Monday, March 21, 2011

IS THE END OF THE WORLD COMING ON MAY 21st?

We have all seen the cartoons of a scruffy-looking bearded man carrying a sign proclaiming that the end of the world is near. All jokes aside, the history of the Christian church bears witness that doomsday prognosticators are no laughing matter. Jesus warned his disciples on more than one occasion to beware of false prophets and false teachers. The apostle Paul told the Ephesian elders to be on guard against wolves in sheep’s clothing who would prey on upon God’s people and gain a following (Acts 20:28-30). What makes matters worse is the certainty that spiritual deception will only increase as time progresses, culminating in the great apostasy and the appearance of the Antichrist before the Lord Jesus returns to earth. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition”
(2 Thessalonians 2:3).

If you have paid any attention to the news lately, you can’t help but think that the social and political unrest occurring in various parts of the world may have prophetic significance. The Lord seems to be shaking the nations, but no one can know with certainty where things stand on God’s timetable-- herein lies the problem. Bible prophecy is too often twisted by sensationalists, speculators, and seducers. Take for example the bold pronouncement of self-appointed Bible expert Harold Camping that the rapture of the true believers and the beginning of the final judgment are coming on May 21, 2011. He says that a massive earthquake will shake the world apart on this day, littering the ground with many dead bodies. This is less than three months away, so it is high time for everyone left in Judea to flee to the mountains. Unfortunately, in his twisted scheme of interpretation, Camping says that Judea is the church, and the mountain is Jesus. Therefore, anyone who remains in the organized church is doomed for judgment. Only those who follow Mr. Camping’s warning have the possibility of salvation. In his mixed-up theology, the sinner can only hope that God will save him. Camping writes: “Any unsaved person who has an intense desire to become saved, and realizes that he can become saved only on God’s terms, possibly could be one of God’s elect or chosen.” What a contrast to what the Bible teaches: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:12,13).

Daily on the Family Radio network of stations, listeners are invited to request the free booklet, “We Are Almost There,” to check out the truth about the end times. I do hope that many people will accept this free offer. When May 22nd arrives, they will have prima-facie evidence of how not to interpret the Bible. This should help many of the faithful “Campingites” to be less gullible and more discerning in the future. Unfortunately, at that time, they will have lost all credibility in the eyes of the very people they tried to reach. What will they say to family, friends, and everyone else whom they warned to flee from the wrath to come, when the wrath doesn’t come? Speaking of end-time predictions, doesn’t this sound familiar? After Mr. Camping’s failed 1994 prophecy, one would think that he would have no standing among Christians when it comes to prophetic matters or any other matter. This proves once again that if you say something loud enough and long enough and use the Bible while you’re doing it, some people will believe you. However, if the truth be told, Harold Camping doesn’t use the Bible; he abuses the Bible to a degree rarely seen, even among the best of cultists. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Ellen G. White, and David Koresh would be jealous.

Since he has boxed himself into a corner, it will be interesting, to say the least, to hear the explanation given by “Brother Camping” after he utters the words “Welcome to Open Forum,” on May 22nd. After all, he has offered “infallible proof” which no one can dare to dispute, and it’s all posted on Family Radio’s website. Proud man that he is, Camping refuses to acknowledge even the possibility that he might be wrong. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer on January 17, 2011, he was asked how he might feel if he woke up on May 22nd. He answered, “I would be disobeying God if I say there’s a possibility of that. I mean it with all my heart, there is no possibility, none, none, none – that it will not happen.” We shall see! I believe I can say with a great deal of confidence based on Mr. Camping’s bizarre calculations and exegesis of Scripture that there is “no, no, no possibility” that he is right. So don’t quit your job, cancel your summer vacation, or cash in your retirement fund to help Family Radio get the word out in these final months before it’s all over - because it won’t be all over.

Just so you know, I am not a Bible critic or skeptic. I do believe that Jesus is coming again exactly as He promised. But as He himself declared, “Of that day and hour no one knows” (Matthew 24:36 NKJV). Faithful Christians are to pray, watch, and work while they wait for His glorious appearing. Don’t get caught up in things you cannot know with absolute certainty. And above all, don’t be deceived by those who claim they have it all figured out. Hopefully, the only thing that will come to an end on May 21st is the last vestige of Harold Camping’s credibility and the end of his failed prophecies.

Ecclesiastes 10:12-13: The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.

Be faithful always to God's Word,

Pastor Tom

[1] From the tract “I Hope God Will Save Me”

2 comments:

Sarah said...

I have listened to Family Radio for years, and I have heard the May 21st thing and I disagree with him for trying to put a date to it, because Matthew 24:36 tells us that No Man knows the day or the hour when Jesus shall come. However, much debate has been going on around me regarding Mr. Camping's prediction... most of us tend to scoff, however others ask if maybe God is using him as a wake up call to us to remind us to live as if he could come any day. I mean what if he does come that day? What if he comes the day before? What if he comes today? Or Tomorrow? I think the real question we should take from this... is if Jesus were to come right now, am I ready? Are you ready?

Inside Out said...

I don't think Jesus is using a man who is trying to raise his own profile to proclaim truth. Maybe God uses it for God, but this man is not a tool of God. When he wakes up on May 22 he should find his program is canceled. You can not say things like this and not be held accountable. You know he has his May 22 script already written though, don't you... he must. Just been reading 1 Tim 4 , 2 Tim 4 and 2 Peter 2 just this day about people like this.