End of the World: May 21
By Jim Hagerty
Millions of believers in Jesus Christ were among the world’s population Saturday, May 21, despite a massive ad campaign by minister Harold Camping stating Christians would be swept away in the rapture.
Camping, the 89-year-old president of Family Radio, announced earlier this year that May 21, 2011 would be the day Christians would be “caught up in the air” to meet God.
Camping used radio, billboards, print spots and signs on bus stop benches to warn people to find Christ or be left behind to face a hellish world of End Time destruction, war, persecution and disease.
Camping also said Oct. 21 would be the day Jesus Christ would return to set up his kingdom, as written in the Holy Bible.
While it’s not known what will be attributed to Camping’s mistake, some look for the self-proclaimed prophet to make an announcement similar to his last failed prediction.
Sixteen years ago, a group of Camping’s followers gathered inside the Veterans Memorial Building in Alameda, Calif., to witness the return of Christ.
In Camping’s 1992 book, 1994?, he wrote that Jesus would appear Sept. 6, 1994.
With Jesus not among the rubberneckers, Camping recanted, claiming he made a mathematical error, and that God would make the exact date known in the future.
That date was May 21, 2011.
Camping now joins numerous modern prophets who claim to know when the end of the world as we know it will arrive. While they assert they’re correct, their contrast to what is written in the Christian Bible is all but unavoidable.
According to Matthew 24:36, knowledge of when Christ will return is reserved for God. Jesus, the Bible states, does not even know when these things will come to pass.
What is the rapture?
The word rapture is not mentioned in the Bible. In fact, some Christians groups don’t believe the return of Jesus will be preceded by believers being swept into Heaven to meet God.
Both passages describe how Christians will be transformed from physical beings into new, spiritual bodies and “caught up” in the clouds with those who have already died.
Non-believers in Christ will be left behind to endure what Christians call the second half of the Great Tribulation– a 3.5-year period before the return of Jesus Christ.
Opponents of the rapture theory believe 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 describe an event where all believers in Christ–living and dead–will be spiritually changed and called to be with God at the Second Coming. This position has become known as a “post-tribulation” rapture theory.
The age of false prophets
While nobody has been able to correctly predict a Christian rapture or when Jesus Christ will return to Earth, the uprising of date-setters, those claiming to be Jesus, and false prophets have been an increasing part of Christianity for hundreds of years.
Millions of Christians aren’t shaken though. Most point to clear Bible passages they say prove the return of Christ is on the horizon.
Even theologians don’t argue with Matthew 24:23-27. The verses, reportedly direct quotes from Jesus, warn of an increasing number of false prophets and messiahs, most notably in the End Times.
Matthew 24:23-27 state: “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
“See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
What Harold Camping has in store for his followers as Saturday, May 21 ticks into May 22, isn’t known.
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