About half way through the week, we continue with the Harold Camping tract. Remember, the font on this thing is green, so I will type Mr. Camping’s material out in green, and respond in blue and quote verses and other sources in red.
How can this be happening? That this should happen was clearly prophesied in the Bible. The Bible is the living Word that requires the Holy Spirit to open the spiritual understanding of the person reading or hearing the words of the Bible.
I agree that the Bible is the living Word that requires the Holy Spirit to open the spiritual understanding of the person reading or hearing the Bible. This is true, and Scripture tells us this:
“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” [Romans 8:7]
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” [1 Corinthians 2:14]
But, false teaching is normally sprinkled with a little truth. Not every rank false teacher preaches nothing but lies. After all, the Bible tells us that there will be wolves in sheep’s cloth among the church. They will have the appearance of godliness. Many are fooled by them. Others can’t find enough sheep skin to cover the fangs on these false teachers.
Therefore, since it was not God’s plan to open anyone’s understanding of many truths of the Bible until very near the time of the end of the world, it is only now that exceedingly important Biblical truths are being understood. The Bible tells us that this was going to happen.
THE BOOK THAT WAS SEALED
In the book of Daniel God has much to say about end-time events. Much of this was understood by Daniel, and because it was such awful information, great agony came upon Daniel. We read for example in Daniel 8:27:
And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.
But then God told Daniel in Daniel 12:4 and 9:
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
In other words, God is telling us that there is important information concerning the time of the end that has been recorded in the Bible (“the book”) but is not to be revealed by God until the world is near its end.
Daniel was certainly a prophet. But, did Daniel speak of the end of the world? Let’s look at the entire chapter of Daniel 12, and take it apart verse by verse.
Remember that Daniel is a prophet. This means that he is using prophetic language (ie. hyperbole, symbolism, etc.). As a supplement to this section, please view an earlier post [here] on Daniel chapter 9 that explains the timeline God had given the prophet Daniel. This timeline foretold of the rebuilding of Jerusalem (it was in ruins Daniel’s day), the incarnation and death of Jesus Christ, as well as His resurrection and His coming in judgment in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. I guarantee the timeline given to Daniel in chapter 9 will be unrecognizable when compared to Camping’s mind-bending conclusions.
VERSE 1: “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.”
“Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people” is a reference to Jesus Christ. This does not mean, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses say, that Jesus is literally an angel named Michael who became Jesus of Nazareth, and then became Michael again when He died on the cross. Jesus is God. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He had no beginning and He will have no end. But, in this prophetic literature, Michael represents Christ. Consider these other verses that speak of Jesus Christ as being a Prince:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” [Isaiah 9:6]
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” [Daniel 9:25]
“But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.“ [Acts 3:14-15]
“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” [Acts 5:30-31]
This passage is not telling us about some time in the future when a great prince named Michael will take charge of the Jews. It points to Jesus Christ. Christ is the Prince Who stood for Daniel’s people (the Jews). He was the Messiah who came to give His life in the place His elect people. This included Gentiles as well as Jews. Michael is a name that means, “Who is like God.” We are then told that there would be a time of trouble like there had never been before. Christ alludes to this in Matthew 24: 21,
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.”
Here Jesus is referring to the destruction that will befall Jerusalem. He had been asked about when the temple would be destroyed and when the Old Testament age of sacrifices and shadows that only pointed to Him would completely end. This language used in Daniel and in Matthew (both prophetic literature) is typical hyperbolic language. It does not imply that it will literally be the worst event ever. Now, I know it is easy to assert that, but here is some Scripture to back it up:
Notice what Scripture says about Hezekiah who was the king of Judah,
“He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him.” [2 Kings 18:5]
A few chapters later, we read this about Josiah who became king of Judah just two kings after Hezekiah:
“Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.” [2 Kings 23:35]
Both of these verses say that there were no kings like them before or after. This is because it is hyperbolic language, and is not intended to be taken literally. If I may use an illustration. Let’s say you go watch a movie, and you love it. You may tell your friends, “That movie was the best movie ever.” Without even a second thought, you will more than likely say this about another movie down the line. You aren’t making a literal statement. You are only trying to explain its awesomeness.
This being said, it certainly was a terrible time for many Jewish people not only because thousands upon thousands died of starvation and war, but also because they lost the temple. It was central to their identity, because it is where they performed sacrifices and where God would descend to meet with His people. But the temple and its practices only served as shadows pointing to the substance – Jesus Christ. The Jewish temple age was ending, and the age of the church would come in fullness. As Jesus told the woman at the well, no longer would people need to go to the temple to worship. The temple that once stood was replaced with a new temple – Jesus Christ. Here, Daniel is referring to the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans between AD 67 to 70.
Daniel says that it is at this time that Daniel’s people would be delivered, specifically those whose names were written in the book of life. In other words, Christians had escaped this seige. Though it would seem impossible to flee a city that was surrounded by Roman armies, it is important to look at the witness of history.
Cestius Gallus, a Roman consul, marched into Judea in 66 AD, in order to calm the Jewish revolt. He had very little success, and was driven out. The Roman armies, led by Titus Flavius Vespasianus (Vespasian) would later siege Jerusalem, and finally crush it in 70 AD. In Interesting note, there were no recorded Christian deaths during this time, since they all fled to Judea as Christ had said. Both Josephus and Eusebius tell us of this:
“After this calamity had befallen Cestius, many of the most eminent of the Jews swam away from the city…” Josephus – Jewish Wars 2:20:1 (66 AD)
Remember, the majority of the Christians fleeing Judea would have been Jewish.
“But the people of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a revelation, vouchsafed to approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain town of Perea called Pella. ” Eusebius – History of the Church 3:5:3 (325 AD)
“The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella. Here those that believed in Christ, having removed from Jerusalem, as if holy men had entirely abandoned the royal city itself, and the whole land of Judea; the divine justice, for their crimes against Christ and his apostles finally overtook them, totally destroying the whole generation of these evildoers form the earth. Eusebius – 3:5 (325 AD)
“It then happened that Cestius was not conscious either how the besieged despaired of success, nor how courageous the people were for him; and so he recalled his soldiers from the place, and by despairing of any expectation of taking it, without having received any disgrace, he retired from the city, without any reason in the world.” Josephus – Wars, II, XIX, 6,7 (75 AD)
Interesting that Cestius “retired from the city without anyreason in the world.” This was obviously Christ giving believers time to flee.
VERSE 2 – And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
VERSE 3 – And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Although Scripture speaks of someone coming to faith in Christ as having passed from life to death, verse 2 is specifically a reference to the effects of the gospel in the resurrection of the dead. Because of it, many will die only to experience eternal life, whereas others will die and experience eternal damnation. Verse 3 speaks of the future glorification of those who have placed faith in Christ.
VERSE 4 – But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
Daniel is told to seal up the book of prophecy until the time of the end. This doesn’t mean the end of time, but the time when these prophecies shall come to pass.
VERSE 5 – Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream.
VERSE 6 – And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?”
Daniel sees two others. One of these two asks the other how long it will be until the end of these wonders?
VERSE 7 – And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished.
VERSE 8 – I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?”
VERSE 9 – He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end.
VERSE 10 – Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.
VERSE 11 – And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.
All of these things would be finished in a time, times, and half a time or 1,290 days. From December A.D. 66/67 to July A.D. 70/71 – 3 years & 7 months, about 42 months or 1,290 days.
VERSE 12 – Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days.
45 days after the temple is destroyed, the rest of Jerusalem is completely destroyed. Remaining Jews were either executed or enslaved. Those who would return after this time would certainly be counted blessed for having escaped the years of destruction.
VERSE 13 – But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.””
Again, this isn’t referring to the end of time, but the end of the prophecy previously given.
In Revelation 22:18-19 we read:
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
These verses absolutely assure us that after the Bible was completed about 95 A.D. no other words could ever be added to the Bible. Therefore, whatever end-time information had been given to Daniel, but was not to be understood until the time of the end, had to have been included in the Bible before the Bible was completed. However, God wrote it in such a way that it could not be understood until the world was almost at its end. Remember, understanding comes only from the Lord Jesus Christ, as we read in Luke 24:45: “Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.” This explains why the Bible is written in such complex and difficult-to-understand language. It is one reason why Christ spoke in parables, even as we read in Mark 4:34: “But without a parable spake He not unto them.”
I believe that Camping is assuming the book of Revelation was completed in 95 A.D. The evidence for this is certainly questionable. There is evidence that he wrote this any time between 65 to 70 A.D., just prior to the destruction of the temple. First, we can look at Scripture. In Revelation 11:1-2 we read,
“Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.”
Here John is told to measure the temple. It has not been destroyed yet because he was told not to measure the court outside for it had been given over the nations and “they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.” This is an allusion to what Daniel and Jesus had spoken of concerning the destruction of the city. If the book of Revelation had been written in 95 A.D., then this would certainly be an odd statement, as the temple would have no longer been standing for the last 25 years.
We can also read about a 7 headed beast mentioned in Revelation. An angel gives John some insight as to what this beast represents. The angel says,
“This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while” [Revelation 17:9-10]
For the audience, the seven heads being described as “seven hills” would have immediately told them that this was Rome. I don’t know of any futurists that would disagree with this. Although, they would say that this is a futuristic revived Roman empire. But, this was the Rome of their (the immediate audience receiving this letter) day.
5 have fallen:
Julius (49 – 44 BC), Augustus (31 BC – AD 14), Tiberias (AD 14 – 37), Caligula (AD 41-54), Claudius (AD 41 – 54)
Nero (AD 54 – 68 / commits suicide in AD 68)
One will remain for a little while:
Galba (AD 68 – 69 / he ruled for 6 months)
Lastly, an often quoted passage from Revelation comes from chapter 3. It is in this chapter that Christ speaks to the church at Laodicea:
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.” [Revelation 3:14]
You may be asking yourself, “So what’s the big deal?” Well, historically, Laodicea is believed to have been destroyed in 66 A.D and later rebuilt by Marcus Aurelius (who was born in A.D. 121, by the way).
The misconception about the completion of Revelation comes from a quote made by Eusebius Pamphilus, Bishop of Cesarea of the early church father, Irenaeus. He said,
“In this persecution [of Christians under Domitian], it is handed down by tradition, that the apostle and evangelist John, who was yet living, in consequence of his testimony to the divine word, was condemned to dwell on the island of Patmos. Irenaeus, indeed, in his fifth book against the heresies, …speaks in the following manner respecting him: ‘If, however, it were necessary to proclaim [the name of the Anti-Christ], … it would have been declared by him who saw the revelation, for it is not long since it was seen, but almost in our own generation, at the close of Domitian’s reign.” (Eusebius, III, XVII)
“It is not long since it was seen” is assumed to mean the vision that John had, but in Greek “it” could actually be referring to John. He certainly lived into Domitian’s reign (AD 90’s). But, before you start putting all your stock into the late date, consider other date and time quotes from Irenaeus:
“Chapter XXII.-The Thirty Aeons are Not Typified by the Fact that Christ Was Baptized in His Thirtieth Year: He Did Not Suffer in the Twelfth Month After His Baptism, But Was More Than Fifty Years Old When He Died.”
“…but they mentioned a period near His real age , whether they had truly ascertained this out of the entry in the public register, or simply made a conjecture from what they observed that He was above forty years old, and that He certainly was not one of only thirty years of age. For it is altogether unreasonable to suppose that they were mistaken by twenty years, when they wished to prove Him younger than the times of Abraham. For what they saw, that they also expressed; and He whom they beheld was not a mere phantasm, but an actual being of flesh and blood. He did not then wont much of being fifty years old …”
Yes, that’s right. He said that Christ was more than 50 years old when He died. Should we really find Irenaeus to be reliable?
Harold Camping loves to always say that Christ always spoke in parables. In fact, in my conversation with Sam, this was brought up. Christ did not ALWAYS speak in parables. For instance, when He explained the parables to His disciples, He didn’t explain the parables with more parables. This seems like it’s just a way to confuse people and get them to believe whatever you say. “The Bible is confusing! So just believe me!”
THE BOOK IS OPENED
But we read in Revelation 5:1-9:
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
These verses teach that there is a book that had been sealed and that was to be opened by Christ, Himself. The only book that can be in view is the book that the Bible describes in Daniel 12.
I agree that this is the same book that was sealed in Daniel’s day. But it is not a future event from where we are standing. The book of Revelation was written to seven churches about events that would soon take place. This was the destruction of Jerusalem.
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.” [Revelation 1:1]
It’s always ironic to me that I have been accused of over spiritualizing the Bible, and yet those same accusers do not take Revelation 1:1 literally. “Soon” is interpreted as denoting speed or swiftness or something, but never what it actually says. Revelation 1:1 is the salutation. John doesn’t even get into the prophetic language yet. But, this verse is made to mean something else, and verses about islands hiding themselves and beasts are taken literally.
I have a question for Harold Camping and anyone who would believe his interpretations. Let me form it first.
Daniel is told to seal the book because the time is not yet,
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” [Daniel 12:4,9]
But in Revelation, Jesus tells John,
“And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near” [Revelation 22:10]
Daniel (about 600 years before the book of Revelation is written) is told to seal the book until the end… but John is told more than TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO to not seal the book because the time was near????