Prophets and the End of the World

According to Harold Camping of Family Radio Worldwide, the end of the world - the rapture, the apocalypse, whatever you like to call is - is scheduled for today. Darned if I'm finishing the washing up, then.

Naturally this has raised much hilarity and skepticism, but it has also provoked some serious thought. For me, it raised two questions. How much do I believe in Prophecy, and if Rev. Camping is right, am I ready?

Just to be contrary, I'll answer the second question first. Yes. I'd very much like to have my due fourscore years and ten of this very interesting and fun life, and I would like my children to experience rather more of what the world has to offer before they are caught up into eternal bliss, but on the whole it's been a great 42 years, and I am satisfied that I'm ready to meet Jesus with my head held high should it come to that. He and I are well-enough acquainted to be on first-name terms.

So that leaves the issue of prophecy. Do I actually believe Rev. Camping? I'm trying to not let the fact that the very word "camping" has negative connotations for me affect my judgement, but, in fact, no. Not for a moment.

Every Christian should believe in prophecy, because the Bible very clearly teaches that prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit which is available to all. (See Numbers 11:25-29 and 1 Corinthians 12.) But if that's the case, what is to stop off-the-wall fundamentalists proclaiming bizarre and contradictory revelations? And how are we to tell which to believe?

We can all, indeed, have the spirit of prophecy in a certain measure to give words of inspiration to our family or close friends, and to receive guidance for ourselves. But it seems to me when I read the Bible that throughtout the ages, God has appointed a specific spokesman - or occasionally spokesmen - to give His proclaimations to His people (which is now all of us). One thing which marks the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints out from others is that we do believe in a single individual called by God to be a Prophet with a capital P.

I love that about it. Because I think despite having the Holy Scriptures, we are still so much in need of guidance. In some places, the Bible is unclear - is baptism essential to salvation or not? At other times we are unsure how to relate it to modern life, and sometimes we are not clear which rules and guidelines of the Old Covenant and still in force for the New - should we still pay tithing? Stone adulterers? Naturally we can, and should, seek personal guidance for our answers to these questions, but other Christians will seek and obtain completely contrary answers, which is where division and confusion creeps in.

So it's good to have a "buck stops here" person who has been duly called, appointed and ordained of God to be a prophet, seer and revelator and who is the only person on the earth with the authority to declare God's will to all of creation. His name is Thomas S. Monson, I've met him, and he's very nice.

This raises another question, of course. If President Monson were to declare the end of the world on a specific date, would I be more likely to believe him than I would to believe Harold Camping? Would I make arrangements for my pets to be taken care of following my rapture as some followers of Camping have done? Well, no. Because the Bible says in Matthew 24:36 that no one knows when that day will be, not even Jesus himself. So if President Monson did predict a date, I would cease to believe that he is a prophet. And that's yet another reason I don't believe Harold Camping.

Several people have predicted the date of the apocalypse before now. William Miller predicted various dates in 1843 and 1844. The Jehovah's Witnesses predicted 1914, 1918, 1925 and 1942. Many people predicted 1993 (to allow for the seven years of tribulation before the ushering in of the Milennium) and Harold Camping - remember him? - also predicted that the world would end on 6th September 1994.

Anyway, according to his latest theory the rapture will occur at 6 p.m. precisely (in which time zone, I wonder?) and it's now almost 4 p.m., so I'd better go and pack.


  1. PS You might enjoy adding a "followers" button to make it easy to follow you and easy for you to see your followers. Just a thought! : )

  2. As a certain person said some years ago "It wouldn't be Spring without the occasional cuckoo".

  3. Good tip thanks - I have added a "Followers" button right at the top. And it seems this cuckoo was just that, as it's now 6.15 and I still have high hopes of getting to watch Doctor Who tonight. After I finish the washing up.

  4. Great post, Anna. Just so you know the 6 p.m. bit is for California time, so you've got six or seven hours to go.

  5. The formula was simplistic. The notion (nailing the day) was presumptuous. The baggage (trinity and hellfire) was typical. And he sure did flummox a lot of followers. But he is 'keeping on the watch.' No one can say he's not doing that. As so many before him have done. As you pointed out.


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