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Last Blog? and 21 May 11

Mr. Harold Camping of Family Radio has predicted that Jesus Christ will be returning on 21 May 11.  If he is right, this will be my last blog.  If he is not right, Lord willing, I will write another one next Sunday. 
I personally met Mr. Camping in November 1976 - and at that time he told me that he knew when Christ would be coming back.  When I asked him when that would be, he said that he should not tell me.  I wish that he would have kept that same attitude. 
    There are several problems with Camping's predictions:
1.) 
He places himself on the same level as God the Father.  Christ Himself said "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."  (Mark 13:32)
2.)  He place numerology  (the study of numbers) above the study of scriptures.  He somehow has arrived that the tribulation began on 21 May 88 and will end on 21 May 11, 23 years after it began.  Another example is that after the resurrection Jesus went to Lake Galilee and had Peter and John catch 153 large fish.  According to Camping the 153 fish represents all those who will be saved at the final in gathering.  The number 153 is 3 x 3 x 17.  Three times three equals God's absolute purpose.  He does not explain what 17 means:  http://fsiforms.familyradio.org/dbqf/forum_042109a.html
The real meaning of 153 is that it is a exact historical record that it happened, rather than a "once upon a time" story.  It is not a prediction of the future as Camping teaches.
3.)  He places too much emphasis on the study of the last things.  Instead of emphasizing that Christ will come, his emphasis is on the exact dates - 21 May 88 the tribulation started, and the tribulation will last 23 years, thus the return of Christ is 21 May 11.
4.)   When he is wrong, he confuses people.  Much of what he says is true - you have to believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior.  But then when he mixes in predictions that are false, people will begin to question what is really true.  He predicted in 1992 that
Armageddon would occur on 04 September 1994.  It did not occur.  So if he is wrong on that date, and he may be wrong on the 21st of May, then what about his claim about the necessity of believing in Christ?
5.)  Instead of focusing on how we should live, we focus too much on the peripheral subjects, like the future.  Instead of focusing on "Are you ready to meet Jesus Christ?" he focuses on the exact date of when Christ will return.  It is more important is to emphasize that He will return.  How do you explain to people you were wrong twice in a row?
    So let us look eagerly for the return of Christ - whenever that is - 21 May - next Saturday, or the following year, or the next decade, or even later.
                    


Re: Last Blog? and 21 May 11

Hi Mr. Palmer,

     My name is Donald Austin. I would assume that you might know me from attending the OVCRC many years ago. Probably more than 17 years ago. If you dont remember me from then, then I would assume that you remembered me from leaving the information regarding Judgment Day. You may very well have heard about May 21, 2011 before I left that information. That I do not know. I was reminded of the OVCRC just today when someone posted a comment to me on Facebook. I remembered that you had a blog page and thought to myself that i would check it out and see what, if anything, was said about May 21, 2011. I guess it doesnt do any good to argue with you because there is no way that I will change your mind, but I would like to respond to just some of the things that you have said if you dont mind.

You say that Mr. Camping places himself on the same level as God the Father. Dont you mean God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? They are all the same to my knowledge. I would understand how your statement could be somewhat true depending on a few things. Number one, you quote Mark 13:32. In that verse it says "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." May I ask you who you think the "Son" in that verse refers to? Jesus Christ is eternal God and He never stopped being God. I am just curious as to your response. Secondly, if God did indeed want us to know when the end was, would Mr Camping still be placing himself at the level of God? Is it true that God has warned the true believers prior to the destruction of the flood of Noah's day and of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day's of Lot? Why would He not warn us now at the very end? Could it not be possible that God wrote the Bible in such a way as to let us know when He will return when that time comes? I have listened to Mr Camping for about a year now and he is very faithful to the Bible. You also state the he uses numerology to come up with May 21, 2011. That is NOT true. You would have to do a little reading to find that out, but he actually came up with that date according to the timeline of history. The proofs that he uses came after the timeline was discovered. Those do involve numbers, but he didnt arrive at the date mathmatically. This is a very detailed topic and there is no way that i am smart enough to explain it all. I could show you where you could read about it, but my guess is you wouldnt be interested. Just thought i would kindly offer though. You also say that he places too much emphasis on the study of the last days. Now that may be the most surprising thing that you said. Please explain to me how that is wrong. We should all be longing for Christ's return. Greatly so. I just dont understand a comment like that that you made so Ill leave it with that. You also state that when he is wrong he confuses people. Now I know what the Christian Reformed denomination believes and so I dont know how what you say would be possible. You all believe in election. The elect of God cannot be pulled from His hand, can they? After all, God saves. God enables us to do the good that we do. We cannot take credit for anything good at all. That being said, I just dont see how you can make or believe your statement. You might think that I am a hypercalvinist, as i have heard that phrase thrown around from time to time. Im not sure exactly what that means, but Im sure its meaning is subjective. (You may even think that i am something far worse) But when speaking of confusion you must have to recognize the state of the churches today. Now that is confusion. There are a great number of denominations out there. They all, or most, claim to use the Bible as their source of truth. Yet they teach different doctrines. Some of the doctrines are completely different, even on key issues such as salvation. How is that possible? There is only ONE truth. the Bible is not ambiguous. The conclusion that you would have to draw is that most of the churches are wrong in their theology. When people see this, isnt this confusion? When they see women being ordained as ministers, isnt that confusing? I list this as an example because didnt the Christian Reformed denomination vote that it is ok for women to be pastors of churches. I could be very wrong on this, but I thought that i did read that on one of the Christian Reformed websites. Either way, are not the churches confusing people? When I speak of the church I speak of the Corporate Church, not the body of true believers. Are not the Joel Osteens of the world God's judgment on those that sit under him?

Now you probably think that I am crazy for even responding to your post because May 21, 2011 came and went with no great earthquake or rapture. Those things did not happen, but I cannot say that May 21, 2011 was not a significant date. Mr Camping also taught that the world would end on October 21, 2011 if you looked at the tract that i gave to you all. I am still convinced that we are living very close to the end of time. I, for one, am looking forward to the Kingdom of God. I want it to come. Just look around you. Look at the world today. I think that it is noble to want to know when Christ is coming back. You were in the Navy. You must have been deployed from time to time. Im sure that when you were that your family wanted to know when you were coming back. Im sure they wanted to know the very day you were coming back. Why? Because they love you. If we love God, why would we not want to know the day that He comes back. I do want to know. Is that wrong?

Sincerely,

Don

 

Re: Last Blog? and 21 May 11

Don,
   I remember you and your parents very well. 
Let me say the following in response to your response:

1.)  You write: “You say that Mr. Camping places himself on the same level as God the Father. Don’t you mean God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? They are all the same to my knowledge.”
My response: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are not all the same.  In theology there is a term called “Divine Economy.”  What this means is that while God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all God, yet they have different tasks.  For example, God the Father so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son (John 3:16).  Thus, God the Son came to the earth to die for our sins.  God the Father did the loving, but He did not come to the earth to die.  And after Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, God the Father and God the Son sent the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter.  God the Father is in heaven, and God the Son is at His right side interceding for us.  So God the Son has a different task (intercessor) than God the Holy Spirit who is our Comforter and who is teaching us how to pray.  In the Athanasian Creed, it states the equality of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit: “The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Spirit uncreate, The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.”  Then it goes on to show how Christ came to the earth.
    So when God the Son says in Mark 13:32 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father,” this does not deny the divinity of God the Son.  It is just that the Son does not know.  Remember that the Son obeys the Father.  Thus, at the Mount of Olives He prays “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”  (Luke 22:42).  So the Son is clearly submitting to the Father.

2.)  You write “Secondly, if God did indeed want us to know when the end was, would Mr Camping still be placing himself at the level of God?”
The answer is yes because God the Son clearly stated that the "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."  If God the Son did not know, if the angels do not know, how is it that Mr. Camping knows?  God has certainly said that Christ is coming back, and that we should be prepared, but that does not mean that we should try to predict a specific date.

3.)       You write: “I have listened to Mr Camping for about a year now and he is very faithful to the Bible.”
    My response: Mr. Camping is incredibly smart and knows the Bible exceptionally well.  However, his interpretation of the Bible is often suspect.  For example, Mr. Camping takes Mt. 13:13 “This is why I speak to them in parables” and Mk 4:34 “He did not say anything to them without using a parable.”  He then applies these verses to the whole Bible, and the results are quite far fetched.  An example of this is when I was with him he gave this interpretation of the miracle of the axe head found in II Kings 6:1-7.  The story is a simple one. While a prophet is cutting down the tree, the axe head flew off and it fell into the Jordan River.  Elisha throws a stick into the water and the axe head rises to the surface and the prophet plucks it out. It is a remarkable miracle as iron does not float, and how a stick can make the iron float, is not known.  But Mr. Camping, while accepting the historical reality, also makes this clearly historical account into a parable.  This is contrary to all the other parables of Jesus.  When Jesus taught his parables, He used common events, but these events were not to be taken literally. For example, the parable of five wise and five foolish virgins in Mt. 25:1-13.  He was explaining from common happenings that we should “keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”  Thus, Jesus was saying to keep watch.  It is not that he had actually witnessed a marriage ceremony with five foolish and five wise virgins. 
    But Mr. Camping takes a clearly historical account and then adds a parable to it.  Thus, we are the axe head.  Our sins will cause us to go to the bottom of the pit.  Christ is the stick because he died on a tree.  When Christ was put into the water (death), then we are raised from the dead to life.  That was his interpretation that he told me.  So while he accepted the historical story, his interpretation is not faithful to the scriptures - it is preposterous.

4.)  You write: “You also say that he places too much emphasis on the study of the last days. Now that may be the most surprising thing that you said.  Please explain to me how that is wrong.”
    My response: It is wrong to place so much emphasis on the Last Days as the Bible places very little emphasis on the Last Days, and certainly the Bible never discusses the times, except for statements like “you do not know the day or the hour” (Mt. 25:13).
    In the book of Acts, there is nothing about knowing the last days.  In Acts 17:31 we read that “For He [God the Father] has set a day when He [God the Son] will judge the world with justice by the Man [God the Son] He [God the Father] has appointed.”  Thus out of 28 chapters in the book of Acts, there is one verse about the Second Coming, and it was only about judgement, not about when.  In the book of Romans, there are a smattering of verses about our being with Christ in future glory, but there is nothing about the time of the Second Coming.  I Corinthians chapter 15 deals with the Resurrection in the Last Days.  But once again, it was only one chapter out of fifteen, and it is about the certainty of the resurrection, NOT about a specific time.  And the vast majority of the chapter is about Christ being raised, not about us being raised.  In thirteen chapters of II Corinthians there is nothing on the Second Coming of Christ.  In the six chapters of Galatians and the six chapters of Ephesians there is nothing on the Second Coming of Christ.  So when Mr. Camping puts up billboards everywhere claiming to know the exact time of the Second Coming, he is placing undue emphasis on what the Bible does not preach.  The Bible explains how we must live today.

5.)  You write: “But when speaking of confusion you must have to recognize the state of the churches today. Now that is confusion. There are a great number of denominations out there. They all, or most, claim to use the Bible as their source of truth. Yet they teach different doctrines. Some of the doctrines are completely different, even on key issues such as salvation. How is that possible? There is only ONE truth. the Bible is not ambiguous. The conclusion that you would have to draw is that most of the churches are wrong in their theology. When people see this, isnt this confusion?”
    My response: While there are many churches and many denominations out there, there is a general unity of belief.  The Christian churches can all say:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
    the Maker of heaven and earth,
    and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
    born of the virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
    and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
    from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
    the holy catholic church;
    the communion of saints;
    the forgiveness of sins;
    the resurrection of the body;
    and the life everlasting.
Amen.
    I have worshipped in Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Presbyterian, Puritan, Reformed, Methodists, Baptist, Church of the Nazarene, Assembly of God, Congregational, Episcopalian and Anglican, Lutheran, and independent churches.  All these Christian churches believe in the Apostles Creed.  Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses and Christian Scientist are not true churches and thus do not say or believe in the Apostles Creed.  But with the true churches there is no confusion.
    While there is only one truth and only one Bible, there are various interpretations due to the fact that we are humans.  Mr. Camping believes that he has all the answers, and in that he is wrong.  He has made mistakes in the past - 21 May 11 has come and gone.  Yet he refuses to acknowledge that his interpretation of the Scriptures is in error.  He is the one confusing Christians because he claims that his way is the only way and Christians should not go to church.  When you do not go to church, you are no longer placing yourself under the discipline of the church, and that allows cults to grow - strong personalities get in the way of beliefs.

6.)  You say: “Mr Camping also taught that the world would end on October 21, 2011.”
    I say: Mr Camping is clearly wrong in predicting the end of the world.  Christ tells us frequently to watch for the end of the world, but never tells us that we would know when, let alone the exact date.
Mt. 24:36 “No one knows about the day or hour, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Mt. 24:42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day the Lord will come.”:
Mark 13:32-33, 35. "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard!  Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. . .Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back-whether in the evening , or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.”
Luke 12:40 “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
    Mr. Camping has placed himself over the Scriptures.  The Scriptures says no one knows the day or the hour, Mr. Camping says he definitely knows exactly when.

In summary, Mr. Camping has become pig-headed and stubborn.  His own church disciplined him, and he refused to listen to them and has set up his own personality driven gathering.  He tells his believers to withdraw from the church and gather around his radio station and listen to him.  He refuses to say that he was wrong about 1994 when he said that there would be judgment day on 21 May 1994, and then again on 07 September 1994.  He refuses to say that he was wrong about 21 May 11.  He refuses to say he is wrong about a series of natural and man-made disasters that are to occur between 21 May and 21 October.  If 21 October 11 comes and goes, will he admit that he is wrong?  I doubt it, because he does not listen to any one. 
    He denies that there is a hell.  He denies that the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper should be practiced. However, St. Paul wrote that “Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”  While Christians dispute on how often it should be done, (Roman Catholics daily, Lutherans weekly, some Reformed monthly or other Reformed quarterly), all agree that the Lord’s Supper should be celebrated.  But Mr. Camping says it should not be celebrated.  There is a great unity among Christians that it should be.  Only Camping says no.  It reminds me of the old joke on the Fourth of July parade where a proud mother exclaims: “Look at my son John.  Everyone is out of step except him!”
    So instead of spending $100 million dollars on specifying exactly when Christ would return, it would have been far better to expend that money on proving the necessity of believing in Jesus Christ.

Re: Last Blog? and 21 May 11

Hi Mr. Palmer,

     Thank you for your reply. I agree with some of your first point. I was not completely accurate in my statement. What I meant to say, but was not clear enough, was that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all eternal God. I was not clear in that they do indeed have different tasks. The trinity, in my observation, is just not possible for us to fully comprehend with our minds. How They are all God, yet separate is not totally comprehendible. At this point, I cannot agree however with your explanation of Mark 13:32. Jesus is God. How is it possible that He could not know? That just doesn’t make sense. In Mark 13:32 when Jesus speaks of the Son, could He be referring to the son of perdition? The son of perdition is Satan and Satan, obviously, would not know when Jesus would return. Could this verse be a trap verse? Could this verse be in the Bible to see if we really believe that Jesus is eternal God?
     In regards to your second point, The answer has to be no. The answer could only be yes if your explanation of Mark 13:32 is correct. My question to you was, if God "wanted" us to know, would Mr Camping be placing himself on the same level as God?  "If" God indeed "wants" us to know, then the answer could only be no. I do understand your position on Mark 13:32, however your answer could only be right if your explanation of Mark 13:32 is correct.
     In regards to your 3rd point, I have not heard Mr. Camping say that. It does, however, sound like something that he would say. I would need far more time to think about this before I could comment on it.
     In regards to your 4th point, I would have to say that I disagree with you very strongly. I don’t want to come across as rude by saying that, but I just want to emphasize that I cannot agree with what you said at all. The Bible says a lot about the end times. I will list just some of these, but it is by no means a complete list. Matthew 22:1-14, Matthew 24, Matthew 25, Mark 13, Luke 12:35-48, Luke 12:54-59, Luke 14:15-24, Luke 17:20-37, Luke 21:5-38, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, 2 Peter 3:1-13, Revelation. Now I am pretty certain that this is not an exhaustive list regarding the New Testament and I didn’t even list any from the Old Testament and there are quite a good number of scriptures in the Old Testament that deal with the end times. Just look at what God says in 2 Peter 3:12 "as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming". And in 2 Peter 3:13 "But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness". I just don’t see how we can overemphasize something that we should be looking forward to.
     In regards to your 5th point, I do not think that all churches that claim to be Christian believe in the Apostles Creed. That may be true, but I would doubt it. Irregardless of that, you state that with the true churches there is no confusion. You then go on to list a number of churches that you have worshipped in. Many of these churches do not agree on what the Bible says. Some of these churches, like the Roman Catholic Church, are in absolute violation of God's command in Revelation 22:18-19. God is very clear that we are not to add to or take away from the Bible. Yet the Roman Catholic Church adds books to the Bible like: Tobit, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Sirach, and Baruch. These books are written by man, not God therefore they should NOT be in the Bible. Many of these churches believe in a works-grace gospel. But God is clear that there is nothing that man can do to get himself saved. Why did God say that on the Sabbath we are to do no work? Because God is showing us that there is nothing that we can do to get ourselves saved. Take a look at Numbers 15:32-36. There God says, "While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the Lord said to Moses, 'The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.' So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses." All this man was doing was gathering up wood, yet God said to put him to death. This may seem like a harsh punishment for such a seemingly minor offense. But it indeed was NOT a minor offense because God uses this scripture to be very clear that it is God that does ALL of the work regarding salvation. ONLY God saves. God chooses us. We do not choose Him. Choosing God is a work. Faith is a work. Believing is a work. And NO works can save us. This is why that man had to be put to death. From beginning to end the Bible is very clear that God predestined His elect before the foundations of the world were set into place. Yet churches like the Free Will Baptists believe that we choose God. And they are not the only ones that believe that form the list of churches that you have attended. A works-grace gospel is sin. The Bible is clear that homosexuality is sin. The Bible is clear that women are not to be pastors of churches. Yet many of the churches that you named allow women and people who claim to be homosexual to be pastors of their churches. How can they do this and still claim to be faithful to the Bible? The answer is that they are not faithful to the Bible. The answer is that they do create confusion. Does the OVCRC speak out against the Christian Reformed denominations stance on women pastors, or because of self preservation do you remain silent? This is not a criticism. It is actually a question that I am curious to know the answer to since I am not sure what the OVCRC's stance on that is anymore. You state that there are various interpretations of the Bible because we are humans. That is not an acceptable explanation. We are not to approach the Bible with our own desires or ideas. We are to approach the Bible seeking God to guide us. We are to seek the truth from God alone. Mr. Camping indeed does appear to have a hard time admitting that he is wrong. I have heard him on occasion admit that he was incorrect. I admit that it is rare, but he has. But those people who point fingers at Mr. Camping also need to take a long look in the mirror and ask themselves how often they admit that they are wrong. They have to ask themselves if they are being as faithful to the Bible as they should be. There is a lot more I could say about the churches, but for the sake of time I will end it here. Maybe we can discuss more of this topic later.
     In regards to 1994, Mr. Camping was NOT at all definitive about that being the Day of Judgment. He only said that it was a strong possibility. I heard him in an interview in 1993 state just that.
     In regards to the Lord's Supper, Mr. camping only states that just partaking in it will not save you. I have never heard him say that it should not be celebrated.
     In closing, I want to say thank you again for your reply. I truly enjoy the discussion. I love talking about the Bible. It is actually the only thing that I enjoy talking about. Nothing else to me is really important. I am not saying that I do not talk about other things, but nothing compares to talking about the Bible. I only want the truth and nothing else. I did like your joke. I have never heard that before. But I am pretty sure that there are many people attending church that believe that they know the truth and that their church is the one who is correct.

Sincerely,

Don



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