Archive for the ‘End Times’ Category


Today, I’d like to share a sermon for the Second Sunday in Advent by Archbishop Wulfstan of York (d. 1023).

“There will be signs in the sun and the moon and the stars, etc.” This gospel says and makes clear that many portents must occur widely in the world, both in the heavenly stars and in earthly movements, before the judgment comes that is common to us all. And certainly, just as a flood came once before because of sin, so also a fire will come over mankind because of sin, and it is now coming very quickly. And therefore there are many and varied evil events occuring widely among people, and it is all because of sin. And yet more evils and afflictions will come, as the book says, than ever happened before anywhere in the world; that is, when Antichrist rages and terrifies all the world, and that is now coming very quickly. And therefore it is always the longer the worse in the world, as we ourselves know very well.

And it is also clear and to be seen within ourselves that we obey our Lord too weakly, and that we are too disbelieving of God’s might and his mercy, and that we anger him more often than we need to, and also that we keep good faith among ourselves too weakly in front of God and the world. And therefore many evil events injure and afflict us harshly, and foreigners and strangers severely oppress us, just as Christ clearly said must happen in his gospel. He said, “Nation will rise up against nation, etc.” That is in English, “nations will rise up,” he said, and become opposed, and strive violently and contend among themselves because of the injustice that has become too widespread among people on earth.”

Beloved people, this earth was clean at its creation, but we have since greatly fouled and defiled it with our sins. And our misdeeds also constantly accuse us, because we do not want to hold God’s law as we should, nor to grant to God what we should. Nor do we give tithes as is required of us, nor distribute alms as we need to, but in every way all that we should do in God’s grace lessens. And therefore much of creation also oppresses and strives against us, just as it is written: “the world will fight for God against insensible men.” That is in English, all the world strives greatly against proud people who will not obey God, because of their sins. Heaven strives against us when it sternly sends us storms that greatly injure cattle and land.

The earth strives against us when it withholds earthly fruits and sends us too many weeds. It is also written that the sun will grow dark before the world ends and the moon will darken and the stars fall because of the people’s sins, and that will be when Antichrist rages that it will be like as if it were so. It is said that the sun will grow dark; that is, when God will not reveal in Antichrist’s time his strength and his power as he often did before. Then it will be like as if the sun had grown dark. And the moon, it says, will darken. That is, that God’s saints will not perform any miracles then as they often did before. And the stars, it says, will fall from heaven. That is, that liars and false Christians will quickly fall from correct belief and eagerly bow down to Antichrist and honor his helpers with all their might. And then there will be the greatest terror that ever was, and the most widespread persecution in the world. Then kinsmen will not protect kinsmen any more than strangers.

And about that terrifying time Matthew the evangelist truly said thus: “In those days there will be such tribulations as have never been from the beginning of the world or afterwards.” That is in English, that such misery and affliction will then be in the world such as never before was nor ever again will be. And quickly afterwards all the hosts of heaven will be roused through divine might; and earthdwellers will be raised from death to the judgment. Then the one who before would not believe the truth will know that Christ in his majesty will repay each person for his earlier deeds.

Woe to the one who earlier earned the torments of hell! There are eternal flames grimly flickering and there is eternal horror; there is groaning and lamentation and perpetual wailing; there is each and every terror and a crowd of all the devils. Woe to the one who must dwell there in torment! It would be better for him if he had never become a man than that he come to this. For there is no one living who may tell of all the horrors that he must endure, he who falls entirely into that torment. And it is worst of all that no end at all will ever come for him in the world.

Alas, beloved people, let us do what is needful for us, protect ourselves earnestly against that terror and help ourselves while we may and might, lest we die when we least expect to. But let us love God above all other things and work his will as earnestly as we can: then he will repay us as will be most pleasing to us when we have the best need. To him be praise and glory in all the world, world without end, amen.

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Words Have Consequences

During last May’s “rapture” alert here in Richmond and around the world, the clergy here at Saint Alban’s addressed the dangers of so-called end-times prophecies. Indeed, such prognostication about Our Lord’s return is specifically proscribed in the Gospels by Christ himself.  However, words have consequences.

Bob Unruh of World Net Daily reports that Harold “Second Coming” Camping got more than he bargained for with his prediction that Jesus Christ would return to Earth to “rapture” his followers to heaven on May 21.  You will recall that Camping, 89, of Oakland, Calif.-based Family Radio, prognosticated that mankind had run out of time, and the Creator of the universe would arrive on that Saturday. Now, the executive director of a ministry that works with the persecuted church in the northern reaches of Vietnam says that the “prophecy” preacher apparently cost the lives of many tribal Hmong people who believed it.

The horrific aftermath of the unfulfilled prophecy was reported by James Jacob Prasch, a key leader of Moriel Ministries. Prasch routinely travels and meets with members of the Christian body worldwide. A recent trip took him to Vietnam, where a large number of the Hmong Central Highland  tribal peoples known as Montagnards are Christian. These folks apparently had heard of Camping’s prophecy and not having sophisticated methods for evaluating its validity, took it literally, he explained.

The result, for many, was death, Prasch reported in an email to supporters.  After listening to a translation of Camping’s prediction some 7,000 Montagnards gathered on a mountain praising God their suffering at the hands of the communist regime was about to end because Jesus was returning that day in May to establish a new kingdom.  The police and military police slaughtered many of them at gunpoint – beheading two pastors. Others were arrested, and so many were shot dead that they were buried in mass graves bulldozed over.

Prasch reported that he spoke to a secret meeting of Hmong pastors to explain to them “false prophets and false teachers.” “Due to a combination of poverty, ignorance and persecution these poor Christians don’t understand much so they believed Camping’s shortwave broadcast which is how most get their teaching,” he said.  “These people already suffering for their faith in Jesus had it bad enough. They are not like the undiscerning whackos in the West who should have known Camping was a crackpot and a proven false prophet and false teacher,” Prasch reported. “This is a persecuted church who just had no means to know any different. This is why … I warn so much about false teachers and false prophets.”

World Net Daily’s attempt request of Family Radio for comment predictably did not generate a response.

In a related incident, when Camping’s predicted rapture did not occur, International Business Times reported that Ms. Lyn Benedetto of Antelope Valley, Calif., slit the wrist and throat of her two daughters and then slit her own to prevent them from going through the “Tribulation” on May 21.  Thanks be to God that a  neighbor summoned an ambulance in time for them to be hospitalized.

Upon hearing the story, Camping was quoted as saying, “Murdering is terrible. It is contrary to everything the Bible teaches. That would have been a horrible thing if she has done that. That will make me weep. That will fill me with sorrow that she would do that. The Bible teaches that we are to save life, not kill. If it is going to be death, leave it to God. God knows who He wants to kill and make alive. That is His business, not our business.”

Asked if he would take responsibility for such incidents, Camping, of course, said no.  “I don’t have any responsibility. I can’t be responsible for anybody’s lives,” he explained. “I am only teaching the Bible. I am not teaching what I believe, as if I am the authority. I am just simply teaching what the Bible says. And I don’t have spiritual rule over anybody.”

You bet, Harold.  A world-wide radio ministry, billboards up and down I-95 among other locales, and a whole passel of media appearances and you aren’t holding yourself out as an authority.  Owning up to responsibility for one’s actions is a Christian imperative.

Of course, Camping’s prediction that Jesus would return May 21 was not the first time he made a false prophecy. He previously forecast Christ’s return in 1994.  In the aftermath of his little “error”, Camping has adjusted his prediction for the end of the world to Oct. 21 of this year.

Just a couple of thoughts from the 25th Chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew.  ”And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (v. 36)

This episode illustrates a number of points, but, two chiefly come to mind.  First, there is a danger in Bible prophecy.  If you hear such teachings, you are well served to ignore them as our Lord directs.  You may even wish to direct so-called prophets to that 25th chapter of St. Matthew, although such folks are not typically swayed by actual Scripture, preferring, instead, their own “interpretations”.  As well, this incredibly sad episode tells us that words have consequences and, especially those of us involved in Christian teaching, Bible study or apologetic need to “set a coal upon our lips” before speaking.  Those yearning for the true faith are listening, and woe unto us if we lead others astray.

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