By Tom Flannery
So the Rapture didn’t take place at 6 p.m. Eastern time on May 21.
Not that this was ever really in doubt.
After all, the broadcasts, billboards and promotional materials hyping a May 21 Rapture were all the work of Harold Camping, a false prophet who had made a similar prediction back in 1994. This is one of the ways he raises a lot of money — a reported $72 million, in fact — and while many of his followers have been giving significant amounts of their own hard-earned cash to Camping’s ministry, and to the promotion of his Rapture ruminations, Camping’s been holding on to every dime. And on to all of his ministry resources and material possessions.
Hmmm….what does he know that his followers don’t?
Concerning the precise timing of the Rapture, Jesus declared: “But of that day and hour no one knows,” only God (Matt. 24:36). So for any man to claim such knowledge — as Camping did in naming both the day and the hour — is to directly contradict the Word of God, and deny Jesus Himself as being the source of all truth.
So many people were asking me about Camping and his “prophecy” in the days leading up to his latest deadline for mankind that I posted a message on my Facebook page on Tuesday night, May 17, quoting Jesus from Matt. 24:36 and pointing out that “either Jesus was wrong or Camping is.”
Well, it turns out that it was Camping (of course) who was wrong. And that makes him one of the many false prophets that Jesus warned some 2,000 years ago would arise in the last days to sow skepticism and doubt in the world, and confusion among Christ’s followers and those who claim to be believers.
Indeed, when Jesus’ disciples asked Him in Matthew 24 what would be the signs preceding His return, He repeatedly issued one warning to the believers who would be alive during this period.
“Do not be deceived,” He kept saying, “for false prophets and false Christs will rise up and deceive many.”
One person who asked me about the May 21 prediction, before the big day arrived, wondered what Camping would do on May 22 and the days that followed.
“He’ll just set another date,” I responded. “These guys always do.”
And that’s just what he did. So while no one knows when the Rapture will take place, we can now be sure that it won’t be on Oct. 21 (Camping’s latest “calculation”). As I once heard a minister say: “If someone were ever to guess the day that the Rapture was going to take place and get it right, Jesus would just change the day.”
If this sort of date-setting weren’t so serious, and didn’t do so much damage, it would be downright laughable.
At the same time, many skeptics are laughing not only at Camping and his malfeasance, but about the Rapture itself, the Second Coming and the rest of Bible end time prophecy. And they’re doing so while all of the Bible’s end time prophecies are unfolding before our very eyes. Just a few weeks back, a Newsweek cover story screamed: “APOCALYPSE NOW! Tsunamis. Earthquakes. Nuclear meltdowns. Revolutions. Economies on the brink. What the #@%! is next?” Only Scripture accurately explains what’s going on, and authoritatively answers that final question.
Whereas Jesus said it would be impossible for any person to know the day or time of the final judgments which begin with the Rapture, He also assured in Matt. 24 that believers would know the season (or period of time) as it was approaching — by seeing and recognizing the myriad Scriptural signs.
Moreover, the skeptics who are laughing at God’s promises are themselves fulfilling prophecy — specifically, a prediction found in 2nd Peter 3. This is where it was foretold that, before the final events of the Rapture, seven-year Tribulation period of wrath on earth and the Second Coming occur, “first scoffers will come in the last days saying, ‘Where is the promise of Christ’s coming? For since the fathers [the patriarchs, prophets and apostles] died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation’…”
These people are laughing at God and mocking His promises, yet Peter goes on to warn them by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in this same chapter: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
While the scoffers are laughing at and mocking Him, God is holding off the final events to bring as many people to saving faith in Christ as possible, before His wrath is poured out upon this rebellious world during the Tribulation period and the final judgments ultimately take place.
As He did in the time of Noah (the last time He judged the whole world), God is trying to get as many people “onto the boat” as He can before the final judgments are executed, in fulfillment of John 3:36: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
And that’s nothing to laugh at.