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Deo volente, Storms, and Airlines

     Growing up I often heard older people ending their sentences with God willing, or Deo volente.  In writing, I would often see Deo volente (or DV).  These days it is not used so frequently.  The expression "Lord willing" comes from James 4;13-15 where we read:  "Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
     I was taught this lesson (again) in my last trip.  My son Thomas and I were going to my nephew's wedding in Iowa and we were scheduled to fly out of Norfolk at 5:28 PM to arrive in Atlanta at 7:18 and then to catch the 9:01 flight to arrive in Des Moines at 10:08 PM.  I thought that by 10:45 I would be in bed at the airport hotel.  But because of storms that went through the Midwest and the South, our 5:28 flight did not leave until 7:30 and we did not land until 9:30, and our 9:08 flight did not go airborne until midnight.  So we arrived at the hotel at 2 AM, vice at 10:45 PM.  On our return flight we were scheduled to leave Detroit at 5;57 to arrive in Norfolk at 7:45.  We did not arrive until 9:00 PM.
     So once again the Lord showed us Who is in charge.  So when you travel, or plan your next event, be sure to say "Lord willing" or "If the Lord wills" or Deo Volente, as you can plan, but God is in control, and you may just not arrive on time.

The Second Coming of Christ

There are three possible ways to deal with the coming of Christ.
     The first, the most spectacular, is to predict an actual date.  While 21 May 11 has passed with no major earthquakes, and Christ did not rapture (pull out) the believers to heavens, this is only one of many failed predictions.  Nostradamus predicted the return of Christ in 1999, and many medieval Christians believed Christ would return in 1000 AD.  Jehovah's Witnesses predicted Christ's return in 1914, and when that did not happen, the new date was set for 1918.  Herbert Armstrong of the Church of God thought it would be 1975.  Edgar C. Whisenant wrote 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988, then The final shout: Rapture report 1989, then 23 reasons why a pre-tribulation rapture looks like it will occur on Rosh-Hashanah 1993, and finally And now the earth's destruction by fire, nuclear bomb fire, a prediction that it would end in 1994.

    The second way to view the Second Coming of Christ is to deny the return of Christ.  Peter writes of this philosophy in his second letter, chapter 3:  "3. Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 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.”  For the scoffers, there will be no second coming of Christ.  Thus, many in the world scoff at Camping's belief that Christ will return.  Many think that watching the Mets play the Yankees is far more important than Christ's return.

     The third view is believe that Christ will return, and to prepare yourself for that coming.  Thus Peter continues to write:  "9.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.   11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.  That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.   14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make  every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.
      So the challenge by Peter is this:  We must live holy and godly lives, be spotless, and blameless, and be at peace with Christ. Finally, we must see the delay in Christ's return as a time of salvation - the Lord graciously is not coming back now so that more may believe in Him.  So spread the gospel.  Tell others the Good News (Gospel) of Christ.  Use Camping's failure as an opening to see if they are prepared to meet God.

Last Blog? and 21 May 11

Mr. Harold Camping of Family Radio has predicted that Jesus Christ will be returning on 21 May 11.  If he is right, this will be my last blog.  If he is not right, Lord willing, I will write another one next Sunday. 
I personally met Mr. Camping in November 1976 - and at that time he told me that he knew when Christ would be coming back.  When I asked him when that would be, he said that he should not tell me.  I wish that he would have kept that same attitude. 
    There are several problems with Camping's predictions:
1.) 
He places himself on the same level as God the Father.  Christ Himself said "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."  (Mark 13:32)
2.)  He place numerology  (the study of numbers) above the study of scriptures.  He somehow has arrived that the tribulation began on 21 May 88 and will end on 21 May 11, 23 years after it began.  Another example is that after the resurrection Jesus went to Lake Galilee and had Peter and John catch 153 large fish.  According to Camping the 153 fish represents all those who will be saved at the final in gathering.  The number 153 is 3 x 3 x 17.  Three times three equals God's absolute purpose.  He does not explain what 17 means:  http://fsiforms.familyradio.org/dbqf/forum_042109a.html
The real meaning of 153 is that it is a exact historical record that it happened, rather than a "once upon a time" story.  It is not a prediction of the future as Camping teaches.
3.)  He places too much emphasis on the study of the last things.  Instead of emphasizing that Christ will come, his emphasis is on the exact dates - 21 May 88 the tribulation started, and the tribulation will last 23 years, thus the return of Christ is 21 May 11.
4.)   When he is wrong, he confuses people.  Much of what he says is true - you have to believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior.  But then when he mixes in predictions that are false, people will begin to question what is really true.  He predicted in 1992 that
Armageddon would occur on 04 September 1994.  It did not occur.  So if he is wrong on that date, and he may be wrong on the 21st of May, then what about his claim about the necessity of believing in Christ?
5.)  Instead of focusing on how we should live, we focus too much on the peripheral subjects, like the future.  Instead of focusing on "Are you ready to meet Jesus Christ?" he focuses on the exact date of when Christ will return.  It is more important is to emphasize that He will return.  How do you explain to people you were wrong twice in a row?
    So let us look eagerly for the return of Christ - whenever that is - 21 May - next Saturday, or the following year, or the next decade, or even later.
                    

Kentucky Derby, Predictability, and God

Last Saturday, 07 May, was Kentucky Derby day.  The race is a short race, just two minutes long.  No 24-Hour Le Mans.  But what is fascinating is the lack of predictability.  Most commentators thought that Dialed In would win, and the next talked about horse was Pants on Fire, as it was a fast horse, great name, and had a woman jockey.  But horse racing is so unpredictable.
The odds were:
Dialed In - best odds at 5:1  . . . but he came in eighth out of nineteen
Pants on Fire - 2nd best odds at 7:1, but she came in ninth out of nineteen
Midnight Interlude - 3rd best odds at 8:1, but he came in sixteen out of nineteen.

The winner was Animal Kingdom with 21:1 odds, and the bettors had placed Animal Kingdom as 11 of 19.

In Psalm 27:1 we read:  "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God."  While this was written about trusting in God instead of war horses and chariots, it also applies to horse racing.  Trust in God!!  Betting on horses is just too unpredictable.

Calendars, Sunday, and the Resurrection

     A question was raised if worshipping on Sunday could not have been from pagan worship and the Christians just took over that day.
    The Roman calendar had a completely different calendar system than the Jews/Christians did.   Their calendar, although they have months, did not have a week as we know it.  They had plus or minus days to the Ides, which is the 15th of the month on months of 31 days. 
"The Roman calendar was originally based on the first three phases of the moon, with days counted, not according to a concept of week, but backwards from lunar phases. The new moon was the day of the Kalends, the moon's first quarter was the day of the Nones, and the Ides fell on the day of the full moon. The Kalends' section of the month was the longest, since it spanned two lunar phases, from the full to the new moon."   from http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/calendars/a/romcalterm.htm
   The Greek system had plus or minus days based on the three phases of the moon.  The first 10 days were for the waxing of the moon, then ten days for the full moon, followed by declining numbers for the waning of the moon.  Thus, neither the Greeks nor the Romans had a seven day calendar system.
   The Jewish and the Babylonian calendar are the only two ancient calendar systems that had the seventh day as a holy day.  There was no religion that I know of that has a seven day calendar with Sunday, the first day of the week, as a holy day.  (Islam which is started by Mohammed comes 600 years later, and he celebrated Friday as a holy day.)  Sunday as a holy day is thus a unique, distinctive Christian idea. 
   So the Christians worshipping on the first day of the week was a completely new idea.  So why pick the first day?
   The first day was chosen to be the holy day for Christians because that is the day that Christ was raised from the dead.  It is interesting that all four Gospels specifically mention "On the first day of the week."  There are very few events that are recorded by all four Gospels.   For example, the Wise Men coming to see Jesus at His birth is mentioned only in Matthew.  All the seven last words of Christ are not quoted in all the four Gospels.  But all four Gospels specifically state "On the first day of the week."  The Gospel writers thought that detail was so important that it had to be mentioned.
   Thus, the calendar we know today with Sunday as a holy day is based on the Christians changing the Jewish tradition of worshipping on the Sabbath for over 1450 years to  worshipping on Sunday.