Albert Mohler has some good background on Harold Camping’s latest claims (part of a larger pattern of false teaching), and closes his article with some helpful reminders:
First, Christ specifically admonished his disciples not to claim such knowledge. In Acts 1:7, Jesus said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” In Matthew 24:36, Christ taught similarly: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
To state the case plainly, these two verses explicitly forbid Christians to claim the knowledge of such dates and times. Jesus clearly taught that the Father has not revealed such dates and timing, but has reserved that knowledge for himself. It is an act of incredible presumptuousness to claim that a human knows such a date, or has determined God’s timing by any means.
Second, the Bible does not contain hidden codes that we are to find and decipher. The Bible has been given to us in order that we might know the truth, and the truth is clearly revealed in its pages. We are not to look for hidden patterns of words, numbers, dates, or anything else. The Bible’s message is plain and requires no mathematical computation for its understanding. The claim that one has found a hidden code or system in the Bible is an insult to the Bible as the Word of God.
Third, Christians are indeed to be looking for Christ to return and seeking to be found faithful when Christ comes. We are not to draw a line in history and set a date, but we are to be about the Father’s business, sharing the Gospel and living faithful Christian lives. We are not to sit on rooftops like the Millerites, waiting for Christ’s return. We are to be busy doing what Christ has commanded us to do.
In Hebrews 9:28, we are taught that Christ will come a second time “to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” That is the faithful Christian response to the New Testament teachings about Christ’s coming. The church is not to be arrogantly setting dates, but instead to be eagerly waiting for him. Of that we can be truly certain.
For those who know people affected by this false teaching, another helpful resource is Robert Godfrey’s five-part blog series. He “discusses his early memories of Camping as an orthodox Christian Reformed Bible teacher, outlines Camping’s scriptural misunderstandings and misinterpretations about the end times and the church, and shows how they led to his heretical teaching.”
- The End of the World According to Harold Camping: Part 1
- The End of the World According to Harold Camping: Part 2
- The End of the World According to Harold Camping: Part 3
- The End of the World According to Harold Camping: Part 4
- The End of the World According to Harold Camping: Part 5
Update: Some other resources of relevance:
- Donald Barnhouse sermon, “The Folly of Setting Dates“
- Mark Dever sermon, “Jesus Didn’t Know Everything“
- James White resources on Camping