Saturday, May 21, 2011

The longsuffering of God

kw: false prophets, prophecies, mercy

If he were living in the Israelite theocracy, Harold Camping would be in big trouble. Here is what is recorded in Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (NIV):
20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.” 21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.
It is quite clear that Mr. Camping is a false prophet. False prophets were to be put to death. But this is not ancient Israel. The present situation is better described by First Timothy 2:3b-4, which speaks of "God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." Peter likens this age to that of Noah, in which God waited patiently while the ark was being built (First Peter 3:20).

As most everyone is now aware, the judgement day has not yet arrived. Though God, we read, has appointed a day, it is still in the future. We know very little of it, but we do know that it will take everyone by surprise. No genuine prophet will ever predict its day. But there is one other thing we can learn from history, which is riddled with such false predictions. Many of Camping's followers will rally around him, and he will make some kind of announcement that certain calculations were done incorrectly. No biblical prophet relied on calculations, but no matter. People will believe what they want to believe. I feel deep sadness for these deluded believers.

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