We’re Still Here!
Wow. In case you haven’t been following the news the last several days, the Rapture was supposed to occur yesterday evening at 6:00 pm. At least, that is according to the predictions of Harold Camping, an 89 year old, self made multi-millionaire in the broadcasting business. Mr. Camping originally thought that the Rapture would occur in 1994, but later modified his prediction. According to Bible prophecy, according to the way Camping had it figured out, the date of May 21, 2011 would be the taking away of the believers to heaven. As time zones around the world clicked off 6:00 pm, Camping was quiet as to what happened and why his predictions did not come to pass.
I have done some study as to why this particular date was chosen, and it seems that there must be several numerological assumptions to get there. In short, he believed that each day is as 1000 years and the 7 days that Noah and his family were locked up in the ark prior to the beginning of the Flood were symbolic of the 7000 years since that time – and that has brought us to 2011. The May 21st date has to do with the exact time that Noah and his family were sealed in the ark by God. The rest of the timeline gets a little confusing, but suffice it to say that it all has to do with the dates of the Flood, the presumed end of the Church Age in 1988 and a 23 year Tribulation period. None of this jives with the way I learned theology, but I thought you would like to at least have an idea of how this date came to be.
Atheists around the United States were throwing Rapture parties yesterday in a parody of Camping’s beliefs. A group in Seattle actually organized a fundraiser to provide a “Rapture Relief Fund”, with the proceeds to assist “the poor souls who are left behind.” They said that in case the Rapture did not occur, they would give the money to a camp that teaches children critical thinking skills. I suppose that’s what is going to happen.
But not everyone was convinced Camping’s prediction was a prank. One man in New York spent his entire life savings buying up billboard space to announce the end of the world, at least as we know it. In the words of one atheist, that man is suffering financial “Armageddon” today. But 41% of Christians do believe in an eventual Rapture. The key here is whether any man, or woman, can predict when that will happen.
Now I was taught, and I believe, that nobody knows the day or the hour of the Rapture. The Bible is quite clear, in 2 Peter 3:10 – “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” Matthew 24:36 also tells us, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
So here are two passages that let us know that the Day of the Lord will come silently, when we least expect it, life a “thief in the night.” We are told to stay alert and to not fall asleep – to be ready at any time. We are to prepare our hearts and live our lives as if the Rapture can occur at any moment. Because it can! And Christ himself acknowledges that nobody knows the timing of this event; not the angels in heaven, or even the Son, but just the Father. So, anybody who professes to know the exact time is not accurately presenting what the Bible says about the Rapture. So why guess? What is to be gained by this? It is a no-win situation for everyone.
My encouragement this evening is to suggest that you live your life in a Christ-like manner, recognizing that at any time the Rapture could occur and the Tribulation period could begin. But as I said before, nobody knows the time or the day. And my prayer is that you will live your life in such as way so as to influence as many people as you can about the coming events of the endtimes. As Christians, it is our belief that we are to participate in the Great Commission – to go and preach the Good News to the outermost reaches of the earth. The more that we do this, the more we can influence others for the Kingdom of God. So I stand ready, and alert; my prayer is that you will also. Have a great day in the Lord…..