Over the last few weeks, and especially the last few hours, we have seen a lot of publicity given to the failed prophecy of Harold Camping, that the rapture was to take place today. I am not surprised that it didn’t happen, but we need to know that it is less important to dwell on the fact that Brother Camping was wrong, and that it is critical to understand simply that the Lord did not have this date in His plan for the end times.
I am certain that there will be a lot of humor and sarcasm flying about in the coming weeks, and people mocking both Camping and Christians in general who believe the Bible and that the times will end in the way God’s Word tells us it will. Just look at your Facebook page and read the wall posts from friends and family.
But do we look at this as a setback for our faith, or an opportunity to impress on everyone we can the importance of the message that it really can end at any moment? Most of the time we don’t tend to live that way. We go on living as though there is no end in sight, and we can stay complacent or we can kick our evangelism into high gear. Tomorrow, many will go to church, same as always, and go into their workweek giving no further thought to the possibility that maybe May 21st, 2011 wasn’t the day, but maybe May 23rd is. And if May 23rd isn’t, doesn’t that give me the chance to tell others that they can be saved and spared the anguish and worry about the day that Jesus returns?
- “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 NKJV)
The fact that Harold Camping dramatically misinterpreted the Bible’s teachings doesn’t mean that he does not love Jesus. And even a second failed prophecy does not mean that he is not going to be in Heaven when things really do come to an end here on earth. But the focus and publicity that he brought to Rapture is something that certainly can and should become a tool for evangelism for all Christians to reach out and overcome the frivolity that will appear on shows like the Colbert Report and by the water cooler at the office next week.
The real challenge will be to reach out a hand in love toward someone who doesn’t know the Lord. And say a prayer that the many people who have fallen victim to the false claim of May 21st, will find their way back to a welcoming and loving brotherhood in the family of God.
- “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36 NKJV)
- “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. (Matthew 24: 23 NKJV)
- “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 20-25 KJV)