Harold Camping Week: Day 3 / Are You Wise?

 As I mentioned in the last post, while in Washington DC, I was given literature by those who were spreading Harold Camping’s message. It’s basically a sheet of paper folded 4 times, making an 8 page brochure. Each day this week, Lord willing, I will be commenting on a portion of this tract. The font on this thing is green, so I will type the material out in green, respond in blue, and quote the Bible in red. That being said, let’s take a look.

No one except God knows the time of the end of the world.
How does anyone dare to teach that the Rapture and the Day of Judgment will occur on May 21, 2011?
Doesn’t the Bible say very plainly that no one can know the day or the hour of Christ’s return?
Indeed the Bible did teach that.

NO MAN KNOWS THE DAY OR THE HOUR?

The Bible tells why the Bible did teach that. In Acts 1:7, at the time that the New Testament church age was about to begin, Jesus taught His disciples:

And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the time or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.

Jesus then said in the next verse:

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

From these verses we learn that during the church age there would be a great curiosity concerning the time of the end, but believers were not to be at all preoccupied with this question. They were to concentrate and focus all their attention on the task of bringing the Gospel to the whole world.

Acts 1 doesn’t teach “that during the church age there would be a great curiosity concerning the time of the end.” Instead of isolating 2 verses, let’s look at the passage.

“In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” [Acts 1:1-9]

Here, Luke recounts the ascension of Christ. Just before Christ ascends to the right hand of the Father, He tells His disciples to not depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father that would come not many days from now – the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

His disciples, in their ignorance, then asked Him if He would restore the kingdom to Israel. They were expecting an earthly restoration of Israel. The disciples’ very question about the kingdom showed ignorance in their understanding. Jesus told them that the time had not yet come, and that times and seasons fixed by the Father were not for them to know. He then assured them that they would have power when the Spirit came upon them. Christ knew that when the Spirit came upon them, they would understand the nature of the kingdom. The disciples had proven to be very ignorant of many of the teachings of Christ before Pentecost. For one, they needed parables explained to them (Matthew 13:36; 15:15). Secondly, Peter wanted to build tabernacles for Moses and Elijah when Christ was transfigured before Peter, James, and John (Mark 9:5). Thirdly, the disciples were saddened by the death of Christ (Mark 16:10, Luke 24:17). Fourthly, the disciples didn’t believe Mary Magdalene when she told them that Christ came back from the dead (Mark 16:11; 13). Consider what Christ’s response was to the Pharisees, who also had a very similar question concerning the kingdom:

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
[Luke 17:20-21]

Bringing the gospel to the world is the proclamation of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.  He ascended and is enthroned, ruling at the right hand of God the Father. The kingdom is here. This verse isn’t teaching that there would be curiosity during the church age, even though there IS great curiosity concerning the end. Harold Camping is an example of this. If we can gather anything from Acts 1:7, it is that “It is not for you to know the time or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.”Times and seasons that God has fixed are for God to know, and Jesus doesn’t give any exceptions. Though it could be argued that Christ simply was giving a quick response, and knew that somewhere down the line there would be an exception is speculative at best, and that type of thinking should be avoided. The Scriptures are our measuring rod. Something as subjective as, “The Holy Spirit revealed this to me,” should be tested by Scripture. Unfortunately, now that Acts 1:7 has been determined to mean this, it will no doubt be used to open the door to other vividly imaginative interpretations.

*

Therefore, regardless of how brilliant or how learned a theologian or Bible student might have been, or how diligently they studied the Bible or faithfully served Christ, it was impossible to learn from the Bible the timetable for the end of the world. Anyone who claimed he knew the time of the end was always wrong.

Why do I get the feeling that Harold Camping is speaking about our inability here as a negative thing? “No matter how hard you studied, you just couldn’t learn those timetables.” Who cares? We are to preach Christ, and let the secret things belong to God. Hasn’t history shown us what happens with this experiential chasing after mysteries and dates? Mormonism? David Koresh? Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God? You name the cult.

Do you notice Camping’s language here? Notice that it’s in the past? It’s because he believes that the church age ended in 1988. Since then, churches have been ruled by Satan, and the great tribulation started. He believes that the Holy Spirit is not in the visible churches, but outside. People are warned to leave their churches, but to still follow Hebrews 10:25 (not forsake the gathering of the elect). So, meet together, gather around the radio and listen to Harold Camping because God is currently judging the churches for having preached heresies and false doctrines. He considers the false teaching to be the erecting of “high places” within the church. Just as in the Old Testament when the Jews would worship God, but at the same time worship other gods in the “high places.” I’ll point out how he came up with his timeline, specifically May 21, later. But, I don’t want you to miss his language here.

*

Nevertheless, there is a very striking statement in the Bible. It is recorded in Ecclesiastes 8:5. There God declares:

Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth [better translation: will know] both time and judgment.  

In the Bible a wise man is a true believer, to whom God has given a profound trust in the authority of the Bible. True believers have been in existence since the beginning of time. But the timeline of history as it is revealed in the Bible was never revealed to the hearts of the true believers.

Again, instead of looking at one isolated verse (Ecc. 8:5), let’s take a look at the context:

“Who is like the wise?
And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
A man’s wisdom makes his face shine,
and the hardness of his face is changed. I say: Keep the king’s command, because of God’s oath to him. Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him, “What are you doing?” Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way. For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him. For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.” [Ecclesiastes 8:1-9]

Where in the world does Ecclesiastes say what Harold is saying? This passage teaches us that a wise man is someone to whom God has given a profound trust in the authority of the Bible? Does this sound a bit like pride? “The timeline of history as it is revealed in the Bible was never revealed to the hearts of the true believers.” Who has it been revealed to? Harold Camping. How? From God. Why? Because God trusts Harold. Why? Because Harold is wise.

If Harold was wise, he would see that this verse isn’t talking about wisdom to know end times and dates. The passage speaks of keeping “a king’s commands, because of God’s oath to him.” In other words, obey your earthly rulers because God establishes them. Sounds identical to what Paul says in Romans 13:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” [Romans 13:1-2]

Knowing “the proper time and just way,” simply refers to knowing when and how to obey the king. It is using proper judgment. After all, this verse begins by saying, “Whoever keeps a command will no know evil thing…” What command? The king’s command. Keeping this command means you aren’t a lawbreaker. Back to Romans 13:2,

“Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”

Does this mean we sacrifice babies if the authorities say to do that? Of course not. We are ultimately accountable to the King of Kings. Unless we are told to do something sinful, obey the king’s command.

*

For example, throughout most of the church age it was generally believed that Creation occurred in the year 4004 B.C.

However, about 35 years ago God began to open the true believers’ understanding of the timeline of history. Thus it was discovered that the Bible teaches that when the events of the past are coordinated with our modern calendar, we can learn dates of history such as Creation (11,013 B.C.), the flood of Noah’s day (4990 B.C.), the exodus of Israel from Egypt (1447 B.C.) and the death of Solomon (931 B.C.). * [See Adam When, first published in 1974. English copies can be obtained free of charge by contacting Family Radio, Oakland, CA, 94621 USA, or by downloading from the web site: www.familyradio.com]

In an interview with USA Today [click here for source], Harold Camping disclosed how he came up with his timeline.

“Asked how he arrived at the date, he opened his Bible to Genesis and said Noah loaded animals into the ark in 4990 B.C., a number he said he arrived at years ago after looking at carbon dating, tree rings and other data. Paging forward to 2 Peter, he read aloud, “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years is one day.”

Leafing back to Genesis, he said that the seven days Noah spent loading the ark was really 7,000 years. He then added 7,000 to 4990 B.C to arrive at 2010. He added one more year, he said, because there is no year one in the Bible.

“As for the exact date of May 21, he pointed again to Genesis, which says the flood began on the “17th day of the second month.” According to the Jewish calendar, which he believes God uses, that is May 21.”

Dude.

Is anyone convinced yet? I don’t think I even need to comment on this.

*

However, it was not until a very few years ago that the accurate knowledge of the entire timeline of history was revealed to true believers by God from the Bible. This timeline extends all the way to the end of time. During these past several years God has been revealing a great many truths, which have been completely hidden in the Bible until this time when we are so near the end of the world.

It sounds like Harold Camping is saying that you aren’t a true believer unless God reveals this to you. I reject this timeline based on sound biblical interpretation, not tree rings, carbon dating, numerology, allegory, and hoodoo. I will continue to reject it until the day I die. This man is a wolf. Based on a horrific interpretation, people are being told to leave churches, and believe the gospel – only this gospel isn’t Jesus Christ living a perfect and holy life, dying, and raising Himself from the dead to satisfy God’s wrath that loomed over His people and from eternal damnation that awaits all those who die in their sins. They aren’t commanding all men everywhere to repent of their sins and believe the AWESOME news that Jesus Christ nailed the debt of His people to the cross, that He disarmed powers and principalities and made a complete spectacle of them. They aren’t proclaiming that Christ is the victorious KING OF KINGS, that the earth is His footstool, that His enemies are being laid waste, that His kingdom is everlasting, powerful, and here on earth through believers.

They proclaim, “Cry out for mercy because the rapture is coming!” Cry out to God to be saved from the rapture. No sin. No Gospel. May God have mercy on your souls.

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