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Does the Bible have anything to say about racism?

irst, the Bible teaches that God loves all people: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). And although God considers racist ideology a grotesque evil, He still loves racists and longs for them to come to repentance and to a true knowledge of forgiveness in the Lord Jesus.

Second, Scripture declares that God made all humanity in His image (Gen. 1:27). God has placed His fingerprints on every person, making each one so valuable to Him, that the Father paid an infinite price to redeem humanity, the death of His one and only Son. Third, when it comes to spiritual matters, the Word of God says that God does not show favoritism among peoples (Acts 10:34). When it came to God’s justification of sinners, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female” (Gal. 3:28). This doesn’t mean that in God’s eyes the world consists of one homogeneous people, anymore than it means that all people of faith become androgynous. Rather, it means that all people are justified the same way: through faith in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus.

Fourth, God celebrates ethnic diversity. The Bible depicts heaven as “a great multitude . . . from every nation, tribe, people and language,” worshiping their worthy Savior (Rev. 7:9–10). God redeems people from all the nations, receiving and enjoying worship from all these diverse peoples. In the end, worship in heaven will be a vast, glorious, multicultural event.

Finally, the followers of Jesus are to stand against the vileness of racism. God warns, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil” (Isa. 5:20). We must condemn evil and never justify it (Prov. 24:11–12). God’s people must oppose racism! As my wife, Eva, frequently says in her classes at Moody: “Racism is a three letter word: S-I-N.” Oh that those of us who follow Jesus would love Him and hate sin, even the sin of racism!

What does the Bible say about plausibly setting a date for the Rapture or the return of Christ?

For generations, beguiling preachers and teachers have used strange signs and events to predict the date when Jesus would return. Just recently, based on a misinterpretation of Revelation 12, many people believed that September 23, 2017 would be the date of the Rapture.

This kind of date setting opposes the clear teaching of God’s Word, for several reasons. First, date setting contradicts the words of Jesus Himself. He said of the Rapture, “About that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matt. 24:36). When His disciples began to enquire about the time of the end, He said: “It is not for you to know times or dates the Father has set by his own authority” (Acts 1:7). How strange (and brash) that any preacher would claim to know what the Lord Jesus has said only our Father in heaven knows!

Second, date setting erodes biblical authority. In the week before the predicted doomsday scenario on September 23, the secular press ran several stories about the prediction. The failure of the prediction could lead people to dismiss as nonsense what the Bible does say about the return of the Lord Jesus. In the words of Peter, people will scoff, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?” (2 Peter 3:4). Every time there is a failed prediction, some people will dismiss and doubt what the Scriptures truly foretell—that Jesus will indeed return.

Third, date setting undermines genuine faith. People caught up in spurious speculations begin to rely on sensationalism rather than the sound teachings of God’s Word. Paul warned Timothy of this danger, describing the product of the sensational teachers of their day this way: “Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith” (1 Tim. 1:4). We should have faith in the good news because of the trustworthiness of the Scriptures, not because of sensational speculations.

Finally, date setting minimizes the imminent return of the Lord Jesus, which will be sudden and surprising, “like a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:2). Using the analogy of the thief in the night in Matthew 24:43–44, Jesus said, “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” If we could know when the Rapture would happen, we wouldn’t need to get ready for it every day. The Rapture most likely will not happen on any predicted date. That’s because the Father would never want to endorse the silly speculations and fabricated falsehoods of the prophets of doom. Neither should we.

BY Dr. Michael Rydelnik

Dr. Michael Rydelnik is professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute and the Bible teacher on Moody Radio’s Open Line, answering listener Bible questions on over 200 stations nationwide across Moody Radio. The son of Holocaust survivors, he was raised in an observant Jewish home in Brooklyn, N.Y. As a high school student, Michael became a follower of Jesus the Messiah and began teaching the Bible almost immediately. He is the author of Understanding the Arab Israeli Conflict and The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? He is the co-editor of the Moody Bible Commentary, a commentary on the whole Bible by the faculty of Moody Bible Institute. Michael served on the translation team of the Holman CSB Bible and contributed to several other books and study Bibles. Michael is a regular contributor to the Day of Discovery television program and appeared in the Lee Stroebel video The Case for Christ. Michael and his wife, Eva, have two adult sons who call and write all the time. The Rydelniks live in Chicago, Ill., and enjoy leading study groups to Israel and hiking with their two collies.