THE FAILED HAROLD CAMPING “DOOMSDAY” PREDICTION
With the widely expected failure of Harold Camping’s prediction of the Rapture occurring on May 21,2011, it occurred to me to re-rerun a previous article I had published along those lines. Actually, there were two articles I had considered re-running, with the second addressing the potential dangers in such predictions. But I decided to simply express my thoughts about the prediction here and include links to the two articles. To read the first, TIMES AND SEASONS OF THE KINGDOM, click here. For the second, BEWARE KINGDOM CITIZEN, click here.
Like many others, I expected the Camping Doomsday prediction to go “belly up.” But I had refrained from making a public statement about it lest I be mistaken for an agnostic or scoffer. While one could talk about the spirit of the true believer knowing when the “End of the Age” is imminent, my expectation of the prediction falling apart was actually based on Scriptural indications. As the Lord would say, “The scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). I am not a theologian, or an historian, or a Bible numerologist, but I know a few things that the Bible predicts for the End Times. In my analysis, there were just too many “Things That Are to Be” that were not there and the end couldn’t possibly come on May 21, 2011 – notwithstanding the increasingly popular attempts to put some recent global upheavals and natural disasters in the context of Bible prophecy.
We must, however, be careful so that these many failed predictions that we have witnessed don’t result in our becoming careless about the return of the Lord and the end of the present age. The Lord indeed works in strange ways and there might actually be a reason why He has allowed these things to be, for I want to believe that Camping and some others like him are sincere Christians earnestly awaiting His return. Could it be that the Lord has actually been “giving the cow more rope to hang itself”? The apostle wrote: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Peter 3:3-14).
Having said that much to Camping and company, I have a word for the critics also. One Scripture that has been used to challenge and condemn anyone who attempts to attach a date to the Second Coming of the Lord are His own words: “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). We must, however, note the time element of this statement. In other words, neither the Lord nor any other man knew the day or the hour of the Second Coming at the time He made the statement. The question then is: With the Lord’s present exaltation to the right hand of the Father, is He still in the dark about the set time of His return? If no, does the context of His cited words give any basis for the popular belief that all men would perpetually be ignorant of that set time until it arrives?
The Lord said, “But as the days of Noe [that is, Noah] were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37). What happened in the days of Noah? The Almighty said to him: “For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth” (Genesis 7:4). God gave Noah a precise date of that doomsday and for how long the judgement would last! But watch it; the revelation was from the mouth of the Lord to the ear of His servant and not the printout of fallible human computation. Moreover, we would note that there is no record of Noah publically announcing that set day of divine retribution. All he did was prepare the place of refuge with the divinely provided resource and send out the invitation.
Yes, I want to believe that, in continuity with the preceding Scriptures, God will have a “point man” in the windup of the present age. He will come with a simple but vindicated message of deliverance that may create a stir. And chances are that he – and perhaps some select others who have been ‘locked’ in the ‘Ark’ – will have “insider information” about the exact date of “Doomsday”! As Amos wrote, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
My point is, should it actually be the case that the Lord would at some time reveal the date of the Rapture to his chosen servant, it will not be “free for all” information. It will not be a thing to “make merchandise” of. The possibility of such a revelation is strengthened by the words of the apostle: For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-6).
So keep your lamps trimmed and clear, and keep the faith and remain posted. God bless you always.
In the King’s Service,
David Olagoke Olawoyin.
NB: My coming book THE COMING GLORY presents a more detailed and chronological examination of this awesome kingdom agenda of the Almighty that we have been peeping into on this site. The manuscript has been completed and I would greatly appreciate your joining me in prayer for its speedy publication.