A message crafted by an ancient intelligence millennia ago…
encoded with a message critical to the hopes of all mankind…
transmitted to and dutifully recorded by human scribes…
who were unaware of the import of the words they were writing…
published in a collection of books that have been read, studied, and debated for centuries…
the true meaning of which is unlocked at a point in history when enlightened men have gained the ability to decode it…
If you were guessing that this is the plot of an upcoming Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich (creators of Stargate and Independence Day) film or a new Dan Brown (author of Angels and Demons, The DaVinci Code, and The Lost Symbol) novel, you’d have guessed incorrectly. The scenario summarized actually concerns God, the Bible, the various Books of the Old and New Testaments, the writers of those books, and the Parousia, Rapture, Judgment Day, and End of Time respectively.
And, according to Harold Camping, Founder and President of Family Stations, Inc. – a Christian ministry with global radio and Web broadcast facilities, God has revealed May 21, 2011 as the date for Jesus’ Return and October 21, 2011 as the date on which the Earth and Universe will be destroyed and replaced by the New Creation, God’s everlasting Kingdom.
To understand Mr. Camping’s teachings, one must consider their philosophical underpinnings. Mr. Camping believes that the Bible is the infallible and only Word of God through which He speaks to His people – that is, those whom he has chosen from before the foundation of the world. At the time of the Rapture, these are the ones – both those alive on that date and those resurrected from their graves – whose bodies will be transformed into their eternal glorified bodies and who will meet Jesus in the air. The remainder of the world’s population and lifeless remains of the rest of mankind that will spew forth from the Earth as a result of the great worldwide earthquake of May 21, 2011, will face God’s wrath during the Day of Judgment, the 153-day period concluding with the destruction of the world and universe on October, 21, 2011.
To determine these dates accurately and validate the legitimacy of these predictions, Mr. Camping relies upon two other fundamental principles: first, Biblical passages must be interpreted in the context of the Bible as a whole, and second, scripture must be compared with scripture to ascertain its true meaning. Mr. Camping views the Bible as an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Thus, while Bible stories may provide historical accounts of actual occurrences, they also are an allegory – symbolizing events and participants in the present day. And so, the Biblical nation of Israel often symbolizes the Christian Churches and Jerusalem represents Heaven.
But, accurate analysis of the Bible and knowledge regarding the timing of the world’s end depend upon revelation from God, a revelation to his true believers that Mr. Camping asserts could not take place before the commencement of the Great Tribulation. As evidence, he points to the book of Daniel in the Old Testament and Revelation in the New Testament. In the 12th Chapter of Daniel, God is speaking to Daniel about end-times and instructs him to “shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end” (Daniel 12:4). In Revelation Chapters 5 through 8, Christ opens a book with seven seals.
Mr. Camping, analyzing these chapters in the context of the Bible as a whole, indicates that the book in Revelation is the very same book mentioned in Daniel. According to Mr. Camping, the final seal on that book was broken on May 21, 1988, the date that he correlates with the beginning of the Great Tribulation – a 23-year period ending with the Rapture on May 21, 2011 and commencement of the Day of Judgment.
During the Great Tribulation, Mr. Camping posits, Satan is loosed on the Earth, and his rule extends even to the Churches. Thus, true believers, those chosen by God who will join Jesus at the Rapture, have left the Churches and those remaining, including clergy, are following and proselytizing a false Gospel and actually engaging in apostasy. Needless to say, Mr. Camping’s teachings are not popular among those in the traditional Christian denominations.
Yet, Mr. Camping is undeterred, unequivocal, and supremely confident in spreading the Word as he perceives it. He points to a number of “proofs” provided by God that indicate that his calculations have been done accurately. These proofs rely heavily upon numerology.
Mr. Camping, like many others Biblical scholars, attributes spiritual significance to certain numbers. The number 3, he asserts is representative of “God’s purpose.” The number 5 signifies “atonement” or “redemption.” 10 or 100 or 1,000 represent “completeness.” The number 17 is associated with “heaven.” And, 23 signifies “destruction.”
While it is not my intention to present all of the proofs revealed, I will highlight the techniques employed to give readers a sense for their nature and substance. Mr. Camping has calculated that Jesus’ crucifixion took place on April 1, 33 A.D. and bases this date on a study of the Biblical information on Jesus’ life along with known historical data. The Crucifixion marked the beginning of what Camping refers to as the Church Age, that ended with the commencement of the Great Tribulation on May 21, 1988. The length of the Church Age, therefore, was 1955 years. The number 1955 is the product of three prime numbers: 5 x 17 x 23. Thus, “atonement” or “redemption” brings “Heaven” or brings God’s “destruction,” a phrase echoing 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 – “15For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.”
Furthermore, there are 722,500 days between Jesus’ crucifixion and his return on May 21, 2011. 722,500 is the product of two repeating sets of spiritually significant numbers: 5 x 10 x 17 x 5 x 10 x 17. Mr. Camping interprets this as “The atonement or redemption demonstrated by Christ’s suffering and death on April 1, 33 A.D. (the number 5) is 100% completed on May 21, 2011 (the number 10) when all the true believers are raptured into Heaven (the number 17).” The sequence is doubled to “indicate that it has been established by God and will shortly come to pass” in accordance with Genesis 41:32, “And the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.”
In 1970, Camping published a book entitled The Biblical Calendar of History in which he calculated the date of the Creation as 11,013 B.C. and of the Great Flood as 4,990 B.C. According to the Genesis account, the Great Flood occurred on the 17th day of the second month of the Hebrew calendar. This equates to May 21st of our modern calendar. In 2 Peter 3:8, God stated, “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” If you add 4,990 + 2,011 and subtract 1 (to account for the fact that there was no year 0), you arrive at the number 7000 – making May 21, 2011 exactly 7,000 years from the date of the Great Flood. And by May 21, 2011, the world is projected to have nearly 7 billion people inhabiting it. Oh, by the way, did I mention that the number 7 represents “spiritual perfection?”
Is Harold Camping correct that on May 21, 2011, this world will be “perfected” with Jesus’ return to collect the true believers and usher in 153 days of God’s wrath and judgment ending with total annihilation of mankind and this universe and creation of a new Heaven and new Earth? Or, will he join such notables as William Miller, a Baptist preacher and founder of what would become the Seventh Day Adventist Church who concluded that Christ’s Second Coming and the end of the world would occur sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844, or for that matter himself, who questioned (albeit without his current level of conviction) whether 1994 might signal Jesus’ long-awaited return?
Obviously, the jury is still out on this question. Yet, if you consider yourself to be a Christian, is the thought of Christ’s imminent return a source of hope or fear for you? And, whether a Christian or not, do you number yourself among the many who intuit events portending imminent disaster?
Is Harold Camping a prophet of the Lord or a product of a civilization drifting aimlessly from crisis to crisis while desperately seeking answers? Is time running out?
For more information, visit the Family Radio Website (http://www.familyradio.com/) where you will find literature (http://www.familyradio.com/graphical/literature/frame/) providing information of intricate detail on the subjects discussed in this article.