Judgment Day ???
I'm scheduled to preach that day!
If you have somehow missed the revelation that the world is scheduled to undergo the judgment of God this Saturday (May 21, 2011) then please mark your calendar and take appropriate steps to prepare for the occasion...or not.
Harold Camping, broadcaster and president of Family Radio, has for several months been warning listeners over his more than 150 radio stations, that the Rapture of the Church would occur Saturday, May 21. Camping also believes that the Rapture is followed by the completely destruction of the Earth and the universe five months from now on October 21.
Besides the constant radio buzz, the hundreds of thousands of pieces of literature that have been distributed, and the painting of park benches, bus stops, and many private vehicles (such as the one pictured below, center), over 3,000 billboards have been erected worldwide to announce the beginning of the end as calculated by Camping. Below are two pictures of billboards I took recently. On the left is one of at least two identical billboards I saw along Interstate 10 near Orange, Texas. The billboard on the right is on a busy street in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The various notions that the world is coming to an end or that Jesus is coming back on a particular day isn't anything new. Many have predicted such monumental events or cataclysm throughout the not so distant past. The Millerites, followed by Charles Taze Russell and the Jehovah's Witnesses all missed it again and again. In 1988, Edgar Whisenant gained worldwide attention, at least in Christian circles, distributing some 300,000 copies of his booklet, 88 REASONS Why The Rapture Will Be In 1988. When Whisenant's predictions failed that year, the former NASA engineer immediately blamed his miscalculation of the so called "zero" year and published another book in 1989 claiming that the Rapture would occur during September of that year. Failing again, Whisenant continued to try and date the Lord's coming for His Church again in 1993, 1994, and each year through 1997. Others however, left more than just egg on the face of those who purported their ideas. Doomsday cult leaders, such as Jim Jones (Peoples Temple, 1978), David Koresh (Branch Davidian's, 1993), and Marshall Applewhite (Heaven's Gate, or Hale-Bopp UFO Cult, 1997) led or caused their followers to pay for following their leader's crazed ideologies with their lives.
What will I be doing this Saturday? Nothing out of the ordinary - and neither should you. Personally, I am speaking at a conference in Lakewood, Washington on Saturday morning. I am also scheduled to speak again on Sunday morning, May 22, at Lakewood Baptist Church and I don't expect any change in that schedule due to the Church being extracted from Terra Firma - at least not because of Harold Camping's calculations. Of course, as with any other day, my life is completely in the Father's hands and should He sovereignly decide to take me (or ALL of us) between now and Sunday, so be it. However, Jesus clearly stated in Matthew 24:36 that no man - including Harold Camping - knows the day or the hour of His return or of exactly when God will allow judgment to come upon any of us individually or collectively for that matter. Honestly, I want to get to Heaven as soon as the Lord calls, but unless the trumpet blows from Glory, I'll be at Lakewood this weekend and hope that if you're in the Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia area you'll join me there.
As my wife and I were discussing Camping's apocalyptic musings today her comment was, "Since we're leaving on Saturday, I guess I'd better hurry up and get my spring flowers planted." I quipped, "Judgment Day??? I'm scheduled to preach that day!" All kidding aside, though end-time events, such as the end of the world, are really no laughing matter, our position must be to simply trust, be watching, and be ready whether it's May 21 or any other day.
So, biblically speaking you'll be as safe as one can be expected to be in making plans for next week and beyond. However, I fear that may not be as easy for those who have been bewitched by Camping's nonsense. Many of his followers may find it hard to face their relatives, friends, or families when Sunday morning rolls around and nothing extraordinary has transpired for the Church or for planet earth. I encourage everyone reading this to pray against the despair, depression, and even the suicidal spirit that grips people when they are faced with the fact that they have trusted in the crazed ideas of a false prophet. Harold Camping previously predicted the end of the world back in 1994 but amazingly continued to seduce folks into following him. Though I cannot say what the outcome with be for Camping after May 21, I know the mess his false prophecies have already created are likely to be monumental for many. Tragically, cultic teachers always leave waves of destruction in their wake. God only knows how many lives are being adversely effected and also how many souls may be lost all due to Camping's predictions. Even if Satan should be allowed to pull off something of horrendous proportion somewhere in the world on Saturday, one wonders how Camping may try and spin what transpires in order to save face, listeners, or money. We'll be watching.
Several trusted ministry friends have written great pieces concerning all of this. Any one of these writings would be sufficient to inform and warn of the deception being spewed by Family Radio and though it verges on information overload, here below I've listed four trustworthy articles should you desire more information on Harold Camping and Judgment Day 2011.
Jan Markell - "Will This Ship of Fools Sink May 22?"
Ed Decker - "The End of the World is Coming Again"
Dr. David Reagan - "Harold Camping - The Madness of Date Setting"
Dr. Albert Mohler - "The End is Near? - The False Teaching of Harold Camping"
PS... If you missed Jan Markell's "Understanding the Times" radio broadcast last weekend, here's a description and link to the MP3 podcast: "Eric Barger guest hosts 'Understanding the Times' 5/14/2011 on 'Covenant' and 'Replacement' Theology and discusses the problematic book 'The Hole in Our Gospel.'" (Eric's Guest: Pastor Paul Van Noy)