Today’s portion, though brief, was especially difficult to get through. I found it difficult to read and research. You might need a few headache pills before you read, and plenty of open room to pace back and forth . This has been pretty emotionally draining. As I’ve mentioned before, Mr. Camping’s words are in green, my responses are in blue, and any quotes will be in red.
This book was sealed with seven seals. Therefore, in order for the full information written in the book to become available for understanding, all of the seven seals must be removed. Indeed, Revelation 8:1 describes the removal of the seventh seal:
“And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.”
WHEN WAS THERE SILENCE IN HEAVEN?
Several years ago we had learned that the silence in Heaven for about half an hour referred to the 2,300 days that were the first part of the 23-year (exactly 8,400 days) Great Tribulation period. This period began on May 21, 1988. It was during this 2,300-day period that, both in the churches and throughout the world, very few, if any, were saved. Revelation 8:1 reports that there was silence in Heaven. This would have been the situation beginning on May 21, 1988, because joy in Heaven occurs as sinners repent. In Luke 15:4-32 the Bible reports this joy in Heaven, a joy that was not in silence.
Harold Camping makes the assertion that the 2,300 days (that were the first part of the 23 year Great Tribulation period) are the same as the half an hour of silence in heaven recorded in the book of Revelation. Let’s look to Scripture to see if this is the case. The 2,300 days reference is found in the 8th chapter of the book of Daniel. Let’s take this chapter apart and see if it measures up to Mr. Camping’s interpretation.
VERSE 1: “In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first.
Daniel receives a vision from God approximately B.C. 553.
VERSE 2: And I saw in the vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the capital, which is in the province of Elam. And I saw in the vision, and I was at the Ulai canal.
VERSE 3: I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, a ram standing on the bank of the canal. It had two horns, and both horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.
This two-horned ram represents the Medo-Persian (the Medes and the Persians) empire. At the time of this vision, Babylon was in power under King Belshazzar. But this would change as the Babylonians are overtaken by the Medo Persian empire.
VERSE 4: I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. No beast could stand before him, and there was no one who could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great.
VERSE 5: As I was considering, behold, a male goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground. And the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes.
This male goat represents Greece. The Greeks later overpower the Medo Persians. The fact that this male goat didn’t touch the ground is descriptive of how swiftly (as though flying) the Greeks would conquer. The conspicuous horn on this goat’s head represents Alexander the Great.
VERSE 6: He came to the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing on the bank of the canal, and he ran at him in his powerful wrath.
VERSE 7: I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns. And the ram had no power to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled on him. And there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power.
Just as the male goat destroyed the ram, Alexander the Great destroyed the Medo-Persian empire.
VERSE 8: Then the goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.
This great horn is broken while the goat is strong, and hour other horns arise. While Alexander the Great was still young, and after having conquered all that he had – he died. After him came four men who split the empire amongst themselves. They were Seleucus, Antigonus, Philip and Ptolemy.
VERSE 9: Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land.
This little horn that came forth refers to Antiochus Epiphanes. He conquered Egypt in 170 B.C. (south), Persia and other eastern countries (East), and Jerusalem in 167 B.C. (the glorious land).
VERSE 10: It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them.
VERSE 11: It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown.
VERSE 12: And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression,c and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper.
Antiochus removed Temple furniture, and in 165 B.C. he even slaughtered a pig in the Holy place. This defiled the temple, as pigs were unclean to the Jewish people.
VERSE 13: Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?”
VERSE 14: And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”
This would occur over a period of 2,300 days or 6 years and 3 and one half months. This was the exact time that Antiochus Epiphanes occupied the city of Jerusalem. The last three years of the six years, unclean sacrifices were made in the temple. Then, through the Maccabean revolt led by Judah Maccabeus, the temple was rededicated and restored. This event is still celebrated by Jewish people today. You know it as Hanukah.
VERSE 15: When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man.
VERSE 16: And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.”
VERSE 17: So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.”
VERSE 18: And when he had spoken to me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face to the ground. But he touched me and made me stand up.
VERSE 19: He said, “Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end.
So, now everything that had been described will be interpreted by Gabriel to Daniel. So far it has probably been sounding like I was just making bare assertions. Perhaps I am wrong, and Gabriel will disclose something similar to what Camping would say? Let’s see what Gabriel says.
VERSE 20: As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia.
VERSE 21: And the goat is the king of Greece. And the great horn between his eyes is the first king.
VERSE 22: As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power.
VERSE 23: And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise.
VERSE 24: His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints.
VERSE 25: By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand.
Check… this out. Antiochus Epiphanes wasn’t murdered. After all he had done, he actually became depressed and apparently died from it. He attributed this depression to his mistreatment of the Jews and Jerusalem. From the Apocryphal book of 1 Maccabees (which isn’t inspired, but still has historical value), Antiochus is recorded as saying:
“This, I am convinced, is why these misfortunes have overtaken me, and why I am dying of melancholy in a foreign land” (1 Maccabees 6:13 NJB)”
VERSE 26: The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.”
VERSE 27: And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.”
So, there it is. What in the world does 2,300 days have to do with a 23 year period of the Great Tribulation or a half an hour of silence in the Book of Revelation? He just makes the statement, and you are just expected to believe it. He quotes Revelation 8, but let’s see what the book of Revelation says.
“When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.” [Revelation 8:1-5]
We aren’t told why there is silence here. There is a lot of speculation why there is silence, but Revelation 8 doesn’t say why. What do I think? I think perhaps that heaven was silent because of the judgment that was about to be unleashed in the next chapters. But, remember, I’m not God, and God doesn’t speak to me audibly either loudly or in whispers. I don’t look at the Bible through a special crystal or in a top hat. It is just my opinion.
Camping then tells us that during these 2,300 days that started May 21, 1988, “very few, if any, were saved.” He is correct in quoting Luke 15 and saying that there is great rejoicing in heaven when sinful men repent and believe the gospel. But to somehow say that this proves that very few people are being saved because in Revelation 8 there is silence for a half hour, and this half hour is the 2,300 days mentioned in Daniel 8. Oh, and that this is the first part of a 23 year Tribulation period that started May 21, 1988??!!
And don’t miss how he starts of this paragraph:
“Several years ago we had learned…”
How did he learn? Simple. God showed him this. Because God entrusts Camping with this knowledge because Camping is wise. Remember? [Harold Camping Week: Day 3 / Are You Wise?].
May 21, 1988 + 2,300 days = September 7, 1994. On September 6, 1994, Harold Camping and a group of his followers gathered together and waited to be raptured. This obviously didn’t stop him. He then believed that the second part of the tribulation period would stretch from September 7, 1994 to May 21, 2011.
Although we learned in the USA Today article how Camping came to the May 21, 2011 date in “Harold Camping Week: Day 3 / Are You Wise?” the San Francisco Chronicle also posted an article about Camping that can be found [here]. They provide a little more detail about his methods. First thing you need to understand? Harold Camping says the the number 5 is the number for Atonement, 10 is the number of completeness, and 17 is the number for heaven. Anyhow, here is what the San Fransisco Chronicle article says of Camping,
“Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.,” he began. “Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that’s 1,978 years.” Camping then multiplied 1,978 by 365.2422 days – the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year. Next, Camping noted that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500. Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500. Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared. “Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story,” Camping said. “It’s the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you’re completely saved.”
My main problem with this is that I am struggling to decide which article has the more confusing method. I think this one wins.
We had learned that May 21, 1988 was the last day of the church age and was also the first day of the 23-year period of Great Tribulation, during which Satan has been employed by God to officially rule all of the churches as well as the whole world. During the first 2,300 days of this 8,400-day period the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from all of the churches as well as the entire world, insofar as salvation is concerned. This produced silence in Heaven. This sad situation is to continue in the churches until the end of the 23-year Great Tribulation period. However, beginning 2,300 days after May 21, 1988 (the end of the church age), the Holy Spirit was again poured out, producing what the Bible calls the “latter rain” (Zechariah 10:1; James 5:7) throughout the world (but not in any church), and God began a great final harvest of salvation, bringing great joy in Heaven. This salvation is not occurring in any church, but will continue outside of the churches to the end of the Great Tribulation, on May 21, 2011.
Those people in Washington D.C. that handed me this tract were out there before we got out there, and certainly were there after we left. They are more than likely there right now. And this is the literature they hand out. It is more than likely that those who have never been exposed to the Bible, or have had little exposure to the Bible have received these things. WHAT IN THE WORLD must they think about this?
Camping just loads soooo many assertions into each paragraph here. He repeats the 2,300 days statement again. He talks about the Tribulation period being 23 years long, and having started in 1988. It’s just one big nasty ball of twisted Scripture, tree ring research, carbon dating research, and other various unrecognizable strands. Like any tangled mess, I just don’t know where to start to take it apart and find myself fighting the urge to not even try. I find myself just saying, “There is no justification for this!” But, when someone like Camping makes assertions like, “God is revealing this to true believers, and I’m one of them,” the person’s experience takes precedence over and command of Scriptural interpretation.
Once the ground work is laid, then he starts plugging in all kinds of verses. But if the ground work isn’t solid, the building will collapse. And we’ve already seen that his ground work isn’t even made of any tangible substance, but of an imagination that is like a rocket ship with an infinite amount of fuel.
According to Harold, on September 7, 1994 the Holy Spirit began to be poured out again after 2,300 days of hardly saving anyone. This was called the “latter rain.” Scripture provided for this event? Zechariah 10:1 and James 5:7. Let’s look them up.
“Ask rain from the LORD in the season of the spring rain, from the LORD who makes the storm clouds, and he will give them showers of rain, to everyone the vegetation in the field.
For the household gods utter nonsense, and the diviners see lies; they tell false dreams and give empty consolation. Therefore the people wander like sheep; they are afflicted for lack of a shepherd.
“My anger is hot against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the LORD of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like his majestic steed in battle.
From him shall come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler—all of them together.
They shall be like mighty men in battle, trampling the foe in the mud of the streets; they shall fight because the LORD is with them, and they shall put to shame the riders on horses.
“I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back because I have compassion on them, and they shall be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the LORD their God and I will answer them.
Then Ephraim shall become like a mighty warrior, and their hearts shall be glad as with wine. Their children shall see it and be glad; their hearts shall rejoice in the LORD.
“I will whistle for them and gather them in, for I have redeemed them, and they shall be as many as they were before.
Though I scattered them among the nations, yet in far countries they shall remember me, and with their children they shall live and return.
I will bring them home from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria, and I will bring them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon, till there is no room for them.
He shall pass through the sea of troubles and strike down the waves of the sea, and all the depths of the Nile shall be dried up. The pride of Assyria shall be laid low, and the scepter of Egypt shall depart.
I will make them strong in the LORD, and they shall walk in his name,” declares the LORD.”
Do any of you see any indication of what Harold Camping is saying concerning the “latter rain?” This entire chapter is the prophet Zechariah reminding the people of the sins of those before them and the corrupt leaders. God speaks of His burning anger and His judgment. But does He stop there? Of course not. God tells them of His great mercy and love. He tells them to call upon Him. He will restore the people to the land of Jerusalem. Zechariah lived during a period when the Jewish people were scattered and taken over by the Babylonians. So this would be good news for them, not a story about what would happen September 7, 1994.
For Camping that believes the Bible should be interpreted allegorically, anything is possible.
He then quotes James 5:7,
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.”
Let’s look at verses 1-11:
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
James is using pretty heavy language against the rich people that are alive at his time. He is warning them of the miseries that are coming upon them. Although it would seem that this is speaking of their ultimate fate in eternal damnation, here James is warning of the coming destruction of Jerusalem. As was mentioned in [Harold Camping Week: 4 / A Closed Book Now Open], the years surrounding the final destruction of Jerusalem were grim. They were described by historians of that day as being days of blood in which even the mightiest men were starving in the streets.
THEN, in Verse 7, James tells the Christian brothers to be patient until the Lord comes. Should we today be patient until Christ returns in the second coming? Of course. But James is telling them to be patient until Christ would come in judgment upon Jerusalem.
The phrase, “Coming in the clouds” is used in the Scriptures to describe God coming in judgment upon His enemies. For instance, consider the following 2 verses:
“An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.” [Isaiah 19:1]
Here, hyperbolic language concerning God’s coming judgment upon Egypt is used. This doesn’t mean that God is literally going to ride a cloud like a car into Egypt, and suddenly the stone idols are going to tremble with fear. It is using this language to describe the magnitude of the event. Now, look at what Jesus says,
“But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy.” [Matthew 26:63-65]
Jesus told the high priest that “from now on” he would see “the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven.” Jesus is using the same language of Himself. It is no wonder that the priest then tears his robes, because he understood this was blasphemy. Why? Because Jesus just used language of Himself that was only used for God.
Anyhow, James is warning of the destruction that would come in only a few decades. He said, Christ’s coming “was at hand” and “The Judge is standing at the door.” In other words, “It’s about to happen.” When Jesus was sending his disciples out he warned them of hardships that would come but gave an interesting promise,
When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. [Matthew 10:23].
Jesus also told his disciples that within their generation He would come in the clouds of heaven with glory and power.
Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. [Matthew 24:30]
Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. [Matthew 24:34]
But, because both passages use the word, “rain” Harold Camping says they must mean the same exact thing. And he continues to hammer the fact that the Spirit isn’t saving in the churches anymore. He only operates outside of the churches. Ok. Let’s say that a group gets together to discuss Harold Camping’s teachings in someone’s backyard. Then it starts to rain (no connection to latter rain). They decide to go inside the house and continue. Then they decide, “Hey, let’s get together every 3 days and do this again at your place.” And they decide to do it. And then, obviously, someone will rise up who is more “learned” about these things, and lead the group. Question. How is that different from any other church?
Because at the beginning of the Great Tribulation period (May 21, 1988), Christ removed the seventh and final seal from this book that Daniel was commanded to seal, we can now understand why it is that during these past years God has revealed to us so much new truth from the Bible. This includes the precise time of the end and much about God’s judgment plan. The word “time” is a synonym for “hour.” This fits perfectly with the mercy and love of God for the whole world. Remember, God gave Noah precise information so he could warn the world of impending destruction. Similarly, God commanded Jonah to give the people of Ninevah the precise day He planned to destroy the city of Ninevah. Likewise, in his mercy and love God has given the true believers of our day the exact time of the Rapture, which is the first day of the Day of Judgment, so they can warn the world. How kind, how gracious, how loving God is. And wonderfully, God is still saving many people today (Revelation 7:9-14) even as He saved the citizens of Ninevah in Jonah’s day (Matthew 12:41).
Wow. I just sit here with my mouth on the floor. Despite all of the ridiculous claims made so far, this one bewilders me the most.
How wonderful that God is still saving today through THE MESSAGE OF THE RAPTURE, WHICH IS THE FIRST DAY OF JUDGMENT?????!!!!! WHERE IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST?!!!?!
The foundation of our faith, Jesus Christ, is pulled out. Faith in this gospel will surely lay a foundation of sand. No building could ever stand on this. This is damnable and hopeless. There are 100 year old corpses that offer more life than this. This gospel will leave you like a blind man in a dark room stumbling around and GOING NOWHERE. I actually feel depressed when I even think of what it would be like if this was true. It makes me want to run as fast as I can to Jesus Christ. I don’t think that I could run fast enough.
“in his mercy and love God has given the true believers of our day the exact time of the Rapture, which is the first day of the Day of Judgment”
“IN HIS MERCY AND LOVE GOD HAS GIVEN BELIEVERS HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, JESUS CHRIST. THAT THEY, THROUGH FAITH IN THE GOOD NEWS, WOULD BE DECLARED JUSTIFIED BEFORE THE LORD. THIS GOOD NEWS IS THAT JESUS CHRIST LIVED A PERFECTLY SINLESS AND HOLY LIFE IN THE PLACE OF WICKED MEN, THAT GOD’S WRATH WOULD HAVE JUSTLY BEFALLEN SINFUL AND WICKED MEN, BUT FELL UPON CHRIST, AND HE WAS CRUCIFIED, SHEDDING HIS BLOOD FOR THE PROPITIATION OF THEIR SINS. HIS BODY WAS DEAD IN A TOMB FOR THREE DAYS AND THEN HE RAISED IT TO LIFE, ASCENDING TO THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER. HE WAS GIVEN DOMINION, GLORY, AND A KINGDOM – THESE WHO WOULD BELIEVE WOULD NO LONGER BE UNDER THE WRATH OF GOD FOR THEIR SINS AGAINST HIM, THEY WOULD NOT DIE IN THEIR SINS AND WOULD NOT BE CAST TO THE LAKE OF FIRE THAT AWAITS ALL THOSE WHO DO DIE IN THEIR SINS. THEY WOULD HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.”
How kind, how gracious, how loving God is for THIS GOOD NEWS.
I actually feel really bad for Harold Camping. It makes me sad to think this man has lived so long, but is so deceived. It’s very sad. I pray that if the Lord should tarry until May 22, 2011, and Camping is alive to see that day, that he would see his error and false teaching. I pray that it would intensely crush him, that it would twist his organs, and that the sorrow he feels would be unlike any he had ever felt before. I pray that in this agony, God would cut his heart open with the soothing and absolutely amazing news of Jesus Christ. I pray that he would be granted faith and repentance. Jesus Christ even died for those who teach falsely.