EMAIL THIS PAGE       PRINT       RSS      

What if today really is the day?

Even kooks can serve a purpose. Take Harold Camping, just the latest in a long line of Christian kooks who have populated the landscape for the past 2000 years. Camping’s prediction that the rapture would take place on May 21, 2011 stirred up all kinds of interest from secular and religious sources alike.

Overwhelmingly there were two reactions. Either people laughed hysterically at yet another weirdo proclaiming doomsday (these were the secular pundits), or they apologized profusely for someone who clearly never read the verse where Jesus says nobody knows the hour or the day when he will return (these would be the Christian apologists).

I’ve got a slightly different take on the whole Harold Camping affair: What it he had been right? What if Jesus really had returned on May 21? Now, please hear me. I’m not suggesting that the old kook was correct, but there was a chance that his lamebrain prediction and the actual parousia could have happened on the same day.

(Actually, for the record, if I were in God’s shoes, even if Camping had lucked out and picked the right day for the return of Jesus, I would have changed it just because of his prediction. At the same time, I would have snatched just Harold Camping and left the rest of us alone. After all, he is 89, and now he's reset judgment day for October 21, 2011, so why not immediately fulfill his desire to see the Lord?)

The thing is, we who believe in the certain return of Christ have become a little too complacent and comfortable with this world, to the point where we have more or less forgotten this basic fact about the Second Coming: it could happen anytime. It really could happen today.

Jesus was clear about this when he told his followers: “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come” (Mark 13:33). I don’t know about you, but I’m not on guard all that much, and my alert level is about a 2 on a scale of 10.

So who’s closer to the truth? Kooky Harold Camping, who at least acts as if the Second Coming is coming soon, or complacent me, who has become so comfortable with my earthly home that I’ve lost my longing for my permanent one. I’ve forgotten that my true citizenship is in heaven, and as a result I don't spend a whole lot of time eagerly waiting “for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).

Just this morning as I was reflecting on all of this, I found this passage from the Psalms. It encouraged me and challenged me to spend a little more time each day waiting for Jesus, and to daily reflect, if only for a moment, that today really could be the day.

I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning
(Psalm 130:5-6).

So thanks, Harold Camping. You may be a kook, but at least you made me think about the Second Coming a lot more, and that's not such a kooky thing.


Hi Stan! It's been a long time, how ya doin'?

Great post! What I have been thinking about is how this and the countless other dates that have come and gone have caused a numbness to the truth that the day will come. Scoffers have more to laugh about while their hearts grow harder. The jokes won't fly the day after the real thing.

Thank you for the challenge to set my heart on things above!

Blessings to you and yours!

I work for a Christian financial counseling organization and the other fellow Christians and I were discussing Harold Camping and his predictions. One of my colleagues said that even if he doesn't believe that it's going to happen, he used the opportunity of all this "Dooms Day" talk to reflect on whether he was prepared for the 2nd coming, and it also gave him a chance to reflect on what's important in life.

May 21st really has done that for me as well, maybe we should life our lives like it's our last, and just be awesome to our children and give them big hugs everytime we see them.

Teresa, I'm doing just fine. Nice to hear from you! Appreciate your comments!

I'm with you on this one, Stan. Most of the OT prophets were disregarded by the people as "kooks." Prophecy doesn't require kookiness (see Daniel), but it seems to come with the territory because prophets are brought to such singularity of focus.

That said, two things:

1. Is Harold Camping a prophet or an interpreter of prophecy? (The same could be asked of Hal Lindsay, Tim Lahaye, and others.) Prophets hear from God. They thus speak boldly. But interpreters like Camping, who are doing their best to make sense of what has already been prophesied and codified in Scripture, have not heard from God in a prophetic way. Which means, above all, that they are prone to errors in their own interpretation. Which then means that they would do best to humbly qualify all that they present.

2. This is exactly what Camping did not do when he brazenly put us all on the line by adding to many of his billboards: "The Bible guarantees it." Thanks, Harold. Now that you're wrong, you haven't just brought derision on yourself, but on the whole business of interpreting and teaching the Scriptures. Ugh.

Not to mention, if an Old Testament prophet was wrong, he was put to death. Given that, I would suspect there weren't a lot of people signing up for the job.

»  Become a Fan or Friend of this Blogger
Stan's entire life has been wrapped in content: selling, writing and publishing books and resources that help ordinary people capture a glimpse of extraordinary things.