Posted by: Mike Willoughby | May 25, 2011

Doomsday Preparedness 101

I’m sure many of you joined me in watching with amusement on Saturday as another deadline for the end of the world came and went without hint of global destruction.  The May 21 date joins a host of other doomsday dates that have come and gone.  I suppose we can now look forward to December 21, 2012 without distraction as the next doomsday date.

To be fair to Harold Camping (the originator of the May 21 date) the 21st was supposed to be the rapture of the church which he calculated at about 3% of the world’s population.  The following five months would be a period of great tribulation beginning with global rolling earthquakes beginning on May 21st at 6:00 PM in each time zone and ending with the destruction of the world on October 21, 2011.  I understand Mr. Camping has now revised his prediction to schedule the rapture and the destruction of the world simultaneously on October 21st

I predict without hesitation that Mr. Camping and the Mayan calendar are wrong about the date of the end of the world.  Jesus himself said the date of his return to earth was known only to God as recorded in Matthew 24:36.  The Apostle Paul affirms the unpredictability of the date in I Thessalonians 5:1-11.

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

The Bible clearly indicates the day of the Lord cannot be predicted and will come “like a thief in the night” so why the fascination with trying to predict the unpredictable?  Most of my friends commented on the doomsday date on Saturday via Facebook or in conversation.  Most of the news organizations had something to say about the prediction before and after Saturday.  A host of blogs took up the topic including one enterprising blogger who offered commemorative T-shirts for the occasion.  I even found myself galncing outside Saturday afternoon around 6:00 PM just to make sure the rolling earthquakes weren’t threatening to swallow up the ‘ole homestead. 

Without judging Mr. Camping’s motives for his date-setting, I think part of the reason for this phenomenon (at least in recent history) must be the natural attention that seems to accompany these doomsday “visionaries.”  Each prognosticator gets a few minutes of fame from their prediction although one would think they would suffer the downside of negative attention when their prediction fails to materialize.  Perhaps they operate according to the philosophy that “there is no such thing as negative publicity.”

I think an even more reasonable explanation comes from our human tendency to want to be in control of our conditions.  The more unpredictable the conditions, the more we seem to want to exercise control.  Our human logic says, “if we could only know the date Jesus will return then we could plan and prepare for the date.”  The irony is that God actually gives us complete control over our destiny so that the unpredictable day of the Lord will not come as an unpleasant surprise like a thief.  Rather than agonize over the date or wonder whether my equally unpredictable death will precede the date, I can simply stay prepared spiritually “awake and sober.”

In this state of preparation having obtained “salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him” I am constantly ready for the end of life whether it is individual or universal.  I admit the “stay prepared” method is not as exciting as the doomsday prediction method nor does it make for a good movie plot.  However, sometimes boring is just better!

Until next week,

Meet me at the intersection!
Previous Intersections Articles

Relationship Matters (Gentleness) Relationship Matters (Quarreling) Thinking about Justice

Copyright © 2011 Michael Willoughby. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to author and/or owner with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. Regarding the second arrival of the Son of God, Mark 13:32 states “But as for that day or hour no one knows it – neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son – except the Father.” [which brings up a fun argument about the Trinity and how they can keep information from each other]

    I think that sums it up nicely. Simply be prepared and everything else takes care of itself.


  2. I wonder if this could be another nail in the coffin for the image of Christianity in the world? “Who needs Christianity anyway? They are all kooks who are nuts.” I believe we will continue to have an uphill battle of bringing God’s truth to a lost world. It won’t be easy – maybe we need to get started today! Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. Well said, Mike!! Great post!

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