I am sure most of you were aware of the predicted “end of the world” which was forecast by Harold Camping and his followers to happen on May 21. That day came and went and the world is still pretty much as it was before. The rapture didn’t take place. There were not any major earthquakes on that day. A volcano did erupt in Iceland, but other than that things were basically “business as usual.” Harold Camping was proven, once again, to be a false prophet. He had made a similar prediction back in 1994 and that also failed to take place.
This predicted “end of the world” generated an immense amount of media attention and made international news. It was in the news here in the Philippines and there were articles in the major papers. What are we to make of this situation? Are there lessons for true Christians to learn from this event? What follows are a few things that came to mind as I considered this false “end of the world” prophecy.
First off, Christians need to be very careful about setting any exact dates about when the end of the world or the rapture will come. Well meaning folks have been setting “dates and times” for many, many years and not one of them has come true yet. And for that matter, it seems every generation of Christians gets this idea that their generation will be the last generation or that during their time the rapture will take place. I believe much time, energy and discussion has been wasted amongst Christians speculating about when the end will come. I personally believe that the Lord Jesus will come back one day. I believe the world will come to an end one day. I believe the Bible teaches this. But I have no idea when that will be and I don’t want to waste my time worrying about that. I prefer to use the time God has given me here on earth to share the message of salvation with the lost and in helping the poor and needy.
Although the end of the world did not happen on May 21; the end of the world for me and most people reading this column will happen within the next 50 years or less. Some time during that time period most of us will die and that effectively is the end of the world for us. Everyday it is the “end of this world” for over 150,000 people who die around the world. Everyday it is the “end of this world” for over 3000 people who die each day in the USA. When the “end of this world” happens to you, you had better be ready for the next world! You had better have a right relationship with God while you are in this world in order to prepare you for the next world. Ask yourself, are you ready for the “end of this world” if suddenly you had a heart attack and died in your sleep tonight? That is a very serious question and you should give full consideration to it.
Finally, although I thoroughly disagree with Harold Camping and his “end of the world” followers; at least his group did live consistent with what they believed. They believed the end of the world would take place on May 21 and they urgently spread that message all over the USA and the world. In a short time frame, their message was spread to the ends of the earth. Even here in the Philippines, their message was spread over the whole country. This group had zeal without knowledge. My prayer is that true Christians would be just as zealous for the truth of the Gospel and see it as an urgent task to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Amen and Amen.