An Open Letter To Harold Camping From the DCF Blog
Dear Mr. Camping,
I am disheartened to hear that you have again predicted the end of the world – this time on October 21, 2011. I have read numerous articles on your predictions that May 21st was initially the end of the world; and more importantly, I have read the Bible on the topic, Mr. Camping. I would like to bring to your attention several things which it appears that you missed when researching this in your Bible.
First and foremost, in an interview that you did just ten days before May 21st, you stated that the Bible is “very factual.”
You also stated elsewhere that you had developed some mathematical equations using the Bible – the book of Genesis particularly –from which you arrived at your conclusions.
But stating that the Bible is simply “very factual” would seem to downplay that it is inerrant, being “God-breathed” – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). However, since the Bible can be used “for correction,” I would like to correct some of your mistaken views on eschatology using solely the Bible. I feel this is a fair examination, since you do claim to found your predictions on the Bible.
The first passage I would point you to, Mr. Camping, is Matthew 24. In this passage, Jesus shows the signs of the times before the world ends. He states explicitly, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.... Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." (Matthew 24:36, 42-44) How then, can you predict to the day and hour when Jesus will return, precisely what Jesus says no one – not even Himself – knows?
A few verses later, Jesus says that one of the signs of His coming is the following: “Then, many false witnesses will arise and deceive many.” Mr. Camping, you owe the world an apology for falsely prophesying. It really says something about your character when, instead of admitting your wrongness in this prediction, you state that you were just off by five months!
Next, I would bring to your attention 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 —“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” Mr. Camping, you have made everyone expectant of Christ’s return on May 21st, and now October 21st; if everyone is expecting Him to return on a particular day (and at an exact hour), how can this be likened to “a thief in the night”?
You will also notice that both of these passages say to watch, because, as Jesus said, no one knows the day nor the hour of His coming. In stating that you can predict the day and the hour, you are unlawfully taking the authority that belongs only to God – “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32).
Now, consider 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, which states, “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.....” This is a clear warning to not let anyone deceive us about the end times, and we are told that it will not happen until the falling away and the man of perdition is revealed. (Jesus also says in Matthew 24, that the end will not come until the Gospel is preached in the whole world.)
You may not believe that you were deceived, Mr. Camping, but you have certainly deceived millions of people into believing that the end of the world would be on May 21st. I would even venture so far as to say that you have deceived yourself:
Question: You haven’t thought about what you’ll tell your followers on May 22 if the Rapture doesn’t take place?
Camping: I’m not even thinking about that at all. It. Is. Going. To. Happen. Because I trust the Bible implicitly, the Bible is God’s word — it’s not from a man, it’s not from an organization of some kind where there’s plenty of room for error. It is the word of God. When God speaks that it is going to happen, the Bible is a very factual book, and God gives many examples of how he has made prophesies and it always has happened in exact accord with what God has prophesied.
Later in the interview a similar question was submitted to you:
Question: If six o’clock rolls around and there are no major earthquakes, are you going to start to get worried?
Answer: It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. I don’t even think about those kind of issues. The Bible is not — God is not playing games. I don’t even want to think about that question at all. It is going to happen.
[Source: Statement Analysis]
Why are you not thinking about it? Are you afraid you might be wrong? Are you trying to convince yourself, Mr. Camping? I already implied this, but by stating, “the Bible is a very factual book” you downplay its inerrancy, thereby allowing your interpretations to slip through the cracks.
Also, I am a bit perturbed by the fact that you have resorted to the old Jehovah’s Witness’ line that the rapture really did happen on May 21 – but in a spiritual sense. Again, if you have really been “going through” your Bible, you would have noted these passages:
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen” (Revelation 1:7 7).
“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’” (Acts 1:9-11)
If the disciples could literally see Jesus ascend to Heaven (which is demonstrated elsewhere in Scripture), then why couldn’t anyone see Him come back in the same manner – just as the angels said He would? Why didn’t every eye (and I dare say, any eye) see Him on May 21st?
I realize that you are “flabbergasted” by the rapture’s failure to occur, but the least you could do is apologize to the people you have wronged and reimburse them with the money that you saved. Which leads me to ask, “Why would you save your money in retirement if you really believe that the world would end on the 21st?”
I realize that this letter may sound a bit harsh, but I am not the first one to point out that you are taking the route of a coward by blaming everything on your miscalculations. Why would you get everyone’s hopes up for “mistaken” research? That is called a theory, Mr. Camping, not a prophecy.
I will end this letter with a call to repentance from you Mr. Camping – not only to the people who are the victims of your prediction, but also to God. I would respectfully ask that you keep your predictions to yourself and make sure your heart is ready for when He comes, instead of wasting people’s time and getting their hopes up when you can never know for sure – that is an attribute that belongs only to God. I will leave you with an admonition from Jesus Himself:
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!" ~ Mark 13:35-37
President of In Defense of the Christian Faith
President of In Defense of the Christian Faith