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Friday, May 20, 2011

Harold Camping... False Prophets... and the end of the world...

Okay... I can't stand it anymore...

I was going to try to stay above it... but I keep getting phone calls at church and students texting asking about it.  So I'll address it here and hopefully provide some encouragement those reading this (especially those who ended up here simply because they Googled "Harold Camping...")

The end of the world is probably NOT going to happen Saturday night at 6 pm.

Why use the word "probably?"

Because no one knows when the end will come.  

Harold Camping doesn't know... (he's been wrong before... ironically enough he is "definitely sure" that it will happen this time... he was wrong in 1988 when he was certain and he was wrong in 1994 when he was positive...). 

Jim Clark doesn't know... that would be great knowledge to have... but no, I don't know.

Jesus, Son of God, God in Flesh and Messiah of the World, doesn't even know.  Check it out:
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. (Matthew 24:36-42, NIV)


Jesus said that no one knows the day or the hour... therefore, sorry Harold... you can't call Saturday night at 6 pm (which is funny... I haven't even heard what time zone that is... Eastern Standard... Pacific... Greenwich Mean Time...???)!

Is Jesus going to come back?
Yes.  He promised:
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4, NIV)

When is Jesus going to come back?
We don't know.   I may take a while... Because God's time frame is not our time frame: 
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9, NIV)


Ironically enough, the Apostle Paul in the New Testament dealt with this very same problem with the church in Thessalonica.  They were so convinced that Jesus' return was so immanent that they quit their jobs, grabbed some chairs and went up on their roofs to sit and wait for his return.  (Sound familiar?)  Paul's instruction: Get back to work!  We might be here a while:
11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. (2 Thessalonians 3:11-13, NIV)

The saddest part of this, and this is really what frustrates me, is that this guy is giving me a bad name.  Part of the reason that I have failed to address this (here) is that I didn't want to be divisive. The Church has enough trouble without other Christians making problems within the church, further tarnishing our image with the outside world.  But I believe that Harold Camping is a false prophet.  Listen to what Jesus himself warned:
23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time. 26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:23-27, NIV)
What are we to do with false prophets?  We call them out.  We identify them.  Then we put them in their place and ignore them so they don't lead the sheep astray.  Sadly, many sheep are currently being led astray by this false prophet. 


We don't know when the end will come.  It could be Saturday night... It could be tonight.  Jim Clark doesn't know.  Jesus didn't know.  Harold Camping doesn't know.  And anyone else who claims to have it pinpointed doesn't know either. 

But we do know:
The end will come. 
NO ONE knows when it will come.
Everyone will see it (Matthew 24:27).
We should be ready all the time (Matthew 24:42).

Jesus told us:
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:42-44, NIV)

So... What should we do with this? 
First, we have a unique opportunity here.  We don't know when it is going to happen.  But we do know that it is... it will happen eventually.  This is an excellent opportunity to talk to people about their relationship with Jesus.  Some folks are afraid of what may happen Saturday night.  After calming their fears, take the opportunity to talk to folks about their relationship with Jesus.  They are interested in having a conversation about spiritual matters... let's have a conversation. 

Second, we have been reminded.  We have been reminded that Jesus could return at any moment.  He could return before I get finished writing this... or before you get finished reading this.  We don't know.  Jesus told us that we should keep watch at all times (Matthew 25:1-13).  As Christians, we should be living our lives in a constant state of being prepared, at any moment, to meet our Savior and Messiah. 

So... Ignore the false prophet (Harold Camping and crew) and focus on the words of Jesus (Matthew 24).  If it does happen on Saturday night, that's fine (Amen. Come, Lord Jesus - Revelation 22:20) Your Church is ready.  If it doesn't happen this afternoon, tonight or tomorrow night, let's keep working while there's work to be done.

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:35-38, NIV)

Jim

3 comments:

  1. Good thoughts Jim. I, like you originally did, have decided to not give credence to this, but I agree with everything you said. Good job!

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  2. I like your thoughts on this matter. I guess I don't pay enough attention to the media because I didn't know the world was supposed to end tomorrow until today! I Googled Harold to see how many people are buying into this, it sounds to me like most aren't. If he truly is certain the world will end tomorrow, I have to feel kind of sorry for him.

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  3. i like your comments.

    i have to say that although i don't believe a word of harold campings and kno that he is a false prophet, for some reason, my inner body feels super nervous as Sat approaches -- I know I'm saved and everything, but, just w/ all this talk and the earthquakes n what not -- just ALL this talk has gotten to me over the last few days and has made me very nervous. I had prayed about it and receieved peace but the fear always returns. I'm happy i don't know anyone that believes in what harold camping is preaching, but, everyone is talking about it.

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