Then End Is Nigh

It’s now less than a week until Judgement Day. Well, it is if you believe a chap called Harold Camping. Camping is the president and founder Christian Family Radio and asserts that Judgement Day is going to be this Saturday, May 21st. You may have seen the billboards or commercials around:

I hadn’t come across this group until Ι first visited San Diego when one of their leaflets was given to me Downtown by a street evangelist. Later that day, over an ice tea, I read the leaflet from cover-to-cover (I always try to read the stuff that guys like that give me). It didn’t contain anything about the end of the world, but did give me an introduction to the group’s rather “unique” way of interpreting Scriptural prophecy.

I remember that, through interpretation of some of the writings of the prophets, the leaflet asserted that the “Church Age” had now ended and that true believers should now leave their local congregations, study the Bible on their own and, as you might expect, listen to their radio station.

End Time Math(s)

Anyway, despite the Bible’s repeated assertions that only the Father knows the Day Of Judgement (Matthew 24:36-51, …), Camping believes that he has worked out when it’s going to be. Unfortunately, this appears to be the second time he’s been convinced that he’s worked it out. It must be a little embarrassing that in 1992 he said that the world was going to end in two years (it didn’t, by the way).

He appears to have several ways of arriving at the date May 21st. You can read a complete explanation, but here it is in a nutshell:

He asserts that the crucifixion happened on 1st April, 33 AD

1st April, 2011 AD is therefore 1,978 years after the crucifixion.

1,978 is then multiplied by the number of days in a solar year (365.2422) and this rounds down to 72,2449.

Now, there are 51 days between 1st April and 21st May. If this is added to the previous value, we arrive at 722,500.

He then asserts that every number carries a spiritual significance e.g. 5 = “atonement”, 10 = “completeness”, 17 = “heaven”.

Therefore (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven)² therefore becomes (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500

According to Camping: “Five times ten times seventeen is telling you a story – it’s the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you’re completely saved”

Scary Maths

If you can follow that, I’m impressed…

 

En-“raptured” with making predictions..

In the past, many people have claimed to know when Judgement Day is going to be.

One example from history is known as “The Great Disappointment”. In North America in the mid-Nineteenth Century, William Miller and over a million of his followers were convinced that the world was going to end and they managed to whip up people into quite a frenzy.

The “Millerites” sold their property and prepared for the End. Apparently, one man even threw himself off his barn at midnight, convinced that the world would end before he hit the ground. The end did indeed come, but unfortunately, only for that particular gentleman…

After “The Great Disappointment” Miller’s followers fragmented into new groups such as the “Seventh Day Adventists” and the “Jehovah Witnesses”.

When the predictions of such groups fail to come true and Jesus inconveniently decides not to turn up, excuses are usually given e.g. “Jesus did return, but did so invisibly!”.  I’m guessing that probably the same thing will happen with Christian Family Radio on May 22nd. However, I am a little afraid of exactly what the fallout from this particular prediction will be.

 

What can we take away from this?

As tempting as it may be to simply dismiss such groups, I nevertheless believe that there is something mainstream Christians can learn from people like this with such a focus on the immediacy of Christ’s return.

What if this group actually is right and they just happened to pick the right day? Would I be ready for the Second Coming?

Jesus may not return on May 21st, but I’m certain that a good number of people across the globe will shuffle off their respective mortal coils and go to meet their Maker, one way or another. Will they be ready?

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” – Matthew 24:42-44

If the Lord came tonight, would He find us sleeping? Do we procrastinate in following his commands? Do we put off going to Confession until next week? Do we delay in reconciling with one another under the misguided belief that we’ll “have time to do that later”? This is the lesson I think we can learn from such fringe groups:

Don’t think that you have all the time in the world – you don’t. Jesus is coming soon…

20-May-2011 UPDATED: I wanted to add a little bit of footage of Camping himself:

2 comments

  • THE RAPTURE?

    I would like to share the passages that I believe God has used to remove all doubt from my heart and mind on this issue. Most are very easy to understand. The first thing we all must remember is that if a person is born-from above (spiritually), then they have God’s Holy Spirit living in them. The second thing is if they do not have unconfessed sin in their life, and they are being obedient, to God’s word and to the leading of His Spirit then they can understand scripture, whether they are a bible scholar or not. You don’t need commentaries to understand the scriptures, they may be helpful, but we can understand God’s word on our own and we are commanded to KNOW HIS WORD.

    The passage I would like to begin with was the one that really began to make it all fall into place for me…

    Restless Pilgrim: Again, I trimmed this comment because it was just a copy and past from another website. You can read the whole thing here: http://castoutdemons.eu/A/rapturewhatdowebelieveandwhyAM.php

    • I may do a post responding to this website at some point. However, I would just like to point out the assertion the author here appears to make:

      If someone has been (i) born again and (ii) confessed their sin and (iii) obedient, then they will understand Scripture.

      Now, certainly the Spirit *does* guide, but does such a person necessarily reach the correct interpretation?

      Well, the answer obviously has to be a resounding “no”. If this *were* the case then there would be only one Protestant denomination rather than thousands.

      One of the reasons that I left Protestantism was exactly this reason: what do you do when two Spirit-filled, genuine and humble Christians, both extremely knowledgeable about the Scriptures disagree on the interpretation of a passage? Well, the pattern set ever since the Reformation has been to split and each form a new church. When disagreements occur again, they split again and form new churches yet again… ad nauseam.

      If what is asserted above is *really* true, this constant splitting wouldn’t happen. Either that, or he would have to condemn all denominations other than his own of either (i) not being born again (ii) having unconfessed sin or (iii) not being obedient…

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