A few days and counting - Word&Way

A few days and counting

A self-assured fellow named Harold Camping guarantees we're just days away from the Rapture and the end of the world as we know it. (Actually, he guarantees that the Bible guarantees it.) It is May 17 as I write, only four days until graves begin cracking open and the saved inside them are transformed and caught up in the air on May 21, according to Camping.

Camping is president of Family Radio Worldwide and he guessed wrong on the Rapture back in 1994. Of course, he admits he made a mistake 17 years ago and has convinced followers around the world that despite his miscalculation back then, he is now on target. Camping believes he has refined his understanding of the significance of events and numbers in the Bible and has produced an elaborate equation that guarantees the Rapture will happen on Saturday, May 21. No matter that Jesus said no one knows the day, not even the angels or Jesus himself. Camping claims Jesus was only describing the ignorant and the spiritually befuddled of his day, not true believers like him.

This self-proclaimed prophet was born on July 19, 1921. If he reaches his 90th birthday, he will have misprophesied once again, and one might assume that the time left for him to get it right might be quickly running out.

His operation reportedly has planted 1,200 billboards warning the population of America of the coming wrath, and another 2,000 in countries around the world. By one estimate, he has spent some $3 million promoting May 21 as the date that marks the beginning of exactly five months of tribulation when the earth will be completely destroyed. (Mark Oct. 21 on your calendar if you are left behind.)

I, for one, am not holding my breath on Mr. Camping's prediction. I'm siding with Jesus. If Camping's campaign has done anything useful, it should remind the faithful that the time of Christ's return is closer than it ever has been. True believers need not delay living out their faith or trying to bring others into the kingdom.

If Camping is correct, he won't have to worry about criticism from pundits like me, of course. If he is not, my guess is that the majority of his followers will continue their blind follow-ship, and Family Worldwide Radio will continue to prosper financially. On those two counts, Camping has little to lose, whether the Rapture occurs May 21 or not.

Bill Webb is editor of Word&Way.