The world ended today. Again.
You may recall that Harold Camping, the self-proclaimed Doomsday prophet who misfired back on May 21 with his “guaranteed” Second Coming of Christ prediction, had re-set the End of Days for October 21.
That’s today. And sadly, for many of us, we’re still on this tired, bruised, bloodied and suffering planet. Rats. Now we have to continue to live, continue to face trials and challenges and the ongoing Recession, debt and disagreeable relatives and obnoxious bosses. No escape.
No reports of millions of the faithful being caught up in the Rapture, to meet the returning King of Kings in the air.
No one’s seen the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse galloping through the streets.
Harold’s wrong, again. And that’s not a big surprise. He’s been wrong about his interpretation of Biblical prophecies and vague scriptures from the books of Daniel, Revelation and a smattering of other End Times-identified verses.
What is a surprise is that so many — more on May 21 than on October 21, to be sure — believed this 90-year-old, would-be seer. They forget that he also predicted the End for September 6, 1994. Still, an awful lot of folks were selling off their goods and gathering for Rapture parties last May.
When it didn’t happen, Camping put this twist on his prophecy: May 21 had been a “spiritual” judgment day; the actual Rapture — where the faithful are to literally be snatched from Earth prior to the horrors of the Great Tribulation, a series of judgments, earthquakes, plagues, pestilences, etc., visited on those who reject Christ — was reset to October 21.
Since that was the case, Camping argued, he would not be returning any of the money his followers had donated to originally publicize his national advertising campaign proclaiming the End (on May 21).
In June, Camping reportedly suffered a stroke.
When it comes to making predictions of the End, Camping is hardly alone. There have been hundreds, if not thousands of such forecasts over the past 2,000 years. All of them, amazingly, ignore the words of Jesus himself about making such claims:
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36 NIV).
When will the Second Coming occur? We don’t know, and that’s kind of the point: the idea is to make the most of the time we have, whatever it may be, to share Christ’s message and love with our fellow humans . . . while we still can.
Another verse Camping may have dismissed describes that day as coming unexpectedly (i.e., not foretold on thousands of billboards or by radio and television ads):
“For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2 NIV)
So, fellow believers, let’s stop trying to second-guess the Creator. Our own personal End of Days comes all too soon to waste the time. We are called to love, now.