William Miller was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1782. He was a churchgoing Baptist who afterward became a Deist through the influence of his friends. He then attempted to be both a Baptist and a Deist. In 1816, Miller was asked to read a sermon in his church, which had allegedly powerfully converted him to Christianity. The gospel had made such an impression on him, that he said of that day,
“Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
457 B.C. + 2300 years = A.D. 1843
“I confess my error, and acknowledge my disappointment; yet I still believe that the day of the Lord is near, even at the door; and I exhort you, my brethren, to be watchful, and not let that day come upon you unawares.”
“Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before. It seemed that the loss of all earthly friends could have been no comparison. We wept, and wept, till the day dawn.”
Another man by the name of Nelson Barbour abandoned his faith because of the Great Disappointment and sought to pursue medicine. He is quoted as saying,
“We held together until the autumn of 1844. Then, as if a raft floating in deep water should suddenly disappear from under its living burden, so our platform went from under us, and we made for shore in every direction; but our unity was gone, and, like drowning men, we caught at straws.”
Who knows what will happen as a result of Mr. Camping’s failed predictions? Could Christ return today? Yes. But despite what Miller believed and what Camping believes, the Bible is clear that the specific date of Christ’s return is not something that men can know. They both started with a horrible presupposition and fed it with even worse methods of Biblical interpretations. As a result, many Millerites fell away or fringed out into more heretical and crazy groups. Remember David Koresh? He said he was the the Son of God, the Lamb who could open the seven seals in the book of Revelation. He was the leader of the Branch Davidians, a sect of Davidian Seventh Day Adventists, a sect of Seventh Day Adventists, a sect of Millerites – a group that obsessed over the end times. Don’t get me wrong, if something is in the Bible, then it is of extreme importance. But I’ve been in groups like this. As soon as they begin to speak about these issues, it normally becomes apparent that they really haven’t searched the Scriptures concerning what they say. Instead, they only vomit back whatever someone shoved down their throat. They may not have set dates, but they engaged in the same sort of ignorance.
Critical thinking, consistency, and copiousness (the alliteration was not intentional) have largely been replaced with 1 minute google searches for things that would agree with the type of axe someone wants to grind. These characteristics are normally viewed as Pharisaical, unloving, closed-minded, or unspiritual. You can read the Bible and proclaim loudly that Camping has erred and that you may NEVER set dates… But you could easily be as ignorant. I am not speaking of ignorance in general, because everyone is ignorant of many things. I am talking about the people who would defend to the death certain beliefs they have and yet the walls used to build those theological houses are made of straw.
According to Camping, the Rapture will occur today at 6 p.m. I suppose it will be a gradual Rapture since it isn’t 6 p.m. everywhere at the same time. As Christians, we confess that we are wickedly detestable sinners in comparison to the rich holiness of God. But in His amazing mercy, He condescended and became a man. This man, Jesus lived a perfectly sinless life in the place of imperfectly sinful men. The eternal Son of God, the second person of the triune nature of God, gave His own life on the cross, to satisfy the just wrath of God that hung over our heads and that would follow us even after our own deaths. His dead body was laid in a tomb for three days. On the third day He rose from the dead, proclaiming that He was in fact the Messiah who had been foretold for hundreds of years. He appeared to the apostles, over 500 people, and a man that would later become an apostle. He ascended before His disciples and was seated at the right hand of God the Father. From there He places His enemies under His feet, the last enemy being death. He will return one day, not in “the Rapture,” but in His second coming when ALL the dead will be raised and judged. God will judge everyone based on works. For those who are in Christ, He will see the righteousness and perfect life of Christ. Those who died in their sins, apart from Christ, will be cast into the lake of fire. This isn’t the first step in Christianity. This is the core. I need this good news every single day because I sin every single day. This being said, at 6 p.m. today, what will you be saying or thinking about Camping and/or his followers? Will you laugh at them and leave them to themselves? Will you forget about them?
I don’t like speculating, but for the sake of argumentation, I will here. Perhaps the reason why Adventism spread and became what it is today, leaving a trail of false teachers and those who have abandoned Christianity, is because those who professed Christ didn’t say anything or do anything. Perhaps they avoided them. Campingites need to know the gospel. They need to know that as horribly as they will feel if the Lord should postpone His return, He even died for sins of horrible theology. He even died for false teachers. I guarantee that your worst, your most disgusting, your most horrifying sins are not greater than Jesus Christ who died on the cross for the forgiveness of such sins. If we should keep this gospel, and withhold it from those we deem do not deserve it, could there be anything more detestable? Their sin is no greater than ours. It is not hateful or judgmental to share the GOOD NEWS with those whose consciouses might be too heavy to bear.
Check it. I know their doctrines are stupid. In fact, God hates their doctrine because it is so far removed from His Word. But, telling them, “I told you so,” or “What a fool,” or “LOL” is to deceive ourselves. How easy it is for anyone to come to me daily and say, “I told you so!” or “What a fool!” or “LOL!”
“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” [Luke 18:9-14]
The term Pharisee is absolutely abused all the time. People have basically used it to mean anything they want. If someone disagrees with you, you’re a Pharisee. If you love doctrine, you’re a Pharisee. If you tell someone they are wrong, you’re a Pharisee. If you believe in a monergistic soteriology, you’re a Pharisee. But this doesn’t mean that the term “Pharisee” doesn’t have a meaning. Luke 18:9-14 tells us of a Pharisee and a tax collector going to the temple to pray. Notice that Jesus is telling this parable to those who trusted that they were righteous, treating others with contempt. The Pharisee thanks God that he “isn’t like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.” What is ironic is that the Pharisee was guilty of everything he listed.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.” [Matthew 23:25]
“”Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” [Matthew 23:23]
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” [Matthew 23:23]
The unfaithfulness of Israel is compared to adultery all the time throughout the Bible.
>Like the Tax Collector
The Pharisee was right. He wasn’t like the tax collector, because the tax collector couldn’t even lift his eyes and the tax collector recognized he was a sinner. He knew that he needed mercy. In the end, it is this man who is justified. It is not because he thought anything great of himself. Rather, it was because of his faith in God for the forgiveness of sin.
Likewise, don’t look at these Campingites as though they have somehow sinned to a depth towards which you could never sin – there is no righteousness in you. Their sin is apparent. They have bought into lies. They have spread these lies and converted thousands to the whispers of Satan and the human heart. They have squandered their lives in devotion to magically twisted eisegesis. People like this are constantly coming. False religions, false christs, false gospels, etc. I once heard that bank tellers must undergo hours of training to learn how to spot counterfeit money. They don’t do this by observing every type of fake bill because that would be impossible. Rather, they spend a ton of time touching and looking at real dollar bills. They become so familiar with it that they can easily spot a fake. Just by touching the dollar, they can instantly tell if it is fake. In the same way, it would be impossible for us to learn every false religion inside and out. Instead, we ought to spend as much time observing the truth, so the counterfeits are instantly detected.
At 7 p.m. it will be obvious to all that these people were horribly wrong. If they are even interested, they will need to relearn how to read the Bible. They will need people that will stick with them. We must call them to repent of their sins. Most importantly, they will need to hear the gospel daily just as I need the gospel daily. We are all unjust in the eyes of God. Christ is the One who is just, and the Justifier of those who believe the gospel.