Judgment Day on May 21?

Harold Camping, 89, says judgment day, or the beginning of the end of the world, is May 21, 2011. He predicts that millions of Christians will be raptured that day, which will then be followed by five months of earthquakes and other "horrible" events until Oct. 21, when the world will be destroyed. "It is going to happen; this is what the Bible teaches," he insists. While a small following has chosen to hop on Camping's boat and warn the rest of the world about May 21, many evangelical leaders have rejected the prediction as false, silly and dangerous. What do you think?

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The End of the World Is NOT Happening This Saturday

By now you have heard of the ‘predictions’ of a man named Harold Camping.

He has gotten quite a bit of press over his prediction that the world will come to an end on May 21, 2011. I’m not going to even go into how he says he arrived at that conclusion, but instead I will just cut to the chase.

He is wrong.

By the way, this is not the first time he has made this prediction. The last time was on September 6, 1994. Needless to say, that did not pan out.

You might say, “But how do you know that he is wrong?” That is a valid question. My answer is because the next event on the prophetic calendar is the rapture of the church, not “the end of the world.”

The Rapture is that event when all true believers are called to meet the Lord in the air (see 1 Thessalonians 4:17). Then the tribulation period, which will last for seven years, will begin and at the end of that will come God’s judgment with the second coming of Jesus.

No one knows the day or hour.

As to when Jesus will come for His church in the Rapture, we cannot know that date. In Acts 1:7, Jesus said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” In Matthew 24:36, Christ taught similarly: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”

So, because of the misguided notions of Mr. Camping, there are going to be some disillusioned people on May 22, 2011. But none of them will be people who have carefully studied the Scripture, only those who have effectively ignored it.

Jesus is coming!

In response to Camping’s misguided predictions, atheists in the United States are planning “Rapture after parties” as a way of making light of Camping’s predictions and really the very idea that Jesus is returning. That is a foolish thing to do, because there will come a day when Jesus will return.

Scripture warns about this:

“First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this “coming” he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation’” (2 Peter 3:3 NIV).

God then reminds us that He keeps His promises, and He has promised to come again.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8).

The end of your world may come even sooner.

While I do not believe the end of the world is coming on May 21, let me add the ‘end of your world’ (or mine) could come on any day. By that I mean the day when you and I die.

That is why we need to all make sure our lives are right with God and we are walking closely with him.

The Bible says we need to “prepare to meet our God” (Amos 4:12). Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people.

Are you ready to meet the Lord face to face? Only those who have put their complete trust and faith in Jesus Christ are.

We are reminded of how we are to be living as believers as we await Christ’s return, in 2 Peter 3:14, “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him.”

Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California. He has preached to more than four million people at Harvest Crusades events across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Additionally, Laurie serves on the board of directors of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse. He holds honorary doctorates from Biola University and Azusa Pacific University.