So, what are we to make of Harold Camping and his prediction that the Rapture will occur in less than two months? On May 21, 2011, to be exact. Having determined the year of Noah’s Flood (that’s probably worth a discussion in itself) to get us to 2011, he then used the biblically ‘significant’ numbers of 5, 10 and 17 to come up with May 21.
Now, the specifics of the Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus are contested issues among various camps of Christianity. But the basic premise of the Rapture comes from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. He writes in 4:17 – “Then, together with them” (referring to the dead in Christ, who will have risen first), ”we who are still alive and remain on the earth, will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”
So, it is when we who are saved through Christ will be taken up from earth and meet Jesus, who will have descended from Heaven. The best-selling ‘Left Behind’ novels open with the Rapture and probably represent the most commonly held view of the Rapture.
Can we look in the Bible and find any comment on Camping’s date? Yes, the Bible tells us Camping is making a guess. We can determine for ourselves whether it’s a good one or a wild one. But it’s just a guess.
In Mathew 24:36, Jesus tells his disciples, “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son of Man himself. Only the Father knows.”
With the exception of dropping the words “of Man,” this is repeated verbatim in Mark 13:32.
Further passages reveal that Jesus is making the point that since no one knows he will return, we must all be prepared and live our lives appropriately. Various books of the Bible contain information that lets us look for signs of the coming events, and tells us what will happen during them. But Jesus clearly states that no one, not even God in his human guise, can know when. So Harold Camping can predict away, but he’s just guessing. Hopefully he’ll guess better than his first end of times prediction.
Personally, I hope he’s right. I’m ready for Heaven and an end to sin on earth. I remember seeing bumper stickers that say "After the Rapture, I'll be driving your car." You can have it, buddy. Good luck with the end of times.