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Vain Predictions and A Silent Chair

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I believe we have had enough talk of predictions of the end of the world for one week. Harold Camping's musings about a rapture and the end of the age and Christ's coming have been the fodder of skeptics and religious hobbyists. Mr. Camping has now moved his end of the world calculations to October 21, 2011. Please, let's end this foolish chatter.

It's not that we are against a responsible study of Bible prophecy. Visitors to this website can look at the thousands of articles on the subject and see that this organization strives to teach Bible prophecy from a position that does not make great leaps of speculation about Christ's return or any other subject. We well recognize the swamp of “prediction addiction” that awaits any who dabbles with this part of the subject.

We prefer to listen to the apostle Peter's instruction on the subject. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (1 Peter 3:10-11 1 Peter 3:10-11 10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
American King James Version×
).

Prophecy should motivate us to be better people—practicing our faith in deep sincerity. Holy conduct should be the end result of a study of prophecy, not fear or self-righteousness. Those who get stuck on predictions seem to be motivated by a desire to exalt their knowledge rather than a humble submission to God's all-knowing guidance of time and history.

A balanced study of prophecy leads you to understand God is guiding history to His own conclusion in His time and manner. No man has any private interpretation of prophecy (2 Peter 1:20 2 Peter 1:20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
American King James Version×
). It is folly to assume such a role.

Yesterday I was in Holmes County, Ohio, visiting an Amish cultural center. There in the center of the room stands a large chair built in 1853 by an Amishman named Jonas Stutzman. “White Jonas,” as he is called, set that year as the date for Christ's return. He built a large wooden chair on which Christ could sit and judge the nations—from Holmes County of course. It was another failed prediction. The chair gives silent testimony to the folly of prophetic predictions–-a reminder to us all to move on with life, and leave the details to God.