“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ and shall deceive many. …but the end is not yet…. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets…insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
What are we going to say about this fellow?
It was not enough that he misled thousands back in 1994.
It was not enough that he by his foolish calculations and unfulfilled prediction of Christ’s return 17 years ago served only to hold up to gleeful ridicule and open mockery Christ’s church and even Christ’s own words about His sure return.
No, he had to do it again.
This time, May 2011. May 21 to be exact. And then, mind you, when this second ‘prophecy’ based on recalculated data did not materialize, did he humble himself in utter embarrassment, repent of his folly, confess he was guilty of grave error, and beg forgiveness of the Lord and of His church?
No, he simply stated he was surprised, a bit bewildered even, and then proceeded to offer an alternate ‘revelation’ that something had happened in the spiritual realm instead, declaring that five months hence(Oct. 21) the return of Christ and the judgments of God would come to pass just as he, Harold Camping, had foretold all along.
And so this self-anointed Bible teacher, in his folly and egotistical persistence, gives the ungodly scoffers yet another opportunity to hoot and howl, as well as to justify their complete disdain for this ‘preposterous’ Christian preoccupation with the end of the world and God’s judgments upon sin.
On his on-line Family Radio site, Camping, without apology, offers an explanation for his May 21 prophetic fiasco. He assures his ‘faithful’ that he was not really mistaken after all. It was simply that he had failed to realize that in Scripture earthquakes often refer to men (who are made out of the dust of the EARTH) quaking in fear at the thought of God’s judgments (which this mad prophet insists did in fact occur on May 21—scoffers not shaking with laughter as the May 22 newscasts seemed to show, but really quaking with fear).
Camping insists that a rapture did in fact occur on May 21, only this first rapture was not a bodily one, as he had mistakenly thought, but a rapture of “the program of salvation.” The gospel hope and promise was raptured up to heaven. As a result, the opportunity for unrepentant sinners to come to salvation ended as of May 21. On May 21, 2011 their doom was set.
The following quote, lifted from Camping’s online explanation of What Really Happened [on May 21] (posted following the non-event), gives an indication of just how set this foolish fellow is in his obstinacy, as set as Balaam of old going to his doom no matter what indication God gave him that an angel with a drawn sword was standing in his way.
Thus we have learned that except for a somewhat different understanding of the words “earthquake” and “rapture” or “catching up” no other past teachings of Judgment Day or the end of the world have been changed [!]. The time line, the certainty of it, the proofs, and the signs are all precisely the same. No other past teachings have been changed or modified. Indeed, on May 21 Christ did come spiritually to put all of the unsaved throughout the world into judgment. But that universal judgment will not be physically seen until the last day of the five month judgment period, on October 21, 2011.
So blind is this mad-prophet.
Balaam had nothing on him.
With restraint we refrain from making references of comparison between such a willful blindness and Balaam’s steed of choice. We must admit that the question can be legitimately raised whether any more ink ought to be spilled on this fellow or time wasted on his discredited predictions. For a man so set on folly, he has received far more attention than he rightly deserves. His name, with his predictions, is achieving cult status out of all proportion to his real importance.
Why add more to what has already been written?
Our justification is twofold; first, the SB has not to this point written anything on Camping’s most recent prognostications, and, whether we like it or not, his predictions about Christ’s return in judgment (posted on billboards from coast to coast and from Manila to London) have become the leading religious news item of the year. And, second, the grievous fact is that Harold Camping has done Christ’s waiting, hoping, gospel-preaching church a great disservice in this late hour on history’s timeline.
The world’s news media (anti-Christian by reflex) is well aware of this.
There is reason why the news media is only too willing to keep pasting Camping’s absurdities onto its headlines as long as he keeps uttering them, why it is willing to make space for his predictions in its news telecasts. And it does not have to do with the media’s fascination with what makes this aging, slow-talking radio personality tick. He has had his 15 minutes of fame. Ordinarily the public would have long ago wearied of this discredited religious personality. But not in this instance. The news networks are glad to look him up and hear from him again.
The reason does not have to do with the personality involved (as dry and withered as last month’s news). It has to do with the biblical realities his pronouncements deal with, namely Christ’s second coming, the judgments of God, and the end of the world. In other words, the reason has to do with those very matters our twenty-first century society is well aware of and wants to discredit at all costs and in every possible way, that which our society itself refers to as the Apocalypse (as per the Book of the Revelation), which even our unbelieving society knows speaks of the final, fiery judgments of God on ungodly mankind for its sins.
This our increasingly anti-Christian society wants to discredit at all cost. They want to assure themselves that for “…all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed…” (Jude 15) they have absolutely nothing to fear. The warnings of God that have of late rumbled through creation and galloped through society can safely be ignored. It’s all bogus and a false alarm.
Of such they want to convince themselves.
Harold Camping has handed them such a justification on a silver platter.
And so, as Camping and his latest prophecies come to nothing again and society has yet another opportunity to hoot and howl, we take note in the SB and offer our assessment along with all the others. In this article all we point out is that Camping’s latest failed prophecy about the end of the world is timely—timely not for Christ’s church, not for those committed to rightly dividing God’s Word, not for those called to warn a society increasingly committed to lawlessness about the judgments already sounding and worse ones yet to come, but timely for the anti-Christian forces within our society, timely for the despisers of God and of His Word, timely for those looking for reasons to justify their disdain for all things biblical and Christian.
There is, we are convinced, reason why this time around the news media has paid so much more attention to Camping’s prediction about Christ’s return and the end of the world than back in 1994. Back then a few religious periodicals took note and foretold Camping’s certain failure (the SB among them—SB vol. 70, Jan. 1, 1993). The world’s press took scant notice. Seventeen years ago the news media did not judge this insignificant radio personality worth being associated with real news.
This time it’s been notably different. Extensive coverage has been granted.
No doubt part of the explanation is the greater promotion Camping’s followers gave to their lead-er’s predictions this time around. Camping’s loyal legions demanded attention, purchasing numerous billboards worldwide and standing on street corners proclaiming the precise date of judgment to fall.
The news media has responded.
But we are convinced there is more behind this extensive attention given to Camping’s present predictions than explaining it as a response to the greater hype his followers gave them this time around. We are convinced that the recent attention-demanding catastrophic events and upheavals that have occurred worldwide have something to do with it.
Recent events have set the nations on edge. Recent events have raised the specter that perhaps there is more to this biblical witness concerning prophesied catastrophes as judgments of God portending the final Apocalypse than the skeptics have been willing to acknowledge or have cared to think about.
When a magazine of the status of Newsweek has as its cover story Apocalypse Now? (March 28-April 4, 2011) with the subheading Tsunamis. Earthquakes. Nuclear Meltdowns. Revolutions. Economies on the Brink. What the #@%! Is Next?, you know that God Himself has caught the skeptics’ attention and put a little worry in their souls, a gnawing un-certainty.
Even the insertion of the characters #@%! is noteworthy. The very curse word obscured indicates an awareness of the very God they are trying to deny.
What has occurred over the face of this globe and in the nations in the last year has been no ordinary turn of events. Upheaval and uncertainty characterizes every segment of this world at present—natural, national, and financial. Earthquakes the size of 9.0+ are not a common thing. But now a number of them within the last few years! The resulting tsunamis of death and the threat of nuclear disaster are not easily dismissed.
And in the Near East, social upheaval across the board.
Overpowering events have forced worldly society to consider the validity of the biblical witness about the end times and its warnings that as wickedness increases so will the severity of the judgments of God.
The End draws nigh.
And at such a time Harold Camping steps forward to make his absurd, egotistical, and Bible-contradicting predictions.
And we wonder why our society, so on edge, has made so much of this mad prophet and has called his predictions to everyone’s attention (in particular Christians who might yet be inclined to talk about biblical judgments as signs of Christ’s return), and why the worldlings cannot get enough of hearing from this fellow yet again?
They find Camping’s baseless prophecies reassuring. They once again have reason to dismiss all this talk about God’s judgments being visited on ‘unrepentant mankind’ as so much nonsense. They are reaffirmed in their bold mockery of everything holy. “We have nothing to fear.”
And for the foreseeable future every time a preacher of righteousness identifies great natural catastrophes with God’s judgments and the nearness of Christ’s return, mockery and scoffing will be expressed—”Ah-h yes, another one of those ‘Harold Camping fellows.’ When will you crackpots ever learn?”
Such service this Harold Camping and his great biblical knowledge have rendered the truth and Christ’s church.
The damage he has done and persists in doing is no little evil.
Sad to say, what has been stated above is not the only or even the greatest evil Camping has done to Christ’s cause in his unordained ‘ministry,’ and so more must be written.
Because the next SB issue, October 15, is a special Reformation issue to be devoted to marking the 450th anniversary of the Belgic Confession, we will wait until the November 1 issue to make a few more comments on Camping, his predictions, and other evils of which he is guilty.
And yes, a November 1 issue of the SB will be published.
We can state with absolute certainty that Camping’s predictions concerning God’s final judgment and Christ’s return will no more happen on October 21 than they did on May 21 or back in 1994. The simple fact is, Christ is not going to return next month, next year, nor the year following, 2013. Such predictions do not make us guilty of Camping presumptuousness. Such is a fact that is in accordance with what is revealed in Scripture.
On this and other matters we will comment in the November 1 editorial, D.V.
D.V., because when it comes to one’s own life, one knows not what tomorrow, let alone next month or year, may bring. But when it comes to our Lord’s return, certain things must take place. Until they do, “….the end is not yet” (Matt. 24:6).