JUDGEMENT DAY – Accurate Prediction or False Teaching?

Judgment Day is quickly approaching. In fact, it will be taking place on May 21, 2011. And the end of the world? That is scheduled to happen on October 21, 2011. Well, these are the predictions of Christ’s return according to Christian broadcaster, Harold Camping, and separate Bible-based Life, www.ebiblefellowship.com. Camping has received these two very important dates through what he believes is a Biblical calendar that has been hidden according to the Books of Daniel and Revelation. Camping proclaims that he has been able to accurately predict these dates through the use of the mathematical application combined with the Jewish Feast days, the lunar month calendar, the Gregorian calendar and the date of Christ’s crucifixion – which he calculates as Friday, April 1, 33 A.D. Camping is no stranger to the press; in fact, he has been covered countless times by major media outlets such as TIME Magazine, the Washington Post and even the Wall Street Journal. He continues to appeal to a large audience through his Christian Broadcast network, Family Stations, Inc., despite the inaccuracy of his first prediction of Christ’s return – which he originally believed would take place on September 6, 1994. In addition to Camping’s public prediction of The Rapture, he has now teamed up with the website www.ebiblefellowship.com to help spread the message. In a combined effort, the two ministries have started Project Jonah, an outreach designed as the “final, all-encompassing effort to reach nations with the News of Judgment Day”, according to the website. As Christians, what are we to believe when our Christian brothers and sisters proclaim to know when Judgment Day will be upon us? The Bible tells us that no one will know the day or the hour (though Camping says this is actually not true). And what about the non-believers?  What are their thoughts when they see these predictions being made, and how should believers respond to them?

Pastor Jeremy McKeen, Lead Pastor of Truth Point Church in West Palm Beach, weighs in with his thoughts on this heavy subject, stating, “The imminent return of Jesus is the great hope that every Christian has held since the time of the early church. But, I must candidly and lovingly plead to every person who will read this article to reject the proven false teachings of Mr. Harold Camping and the Ebiblefellowship website.” He went on to add, “He is a cult teacher who has abandoned the church that Jesus died for, rejected the discipline of the church and is therefore outside the faith and should be evangelized (Matt. 18:17). The Church should pray that Camping would repent of his destructive and heretical teachings and be restored in a spirit of gentleness.” McKeen also believes that everyone must be on guard against those like Camping who only seek to promote themselves and lead others astray through ‘prophetic number games’. “These folks treat the Bible like some secret code or spiritual jigsaw puzzle that can only be put together by a select few with a hundred different charts and maps. I urge everyone to forgo the complex charts and follow the ‘simplicity of devotion to Christ’. Don’t ignore biblical teachings on the end times; it is crucial to our sanctification (See 1 John 3:2-3), but don’t become obsessive about it either,” he adds.

A Message to Non-Believers
As Christians, how do we respond to our non-believing friends and/or family who might hear Camping’s predictions and who may think that all Christians are in line with his beliefs? McKeen shares his thoughts on this. “I would tell them that though I am deeply saddened, I am not surprised. And neither is Jesus. In fact, He predicted that people would make false predictions (Matt. 24:11). These false predictions are actually the predictions made by several biblical writers that we are seeing come true (Acts 20:30; 2 Peter 2:1-22; Jude 4). I would tell nonbelievers to not dismiss the claims of Christianity simply based on particular false teachers who operate under the ‘Christian label’. Just as people wouldn’t dismiss the entire medical community because of a few that may be selling counterfeit cures on the street, we shouldn’t use these types of false teachers as an excuse to reject the historical truth of the gospel,” he states. “But finally, I would stress that the Bible teaches plainly that this present world, as we know it, will end when Jesus Christ returns physically and publicly to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim. 4:1). The Bible is clear in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 that those who do not personally know Christ will suffer conscious eternal punishment away from the presence of God and all that is good because of their sins, but … there is salvation! In Luke 23:46-37, the Bible says that anyone who turns from their sin and believes in the perfect life and crucified death of Jesus on their behalf, will be forgiven by God and given the free gift of eternal life, which is the joy of knowing God now and forever.”

Famines, Pestilences and Wars…
Camping’s prediction happens to come at a time when our world is becoming increasingly troubled and turbulent. Wars sprouting up in numerous areas across the globe, earthquake after earthquake hitting Japan, nuclear meltdowns and violent political revolutions have many people questioning if “the end” is nearing. Could those who aren’t well-versed and confident in God’s Word be vulnerable to false teachings and predictions? And if so, how can we offer wisdom that will bring peace into their heart? McKeen suggests that “we all study the entirety of God’s word so that we may rightly divide the word of truth and stand up against those who desire to twist it”. He states, “Many in the church are susceptible to these types of false teachers and false predictions because we often do not know our Bibles and do not know our church history. We quickly forget that in almost every generation since the time of Christ, people have been predicting that Christ would return on or around a specific date or time. So when people speak confidently about the date and time of Christ’s return, they reveal their ignorance of not only the Bible, but also church history.” “No matter what position you hold to regarding the tribulation period or millennial age, all Christians should be able to point people to the core truths of the glorious hope of Jesus’ return without succumbing to merely ‘Newspaper Exegesis or Headline Hermeneutics,'” he adds. “Lastly, I would recommend that every Christian reject the isolationist and individualistic mentality that is destroying the fabric of Christianity. Get plugged into a local church. Become a member of a Christ-centered, Bible teaching church, preferably one that holds to some historic creed of the faith and practices biblical church discipline. This will foster true spiritual growth by keeping each other accountable and will promote Christian maturity so that we might all stand firm when the latest craze picks up and a new ‘prophetic’ wind blows in through town.”

For more information on Pastor McKeen and Truth Point Church, please visit:  
www.truthpoint.org. To do your own research on Harold Camping and EbibleFellowship, visit:
www.ebiblefellowship.com or www.familyradio.com/english/connect/bio/haroldcamping_bio.html

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