We’re Still Here!

Well, May 21, 2011 has come and gone and we are still here and the world  wasn’t destroyed as predicted by Harold Camping of Family Radio.   His prediction was based on his estimated time for Noah’s flood as May  21, 4990 B.C. (Gen. 7:10-11) and Peter’s statement “with the Lord one day  is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day” (II Pet.  3:8). Harold Camping taught that May 21, 1988 was “the end of the church  age and the first day of a 23-year period of Great Tribulation during which  Satan has been employed by God to officially rule all of the churches as well as  the whole world.”

I’m sure you  have heard the proverb, “Those who don’t learn from history are destined to  repeat it,” and history is full of unfulfilled predictions of the return of  Christ and the end of the world. Harold Camping’s is just one of a long list of  predictions which failed to come true. Here are just a few of the failed  predictions of the second coming of Christ and/or the end of the world as we  know it.

1)  The  Anabaptists of the early 16th century believed that the millennium would begin  in 1533 with the New Jerusalem located in Munster, a province of Ireland.

2)  The Lutheran  Church believed the gospel would be preached to all nations by 1590 and that  Christ would return by 1635.

3)   William Miller (who founded the Seventh-Day Adventism) predicted the second  coming of Christ for Mar. 21, 1844, then April 18, then Oct. 22. The lack of  fulfillment of these predictions was named The Great Disappointment.  They explained away the failed predictions by saying that Jesus at that  time began what they call His “Investigative Judgment” in heaven, observing mankind to see who is “worthy”  of eternal life.

4)  Russian  Mennonite minister Claas Epp, Jr predicted that Christ would return on Mar. 8,  1889.

5)  Charles Taze  Russell, first president of the Watchtower Society, and founder of the  Jehovah’s Witnesses, calculated 1874 as the year of Christ’s Second  Coming. When Christ didn’t appear, he claimed that He returned invisibly. He also  predicted that God would begin to destroy non-Jehovah Witness churches and  millions of         their members in  1918.

6)  J.F.  Rutherford, who succeeded Russel, predicted that the Millennial Reign would  begin in 1925, with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David resurrected as “princes.” He  predicted that Armageddon would begin in 1975. In 1974, Jehovah’s Witnesses were  encouraged to sell their homes and property and spend their last days in full-time preaching.

7)  Joseph  Smith, founder of The Latter Day Saints (Mormonism), made several predictions  concerning the return of Jesus.

8)  The  Assemblies of God in The Weekly Evangel predicted that WWI was the  commencement of Armageddon and Christ would come back before the war  ended.

9)  Calvary  Chapel charismatic Pastor Chuck Smith several years ago published the book  End Times in which he predicted Christ would return before 1981, based  on Israel’s becoming a nation on May 14, 1988 as “the budding of the fig tree” and  a pre-Tribulation rapture.  This same viewpoint was published by the  popular pastor-author Hal Lindsey in The Late Great Planet Earth.

10)  Ed  Wisenant, also basing his calculations on Israel’s becoming a nation again in  1948 and the prophecy of the budding of the fig tree and a generation being 40 years, predicted that Christ would come in 1988.  He wrote a book titled  88 Reasons Why Christ Must Come In 1988. He sent copies to pastors all  across the United States.

11)  Most  recently, Harold Camping, on Family Radio, predicted that the world  would be destroyed on May 21, 2011. Billboards were placed around the nation and letters and postcards were mailed to folks all across the nation to warn them of  the coming judgment and how he had arrived at this date.

But, it is now  May 23rd, and we are still here, and the world hasn’t been destroyed.  How  sad that folks don’t believe what Jesus said when He predicted the judgment on  the heavens and the earth (Mt. 24:35). He said: “But of the day and hour  no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father  alone…Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is  coming” (Mt. 24:36,42).  As your read through the New Testament  letters, it becomes clear that God has wanted believers to expect the return of  Christ at any time and live accordingly, but not to set dates and then try to  explain away their failed predictions. It is a cause of embarrassment to the  church and causes damage to the cause of Christianity. The fact remains that His  Word clearly teaches that Jesus will return to catch away the Church (I Cor.  15:51,52; I Thes. 4:13-18; II Thes.  2:1) and then, after the 7-year  Tribulation period, will come back to earth to reign for 1,000 years. This  really will happen because that is what God’s Word teaches, but we waste our  time and energy trying to figure out when and we cause the world to mock and  laugh when our predictions fail.  No wonder, as Peter wrote, “…In  the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own  lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the  fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of  creation” (II Pet. 3:3-4).  Peter continues, however,  saying, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in which the  heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with  intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these  things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in  holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the  coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by  burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!  But according to  His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which  righteousness dwells” (vv. 10-13).

We are to live with the awareness that Christ could come at any time,  but not quit working and ministering to sit around and wait. Jesus told us to  “occupy until He comes” (Lk. 19:13 KJV), i.e., we are to stay  busy serving Him and doing our job until He returns.  And meanwhile we need  to heed the Apostle Paul’s admonition to “Be diligent  to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to  be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15).  Don’t “Scripture pluck” by taking verses out of their context to make  them say what you want. And remember, “God didn’t give us the Bible to satisfy  our curiosity, but to transform our lives.”

“Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God  and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Tit. 2:13)

Pastor Dave


About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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