For thousands of years, there have been a number of individuals and groups that claim the ability to see visions and make predictions as to what the future will hold. Some claim that they literally have seen events unfold before they have happened; sometimes hundreds of years before they happen.
When we talk about prophecy in the church we think of the prophets of old such as Isaiah, Daniel, and others whose writings we have in the Bible. They were individuals chosen by God to communicate a message to the people. They were sometimes even blessed with special abilities to perform miracles. But all too often people ridiculed them because of their messages even though they were of vital importance. (consider Noah and his message and how the people ignored it)
There were predictions of the coming Messiah, the Christ child, but usually the messages were simple and clear, ‘Repent or reap the consequences. Change your sinful ways or experience the fury of God Almighty. Repent or meet your doom.’
In the Bible such messages have rung out from the time of Noah who spoke of a coming deluge, to the major and minor prophets of the Old Testament who warned the Jewish nation of their destruction by conquering nations. Even in the New Testament Peter, Paul, and even Jesus Himself spoke of a coming judgment day; a day that would end our world as we know it.
But have others seen this Judgment Day? Is it possibly there are those who are not part of Jewish history and never made it into the Bible who have seen such things?
I have wondered about this for years now. Maybe some of you have see programs on television or heard about such ancient or even modern prophecies?
The reason I am speaking on this subject today is because over the next year you are going to hear a lot about one such prophecy. The prophecy written in stone in South America is centered around what will happen at the end of the Mayan long count calendar. The Mayans set this calendar to begin in the year 3114 B.C. (according to our modern Gregorian calendar). If the Long Count began in 3114 B.C. and it’s calculated to continue for 5126 years, the “end date” will be — you guessed it — 2012 A.D. Further refinement sets the date to Dec. 21, the day of the winter solstice for the Northern Hemisphere. We are talking about a year from this coming Wednesday!
As to what will happen on that day there are debates. There are those who simply predict that it’s just going to be another day like any other day. But there are also those who seem to think that the Mayans predicted some significant changes to happen on our planet Earth. Some say that the Mayans “predicted” the end of the world as we know it. On this date, doomsayers assert that Earth will be ravaged by a smorgasbord of cataclysmic astronomical events — everything from a Planet flyby to a “killer” solar flare and a geomagnetic reversal, ensuring we have a very, very bad day. I want you to know that in the up and coming months PUBLIC CONCERN ABOUT DOOMSDAY IN December 2012 will continue escalate and blossom into a major news event on the Internet, TV and Hollywood. They’ve already made a movie called 2012. According to these doomsday prophets, we only have a year left. Makes you think doesn’t it! Will the worst case scenario happen? Will the world end as we know it a year from now? I don’t know, but reputable scientists who have studied this event seem convinced that no such cataclysmic events are going to occur. They claim it’s bad science and it’s all a hoax. But still it makes you think! There are other so called prophets and prophecies, some ancient, and some not so ancient. There is Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce and St. Malachi who lived during the middle ages who predicted 112 Popes names from his time forward until dooms day. All the predictions have supposedly come true thus far, and that why the Catholic church labeled him a saint for his outstanding ability and accuracy. He not only predicted the 112, he also predicted only 1 more pope after the present one. The last one he calls Peter the Roman, he writes that in his time “The city of 7 hills will be utterly destroyed, and the awful Judge will Judge the people.” And then there prophecies of the Native American tribe of Arizona, the Hopi Indians, and others which are very similar to those of the Mayans whose carvings predict a end to life as we know it in the year 2012.
Now as a preacher you may be waiting for me to stand up and condemn all these so called pagan prophets and their prophecies, and prove them wrong. I can’t. Most scientists cannot. Where did these individuals receive this ability? Are they a hoax? Should we ignore their warning?
Is it all going to end in December of 2012 or somewhere in between? And in all honesty, I can tell you this, I don’t know!
But as a preacher I can say this, we can be sure of what the Bibles says. And what does it say concerning this day… The last day?
To begin with, in Acts 1:11 two men dressed in white told His disciples,
“This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven”
You can be assured of this, some day Jesus will return.
There is another good verse in 2 Peter 3, read verses 1-10a
“Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.”
There are a few things that I want you to consider from this text today.
#1. Some day Jesus will return, not to save, but to judge (cf. Mt. 25:31 ff) (Click on verse to go to the link)
#2. As to WHEN He will return, the text says that he will come like a thief in the night. The time is unknown. It could be December 21, 2012, or it could be tomorrow, or it could be in the year 2525.
But one thing I think is interesting, as you examine all the Old Testament prophecies of coming Judgement, and then their fulfillment; there were always signs to indicate that the time was near. (Noah – ark; Moses – Plagues; Jewish Nation –warnings, wars, plagues, and droughts) In Luke chapter 21 Jesus warns his disciples then of the great disaster that was to fall upon Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans. In verse 25 He tells them that there will be obvious signs of impending doom. Around verse 30 He tells them that when you see plants sprouting you know summer is near, likewise there would be signs of the up and coming judgment on Jerusalem.
So 1st Jesus will someday return.
2nd The actual date is not given to us in the Bible. He said he will come like a thief in the night.
in 2 Peter 3:10b (read).
” But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.“
Then Read 2 Thessalonians. 1:6-9 “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”
If God said that He is going to do this why hasn’t it happen already? Verse 9 states that He is not wanting anyone to perish, but wants everyone to come to repentance. Then God should keep letting the world go on for ever, right?
The Old Testament doesn’t seem to indicate that God chooses to work that way. He knows the hearts of men.
- He knew what was in their heart in Noah’s time
- He knew what was in the hearts of those in Sodom and Gomorrah
- He knew what was in the heart of those people in the promised land when commanded Joshua to kill every man woman and child in certain cities.
- He knows when people are hopelessly steeped in sin. And He knows when mankind will no longer choose to repent.
Whether the predictions of the Mayan’s or the Hopi Indians, or St. Malachi of the world ending soon is true or not, I don’t know. But one thing for sure the Bible surely predicts an end, and also preaches a warning
Read 2 Peter 3:11-18
“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
#1. Verse 11 burns in my heart and mind. Since this is going to happen, what kind of person should I be? How should I live? How should I act? What things should I do? What things should I avoid? What should I tell others? And if Jesus does return shortly, ‘Am I ready? Have I obeyed His commands?’ And if He doesn’t return in my lifetime, ‘Shouldn’t I be living this way anyway?’ What about you?
This is Christmas week, the time the world is reminded of and celebrates the greatest gift that God ever gave us, His own Son, born in a manger almost 2000 years ago. Born to die for our sin, for our mistakes and disobedience. He is the greatest gift that could ever be given to us, EVER! And He is a gift given to us out of Love. The Father’s love.
And all we need to do is receive God’s gift, His son in faith; we need to accept and believe in Him. And we need to convince others to do the same.
#2. Verse 13 goes on to say
“in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”
So if doomsday comes next December or not, do not be afraid. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you. That is if you have accepted Him as your lord and Savior. And if we are still alive when He does return, Paul writes to the Corinthians that we will be immediately instantaneously, “transformed ..” as fast as a twinkle in an eye.
In 1 Corinthians the Apostle Paul writes,
“I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
#3 So in Verse 17 it says to be on your guard, don’t let anyone rob you of your faith
#4 Verse 18 says to continue to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Closing: Again I ask you the question that Peter wrote in his letter. Since this is going to happen, “What kind of people ought you to be?” Accept His gift and share it with others!
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