Predictions, Patterns, and Unfulfilled Prophecies
By David G. McAfee
Well, it’s almost May 22, 2011. In spite of a Christian Preacher’s prediction that the Rapture would occur today, and all of the good Christians would be sent to heaven leaving the rest of us to suffer hell-on-earth, we are still alive. There have been no earth-devastating disasters like those anticipated by Harold Camping and his legion of followers. You may have heard that Camping and Family Radio Worldwide predicted a similar Armageddon-like event in 1994; but these types of prophecies are not unique to Camping- or Christianity for that matter- but have been very popular within Christian sects since the religion’s inception. In fact, the first documented failed prophecy within the Christian religion was foreseen by Jesus himself, and is represented in the New Testament of the Christian Bible.
Though the May 21, 2011 prophecy did not reach mainstream Christian teachings, the idea of Jesus returning for a large-scale Rapture in the near future is very much an idea that is held within modern Christian churches including Catholic and Protestant sects; Harold Camping simply put a date to the anticipated event. In the New Testament, the Rapture begins in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17: “… we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This Rapture is just one step in a much larger Armageddon-like event which is outlined in Revelations and other New Testament works. But when does Jesus say these events will occur? On May 21, 2011 as Camping’s followers believed? Or in 1995 as David Koresh’s followers (Branch Davidians) would have you believe? Actually, Jesus seems to indicate that his return and Second Coming would take place within one generation:
1.) Matthew 24:34: Jesus is recorded as saying: “…This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”
2.) Luke 9:26-27: Jesus is recorded as saying: “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.”
Since these early years in Christian thought, every generation of Christians has felt that the end is near, and it is for this reason that these various Armageddon myths continue to spring up year after year. From the Christian prophecies outlined above to the all-too-popular 2012 Mayan Calendar interpretation, End Times predictions have dominated religious discourse from time to time. All of these prophecies, however, share one, key, similarity: to date, none of them have proved to be true, and each date has passed by rather uneventfully- May 21, 2011’s Rapture predictions now join the growing number of unfulfilled prophecies that begin with the one foreseen by Jesus Christ in the Bible.