When Harold Camping’s latest prediction about the end of the world fails to come true, I hope we learn the right lessons. One is that we cannot predict precisely when he will come back, and it is wrong to say we can. That informmation has not been revvealed to us. As the Lord said during his Olivet Discourse:
Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
I am afraid that many observers of this fiasco, however, will draw the wrong conclusion, namely, that Christ is not coming back at all. He is definitely coming back, and we will all know it when he does. As the apostle Peter noted, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”
The end is indeed coming, and we are to stay awake and alert. I understand and sympathize with the terrible excitement of looking for the imminent return of Christ–indeed, he could come back any day. That will be a day of glory for believers, and disaster for unbelievers.
We should be motivated to tell others to repent with that same kind of zeal. But let’s stop setting dates.