Lo, he comesPosted 20 May 2011 by Bob Chapman
Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train:
God appears on earth to reign.
Harold Camping is not the first person to long for the end of time. The hymn “Lo! He comes with clouds descending” are words John Wesley borrowed and adapted from John Cennick in 1758.
What is unfortunate is that Camping is not the first to set a time certain for adjournment. I could go through history, listing how Martin Luther dealt with such prophets of gloom in his day. While Seventh Day Adventists do not hold so such things today, the person whose responsible for starting them made two such predictions. Hal Lindsey made a good living off of his apocalyptic literature in the late 1900s.
Such predictions are not limited to Christians. Jehovah Witnesses have some of this in their heritage. Joseph Smith declared a specific lot in Independence, Missouri, to be the place a temple that would be the place of the Lord’s return.
Don’t we all want to escape the problems of this world?
That desire and a limited understanding of the Bible can create some interesting understandings about things. I say limited, because all these prophets of doom clearly miss the part where Jesus says no one knows the time when all will be brought to a close.
Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Episcopalians are not supposed to get all wrapped around end times prophecy. Well, we do not go around predicting the end of the world this Saturday afternoon. Even so, we do acknowledge it. Christina G. Rossetti has a reference to it in the words to the hymn “In the bleak midwinter.” The Second Coming is in the Nicene and Apostles Creeds. It is only more an abstract concept with us.
That does not mean Episcopalians never wish Camping or someone else was right. There is a dark day, a dark time, a dark place where each of us yearns for the return of the Light of Light. What has always happened, so far, is that the Light of Light and God of God does return to take the throne of each of our hearts. And, we rejoice and be glad in it.
Nothing lasts forever. One day, Heaven and Earth shall flee. The Sun shall expand, contract, and do all things that stars eventually do—and will leave Earth consumed in the process.
The dear tokens of His passion
Still His dazzling body bears;
Cause of endless exultation
To His ransomed worshippers;
With what rapture, with what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars!
I may be surprised. This process may start on Saturday, May 21, 2011. Camping could be right. I have no reason to believe Camping is right, but he could be. Scientists do not know or understand everything. That still does not change what Camping sounds like—a person not unlike those other great prophets who have predicted the end of the world.
All I know is that Jesus Christ has always been with me, even through every one of those dark days, times, and places in my life. The light may have been obscured and cool, but it never was hidden and cold. Magical rescues have never been a part of the resolutions, though.
Yea, Amen! let all adore Thee,
High on Thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the power and glory,
Claim the kingdom for Thine own;
O come quickly! O come quickly!
Everlasting God, come down!