Archive for the ‘Harold Camping’ Category

Give Thanks to God!

March 7, 2012

For the repentance of Harold Camping.

Incorrigible Camping

May 24, 2011

Camping has moved his date from from May 21, 2011, to October 21, 2011. No repentance for his faulty hermeneutic. He simply took the position that he was not being spiritual enough.

There’s not the smallest reason to take his claim seriously. I hope no one will, though I fear his followers will seize on this false hope that his approach will pull through.

Harold Camping remains a heretic outside the church, and is himself in danger of the hell-fire that he claims does not exist. May God have mercy on him.


Where is the Promise of Christ’s Coming?

May 23, 2011

One of the key passages regarding the second coming of Christ is found in 2 Peter 3:1-18 (the entirety of chapter 3 of 2 Peter). First, let me provide you with the text of the chapter, and then my commentary on it.

2 Peter 3:1-18

This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying,

Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

First, notice that chapter is directed to the beloved – to those who are believers – to those who are already familiar with the promises of God by the prophets and the commandments of the apostles (both Old and New Testaments, one might say today).

Second, notice that Peter prophesies scoffers who will arise and mock the idea of Christ’s second coming. There are such men now. We saw many mocking Mr. Camping’s prediction of May 21, 2011. Some mocked it because of its absurd claim to be based on the Bible. Others, however, mocked it because they mock the whole idea of Christ coming again. This latter group is the group of scoffers that Peter’s prophecy applies to.

Third, notice what else characterizes these scoffers. These scoffers think that the world just goes on and on as it always has. What they are voluntarily ignorant about is the great flood of Noah’s day. In that flood, God wiped out all mankind throughout the world, except for eight souls who were left on the ark.

The point that Peter makes in discussing Noah’s flood is to point out that God has already judged the world once. God will judge it again. Those who think that life will continue on Earth endlessly should pay attention to the warning that the flood provided.

Fourth, notice the two-fold reason given for the delay in bringing judgment on the Earth again. God does not care about time – that’s what the “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” means. It does not mean that God embedded a secret day = one thousand years code in the Bible as Mr. Camping and others before him have thought. Instead, it means simply that God is indifferent to time as such. God doesn’t feel rushed to accomplish in a day what men might take a thousand years to do, and God doesn’t feel impatient about accomplishing in a thousand years what men might wish were accomplished in a day.

The second part of the reason for the delay is that God is gathering in the elect now. God is longsuffering to us, not willing that any (of us) should perish, but that all (of us) should come to repentance. If God were to have destroyed the world on May 21, 2011, some of the elect would (we must assume) never have been born, or never would have come to repentance and faith. God is indifferent to time, but we live in time. Thus, God uses time itself to His own purpose in the salvation of the elect.

Fifth, notice that the Lord will come as a thief in the night. Herein lies the utter absurdity of Mr. Camping’s prediction: a thief wouldn’t advertize his robbery in advance on billboards and radio waves around the globe. No, a thief comes without warning, when he is least expected.

Moreover, observe that this “thief in the night” characterization is not simply with respect to the scoffers, but with respect to the beloved as well. While scoffers had been addressed earlier in the chapter, now the beloved are being addressed and are being told that Christ’s return will surprise them too.

Sixth, notice that the day of the Lord will be a day of judgment. When Christ returns, it will not be to set up an earthly kingdom. No, the heavens will be destroyed with a loud noise, and the Earth will be destroyed with fire.

Seventh, notice the lesson to be taken from the fact that the world will be destroyed. The lesson Peter draws is that we ought to live holy lives. We ought to be less concerned with this world and its glories (all of which will be destroyed) than with the new heavens and new earth that will come after it. We should be longing for the coming of the Lord, and yet we should understand that God in his mercy is showing longsuffering, as also Paul wrote (see Romans 2:4 and 9:22).

Eighth, notice that Peter identifies Paul’s epistle to the Romans and his other epistles as Scripture. This is an important point to take note of, since it demonstrates that the canon of Scripture was known to include the Pauline epistles even during the apostolic era. It was not later generations who came up with this.

Ninth, notice that Peter warns us to be careful. We should not follow the example of men who wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction. It is hard not to apply these words specifically to Mr. Camping at this time, but nevertheless we ought to realize that there were wicked men wresting the words of the apostles in their own days, the Reformers had to contend with those of Rome wresting Scripture in even more destructive ways, and if the Lord tarries we will see many more wicked men do the same.

Tenth, and finally, notice that the way to avoid the error of the wicked is not to run away from learning and knowledge. Instead, the way to avoid the error of the wicked is to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The antidote to Camping’s mishandling of Scripture is to pray for God’s favor and to seek knowledge of God in the Scriptures – Scriptures that guarantee that the Lord will return, but also guarantee that no one will know the day or the hour.

– TurretinFan

Does the Bible Guarantee Camping’s Prediction?

May 18, 2011

Harold Camping has widely asserted that “the Bible guarantees” his prediction regarding the end times. This invites us to us examine his Biblical claims. One large chunk of the basis for Harold Camping’s claims with respect to May 21, 2011, is that 2011 is allegedly 7000 years from the flood. Camping’s date for the flood is unique and springs from work that he published as “Adam When?” in 1974 (I understand that the book may have undergone some revisions or editions since then, and in the following discussion I am referring to the current version available at his website.)

Adam When? purports to be a book that seeks to uphold the integrity of the Bible, and particularly the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible. These are noble and right aims. The book quickly goes astray, however.

At page 36, Camping begins a section entitled “Inspired Verbs.” While the verbs of the Bible are inspired, Camping treats them as though they represent a code. In short, Camping says that in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11, whenever the text describes A begetting B and living a set number of years, this should be interpreted as A being just an ancestor of B, with B being born the year of A’s death.

There’s no Biblical proof for this approach. In other words, Camping cannot point to any passage where the Bible explains that this way of speaking is being used. This is a key point: nowhere in Scripture does it tell us that when it says “A lived so and so years and begat B and lived so and so more years after he begat B and he died,” that B was actually born not after the first so and so years, but rather at the very end of A’s life. This particular patriarchal generation idea is just something Camping dreamed up.

Moreover, Camping is forced to admit that in certain cases it is clear that this terminology is used of direct father-son relationships. Camping actually provides an exception for those cases in the genealogies where the text says that the father “called [his son’s] name [name of the son].”

But this exception is as arbitrary as the rule. Camping does not provide a Scriptural basis for why the expression “called his name” should be a sign of direct father-son relationship that holds water. After all, the term is frequently used to refer to a mother naming her son, or even to neighbors of the grandmother naming a child:

Ruth 4:17 And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

And, of course, a very old man could name his grandchild born in the year of his death just as easily as neighbors could name their friend’s grandchild. So, again, the idea that “called his name” is a special sign of direct father-son relationship is yet another thing that Camping just dreamed up.

What is truly bizarre is that begetting is something that only a father actually does, whereas calling a child’s name is something that the mother or even the neighbors of the grandmother can do.

Camping’s only answer to this objection is to point to Matthew 1:8 and to allege that Matthew declares that Joram begat Uzziah, although there is not an actual father-son relationship between the two. According to Camping: “Ahazial, Joash, and Amaziah should come between Joram and Uzziah.”

Various explanations have been given as to why there are those three apparently missing generations in the Matthew genealogy. What is key about the Matthew genealogy, however, is that it does not purport to provide us with a chronology (i.e. dates). There are no ages or years of life mentioned. Instead, it is providing a lineage, much the way the Ezra 7 lineage does (the Ezra 7 lineage apparently omits 6 generations).

We could speculate about the apparent missing generations (are there really missing generations? have they been omitted because of a curse placed against Ahab? or does Ozias not correspond to Uzziah, but rather to a brother of Ahazial?), but such speculation isn’t really necessary.

Why isn’t such speculation necessary? Matthew 1’s genealogy does not follow the patriarchal generation model that Camping has described. In Matthew 1’s genealogy the only “called his name” is – you guessed it – Joseph calling Jesus’ name in Matthew 1:25. It would be blasphemous to assert that Joseph was Jesus’ biological father.

Thus, we see the arbitrary nature of Camping’s pick-and-choose hermeneutic. Camping picks the apparently missing generations of Matthew 1:8 to establish a mere ancestry interpretation of the term “beget,” while ignoring the “called his name” in the same genealogy, where such usage undermines Camping’s theory.

In summary:

1) Camping simply dreamed up his unique patriarchal generations theory. The Bible does not tell us that, for example, the following passage should be understood as saying that Jared was born in the year that Mahalaleel died:

Genesis 5:15-17
And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared: and Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters: and all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.

2) Camping simply dreamed up the “called his name” exception. The Scriptures do not tell us that “called his name” is a special clue that there is direct father-son relationship between the person who called the name of the other person. Indeed, many times it is a woman who calls the name of the child (Genesis 4:25, Genesis 19:37, 1 Chronicles 4:9, 1 Chronicles 7:18) and sometimes it is even the neighbors of the grandmother, as we saw in the case of Obed.

3) Camping appeals selectively to irrelevant texts to make his case. As we noted above, Matthew’s genealogy does not provide years, only lineage. Thus, Matthew’s genealogy is not especially relevant to the Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies. Moreover, if Matthew’s genealogy is relevant, Camping ought also to take into account the fact that “called his name” in Matthew 1:25 refers to Joseph naming Jesus, though Joseph was only the adoptive father of Jesus, much like Pharaoh’s daughter was only the adoptive mother of Moses where she “called his name” in Exodus 2:10.

So, to answer the title question of this post, no – the Bible does not guarantee Camping’s prediction. Camping’s prediction is something that Camping dreamed up and attempted to impose on the Bible. Even if a very generous person would say that the Bible does not unequivocally deny Camping’s imposed reading, certainly Camping’s claim that “The Bible Guarantees It” falls short.


Camping Rained Out by Flood

May 16, 2011

One of the key items in Harold Camping’s interpretation that leads him to conclude that 2011 is the last year is that the flood was in 4990 B.C. and that A.D. 2011 is “exactly” 7000 years later. That 7000 years number is important to Camping, because at one point God said to Noah, “For yet seven days, … and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth” (Genesis 7:4). Moreover, elsewhere Camping has noted that with the Lord one days is as one thousand years, and one thousand years as a day. Thus, Camping concludes that it is 7000 years from Noah’s Flood until Judgment Day.

First, this is completely arbitrary. There’s nothing about Genesis 7:4 that would lead someone to conclude that does not refer simply to the seven literal days that were fulfilled in the days of Noah. The reference to the earth being destroyed there is a reference to the world being destroyed by a flood, and we have been promised that a global flood will never again destroy the earth (see Genesis 9:13), of which the rainbow is a sign of the covenant.

The arbitrariness of the interpretation can be seen from the full context of the verse itself: “For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” (Genesis 7:4)

There is no room for 40,000 years in Camping’s chronology, so this part of the verse is conveniently ignored. Perhaps a justification is given that when it says “days … and … nights” it is not referring to thousands of years – but such an explanation doesn’t come from the Bible.

There’s another problem, though. The Bible doesn’t date the flood to 4990 B.C. Of course, the Bible doesn’t give year numbers, the Bible gives genealogies. Those genealogies can be used, to some extent, to reconstruct the history of the Old Testament era.

If one uses those genealogies, however, one will not arrive at 4990 B.C., one will arrive with a number like 2349 B.C., the number that Archbishop Ussher calculated, or 2957 B.C. – the number similarly calculated from the Septuagint translation (incidentally, the former calculation places Creation at 4004 B.C., while the latter places it around 5200 B.C.).

The 4990 B.C. date for the flood is actually something that Camping came up with around 1970 or so, and published in “Adam When?” in 1974. There is an updated version available on Camping’s website now. Lord Willing, we will discuss “Adam When?” some more in a future post.

What suffices for this post is to point out that if Camping is right about the flood being 7000 years before the end of the world, then we have well over a 1000 years to go.


Counting Down with Camping …

May 14, 2011

In a previous blog post, I commented on the fact that Camping has demonstrably miscounted the number of days between April 1, 33, and May 21, 2011. The number of days 722,501, not 722,500. How did he make this mistake?

Here’s Camping’s calculation paragraphs from his “Another Infallible Proof“:

Because of the importance and wonder of this proof we will take time to develop it. First we must learn that we can develop with perfect precision the number of days from one date to another. To obtain the precise number of days from a moment in one year to the same moment in any other year we must realize that astronomers have long ago discovered that there are 365.2422 days in a complete year. That is why in our modern calendar there are 365 days in each of three consecutive years. However, every fourth year has 366 days. This is done by adding an extra day in February of that year. Thus the average year for the four years becomes 365.25 days. But .25 is greater than .2422, so every 128 years a day is dropped from the calendar to maintain accuracy.

Thus all we have to do is multiply the number of years separating two events by the number 365.2422 to know the exact number of days between them. So from April 1, 33 A.D. to April 1, 2011 there are exactly 2011 – 33 = 1,978 years, each having 365.2422 days. This equals 722,449.07 days. From April 1, 2011 to May 21, 2011 inclusively (including the first day and the last day) are 51 days. Adding these 51 days to the number 722,449.07 gives us exactly 722,500.07 days, from April 1, 33 A.D. to May 21, 2011 inclusively. This number is enormously significant. Presently we will see why this is so.

Camping has made a mistake. The number of days from April 1, 33, to April 1, 2011, is actually 722,451 days (not 722,449.07). What about his proof? His proof is based on an assumption that April 1, 33, to April 1, 2011, are exactly 1978 years apart, and that a year is 365.2422 days.

Camping’s calculation allegedly provides the number of days as 722,449.07, although more precisely the number is 722,449.072. But there’s a serious problem with the calculation. The number of days between April 1, 33, and April 1, 2011, is not a fractional number of days. It’s an exact integer number of days. That’s because the sun rises exactly once each day.

If you’re not convinced, try a simple example: April 1, 2010, to April 1, 2011. Using Camping’s method, that’s one year, and consequently it is 365.2422 days. But, in fact, you can go get a calendar and count and verify that, in fact, it is exactly 365 days.

Also, keep in mind that the 365 number is based on counting only one of the two end days. This is the normal way of counting days. For example, we say that April 2 is one day from April 1. That’s because we count only the last day (April 2) and not the first day (April 1). So, it is a little strange when Camping asks his readers to count 51 days based on counting both the first day and the last days (“From April 1, 2011 to May 21, 2011 inclusively (including the first day and the last day) are 51 days.”)

Using this method means counting from April 1, 2010, to April 1, 2011, to be 366 days. Moreover, as we noted before, if one counts both the first and last days, the number of days from April 1, 33, to May 21, 2011, is actually 722,502 days.

It is also strange to see how some of his other calculations work:

Interestingly this same message of salvation or judgment being the result of the Gospel is hidden in the total number of years the Gospel was to be sent by the churches into the world. We have learned that the church age began immediately after Christ demonstrated how He suffered and died to make payment for sin. That was in the year 33 A.D. We learned that the church age officially began on Pentecost, May 22, 33 A.D. It continued exactly 1,955 full years until May 21, 1988 when the church age came to an end.

A few points. 1) Why are days counted with the first and last day both counted, whereas years are counted normally? Those familiar with Camping’s work should recognize this kind of arbitrary hermeneutic – a hermeneutic of convenience, if you will.

2) 1955 “full years” according to his 365.2422 number would be 714,048.501 days.

2) But the actual number of days from May 22, 33 A.D. to May 21, 1988 is exactly 714,051 days (including the end date) – which is indeed 1955 full years (including the end date).

Why April 1? According to Camping, April 1, 33 A.D. is when Christ was hanging on the cross, reminding people of the sacrifice he had already made before the foundation of the world.

However, April 1, 33 A.D. was a Wednesday, as you can see in the calculation results already discussed and as you can calculate for yourself (just enter month “4”, day “1”, and year “0033”.

Incidentally, some programs may tell you that April 1, 33, was a Friday (input “4”, “1” and “0033” here, for example), but if you look more closely, you will see that these are programs that are using a Gregorian calendar (back before the Gregorian calendar was even invented).

Incidentally, I suspect that this two days (of the week) difference is connected with the two-day error in Camping’s calculations, but I am not sure.

– TurretinFan

"An Exceedingly Serious Matter" 722,500 or 722,501

May 11, 2011

One of Camping’s key arguments for May 21, 2011, is that May 21, 2011, is 722,500 days from April 1, 33. But if we calculate the number of days from April 1, 33, to May 21, 2011, the number is actually 722,501 or 722,502 (depending on whether we count the last day or not).

Harold Camping says this is an “extremely serious matter.” Perhaps he should recheck his calculations.


Background on Harold Camping

March 17, 2011

Some interesting comments on Harold Camping’s own departure from the church can be found at the following story (link to story). This was brought to my attention by the Heidelblog. The most interesting insight is how the May 21, 1988, date seems to be connected to Camping’s final time teaching Sunday School.

Repentance and Family Radio

February 23, 2011

An alert reader noticed that in yesterday’s post asking for prayer for the regular listeners to Family Radio’s Harold Camping (or is it the other way ’round?), I had neglected to specify that his listeners need to repent.

Those who have broken fellowship with the church do need to repent. Forsaking the fellowship of the brethren and departing from the rule of the elders (without a proper justification, of course) is essentially the sin of schism. It’s a serious sin and repentance is needed.

I hope no one took my post as suggesting that those who departed from us should be welcomed back as though nothing had happened. No, they need to repent of their sin. Of course, how this is handled will be the domain of the various churches to which they are restored.

Nevertheless, we hope that churches will be prepared to deal with these folks who have been, for lack of a better word, religiously abused by Mr. Camping. They have been assured by him that the second coming is May 21, 2011. If the Lord tarries, they will hopefully see this and realize that they have been led astray.

My reader thinks that churches will be so eager to have the people back that they will forget to insist on repentance. I hope my reader is mistaken, but apparently something like that happened after September, 1994, when Mr. Camping’s prior prediction failed.

In any event, this post is designed both to encourage any Family Radio listeners who are reading to be prepared to repent, as well as to encourage churches to exhort these folks in their communities (many of whom we know, since they were formerly in our churches) to repent. Seize the day, May 22, 2011, to reach out to these people and bring them back to the fold.


Prayer for Family Radio Folks

February 22, 2011

As you may know, in three months (May 22, 2011) if the Lord tarries, there will be a lot of folks associated with Harold Camping and Family Radio that will be disappointed to discover that Camping’s prognostications haven’t panned out.

Currently, the folks who have believed his teachings have left the churches. Please pray that God would restore these people to the churches, help them to realize that the grammatical-historical hermeneutic is superior to any eschatologically driven hermeneutic, and bring them into greater obedience with the command not to forsake the assembly of the brethren.

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.


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