Why do some people continually fall for repeated postponement dates predicting the “end of the world?” According to Harold Camping in his show “Open Forum,” a brand new judgment day threatens us all in the autumn. Why do some continue to believe his prophecies, seemingly ignoring and explaining away past failures?
Why have some of his adherents sold their property, run up their credit cards to the “max” and then quickly spent all of their available cash in anticipation of the now-past “end” on May 21st? Think of it! These poor deluded folks now find their finances in tatters. How totally tragic!
Undoubtedly one could conceive of a number of possible reasons, but one reigns supreme. Some months ago while visiting family in Georgia, I became acquainted with a local Waffle House chef in a small town and introduced him to The Good News magazine. Then on another very recent visit just prior to May 21st, he remarked that Jesus Christ told us in the Gospel accounts that “no one knows the day nor the hour” of His second coming and the end of this age (Matthew 24:36 Matthew 24:36But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
American King James Version×, Matthew 24:42-44 Matthew 24:42-44 42 Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come. 43 But know this, that if the manager of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes.
American King James Version×; Mark 13:32-33 Mark 13:32-33 32 But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 33 Take you heed, watch and pray: for you know not when the time is.
American King James Version×).
Over time he had gotten to know his Bible. Today a fairly substantial number of Americans probably don't even own a Bible. Consider the results of a March 2011 survey published in the USA Today snapshot column, responding to the declaration: “How Often We Read the Bible.” 53 percent read it at least once a month; 22 percent rarely; 24 percent never (May 24, 2011). And once a month is nowhere near enough time for Bible reading.
According to this Lifeway Research Survey, almost 50 percent of Americans hardly open the Bible, much less seriously read and study its pages. If those who were duped by false prophetic dates had only read and understood the Olivet Prophecy in Matthew 24 and Mark 13, they would have known better.
The Bible constitutes the one book that no person can afford to be without. It is God's inspired instruction book to mankind. Its pages tell us what to watch for as world events develop. Scripture gives us that added dimension of discernment in evaluating the uncertain and dangerous times in which we now live.
As a service in the public interest, the United Church of God publishes free booklets showing the enormous practical value of possessing and using biblical knowledge. Request in print or download Is the Bible True? and How to Understand the Bible .