Dear Jim & Doves,
Christians who love the appearing of Jesus, will receive from Him, the righteous judge, a crown of righteousness (2 Tim 4:8). That is a promise from God. Do you believe this scripture? Do you love His appearing? Do you watch for the signs of His coming as He has so clearly commanded in Scripture? How do you occupy till He comes (Luke 19:13)?
Sobering questions. Sobering times.
Jesus gave us an excellent litmus test on our heart's inclination. Follow the money and you will know where your heart is (Mat 6:21). What is your investment portfolio? Do you put your money where your mouth is? You agree that the hour is late, but what will you tell the Lord on the day of His visitation? Is it, I pray thee have me excused (Luke 14:18)? Or is it, I cannot come because I have married a wife (Luke 14:20) ? Or is it, I run out of oil and my lamps have gone out (Mat 25:8) ?
Pretty lame excuses. In other words, you are not ready to meet thy maker. You have allowed yourself to be subtly entangled in the affairs of this life, and forgotten that you are a soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Tim 2:3-4). You have lost your first love like the first-century Christians at the church of Ephesus (Rev 2:4) and become lukewarm like the Laodiceans (Rev 3:16).
Have you packed your bag? Will you leave without hesitation in a moment's notice? Do you need to be dragged off this planet just like Lot and family were dragged out of Sodom by two angels? Remember Lot's wife. (Luke 17:32)
Remember the church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38) -- the Israelites of old. They came out of Egypt just as Lot and family escaped Sodom before fire and brimstone fell. Yet, both Lot's wife and many Israelites turned back in their hearts to Sodom and Egypt (Acts 7:39; 1 Cor 10:5).
I trust that the above does not describe you. And I believe you will receive your crown of righteousness from the Lord, the righteous judge, according to His promise, provided you continue in His love and watch for His appearing.
The condition for receiving the crown of righteousness has nothing to do with date-setting (date-discovering preferred). It has everything to do with WATCHING. The question on how are we to watch has divided the body of Christ. Some think date-setting is a part of watching while others think it violates Mat 24:36 -- the 'no-one-knows' scripture.
A frequent objection to date-setting is the resultant disappointment after a failed date. As one who has been through a few disappointments, I am qualified to address this issue, nine years after I published the first date on the Internet. The degree of disappointment is proportional to the degree of expectation. More expectation, more disappointment. Less expectation, less disappointment. No expectation, no disappointment.
Am I prescribing a formula on watching? Not really. The choice is entirely yours. If you adopt the 'no-expectation -no-disappointment' thinking, you are not wrong. If you adopt the 'max-expectation-max-disappointment' attitude, you are not wrong, either.
What is wrong is when you have grown callous and uninterested. As you well know, the Lord absolutely abhors lukewarmness. Don't expect the Bridegroom to come eagerly for an unenthusiastic bride, dragging her feet to the wedding!
Of course we wish the rapture happened yesterday! However, who are we to dictate the times set by the Father? If your pet date turns out to be false, don't brood over it. Just move on. As for others, please don't stone your brother like some kind of evil false prophet after the failed date. He is willing to share his date and you are free to believe or reject his date.
Also, one should not censure a date-setter for not getting it right on the basis of non-event. Give him a break! The poor chap has been trying hard and so far he has not been able to come up with the right date. What will you do if he gets it right? Give him a pat on the back and tell him to keep up the good work? But there is only one rapture to set date on. That is why no one has gotten it right so far. Duh!
It is fallacious to suggest that whatever date a date-setter comes up with will be proven false on the basis of 'no-one-knows'. The argument goes, once a date is set, God will ensure a non-event so that Scripture is not broken! Just as the date-setter should not be presumptious over his pet date, the detractor should not be too cocksure of his understanding of the 'no-one-knows' scripture. Moreover, to say that the rapture will not fall on a certain date is tantamount to claiming knowledge of the rapture date. In that case, the detractor is guilty of the same charge he levels at the date-setter.
So, can we know when?
Most will heartily agree we can know the general timeframe as per Matthew chapter 24. If it is permissible to set timeframes, why is it not permissible to set a date? But that is forbidden according to Matthew 24:36!
So we are back to the mother of all objections! As Jim has done a great job handling this objection in Part 1, I will not dwell on the subject here.
Have you followed your money trail lately? The Lord wants 'me' and not my 'money'. The date is not an end in itself. It points to our appointment with destiny. Do not get too hung up on dates. They come and go. But the day will come, for it will surely come, when He who has promised that He will come, will indeed come for those who love His appearing.
Don't let anyone deny you of your crown of righteousness. Go for it!