Harold Camping Dates Judgment Day

Posted: May 19, 2011 by pastorerichann in Apologetics, Bible Studies / Helps, Cults, Theology
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By now many here in Iowa, as well as in other places, have seen billboards and heard about Harold Camping’s judgment day prediction. Among various other scripture passages which can be rightly noted about “not knowing the day and hour” of this occurrence, I’m reminded of Jesus’ post-resurrection words found in Acts 1:7 “And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.’” Later in the same section of scripture following Jesus’ ascension the messengers of God spoke the timely words “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?” (Acts 1:11a). As Bible-believing Christians, we affirm Jesus is coming again, but until then, we have a task at hand. This task is found in Jesus’ words sandwiched between the above verses where it says “you shall be witnesses to Me…” (Acts 1:8). Being prayerful word and deed witnesses of Christ is explicitly what we should be about the business of doing, and not getting caught up in things that are “not for us to know.” Since I began serving in churches (going back to the late 80’s) I’ve heard countless predictions like this. I remember full-page newspaper ads that read “88 Reasons Why Jesus Will return in 1988” and also a prediction from a church overseas that Christ would return in October of 1992. Apparently Mr. Camping even made his own previous prediction back in 1994.

There have been several famous Christians in church history who were asked what they would do if they knew Christ would return within the next twenty-four hours, and they responded by saying they’d do what they’d always done – being witnesses and servants of Jesus Christ. I think that’s a “sober” perspective to have. It’s not about being “ready” in May of 2011 – it’s about always being ready (Matthew 25:1-13; I Thessalonians 5:1-11; 2 Peter 3:10-13; I Cor. 15:58). For certain, be ready, but not “shaken in mind” (2 Thess. 2:1-2 NKJV). Warren Wiersbe comments on this passage by saying “The purpose of Bible prophecy is not for us to make a calendar, but to build character. Paul emphasized this fact in both of his Thessalonian letters, and our Lord warned us not to set dates for His coming (Matt. 24:36,42). Date-setters are usually upsetters, and that is exactly what happened in the Thessalonican assembly” (Warren Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Victor books c.1989, p. 196).

For further reading, here is a link to a more detailed analysis of Camping’s predictions that I consider to be pretty solid.


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