For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
After Harold Camping’s prediction of the rapture occurring on Saturday, May 21, 2011, we are still here! Surprised? Disappointed? Relieved?
Camping also unsuccessfully predicted the world would end in 1994. Some put so much faith in this one man’s prediction that they spent their life savings to help spread the word of Judgment Day. Others quit their jobs. Some even paid $135 to secure contracts with Eternal Earthbound Pets, a company owned and operated by atheists who commit to caring for pets of Christians who are raptured. Those who believed the end was coming wanted to be ready. Many others have predicted Christ’s second coming and no doubt there will be others. However, Matthew 24:36 clearly states that “no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Obviously, this latest prediction was wrong, but was it all in vain? One thing I see is that it got people talking and searching for answers. Consider this, what would you do if you really knew that Christ’s return would be tomorrow? More than likely you would first want to be sure that your life was right with God, and then your concern would turn to those you love. 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” We can look forward to the day we will meet Him face to face. We don’t know the day or hour, but we can live with confidence rather then fear if we are ready.
Christ’s return is not something we can mark on our calendar and plan for. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 says, “For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” Most of us prepare for the possibility of a thief coming. We lock doors and windows, get a dog, install alarms, and maybe even keep a bat or gun near the bed. We work hard for the things we have and don’t want them taken unexpectedly. In the same manner, we need to prepare for the time of Christ’s return or the end of our life in this temporary home. We can’t count on having time to make a deathbed decision. We must be prepared. We must repent, love others, and use the gifts God has given us to minister to those around us.
Shouldn’t we live every day as if there is no tomorrow? Then we don’t have to worry about being surprised, disappointed, or relieved after the next prediction. We will be ready when the real thing happens!