By Mike Willis
Harold Egbert Camping (1921- ) is a Christian radio broadcaster, president of Family Radio, a California-based religious broadcasting network that has more than 150 outlets in the United States. His familyradio.com web site says, “Judgment Day, May 21, 2011. The Bible Guarantees it!” A billboard on I-465 in Indianapolis.
I have no doubt that Camping will devise an explanation for his failed prophecy, beginning sometime early next week. Explaining his failed predictions is not new for Camping. In 1992, he published a book titled 1994? in which he proclaimed that Christ’s return might be on September 6, 1994 and that 2011 could be the end of the world. (An article on Wikipedia says that May 21, 2011 is the date for the Rapture and October 21, 2011 is the date for the end of the world, but his own familyradio.com says that May 21, 2011 is Judgment day.) Obviously September 6, 1994 did not work out too well as evidence of his ability to predict Christ’s second coming.
Another spin-off of this movement is that a number of atheists have created a business to care for the pets of those who expect to be raptured at the Lord’s second coming. The site, eternal-earthbound-pets.com, is operated by an atheist group that advertises itself as follows:
You’ve committed your life to Jesus. You know you’re saved. But when the Rapture comes what’s to become of your loving pets who are left behind? Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind.
We are a group of dedicated animal lovers, and atheists. Each Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you’ve received your reward. Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus.
We are currently active in 26 states, employing 40 pet rescuers. Our representatives have been screened to ensure that they are atheists, animal lovers, are moral/ethical with no criminal background, have the ability and desire to rescue your pet and the means to retrieve them and ensure their care for your pet’s natural life.
For $135.00 Eternal Earth-Bound Pets guarantee that, should the rapture occur within ten years of receipt of payment, one pet per residence will be saved. Additional pets are $20 each, and, since these are atheists, they are assured to survive the rapture! This atheist-operated business that thrives on the Bible ignorance and gullibility of some Bible believers is creative, and a bit humorous.
The sad fact is that many people will judge Christianity and the Bible itself by the failed predictions of men such a Harold Camping. They will conclude that the Bible is not an divinely inspired revelation from God, because it predicted something that did not come to pass. They will conclude that Christians are naive, irrational, and ignorant for believing such predictions. Camping’s work creates infidelity, destroys the credibility of Scripture, and undermines evangelism.
When the terrorist acts of radical Islam hit America, I looked to see what was the reaction of Islamic leaders to the terrorist activities. I thought that mainstream Islamists were remarkably silent, or, if they spoke, it was not widely disseminated. I don’t want that same reaction to be experienced toward Christianity when radical extremists such as Harold Camping predict the Lord’s second coming.
The same Christian Scriptures which foretell the Lord’s second coming (1 Thess. 4:13-17; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; John 14:1-3) are also explicit in saying that it will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night (2 Pet. 3:9-10; Matt. 24:43). The Lord Himself said concerning His second coming, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matt. 24:36). Let man not speak or make predictions about what the Lord Himself did not chose to reveal.