Today - May 21, 2011 – is the day the world ends, according to Harold Camping of Family Radio. To be more precise, today is supposed to be the Day of Judgment and the Rapture. The official End of the World is not supposed to happen for another five months.
Actually the Rapture is supposed to happen at exactly 6:00 PM – less than three hours from the time I am writing this blog. So if you are reading this on Saturday night or Sunday, then it didn’t happen… unless you are one of the unlucky ones left behind.
I am of mixed feelings when it comes to this much publicized event. Theologically I don’t believe it. Historically I know that the idea of the Rapture is a nineteenth century doctrine invented by a religious fringe group in England in the 1830’s. If it hadn’t found its way into the textual notes of the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909, no Christian today would have heard of the idea.
In my opinion it is a misinterpretation of the Scripture passages describing Christ’s return. But that is just my opinion. Unlike Harold Camping, who is absolutely certain that his interpretation of Scripture is correct, I am not so sure of my hermeneutical skills. I am so fallible in so many areas, that the only thing I am certain about is that I am probably wrong in my interpretation of Biblical prophecy also.
I hope I am wrong. I would love to be whisked away into heaven in a couple of hours, holding hands with my wife as we are “caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” But that is unlikely to happen ... at least not this day. But a part of me is watching the clock and thinking, “What if this crazy old man is right?”
In one sense it must be today. Today is all there is. It is always only today. I have never experienced a tomorrow. Nor have I lived a yesterday. These temporal concepts are just thoughts occurring today. There is only ever today. As the apostle writes, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
As he said elsewhere, “Now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” Jesus said to the thief dying on a cross next to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Christ was right … as he always is.
One of these todays will be the day that I will be with him in Paradise. What if it were today? Why not? One day it will be today! But probably not this today. I suspect that at 6:30 PM I will be watching the ABC Evening News and there will be no reports of Christians mysteriously disappearing from airplane cockpits and living room sofas.
So I have my sermon prepared for tomorrow, and I am pretty sure I will be around to deliver it, and that I will have a congregation to deliver it to. There are no references in it to the Rapture, Judgment Day or the End of the World - just practical advice for living the spiritual life today. I am wondering that type of sermon Harold Camping will preach to his flock tomorrow.