Harold Camping, President of Family Radio, is predicting the End of the World is coming in 2011. The Rapture is predicted by him to take place on May 21, 2011, with the rest of the End Times events starting on October 21, 2011.
I’m no expert in eschatology (judgment and the end times) but I do know that a lot of things have to happen before Christ returns and the final judgment takes place. I don’t see any of those things on the horizon, so I seriously doubt Camping’s prediction. Many people have made End of the World predictions, and so far they’ve all been wrong. William Miller predicted October 22, 1844, and it didn’t happen. That non-event came to be called The Great Disappointment by the Millerites.
One thing occurred in the 20th century that, in my opinion, started the End Times countdown. It is the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Since that time, we haven’t seen any of the other End Times events come about, so I seriously question the validity of the current prediction. Sadly, such predictions make fools of those who make them and reflect poorly on Christianity. They bring shame to the Name of Jesus Christ. We read in Matthew 24:3-4:
When [Jesus] was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered them, “Beware that no one leads you astray.” NRSV
Jesus said in Mark 13:32-33 that even he didn’t know when the End Times would occur, so isn’t it presumptuous for a mere man to claim to know?
“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.” NRSV
Let me say that despite fools who make predictions of the time, the Second Coming of Christ is real. We see End Times prophecies in both the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) and in the New Testament. So make no mistake about it, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again.” His Second Coming and judgment are fundamental beliefs of Christianity.
We should be ready to meet Christ, either when we die or when he returns, as the hymn “I Know Whom I Have Believed” says:
I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.
As we read in the Bible, he will come when we least expect it, so be prepared, as Jesus himself told us in Matthew 24:44: “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” NRSV.
The Rapture: See 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51
Coming of Christ: See Zechariah 14; Revelation 1:7; Matthew 25:31