Summary: As Christians, we need to be careful that we do not fall into the area of doctrinal contempt because of the false prophets.
This has been an interesting year especially in light of all the doomsday prophecies. People are willing to believe anything regardless of the evidence to the contrary.
Anywhere from preachers to politicians to historians, people have an itch to wax prophetic. Remember the preacher who predicted the day and the time and when it did not happen he said he got it wrong and he gave us another day and time. When the second prophecy did not come true, he dropped off the grid.
Prophecy is an excellent vehicle to draw attention to yourself. Usually, it is a prophecy based upon a fragment of Scripture and then exaggerated completely out of focus.
There is a purpose behind all of these false prophecies. Look at what Peter says in verse 4, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
All of these false prophecies give scoffers the ammunition they need to raise doubts about the coming of Christ.
As Christians, we need to be careful that we do not fall into the area of doctrinal contempt because of the false prophets.
If you knew for certain that the world would end next Sunday at midnight, how would that fact change your life?
John Wesley was once asked what he would do if he knew that in 24 hours he would die. Essentially, he said, I would continue to do what I am doing now. Wesley was living each day as though it was the last day of his life, which may explain some of the passion in his life.
Most people do not have that kind of passion. They just live from day to day with no expectation. Many Christians say they believe that the Lord is going to come again, but if he would come today, it would surprise the socks off them.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf is one of Aesop's Fables. The tale concerns a shepherd boy who repeatedly tricks nearby villagers into thinking a wolf is attacking his flock. When a wolf actually does appear, the villagers do not believe the boy's cries for help, and the flock is destroyed. The moral at the end of the story shows that this is how liars are not rewarded: even if they tell the truth, no one believes them.
This also applies to these doomsday prophets. The latest of course is the Mayan calendar, which predicted the end of the world on December 21. Of course, we are not quite sure when December 21 arrives. What date is it really today? What year?
All of these false prophecies make a joke out of a very serious issue. One of the backlashes of this is it gives people a false sense of hope that the Lord is not really going to return. Isn’t it interesting that Peter, in his day, found people doing the same thing. (2 Peter 3:4).
This is a serious matter and we must really be careful in this area. Several things I believe are important for us if we are to have a biblical view of the last days.
I. Beware of the DANGER of false claims.
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36).
“And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” (Acts 1:7).
The Scriptures are quite clear on the subject, that nobody knows the day or the hour. Those who claim they do are quite mistaken, and are doing much harm to the cause of Christ.
One of the dangers of these false claims is that it destroys the spirit of expectancy. Time after time prophecies have been given and have failed. How many times can something fail without it beginning to do serious damage to the people who hold on to that faith? A superficial grip on the Scripture.
Another danger in this area is that it causes people to distrust the Scriptures. All of these doomsday prophets use Scripture to back up their prophecies. Anybody can take a phrase out of context and make it say anything they want it to say. When all of these failed prophecies come to light, it causes people to distrust the biblical doctrine they have heard from youth. This undermines scriptural authority
Peter calls them “scoffers.” The scoffers take center stage and impose on us their interpretation of situations and events.
“They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”” (3:4).
All of these “scoffers,” have a personal agenda. They play into the weakness of many Christians who make celebrities out of these false prophets. Even Christians are a celebrity hungry people.