Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Judgement Day postponed?

So many of my friends asked, in the week leading up to May 21, 2011, whether I was going to write about Harold Camping predicting the end of  world, I decided I couldn’t really ignore it. I really hated to give the guy any more press.

It’s not merely the fact that he’s raking in millions from this. If he really were going to be raptured today, what’s he need with all the money? And what do his contributors expect to get for their money? Do they believe that, having failed to take the time to build a relationship with God, they can buy Him off at the last minute? Any guy can tell you how his girl feels about him trying to substitute giving her money for giving her his undivided attention.
(I also heard about several scam artists, such as the guy that promised, for $99, to take care of your dog after you’re gone. I thought that was hilarious, especially when I realized what a bad deal it is for the scam artist. You should hire him; he’ll be taking care of your dog for how ever long it takes for the end to really come, and you’ll never have to buy dog food again!)
No, what really frosts me about this stupidity is that tomorrow, and in the weeks to come, I’m going to meet people who have never read the Bible; who, when I try to encourage them to do so, are going to tell me, ‘Hey, the Bible said the world was going to end on May 21 and it didn’t. Why should I read it?’
The Bible does NOT say the world will end on May 21, 2011, or any other day. It is atheists, in fact, who predict the end of the world, not Bible readers. Atheists claim that someday either the sun or the earth or the universe itself will be destroyed.Bible students know, however, that 'God has made the earth strong on its bases, so that it may not be moved forever and ever.' (Psalms 104:5) 
I suppose it should be noted that today is The End, for some, no matter what day you read this. On average about 150,000 people die worldwide, each day. But those 150,000 people will die, not because of Camping's supposed end-of-the-world scenario, but simply because, as the Bible says at Ecclesiastes 9:11, "Time and unpredictable events overtake all of them."
The global ‘Judgment Day' predicted in the Bible will happen. But clearly, as Psalm 104 points out, not in an end-of-the-planet kind of way. Far from telling us what day that will happen, Jesus said exactly the opposite: "No one knows when that day and hour will come - neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows.” (Matthew 24:36) If it were possible to calculate, from the Bible, the day and hour of Judgment Day, Jesus would have been lying when he said he didn’t know, that no one knows but the father. Surely Jesus is at least as good at math as Harold Camping.
And if we could calculate the exact date it would have been pointless for Jesus to tell us, as he did just a few verses later, “Always be ready, because you don't know the day your Lord will come.”
If you are reading this, the world has kept on turning, for now. It did not keep turning for Harold Camping, who died in 2013. Before he did, he realized his attempt to name a date was "sinful", his word. He spent his last few years searching the Bible "even more fervently...not to find dates, but to be more faithful in my understanding," he said.
If you haven’t been raptured, please leave a polite comment. Comments containing links or derogatory language will be deleted. 
Bill Underwood is a columnist and author of several books, all available on Amazon.com

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