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Copyright: © 2011 Gregory J. Rummo
"JUDGMENT DAY" WILL NOT BE MAY 21
By: Gregory J. Rummo
They stood suspended above I-287 in northern New Jersey last January like specters on a highway overpass; two hooded figures in black raincoats braving the elements during a rare rain event in an otherwise cold and snowy month.
The banner they held between them ominously warned northbound motorists: “Judgment Day May 21.”
In case you haven’t heard: According to Harold Camping, the President of Family Stations, a California based Christian radio station, this Saturday is supposed to be the day that Jesus Christ returns for his church; an event referred to as “the Rapture.”
A website created specifically to announce Judgment Day, wecanknow.org states: “We can know from the Bible alone that the date of the rapture of believers will take place on May 21, 2011 and that God will destroy this world on October 21, 2011.”
This isn’t the first time Camping has tried to set a date for the return of Jesus Christ. In his 1992 book, “1994?” he predicted that Jesus would return in mid-September of that year.
Harold Camping is in good company with other end times date setters. The Mayan calendar portends the end of the world on December 21, 2012 (although recent research has shown this date may be off by as much as 50-100 years.)
More specific to Christendom were the 20th-century prophecies of Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witness. He believed that Jesus had secretly returned in 1874 and would establish his kingdom in October 1914. When that failed to occur, the prophecy was recalculated to 1915, 1918 and 1920.
“There seems to be an insatiable curiosity on the part of some, to keep guessing the date for the end of the world,” says Reverend Dave Gustavsen, the Senior Pastor of Jacksonville Chapel in Lincoln Park, New Jersey. “The date-guessers usually claim to be Christian; the problem is, when Jesus taught, he made it pretty clear that we aren’t privy to that kind of information.”
In what Rev. Gustavsen describes as an “ego-driven desire to play God,” such reckless speculation is akin to crying wolf; it ultimately causes those outside the church to turn a deaf ear to genuine calls for repentance and to doubt the clear message of Christ’s return taught plainly throughout the Bible in passages such as the Book of Acts where angels announced that “…Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
“Whatever [Camping’s] motivation, the downsides are obvious: Every time a doomsday date proves false, the date setter looks foolish (because he is.) And to some extent, the larger Christian community loses credibility in the eyes of some,” explains Rev. Gustavsen.
“But even more troublesome from a Christian perspective, when people are focused on end-time predictions, they are distracted from continuing the mission that Jesus started—bringing a message of faith, hope and love that this world so desperately needs,” he said.
While books such as Daniel in the Old Testament, Revelation in the New Testament, and passages from the Gospels, especially the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, lay out a sequence of events that conservative Bible scholars believe indicate we may be living in End Times, there is nothing in the Scriptures that pinpoints an exact date for Judgment Day.
In fact Jesus addressed this situation himself; explaining that his return would be like a “thief in the night” and that “about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
And certainly not Harold Camping—I would add.
Greg Rummo is the author of “The View from the Grass Roots.” He writes a weekly column of the same name for The Suburban Trends, a North Jersey Media Group newspaper. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website, GregRummo.com, where you can subscribe to his free, weekly newsletter.
"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091; email@example.com
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