I had never heard of Harold Camping six months ago, and I had never heard of FamilyRadio, his empire that is valued at over $120M.
What I had heard of was people predicting the end of the world. Since Christ’s death and resurrection, people have been trying to use the Bible to predict his return, so learning that Mr. Camping was doing so was no big shock to me.
What was a shock was how many people were willing to go along with it. How many people quit jobs, spent life savings, and in some cases, dropped out of High School, in order to help spread the message of Christ’s return.
I think there are 2 reasons why this sensation caught on like it did.
1) We (and by we, I mean Americans) have an insatiable desire for answers. We don’t like not knowing. We hated the finale of LOST because it didnt’ provide closure, we don’t like movies with ambiguous endings, and we want to know the reasons behind everything. I am certainly guilty of that one.
2) We (and by we, I mean Christians) genuinely want Christ to return. If you’re a Christian who doesn’t, seek prayer and help.
I’ll admit it. I didn’t buy it, but i wanted to. I wanted so badly for 6PM to roll around, and for this world to be over with.
I think that, given the state of the world, Christians everywhere are eagerly anticipating the return of Christ. So when someone comes along and seemingly provides an answer to that, though it may be an uneducated, warped reasoning, we long for it, because it signals the reconciliation of humanity to God in a way that existed only in Eden.
Now, all that to say this: I still think Camping is a false prophet. There is no telling how much money he’s collected as a result of this, and how much more his empire has grown. He’s preyed on people who are biblically weak, with near no knowledge of scripture, and asserted his “authority” in such a way as to make them feel stupid for questioning him. So there’s a LOT of damage to be undone in his wake.
But can we (and by we, I mean Christians again) agree on something? Though we may now know the day or hour of Christ’s return (Matt 24:36), and someone claiming to know that ought to be ignored, we long for Christ’s return.
There is an ache within us for his return. There is a longing in our souls that will only be satisfied in Heaven, and one of these days, it’s going to happen. It won’t come with billboards, or flyers, but it will come.