Harold Camping’s 1994 doomsday/end of the world prediction

Here’s the video, the prediction is at the 1:00 mark.

And we all know that the world didn’t end in 1994. Camping was wrong the last time, so I don’t think we have anything to be concerned about this time, either. But there is more to say about Camping than his false predictions.

What does Jesus say?

Jesus says that no one except the Father knows when the world will end.

Mark 13:32-33:

32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.

Matthew 24:36-44:

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;

39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.

41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.

44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

That passage is in Mark and Matthew. Mark is early, and Matthew provides multiple attestation. But this passage also passes the criterion of embarrassment, because it ascribes ignorance to Jesus – something that the early church would not have made up if they were hoping to gain converts by falsely portraying Jesus as the Messiah. Therefore, it is very likely that this passage is authentic, and would be viewed as authentic even by those who are non-Christians. But Harold disagrees with Jesus – he thinks he knows the day and the hour. It seems to me that he thinks that Jesus is either lying or mistaken as quoted in this passage.

So, let’s re-cap. We know that Harold Camping seems to be in disagreement with Jesus about whether we can know the time that the world will end. Jesus says no one can know, and Harold Camping says he knows. We also know that Harold Camping made prophecies about the end of the world occurring in 1994, and his prophecies turned out to be false. That makes him a false prophet.

What does the Bible say about false prophets?

Deuteronomy 18:21-22:

21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?”

22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.

If he was wrong the first time, then we shouldn’t take him seriously this time.

Why is Harold Camping doing this?

This article from CNN Money explains how Harold Camping collects millions of dollars in donations.

Excerpt:

By now, you’ve probably heard of the religious group that’s predicting the end of the world starts this weekend.

Harold Camping and his devoted followers claim a massive earthquake will mark the second coming of Jesus, or so-called Judgment Day on Saturday, May 21, ushering in a five month period of catastrophes before the world comes to a complete end in October.

At the center of it all, Camping’s organization, Family Radio, is perfectly happy to take your money — and in fact, received $80 million in contributions between 2005 and 2009. Camping founded Family Radio, a nonprofit Christian radio network based in Oakland, Calif. with about 65 stations across the country, in 1958.

[…]According to their most recent IRS filings, Family Radio is almost entirely funded by donations, and brought in $18 million in contributions in 2009 alone.

According to those financial documents, accountants put the total worth of Family Radio (referred to as Family Stations on its official forms) at $72 million.

With those kind of financials — and controversial beliefs — it’s no wonder skeptics have accused the group of running a scam.

Camping first inaccurately predicted the world would end in 1994. Even so, he has gathered even more followers — some who have given up their homes, entire life savings and their jobs because they believe the world is ending.

I wonder how this looks to non-Christians who are trying to see what Christianity is really about? Is this what we are about?

Is Harold Camping open to being corrected?

Finally, I noticed that Camping has declined to go on the radio and discuss his ideas with Christian scholars like Dr. Michael Brown. Brown reproduces an e-mail exchange here, showing how the false prophet is not willing to debate the truth of his claims on the air. That should be a clear warning to Christians to stay away from this man. Not only is he bad for us if we believe him, but he is actually undermining the cause of Christ due to his ignorance and his lack of accountability to people like Dr. Brown who have studied these things more than he has.

UPDATE: Camping may also have problems with the Trinity, according to James White. (H/T Glenn)

3 thoughts on “Harold Camping’s 1994 doomsday/end of the world prediction”

  1. One can hope that this farce will put a final nail into the coffin of Camping’s heresy. One can also hope that the church will find in this folly opportunities to show who Christ actually is and to explain why Camping’s cult is unrelated to the Christian faith.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s