The Expository Files

And Then There Is This!

I was driving somewhere out of town last year and saw this huge, colorful billboard that said: THE DAY OF JUDGMENT, Saturday, May 21, 2011. My first thought was, “here we go again.”

Not long after that I saw a van near where we live with the same announcement. It was professionally painted – The Day of Judgment, Saturday, May 21, 2011.

Because of my belief that God has not given us the date; that this will happen in His time, and it will occur as a “thief in the night,” I dismissed immediately the warning (though I do want to be ready every day.)

Then I started getting emails from people who used to listen to our radio program and who visit our website. A few EF readers mentioned it, yet seemed to not take it seriously. The news media gave a little attention to it.

Now we know the world didn’t end! Here’s some background: The man who came up with this is Harold Camping. The 89 year old founder of a religious radio network who actually made the news several years ago. He said the year 1994 would be the end of the world. So, two miscalculations belong on his resume. And now he has said, he didn’t do the math right. It will actually be Oct. 21 (this year)!

[Camping’s formula is completely arbitrary and without any objective basis. He starts with Apr. 1, 33 A.D., which he claims was the day of the crucifixion. Then he multiplies “three holy numbers” – 5,10 & 17 – together twice. He then took the resulting sum of 722,500 and reasoned that the world would end that many days after April 1, 33 A.D. So now (after carrying the “1” or something to get a better answer) – Oct. 21, 2011.]

Camping combines misinterpretation of prophetic scripture, very weak numerology, his claims of knowing how ancient calendars contain codes – to come to his conclusion about May 21st and now the “revised version,” of Oct. 21. He had many followers and considerable financial backing. Not so much today. But who knows what kind of following he will “regenerate” before the fall.

It gives us opportunity to emphasize these biblical statements: Matt. 24:36 – “no one knows.” Acts 1:7 – “it is not for us to know.” And then there is this:

1But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
11Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. -1 Thess. 5:1-11

By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
From Expository Files 18.6; June 2011