The Day of the Lord is coming . . . but it won’t be October 21 or any other date Harold Camping pulls out of his hat

I am saddened by kooks who take things that are biblical and make them into something worth ridiculing. The best recent example is Harold Camping, the “evangelist” who claimed that the rapture would take place on May 21, 2011. I don’t know much about him. I haven’t really researched him or his theories. I honestly have no desire to do so. But maybe I’m being too harsh when I say that the man has done far more harm than good to the way the world looks at Christianity.

There are many churches in the world that take the truth of Scripture and turn it into something dull and dry and boring, and I find that sad too. Because the Bible isn’t a dull, dry, boring book; it’s alive and its more relevant to our culture now than ever before. But what Harold Camping accomplished with all of his rapture talk was to make himself and his faith a fool. And the amazing part of it is, he obviously doesn’t know the Bible he claims to believe . . . but the world doesn’t know that. Harold Camping says he’s a Christian who follows the Bible and the Lord is returning on May 21, so he needs financial support.

Mr. Camping probably meant well. Mr. Camping really probably intended only to help people. But Mr. Camping took a concept out of Scripture and turned it into a farce. The rapture — the second coming of Christ — the start of the Tribulation — whatever you want to call it, no one will take it seriously anymore. All because this one man interjected his opinons into truth that God provided for the world to know.

Now just about everyone has heard of the rapture. And now, they think it’s an imaginary construct of a crazy Christian radio preacher.

But the thing about truth that has been diluded by people is that the original truth is still true. Truth is true no matter where you find it. And there is coming a day when everyone is going to realize that the rapture isn’t a laughing matter and it isn’t anything like what Harold Camping was talking about.

I like to think of myself as a rational person, and as a rational person I would be the first to agree that the rapture sounds unlikely. All the Christians will be taken to heaven? The world will be left with no Christians in it at all as the Lord begins His final judgment on Earth? (Personally, I believe the rapture will happen before the Tribulation starts, but I’m not going to split hairs with people who believe it happens in the middle or at the end of the Tribulation.) But I believe that the rapture will happen. It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen because the Bible says that it will.

The Bible is very clear about the rapture and makes reference to it in practically every book of the Bible, whether it’s the New Testament or the Old Testament. Jesus talked about it. The prophets talked about it. The apostles talked about it.

The rapture is going to happen.

But between Harold Camping and the Left Behind series, no one takes it seriously anymore.

The best verses for discussing the rapture are mainly in 2 Thessalonians, I think. And the rapture is going to be a big deal. All the Christians who have died will rise and be taken to heaven; all the Christians who are alive still will follow. And the world will be left in chaos. There are many people who feel like the world will be better off if all the Christians would just disappear; trust me, the day is coming when you’ll get your wish . . . and then you’ll realize what the world will be like without the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Today’s verse is Zechariah 14:9 and the whole chapter is actually talking about the state of the world after the rapture, and I encourage you to read the full chapter at BibleGateway. But I think verse 9 pretty much sums up what will happen after the rapture.

9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshiped.

After the rapture, after the Tribulation, after the end of everything when all things are new again, God will remain and so will the people who follow Him. But not the people who say they do. There’s a big difference between following God and just talking about following God. Just like Mr. Camping. He claims to believe the Bible but most of his claims include prophecies or information that isn’t biblical, the most notable of which is assigning a date to the rapture.

No one knows when the rapture will happen.

Period. The one thing you can be sure of is that the day someone says it will happen it won’t. Because no man will know the hour or the day when God will come back for His followers. Not even Christ knows.

The rapture is real. It’s going to happen soon. The only thing that God is waiting for is for the whole world to have the opportunity to believe and as of yet, that hasn’t happened. And the best advice I can offer to anyone who has questions about the rapture is to go to the Bible. Don’t go to some cook on television or on the radio. Read the Bible. Get a good modern translation you understand and read.

The Bible is where the rapture is first mentioned, although that’s not what it’s called. The word rapture is a Christian word our culture has applied to the day Christ returns for us; it’s not ever used in Scripture. So if you have questions, go the source.

And I can pretty much assure you that October 22 of this year will come, even though Mr. Camping says that the world will end on October 21.

What’s taking so long?

Do you ever wonder why God is taking so long to keep His last promise to us? It’s frustrating too because that last promise of His (the one where He says He’ll come back for us) is the one that makes us all sound like we’re one fry short of a Happy Meal. But it’s in the Bible. So I believe it. And I don’t subscribe to the crazies who have the day picked out (I think it’s October 21 now) because no one but God knows when He’s returning. Not even Jesus knows . . . and He is God . . . He’s just not God the Father (just try to wrap your brain around that one) . . . . so if Jesus doesn’t know, I guarantee nobody on Earth has a clue.

But do you ever wonder why God is taking His sweet time?

There are days when I get so tired of waiting on Him to come back. I am so weary of this world, of dealing with fake Christians, of struggling with this dark nature inside me that makes me want to do things I know are wrong. I want to go home where none of that will exist and where I’ll be able to hang with Jesus face to face every day, where we’ll be able to approach God and thank Him for all He’s done for us — no longer separated by this wall of fallen humanity I’m stuck in. And it’ll never be night. And time won’t matter. And we’ll be able to do the things we love to do every day without having to worry about paying bills or having something to eat or making people angry.

Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? =)

So what’s taking Him so long? People have been talking about God’s returning for us for thousands of years. There are days when I feel like Noah building the ark, and all my neighbors pass by laughing at me. If you haven’t ever listened to the Bill Cosby routines about Noah and the Neighbor, click on the video below.

But on those days when I start getting frustrated, I think about today’s verse, 2 Peter 3:9.

9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

We humans are always moving so fast. We never like to slow down, and it’s hard for us to remember that God is patient. He loves this world so much that He doesn’t want to just snatch everyone up and forget the rest. No! That would contradict everything God is.

And while most prophecy has been fulfilled, there is still one outstanding. And that is that every nation will have the opportunity to come to know Christ. And that hasn’t happened yet. There are still nations of people who haven’t heard the truth yet. Like that tribe of folks they just discovered in the Amazon.

Everyone in the world needs to have the chance to make a choice. That’s why World Missions are so important. Bringing the Gospel to peoples who’ve never heard it before is something we’re commanded to do. But on that same note, I’d like to hope that He’s being patient for the U.S. too. Because while the rest of the world seems to be coming to Christ by the truckload, the U.S. is stuck in a rut. But can a country that was founded with a Christian heritage (it was; do your research and go read all the monuments in DC and you’ll see) who has fallen away from their roots ever go back to them again? Everyone in the U.S. has heard the truth, and the vast majority of people have chosen to ignore it, opting either to follow their own hearts or to follow some man’s teaching.

I’m glad God is patient. Because if He can be patient with all the people who are left in the world who don’t know His name, that means He can be patient with me when I forget who He is. And while I don’t think His patience will ever end, there is a day when He will have to move. And while I selfishly look forward to the day I can go home, I hope when that day comes that everyone I know is ready.



It’s very easy to get caught up in life, I think. We live life every day, and sometimes I think we forget that this life is temporary. I know I forget it often. I am so busy with everything that I do in life — my work, my family, my friends, my hobbies — that I forget that not much of it is going to last.  I touched on this in a previous devotional, about how only the things we do for Christ will last in eternity. But this morning, the verse of the day takes it a step further.

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died[a] will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.

Our entire lives on earth are temporary. Think about that. Every detail of our lives will eventually fade away and the person who we actually are will live on still, either in heaven with God or in hell.

We’ve been talking about the second coming for so long. And I’m not talking about people like this Camper guy who claims to know when Christ is coming back. The Bible says no one knows the day of Christ’s return — not even Him. Only God knows that. So the one thing you can be certain of is that when someone stands up and says they know when the rapture will happen, you can trust that it won’t be the day they’re claiming.

But Christ is coming. He promised He would, and He always keeps His promises.

So we need to remember that our lives on Earth aren’t going to last forever. We need to remember that the things we are able to see are the things that will pass away. It’s the things we can’t see that will last forever. The things we can’t see (like Love) are eternal.

So on this Tuesday after a holiday weekend, as I dive back into the corporate world, I am going to do my best to remember that the trials and struggles I encounter aren’t going to last forever. And I’m also going to try to remember that my successes and accomplishments also are only temporary (unless I did them for God . . . and then they’ll last forever). My focus needs to be on the life that is coming. And if I can do that — if I can keep my focus on the life that is ahead of us — it makes this temporary life easier to bear, because I understand that my life down here is just preparing me for what’s coming ahead.