Most of us I imagine are aware of the crazy predictions this last week that the end of the world would come on May 21, 2011. An elderly, soft-spoken, Bible carrying man who seemed to be sincere declared that he had cracked the Biblical code, and falsely predicted that earthquakes would open the graves, cause major mayhem, and Jesus Christ would return to rapture 200 million people. Those left behind would die and the end of the world would be finalized October 21, 2011 as the world would explode into a fireball. Obviously, that didn’t happen. He is a false prophet.
My response of emotions ranged from anger to mockery, but I eventually ended in sadness. You see a person like this hurts the witness of Christianity. I believe many sincere Christians were deceived by this man, and that bothers me. Also, the world looks at this man and equates him with the sum of Christianity, that bothers me as it is a bad witness to the body. People’s faith may be hurt. He is a false prophet, has had a history of falsely prophesying, and preaching heretical doctrine.
In 1 John 4:1 we read, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” What that says is that we as believers need to exercise discernment, and not be willing to swallow every false doctrine that comes along. We need to test teaching by the Word of God! This verse also tells us that there are many false prophets out in the world. That is one way which the enemy seeks to deceive the elect.
When Satan desires to have people falsely prophesy, he doesn’t send them out as mean ogres with a bright red “FP” painted upon their chest. Rather, he sends them out as wolves in sheep’s clothing. That means they are well disguised, sometimes in the form of a soft-spoken, seemingly sincere, Bible-carrying elderly man.
Matthew 10:16 exhorts, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves.” We need to step it up Church. We need to be shrewd, and represent accurately the Truth of God’s Word. This man was arrogant and proclaimed that he had cracked a code that I tell you will only be understood when Christ returns. That time when Christ returns is reserved only for God. Matthew affirms in 24:36, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”
We, as Christians, are not to be focused upon the date of the coming of the Lord but rather, we are to “occupy until he comes.” We should not be consumed with a date. We are to keep busy going about the Father’s business. That means telling others about how they can enter into a restored relationship with God the Father through the work of Jesus Christ the Son. That is what we are supposed to be doing, NOT waiting on top of a mountain for the Lord to return.
It will be interesting to see the posture of this man in the aftermath of his failed predictions. The best he could do would be to fall on his knees and openly confess that he deceived himself, that he deceived others, and that he is repenting of his arrogance to think he could outsmart God. But unfortunately, I feel he will continue to be that soft-spoken, seemingly sincere, Bible-carrying elderly man who continues to sow his lies wherever they may find purchase.
Be sharp! Be discerning! Be Biblical!