The farmer and his wife had just retired to bed one evening when they heard the old grandfather clock in the hallway begin to strike the hour with its loud bongs… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 o’clock… they anticipated it stopping there, and were startled when it continued… 11, 12, 13, 14 o’clock! His wife asked, “Honey, just what time IS it???” He replied, “I don’t know, but it’s later than it’s ever been before!”
As you have probably heard by now, there is yet another self-identified “prophet,” Harold Camping, who claims to have figured out something that even Jesus never did: on May 21 the Rapture will take place- followed by the end of the world in October. I’ve been both amazed and horrified at how widespread this craziness has been. Once again, Christians are fodder for public ridicule based on the craziness of a tiny few. Even Mayor Bloomberg in NY City made fun. "If the world ends tomorrow, I don’t think you have to worry about returning library books, parking tickets," Bloomberg said Friday on his weekly radio show. "Alternate side parking will be suspended. Although I think alternate side parking will take on a whole different meaning actually."
It seems as though Camping has played rather fast and loose with numbers and dates and genealogies from the Bible and determined our time is up. I wonder what it is about us that we find it so hard to simply let the Bible speak for itself instead of speaking into it until what comes out on the other side is what we would like for it to say rather than what it really says?! How many times did Jesus need to have said that no one knows the day or the hour but the Father alone before we would have really believed what He said? Hal Lindsay said Jesus would come back in the mid-1980s. Edgar Whisenant then gave us “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988,” followed by “89 Reasons the Rapture Will Be in 1989” after it didn’t happen in 1988. Guess he dropped the subject after that and retired on the profits from his prophecies!
The primary teaching of Jesus regarding the end of the world is that the exact date and time is irrelevant to the attitude and posture we should maintain everyday- whether He returns May 21st or October 21st or a hundred Octobers from now. Jesus said, “ be on the alert… be ready…” EVERYDAY. Live our lives as though He’s coming back today. We have no idea when Christ is coming back, but we DO know… it’s later than it’s ever been before!
In the meantime, guys who can manufacture numbers like Camping may have a second career on WallStreet!