Where were you on the waning hours of May 21st?

I heard of one man who spent $140,000 of his life savings on the evangelism of this date. Many more, I’m sure, sold houses and quit jobs in the anticipation of the rapture of God’s people. What did people like this feel as the hours drifted away and as Sunday was borne?

I can imagine you watching the hands of the wall clock, hoping, sitting with your family, waiting. The daylight fades and the toll of midnight tells you something you never thought of: that this date, this prediction, that you, were wrong.

Maybe you felt betrayed and maybe now you feel you can never trust any pastor, the Bible, even God Himself. But I want to tell you, no, don’t do that. You may have lost everything – your life savings, your job – but there’s one thing in the world that can’t be lost, and that’s God.

There are many false teachings in the world. There are many people, past and present, who have used what is good and right to promote what is bad and wrong. Harold Camping is one of those people. He had used the Word of God to promote something that the Book has never sponsored. The Bible says that “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven . . . . Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:36, 42). God never intended for us to know the future so exactly.

So don’t let yesterday deteriorate your faith in the Bible. Let this day be a learning phase, that through our errors, albeit hard, can bring us to a better place in our souls. Understand that times like these warn of the terrible consequences of failing to read our Bibles. When we do not know its contents for ourselves, we can more easily be deceived by some who misuse it. Please take it upon yourself to test every wind of doctrine that seems out of place with the basic nature of who God is. As is said in I John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Don’t give up on God’s Word. Though men may mangle with its contents and fit its words into concepts of their own making, the message of the Bible never changes. Its historicity, reality, and trustworthiness never changes. The people who use it do. That is why God gave believers the Holy Spirit. We have in our souls the power of God to interpret His Word, and we should use it to faithfully study His Word and prevent ourselves from falling for the false claims of a false prophet.

Don’t let your grave disappointment make you lose your faith in God. The Bible is not filled with secret revelations on the future or with hidden doctrines that only a few can learn. It contains a simple message and a very simple hope: that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth as a man, died to take the place of His people, died to become sin for them so they might live, and rose again on the third day so that His people may too rise from the grave when His time comes.

And that time is not something He chose to reveal. Beware of people such as Harold Camping who try to put a date on something for which He tells us “not even the angels of heaven” know the time.

Today is May 22. Let this be a new day, a new beginning, and leave yesterday behind. You know the truth now, that you must explore the Bible to see “whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (II Corinthians 13:5). We mustn’t let ourselves lose everything we own for the saying of one false prophet, for in this world what someone says of God is not necessarily what God says of Himself. And to find what He says of Himself, we must search the Words of God, not the words of men. Don’t give up hope on God.