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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

In Reflection

The anticipated apocalypse has not taken place as predicted. For those who were fearful of the world coming to an end – relax. That event will happen soon enough, and tragically, many people will be caught flat-footed, unprepared. But allow me to bring some clarification to this doomsday prophecy that has proven to be a non-event.

First of all, there seems to be some confusion when it comes to “the end of the world,” and, “the Rapture.” What was being predicted for May 21st is what we Christians call “the Rapture.” This event is specific to all Christian believers. The Rapture is when Jesus comes back to remove “his church” (Christians) from the world. This is described in I Thessalonians 4:13-18. Within this passage it says, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

As for “the end of the world,” which many mistakenly thought was being predicted, this is a terrifying moment when Jesus comes back to bring down the curtain on the history of man on earth. It’s perhaps better understood as “Judgment Day.” Each person living on planet Earth at that time will immediately recognize that the end has come. This is a “ready or not” moment. Many who have made no profession of faith in Christ as Savior will find they have made their choice through their neglect. For a better understanding of this event, read Matthew 25:31-46. "When he (Jesus) finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. . . "Then he will turn to the 'goats,' the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell.’”

Mr. Harold Camping, the minister who predicted the recent failed return of Jesus, was obviously mistaken in his predictions. This is the second time he has made such an egregious prophecy. He did this once before in 1994. The other night he again changed his false prediction to October 21, 2011. Listen! He doesn’t know, because Jesus was very specific as to who would know when he came back. In Matthew 24:36, Jesus says, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Did you catch that? “But only the Father.”

It troubles me that Mr. Camping has chosen to dabble in prophecy regarding the time when Jesus would come back. You see, I met Mr. Camping in 1973 shortly after I was discharged from the Marine Corps. I was a new Christian, diligently studying my Bible every day. I was living in Alameda and working for the South Shore Safeway supermarket. On Saturday nights I would see this very distinguished gentleman do his weekly shopping. We would chat amicably while I rang up his order. One night I asked him his name. He told me, “Harold Camping.” I was stunned because I routinely listened to him on Family Radio, constantly amazed at his grasp of Scripture, especially the amount of Scripture he had memorized. He strongly encouraged me to pursue a career in Christian broadcasting which I seriously considered to the point of earning my bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting from San Jose State University.

I learned a lot about the Bible from Mr. Camping’s radio broadcasts during those early years as a believer, but at some point the wheels came off for him, and I find myself bewildered by this glaring error of his, making prophetic utterances that clearly are contrary to the teaching of God’s Word, the Bible. I can only pray that he will see the danger of his false prophecies and confess it as sin, and come back into God’s grace.

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