Since Harold Camping is once again predicting Judgment Day to arrive on a specific day (a day that even the Son does not know), I figured I’d turn on Family Radio this past Monday to see how those expecting the world to end in less than a week would spend their valuable air time.
Besides playing a lot of music, they had a vignette on how to help your children to stop focusing on the needs of today and instead look further into the future at bigger things like college and career, and they even had a radio appeal for more financial donors to help keep the radio station broadcasting.
I found all that to be very odd. Less than a week before the demise of the world and Family Radio is worried about finances to keep the station on the air and concerned about telling you how to get your kids to focus on their future?
Did I miss something?
And then there was the music. I don’t know about you, but if I knew that Christ was returning for His bride in less than a week, I’d be using the airways to deliver the Gospel message of repentance and faith, not playing music.
I wonder why the nonchalant approach toward such an impending day of doom. Do they not even take themselves seriously?
Could Christ return on May 21, 2011? Absolutely, for He told us to keep watch because He will indeed return. But not only did He say that no man knows the time of His return (Matthew 24:36), He also said He will come at an hour when we least expect Him (Luke 12:40).
ABC News has a piece on some Atheists who are taking this Sunday’s event more serious than Camping’s own radio station, even if it’s only to line their own pockets with the money of the gullible. Here’s a quote from the article:
Wondering about the fate of your pets after Judgment Day?
Well, for $135, a loving atheist will care for your animal if you’re not around anymore.
Eternal Earthbound Pets offers a service to rescue and take care of pets once their owners have been taken away to the heavenly realms. Though doomsayers say this Saturday will be the latest day of reckoning that’s not expected to leave animals behind either.
Bart Centre of New Hampshire, co-owner of the pet business, launched it in June 2009. He has zero belief in Judgment Day, but began to see an increase in sales inquiries in December, which, he believes, is related to Family Radio’s heavy marketing campaign around the May 21 date.
The retired retail executive said he has sold 258 contracts so far.
ABC News also has a brief piece by Calvin Lawrence Jr. (reprinted below) on past judgment days that have come and gone, including predictions by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Chuck Smith (yes, the Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapel™ franchise).
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
The Bible couldn’t be clearer, right there in the Book of Matthew: chapter 24, verse 36.
But doomsayers have sworn since at least Roman times that they’re better sourced than the angels themselves, boldly trotting out predictions down to the day for the Final Judgment, when, Christians believe, Jesus will descend to earth and set off a chain of events resulting in the end of the world and a new heaven.
May 21, 2011, is the latest attempt to get a jump on Judgment Day, courtesy of Oakland, Calif.-based Family Radio, a nonprofit evangelical Christian group. And, assuming we’re all here to follow up, it will make a nice addition on May 22 to this random list of predicted Second Comings we’ve survived so far.
1. Let’s start with Family Radio, whose president, Harold Camping, predicted the End of Days before: Sept. 6, 1994. Camping had been “thrown off a correct calculation because of some verses in Matthew 24,” a company spokesman told ABC News this month.
The Christian radio broadcaster is apparently more confident this time around, spending big bucks on 5,000 billboards, posters, fliers and digital bus displays across the country.
2. Edgar Whisenant didn’t get it right the first time, either, when he predicted a mid-September 1988 Rapture, even publishing the books “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988” and “On Borrowed Time.” No Apocalypse, no problem. The former NASA engineer simply pushed his predictions off to three subsequent years and wrote books along the way, none of which reportedly sold as well as the first two.
He died in 2001. We’re unable to confirm where he’s awaiting the big day.
3. Jehovah’s Witnesses first anticipated the end of times in 1914, now noting on their official website that “not all that was expected to happen in 1914 did happen, but it did mark the end of the Gentile Times and was a year of special significance.”
4. In the century before, renowned New England Baptist minister William Miller triggered what ultimately became known as the “great disappointment” after his failed prophesies that Christ would return sometime between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844, and then on Oct. 22, 1844.
5. More recently, Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church Los Angeles told a Trinity Broadcasting Network audience that the “most cataclysmic experience that the world has ever known since the Resurrection … is going to happen,” according to the Christian Research Institute, which is home to “Bible Answer Man.”
Hinkle said God, “in the most awesome voice,” told him that “on Thursday, June the ninth , I will rip the evil out of this world.”
You might have missed it, however, because the prophesy came to pass invisibly, he said, according to the Christian Research Institute.
6. Chuck Smith, the prolific author and senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa in California, turned to scripture and simple math to prepare his flock for the Tribulation. “If I understand Scripture correctly, Jesus taught us that the generation which sees he ‘budding of the fig tree,’ the birth of the nation Israel, will be the generation that see the Lords return,” he wrote in his book “End Times” (1978). “I believe that the generation 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981. (1948+40-7=1981).”
“I could be wrong,” he wrote in “Future Survival” (1978), “but it’s a deep conviction in my heart, and all my plans are predicated upon that belief.”
Smith was wrong and has not only abandoned his prophesying ways but since has looked askance at others who have gone down that road.
“The Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, thought the world was sure to end in 1914,” Smith wrote in his book “Dateline Earth: Countdown to Eternity” (1989). “When it didn’t happen, they merely moved the date up a few years.”
7. The prophetic-sounding year 2000 inspired too many doomsday predictions to list here. Suffice it to say that, in hindsight, there was really no need to party like it was 1999.
Chuck Smith’s advice: God will be with you while you kill your child and He won’t condemn you for it.
Voddie Baucham’s reaction to this ungodly counsel (from Facebook):
I must admit that this one made me ANGRY! I’m on the road preaching at a pro-life banquet and someone sent me this YouTube video of Chuck Smith (founder of Calvary Chapel) giving abortion advice that made me want to throw something (or someone). This woman is agonizing right now over this decision, and a pastor just told her Jesus would be alright with her killing her children. Please pray for her.
Here is a video for Nikki to help encourage her to do the right thing in her decision; and this same video is for Chuck Smith to encourage him to repent and retract his worldly, unbiblical position:
As a follow-up to Brother Michael’s previous post on Chuck Smith (found here), I’m presenting an audio clip of a critique that James White did in response to an audio clip of Chuck Smith and other Calvary Chapel speakers in which they attacked the Doctrines of Grace, equated Calvinists to cultists, and even opposed God’s sovereignty.
From his commentary on 2nd Kings 13:14-19–
Let me tell you something; people of great faith get sick. People of tremendous faith die. And it is folly to believe that sickness or death results from a lack of faith or commitment to God. Sickness and death happen to everybody. But there are always those who are trying to sell snake oil. From the days of the early prairie. The cure-all. From bunions to earaches. And there always seems to be someone offering the spiritual snake oil or the panacea or the cure-all to all of the problems that a Christian faces. And these panaceas are offered to people and they go through various stages…people are offering these cure-alls. Enough faith, you never need to be sick. Enough faith, you’ll always be prosperous. And the spiritual cure-alls that are offered. And they go for a while, but soon there are people who try it and it doesn’t work and then all of a sudden as they share their failure, they find that other people have experienced the same failures. They’ve been praising the Lord for a long time, nothing’s happening to their situation and they’ve been believing; nothing’s happened. Who really can understand the ways of God?
I will frankly confess I don’t understand the ways of God. Now don’t let that surprise you. If I stood up here and told you I understood the ways of God, then I would be a first-class liar. Any man tells you, “Well, I understand the ways of God,” he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And he is contradicting God because God said, “My ways are not your ways, my thoughts are not your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8,9). For “my ways are beyond your finding out” (Romans 11:33).
And I frankly confess I do not know the mysteries of God. I do not know why God allows certain beautiful Christians to be sick. I do not know why God allows many beautiful Christians to suffer. I do not know why many beautiful Christians are in prison in Siberia and in China and been tortured for their faith. I do not know why James was beheaded and Peter was crucified upside down. And Paul was beheaded and the early disciples all suffered martyrdom, because they believed God just as much as any of these pseudo prophets today. And if God wanted us to all be wealthy and prosperous and all, then He would have declared it plainly in the Scripture, and there would be a consistency to it within the Christian body.
It’s a tragedy the way that these doctrines have proliferated through the country. People so anxious to believe. Let me tell you something, these doctrines haven’t really had an effect upon the Siberian Christians yet. If you went up there and said, “Hey, you know, God wants you all to be prosperous and wealthy. You all ought to be driving Cadillacs up here.” And yet, because of the hardships, they have been forced to a much deeper commitment than we even dream about. Their commitment to Christ caused them the slavery that they experience in Siberia. And there are thousands of Christians enslaved in Siberia today because they dare to proclaim their faith and commitment to Jesus Christ.
I wonder just how strong the commitment would be if God began to take away some of the Cadillacs…too many people who went out on the basis on this and began to charge their Cadillacs and their caviar and all, and when the bills came due, they didn’t have enough faith to pay them.