In January 1961, a few days before John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as president, he invited Billy Graham to spend a day with him in Key Biscayne, Florida. After a round of golf, Kennedy and Graham were returning to their hotel when Kennedy stopped the white Lincoln convertible he was driving by the side of the road.
“Billy, do you believe that Jesus Christ is coming back to Earth one day?” Kennedy asked.
“Yes, Mr. President, I certainly do,” the evangelist responded.
“Then why do I hear so little about it?” Kennedy wondered.
Were Kennedy alive today, he probably wouldn’t be asking the same question.
During Kennedy’s lifetime, few mainline Protestant churches discussed the second coming of Jesus Christ.
A 2004 Newsweek poll revealed that 55 percent of Americans believe in the Rapture, the snatching away of all Christians prior to the end of the world and the return of Jesus Christ. Bible prophecy inherently attracts fanatics. As a seminary professor of mine used to say to our class, “Remember, wherever there is light, there are bugs!”
One of those fanatics is Harold Camping, the founder of the Christian broadcasting ministry Family Radio in Oakland, California. Camping has predicted that the Rapture will occur at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, followed by the end of the world five months later on October 21, 2011.
Family Radio has plastered billboards across the nation with the warning “Judgment Day, May 21, The Bible Guarantees It!”
Readers should note that Camping first predicted the world’s end in 1994. He says he was wrong due to a mathematical miscalculation. Now I am going to make my own prediction which I’m (almost) willing to stake my life on: May 21 will come and go without any Rapture.
When May 21 passes and Camping’s prophecy is added to the ash heap of discredited prophecies, some will be tempted to join the chorus of cynics whom the Bible predicts will mockingly say, “Where is the promise of Christ’s coming?” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
Blah to it all – this is why I am not guided our led by religion and its numerous interpretations!