Posted by: rcottrill | January 21, 2013

Is It the Crowning Day?

Words: Henry Ostrom (b. Sept. 19, 1862; d. Dec. 20, 1941)
Music: Charles Howard Marsh (b. Apr. 8, 1886; d. Apr. 12, 1956)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Henry Ostram (pen name, George Walker Whitcombe) was a Canadian-born evangelist. You can learn more about him on the Wordwise Hymns link.

In spite of the fact that the Word of God states no one but God the Father knows the time of Christ’s return (Matt. 24:30, 36), many have tried to predict when it will occur. There is a list on Wikipedia here that gives about 165 different dates claimed as “the Day,” down through the centuries. That works out to a new prognostication about every ten or twelve years! And while I can’t vouch for the accuracy of all the information on the site, some of the dates are certainly familiar to me.

Sometimes (strangely!) Bible teachers will refer us to predictions in the ancient Mayan calendar, or the writings of Zoroaster, Nostradamus, or of some other supposed prophet. But what have these to do with the Holy Bible and its God-inspired authors?

Another technique is to make complicated calculations using biblical numerology. Both in Hebrew and Greek, the ancients gave each letter of the alphabet a number value. In addition, it does seem as though certain numbers in Scripture have a special significance–the numbers three, seven, ten, and forty, for example. With mathematical juggling, this leaves room to “prove” almost anything from the Bible–whether or not the ideas are actually there.

There are various sects or would-be students of the Scriptures, who have made several “definite” predictions over the years. When a chosen date passes, and the event does not take place, there is some explanation given for the error, or they move on in embarrassed silence, and a new date is set. This is self-deceived folly.

Fanatical adherents of some groups have been known to sell all their possessions in preparation for the big day. This is sad, for several reasons. In the extreme just mentioned, it may leave individuals homeless and destitute. But beyond that, for many it simply casts doubt on the Word of God–even though no date is ever mentioned there–and it brings dishonour to God who inspired His trustworthy Word (cf. II Tim. 3:16).

Let’s leave these foolish games aside, and turn once more to the Word itself. “It is not for [us] to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority” (Acts 1:7). But what do we know, because it can be found on the pages of Scripture? What do “holy men of God” tell us, those  who “spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Pet. 1:21)?

We know that the Lord Jesus Christ, who ascended back into heaven after His resurrection, definitely is coming again. His return is spoken of time after time. He Himself has said He will come again (Jn. 14:3; Rev. 22:12, 20). Angelic messengers confirmed this at His ascension (Acts 1:11), and the apostles taught it consistently.

And simple logic indicates that Christ’s return is nearer today than it ever was before. We mustn’t be discouraged by the seeming delay. God does not count time as we do (II Pet. 3:8), and He is waiting to give as many as possible an opportunity to repent, turn to Christ, and be saved (vs. 9).

Though some of my readers will differ with my premillennial and pretribulational position, it seems to me that we can agree Christians are to live each day expectantly, when it comes to this subject. Whether or not it happens today, or years from now, we ought to be spiritually ready. This will involve both our personal spiritual preparedness (I Jn. 3:2-3), and our diligence in serving the Lord. Of course we need to plan for the future, but we also need to be ready for a sudden end to this old earth’s story.

This involves the doctrine of immanency (a sense of the possible return of Christ at any moment). The apostolic church lived in the light of that blessed hope.

¤ “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).
¤ “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven” (I Thess. 1:9-10).
¤ “We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:17).
¤ “I urge you [Timothy]… that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing” (I Tim. 6:13-14).
¤ “The coming of the Lord is at hand” (Jas. 5:8).
¤ “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13)

CH-1) Jesus may come today
Glad day, glad day!
And I would see my Friend;
Dangers and troubles would end
If Jesus should come today.

Glad day, glad day!
Is it the crowning day?
I’ll live for today, nor anxious be;
Jesus, my Lord I soon shall see.
Glad day, glad day!
Is it the crowning day?

Questions:
1) How should the awareness of the at-any-moment return of Christ affect your life today?

2) Why do you think some Christians have lost the thrill of the imminent return of Christ?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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