Excitement is growing about the Coming of the Lord. This is no surprise but unfortunately has led to a rash of foolish date-setting that only heaps ridicule on Christians in general.
It also teaches the world not to listen when Christians speak about the Endtimes. We have “cried wolf” once too often.
It’s one thing to be laughed at for believing that Jesus Christ will return to the earth, or that sin will be judged, but quite another to draw public attention to the Church’s mistakes by going public with “one-hundred-percent-certainty-dates” on which supposedly the Church will be raptured and/or the Tribulation will start.
And it’s one thing to study the endtimes scripture and gain an overall understanding of the “times and seasons” but another to go public with one specific day on which these things “must” happen.
Harold Camping has been the worst offender, with his massive media campaign both in May and October 2011. After the October date failed to materialise, Camping went quiet and there are reports that he will not be leading Family Radio any more. He continues to post to his website regardless, with lame excuses that defy belief.
Excuse number one: God let it happen
The damage Camping has done to our credibility is huge. But in his website posts he appears to be blaming God instead of himself:
“Why didn’t Christ return on October 21? It seems embarrassing for Family Radio. But God was in charge of everything. We came to that conclusion after quite careful study of the Bible. He allowed everything to happen the way it did without correction. He could have stopped everything if He had wanted to. (10/28/2011)
Excuse number two: change of plan
“ When God did not bring about the end of the world as we had been thinking it would happen, we know that it’s God’s plan and we don’t argue with God. We’re not angry with God; we’re not unhappy with God. We simply say, ‘Oh, Lord, we misunderstood somehow, or You changed Your plan, or whatever’…” …..now, at the last moment, God has come and said, “No. No, it’s not the end. I still have some other plans.” (11/8/2011)
Excuse number three: God used a Lie
So, God changed his mind and now has “other plans” – but what are these plans? It seems that God tricked Family Radio into broadcasting a lie in order to bring people’s attention to the bible:
“… maybe God is not finished with bringing salvation to the world… Now by God’s mercy through the actions of Family Radio… the whole world has heard about the Bible. … God now is ready for the next action based on that kind of information” (11/8/2011)
The only real truth is that Harold Camping was WRONG in his calculations and predicted a specific day for the Rapture incorrectly. This foolishness leads to the ultimate “egg-on-face” moment that others have experienced before and since.
Other False Predictions
There have been two quite high-profile predictions recently circulating the Net that claimed to be completely one-hundred-percent confirmed, not only by bible calculations but by everyday events like car number-plates and electricity blackouts. Such coincidences and seeming portents can appear conclusive but the devil can organise events to bolster a false prediction.
The Internet is awash with predictions for 2012. The world in general is ignorant of the bible and thinks that the “End of the World” is one terrible catastrophe followed by Judgement (or whatever). Little do they know that, if anything, 2012 is the beginning, not the end!
However, it’s disturbing when Christians follow the same 2012 prophecies. They are based on various interpretations of a pagan calendar, and that in itself is only about the “end of a cycle” and not global devastation.
Just as in the time before the first Coming of the Lord, there is increased interest and speculation, and Jesus said delusions such as “He is in the inner room” or “He is in the desert” would arise before the actual day.
Matt 24:23-27 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert !’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
There’s nothing wrong with being excited about the Day, nor in trying to grasp the meaning of prophecy in the bible, but when it spills over into setting one specific date it’s gone too far.
I happen to believe we – as Christ’s Body – will know more and more clearly when the Lord is about to return for us. We will sense it by the Holy Spirit as well as getting much more clear revelation on the scriptures. These two gifts from God – the written word and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – are all we need to KNOW the times and seasons.
Only the UNWARY and UNBELIEVING will miss what God is saying, which is why Jesus warned us all to WATCH!
Rev 3:2-4 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch , I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you
1 Thess 5:5-7 We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
Mark 13:34-37 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch .Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming — in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning — lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch !”