The RAPTURE is the next event on God’s prophetic calendar. It is imminent, which means, it could happen any time. No prophecies have to be fulfilled before the Rapture can take place. I long for the Rapture of Church Age believers. But, it has grieved me to see people make fun of the Rapture and God’s coming judgment on unbelieving people because of the bogus predictions of false prophet Harold Camping. We are seeing 2 Peter 3:2-4 come to pass - “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 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.”
The Rapture WILL happen in God’s timing! Not Harold Campings. God WILL judge the Christ rejecters and unbelieving scoffers. We read in Jude 1:14-18 “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. 17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.”
· Definition of Terms
Before I go any further, I want to define some words, so we are on the “same page” so to speak.
By definition The Rapture is the ‘catching away’ of Church Age believers in Jesus, as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, thereby fulfilling His promise that the Church was not appointed to wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10), and completing the age of the Church.
Lets look at these Scripture passages: 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.”
So, what is the “Church Age” also called the “Age of Grace,” or as Ephesians 3:2 calls it, “…the dispensation of the grace of God.” John F. Walvoord says, “most expositors agree that the New Testament Church in some sense began on the Day of Pentecost.” Dwight J. Pentecost says, “After the day of Pentecost and until the rapture we find the church which is His body…After the rapture we find no church….” So to clarify then, we believe the Church Age began at Pentecost, in Acts 2, and will conclude with the Rapture of genuine believers.
It certainly is my pray, “even so come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20). I want the Rapture to come today, and it could, or it may not come for another 100 years. But it WILL come in God’s time. Peter wrote – “The Lord is not slack [slow, tardy, delayed] concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…” 2 Peter 3:9-10b.
The fact is, that the end time events that begin with the Rapture will come unexpectedly. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”
However, there have always been those who are intent on setting dates for the Rapture of the Lord, despite of the fact that our Lord clearly says you could not know the date.
Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
Mark 13:32 “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”
Let me give you several examples of those who will not accept “NO” for an answer, and who think they do an end run around God and figure out the date. I was in
about a week ago. There is an historic cemetery there. Battle Creek Michigan was a haven for the Seventh Day Adventists. James and Ellen White are buried there, the co-founders of that movement. This group was founded as a result of setting dates for the Lord’s return. Let me give you a brief historical sketch. Battle Creek
farmer by the name of William Miller who developed a theory in the 1820′s, based on Daniel 8:14 that Jesus would return to the earth on March 21, 1844. The verse reads – “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Vermont
Miller converted the days into years. He assumed the prophecy was given in 457 B.C. then calculated that Jesus would return 2,300 years later, on March 21, 1844. Further, he interpreted the “cleansing of the sanctuary” to refer to the purging of the earth by fire at the Second Coming of Jesus!
Miller’s date came and passed without any sign of the Lord’s return. He recalculated and set the new date for October 22, 1844. But, when nothing happened on this second date, most of Miller’s followers became totally disillusioned and abandoned him. The whole experience was dubbed “The Great Disappointment.” Miller died in disgrace four years later in 1849.
But that was not to be the end of the matter. One small group of Miller’s followers in
New England decided that he had not been wrong after all. Led by a young so-called prophetess named Ellen G. White, they began to teach that on October 22, 1844, Jesus had returned invisibly and had entered the Holy of Holies in Heaven to begin an “investigative judgment” of the works of every person who has ever lived in order to determine their fitness for Heaven. They further taught that the reason Jesus did not return to the earth on the October date was because of the Church’s failure to observe the Jewish Sabbath. Worshipping on Sunday was considered The Mark of The Beast. They asserted that he would soon return Thus they founded what is known today known as The Seventh Day Adventists.
Another group also tried to hold to the 1844 date. It was led by Jonas Swendahl and was known as the Second Adventists. They believed that 1844 did not mark the date of Jesus' return, but of the beginning of the last generation, which would be 30 years long. Swendahl taught that Jesus would therefore return in 1874.
One of Swendahl's followers was a former Presbyterian named Charles Taze Russell. When 1874 came and went, he concluded 30 years was not long enough for a generation. So he added 70 years to 1844 and concluded that Jesus would return in 1914. This and other differences led him to split from the Second Adventists and launch Zion's Watchtower and Herald of Christ's Presence. His followers became known as the International Bible Students, and they went about the country with the message, “Millions now living will never die!” Followers were to leave their churches and fellowship together. All churches were considered apostate, but God had provided a new channel for their instruction, Zion's Watchtower Tract Society. What began as the International Bible Students has become the Jehovah's Witnesses. The date of 1914 was changed to 1925, 1941, and 1975. What began as calling Christians out of their churches to prepare for Christ's return has become an anti-Christian cult. I believe we are seeing a rerun of what has happened before.
Here are just a few of his hair-brained calculations & teachings –
· The Church Age ended on May 21, 1988 and the Tribulation began that day.
· Between May 21, 1988 and September 6, 1994, the first six years of the Tribulation, almost no one was saved.
· On September 6, 1994, God began to pour out His Spirit. This will result in a great end time harvest of souls during the last years of the Tribulation.
· Since the Tribulation will last 8,400 days or 23 years, dating from May 21, 1988, the Rapture will occur on May 21, 2011.
· Those left behind will be judged by Jesus for a period of five months, until October 21, 2011, at which time the world will come to an end.
· Harold Camping teaches that the Holy Spirit is no longer working in the church.
· Harold Camping teaches that EVERY church in the world is apostate.
These teachings raise a lot of questions, the most important being, “How did Camping arrive at the date of May 21, 1988 as the end of the Church Age?”
The answer is absolutely bizarre! He begins his explanation by claiming that the first Jubilee Year after the re-establishment of
in 1948 was 1994. Then he says that because the last part of the Tribulation is identified with a great multitude to be saved (Revelation 7), the last part of the Tribulation must have begun in 1994, since it was the first Jubilee Year since the re-establishment of Israel in 1948. He goes on to explain that because the first part of the Tribulation must be identified with the 2,300 days of Daniel, the Tribulation must have begun 2,300 days earlier, which would place it in 1988. AND, since the Church was established on the Day of Pentecost, the end of the Church Age must have occurred on the day before Pentecost, which in 1988 was May 21. Israel
Are you confused yet? I certainly am, but there is one more thing I want to share.
“How did Camping come up with the date of May 21, 2011 for the Rapture?” Here is the trick the master magician used to come up with the date. He dogmatically claims that since the Tribulation lasts 23 years, the Rapture will occur on May 21, 2011, because that is 23 years after the Tribulation began on May 21, 1988. I can not figure out how he arrived at 23 years for the length of the Tribulation when both Daniel and Revelation make it clear that the Tribulation will last 7 years. I’m sure his answer is in his writing, or at least his head somewhere, but I can not find it.
To be honest, his writings are so obtuse that are like chasing a skunk in a labyrinth with no way out. This convinces many people that he must be a profound thinker and a genius. He must have received these revelations from God, because they do not make sense to the average person.
I believe Harold Camping is a False Prophet. He is being used as a tool of Satan just like the false teachers of the past. By substituting the false, he is conditioning people to be skeptical of the true teaching of the End Times. As Paul wrote - “…let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings….” Romans 3:4