I always wondered what it would be like to know I only had one day left to live, and now I do. Obviously, this will be the last blog entry for, well, ever. Apparently the rapture is taking place tomorrow, not because God said so (because if I read the Bible correctly, He won’t), but because a sweet, little, 89 year-old false prophet named Harold Camping did.
Sure it seems kind of harsh to call someone’s grandpa a false prophet, but just because he drinks a lot of prune juice doesn’t make him harmless. In fact, I’d say it makes him a bit more dangerous because his appearance makes him a little more believable (that was just one of the multitude of points I tried to convey recently in a post about Boston Rob and Survivor, too). There’s something that seems nice about a man who can pull out his teeth, but he’ll fool you quicker than the blink of an eye, which, ironically, is how long it takes for those of us who are raptured to get out of here:
It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. (1 Corinthians 15:52)
Before we camp out too long on this prediction that the rapture will take place on May 21, 2011, (and we can’t take very long, since we’ve all got a lot of last minute stuff to do, like GET RIGHT WITH JESUS and such) let’s start off with the only real argument from Scripture about why Harold Camping is a heretic:
But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,but only the Father (and Harold Camping)…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 – heresy added)
Did you catch the 2 main points in those verses?
1. No man knows the day or the hour. No man. Period. Now, I suppose it could be debatable as to whether or not a man could know the month and the year, but day and hour? Nada.
2. We’re supposed to always be ready because there’s some element of surprise built into the end of the world event. Following Camping’s mathematical wizardry (which includes taking the square root of the tangents of the multiplied cosines of the angles found in the upper deck of Noah’s ark and then dividing that number by the totaled width of the moon phases since the last day before “W” became a lame duck president), it looks like we may be able to sin right up until the end as long as we leave ourselves just enough time to whisper a quick “I’m sorry” to Jesus. Good to know.
See, stupid. Let’s dig a bit deeper and see if it don’t get more stupider (sorry, I couldn’t resist the bad grammar).
Harold Camping first predicted the rapture would take place on September 6, 1994, but after missing that one still felt confident enough in his predicting abilities to then change the date as necessary to September 15, then September 25, then October 4, next was December 25, then February 25, 1995 and finally May 3, 1996. All of these dates were based on Scripture, albeit very liberal translations of Scripture. As an example, the Christmas date was based on the fact that Revelation 11:10 mentions the giving of gifts. There are no words for how bad of a misuse of Scripture that is.
So, like all prophets who are wrong 7 times over a couple of years about small things like the end of time, Camping took some time off to find his game and raise as much money as possible to use later when he’d return with another bold prediction. Turns out, he wasn’t wrong about the significance of September 6,1994, but instead of it being Judgement Day for everybody, it was the beginning of the Great Tribulation. According to Camping, then, “simple arithmetic would put the return of the Lord no later than 2008.” His fatal flaw, of course, is that his formulas for date picking aren’t simple math, and so he missed again.
Now, it appears, the 9th time will be the charm, and so Harold “If I keep guessing someday I’ll be right” Camping and his ministry at Family Radio have been spending millions of dollars on a billboard campaign announcing that the rapture (when all believers leave earth and go to heaven) will take place on May 21, 2011. What’s interesting to me is that the campaign’s website is WeCanKnow.com. I guess the domain WeThinkWeCanKnowAfterEightWrongGuesses.com was taken. Curse you, GoDaddy.
Now, it’s possible that I have misjudged Camping, and if he’s right and I’m wrong, I’ll be happy to apologize here publicly on The Blog Channel. Wait, if he’s right and I am wrong, then I won’t be here to write it. Well, I guess this will have to serve as a pre-Rapture apology that others can read if he’s right. I’ve got no problem admitting when I’m wrong. But will he?
He didn’t the other 8 times, so my guess is he won’t this time, either. And that’s what burns me up about men like Camping. They are able to spout this garbage with little to no accountability, and they screw with good people like Allison Warden, who is the lady beside the car featured above. She is so convinced in what Camping has said, that not only did she get an awesome car decal, but she also went on record saying
If May 21 passes and I’m still here, that means I wasn’t saved. Does that mean God’s word is inaccurate or untrue? Not at all. (source)
Ummm, no. It means you were wrong, not about your salvation necessarily, but about your ability to discern when someone’s lying to you. Don’t worry, Allison, you weren’t alone. Seems that a retired subway worker spent all of his 20 year retirement savings putting ads up in subway cars and busses around New York City. In fact, it appears that lots of people have been selling a lot of things that they may need on May 22 in order to get the word out about how they won’t be here to use any of it. Well, almost everyone. 3 guesses who hasn’t gone all in.
That’s right. Harold Camping.
While people give themselves totally to his message, he’s sitting on Family Radio, which is estimated to be worth $70 million. Yep. That was MILLION. That’s a lot of money he won’t be needing in a few days, and yet he has twice ignored offers to purchase what he will no longer be here to use. One man offered to buy everything for a dollar, but another group offered $1 million for the radio network. Camping isn’t selling. That’s the way to be totally committed to the cause, Grandpa!
It’s a bit surprising that he wouldn’t sell it all, just like many of his devoted followers, especially in light of his statement to New York magazine when they requested an interview on May 22. Camping’s response?
I can’t even think about that question because you’re thinking that maybe, maybe Judgment Day will not happen. But it will happen, and I believe the Bible implicitly.
Really? Implicitly? Surely he knows that the word means “unquestionably and without reservation,” right? It seems that he would happily be selling all he had if he did believe it implicitly, or at least he’d be giving most or all of it to the poor of the world who will no doubt be needing it on Sunday.
If Camping does believe the Bible implicitly, might I suggest he meditate on Deuteronomy 18:20-22.
But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.” You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.
So, if a prophet didn’t speak for God, he was to be put to death. And the way you knew he didn’t speak for God was when what he prophesied didn’t happen. So, we should have a pretty good clue about what should happen to Camping when we wake up on May 22nd, right? Perhaps, if he needs another idea for his next publicity stunt and fundraiser after May 21 comes and goes without any of us going, he could post a video on YouTube showing how he lives out this part of the Bible implicitly.
I’m sure it would go viral, aren’t you?