Today is supposed to be the day that the world ends, according to self-appointed prophesy expert Harold Camping. Of course, Jesus was very explicit that no one would be able to do this in Matthew 24:36. (A local pastor, Stu Kerns, had a great interview on the radio on this topic, which you can listen to here.) Camping’s mistake is, at best, foolish.
But I worry that many evangelicals aren’t clear about why they disagree with Camping. The world hates the mere idea of Jesus returning, and Camping is just one more buffoon who happens to hold this silly idea. Of course, his predicting dates and time makes him all the more of a target, but make no mistake–the world hates Jesus, and that is why this story has been like an early Christmas gift to them.
It should be obvious, then, that Christians can have no part in the world’s mockery.
In fact, if part of me isn’t hoping that Harold Camping is the proverbial broken clock that is right twice a day, so that Jesus does come back without any further delay, then something is wrong.
So, evangelicals are correct to reject the idea that we can predict this, because Jesus himself said that we wouldn’t. But as we reject this idea, do we do this with hearts aching to see our resurrected Savior? Does the world understand that while we cannot agree with Camping’s logic, we would give anything to see Jesus before the end of the day?
The Indelible Grace version of the hymn “Come Then, Lord Jesus” brings me to tears almost every time I sing it:
The Church has waited long
Her absent Lord to see
And still in loneliness she waits
A friendless stranger she
Age after age has gone,
Sun after sun has set
And still, in weeds of widowhood,
She weeps a mourner yet
Chorus: Come then, Lord Jesus, come
Come then, Lord Jesus
Come then, Lord Jesus, come, come, come.
The serpent’s brood increase,
The powers of hell grow bold
The conflicts thickens, faith is low,
And love is waxing cold
How long, O Lord our God,
Holy and true and good
Wilt thou not judge Thy suffering Church,
Her sighs and tears and blood?
We long to hear thy voice,
To see Thee face to face
To share Thy crown and glory then,
As now we share thy grace
Should not the loving bride,
The absent Bridegroom mourn?
Should she not wear the weeds of grief,
Until her Lord return?
The whole creation groans,
And wait to hear that voice
That shall restore her comeliness,
And make her wastes rejoice
Come, Lord, and wipe away,
The curse, the sin, the stain
And make this blighted world of ours,
Thine own fair world again
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Rev. 22:20)