On May 21, 2011 some people in various parts of the world waited with bated breath for the coming of Christ to take them to heaven. They had believed the prediction of a man from California, named, Harold Camping. But to their dismay, May 21, 2011 came and went just like any other day. No doubt, there were regrets, tears, anger, confusion just to mention but a few.
History is full of stories of people who predicted the end that never was. Most of these people, if not all of them claimed to be Christians and they used Scripture to make their predictions. A latest episode is the one of May 21, 2011. Harold Camping fooled some people into believing that rapture will occur on May 21, 2011 and the complete end of the world will be on October 21, 2011. I don’t have to remind you that both prophecies proved to be a fallacy.
Predicting the Day of Judgment has very serious theological implications. While some might regard it as an element of Christianity, the truth is that prophesying the actual day that the world will end is anti-Christian. This fact is seen when one puts on their biblical and theological lenses and look at the whole issue critically.
The first implication is that if one predicts the end of the world he makes God to be a liar. God has said in his word, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only…Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know what day your Lord is coming…Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:36, 42, 44).
God in his word has clearly said that nobody except himself knows the Day of Judgment. Now, if somebody rises and claims that he knows the Day of Judgment he makes God to be a liar. He is in essence saying, “He lied to you that nobody except God knows the Day of Judgment, here I am I know it as well.”
Now if God can lie concerning the Day of Judgment, should we trust him in other areas? Should we trust his word when he says “Believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ and you will be saved”? (Acts 16:31).
If God can lie about the Day of Judgment can we take him at his word when he says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”? (1 John 1:9).
This is the difficult situation in which all those who claim to know the Day of Judgment find themselves in. They imply that God is a liar and should not be fully trusted.
Again, here we need to ask: if God can change like this, can we really trust him? In Acts 4:12, God says that there is only one name by which we must be saved and that name is Jesus Christ. If God changes, how can we be sure that tomorrow he won’t change and give us another name by which we must be saved?
For sure If God could change then there could have been little hope in Christianity. However, the good news is that God can never change. Listen to what he says in Malachi 3:6: “I the LORD do not change.”
Thirdly, predicting the end takes the eyes of people from Christ and his cross which is the basis for salvation of mankind. Those who predict the “doomsday” draw all the attention to themselves. People no longer talk about Christ but the prophets. People will say, “Let me repent because so and so says that the world is ending” instead of saying “Christ loved and died for me on the cross, I need to repent of my sins and be saved.”
It should be Christ and the power of his cross that should lead people to salvation and not the wisdom of calculating years to arrive at a date that the world will end. Apostle Paul knew very well about the futility of wisdom compared to the power of the cross. That is why he challenged the Corinthians who loved knowledge and wisdom and said: “When I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1, 2).
Lastly, predicting the end and claiming that it will lead to salvation of many souls in unbiblical. Salvation is by grace not by fear. It was “Amazing grace…that saved a wretch like me” and not the amazing fear of the end of the world.
Moreover, fear can never truly save anybody. It is God who saves and nothing else. No matter what tricks we can come up with, they can never truly save. They will only produce fake and false conversions. “For it is by grace you have been saved and this is the gift (or the work) of God” (Ephesians 2:8) (italics added).
These are some of very serious theological implications that come along with predicting the day and the hour that the Lord is coming. So, for me, instead of regarding the prophets who predict the “doomsday” as working for the good of Christianity, I see them as doing otherwise. It is not my intention to judge or question their Christianity. Only God can judge them. Nevertheless, one thing I know for sure is that predicting Judgment Day is anti-Christian hence I don’t doubt that it grieves Christ.
Postscript:Following his failed predictions, Harold Camping together with his Family Radio Station have repented of their sin. I thank God for this and I believe that Camping’s repentance is sincere and that Christ has forgiven him. Below is a letter of his confession and repentance which was posted on the website of Family Radio but I got it from the website of Christian Post.
THE BOARD OF FAMILY RADIO WISHES TO POST THE FOLLOWING LETTER FROM MR. CAMPING. IT WAS OUR WISH, OUT OF RESPECT FOR OUR LISTENERS, TO MAIL OUT THIS LETTER BEFORE POSTING IT TO THE WEB SITE. HOWEVER, BECAUSE IT WAS LEAKED TO THE INTERNET WITHOUT OUR AUTHORIZATION, WE HAVE MADE THE DECISION TO POST IT IMMEDIATELY TO AVOID CONFUSION. THIS LETTER WILL ALSO BE MAILED OUT TO OUR LISTENERS.
“God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” Romans 3:4
Dear Family Radio Family,
In this time of confusion and turmoil, God’s Word remains the only truth in which we can trust. God has shown us again the truth that He alone is true. In Romans 3:4 God declares: “Let God be true but every man a liar.” Events within the last year have proven that no man can be fully trusted. Even the most sincere and zealous of us can be mistaken.
The May 21 campaign was an astounding event if you think about its impact upon this world. There is no question that millions, if not billions of people heard for the first time the Bible’s warning that Jesus Christ will return. Huge portions of this world that had never read or seen a Bible heard the message the Christ Jesus is coming to rapture His people and destroy this natural world.
Yes, we humbly acknowledge we were wrong about the timing; yet though we were wrong God is still using the May 21 warning in a very mighty way. In the months following May 21 the Bible has, in some ways, come out from under the shadows and is now being discussed by all kinds of people who never before paid any attention to the Bible. We learn about this, for example, by the recent National Geographic articles concerning the King James Bible and the Apostles. Reading about and even discussing about the Bible can never be a bad thing, even if the Bible’s authenticity is questioned or ridiculed. The world’s attention has been called to the Bible.
We must also openly acknowledge that we have no new evidence pointing to another date for the end of the world. Though many dates are circulating, Family Radio has no interest in even considering another date. God has humbled us through the events of May 21, to continue to even more fervently search the Scriptures (the Bible), not to find dates, but to be more faithful in our understanding.
We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and He will end time in His time, not ours! We humbly recognize that God may not tell His people the date when Christ will return, any more than He tells anyone the date they will die physically.
We realize that many people are hoping they will know the date of Christ’s return. In fact for a time Family Radio fell into that kind of thinking. But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that “of that day and hour knoweth no man” (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. Whether God will ever give us any indication of the date of His return is hidden in God’s divine plan.
We were even so bold as to insist that the Bible guaranteed that Christ would return on May 21 and that the true believers would be raptured. Yet this incorrect and sinful statement allowed God to get the attention of a great many people who otherwise would not have paid attention. Even as God used sinful Balaam to accomplish His purposes, so He used our sin to accomplish His purpose of making the whole world acquainted with the Bible. However, even so, that does not excuse us. We tremble before God as we humbly ask Him for forgiveness for making that sinful statement. We are so thankful that God is so loving that He will forgive even this sin.
So we must be satisfied to humbly wait upon God, and trust He will guide His people to safety. At Family Radio, we continue to look to God for guidance. If it is His good pleasure for us to continue on with our original mission, the proclamation of the Gospel, God’s Word, then we must continue to look to Him.
We consider you to be a real part of this ministry and the tremendous opportunities which God, by His unfathomable mercy and grace, continues to give to us. And, your steadfast involvement and support is so appreciated!
May God bless you,
Harold Camping and the staff of Family Radio.