Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21st, 2011 @ around 6pm: Harold Camping and the Ethiopian Eunuch

Harold Camping claimed that the rapture would occur on May 21, 2011 and a great earthquake will happen around the world around 6pm. This is not the first time that Camping predicted the end of the world. If you are reading this you have not been raptured. Some people are very confused right now. How could the Bible be wrong? Is the Christian faith a sham? Others are laughing at those who bought into another failed attempt at predicting the second coming of Christ.

The problem is not that Harold Camping didn't study his Bible enough. Harold Camping knows his Bible. If you bring up just about any Bible passage to him, he can tell you exactly where it is. But Camping's problem is that like many others He forgets that the Scriptures are all about Jesus (Luke 24:27). The Bible contains lots of information about lots of different things, if you look long enough for secret codes and messages you are bound to find something. If you come to the Bible convinced that the Bible is a manual for life then you are going to find all kinds of interesting rules to live by and there will probably not be a significant non-event (as there is for Camping) that will show you and the world that you are completely wrong. People probably won't laugh at you the way they laugh at Camping (you might even become popular) but you are still just as wrong as Camping.

The Ethiopian eunuch had an interest in the Scriptures and wanted to know what they meant. Unlike Harold Camping, the eunuch did not go off somewhere privately to try to figure out what the Scriptures were talking about. Left to his own devices there is no limit to the variety of ways he could have interpreted the Scriptures. He recognized his need for help and asked one of the leaders in the church to help him. Philip gave the eunuch the interpretive key for understanding the Scriptures. The Scriptures are all about Jesus. Jesus says the Bible is all about Jesus and so do the historic Christian creeds.

Throughout the Scriptures and especially in the New Testament we find a variety of people who spent much of their lives studying the Bible but had a false understanding and even at times an antichristian understanding of what the Bible meant because they did not realize that the Bible is all about Jesus. The Pharisees thought that the Bible was all about holy living and they were extraordinarily zealous to spread their message. They were on fire for the Lord--at least the lord they worshipped. They would cross sea and land to evangelize but ended up making people inheritors of hell (Matthew 23:15). They plotted to kill Jesus because they beleived that Jesus was a blasphemer based on their interpretation of the Bible.

The Scriptures tell us to test the spirits (1 John 4:1). Not everyone who claims to be speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit is speaking through the influence of the Holy Spirit. Many are speaking through the influence of Satan. Satan is always trying to distract us from Jesus and direct us to something else. He may even lead us to believe that what he directs us to is truly godly--just as he did to the Pharisees who wanted to do God a favor by putting Jesus to death.

Jesus said that the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit both can't stop talking about Jesus (John 5). If you read Camping's pamphlets and books on the second coming of Jesus you will find surprisingly little about Jesus. The same is true with many groups that claim to be spirit-led. Camping strings together a number of mathematical formulas and then tries to explain away passages which say pretty clearly that no man knows the day or the hour--not even the Son (at least according to His human nature while on earth (Matt. 24:36). Camping apparentley believes that His understanding of the Scriptures is greater than Jesus' understanding of the Scriptures. This is not the first time that Harold Camping has contradicted some pretty clear words of Scripture. The Scriptures tell us not to forsake the assembly of believers as we see the day approaching(Hebrews 10:25) but Harold Camp;ing says that we must leave the church because "the day" means the end of the church age. There is no clear teaching about an end of the church age in the Scriptures but Camping has his strange mathematical formulas to calculate when it ended. Camping even teaches that only those who believe that his May 21 rapture date is true will actually be raptured. In the Scriptures salvation is received through faith in Christ alone, not faith in Harold Camping's math skills.
The church is the means through which God has chosen to bring the forgiveness of sins. The church is the means through which God has chosen to bring Jesus to people. I pray that Harold Camping will be brought to repentance and will see that the Bible is all about Jesus. I pray that others will take this opportunity to examine how they read the Bible as well because there are lots of antichristian ways to read and understand the Scriptures.

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