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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.”

Update: Some other resources of relevance:

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37 thoughts on “Judgment Day: May 21, 2011?”

  1. glenn says:

    How should one approach teachers like Mike Bickle of International House of Prayer and others who claim not a specific day but a specific time period – this generation? In my view, Bickle and several other teachers hold a much wider influence in the church today but very few (Christian Research Journal is the exception) seem willing to refute what they teach.

  2. Corey says:

    I would commend to you Mark Dever’s sermon, “Jesus Didn’t Know Everything” from Mark 13:32-37:

  3. Russ says:

    Matthew 24:36

    Not sure how much more simple we can make it.

  4. I don’t really understand why we pay attention to people that are predicting the end of the world. Perhaps it scares us. From what I understand in Revelation, when it does happen, it will be incredibly scary, but conceptually should we not look forward to it? Perhaps it gets our attention because even though we are Christians we still don’t live in a way that reflects that judgement will come, eventually.

  5. Edward says:

    Here’s another question: If Christ doesn’t return on Saturday, what is the church going to do about the thousands of people who listen to Camping’s teachings? A lot of these folks (including sadly, two of my own relatives) come from formerly Reformed backgrounds. They have been led astray by Camping’s heretical teachings that on the surface sound so fundamentally biblical.

  6. henrybish says:

    Interestingly, this heresy it is coming from a cessationist, not a charismatic.

  7. Marty says:

    This Saturday? I have a wedding to do….!

  8. They are still accepting donations on the website. Isn’t that weird?

    Also, if the end does come Saturday, I will be glad.

  9. Michael Lynch says:

    I wonder if someone will be tracking Camping to see what he does and where he goes as the 21st comes to an end. I hope this is enough to finally open the eyes of his followers.

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      The strange thing is that, somehow, many will become even more convinced of the veracity of Camping’s claims. If anyone has seen a study of why this happens with cults, I’d love to see it.

  10. Dean P says:

    Edward: Great question. I have another one. What is the church going to do when the secret rapture, the seven-year tribulation, the separate judgment of Israel and the church, as well as the literal Millennium never happens? Imagine the despair and apostasy Christians will experience when they look around and see millions of fellow believers being tortured and martyred for their faith but with no secret rapture in sight.

    1. Daryl Little says:


      You mean like most of the world now? I believe the rapture will come, but nowhere does Scripture say that means that persecution won’t happen, and not bible-believing Christian (that I know of) who understands that [those things you describe] will really happen would expect persecution not to come.

      Seriously, how can anyone claim that because something hasn’t yet happened, it never will?

  11. Lynn Rutledge says:

    Here’s how we will know when Jesus is about to return (in his own words):

    When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place…then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.

    Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

    From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.

    Matthew 24:15, 21, 29-30, 32-33

    1. Michael Lynch says:

      There’s good evidence that this is talking about the tribulation leading up to 70AD. The abomination of desolation actually did happen. I know this is probably new to most people who may be reading this, but it’s worth checking out the partial/orthodox preterist view of eschatology. I believe in Christ’s return. I just believe the passage quoted refers to His return in judgement in 70AD.

    2. Chris M says:

      Beale’s commentary on Revelation is really good to see a bit of a different view on these passages. Or should I just say a diiferent view altogether.

  12. Becky Thompson says:

    Exactly Ms. Rutledge! And anyone who says any differently is just wrong! How many people show their ignorance and try to predict the exact time? Matthew 24 folks…let’s not assume to know more than the One who wrote the book. How foolish we look to him, how stupid and untrusting! I’m amazed at his grace that he still wants anything to do with us considering how full we are of ourselves and the thought that we can try to read his mind. What a bunch of pompous idiots. I don’t even want anything to do with us…

  13. Andrew says:

    So much for consequences….

    Deuteronomy 18:20 (New International Version)
    20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”

  14. Matt Waymeyer says:

    Does this mean I don’t need to be ready to preach this Sunday morning?

  15. Ken Temple says:

    Dr. James White debated Harold Camping and has some other lectures on Campings false teachings.

  16. Michael says:

    I just realized that the day (Friday, May 20) I’m scheduled to teach on Christ’s return is just one day before “Christ returns.” Too funny! And how timely! If you want proof of God’s providence or His sense of humor, look no further…

  17. Dean P says:

    Daryl: You have a great point about the persecution going on in the world now, and you are right about that. I wasn’t trying to downplay any of that, it is very real and my prayers go out to all of those people. I was mainly referring to the expectancy of most pre-millennial dispensationalists who are looking for the secret rapture to carry them off away from all the trouble of this world while the rest of the world suffers. When in reality Christians will be left here being martyred and persecuted along with all the other tribulation that everyone else will be experiencing, because their will be no secret rapture but the return of King Jesus with the sound of the trump that all will see all at once along with the true rapture, the resurrection of the dead, and the judgment of God. All of this happening simultaneously.

  18. Jesus Ferrer says:

    Hey Christians do not fret. Remember what Jesus (not me) our King and Savior Jesus, said regarding this; In Matthew 24: All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matt 24:8) When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age? Jesus deals with these questions but does not distinguish them sharply. However, it appears that the description of the last days (which began with Jesus incarnation and end with his second coming.) is presented in vv. 4-14, the destruction of Jerusalem in vv. 15-22 (see Luke 21:30) and Christ’s coming in vv. 23-31. The rest of the discourse is largely taken up with warnings and exhortations to live responsibly and courageously despite trials, persecutions and uncertainty about the exact time of his coming. (see Matt. 24:32-25:46) The last section contains several eschatological parables (25:1-25:46) NIV footnotes…. Our Pastor and Spiritual leader A.R.Bernard of the Christian Cultural Center has been teaching about this. So like he said on Sunday as Christians we have plans. So friends, May 21 will not be the end but the beginning of something and according to my calendar it is the beginning of my Summer. Though literality Summer begins on June 21. No one knows the day or hour of my seasons, OK moving along. If you believe the word that to us is our source and rule of conduct then you will look forward to enjoying May 22. for those who do not believe….enjoy May 22, as well . So when we see these things taken place, take heed and do not fret, Jesus said no one knows the time or hour. Stay tune for Pastors word on Sunday.

  19. May 21 says:

    Only 4 days left.

    The Bible does make clear that those near the end will know a lot about the time of the rapture and judgment. Read Romans Chapter one, in particular the second half of the chapter. The Gay Pride movement is a gigantic sign we are close (even without the specific timing proved from other parts of the Bible this acceptance of Gay Pride by society shows there is almost no time left).

    From a few verses in the Bible it is shown that during the church age we did not know the timing of the end, however the church age is now over.

    God told Noah when the flood would come. Jonah warned the city of Nineveh when God would destroy them if they did not repent.

    “Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.”
    [Ecclesiastes 8:5 – KJV]

  20. Well I guess we will just have to hold our breath until the 21st. I was wondering though what time on the 21st this end will come. I mean should I eat breakfast or will it be pointless to even eat anything. Oh man when will these quacks stop trying to predict this and just let me eat my breakfast!

  21. Dean P says:

    Nice one Richard:)

  22. taco says:

    Dr. James White has a great resource list, plus his debates, on a resource page here:

  23. Be part of something big regardless of the curve balls life throws: …. We’re stillHere…thanks!

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Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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