Most of the world, or western world, was made aware of Harold Camping’s end of the world prediction that was to take place on 21st May 2011. The day went and passed, and as usual, the end of the world did not take place.
Personally, I don’t like the phrase ‘the end of the world’. There is something in American pop theology that sees an importance in creating a kind of scary view on all things eschatological, or last things. I think some of that simply goes away when we realise important truth such as a) we have been in the ‘last days’ since the Christ-event some 2000 years ago, b) Christ has won the victory and so will his people, even if an intense future worldwide tribulation were to come, c) Christ is currently reigning over all heaven and earth, and now our task is to ask that this reality come in this world as it is in heaven, i.e., Matt 6:10. For me, this is a more biblical foundation for last things.
But it’s not just unorthodox types, like Camping, who predict the end of the world. There are also plenty of orthodox evangelical Christians overly excited about date-setting and charts to show it. Of course, as with Camping, none of the date setting of anyone has ever come to pass. So you would think we would learn. There is no secret code embedded deep in the original Hebrew or Greek. It’s simply that we are told not to worry of such things and get on with seeing the kingdom rule of God come on earth as we pray for such and walk out the great commission.
There are more important things we are called to.
But, a word to the wise. Let’s not get wrapped up in Camping’s predication about 21st October 2011. Meaning, let’s not ridicule the man. It will only make things worse. And, as I shared back in May, could it be that we are stirred to pray for God’s kindness and compassion to be shown to this man? We don’t need to spend time proving he is a false teacher, or false prophet. Such has been shown. We don’t need to spend time blasting the guy. And maybe he is hardening his heart beyond repair. But I am simply asking that we consider something better here: asking God to break in with His mighty compassionate power shown in Jesus Christ.
A word to the wise: Let’s leave Camping alone this time, and redirect our efforts to better things.
Praise the Lord. Indeed. The question is not ultimately even whether Camping is a false prophet or not, but whether we are going to obey the Word, which tells us that it is not for us to know the days or times – only to be prepared at all times for the coming of the Lord.