Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Camping on the Rapture

So, this weekend was the rapture. Can’t you tell by all the people who disappeared? Yeah, same here. And as much as people have been mocking it (it was brought up for fun and for serious discussion at church Sunday, too), overall the situation makes me sad.

I can remember back in elementary school, we used to listen to shows on Family Radio all the time. They had biographies of Christians on, a show where they read a book aloud for half an hour a day, and several kid’s shows on Saturday mornings. Those were my Saturday morning cartoons growing up, and I still think about them with fondness.

I can remember the first time Harold Camping tried to predict the rapture, and it killed me. I heard the ties to Family Radio. We’d stopped listening to it by that time, and honestly I can’t remember why. Probably just got too busy to keep up with everything, but maybe my parents heard some rumblings of his teaching and so we stopped. Honestly, I’d forgotten all about him until these new predictions came out.

Here’s the thing – right in the Bible, Jesus says that no man knows the time of his second coming, not the angels nor Him. And He warns us not to listen to anyone who claims to know when that second coming will happen. So, for a man to claim to have figured out when this will all take place is the height of arrogance.

How did Camping hit upon the date? I actually found a pamphlet lying around the gave the explanation. Honestly, I don’t remember the details, but he started taking numbers and squaring them or multiplying them by each other (or both) and starting from certain dates, he came up with May 21st. As I was sitting there reading it, all I could think is how gullible you’d have to be to believe it. Yes, I said it. Anyone who believed him was gullible. The numbers and dates were completely random and made up. There was no logical reason for picking those numbers and those computations. Oh, he had reasons why he picked them, but there are just as many compelling reasons to pick another number or another date.

Another things that got me was that the numbers he got where hidden in the Bible. Really? We’re still going with the hidden in the Bible nonsense? Now I will admit that my reading of the Bible in modern times and English misses much of the nuance and historical context of when it was written. I’ll also admit that I am too much of a surface reader on anything, including modern books. But of the things I am missing in the text of the Bible, I know there is no secret code. I’ll make it easy for you, God doesn’t work that way. His ways are not our own. But when he tells us “No man knows the day or the hour,” He’s not going to turn around and hide clues to the day and hour from us. That makes God out to be duplicitous, and that’s not how He is.

Now I will freely admit that it is possible to miss something in scripture. Look at the religious leaders of Jesus’ day who completely missed who He was. It’s one reason why I don’t get too hung up on end times prophecy – my guess is we’ll only fully understand it after the fact. The main purpose of prophecy is to remind us that God is still in control. It is also to remind us to live holy and Godly lives. We are not supposed to know specifics; if we were, God would tell us.

And now that Camping has been proved wrong, what is his response? “It was metaphorical and the physical return will be in a few months.” What hogwash! Either you got it right or you have no clue what you are talking about. And yet people will continue to mock Christians because he keeps making predictions.

Yeah, it bothers me when people lump me in with Camping. But it is even worse when they then tune me out when I start talking about Christianity because of what a nut job says. So Camping is turn people away from God by his false prophesy.

Yes, Harold Camping is a false prophet. In the Bible, God made it very clear that any person who claimed to be a prophet had a one strike and you’re out policy. If one thing he predicted didn’t come to pass, he was to be killed immediately. Kinda cuts down on the nut jobs or fame seekers, doesn’t it? This is Harold Camping’s second false prediction (and I want to say third, but I’m a little fuzzy on that). So clearly, he is not to be trusted on anything. Keep in mind I don’t think he should be killed; many of the Old Testament punishments we don’t follow any more. But he should lose his platform and followers. And yet people will believe his new date and everyone will be ready to mock Christians again when it comes and goes.

But I just keep coming back to Jesus saying that “No man knows the day or the hour.” Harold Camping has claimed to know now and in the past, and nothing has come of those claims. I can only trust one of those men, and I will trust the one who so far has been proved right – Jesus.


Shirley said...

Great post. Just wish that more people weren't so gullible. It's amazing how many support this man. Sheesh!

Mark said...

I just can't figure out how people can read his stuff and take him seriously, but obviously they do. It's very sad.