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The Error of Harold Camping

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WHEN 2011 FAILED TO BE THE YEAR GOD DESTROYED THE WORLD, 1988 AS THE START DATE OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION FAILED RIGHT ALONG WITH IT!

 

Have you read Mr. Camping’s book 1994?  I never did.

 

Prior to 2011, I read and studied all of his other books, but this one was unavailable when I began to listen to Family Radio in 2002.  I didn’t secure a copy of it until a few months ago.  What I have found in this book has been startling and extremely enlightening.

 

I decided to share this information for the sake of others like myself who may have misunderstood exactly how it was determined that 1988 was the year that the Great Tribulation began.  It saddens me to know that this lack of understanding has caused some to become adamant in the belief that an 8400 day countdown to Judgment Day began in that year.  It did not.

 

Until recently, I believed that as Mr. Camping was studying the scriptures over the years 1994-2011, he was continuing to receive previously unknown Biblical understanding about the timeline and its meaning.  As I sat under Mr. Camping’s teachings from 2002-2011, listening to the Open Forum nearly every night, and reading his books in order as each one was published, beginning with “The End of the Church Age,” I came to that conclusion very naturally and almost without thinking. I say “almost” because I had learned of the unsealing of the little book spoken of in Daniel 12:9 through the Open Forum.  Every evening as well as in each book, he used phrases such as “God has a timetable for revealing the understanding of truth recorded in the Bible” and “as God opens our eyes to truth.”  So I ASSUMED that Mr. Camping was publishing these books as this was happening, AS HE WAS LEARNING the information.

 

Certainly Mr. Camping did nothing to dissuade anyone from reaching that conclusion during those years.  His words very directly insinuated that he was teaching things he hadn’t known previously.  But also, I had the reality of my experience.  In 9 years, I’d NEVER heard him speak of certain subjects before their nearly simultaneous publication in a new book.  So I don’t believe this assumption was entirely my fault.

 

Yet, in reading the book “1994?,” I have learned through Mr. Camping’s own words that this was not the case at all.  Nearly everything he taught in the years I listened were things he believed and taught in 1992 when that book was published.

 

For example, I never heard him speak about the year 2011 as the probable final year of history on the Open Forum until 2004.  I didn’t think he knew the exact year since previously he had always discussed the end only as being “during our lifetime in all likelihood.”

 

I never heard him speak about the 7000 years between the Flood and the end of the world until late 2004 on the Open Forum and in the subsequent publishing of the book “Time Has An End.”  When I did hear him discuss this 7000 years, he did so by calling it a “proof” which backed up everything we had learned up to that point.

 

I never heard him discuss Solomon and his concubines until somewhere in 2007-08 as near as I can recall.  When he taught the study through the Alameda Fellowship videos and began to teach it on the Open Forum, I believed that he had just learned this information.

 

I never heard him mention Homosexuality as a “sign of the end” until he published that book just before 2011.  The only discussions I had ever heard him give regarding homosexuality were on the Open Forum and then it was only in response to caller questions where he would describe it as being “no different than any other sin.”  But he said nothing about it being a significant sign of the end times.

 

And certainly, I never heard the phrase “cry out to him for mercy” until early 2010, shortly before the Family Radio (FR) billboard campaign began.

 

But I have discovered that ALL OF THESE THINGS were discussed in the book “1994?.”  So, I’m sure that people who’d read it must have known these were NOT new ideas and understandings.  But I did not.  By the time I started listening in June of 2002, this book was no longer offered by FR and these particular things were not being discussed on the Open Forum Program, nor were they discussed in the books “The End of The Church Age” and “Wheat and Tares.”

 

Of course, I DID hear many callers to the Open Forum ask Mr. Camping about his failed prediction and the book “1994?.”  I heard his explanations regarding the question mark in the title, etc.  I heard him say that his error resulted from placing too much emphasis on one verse which he said he misunderstood because God had not opened his eyes to the Latter Rain period which would come after the 2300 evening mornings spoken of in Daniel 8:14.  And most important, I heard him defend the failure and the new date by saying that he’d noted the year 2011 in that book as another possible end date.  Like many, I accepted that explanation and I didn’t investigate it myself.

 

Simply put, his explanation was not the whole truth.  He did not give the year 2011 as just “another possibility.”  The ONLY context in which Mr. Camping discussed 2011 in the book was to note it as being 7000 years from the Flood date and to use it as the year from which to begin his calculations to find the starting date of the Final Tribulation!  He never indicated to his audience that 2011 had been the basis for his 1994 failed conclusion and yet, IT ABSOLUTELY WAS and certainly he knew it as he answered those questions.

 

Let me explain how 1994 and 2011 failures are connected:

 

In “1994?,” Mr. Camping already taught that the Bible says that the world would continue for exactly 7000 years after the Flood and then it would be destroyed.  So, using the timeline’s 4990 BC Flood placement, he did the arithmetic and calculated that end of the world HAD to take place in the year 2011.  Since he knew that the Final Tribulation takes place in the closing years of the earth’s history he knew that it ALSO would need to conclude in the year 2011.  Further, he had determined that God had ORIGINALLY planned a specific length of time for this Final Tribulation, but according to Daniel 8:13-14 and Matthew 24:21-22, He intended to shorten that time period to 2300 days for the sake of the elect.

 

Having already fixed the Great Tribulation’s shortened length at 2300 days and having already fixed its end and the destruction of the world at 2011, he began a search for the start date of the “original tribulation.”  From there he could simply add 2300 days to find the year that the “shortened tribulation” and the world would end. The only way he could do that would be to speculate as to how long God had “ORIGINALLY” intended the Tribulation to be, subtract that number of years from 2011 to locate the original beginning year date and simply add 2300 days to determine the end.  The equation looked like this:

 

(7000 year End of the World as 2011) – (Original Full Great Tribulation Period)  = (Start of Original Great Tribulation) + (2300 day Shortened Tribulation Period) = End of the World

 

He taught that the length of this tribulation period could be ONLY ONE OF 4 POSSIBILITIES which were each periods of time which typified the Final Tribulation.  The book details the process by which he concluded that these 4 possibilities were 70 years, 23 years, 3.5 days, or 42 months.   With this in mind, he began to plug these possibilities through the equation:

 

(7000 year End of the World as 2011) – (Possibility 1,2,3,or 4 as the Original Full Great Tribulation Period)  = (Start of Original Great Tribulation/End of Church AGE) + (2300 day Shortened Tribulation Period) = End of the World

 

RESULTS:

 

First, he decided that 3.5 days and 42 months were both too short and should be considered “symbolic” because neither period of time was long enough to fit even the shortened 2300 day tribulation length he’d ALREADY DETERMINED.  So he discounted those possibilities. Still considering the other 2 possibilities as “literal” time periods, he then plugged 70 years into the equation and found that it would result in a year which had already gone by.

 

(2011) – (70 years) = (1941) + (2300 days) =1947.

 

With the 70 year possibility now discounted, this left only the final choice of a 23 year length for God’s Originally Planned Final Tribulation.  The equation was as follows:

 

(2011) – (23 years) = (1988) + (2300 days) = 1994 End of the World

 

When 1994 failed, it should have been immediately suspected that 1988 failed as the Start of the Great Tribulation right along with it, but instead, a “spiritual” reason was given to explain it.  This is when the “half hour of silence in heaven” was ADOPTED as the meaning of the 2300 evening mornings of Daniel 8:13-14.  BUT THE EQUATION WAS LEFT INTACT!  The reason it was left intact is that it was already seen that the other 3 patterns simply COULD NOT FIT and there were no other possibilities left that he could see!  So while it may still be true that the Great Tribulation is a period of 23 years, it could not have begun in 1988.

 

Here is why:

 

1)  If it is true that the last day of the world is exactly 7000 literal years from the Flood (the basis for which 2011 was chosen to begin the equation), then the Flood could not have occurred in the year 4990 BC since the world did not end in 2011.  THIS WOULD MEAN THAT THE CALENDAR IS WRONG and we have no way of knowing for certain when those 7000 years began or when they will expire.  So we would have no reason or Biblical authority to begin calculating backwards from 2011 to arrive at 1988 as the End of The Church age and the start of the Great Tribulation.

 

2)  If it is true that the calendar is correct, then it CANNOT be true that the Bible is telling us that the world will end precisely 7000 literal years post-Flood in the year 2011 AD because we know that it did not end!  THIS MEANS OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE 7000 YEARS IS WRONG.  So we would have no reason or Biblical authority to begin calculating backwards from 2011 to arrive at 1988 as the End of the Church Age and start of the Great Tribulation.

 

3)  The two statements above CANNOT both be true at the same time.  Once 2011 passed without the end of the world, it became Biblically IMPOSSIBLE to adhere to the belief that 2011 is 7000 years from the 4990 BC Flood AND ALSO adhere to the belief that the Church Age ended in 1988, beginning the 8400 day Great Tribulation which results in a post-May 21, 2011 Judgment Day WITHOUT BELIEVING A LIE.

 

4)  So this is the bottom line.  The explanations and computations Mr. Camping gave on pages 494-497 of the book “1994?” clearly demonstrate that the 1988 calculation for the start of the Great Tribulation was entirely based on a pre-determined understanding that world was to be destroyed in 2011 AD.  When the world did not end in 2011, God demonstrated that this conclusion is faulty and 1988 was NOT the first year of the Great Tribulation.

 

AFTERWORD:

 

When 1994 failed to be the end of the world as Mr. Camping believed, he simply moved back to what he believed was God’s ORIGINAL EXPECTED 23 year Tribulation duration ending in 2011, 7000 years after the flood.  He deduced a spiritual meaning for the 2300 days of Daniel which sadly left the faulty 1988 calculation intact.  It doesn’t appear that he ever revisited his original studies after the 1994 failure to check for errors beyond the 2300 days.

 

Finally, it doesn’t matter what we may eventually learn regarding the correct meaning and/or time application of the 7000 years, the length of the Great Tribulation, or the dates for either.  The fact is that Mr. Camping’s calculation for 1988 as the End of The Church Age/Start of the Great Tribulation has been invalidated with the passing of 2011.  Subsequently, there is absolutely NO BIBLICAL BASIS to conclude that the world has entered into a “Judgment Day” defined by a period of “no salvation.”  This doctrine must be given up as a spiritual “high place” and “another god.”  On pages 142-143 of “The End Of The Church Age… And After”, Mr. Camping wrote:

 

“If we trust in any doctrine that is not firmly taken from the Bible, then we are trusting in our own minds.  In that event, our minds and the individuals who designed that doctrine is our god.  Any time any doctrine is taught that is not altogether based upon the Bible, it is a spiritual high place, it is the worship of another god.”

 

I would also like it to be known that throughout “1994?,” Mr. Camping repeatedly went into great Biblical detail to prove that there is no possibility whatsoever that the world may continue for a single day beyond the saving of the very last elect soul.  He provides much scriptural support for that particular conclusion since his teaching on Matthew 24:21-22 formed the entire basis for the ability to search for the day of Christ’s return.  In fact, he taught quite thoroughly that the only purpose for this world to continue or for believers to be here on the Earth is in order to fulfill God’s magnificent salvation program.  He taught that the bounds of this physical world are determined completely by that plan.  Once the last soul is saved, this world must end according to God’s own Word given in Deuteronomy 32:8 and other verses.  Having learned that, I am doubly surprised by his “temporary” descent into the “5 months of torment/no salvation” doctrine and the “post May 21 no salvation error.”

 

The man-made ideas of “feeding sheep” and a “Judgment Day over the whole world in which there is no longer any hope of souls becoming saved” came about only AFTER AND IN RESPONSE TO the failure of May 21, 2011.  But, ANY doctrines which are based on the conclusion that 1988 was the start of an 8400 day Great Tribulation simply CANNOT be true since they are entirely based upon a foundation that has been demonstrated to be irrefutably impossible and absolutely incorrect.

 

If we lived in a world where men had perfect Biblical understanding, Mr. Camping should have been the first to comprehend this error.  If we lived in a world where men made perfect decisions, he would not have removed “1994?” from the FR website immediately after the prediction failed as he did his other books after 2011 failed.  I believe those decisions did much to allow error to multiply and has significantly slowed correction.  And finally, if we lived in a world where men were able to perfectly examine their own hearts, those of us who believed that Christ would come May 21, 2011 would be quicker to admit to ourselves and to others that we failed to “check out” what Mr. Camping taught (as he encouraged us to do) as thoroughly as we claimed we had, beginning with a brutally honest review of the book “1994?”

 

Thank you for reading.  I sincerely pray that you will not receive this note as an attack on Mr. Camping.  As he was always the first to say, he is a man with feet of clay as any other, though I thank my God always for him and the FR ministry, and for directing their hearts into the love of God’s Word and the desire to share the Gospel so that Christ might seek out and save His lost sheep.  By God’s grace and mercy, my family and I have been unspeakably blessed by their labors.

 

I pray also this information will be as helpful to you in your walk with Christ as it has been to me.  Please feel free to share the note if the Lord so inclines your heart.  May God, in His merciful longsuffering, forgive our errors and comfort the hearts which sorrow over them.   And may He be pleased, in His infinite pity, to continue to reprove us, correct us, and lovingly lead us to our heavenly home.

 

Jude 1:24-25:

 

24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

 

25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.  Amen.

 
 

 

Date of Judgment Day – Confirmed!

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Undoubtedly many people remember that last year, around this time, they were hearing that God’s Judgment Day was about to come.   There were billboards throughout the world announcing it; and if you did any regular travelling in or near a city, you were most likely offered a tract about Judgment Day – possibly many times.  The date announced as Judgment Day was May 21, 2011.  As you know, May 21 came and went just as any other day.  There was nothing spectacular about it, and the world is still going on the same as ever.  Does this mean that the effort to warn the world about Judgment Day was all a big mistake?  There’s no doubt that there was a misunderstanding about the nature of that day, because there was no great earthquake or any other type of physical sign.  However, there is more to this than meets the eye. 


You may remember reading or hearing a Bible verse about the Genesis Flood given as proof that Judgment Day would begin on May 21 of 2011.  The verse has to do with the fact that last May 21 was the 17th day of the second month in the Hebrew calendar.  Jews the world over use that calendar, although it doesn’t follow exactly the same rules as the lunar calendar God instructed ancient Israel to use after they left Egypt (see Exodus 12:1-2).  Why is it important that last May 21 was identified with the 17th day of the second month in the modern Hebrew calendar?


When we read about the great Flood of Noah’s day in the book of Genesis, we find that it began on the 17th day of the second month according to the calendar in use at that time (in 4990 BC).  God calls our attention to that date, as we learn from Genesis 7:11:


In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 


In the Flood, God destroyed all mankind with the exception of Noah and his family.  Only eight people out of the whole world survived.   Aside from the last day of the world, when God will destroy all the unsaved on earth as well as the earth itself, the Flood is the only other occasion when God brought physical judgment on the whole world. 


It’s important to realize that the verses about the Flood weren’t used to determine that last May 21 was a key date in the sequence of dates discovered by Family Radio’s Mr. Harold Camping.  Rather, the Flood’s connection to May 21 was discovered only after Mr. Camping had calculated that date.


When we read about the Flood, we are reading about an historical event; but that account can also be understood as a picture or parable of God’s Judgment.  We know from the Bible that God uses such pictures to instruct us about past and future events.  Therefore, the fact that the flood began on the 17th day of the second month was understood to be an important confirmation for May 21 as the beginning of Judgment Day.  


You might not know it, but the book of Esther is also an historical parable about the end of the world.  This was known several years before 2011; it was written about and discussed on many occasions by various Bible teachers heard over Family Radio.  Collectively, they have spent many hours looking into this book of the Bible during the last few years.  We may, therefore, think it’s amazing that we can still learn something new from Esther; but that is apparently what has happened.


Something New from the Book of Esther


If you’ve ever read the book of Esther, you might not have paid much attention to the dates recorded there.  Those dates, however, are very important.  The new information has everything to do with those dates.


God has shown us that we can understand His word, which is the Bible, only if and when He opens it up to our understanding; so we really shouldn’t be surprised when we learn something new from the Bible – even if it’s something that was right there in front of us all the time, like those dates from the book of Esther. 


What has been learned from Esther proves that we have correctly understood a major date in the discovered timeline of events in God’s salvation plan.  More proofs may yet be discovered as people continue searching the Bible; but this new confirmation is really special.  It is the sort of thing that should make us suspect that God has waited until now to reveal it so that He could encourage His people.


A Wicked Prince, an Evil Plot, and a Courageous Queen


In order to understand what has been learned, some background information about the book of Esther is needed.  The time setting for Esther is about two hundred years after the fall of Jerusalem, during the time of the Media-Persian kingdom.  Most of the events we read about in this book take place in and around the palace at Shushan.   


In the book, we read about a wicked prince named Haman.  The king has promoted Haman above all the other princes (Esther 3:1), and now Haman expects all the king’s servants to bow before him (Esther 3:2).  However, a man named Mordecai, who is a Jew, refuses to bow before Haman.  We read of Haman’s reaction to this in Esther 3:5:


And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. 


Haman decides not only to punish Mordecai, but also to destroy all the Jews throughout the kingdom (Esther 3:6).  The date for their destruction is determined by casting a lot (Esther 3:7).  Haman then speaks to the king, making the case that the Jews ought not to be permitted to remain in the kingdom (Esther 3:8-9) and should be destroyed.   The king agrees to allow Haman to determine what should be done about the Jews (Esther 3:10-11).   Haman then has the king’s scribes write a decree for the destruction of the Jews, and has it sent throughout the kingdom (Esther 3:12-15).   Notice that this happens on the thirteenth day of the first month.


Mordecai learns about the decree, puts on sackcloth and publicly displays his grief throughout the city, even near the palace (Esther 4:1-2).  Esther, who is queen, learns what Mordecai is doing and is grieved exceedingly.   In fact, Esther is Mordecai’s younger cousin and was raised by Mordecai (Esther 2:7).  Her Jewish ancestry, however, is unknown at the court (Esther 2:20).  To Esther, Mordecai must have seemed more like a father than a good cousin.  


Esther sends “raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him” (Esther 4:4).  Mordecai doesn’t accept the clothing, and so she sends one of the king’s chamberlains to speak with Mordecai (Esther 4:5).  Mordecai tells the chamberlain about the decree and gives him a copy of it, saying that Esther should go to the king and make a supplication for her people (Esther 4:7-8).  


The king’s chamberlain tells Queen Esther what Mordecai has said.  She then sends another message to Mordecai, telling him that if she goes into the inner court to see the king without being called, she will lose her life unless the king holds out the golden scepter to her (Esther 4:9-11).  Her message includes the detail that she has not been called to come in unto the king “these thirty days.”


In Esther 4:13-14, you can read Mordecai’s response to this message.  He tells her not to think that she will escape, being in the king’s house; and that, if she doesn’t speak, help will come from another place.  He ends his message to her by saying “and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”


Esther sends her reply to Mordecai, asking him to gather all the Jews present in Shushan and to fast for her for three days.  She says “and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish (Esther 4:16).”


After the time of fasting, Esther goes to see the king and finds favor in his sight (Esther 5:1-3).  Her petition to the king is that he and Haman should come to a banquet she has had prepared for that day (Esther 5:4).  At the banquet, the king asks Esther what her petition is.  Curiously, Esther asks the king to come with Haman the following day to another banquet that she will prepare for them (Esther 5:6-8).


When Haman comes home after the first banquet (Esther 5:10), he tells his friends and his wife how he is being honored by Esther’s invitations (Esther 5:11-12).  Nevertheless, he is upset at the sight of Mordecai (Esther 5:13).  His friends and his wife advise him to have a great gallows prepared, and to speak to the king the following day so that Mordecai can be hanged on it (Esther 5:14).  Haman is pleased by this advice, and has the gallows built.


That night, the king cannot sleep.  He orders a certain book of records to be brought and read before him (Esther 6:1).  During the reading, the king hears the record of a plot that had been made against him.  It had been discovered and reported by Mordecai (Esther 6:2).  The king learns that nothing has been done to honor Mordecai for his service (Esther 6:3).


At that same time, Haman has come to the court to speak with the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows (Esther 6:4-5).  Before Haman has an opportunity, the king – intending to honor Mordecai for his past service – asks Haman what shall be done for a man whom the king takes delight in honoring (Esther 6:6). 


Haman advises the king to have the man dressed in the king’s royal apparel, and a crown set on his head, and led through the city on the king’s own horse by one of the king’s most noble princes as it is proclaimed before him “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour” (Esther 6:7-9).   The king then commands Haman to do all those things to honor Mordecai, the Jew (Esther 6:10).


Haman manages to carry out the king’s command (Esther 6:11); but in Esther 6:12, we read about his state afterwards:


And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered. 


Haman tells his wife and his friends what has happened, and while they are yet talking the king’s chamberlains arrive to quickly bring Haman to the banquet Esther had prepared (Esther 6:14).


At the banquet, the king again asks Esther what her petition is.  He tells her it will be granted to her, even to half of the kingdom (Esther 7:2).  Esther then tells the king that her petition is for her life and the lives of her people (Esther 7:3).   She tells the king “For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish” (Esther 7:4).


The king asks Esther “Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?”  In Esther 7:6, we read Esther’s answer:


And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. 


The king, in anger, gets up and goes out into the palace garden (Esther 7:7).  Haman realizes that his life is in jeopardy and goes over to where Esther is reclining, even falling over her to ask for his life.  The king returns to see what he believes is Haman assaulting Queen Esther.  One of the king’s chamberlains points out to the king the great gallows that Haman had built for Mordecai’s execution, and the king orders Haman to be hanged on it (Esther 7:8-10).  


The New Proof


We are now ready to examine the new information by reviewing only a few verses.  Recall that the decree ordering the Jews to be destroyed was written by the king’s scribes on the 13th day of the first month (Esther 3:12).  The decree would have had a date on it.  Regardless of which calendar was used in the kingdom at that time, the date would have been the 13th day of the first month according to the Hebrew calendar of that day (the ancient Hebrew calendar differs from the modern one).


Next, we know that Esther told Mordecai she hadn’t been called to see the king “these thirty days” (Esther 4:11).   Esther knew about the decree (Esther 4:8) because Mordecai had given a copy of it to the messenger to be given to her; besides, Esther in all likelihood had heard about the decree even sooner than that because she was queen!  It is perfectly reasonable for us to understand her words “these thirty days” to mean that the date was now the same day of the month following the one on which the decree was issued.


The next thing we need to notice is in Esther 4:16.   Esther’s message to Mordecai, recorded in that verse, is that he and the other Jews of Shushan should fast for her for three days.  This was in the hope that the Lord would preserve her life and bless her effort to save the Jews when she appeared before the king.   After three days of fasting that began on the 14th day of the second month, the date would be day 16 in the second month. 


It was on that 16th day in the second month that Esther went to speak to the king (Esther 5:1-3).  She asks him to come with Haman to a banquet that day.  The king agrees to this (Esther 5:5).


At that banquet on the 16th day of the second month, the king asks Esther what her petition is.  She asks the king to come to another banquet – again with Haman – on the following day, and she tells the king she will make her request then. 


Early the next day, being the 17th day of the second month, the king orders Haman to honor Mordecai for a past service.  (Mordecai once learned of a plot against the king (Esther 2:21-23) and revealed it, possibly saving the king’s life.)  Ironically, Haman has just gone to the king to ask permission to have Mordecai hanged.  Haman never has an opportunity to ask the king about this, because the king orders Haman to take charge of honoring Mordecai.


It is at the second banquet, held later that day and still on the 17th day of the second month, that Esther accuses Haman and the king orders him to be executed.  Notice that the king’s chamberlain was able to see the gallows Haman had prepared some distance away, thus indicating that the sun had not yet gone down and that it was still the 17th day.  


Based on what we read in Esther 8, we can conclude that Haman was executed that same day: the 17th day of the second month.  Here is a summary of dated events leading up to and ending on that day.


Timeline Leading to the 17th Day of the Second Month

 

The decree to kill the Jews is written (Esther 3:12):

 

First month, day 13

                                               

Esther’s message to Mordecai that she hasn’t seen the king for 30 days since the decree (Esther 4:11); Esther asks Mordecai to fast with the Jews of Shushan for three days (Esther 4:16):

 

Second month, day 13

 

Esther goes to see the king (Esther 5:1) and asks him to come to her banquet with Haman that day (Esther 5:4).  At the banquet, she asks the king to come to her banquet the next day, again with Haman (Esther 5:8):

 

Second month, day 16

 

Mordecai is honored; Haman is executed (Esther 7:10): 

 

Second month, day 17

 

That’s the 17th day of the second month – the same date we find in Genesis 7:11! 


What Does It All Mean?


To fully appreciate this new information, we need to remember that Moses recorded the book of Genesis, with its account of Noah’s flood, long before the book of Esther was recorded.  We know from the book of Exodus and from Mr. Harold Camping’s work that the children of Israel left Egypt in 1447 BC.  Both books – Genesis and Exodus – are dated from that time. 


The final events in the book of Esther, on the other hand, have been dated to 391 BC.  Mordecai may have been the man who recorded that book somewhere around that time.  Over 1,000 years after telling Moses about the 17th day of the second month (as recorded in Genesis 7:11), God inspired the writer of Esther to record events just as it was done so that we would again find that date in God’s word. 


We must realize that the importance is much greater than just finding that date in the book of Esther.  When we read about Mordecai being honored on the 17th day of the second month, we are seeing a picture of something important: it’s a fulfillment of a stage in God’s salvation plan.  In Esther 6:7-11, we read how the king honored Mordecai.  Notice especially the crown in Esther 6:8:  


Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: 


The Hebrew word translated as “crown” in this verse is “kether,” Strong’s number H3804.  Besides this verse, it’s only used in two other verses in the whole Bible: in Esther 1:11 and in Esther 2:17. 


The first time it appears in the book of Esther, it is the word used for the crown placed on Queen Vashti.  In Esther 1, we learn that Vashti was queen before Esther became queen.  However, Vashti refused to come when the king summoned her (Esther 1:12); and so the king decided to choose another queen (Esther 2:4).


In Esther 2:17, we read that Esther was made queen and that the king “set the royal crown upon her head.”  Here again we see that Hebrew word “kether;” this time it’s used for Esther’s royal crown.   The third and final time that word appears, it’s used for the crown set on Mordecai’s head.  What might God be showing us in these verses?


When we compare these verses with some others in Esther, we get a glimpse of God’s salvation plan.  First, notice that the king made Esther a “great feast” when she was crowned queen (Esther 2:18).  Although we don’t read about a feast to celebrate Vashti on the occasion when she became queen, there should have been a great feast for her too.  We then read about a conspiracy against the king by two of the king’s chamberlains who were his doorkeepers (Esther 2:21).  This conspiracy apparently developed about the time Esther became queen (notice the words “in those days” in Esther 2:21).


After the conspiracy is discovered, we read about Haman’s promotion (Esther 3:1), and then later we see Mordecai in sackcloth and ashes (Esther 4:1) when he discovers the plan to destroy the Jews.


All of these events fit our understanding of God’s salvation plan and give us a glimpse of it.  First, we know that God had chosen ancient Israel to be His people.  God saved some of them, and for a time they were the external representation of His kingdom.  Then, He moved to the next stage of His salvation plan – the Church Age.  Notice how Vashti and Esther fit into this picture.   Vashti represents ancient Israel and Esther represents the body of believers saved during the Church Age.  The Church Age began on Pentecost Day after the resurrection and ended in 1988, based on the same analysis that led to the discovery of last May 21 as a key date.


Soon after Esther wears the crown, we read about the conspiracy by the two doorkeepers.  This appears to correspond with the end of the Church Age.  We then read about Haman’s promotion.  You might remember hearing that God allowed Satan to begin ruling in the local congregations when the Church Age was over. 


When Haman’s decree is made known, we read about Mordecai crying in sackcloth and ashes.  This appears to be a picture of God’s people in mourning before May 21, when they saw the end of salvation approaching.  We know that only a short time later, Haman was humiliated when he was commanded to lead Mordecai through the streets.  Mordecai wore the royal apparel and the royal crown that day – the 17th day of the second month.


Just as Vashti appears to represent the body of believers saved out of ancient Israel until God ended that relationship, and Esther to represent those saved during the Church Age, Mordecai – as he is honored and as he wears the crown – appears to be a picture of the last group of believers to be saved.   


Elsewhere in the book of Esther, Mordecai appears to be a picture of the Lord Jesus or the Holy Spirit; but when Mordecai wears the same crown that Vashti and Esther wore, he appears to represent those people God saved outside of the local congregations from the time the Church Age ended until Judgment Day began.   This certainly agrees with our understanding that May 21 marked the end of salvation.


That date also marked the execution of a man who represents Satan.  The Bible shows us that God will judge Satan near the end of time, although Satan won’t be destroyed until the world ends.   In Daniel 7:11-12, we read about God’s judgment of Satan:


I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.  As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.  


The book of Esther confirms that there is a delay between the time God judges Satan and then destroys him, as indicated in the above verses.  It does so by telling us that Haman’s ten sons are executed several months after Haman’s execution (Esther 9:1 and 9:10).


Also notice that in Daniel 7:13-14, we find that God’s judgment of Satan happens at the end of the world.  This too agrees with our understanding that the book of Esther’s final chapter shows us a picture of God’s judgment against all the unsaved on the last day.


I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. 


 The story of Esther is well known to Jews today.  It culminates with a great victory by the Jews over those who plotted to destroy them.  It is this book of the Bible that established the days of Purim (occurring this year around the end of the first week of March), celebrated every year by Jews all over the world.  We read about these days in Esther 9:28:


And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed. 


The book of Esther is probably less well known among Christians than most Old Testament books.  Perhaps it’s because God’s name is not mentioned in it.  There is no mention of prayer or dependence upon God in the book, and Esther is never quoted or mentioned in the New Testament.  However, the book of Esther is the Word of God – just like the other 65 books of the Bible.   Therefore, it is worth reading with a prayerful request that God may reveal any other spiritual lessons it may contain.


The new information from the book of Esther should be a big encouragement to anyone who sacrificed or suffered persecution in order to warn the world about Judgment Day coming on May 21.  Some of these people are undoubtedly wondering if they made a mistake by being involved in that effort, despite the proofs about May 21 that were known back then.  This new information is another wonderful proof that God did indeed guide His people to that date and that He wanted them to warn the world about it.


Related Stories:

 

 Countdown to Judgment


May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!


Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?


It is Finished: God’s Final Warning


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part I


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part II


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part III


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part IV


Judgment Day: Less than One-Half Year Away


A Word of Warning


Signs of the Times


May 21, 2011: Judgment Day Scenario Unfolds


The Great Anticipation


The Great Disappointment II

  

October 21, 2011: End of the World!!!


October 21, 2011 – The First Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Not the Last!

  

Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?

  

The World Will End on December 28, 2011: The Proofs

  

December 28, 2011 – The End: New Revelations 

  

The Great Disappointment II

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Between 1831 and 1844, William Miller – a Baptist preacher later credited with founding the Seventh Day Adventist Church – predicted that Christ’s Second Coming would occur in 1843.  Prompted by followers to set a more specific date for Jesus’ return, Miller – using the Hebrew calendar year 5604 – refined his earlier prediction simply indicating that the Return would occur sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844.  A further revision, based on use of the Karaite Jewish calendar, led to extension of the date to April 18th.  In August 1844, Samuel Snow – a Miller follower or Millerite – propounded his own interpretation based on what he referred to as the “seven-month message,” extending the date of Christ’s return to October 22, 1844.  This final prediction spread like wildfire among the general public, already familiarized with Miller’s preaching during the preceding 13 years.  The passage of October 22 without event came to be known as “The Great Disappointment.”


Miller based his prediction on information in the Old Testament Book of Daniel.  Daniel 8:13-14 states, “Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?  And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”  Using an interpretive principle known as the “day-year principle,” Miller began dating these 2300 “years” with the decree by Artaxerxes I of Persia in 457 B.C. to rebuild and restore Jerusalem and its Temple.  Thus, his simple calculation that Jesus would return in 1843 or 1844.


Fast forward to 1970 when Harold Camping published The Biblical Timeline of History that he later refined and expanding in Adam When? Using genealogies from Genesis and a starkly different interpretative method than that employed by Bishop James Ussher in his landmark Biblical chronology published in 1650, Camping established the date for the Creation of the World as 11,013 B.C. and the Flood as 4990 B.C.  Using a combination of historical and Biblical sources, he calculated that the most logical date for the birth of Jesus was October 4, 7 B.C and for his crucifixion, April 1, 33 B.C.


Having created a timeline and determined the date of our Savior’s birth, Camping later turned his attention toward determining when that timeline would end.  Firmly believing in the Bible as the literal word of God and relying heavily on numerology as proofs of his theories, Camping initially determined that 1994 might be the date for Christ’s return.  In John 21:1-14, Jesus tells the disciples who were about 200 cubits out in the Sea of Galilee to throw their net on the right side of the boat, resulting in a catch of 153 fish.  Camping interpreted this to mean that 2,000 years would intervene between Christ’s First and Second Comings.  Since there are 2,000 years between Jesus’ birth (7 B.C.) and 1994 (note that there is no year 0 and hence you must subtract 1 from your calculations), Camping speculated that Jesus would return in 1994.


Although uncertain of his 1994 prediction, Camping later refined his analysis, and – comparing “Scripture with Scripture” and interpreting the spiritual meaning of Biblical events – established May 21, 2011 as the authoritative date for Jesus’ momentous return.  He further identified numerous Biblical “proofs” for this date.  These proofs relied heavily on the “spiritual meaning” that Camping applied to certain numbers – 3 representing “God’s purpose,” 5 representing “atonement” or “redemption,” 7 “spiritual perfection,” 10 or its multiples “completion,” 17 “Heaven,” and 23 “destruction.”  Included among these were that May 21, 2011 was exactly 7,000 years from the date of the Great Flood (4990 + 2011 – 1) and that there are 722,500 days between Jesus’s crucifixion and his return with 722,500 being the product of two repeating sets of spiritually significant numbers:  5 x 10 x 17 x 5 x 10 x 17.


Obviously, Harold Camping exerted a great deal of research, Biblical scholarship, and critical thinking into developing his theories.  Also, quite evidently, he – like William Miller and everyone else who have ever attempted to predict the world’s end – was wrong.  Does this mean that he should become the subject of derision and branded a “false prophet?”


Mr. Camping has been a source of controversy among Christians for more than two decades.  His views ultimately led to his excommunication by the Church with which he had been associated in 1988.  Coincidentally, he later determined from his Biblical scholarship that his excommunication coincided with what he refers to as the “end of the Church Age” in Christian history, the time at which the Holy Spirit left the Christian churches and Satan took over as their ruler.


Since that “revelation,” Camping has maintained that no one can be saved in the churches and that when Christ returns to Rapture his “elect,” those in the churches will be left behind.  Undoubtedly, this point of view has not been cheerfully embraced by the leaders and congregations of these churches.


Another thing that has been a source of frustration and consternation to those who would question Camping’s views is his absolute certainty in their rectitude.  On his call-in radio program “The Open Forum,” Camping has resolutely refused to entertain any questions conditioned on the possibility – no matter delicately stated – that his interpretations were incorrect.  His response has always been that to do so would be to deny The Bible and its truthfulness.


Like many before him, Camping confused his own interpretations with Biblical truths.  And, although he never suggested to anyone that they should make any personal or financial decisions based upon his predictions, one wonders how many did.  At the time of the Millerite’s Great Disappointment, there were reports that many of the “believers” had sold or given away their property in reliance on the belief that they would shortly be leaving this world.  I hope that that is not the case with Camping’s followers.


While Camping’s personal demeanor of certitude may have been divisive and his approach to interpretation seriously flawed, I believe that he has made a significant contribution to Biblical scholarship.  I also believe that, advanced in age, he will likely disappear from the limelight and that Family Radio will ultimately return to a more mainstream Christian message.


And, to those “true believers” that May 21, 2011 would be the date of Christ’s return, I offer the following consolation:  your efforts in promoting this message have not been in vain.  Your message, although inaccurate, has spanned the world, gained the attention of both mainstream and alternative media, introduced countless thousands to Christianity, and placed thinking about God squarely into the forefront of the minds of people worldwide sorely in need of His merciful intervention.  Countless others have delved seriously into the Word of God for the very first time in their lives.  Some of these will, undoubtedly, continue to read and study the Word.


And so, your “Great Disappointment” may produce great joy in Heaven.


Related Stories:


Countdown to Judgment


May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!


Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?


It is Finished: God’s Final Warning


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part I


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part II


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part III


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part IV


Judgment Day: Less than One-Half Year Away


A Word of Warning


Signs of the Times


May 21, 2011: Judgment Day Scenario Unfolds


The Great Anticipation


May 21, 2011: Judgment Day Scenario Unfolds

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Today is Good Friday, the most solemn day on the Christian calendar, the day when Our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated his love for mankind by permitting himself to be crucified for our sins.  This year’s solemnity, however, is far different from that of other years, for if Harold Camping and Family Radio are correct, this will be the last Good Friday in the history of the world.


On May 21 of this year, Christ will return and commence a Day of Judgment that will encompass 153 calendar days and end with the final destruction of this world and universe on October 21, 2011.  In the last several weeks, Mr. Camping has begun broadcasting how it is likely that the events on May 21 will unfold.


To the casual observer, it would seem logical that, if Jesus is to return on May 21, it would have to be at that split second when the date is actually May 21st everywhere around the world.  Of course, the particular time of day would be different dependent upon your time zone.


Until recently, Mr. Camping has been uncertain and largely silent on the specific time of Jesus’ return – preferring only to indicate that it will occur sometime on May 21st.  Now, Mr. Camping has identified Biblical evidence that this event will be a “rolling event,” beginning at a particular time in that part of the world in which day begins and continuing around the world at the same time of day as it occurred when it started.


Since, as Mr. Camping has repeatedly stated, Jesus’ return and the Rapture of those God has elected from before the foundation of the world will be heralded by a cataclysmic earthquake the likes of which the world has never experienced, those of us in the United States will be cognizant of the beginning of this process long before the devastation actually reaches our shores.  As the massive earthquake and tidal waves propagate in the Fiji Islands and New Zealand and rumble through Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Western Europe, we will know for certain that Judgment Day has arrived.


One can only imagine the consternation of the talking heads on television (if broadcasting is possible) and panic of the leaders of all religious persuasions as it becomes apparent that they have horribly misjudged the Word of God and that their everlasting doom is a fait accompli.


Returning however to the time of day at which this will occur, Mr. Camping has recently found Biblical evidence that the massive earthquake and Rapture of God’s elect will occur in the evening, most likely at 6:00 PM.  Although not 100% certain, Mr. Camping has indicated that the time of 6:00 PM is a strong probability.  If this is true, those of us on the East Coast of the United States should have some inclination of what is happening some 12 to 15 hours before it strikes us.

 

Related Stories:

 

Countdown to Judgment

  

May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!

  

Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?

  

It is Finished: God’s Final Warning


 Assembling the Timeline of History – Part I


 Assembling the Timeline of History – Part II


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part III

  

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part IV

  

Judgment Day: Less than One-Half Year Away

 

A Word of Warning


Signs of the Times

  

May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!

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Judgment Day will occur one year from this past Friday on Saturday May 21, 2011. Most people have been falsely told that no one can know when Christ returns…this is not true; the Bible clearly says that true Christians WILL know in advance the time when Christ returns


In I Thessalonians 5:1 we read “But of the times and seasons brethren, ye have no need that I write to you. For you 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 the Light, and the children of the day; We are not of the night; not of the darkness…”


Further, in Revelation 3:3 the Bible says “…If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a Thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”  [see Revelation 16:15].   The Bible describes these who “WATCH” in 30 passages [a comprehensive listing is available upon request]. 


Some claim even Jesus doesn’t know the timing of Judgment Day – this is a very serious claim as ALL the Bible from its very first verse to the last is written to show that Jesus is God Almighty, Jesus said of the Scriptures “…these are they that testify of Me…” and He said clearly in John 3:13 that “He was in Heaven while on earth,” and Jesus said “he that hath seen Me hath seen the father…” and Jesus is called “the Everlasting father…” in Isaiah 9:6. There are literally hundreds of verses like this. Those who want to claim that Jesus is something less than God, are in deep, deep trouble. Much more can be said of this very dark claim; but please remember if you are resting in Mark 13:32, that several are called “son” in Scripture. In that verse “the son” refers to Satan, who is called the “son of wickedness” (Psalm 89:22) and the “son of perdition” (John 17:22, 2 Thessalonians 2:3).


There are several verses about knowing the timing of the End, just like these above, in Hebrews 10:25, Matthew 24:36 AND 37, Matthew 24:43ff, etc. Jesus gives examples of His return in Luke 17 of Noah and the Flood and of Lot at Sodom and Gomorrah. In both cases they had advance warning of those horrible judgments. In fact, in ALL, every single one, of God’s fierce Judgments in the Bible, God gave ADVANCE warning of the timing: Noah [120 years, then a 2nd warning at 7 days], Moses and Aaron [the 10 Plagues of the Exodus], Moses and the killing of the 14,950 Jewish Temple servants by fire and quake in Numbers 15 & 16, Joshua and Jericho [the 2 million Jews circled 13 times in 7 days], Jonah and Ninevah [40 days]….according to clear Scriptures.


How can you specifically know that the Day of Judgment will begin Saturday May 21, 2011 and end 5 months later on October 21, 2011?  The Bible, beginning in Genesis 5 and 11, and continued later, has a “calendar” of all 13,023 years of the existence of the Universe….precise, without gaps…showing that the resurrection of the Saints, the “Rapture,” will be on Saturday May 21, 2011, and the destruction of the Universe by fire follows shortly thereafter [details from the Bible available upon request].


Further, the Bible shows that the Flood was in 4990 BC [Genesis 5], and it will be 7,000 years ago, to the day, next May 21, 2011 [subtract one – there is no year “0”]…further, the Bible shows clearly that Jacob was born in 2007 BC [Jacob’s name was changed to “Israel”] and then 1,000 years later, in 1007 BC, David was crowned King of Israel [Jews, worldwide, celebrated this 3,000th anniversary in AD 1994 (a Jubilee year)].


My wife and I were invited to Jerusalem to also celebrate…how sad that Christians seemed unaware of something so obvious; the Bible shows that Jesus was born in 7 BC, just before wicked King Herod’s death (exactly 1,000 years after David’s Coronation).


Israel as a nation (Christ’s earthly, visible kingdom) lasted about 2,000 years, and the Church, Christ’s 2nd earthly kingdom, also lasted about 2,000 years – and, like the nation of Israel has been [spiritually] destroyed as promised [I Peter 4:17, Jeremiah 23:20, 30:24, Ezekiel  9, Matthew 24:16 ff, Mark 13:14 ff, Luke 21:20 ff]. 


The Bible shows that Creation to the Flood was 6,023 years [Genesis 5], and the Flood to Calvary was 5,023 years, according to a series of Scriptures, and Creation to Judgment Day on Saturday, May 21, 2011 is 13,023 years precisely. Those extra 23 years are the exact time of the “Great Tribulation,” and the number “23” is used throughout Scripture to denote “judgment” [Daniel 8:14, I Corinthians 10:8, etc.].


The 70 “weeks” of Daniel 9 point to May 21, 2011; and so do the 7-year (84 months) “Great Tribulation” of Jacob, the 70-year (840 months) “Great Tribulation” of Israel/Judah of Daniel 9:2 [etc.], and the 23-year (8,400 days) “Great Tribulation” of our day.  All these time references give precision to understanding the timing of the Day of Judgment on Saturday May 21st 2011.


These are just a few of dozens of Bible “time paths” to the Rapture of the elect on Saturday, May 21st 2011 – one year from last Friday. This date cannot be changed, held back, or wished away. It will be the day of Christ’s return in fiery judgment. All approximately 7 billion living on that Day, including me, will be held to account – even for every “idle word” we have spoken [Matthew 12:36] – a fearful thing. 


The Bible predicts that “scoffers” will arise, and they surely have, but they have no Biblical basis to disprove any of this which has been carefully obtained from Scripture [II Peter 3:3-15].  By God’s grace, people all over the world have become aware of Judgment Day next year. In Daniel 12, God says twice that it will be at the time of the End [now] that He will open up an understanding of the End.


There are many “signs of the times” that Jesus alluded to in Matthew 16:3 and other verses from this very time in history [upon request I will send you 50 that refer specifically to this time].


All of this is why some of the greatest, most faithful Bible teachers, especially of the last 500 years, taught that God’s people will know the timing of the End. Yes, kooks and cultists have set false dates for Christ’s Second Coming (generally by reasoning outside of the Bible), but many wise and godly men have realized that there is nothing in Scripture to preclude God’s people from knowing the time of the coming Judgment and that the Bible contains the date of the End.


If we fear this Judgment Day in just short of one year, what should we do?  I urge you to read the small Book of Jonah and see what the King and his kingdom did when told of the coming of Judgment Day…they “cried mightily to God,” and He heard.


The very saddest part of Judgment Day is that God has promised to send a “strong delusion” to professing Christians regarding that day [II Thessalonians 2:11], and Jesus warned that many will come to May 21, 2011 and be shocked to find they really weren’t real Christians after all.  They will go into eternal damnation along with the rest of the unsaved (see Matthew 7: 21-23, and Matthew 25:1-12).


May God choose to let His Mercy and Grace fall on you and your loved ones, and on me and mine.  You can discover all the Bible says about the End at familyradio.com, or at ebiblefellowship.com.

Thoughts on the Historical Jesus

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The approach of Easter engenders thoughts about what has been called “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” the life and death of Jesus the Christ.  Throughout the millennia since the historical Jesus walked this earth, men have argued, fought, and died over questions of his Divinity.  Today, even among Christians, his life and death stir controversy as some claim the imminence of his long-awaited Return (see our previous article on Harold Camping and Family Radio).


Accepting Jesus as God and the second member of the Holy Trinity, however, one still ponders questions that for humankind remain unknowable.  As a God-Man, Jesus was both fully human and fully Divine.  As such, was there a time in his life before which he knew not of his own Divinity, and if so, when did he realize that he was God?  What influence did the environment in which he was raised have upon him?  How did the people who knew him best view him?  The Bible provides little insight on most of these issues, as it is silent on the majority of Jesus’ life.


Yet, if one considers the life of Jesus and his message of love in the context of Jewish history, certain patterns of speculation begin to emerge.


“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”

(Matthew 22:37-40)


In these four brief sentences, Jesus, according to the Gospel of Matthew, summarizes the teaching of the Law and the Prophets as found in sacred Jewish texts and establishes the foundation from which the Christian religion would germinate.  Living in a period of great oppression, Jesus was well aware of the might of the Roman occupation as well as the hunger of the Jewish nation for a Messiah, a warrior-leader who would vanquish their oppressors and restore God’s people to preeminence in ancient Palestine.


Jesus was well-positioned for ultimate leadership, springing from the merger of the kingly and priestly bloodlines of Joseph and Mary.  His formative years were spent in the insurrectionist-hotbed of Galilee, removed from the direct, daily Roman influence experienced in Jerusalem and dominated by members of the Zealot movement from which some of his disciples were drawn.  Living within that environment, he undoubtedly knew many men who dreamed of a day when the Romans would be overthrown by force and the nation of Israel restored.


At some point, however, Jesus parted ways with the Zealots who likely championed him as he gained followers.  Perhaps, he came to the realization that violence begets nothing but violence.  Perhaps, he understood that any campaign against the might of Rome could gain little more than temporary victory and would ultimately be crushed, further exacerbating the lot of the Jewish people.  Regardless of the process of reasoning and enlightenment, Jesus began preaching the gospel of “love,” love both of neighbor and of enemies.  He taught his disciples to “turn the other cheek” in response to provocation.  These concepts, in all likelihood, deeply disturbed his Zealot followers and supporters – Judas Iscariot among them.  Even more disturbing from a Zealot perspective, however, was Jesus’ comment on taxes: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”


With waning Zealot support and increasing Roman interest in this preacher, teacher, and healer commonly known as the “King of the Jews,” Jesus, in the final weeks of his life, knew that his fate was sealed.  Whether Judas betrayed Jesus for turning his back on his Zealot followers or in the hope that this would initiate the violent overthrow of the Romans that he desperately desired, the die was cast.  Jesus was crucified and bodily resurrected from the dead.  In his victory over death that first Easter Sunday almost 2,000 years ago was born a religion surrounding the precepts and teachings of this God-Man.


Yet, detractors over the intervening centuries have been in no short supply.  Most recently, in 2007, Oscar-winning director James Cameron and Emmy Award-winning documentary film-maker and journalist Simcha Jacobovici co-produced a documentary that posited the discovery of Jesus’ family tomb containing ossuaries with the bones of Jesus, his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, his brother Jose, and other family members.  If true, this would have been the archaeological find of all time.


It would also have been a major blow to Christianity, denying the possibility of a bodily resurrection.  That Jesus’ entire being, body and soul, was taken to Heaven following his crucifixion and entombment is a major tenet of Christian belief.  In Roman Catholicism, it is also firmly believed that, at the time of her death, Jesus’ mother Mary was assumed bodily into Heaven.


The uproar surrounding the release of this documentary was, of course, predictable, with experts lining up on both sides of the issue.  Non-believers were more than happy to have this “proof” that Jesus was nothing more than a man.  In fact, short of having a sample of Jesus’ DNA from the time of his life with which to compare, no accumulation of evidence could possibly prove with absolute certainty that the bones in the ossuary marked “Jesus, son of Joseph” were those of the Jesus whom many around the world refer to as “the Christ.”


And, in my humble opinion, I do not know if it really matters.  We are all products of our Creator and, to that extent, our growth, development, and growing awareness of our roles in this world are Divinely inspired.  Whether Jesus was a man on a mission either from his people or, as I believe, from his Heavenly Father, his message of “love” is nonetheless valid.  War, violence, and tyranny, as we have studied historically and witnessed in our own lives, are self-perpetuating.  Jesus, perhaps better than most, knew this and taught his followers the power of love and non-violence.  It is a lesson that we should all take to heart, regardless of our religious beliefs.


As for discovering the truth about Jesus, bring it on.  In the Gospel of St. John, Jesus himself is quoted as saying “…for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the Truth.”  And, “the Truth will set you free.” 

Countdown to Judgment

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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.




Related Posts:



May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!


  


Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?


  


It is Finished: God’s Final Warning




 Assembling the Timeline of History – Part I




 Assembling the Timeline of History – Part II




Assembling the Timeline of History – Part III


  


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part IV


  


Judgment Day: Less than One-Half Year Away


 


A Word of Warning




Signs of the Times




May 21, 2011: Judgment Day Scenario Unfolds






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