According to Camping and his independent ministry Family Radio Worldwide, Jesus is coming back Saturday to gather the faithful home. Camping's theory -- based on "numerological calculations" -- is in direct conflict with all those who believe the world will end Dec. 21, 2012, which is the end of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar.
As with most other Christians, I think Camping and the calendar counters are probably a little off. But, as someone who has been laughed at and ridiculed for my religious beliefs, I'll politely respect their right to believe what they will. If their predictions lead a few more to find Jesus and get right with God, all the better.
The problem is I don't believe God is basing the end of time on numerological calculations or a calendar. According to my Bible, he is the only one who knows when the end will come and who will be gathered into heaven.
I believe God sends people visions or premonitions or whatever you want to call them. I just don't think Judgment Day is a secret he is going to give away. According to I Thessalonians, he will come like "a thief in the night."
If you believe the Bible, there are signs of the end revealed in the book of Revelation and, certainly, there are omens visible in the world today. How long God allows the world to continue is anyone's guess.
Camping holds that the Rapture -- the belief that Christ will bring the faithful into paradise prior to a period of tribulation on Earth that precedes the end of time -- will take place Saturday with the finale to come some months later. As an aside, Camping made the same prediction 17 years ago, and well, you see how that went.
On Facebook, a friend of mine posted, "SO ... the 21st HUH?!?! Should I be worried?" My thought, "I don't know. Should you?"
All those making a big fuss about Jesus returning and doomsday and the end of time may be doing so because they are concerned. I'm not all that worried. I was saved when I was 10, and I believe, without a doubt, my salvation will carry me to heaven in the end.
The Associated Press has reported those scoffing at Camping's prophecy have planned Rapture parties for Saturday. Atheists are taking the opportunity to make money off the poor fools who believe their pets will need someone to look after them. Some Christians have said the Lord will leave his people here to continue his church. Last time I checked, when the end comes, that's it -- for everyone and everything.
While I will not be partying, I will be spending the weekend with my family, the place I would want to be if Jesus came back. As my dad said, "If I thought he was coming back tomorrow, I'd be fishing today."
So, if Jesus comes back Saturday, I'll see you on the other side. If not, let's continue looking to him until he does.
Jessica Loeding is the managing editor of The Daily Tribune News.