So…the day is getting closer. Yup, the day that the world is supposed to end. I wouldn’t worry too much though…it could even happen today.

Harold Camping and his popular Family Radio organization in the US has been spreading the message that the world is going to end on May 21st, 2011…this Saturday. As I shared in the first part of this post, humanity’s obsession with the end of the world combined with our lack patience has produced what we have today: people so desperate to see the end of the world come (for a  variety of reasons) that we have these date setters pop up now and again.

There is a reality to this whole thing though: the world WILL end…its just a matter of when and a matter of us not really knowing when for sure. Rest assured however, people have been asking about this for a long, long time. The Scriptures even state that people were becoming impatient while waiting for the return of Christ and the ‘end of the world’ to take place some 2000 years ago.

2 Peter 3:4

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.”

The prophet Daniel from the Old Testament of the Bible describes an amazing vision that he received which frames for us a very basic truth: the end is coming and it could be today…but we just do not know for sure. Read Daniel 9:20-27 to see what I am talking about.

In this passage Daniel talks about ‘seventy sets of seven’, which denote 490 years between the command to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and the ‘end of the world’. More specifically, he says that there will be ‘seven sets of seven and sixty two sets of seven’ between this command to rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed one (Christ) comes. Next, there will be one final set of seven before the ‘end of the world’.

Now, if we were date setters we would attempt to pinpoint the historical date of the command to rebuild Jerusalem (which was destroyed in the Babylonian exile of the nation of Israel). J. Vernon McGee says that this date is most likely 445 B.C., which would make the ‘end of the world’ situated in 45 A.D.

But wait! That didn’t happen! And here is the flaw in the whole situation: the Bible does not contradict itself and elsewhere states that the time and the date of the return of Christ and this ‘end of the world’ will be hidden from humanity until it happens. What can we learn from Daniel’s vision then? Was Daniel mistaken?

We can learn this from Daniel’s vision: we are closer now to the ‘end of the world’ than we have ever been. Sixty-nine of the Daniel’s seventy sets of seven have come to pass. We are present living literally on borrowed time and have been ever since the birth of Christ. We exist within what scholars call a ‘prophetic gap’, an unidentified period of time of undetermined length. The clock stopped ticking at sixty-nine sets of seven but will resume ticking any day and at any moment

Have you ever been on the Power Tower at Marine Land or some other amusement park? You get in, ride to the top, sit there a while, and then come crashing down. You know what is going to happen…but you just do not know when.

We are living in a period of time that could literally end today…or tomorrow…or Saturday.  But even if Christ did return on Saturday it is not because Harold Camping got it right but rather because he got lucky. We have no guarantee of tomorrow and only today here with us now…and so what do we do?

We ensure that our hearts are in proper standing with Jesus Christ…and then heed the advice of Peter:

1 Peter 4:7-10

7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

I look forward to more blogging next week…