2011-05-27 - The End is Near
Last Saturday was a significant date for many people. A man named Harold Camping predicted that Jesus would return on that day to judge the world. He was wrong but many people followed him and still continue to in spite of his false prophecies. Aside from wrongly predicting the date for the end of the world a couple times now, he and his believers seem to be sincere Christians from what I have read on them. Camping himself is associated with a Reformed Protestant denomination. Camping and his followers have been the butt of a lot of jokes in both secular and Christian circles but I'd like for us to consider a couple things that they did get right that many of us have gotten wrong.
First they believe his coming is soon. Now I'm not going to predict a date because if Jesus said he didn't know it then I certainly don't. But I do know that the early church felt it could happen soon. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NASB) "Then WE WHO ARE ALIVE and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord." Paul by God's inspiration put himself on the "those who are alive" side so it could have happened way back then. For sure, today is one day sooner to his coming than yesterday and I do honestly believe that his return will be soon ... perhaps even in my lifetime.
Second, they live like they really believe it. Many of Camping's followers gave money to warn others and spent their own time trying what they could to get the word out. I read stories of men driving their families across country in order to join with other believers before the rapture was to occur. Other stories told of people spending their money to put up billboards in the United States and in other countries around the world. They were all willing to sacrifice things of this earth to impact lives by helping them prepare for Jesus' return. I myself heard of it a few months ago because someone left a tract in the credit card reader of a gas pump. Much of the church has gotten complacent as if Jesus is never coming back and souls don't hang in the balance. Just before Jesus left this earth isn't that exactly what he instructed us to do?
He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:7-8)
The early believers didn't know when but they believed it could happen at any time and they lived that way. That is why Acts records thousands converting to Christianity. They believed it and they lived it. So to all the Camping crew, thanks for showing us all what it looks like to live what you believe.
All verses are from the King James Version unless otherwise specified.