Another "End of the World" prediction is spreading, and Saturday 21 May is alleged to be the big day. Pastor David Carson of "Intercessors for Canada" has written a helpful response to this latest deception. He writes:
Harold Camping of Family Radio is dogmatic that in a few days time on Saturday, May 21st, three things will happen: the Great Tribulation will end after 23 years, the Rapture of true believers will take place and the great Earthquake of Revelation 16:18 will reduce the cities of the world to rubble! How can he be so sure?
This end time scenario is largely based on dates and numbers of years between dates, and factors of numbers, and ascribing meanings to certain numbers like:
5 - atonement, 10 - completion, 17 - heaven, 23 - judgment etc.
Camping teaches that May 21st, 1988, is an important date as it marks the end of the church age! On his calculation it is 13,000 years from creation (note 13) and 1955 years from the Day of Pentecost. But 1995 is a factor of 5 x 17 x 23, a mixture of atonement, completion and followed by judgment (23). This is significant in his thinking that for 23 years, from 1988 to 2011, Satan has been in charge of all the churches during the supposed Great Tribulation. The Holy Spirit has only been active outside of the deceived churches (Latter Rain), bringing the truth to isolated individuals, many of whom then make Family Radio their new type of church, free from the rule of Satan.
He also teaches that May 21st, this year, is both 7000 years since the flood of Noah's time and also 722500 days from the crucifixion on April 1st 33AD. But 722500 is a remarkable number being (5 x 10 x 17) squared, a repeated factor of atonement + completion + heaven, which to Camping means the Rapture must take place on this date.
Camping's bottom line: Only those true believers who are ready for Judgment Day on May 21st, and who are not part of a church will be raptured.
The documents supporting this assertion seem to have a momentum of relentless logic. It all adds up so it must be true. But over the years I have learnt that it is possible for very intelligent people to take logical things to their illogical conclusion.
- For instance, the foundational dates in his equations must be questioned. Was creation 11013 years BC? Was the flood in 4990 BC? Was Jesus really born in 7 AD? Did He die on April 1st 33 AD? The certainty of any of these dates seems very unlikely and if any one of them is out then the whole scheme of things collapses.
- A major red flag is raised at the concept of the Church Age coming to an end on May 21st 1988, even if it was 40 years after the establishment of the State of Israel! The implication is that for the last 23 years the Holy Spirit has not been working in the churches but Satan has. OK, this is manifestly untrue, and on this basis alone we could declare Harold Camping to be deceived and doing Satan's own work by slandering the Church and blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
- Another sign of the deception is the exclusivity of those called to be raptured. According to Camping, true believers in Jesus Christ in the churches are clearly lost and will be destroyed. The real true believers are those who having nothing to do with the church system and are ready to go on May 21st. Well this is ridiculous.
- Finally, I consider this to be another example of an erroneous attempt to predict the future through numbers. I am tired of so called prophecies that are based on the number of the Gregorian year or the Hebrew calendar. In the New Testament we are called to be filled with the Holy Spirit and moving in revelation not calculation! Harold Camping is a false teacher and will soon bring great reproach upon the Church.
On May 22nd he may want to learn from the example of Michael Stifel: 'On October 3rd, 1533, Michael Stifel, a German associate of Martin Luther, urged his small band of followers to sell all their property after becoming convinced by his mathematical study of the Bible that the end of the world was approaching. On the appointed day he led his followers to the top of a hill so they could be delivered to heaven. A few hours later, with the world very much intact, he hurried down the hill and had to be locked in a local prison for his own protection!' (Wikipedia).
- That the media coverage and possible mockery will be minimized
- That the multitude of deceived Christians will repent and be restored
- That Harold Camping will repent and publicly ask for forgiveness
- That Christians will not lose faith in the hope of Christ's glorious return