So the “end of the world” is supposed to be tomorrow. At least according to the people of Family Radio — particularly Harold Camping.
I’ve already written a piece about it a while back, but as this date approaches, I felt that I had to share what I know for those who might actually think that tomorrow is the return of Christ.
Camping believes that through some complicated math, he figured out that tomorrow is the beginning of Christ’s return and five months of hell on earth. It’s a very frightening thing, but let’s go deep into it and see what the Bible really says about this stuff.
Camping has made a Judgment Day prediction in the past. In his book ‘1994?’, he predicted the world to end in September of 1994. He did claim that there was a chance he could be wrong. So this isn’t the first time he’s tried this.
But let’s take a look at his reasoning for the end of the world tomorrow.
Most of his argument stems from taking words of the Bible and doing some math to figure out this specific date. And with me being a non-math person, this stuff is still confusing. Here is what he told the SF Chronicle:
The number 5, Camping concluded, equals “atonement.” Ten is “completeness.” Seventeen means “heaven.” Camping patiently explained how he reached his conclusion for May 21, 2011.
“Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.,” he began. “Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that’s 1,978 years.”
Camping then multiplied 1,978 by 365.2422 days – the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year.
Next, Camping noted that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500.
Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500.
Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared.
“Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story,” Camping said. “It’s the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you’re completely saved.
“I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that,” Camping said.
Somehow I can feel that doing all this math isn’t exactly how the end of the world is to be. Didn’t Jesus tell us to have “child-like faith”? This sure is something that no first grader can figure out.
A lot of his predictions are based off the Gregorian, Lunar and Hebrew calendars. I’m not a historian or anything, but calendars are man-made. People use calendars to keep track of time, but in a sense, it’s all on what we perceive is the full rotation of the world in a day, in a year. That’s all what we assume based on what we’ve seen over time. Do we know everything that there is about the solar system? This coming from a species that thought the world was flat at one point
And here is where that doesn’t make sense. The belief in Christ is not based on sight, but by faith. Some things aren’t meant to be seen or understood by human beings.
I had always wondered since I saw these billboards what exactly does it mean to predict the end of the world. It didn’t make sense. How can God allow us humans to figure out His plan? I thought Judgment Day was not supposed to be something the humans were supposed to know.
Well, according to the Bible, God is the only one that knows when the end of the world is coming.
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 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. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
— Matthew 24:36-44 (New International Version)
There are two things from that Gospel that debunks everything Camping is trying to say.
Taking from the first highlighted part in verse 36, it says that ONLY GOD knows when it’s Judgment Day. Not us, not the angels, not even Jesus knows. It is something that we aren’t supposed to know.
And in the last part in verse 44, they talk about how Judgment Day is to unfold. It is to come unexpectedly, because we don’t know when it is. So the fact that Camping has predicted it, it doesn’t match up to what the Bible says.
Then I also read that Camping believes that the “two witnesses” in Revelation are actually the Church. Let’s look at that passage first.
3 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.”
— Revelation 11:3-4 (New International Version)
So nothing in that passage hints that the two witnesses are the church. And these two witnesses are supposed to come and prophesy for nearly three and a half years. But Camping said that there was only five months after May 21, 2011 in which the earth remains before all are dead. Doesn’t make too much sense there.
And straight from Camping’s website, he says only 3% of the world will be saved.
We learn from the Bible that Holy God plans to rescue about 200 million people (that is about 3% of today’s population). On the first day of the Day of Judgment (May 21, 2011) they will be caught up (raptured) into Heaven because God had great mercy for them. This is why we can be so thankful that God has given us advance notice of Judgment Day. Because God is so merciful, maybe He will have mercy on you.
I don’t think God already has a set number of how many people will decide to believe in Him. It defeats the whole idea of salvation. And also, like I mentioned, God has NEVER and WILL NEVER give us advance notice of Judgment Day.
There’s too many flaws in Camping’s prediction to make any sense. What he has predicted goes against the Gospel and what he is doing is bringing fear to people. What he is asking is for people to believe in God because of the fear of their life.
God doesn’t want us to believe in Him because of scare tactics. He wants us to believe and love Him because we genuinely do.
And if this is all too hard to digest at once, let me just say this:
We don’t know when the end of the world is coming. It’s not in our control. But what is in our control is our faith in God. Believe in God, trust Him, and the rest of everything else won’t be a problem. If we do believe in God, then whenever Judgment Day comes, we will be ready to join Him in heaven.
God is not here to be a vengeful all-being. He is all about love and sharing that love. Nowhere in Camping’s teachings is he talking about love. It’s all fear. And that’s not what God is all about.
I hope that we all understand God for what He is truly all about and that we continue to pray for those who are misguided, that they at least see God for who He truly is instead of what some complicated math and interpretation flaws says He is.
I’m not worried about May 21, 2011. In fact, I’m spending my night right now at a ballgame. I can’t worry about tomorrow because I don’t know what tomorrow is. And whenever God comes, whether it be now, next week or in 500 years, I’ll be prepared. Because I already believe in Him and the great wonders of his love, nothing else in this world scares me.