Posted by: ritagone | May 18, 2011

Mr. Camping’s Error

According to some zealots, Jesus is returning this Saturday, May 21, 2011.  Harold Camping, an 89-year-old man whose predictions in 1994 of Christ’s return were, obviously, wrong then, has revised his dates, claiming that his math back in that year was faulty.  Now Camping maintains that this Saturday, May 21 is when Jesus will return for what Christians call the Rapture, also maintaining that October 21, 2011 will be the end of the world.

So there you have it.

Needless to say, Mr. Camping and his followers are based in California.  Hey, I’m surprised he didn’t run for governor.  He could have won easily in my state of sunshine and screwballs.

Quite apart from the obvious biblical mandate from, oh, Jesus himself and other godly voices to not name the day or hour, something sinister happens when men do exactly what Camping has done.  People start giving up on education, on work, on ministry, on family, on all the goals and dreams and aspirations that make being alive what God has called us to be about.  Getting caught up in the waiting for what they think are the final days and hours, they turn to an idleness the Apostle Paul expressly warns against in places like 2 Thessalonians chapter 3.  Why work when it will all come to a glorious and magnificent end, especially when you’ve been told the exact day?  Best to cash it all in (although I can’t quite figure out the logic of that move either) and just wait.  I don’t know if part of that waiting game means taking to the streets and malls and other public places to proclaim what they think they know so that the lost can be saved before the imminent arrival.  I guess there must be a certain amount of that, because there are, of course, billboards.  With people and groups like this, there are always the obligatory billboards announcing the end of the world.  People drive by on the highways and read them and laugh.  I doubt whether many – if any – are struck in their very souls enough to come to a relationship with Jesus Christ before what they think is his return.  But I guess it’s a way for the people of Camping’s group to feel they are doing something to pass the time until “The Return,” so they don’t feel as idle as they might, perhaps.

And it leads quite logically to other faults and flaws also.  The popular American afternoon talk show “The View” host Sherri Shepherd admitted that in the ‘70’s, when another ‘Jesus is Coming’ message was being peddled to Christians, she racked up a substantial amount of debt thinking it didn’t make a difference, because the world was ending anyway.  “It took a long time to pay that off,” she said, after dealing with the reality that her Saviour didn’t return on a specified date, and many Christians throughout the years have suffered similar fates.

Today, in light of Mr. Camping’s prediction, there are stories of people selling their homes, liquidating their bank accounts and stock portfolios, getting ready for the great return of Jesus.  Where did that cash go?  Who knows?  I imagine some of it went into the coffers of Mr. Camping and his cohorts, because that’s usually where it winds up.  There’s almost always a crooked, criminal intent to these kinds of plots, and, like the emails asking for rescue from muggings on the streets of London or donations to widows in Nigeria, sadly, there are always those who so easily fall victim to the lie.

The saddest result of all of this false prophecy is that so many will be turned away from the truth, because there will be people who will laugh at the idiocy of the predictions and bunch those predictions together with all biblical truth to be treated as irrelevant and worthless.  Someone will be hampered from seeing the glorious reality and truth of who Jesus Christ is because Harold Camping spoke as a false prophet and maligned the truth of God’s Word.  For that, he will have to stand before God and give an account, and I suspect it will not be an easy matter.

So don’t sell your house.  Don’t quit school.  If God is calling you to be a missionary, continue on that journey.  I venture to say that May 21 will come and go, like any other day on the calendar.  For some, it may indeed be their last day, but not because Jesus returns.  It will be their last day because God has appointed that day to be the day they end their lifespan on this earth, and death will come as a natural part of the life cycle.

Or…just maybe…May 21 may be the day Christ returns.  But I can assure you it will not be because Harold Camping predicted it to be so.  And if biblical signs are any indication, we probably still have some way to go.

So I’m still going to go ahead and plan our Memorial Day barbecue and swim party on May 30.  Harold Camping is not invited.  I guess he wouldn’t want to come anyway; he’s probably going to be at home, doing some recalculating.

Enjoy the rest of the week.

Regards, Rita

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