad position to take!

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