Responding to the Critics

A Challenge to Harold Camping

Infallible Proof that Assures That the Rapture Will Occur May 21, 2011..
Or Not!

A Challenge to Harold Camping

 

Don K. Preston

Harold Camping of Family Radio ministry of Oakland, California is at it again.  Someone sent me a little pamphlet with the title above (except the “Or Not” which is my comment). Family Radio is the base from which Camping has made several bold, and invariably false, predictions of the coming of the Lord and the end of the world. This pamphlet is just the latest in Camping’s false predictions. Incidentally, his website: www.familyradio.com, accessed 10-20-10, in bold headlines announces that “The Bible guarantees it!” i.e. that the Rapture will indeed be on May 21, 2011.

In the pamphlet Camping makes several claims about the evidence that he claims as proof positive that “the rapture will occur May 21, 2011. Here are a few things that we are assured are to happen on that predicted date:

1.) “The true believers receive their eternally-alive, resurrected bodies. This is what will happen on the day of the Rapture, May 21, 2011.” (P. 7).

2.) “On May 21, 2011, the date of the Rapture, each and every saved person will go to Heaven because his salvation will be altogether completed.”

3.) The doubling of the numbers 5x10x17 like the doubling of the phrase “one day is as a thousand years” assures us that the truth of these proofs is established by God and God will shortly bring it to pass. Isn’t it amazing that God uses this doubling principle to further guarantee that the date of May 21, 2011 is absolutely certain, even as God has used the doubling principle to absolutely assure us that the Judgment Day is exactly 7000 years after the flood of Noah’s day.”

The author closes the tract saying, “How can anyone dare to dispute with the Bible concerning the absolute truth that the beginning of the Day of Judgment together with the Rapture will occur on May 21, 2011.” (Sic) Well, I dare to dispute Camping’s claims, because they are not Biblical; they are not logical. They are false.

Camping begins with a false assumption, based on 2 Peter 3:8: “One day with the Lord is as a thousand days…”  Camping, as many other false prophets, says that “One day with the Lord IS a thousand days.” Camping turns a metaphor into a prosaic prophetic statement. This is untenable and specious. This is bad hermeneutic.

Camping is right that Biblical numbers can convey significant meaning. However, he makes some almost unprecedented claims concerning his numerical calculations. He even makes the wild claim that the 153 fish caught by the disciples (John 21) “represent all those who become saved during the final harvest of true believers that is taking place during the last 6,100 days of the Great Tribulation.” Such claims are, excuse my bluntness, ridiculous and without any contextual merit. What Biblical writer ever even alludes to those fish again?

Camping is rather bold when he says that the church age came to an end May 21, 1988– which of course is the date of one of his failed prophecies! The problem for Camping, and those like him, is that the Bible says that the church has no end. It cannot be moved! (Cf. Ephesians 3:20-21; Hebrews 12:28).

Note that Camping says that Christ will shortly bring to pass the prophecies of the end. The inherent  contradiction with the Bible should be apparent to all thinking Bible students.

Why should we today believe that the end is near now, when the Bible writers all wrote, 2000 years ago, that the end was near in their lifetime! Note now Luke 21:8.

Jesus warned his disciples: “Many will come in my name saying ‘I am he, and the end has drawn near. Do not go after them!” What does this mean?

Jesus was warning his living, breathing disciples, 2000 years ago, not to believe– and thus, certainly not to make– premature declarations of the nearness of the end! However, Jesus gave signs of the end, and told his disciples, “When you see all of these things come to pass, know that it (the end, DKP) is nigh, even at the doors.” (Matthew 24:32).

What is so important is that those very same disciples, specifically Peter and John, later wrote, in the same generation, that the end was near! Christ’s coming was at hand and coming soon!

Peter, who heard his Lord warn against premature declarations that the end had drawn near, later wrote: “The end of all things has drawn near!” (1 Peter 4:7). John likewise said of Jesus’ coming in the judgment that it was at hand and coming quickly (Revelation 22:6, 10-12).

Bible believers have choices to make: either Jesus’ first century disciples were right when they predicted the nearness of the end… or modern so called prophets like Camping are the true prophets. However, if Camping is right, then the Bible writers were wrong, the Bible is wrong, inspiration falls, and Christian faith is nullified– which means ultimately of course, that Camping is absolutely wrong! If the Bible writers are / were wrong, there is no parousia of Christ for anytime, thus, Camping is falsified.

But of course, if the Biblical writers were right– and they were– then Camping and all modern so called prophets are false prophets and should be exposed for what they are. Luke 21:8 gives us no room on this. Either the first century disciples were right and Camping is wrong– or, Camping is right and the Biblical writers were wrong. (But, again, don’t forget that if Camping is right, he is wrong, for if he is “right” this falsifies the Biblical writers, thereby nullifying any possibility of Christ coming again!!!)

And now, a challenge: I am so confident that Camping is wrong, dead wrong, that I am willing to put $1,000 in an eschrow account, or CD, to be matured on May 22, 2011. (After sharing this idea with a few others, I have already received additional offers of contributions. So, the $1,000 is a minimum amount. We can finalize the figure later).  If the Rapture occurs on May 21, 2011, then as an unbeliever in that event, I will be “Left Behind.” However, since per Camping’s prediction all the saved of the earth will disappear on the 21st, that means that Camping will not need the $1,000, right? However, I will be willing to donate that $1,000, on May 22, 2011, to Harold Camping’s designated charity or organization. On the other hand, Camping should be willing to put $1,000 (Note that I am not asking Camping to put all his earthly belongings on the line!) in an eschrow or CD as well, and, if the Rapture does not occur as he predicts as “absolute truth” then he will give that money to Preterist Research Institute! I think this is an eminently fair offer, and I encourage all who read this to send the challenge to Camping.

Now, only the sudden, instantaneous, miraculous, literal, bodily removal of all the saints by Christ– on May 21, 2011–  to heaven will qualify. Physical death is not the Rapture.

Harold Camping has made another false prediction. Will he be willing to put his money where his claims are? We can work out the details later if he is willing.

Incidentally, for the skeptics who say that even Jesus and his apostles made false predictions of the nearness of the end, that is not true. Their predictions came true, at the end of the Old Covenant age in the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Full documentation can be found on this website and in numerous books on fulfilled eschatology.

Will Camping or any other modern prophet dare to accept our challenge? I predict– and I suspect my prediction on this will come true – that Camping will ignore the challenge. Nonethele
ss, I predict that the Rapture will not occur on May 21, 2011 (or 2012, or 2013, or…) as Camping predicts. And my prediction will come true!

Christ came in the first century, just as he predicted. Camping is in denial of that truth.

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