I Thessalonians 5:1-11 Limited Time Only!

Have you heard? Harold Camping has predicted that tomorrow, May 21, 2011, is judgement day, and that at 6:00 p.m. God will destroy the world. Aside from the fact that there is no Biblical support for the fact that the world will be destroyed at the moment of Jesus’ second coming, let’s focus on whether or not it will happen at all rather than how. The Bible tells us that only the Heavenly Father, not Jesus, not the angels, no one but the Heavenly Father, knows the appointed time. (Matthew 24:36, Matthew 24:42, Matthew 24:50, Matthew 25:13, Mark 13:32, Acts 1:7)

Further, 1 Thessalonians 5:1 tells us that we don’t need to know. In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians (I Thessalonians 5:1-11), he recognizes what they already know and then goes on to tell them, and us, what we need to focus on instead. He states that he doesn’t need to write about the ‘when’, because they are already aware of the fact that it will be unexpected, like a thief in the night. Paul says that it will come upon them when everyone is talking about peace and security, so the mere fact that Camping is predicting it, makes it very unlikely that it will happen tomorrow.

Paul instructs us to act as children of the light—to encourage each other, build each other up, and to act as though Jesus might return at any moment, because of course He might. We need to protect our hearts by putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and protect our minds by putting on the helmet of hope. Our hope for salvation is not a matter of wishful thinking, but a matter of confident expectation if we have accepted the gift of Christ’s sacrifice for us and have made Him Lord of our lives.

I think what bothers me more than anything about Camping’s prediction is that he says, “There is hope for anyone who humbly cries, who begs, and beseeches God that maybe they, too, might become saved.” This is close to the truth, but it has some flaws, and that is just what Satan does. He’s a master of deception. II Corinthians 11:14-15 tells us that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light and his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Whether Camping is intentionally misleading people, or whether he is just deceived himself is not for me to judge, but the truth is that the gift of salvation is available to anyone who asks. (John 1:12, John 3:17-18, John 20:31, Acts 2:21, Acts 10:43) Camping quotes Romans 6:23, but only the first part, that the wages of sin is death. He neglects the second part that assures us that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Christ died so that we could live forever. If we have accepted that, we have no need to fear.

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