December 21, 2012
By Ben Fronczek
Reading: Matthew 25:1-13
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
I didn’t really expect to talk about this topic today but I believe it’s important for a preacher to address issues that are of public concern. If you haven’t noticed in addition to the added pressure of the holiday season, the media has been stirring up a cauldron of concern and wonder about what is going to happen on December 21, this coming Friday.
The reason I am speaking on this subject today is because over the few days I believe you are going to hear a lot about this. Some claim that a prophecy was written in stone of what will happen at the end of the Mayan long count calendar.
The Long Count began in 3114 B.C. and is to end 5126 years later, the “end date” will be – As I am sure you have heard this Friday, December 21, 2012.
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 will happen on our planet. 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,” a geomagnetic reversal, and more ensuring that we have a very, very bad day Friday.
But in all reality, this has become a money making media event which has done nothing but cause fear and feeling of uncertainty in the hearts of good people all around the world.
It is reported that people are spending millions of dollars on survival shelters, and on hording supplies, survival rations, kerosine, candles and more.
Not only that, there are those misinformed individual who are spending all kinds of money to go to certain places on the planet to wait for something, ‘special’ to happen on Friday. For example, people have been flocking to a small town in France called Bugarach which is at the base of a mountain. Many believe that this mountain is some kind of Alien garage and they believe alien ships are going to depart from Earth, from this mountain on the 21st. And these hope to catch a ride with the aliens. Over 100,000 people are expected to be there by Friday.
In a recent news report one local commented by saying, “Although the tourists have boosted the local economy, their odd behavior, which includes naked group-climbs up to the summit, have raised eyebrows.”
Others are flocking to a pyramid shaped mountain in Siberia. Within the Serbian Carpathian Mountains there is a mountain thought to house a ‘pyramidal’ structure left behind by alien visitors thousands of years ago that will emit a powerful force field at the moment of Armageddon, protecting those in its vicinity. People are afraid and are doing some strange things.
But what do the experts say? Christopher Powell, an archeologist who studies Mayan culture, says, “There’s no real prophesy that says this is going to be the end of the world, not from the Mayan ruins, anyway.”
Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History said, “Western messianic thought has twisted the cosmo-vision of ancient civilizations like the Maya.” It said “the Mayan’s believed that time started and ended with regularity, with nothing apocalyptic occurring at the end.”
A Mayan expert Leonzo Barreno, says “the ‘apocalypse’ concept is a false interpretation of the Long Count calendar. He said that Mayan elders taught him that December 21 this year simply marks the start of a new calendar.“
Being a professor at the University of Regina he said Mayan elders taught him that December 21 this year simply marks the start of a new calendar. He said, ‘When I grew up during my training I never heard the word “end of the world” from the elders or spiritual leaders,’ Professor Barreno added. ‘For them it’s a joyous event, not an apocalyptic event. What is coming is the end of a calendar and the beginning of a new one.”
In other words the experts believe that the Mayan object is nothing more than a calendar, just like the ones we take down off our wall every year, but their calendar just happens to measure a whole lot more time.
As Christians, we do believe that the Bible teaches that there will come a time when this world as we know it will end. That’s what the Bible teaches. But the big question is. “Is it possible that it could be Friday the 21st?
And my answer to this is, “It is possible, but not likely.” In the rest of this lesson I would like to share with you what I believe the Bible has to say about the end of this world as we know it. And I also want to reassure you that it is not as bad for those who are Christians, as many make it out to be.
#1. First of all, God is the one who will bring about this end. Let me read to you one of the clearest descriptions of this event we have in the Bible
Read: 2 Peter 3:3-13
“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 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.”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. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgmentand destruction of the ungodly.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. The 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.
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.
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”
To begin with, these verses describe this event as the ‘Day of the Lord’. It will all end when the Lord God says it will end, not before; no galactic alignment, no solar flare, no collision with planet x, and not by some freak accident.
#2. God is in control of His creation, and events that accompany the end of this world as we know it… are clearly defined:
● First of all we are told that the exact time is unknown. That’s what the Parable of the 10 Virgins was all about. That was Jesus’ concluding statement in verse 13; the day and the hour are unknown. In Mark 13:32 it also says that the day and the hour is unknown by the angels, the Son, but is only known by our Heavenly Father.
That’s why here in 2 Peter 3:10 it says that when it happens,
“the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief.”
In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 it says the same
“He will come like a thief in the night”
So no, we don’t have an accurate calendar predicting the end of the world as we know it. Not unless you want to call Jesus and the Apostle who taught this a bunch of liars.
● The next thing I see in scripture is when this end does come we read that Jesus will appear and His mighty angels will accompany Him. We read about this event in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 2 Thessalonians. 1:7b, and in Matthew 25:31-32.
1 Thess. 4:13-18 it says,
13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
In Matthew’s account it says,
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”
So this day will be implemented by our Heaven Father, who will send His Son, and mighty angels to bring every man and woman who ever lived to stand before Him in judgment. Why? Because as we read on we read that God wants weed out the evil and bring those who have been cleansed or declared righteous into His eternal and holy realm as His adopted them sons and daughters. (Eph. 1:5)
● And while all this is happening to us in 2 Peter we read about what is happening to our planet earth.
“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.”
But as unreal, and maybe as scary as this may sound, a few verses jump out at me:
#1. 2 Peter 3:9
“The 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.”
The Lord is not in a hurry to do this. Why? Because the very reason he created us was to bring us into His family, to adopt us as sons and daughters. And so if there is any chance that some would choose to love and accept His wonder gift of grace He’s not going to doom them before they get a chance.
#2 I notice here is in 2 Peter as well in other places, is the fact that this event is something Christians should not only look forward to, but it is also something we should prepare for.
2 Peter 3:14 says,
“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”
For Christians this will be one of the most fantastic events that history will ever see. It will be the dawn of a new day, a new era, a new existence, one which is eternal, and magnificent, and glorious. It’s not something to fear, it will be one of the greatest family reunions ever!
But within these words of encouragement penned by Peter, Paul and Matthew are also words of warning. You better be ready for when He comes, whenever He comes. Don’t get caught unprepared like the 10 virgins in the parable.
Let Jesus clean you up by removing your sin. He will do that if you trust Him as your Lord and Savior, and if you allow Him of remove your sin in the waters of Baptism. What a shame if will be if you lose out.
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