However, he has now come out of hiding to tell the world that (once again) he got the date for Jesus’ second coming wrong. I say again because, when his eerily similar 1994 prediction did not come true either, he found himself in a similar fix – and published AND SOLD yet another follow-up book or two to set things right. (See: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_14?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=harold+camping&sprefix=harold+camping.)
Apparently, though, (or so Camping now says) he has (once again) misread the signs and thus (once again) misfigured his facts in regard to May 21, 2011. He now knows that the world will end in October, and not May, of 2011. Nonetheless, he will not be refunding any contribution money to those who supported his earlier predictions.
Tell that to the poor guy who was interviewed in Times Square shortly after 6pm this past Saturday who was “baffled and mystified” by the fact that Jesus did not come back as Camping had predicted - the same guy, by the way, who took virtually his entire life savings of c. $140,000 and gave it to promote Camping’s misguided cause.
Of course, this poor man would not have been so deluded if he had simply taken time to read the plain and straightforward statements of Jesus Christ in the New Testament: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority." (Act 1:7); "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36)
As Albert Mohler well points out, for Camping to claim to have knowledge of the day and hour of Christ’s return is for him to presume to know things reserved only for God the Father to know. In short, Camping has claimed to know what even Jesus Himself is not privileged to know! How utterly arrogant! How utterly presumptuous! (You can read Dr. Mohler’s article here: (http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/05/16/the-end-is-near-the-false-teaching-of-harold-camping/).
Unfortunately, the ones who really suffer here are not Camping and his followers. The ones who suffer are those of us who hold conventional Christian views of the Second Coming. Evangelical Christians, especially those of us who know our Bible, would never presume to set a date or a time for Christ’s return. Nevertheless, we find ourselves once again ridiculed and our convictions once again lambasted by a world who has lived through yet another failed doomsday scenario.
But there is even worse to consider. Many of those unbelievers who have lived through yet another failed set of predictions will now only be hardened in their convictions and stiffened in their resistance to the true gospel. They now have yet another reason for not believing. Way to go, Harold!
Let me be clear. My purpose in this blog post is in no way to mock belief in or teaching about the Second Coming of Christ. I absolutely hold this as a cardinal doctrine of my own faith. Accordingly, I fully affirm the statement of the Baptist Faith and Message that reads:
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.
And that is pretty much all we can say on the subject. But it is also precisely the key: “God, in HIS OWN TIME, will bring the world to its appropriate end.” Unlike Camping and his followers, I am content to let God be God. I do not feel the need to know things reserved only to God. I find I have to do a lot less “backing up” that way. I also find I do far less damage to the cause of Christ along the way.
(By the way, for those interested in knowing more on unfulfilled predictions of doomsday, etc…, check out: “A Brief History of the Apocalypse” at www.abhota.info/; “Guess What Folks, We’re Still Here” at http://www.unsolvedmysteries.com/usm449625.html?t=Predictions; or any of the abundant Wikipedia-type articles on Doomsday, unfulfilled religious predictions, or the end of the world on the web.) Obviously, the business of date setting has been going on for a very long time.