I just received a most interesting email from a friend who attends the Strictly Biblical Ministries pastored by my former student, Pastor Emery Moss, Jr., in Detroit, Michigan. The email included an article titled “Loose Christian Movement says End of Days in May,” an AP article out of Raleigh, N.C.
Apparently Mr. Harold Camping has calculated a new date for the Rapture. This time he thinks it will occur on May 21, 2011.
Mr. Camping published a book titled 1994? in 1992 of 552 pages predicting the end of the world back then.
Mr. Camping published yet another book in 1993 titled Are You Ready? with the subtitle “Much more evidence that 1994 could be the end of the world,” a work of 403 pages.
In 1958 Mr. Camping helped found the Family Radio ministry. I have listened to this ministry over many years on the shortwave radio dial. The ministry features excellent Christian music and generally sound Bible teaching. Mr. Camping most correctly advocates going by the Bible alone and in its entirety.
The problem is, Mr. Camping does not engage in what I call Real Bible Study.
His procedures do not pass what I call “The Robinson Crusoe Desert Island Test.”
Leave it to an English major, and long-time English and literature teacher to come up with this one. You might object, “But where in the Bible can you find this?” The answer to that good question is right here:
Isa 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
It may well be true that Mr. Camping claims to derive all his information from the Bible. But if you have read the classic work by Daniel Defoe, The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, you must know that even with the “three good Bibles” Crusoe managed to salvage from the abandoned chests of the perished shipwrecked sailors, it would not be possible to come up with such schemes using even the three good plain text Bibles he found with all the time in the world, undisturbed, to read them.
Robinson Crusoe surely would encounter this verse, though, after some extensive reading:
Mat 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
If he read a bit further he would find this one:
Mat 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
And then he would see this:
Luk 12:40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
If Robinson Crusoe were a careful reader who kept track of his reading, he would discover from these and other texts in Scripture that:
(1) The Bible does not teach that the world will come to an end. The Bible teaches the direct opposite in many places.
Psa 104:5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
Reading a while longer, he would spot this one:
Psa 148:6 He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.
Reading further, Robinson would find this one:
Ecc 1:4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
(2) After some study, Robinson would discover that the passages speaking of the Coming of Christ at a time unexpected may not refer to the Rapture at all, but to the final stage of the Second Coming, when Christ comes in a manner such that “every eye shall see him” (Revelation 1:7), a coming not for His saints (or believers), but with His saints.
(3) After considerable time reading further into the New Testament, Robinson Crusoe would encounter the teaching of the Apostle Paul about the Rapture of living believers, and the near-simultaneous though immediately preceding event, the resurrection of the dead in Christ:
1Th 4:16 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:
1Th 4:17 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.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
(4) Further reading and study would establish that Christ’s Kingdom is future, not present, and will be upon this earth, not in Paradise, or the Third Heaven, or Heaven.
(5) Careful attention to what the Bible actually says would establish that Christ as the Son of Man will reign on this earth from Jerusalem not merely for 1000 years of the Millennium, but He will reign for ever.
Robinson noticed in his Bible reading the following texts of Scripture:
Isa 24:23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
Isaiah 24:23 surely establishes that the reign will be in Jerusalem.
Zec 14:9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
Zechariah 14:9 shows that the Messiah, the Son of Man, our Lord Jesus Christ, shall be king over all the earth.
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6, 7 shows that the reign of the Messiah will be for ever, upon the Throne of David, here upon this earth. The Throne of David is never said to be in heaven in the Bible.
Luk 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
Luk 1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Luke 1:32, 33 surely confirms that our Lord Jesus Christ will reign upon the Throne of his father David for ever, and his kingdom here on earth will never end.
(6) Therefore, there will be an everlasting kingdom of God or kingdom of Heaven here upon this earth that lasts forever. This world will never be destroyed so as to become uninhabitable, for eternal generations of mankind in the flesh will continue eternally upon this earth.