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Harold Camping Trip Cancelled

Well, the Rapture has come and gone, or at least Harold Camping’s itinerary for it. The news media took late and casual notice of it – significantly, not with any focus on peoples’ last-minute confrontation with their own sinfulness, but an opportunity to paint Christians as kooks. Mr Camping is nothing if not sincere, and since there were no Kool-Aid packets in the Family Radio International’s shopping cart (that is, no financial scam; maybe just bad mathematics, addressing biblical numerology) life goes on.

Two of Camping's followers

Or… has anyone considered whether Heaven held a rapture and nobody came? How many of us ARE worthy to meet the Lord in the air?

The question sounds half-kidding, but is totally serious. I believe the reason that the Bible is so ambiguous about all the questions regarding the Second Coming of Jesus, the End of Time, the Rapture, the End of the Age, the Great Tribulation, the advent of the Millennial Reign of Christ… is to keep us on our spiritual toes.

We should rejoice, as the angels would, for all the souls that would be “scared straight” by the possible end of the world, a week from tomorrow (or whenever). But for every one of those people I have a feeling there would be ten thousand others calculating a “Get Out of Judgment, Free” pass they can hold until five minutes to Rapture, if it is so knowable and advertised by spiritual guides like Brother Camping. I don’t claim to know God’s mind, when He intends that such things are… unknowable. But I am sort of an expert on human nature, being a human and far too often displaying the less admirable traits of same; and I am pretty sure that if the Rapture were on peoples’ to-do list of a date certain, it would be a disincentive, not an encouragement, to get right with God immediately. Most people would eat, drink, and be merry until it got too close for comfort.

I believe it is consistent with God’s will to cite a Bible verse that Brother Camping evidently overlooked. People think that we cannot know “when Jesus will return” and the saints of the ages shall be separated from the sinners. It is there in every version of the Bible, and provides both long-term advice for our behavior, and immediate warnings about our standing with Christ; that is, our salvation.

Here it is, no billboards or radio marathons: I Thessalonians 5:2 — The day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. Another way God stated it: Matthew 24:44 — Be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

There we have it: You want to know when Jesus will return? Answer: When we least expect it.


Here is a song about that day –– that moment, the twinkling of an eye, whenever it might be. BE READY!!! A humble Christian gathering in Zambia, singing an old American gospel song.

Click: When We All Get to Heaven

Rick Marschall is the author of more than 60 books and hundreds of magazine articles in many fields, from popular culture (Bostonia Magazine called him “perhaps America’s foremost authority on popular culture”) to history and criticism; country music, television history, biography and children’s books. He is a former political cartoonist, editor of Marvel Comics, and writer for Disney comics. For 10 years he has been active in the Christian field, writing devotionals; co-authoring The Secret Revealed with Dr Jim Garlow; and writing a biography of Johann Sebastian Bach for the “Christian Encounters” series to be published by Thomas Nelson (2011). Rick is a former Director of Product Development for Youth Specialties. He is recipient of the 2008 “Christian Writer of the Year” award from the Greater Philadelphia Writer’s Conference, and produces a weekly e-mail devotional, “Monday Morning Music Ministry.” His e-mail address is:

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