It’s amazing to me that preachers with weird ideas often get a big following. Harold Camping has convinced a lot of people that Judgment Day will be this Saturday, May 21st!
Harold Camping has been dogmatically and vehemently announcing that on May 21st Christians (about 3% of the world’s population, he claims) will be raptured to heaven and then the whole earth will suffer the worst earthquakes ever that will happen in each time zone at 6:00 p.m.
He further claims that God will completely destroy the earth and the universe five months later on October 21st.
Prior to September, 1994, Mr. Camping was claiming that was when Christ would return. Oh, sorry, that was a miscalculation. But now he—along with quite a number of his followers—is positively certain it will happen on this Saturday.
Like he is certain that creation was in 11,013 B.C. Yeah, right.
When someone has claimed to speak for God and has spoken a prophecy that doesn’t come to pass, he is a false prophet according to Deuteronomy 18:20-22 Deuteronomy 18:20-22 20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
21 And if you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?
22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptuously: you shall not be afraid of him.
American King James Version×, and he is in trouble with God.
Camping claims that he bases all his teachings on the Bible and yet he teaches that much of the Bible should not be taken literally. He tries to spiritualize or allegorize a great percent of the scriptures, even saying that Jesus spoke entirely in parables.
As an example of Camping’s loosey-goosey way of interpreting the Bible, Luke 3:23 Luke 3:23And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,
American King James Version×says, “Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age.” Camping claims that Jesus began His ministry at age 35. That’s bizarre. The meaning of “about thirty years” is 30 years plus or minus a few days or a few weeks.
My view of Bible interpretation is virtually the opposite of Camping’s—that God’s Word should be understood literally. Of course, those passages that are expressed with symbolism are usually obviously symbolic and are explained elsewhere in the Bible.
We should let the Bible interpret itself. We should compare each scripture with all the other scriptures on that subject to determine what it cannot mean and then what it does mean.
For example, Jesus promised repeatedly that He will return to earth and set up His kingdom on earth! No where does the Bible say our future home will be in heaven.
Regarding the timing of Christ’s return, Jesus emphatically said,“But of that day and hour no one knows , not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32 Mark 13:32But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
American King James Version×, emphasis added throughout). It’s amazing that human beings can claim they know!
Camping claims that “the Son” doesn’t refer to the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Hence, Camping is claiming that Jesus’ clear wording was deceptive! Bizarre.
One could argue that Jesus didn’t know the date then but He knows it now. But if all it takes is doing Bible research and “calculations” like Camping did to come up with the date, wouldn’t Jesus have been smart enough to do the research and calculations?!
We can know for certain that Christ will not return this year because there are several major prophecies that must be fulfilled before Christ returns and it will take many months and maybe years for them to be fulfilled. United Church of God has published numerous articles explaining this in detail.
Jesus said, “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42 Matthew 24:42Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come.
American King James Version×). If we could know exactly when Jesus would return, we would not need to “watch” in the way that Jesus meant it.
Part of Jesus’ meaning is that we must stay close to God at all times, not only because we don’t know when Christ will return but obviously no one knows when he will die. You see, we are better off spiritually speaking to not know when Christ will return.
I recommend that we all become or remain serious students of the Bible—not students of Harold Camping.