What bothers me the most about it is the reproach on the Gospel. Camping made a laughing-stock out of the very real doctrine of the Rapture. Indeed, the Scriptures tell us that EXACTLY THAT would characterize the last days.
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.'"
2nd Peter 3:3-4
Ironically, producing scoffers is exactly the fruit of the false prophecies of Harold Camping and others like him. He isn't the first, there have been many. They set dates, and when the dates come and go, scoffing is the fruit. In the early years of my walk with the Lord, I fell for it several times. Men would write books explaining why such and such a date was going to be the time of the Rapture. These were not unintelligent men, and their arguments were convincing. They told of how planets would be lined up in a certain way, and what that meant, and used many other convincing signs that the Rapture would happen at such and such a time. To a young Christian, and especially to those who have had a lot of pain in their lives, these theories gave them hope. But I can speak as one who fell for those theories several times, the great disappointment it produced is enough to turn people away entirely from any more talk of anything "religious." And of course, that's the Satanic intent.
Why is it so hard to understand:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven..."
That very clearly states that anyone who has some theory that the Rapture takes place on a certain day, is automatically disqualifying that very day.
The Rapture surely WILL come. There is no "sign" given beforehand, no Bible prophecy that needs to take place pointing the way to it. If there IS any sign, it's the scoffers.
While there is NO indication we can look for to anticipate the Rapture, there ARE some things that show us we're in that period of time. It's sort of like when you see Christmas decorations being put out in the stores, you know Thanksgiving is near.
The Bible has a LOT to say about "the last days." We know that the last days are characterized by God's restoration of the nation of Israel, along with the powers of hell doing everything in their power to prevent it. We know there will come a world ruler who will win the hearts of all the people but who will be a very evil man, sort of like when Hitler came to power and the masses "heiled" him, yet he turned out to be one of the most evil men in history. This coming world leader will be far worse, and will have the power to do "signs and wonders," thus deceiving many. We know there will be a world currency, and no one will be able to buy or sell unless they sign on to that economy and pledge allegiance to that world leader, the Antichrist. We know that the time leading up to that period will be characterized by great earthquakes, famine, disease, and many wars and rumors of wars.
Every generation has had earthquakes or epidemics or famines or wars. Historians can recall "the great earthquake of..." or "the war of ..." or the great epidemic of...." Indeed, almost all generations have had some "great" trauma. But what will characterize the days leading up to that last seven-year period will be that these things will ALL be there at the same time, and will increase in strength and intensity, as Jesus said, "like birth pangs." And that's exactly what we're seeing now.
The other necessary part of the picture is that Israel must be in the land that God gave to her forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Old Testament prophets forewarned them that they would go into world-wide dispersion and will be without their God or their Temple or their nation for a very long time, but "in the last days" God himself would bring them back from their world-wide dispersion and place them once again in the land given to their forefathers. And after 2,000 years of dispersion, God has now brought them back to their land. It even mentions that they will be speaking Hebrew, a language that was lost for millenia much like the Latin of the Roman Empire. Hebrew, like Latin, would disappear and be found only in religious writings. It's an awesome thing to witness, Israel is back in her land, speaking Hebrew as the common language in her country.
We've seen Israel put back into the land promised her. We see the powers of hell determined to destroy her. We've seen the combined disasters of earthquakes, wars, famine, and disease all happening at the same time and increasing in frequency and intensity.
We can't know the day or the hour that the Lord will come for believers, but we CAN see that the prophesied events of the last seven years are clearly imminent. Scripture tells us that the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will be removed BEFORE that last seven year period begins.
Don't let men like Harold Camping cause YOU to be a scoffer. Harold Camping is actually a sign of the last days, causing men to scoff and bring reproach to the Gospel.
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