What Should Believers Think About Predictions, the Last Days, and the Rapture?

I am a committed follower of Jesus who regularly reads and studies the Bible. However, it was not until the Thursday night news last week that I realized that May 21 was supposed to be the rapture. I was quite surprised to learn that the Bible predicted that Jesus would return at 6 pm May 21. It did not happen.

I have three responses that I hope will help you think about the predictions made by Harold Camping and others like him.


I find the predictions from these radio and TV “preachers” so boring. There have been many predictions scattered over many years and, as the saying goes, “even a blind squirrel finds a nut on occasion.”

My first response is “who cares what Harold Camping says?”  I am not in a position to judge the heart and motivation for his most recent prediction or why he has simply not confessed for leading so many people astray, but I think it does remind us that truly only the Father knows the time of Christ’s return.

Maybe it would be best to let the Bible speak for itself on this particular point.

It Ticks Me Off!

My second response is one of anger. If I were not a believer it would be easy for me to think that believers are a bunch of morons. It would also be easy for me to continue to think of the Bible as a book with errors in it. After all, so-called believers using their Bibles keep making predictions and then those predictions do not come true.

Predictions, like the one made by Camping, give the unbelieving world a reason to mock Jesus, to discredit the truth of the Bible, and to see believers as a bunch of liars.

And that ticks me off.

I thought that we Christians were supposed to win disciples and teach them everything that Jesus commanded (Matt 28:19-20). It ticks me off that “Christianity’s” big headline last week gives “evidence” to an unbelieving world that the Bible is not true.

It Encourages Me to Pray and Read My Bible

As I read the text of Scripture, it would appear to me that the “last days” biblically speaking began when Christ ascended to heaven. In other words, the apostles themselves were living in the last days.

I agree that the wars and disasters around our world remind us of biblical language, but correspondence does not equal prediction-fulfillment. The tornados this year have been devastating: hundreds are dead, homes are destroyed, and people are hurting. But these events are no more “last day” events than WWII, WWI, the Civil War, or the countless massacres across the last 2,000 years of human history.

Our church believes in a rapture. We also believe that there is an emphasis in the Bible of always being ready for the return of Christ. But we do not believe that a particular mathematical calculation has suddenly solved the timing question, or that there is a set of events that really help us see the time is near.

Instead, the testimony of the Bible is that it could happen at any time, and wise is the believer who focuses on his present while also looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-14).

We are in the last days, and we believe there is a rapture. But let’s remember that the timing of Christ’s return is known only by the Father. So, if the Lord tarries for many more years, it will be true then that “we are in the last days and we believe there is a rapture.”

Rob Green
Pastor Rob Green oversees Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries. A seasoned counselor, Rob also teaches others how to counsel--through FBCM's training conferences and Faith Bible Seminary's MABC program.