There were no questions submitted this past week, so I’m re-posting from 2010, a subject that I know many are interested in:
A faithful CLC writes, “Pastor, what are your thoughts about this date that many theologians are saying is the day God will destroy the earth. I know there have been dates passed about before, but this one seems like it may have some merit. Here is a summary of what I’ve read and keep hearing: ” In 2 Peter 3:8, God reminds us that one day is as 1,000 years. Therefore, with the correct understanding that the seven days referred to in Genesis 7:4 can be understood as 7,000 years, we learn that when God told Noah there were seven days to escape worldwide destruction, He was also telling the world there would be exactly 7,000 years (one day is as 1,000 years) to escape the wrath of God that would come when He destroys the world on Judgment Day. Because Holy Infinite God is all-knowing, He knows the end from the beginning. He knew how sinful the world would become. Seven thousand years after 4990 B.C. (the year of the Flood) is the year 2011 A.D. (our calendar). 4990 + 2011 – 1 = 7,000 [One year must be subtracted in going from an Old Testament B.C. calendar date to a New Testament A.D. calendar date because the calendar does not have a year zero.] Thus Holy God is showing us by the words of 2 Peter 3:8 that He wants us to know that exactly 7,000 years after He destroyed the world with water in Noah’s day, He plans to destroy the entire world forever. Because the year 2011 A.D. is exactly 7,000 years after 4990 B.C. when the flood began, the Bible has given us absolute proof that the year 2011 is the end of the world during the Day of Judgment, which will come on the last day of the Day of Judgment. Amazingly, May 21, 2011 is the 17th day of the 2nd month of the Biblical calendar of our day. Remember, the flood waters also began on the 17th day of the 2nd month, in the year 4990 B.C. ” I just want to know what your thoughts are.”
Wow! Sounds like someone you’ve heard has it all figured out. Unfortunately, I don’t think I agree with a single point, and since you asked for my thoughts, here goes, in order:
1. Most importantly, when it comes to interpreting prophecy about end-times, always keep in mind what Jesus Himself said in Matthew 24:35-36. That understanding is repeated in several other passages (Matt. 25:13; Mark 13:31-33; Acts 1:6-8) – and I think it’s pretty clear: timing is the Father’s business, not ours. I personally understand that to mean that NO ONE ever has or ever will be able to successfully predict when Jesus will return or when the world will be destroyed, etc. (And for good reason, in my humble opinion, because it’s much more important for us to stay focused on our “assignment” of reaching the whole world with the gospel, rather than trying to figure out the mystery of when it will happen!)
2. I do not see 2Pet 3:8 as a ‘mathematical formula’ to help us determine dates; I think Peter is reminding us that God transcends time as we know it; i.e., to Him, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like one day, since HE is eternal and has never been bound by time as we are. (Again, that’s my humble opinion about that verse-)
3. I also don’t see any reason to interpret Gen. 7:4 as being a ‘prophetic’ message to the world about a future Judgment Day. In fact, the first rule of hermeneutics (the principles of interpreting Scripture) is that the Bible should be interpreted literally unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise. In this case, it sure seems simple to me that God is telling Noah that the rain will begin in 7 days, period.
4. I’m also a little concerned about the liberal use of the word, “exactly” in the paragraphs you quote – since I’m not aware of any exact dates that theologians agree on regarding ancient events like the Flood. In fact, I’ve even seen estimates for the birth of Christ occurring in 4 B.C., putting His death at Calvary in 29 A.D., rather than 33 A.D. as so many have assumed. My point is simply that I don’t think we really know exactly what year Noah’s flood took place, so to try to extrapolate from that and come up with an “exact” date for the Judgment Day seems rather impossible.
5. Finally, and I mean no offense here, but I suspect the articles you’re quoting from have been written by one or more of the many preachers who, in my opinion, are “majoring on the minors“. I understand why that happens, because this kind of speculation is sexier and feeds our curiosity about the future, etc. (it’s an easy way to attract interest). But I honestly see this and similar speculations as drawing our focus and attention away from where it really should be; namely on doing our part to fulfill the Great Commission that Jesus gave us all in Mark 16:15. One thing I think ALL theologians do agree on is that we are living in the last days, and according to Acts 3:20-21, Jesus must remain in heaven until we have finished that task and God will then restore all things.
I do hope this helped a bit. Forgive me if I came across harshly toward ‘prophecy preachers’ – I’ve just lived long enough to see so many of their past predictions about end-times fail, and I’m not convinced that God ever intended for us to focus on the timing instead of the need for us to be ready and help others get ready for eternity.
Now, what would YOU like to Ask the Pastor?