by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil
Gospel: St. Mark 13: 28 -37
Theme: Jesus Christ's Second Coming: The day and hour is unknown.
Gospel Reading: (Mark 13:32-37) 28 �Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
32"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. 35"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!"
The Second Coming of Christ is confused by several false teachings. Prediction books have been written picking the exact date of Jesus' return. These books have sold several copies, but they mislead their readers. As soon as someone predicts the day or time of Jesus' Second Coming, that prediction is found wrong simply because only God the Father knows when it will be - Jesus doesn't even know.
Here is a story I have read in the "Wikipedia Encyclopedia." (The story is paraphrased.)
In the late 19th century in America, there was a wave of enthusiasm for prophesies predicting the actual date for Jesus Christ's Second Coming.
One such prophet was a Seventh Day Adventist leader by the name William Miller. (1782-1849) And it is in his movement that both the Jehovah Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventists find their roots.
Miller first predicted that Christ would return on 21st March 1842. Several thousand followers jammed the Boston Seventh Day Adventist Temple, only to be disappointed. The movement didn't die. It continued to grow.
Miller decided to recalculate his date - April 3, 1843. When the messiah did not show up on that date either, there was frustration and some followers left the Adventist ranks.
Undeterred by these failures, Miller came up with a third date - 22nd October 1844. This date was published as real and rallied his followers in full strength. They spread the new date of the second coming with great enthusiasm that had not been seen before. Church members who did not accept this message were denounced as agents of evil.
One account notes that "Fields were left unharvested, shops were closed, people quit their jobs, paid their debts, and freely gave away their possessions with no conditions of recovery.
Huge press releases of Adventist publications warned the public that "The Time is Short", "Prepare to Meet Your God," and "The Lord is Coming."
Miller himself began to supply white "ascension robes" to the faithful, many of whom waited for the miraculous event in freshly dug graves.
As we all know, the Second Coming did not occur on 22nd October 1844. In fact, if they had read Mark 13: 32-37 they would not have been taken in by Miller's false prophesy. For Jesus speaking about the Second Coming said in Mark 13:32, "No one knows about that day or hour not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
The Ana-Baptists, a radical Protestand Christian Reformation movement in the 16the century believed that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would occur in 1533. When the prophey failed, the Anbaptists became more zealous and claimed that Enoch and Elijah had come in the form of Jan Matthys and Jan Bockelson, the group's two top leaders.
Charles Russell, the first president of the Watch Tower Society, predicted Jesus Christ would return on March 8, 1889. That day passed uneventfully.
The 2011 end times prediction made by American Christian radio host Harold Camping, a former civil engineer, stated that the Rapture and Judgment Day would take place on May 21, 2011, and that the end of the world would take place five months later on October 21, 2011. The Rapture is the taking up into heaven of God's elect people. Camping, president of the Family Radio Christian network, claimed the Bible as his source and said May 21, 2011 would be the date of the Rapture and the day of judgment "beyond the shadow of a doubt". Camping suggested that it would occur at 6 p.m. local time, with the rapture sweeping the globe time zone by time zone, while some of his supporters claimed that around 200 million people (approximately 3% of the world's population) would be 'raptured'. That day passed and nothing had happened.
Previously back in 1992, Camping had also predicted the world coming to an end on September 6, 1944. He then said on September 7, 1944 that his prediction didn't come true due to a mathematical error.
On June 9, 2011, a day ofter his recent end time prediction, Camping suffered a stroke and was hospitalized. A neighbor, according to reports, stated that his speech had become slurred as a result of the stroke. He has since then been moved to a nursing home for rehabilitation. On June 21, Camping radio station announced that it wold replace Camping Show with new programming.
Catherine Wessinger, a professor at Loyola University in New Orleans who studied doomsday prophesies, suggests that the interest in doomsday predictions is a reflection of the uncertainty of people who face a slumpy economy. A lot of times those prophesies gain traction when difficulities are happening in the society.
Jesus said, speaking about his Second Coming in Mark 13:26-27: "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And He will send his angels and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven."
Again, "It is like a man going away: Leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tell the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping". (Mark 13:34-36)
Sermons and Bible Commentary/Analysis for the 1st sunday after Sleebo
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