If you read this site regularly then you are probably not among the group that will meet tonight in their best clothes with their Bibles held toward the sky watching for the Lord to take them away.
What you have planned tonight is dinner and a good book. Yet I recommend that you should be prepared for the end of the world anyway.
No, I don’t mean be prepared for the great earthquake that Harold Camping has predicted. Neither is there a great need to go around telling people that the world will not end. Most people live this way regardless, and the more date-setters are mocked and scoffed at, the more determined they become. After all, you would be fulfilling their prophecy.
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers…” – 2 Peter 3:3
Time will adequately dispel the May 21st date, the October 21st date, and the 2012 dates. However, you do need to be prepared for what happens after the end of the world.
Most likely, after the end of the world tonight at 6pm there will be greater opposition against sincere fundamental and dispensational Christians, and the opposition will mostly come from other Christians.
Liberal Christians will use the failed prediction to explain that the Bible cannot be studied literally.
Emergent Christians will lament the squandering of millions of dollars promoting a doctrine when the money could have fed the poor.
Kingdom Christians will blame the failure on the method. Ministry, they say, should not be fundamentalist or doctrinal, but inclusively accepting others to participate in God’s kingdom.
Covenant Christians will add one more reason not to be a dispensationalist to their websites (Harold Camping is on their list twice).
Postmillennial Christians will laugh once more at those who teach the catching away of the church to meet the Lord in the air.
Numerological Christians will scratch their heads as to why Harold Camping did not use the number “7” in his calculations.
It seems every Christian has his reasons that Harold Camping is wrong. If you are a fundamental dispensational Biblical literalist who studies doctrine, then they think you are wrong for the same reasons.
They don’t care what your dispensational chart says anymore than they have actually studied Camping’s calculations.
So be prepared for the end of the world. When Camping is gone, and you are left faithfully holding your Bible rightly divided remember that the battle is not about dates but about doctrine.
When the topic of conversation becomes a failed date take the opportunity to respond with the doctrinal issues of believing the Bible, salvation, and the need to rightly divide.
There will always be date setters. I hope one day they are right (Phil 1:21, 2 Cor 5:8). Until then I will advise people who set dates to consider using 42 in their calculations.