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The Secret to Getting Ready for the End of the World

Harold Camping erred not only in claiming that he knew the date of the end of the world, but also by thinking that knowing the date prepares us for the Judgment Day.   So how does the Bible tell us to be ready?

Camping’s assumption that knowing the end of world makes us ready for the Judgment Day led him to seek for a date embedded in the Bible that could be ferreted out by mathematics.  We need to reject this pernicious error.  It is based upon the modernist notion that empirical knowledge is always beneficial.  Jesus, however, thought otherwise.  He said, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Mt 24:42).  Chronological ignorance is good because it keeps us on our toes.  We walk by faith in God’s promises and not by sight using mathematics.

But what about the “signs of the end?”  Aren’t they supposed to make us ready because we’ll know that the time of judgment is near?  If your attitude is that you’ll straighten up your life on Tuesday because you know that Wednesday the judgment is coming, then I question the sincerity of your faith.  There is no love of God or of neighbor in this false kind of faith.  It is just a sinful desire to live as we please for as long as we can and avoid punishment.

The signs of the end times are not merely chronological markers.  This is because the Bible teaches that the end is not just chronologically the last thing to happen.  The end times are a qualitatively different reality that we experience in part now.  

  • Eternal life is not primarily endless existence, but a new kind of life that we begin to experience now by knowing God and Jesus Christ (John 17:3).  We can experience eternal life now because Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.  Eternal life is the life of the resurrection. 
  • When the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles on Pentecost, Peter said that it fulfilled Joel’s prophecy concerning the last days (Acts 2:16-21).  The coming of the Spirit is an end time event.  We experience a foretaste of our inheritance now because we have the Spirit (Ephesians 2:13-14).
  • The signs of the end—the horrors of wars, earthquakes and famines—are a foretaste of the devastations of the Judgment Day. 

How then are we to make sure that we are ready for the end of the world?  Biblically there are two inseparable ways. 

  • Godliness. “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and godly lives” (II Peter 3:11).
  • Evangelism. When the disciples asked Jesus for a timeline, he told them that it was none of their business, but that they would receive the Holy Spirit so that they could be his witnesses to all mankind.  Even then they didn’t seem to get it.  An angel had to come and question them about why they were staring into the sky and tell them that Jesus would come back the same way that he left them.  The implication was that they should go do what Jesus told them to do and not worry about the when and how of his return (Acts 1:6-11).

Christians, we don’t know when Christ will return, but we will be prepared for the end of the world by godliness and a faithful witness to Christ.  The faithful and wise servant will be doing what his master commanded him when his master returns (Matthew 24:45-46).

By the way, it you are interested in reading some excellent critiques of Harold Camping and the errors and dangers of fixing a date for the end of the world, check out Dr. Gary Shogren’s website (

2 thoughts on “The Secret to Getting Ready for the End of the World

  1. All this discussion on Endtimes, the end of all our days… floods, erupting volcanos, earthquakes and what have you… and now we’ve got an E-coli outbreak! If I didn’t know better I’d swear we were in 2012 already :-)!

    1. Well, of course, I don’t believe that 2012 is any better than false biblical interpretations. It’s also doubtful the Mayans believed 2012 was going to be the end, but I know that you’re just kidding around. Thanks for the comment.

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