Have you heard? This is the last week! (Written 5/15/2011) The Rapture is set for Saturday, May 21, 2011. Yes, former predictions have failed; but this time, it is for real. It’s all in God’s Word. Those with spiritual understanding have made the calculations right from the Bible. You don’t believe it? Just ask Harold Camping, founder and president of Family Radio. He’ll prove it to you — at least, he will try to.
Former predictions were for real, too — until they failed. Such failures make it easier for unbelievers to ridicule Christians and to belittle the whole idea that Jesus will one day return to earth. With the help of the Internet, I have decided to take a look at a false prophet’s claims before the date, and then examine his excuses when the date passes and nothing happens.
Camping’s setting of the 5/21/11 date is only the tip of the iceberg. He is a false teacher far beyond that. I do not apologize for exposing him. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets” (Matt. 7:15). Paul told the bishops of Ephesus, “Among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things” (Acts 20:30). Years later, Jesus commended the church in Ephesus because, “You have tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and have found them liars” (Rev. 2:2). We must watch out for false teachers!
Camping teaches that “May 21, 1988 was the last day of the church age.” What then? “The vast majority of the people are giving no heed to the warning that Satan now rules in the churches and that they are to flee from the churches.” He goes so far as to say, “Those still following any church on May 21, 2011 are not saved.” Instead, he says, “Listen to the Bible being read and faithfully taught on radio broadcasts such as those of Family Radio.”
But I wonder what difference it makes, with Camping’s view, whether you are in or out of any church, since he teaches that “from before the foundation of the world, God chose those whom He wished to sanctify.” He claims, “It is absolutely impossible for any human being to do anything at all to assist in the slightest degree in obtaining salvation.” Thus, Camping does not teach the false doctrine of salvation by “faith only.” Rather, he teaches salvation by “nothing only.” According to him, Jesus did it all; God decided before creation if he would save you or not; and you have nothing to do with it. If that is so, why listen to Camping; why be concerned about May 21st? It’s all out of your hands.
Sadly, not only is Family Radio propagating this false prediction about May 21st; there are various web sites proclaiming the same thing. One such site has a count-down clock, ticking off the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the Day of Judgment, the Rapture. There is a campaign going on to inform the nation via the Internet, billboards, caravan tours, and who knows what else.
As pointed out in Insight #198, Camping “connects unrelated Scriptures, selects numbers from here and there, and gives each his own meaning.” He by no means is offering a Bible study. Rather, he is imposing upon Scripture ideas totally foreign to Scripture.
It will be interesting — and sad — to see what Camping’s excuses will be when he fails. When Jesus said to “Beware of false prophets” (Matt. 7:15), He continued, “which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits.” Camping may look like a sheep, but peek under his costume and see the wolf in there. Check out his fruits. We’re going to do just that when May 21 comes and goes like any other day, and we then examine Camping’s explanations for his false prediction.
NOTE: Quotes of Camping are taken from “I Hope God Will Save Me,” by Harold Camping, and “No Man Knows the Day Nor the Hour,” (author not listed), both on the Family Radio web site.