As no doubt many of you already know, Harold Camping has, through a tortured process of numerologically gymnastical scripture-twisting, determined that this Saturday, May 21, 2011, is Judgment Day®. Billboards announcing the event are blazoned with "the Bible guarantees it!" Vans and RVs have been crossing the country with bright warnings of impending doom painted on the sides. I just heard Camping say last night (No, I don't normally listen to Family Radio. But this week is... special.) that the rapture and a great earthquake will hit each timezone at 6pm standard /7pm daylight.
I'm writing this post to go officially on record with my prediction that Harold Camping is totally wrong in regards to the timing of the return of Jesus. The odds are that nothing out of the ordinary, supernaturally speaking, is going to occur on May 21st.
Just as Camping bases his prediction on the Bible, I also base my prediction on the Bible. Whereas Camping pulls numbers from totally unrelated passages all over the Bible, I can base my prediction that Camping is wrong on just a few verses - All direct quotes from Jesus Himself, and all in the context of Jesus teaching about His return!
Matthew 24:36 "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only."Now, as Pastor Jim McClarty is fond of saying, "Wherever you and the Bible disagree, one of you is wrong. And it is you." So Harold Camping is clearly wrong. And Saturday will just confirm what we already know.
Matthew 24:42 "Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming."
Matthew 24:44 "Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
Matthew 25:13 "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."
Mark 13:32-33 "But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (33) Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come."
Acts 1:7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority."
Well, Camping has been wrong before. He predicted that the world would end on September 11, 1994. When it didn't, he explained himself by saying he had not studied the book of Jeremiah before making that prediction. Well, okay, then. That explains it...
So what will Camping's followers do when events show that he was wrong yet again?
I expect that some, finding themselves still here on May 22, may decide to leave this world by their own hands. This saddens me, but I do expect there will be some. There doesn't seem to be any sort of organized plans for a mass exodus, ala Marshall Applewhite, but I would not be shocked to hear of individual Campingites suiciding over this, especially those who've emptied their savings to pay for the billboards and newspaper ads and whatnot.
James White is correct, when he says that we will soon see atheist groups pushing broke and disillusioned ex-Campingites as spokespeople for "the destructiveness of Christianity." Already, Atheists are mocking all Christians because of Camping's kooky predictions.
Some will simply act like nothing happened at all. Back in 1980, the Baha'i predicted the end of the world. A couple I knew were Baha'i and were very vocal about the prediction. After the date passed without incident, they just refused to talk about it at all. Ever. If anybody brought it up, they would walk away or leave the room. They'd do anything but acknowledge the failed prediction. I expect many of Camping's followers are about to learn a new phrase; "Harold who?"
But, after all is said and done, Saturday, May 21, 2011, will not be the end of Camping's teachings.
You see, back in 1822, a Baptist preacher in Vermont by the name of William Miller started a movement when he began teaching that Christ would return October 22, 1844. Well, when October 22, 1844 came and went, many left the movement. But some didn't.
One of these Millerites, a young girl named Ellen, claimed to receive visions from God that explained how Miller had been right after all. Miller had gotten the date right, he'd just gotten the event wrong. Jesus, it seems, was beginning His "Investigative Judgment" in 1844, and would return physically when He was done. And, thus, the Seventh Day Adventists were born.
All Camping's teachings need to gain new life and continue deceiving people for years to come is someone to play Ellen G. White to his William Miller.
So, what should be the Biblical Christian's response? The Bible does, after all, say that Jesus will return. How do we respond to those who would lump us in with the Campingites and other fringe groups? Our response should be same response we should ever have to any false teacher - the Truth!
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2)We should correct error by patiently teaching what the Scriptures actually say. It is simple, but it will not always be easy.
P.S. - See you Sunday, May 22, in church!