After scaring hundreds of thousands of people around the United States, and after further widening the credibility gap for all Christian leaders, and after spending tens of thousands of dollars to advertise the message, the prediction that the world would end on May 21st was wrong. Harold Camping was wrong. No earthquake. No nuclear meltdown. No atomic bomb. I told you! Check out my prediction from last week:
I wonder what Harold and his followers did all day Saturday. Watch CNN for news of an earthquake… somewhere? Call their fearless leader to ask for a biblical interpretation of the non-event? Pray to God that chaos would commence so that they could be saved from embarrassment? Try to scratch the Family Radio Worldwide (Harold’s ministry) bumper sticker off the car?
I wonder what’s going on in the Camping living room this morning. Depression? Relief? Confusion? Embarrassment? Rebellion? Consternation? Denial?
Your guess is as good as mine. I would love to be able to be able to use super secret technology to find out.
I have a hunch. I wonder if maybe Harold was right about May 21st, but God changed his mind so Harold wouldn’t get the credit. Jesus said, “…no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” (Mark 13:32 NLT) Maybe the timeline that the folks over at Family Radio Worldwide figured was correct, but God being God decided that he would have to agree with Jesus instead. Maybe, just maybe, I could have been in heaven this morning celebrating with believers from all generations, races, social classes and nations. Maybe Harold messed it all up for us because God didn’t want him to get the credit. Hunches…
So what can we learn from this brief flirtation with Armageddon?
- The Bible is not interpreted by secret knowledge from a select few. Its pages are available to everyone. It can be taken at face value with just a basic understanding of the audience it was written to and the reasons it was written.
- It’s really tough to disagree with the Son of God.
- Lot’s of people who don’t go to church are very curious, even concerned, about spiritual things.
- If us “true believers” (as Harold calls church going folks) would spend more time building relationships and extending God’s grace outside the church walls then the world could really and truly be a different and better place.
- Ben Cathey has silly hunches.
I’m still comforted and helped more by these words from 1 Thessalonians 5 than I am from anything any doomsday prophet has ever written.
“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”