16 May, 2011
Why Harold Camping Will Likely Be Wrong about May 21, 2011
Sometime last summer, I learned that Harold Camping had written another book predicting the time when Jesus would rapture the church to heaven. I wanted to write about this prediction, but have always found more productive subjects to cover. A few days ago, I suddenly realized that this week's update would be my last opportunity to comment ahead of the May 21, 2011 date.
I am extremely pessimistic that Camping will be proven correct. In 1992, he published a book titled 1994? in which he claimed have figured out that September 6, 1994, would be the time of the Lord's return. Once that date failed, he reset his countdown calendar six more times:
(1) September 15, 1994, the Jewish Day of Atonement
(2) September 25, 1994, the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles
(3) October 4, 1994, the actual birthday of Jesus that Mr. Camping calculated
(4) December 25, 1994, our traditional celebration of Christmas
(5) February 25, 1995, the Jewish Feast of Purim
(6) May 3, 1996, the result of (Mark 13:35) extended the September 6, 1994, date
In one of Camping's radio broadcasts, he was asked how he arrived at the new date. His answer was a crazy quilt of biblical events and numerology. He started with the year Noah loaded animals into the ark in 4990 B.C.--a number he was based on carbon dating and tree-rings evidence. Paging forward to 2 Peter, he read aloud, "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years is one day." Camping then said that the seven days Noah spent loading the ark was really 7,000 years. He then added 7,000 to 4990 B.C to arrive at 2010. He added one more year, he said, because there is no year one in the Bible.
Camping has a lot of influence because of Family Radio Network, which broadcasts his messages over 150 radio stations within the United States. He comes across as a man who has a deep understanding of the Bible. He said in one broadcast, “I bought a Bible with a good leather cover. This is the sixth one. When you use them all the time, they wear out.” Unfortunately, years of study does not guarantee the truth. Camping holds to many end-time views that are unique to him. For example, he believes:
The Bible is one long parable and can only be decoded by God's true prophet.
The end of the Church Age was on May 21, 1988.
The Tribulation began in 1994, and it is 23 years long.
The folks left behind on May 21, 2011, will suffer God's wrath for five months.
Camping's website spends a large amount of time dealing with Scriptures that bar us from knowing the time of the Rapture. In Matthew 24:36, Jesus very plainly said, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."
He counters with verses like Amos 3:7, "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." Another passage, 1 Thessalonians 5:4, is another one he claims gives him a license to date-set: "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief."
The Lord has given us plenty of general warnings about the Rapture, and we won’t be in darkness if we remain watchful. Because Jesus told His disciples that He would come as a thief, I can only conclude that the Rapture will be a surprise event.
I used to be ambiguous about date-setting. I quickly learned that false prophets do a huge amount of damage to the end-time message when they make predictions that fail to come to pass. They damage the faith of believer, and they harden the hearts of the unsaved.
One of the most fundamental rules that every Christian organization should follow is: "Don't do anything that brings discredit to God's Holy Name." You can make yourself look like a fool, but don't make the Lord look like one, too.
The Family Radio website has the words, "The Bible Guarantees," posted right below the May 21 "Day of Judgment" date. Chris McCann is part of a Philadelphia group of Camping followers. He said on one FR program that "God has put His stamp of approval that this is the day."
In a dubious way, Camping is helping to set the stage for the Rapture. His failed predictions are helping to create the element of apathy that Jesus warned about. I read a report this week that said America is on track to have its most costly year ever for natural disasters. If people knew the Bible, they would understand the likely root cause of these disasters.
Hamas leadership has just let it be known that it will accept a Palestinian state set within the 1967 borders as those borders stood before the Six-Day War of that year. This they will accept, dropping their demands that a Palestinian state must encompass a much broader territory.
The Hamas top strong man, Mahmoud Zahar, told the Palestinian news agency, Ma'an, that he would be willing to accept the installing of a Palestinian state "on any part of Palestine," rather than holding to the group’s previous demand that such a state be formed from "the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea."
However, he proclaimed that they will never “recognize Israel” as a legitimate state, because to do so would be to take away the right of future Palestinians to liberate all of the land from Israeli control--i.e., the war against the hated Jewish enemy must continue, regardless of whether a territory is granted and a Palestinian state established.
The only recognition Israel receives in these troubled times is in the form of recognition of the nation being an interloper in the Middle East–an oppressor of the Palestinian people. It is a generally accepted truth that almost all nations that make up the United Nations view Israel as the culprit in fomenting war-like rumblings in the Middle East.
The Obama administration, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heading the State Department, has done little in the way of supporting Israel in opposition to such hatred and vitriol that spews from the UN on practically every occasion of the Israeli-Palestinian question coming to the forefront for debate. As a matter of fact, the record of the Obama administration and this era of the State Department has been dismal from the standpoint of standing by the Jewish nation while it is diplomatically assaulted from every angle possible.
We have learned time after time of the U.S. State Department and this president pressuring Israel to stop building housing units in its own territory–territory hard earned and won with blood after being attacked by vicious enemies in a number of wars since Israel’s birth into modernity in 1948. The American policy with regard to Israel–as part of the "Quartet” policy–these days is to consistently try to twist the arm of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government into giving up this land so the "Roadmap to Peace" can proceed to the satisfaction of the surrounding Muslim nations.
Now, the terrorist Islamists that have an overwhelming influence on the Palestinian Authority (PA) demand yet another concession by the world community. They demand that they be given the territory they seek, but declare also that their blood feud against Israel will never end until Israel is no longer an entity in the Middle East. Like Iran’s crazed president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, they prefer that all Jews be drowned in the Mediterranean.
The duplicity of the Israel haters surrounding that nation are understood from double think/double talk issued from the current mouth in charge of the terrorist leadership.
Speaking to Ma'an on Wednesday, Zahar, hinting at the possible political line of a future Palestinian unity cabinet, said that… [The] truce [with Israel] was "part of the resistance not its rejection," adding that "a truce is not peace." ("Hamas Accepts 1967 Borders, but Will Never Recognize Israel, Top Official Says," Haaretz Service Tags, Israel News, May 11, 2011)
Israel’s enemies will never recognize Israel as the legitimate owner of the vast land God gave that people.The hatred is satanic, and will continue right up until the Lord Himself puts an end to the hatred. Sadly, most of the church of Jesus Christ–those who are born again according to John 3: 3—also don’t recognize Israel as the legitimate owner of that land, the land God calls His own.
Replacement theology runs rampant among the pulpits and pews in America, either tacitly or outrightly declaring that the church has replaced Israel in God’s prophetic plans.
Nothing could be farther from truth found in God’s Word. The very fact that Israel is recognized only in the most hateful way by the world and is front and center of controversy in that region many term the “Holy Land” should alert the Bible-believing child of God that recognizing Israel at this late hour is all-important. That nation is the key to where this generation stands upon God’s prophetic timeline.
Israel is the clear signal that Christ’s shout, “Come up hither,” must be very near indeed.
I want to thank all of you who have been so kind in sending prayerful best wishes for my recovery from the heart incident on Good Friday. Your prayers have been sensed strongly, and I’m convinced have speeded the progress toward my complete recovery. I am now on a bit of a different diet, as you might imagine, and my workout routine is much reduced in length and intensity for the moment. However, the Lord has brought me to an amazing state of wellness–and I don’t discount the wonderful and brilliant doctors and other medical personnel who are a part of this--considering the severity of the problem when it struck.