May 21st, 2011 has come & gone; but the Judgment didn't come!
Jesus warned: “Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray....False christs & false prophets will arise and perform great signs & wonders.” (Matthew 24.11,24) Those who followed Him warned of the same thing (2Peter 2.1; 1John 4.1). We should not be surprised that there are so many who claim to speak for God, or know the future.
Notice, Jesus said that these false prophets will “lead many astray.” So we should also not be surprised that many people follow the false prophets. And it is not that those who are led astray are ignorant or foolish people. Sometimes the most brilliant & learned are deceived with the rest.
There have been false prophets from the beginning. The first false prophet was Satan, who deceived Eve, and led our first parents in rebellion against God. Since then, the world has been full of false prophets. Because of their abundance, some cynically proclaim that there are no genuine prophets of God, no one to speak the truth from God, or tell us about God, or how we can know this God who made us & all things.
This is perhaps the greatest tragedy of the whole matter, that, because of being burned by the false prophets, men do not listen to the genuine prophets sent by God, and therefore miss God. Though there be so much counterfeit money, this doesn’t diminish the reality or buying power of genuine currency. Likewise, though there be so many false prophets, yet God has truly spoken & given us the Bible.
Our ever-present need is for discernment, so that we can avoid the deceit of the false prophets, and heed the voice of the genuine prophets. The prevalence of counterfeit bills increases the need for careful examination to discern the genuine; it doesn't mean we should throw away all our cash.
For example, the false prophet pictured above, Harold Camping, predicted that on May 21st, 2011 at 6:00 P.M. God’s people would be taken out of this world to heaven, and the rest of humanity would be left under the judgment of God with earthquakes & mass destruction until October 21st, when the earth would finally be destroyed. Mr. Camping claimed to get his teaching from the Bible. He claimed to speak the truth of God, and launched a worldwide campaign to warn people of God’s Judgment Day. He was obviously wrong!
Does that mean, therefore, that God does not exist or that He won’t judge us? Absolutely not. Yes, the God who made us all is holy & hates evil; sin is a personal affront to Him. God will judge our every thought, word & deed. Mr. Camping’s false prophecies do not diminish the fact that God will hold us accountable for how we live this life (2Corinthians 5.10).
Don’t be deceived, “God has fixed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed...” (Acts 17.30,31) That Man that God appointed to judge us all is Jesus. Jesus alone is worthy to judge us; he alone is perfectly just to judge us justly; he alone has been appointed by His Father to judge us all. And the Father would confirm & assure us of Jesus’ authority to judge us, so He raised Jesus from the dead: “...of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (v. 31) There is now a resurrected Man, Jesus, who rules from heaven, and will at God’s appointed time return & judge all men. Not only will he judge all who are alive when he returns, but also he will raise all who have died from their graves, and then judge them in their resurrected bodies (John 5.26-29). Death is no escape from God's justice. Don’t ignore the genuine truth of God because of a counterfeit.
However, God does not delight in judgement; he delights in mercy (Ezekiel 33.10,11; Psalm 103.8-13; Malachi 7.18-20). That is why He sent His Son to become the Man Jesus to reconcile us to Himself. It is amazing but true, that the Creator, who cannot stand the sight of evil, desires to be reconciled to us his rebellious children. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5.8) “In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their sins against them.” (2Corinthians 5.19)
And the Son of God willingly became a man in order to take our guilt & reproach & punishment upon Himself. “[Christ] has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Hebrews 9.26) He put away our sins which stood between us & God. In love, Jesus, who sinned not once, became the sinner before God, so that we the wicked might be made the righteous ones in Him (2Corinthians 5.21).
What grace! God does not leave us to go our own way unto destruction, but rescues us from what we deserve. God, the offended party, does not wait for us, the offenders, to come to Him; rather, He comes down to us in our pollution, and cleanses us, adopts us, and brings us home to Himself. This is the Creator, and we may freely be His adopted sons, but only through the one Mediator He has appointed--Jesus Christ (John 14.6; 1Timothy 2.5).
Don’t fear the changing predictions of false prophets like Harold Camping. Rather, fear the Holy God who will hold us all accountable, even after death. And fear this resurrected Jesus, who may return at any time; then He will judge each of us. But now there is a door of mercy opened through this same Jesus; trust in Him & He will bring you safely to God!