Alright, so I usually don’t get into stuff that’s what I consider to be “bandwagon news” but I can’t help but have to comment on this one.
The May 21, 2011 rapture prediction by Harold Camping.
Honestly I was pretty clueless about this one until sometime this past week and even then, I can’t recall where I heard about it and didn’t realize it was supposed to have been this past Saturday until it was mentioned at church Saturday night. I don’t put any stock in end-time predictions (as I hope would be the same for any Bible-believing follower of Christ). The Bible is very clear about that day being known only by the Father:
But of that day or hour no one knows,
not even the angels in heaven,
nor the Son,
but the Father alone.
But the Father alone. I will never understand as long as I live whatever in the world makes people think that they can somehow decipher the date for the return of Christ. If Jesus Himself doesn’t know, what on earth makes Harold Camping or any other rapture predictors think they can figure it out. And this is strike two for this guy…he apparently had made a previous prediction for September 1994.
But what blows my mind more than Camping’s predictions (or anyone else’s for that matter) is the following he and others have. I read in an article today that reported comments made by a couple of Camping’s followers…
One guy maxed out his credit cards taking his family on a vacation to see the Grand Canyon before Jesus came back.
Another guy spent $140,000 of his life savings in advertising costs getting the word out about the May 21 Rapture.
And the article says that Camping and his followers were all “flabbergasted” that nothing happened. Flabbergasted? Like honest-to-goodness stunned? I just don’t understand it. This kind of stuff breaks my heart for a number of reasons, the biggest one being that people would choose to believe the word of a man over the Word of God. And the only reason that I can possibly come up with to somehow explain such messed up thought processes is desperation.
Desperate for an end to their misery.
Desperate for a new beginning.
Desperate to be known.
Desperate for something better than this world can offer.
Desperate for Jesus.
Oh, how I can understand the desperation…down to the depths of my heart I can understand it. The ache for Him. The burning in my soul to see His face, to sit at His feet, to breathe in the sweet aroma of Christ.
But we cannot let desperation take away our good judgement. We cannot allow desperation to cloud our ability to discern Truth. We cannot let down our guard to the lies the enemy whispers…even when the lies sound so much like truth, so much like what our heart is crying out for, so much like an answer to prayer.
We cannot let our desperation for God cause us to miss Him.
And we cannot let our desperation for God cause others to miss Him.
And we cannot let our desperation for God believe anything that contradicts Scripture.
Because one thing we can be sure of…God will never go against His word. Never. If what you think is a word FROM the Lord doesn’t match up with the Word OF the Lord, you better drop that thing like a hot potato.
In giving Mr. Camping (or Rev. Camping? not sure which) the benefit of the doubt, I would like to think that he meant no ill will towards others. That he was just as deceived as the rest of them. But his deception will no doubt have grave influences on many of those who believed in his prediction. Albeit surely unintentional, nevertheless he set a lot of people up for the disappointment of a lifetime.
In Matthew 24, the disciples ask Jesus about the end times – what will be the signs of the second coming. Among other things, Jesus mentions in verse 11 that many false prophets will appear and deceive many and then in the very next verse He says because of increased wickedness, the love of many will grow cold. And I wonder how many of those deceived by false prophets will turn from their faith – will grow cold – if they ever realize the prophecies they’ve been told weren’t true. It’s almost a catch 22…either they get deceived and their beliefs are all mixed up or else they feel lied to and let down and walk away from God.
We can’t know the day or the hour, but we can know the signs that say the time is near. We must be ever watchful, always alert. And as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:21, Test everything. Hold on to the good. Know the voice of Your Father. Know His character. Know His word. The best way to avoid being deceived is to constantly pursue Truth.
And hey, pray for Mr./Rev. Camping and his followers. They’ve got a lot to sort out.