Warning: this is one of my "religious posts." If you're offended by that...well...maybe you should read it.
Did you know Harold Camping is mentioned in the Bible? I don't know whether he knows Jesus or not, but Jesus knew he would live and knew what Harold Camping would say.
In Matthew 24, Jesus' disciples asked Him about the end times. "How do we know when you're coming back?"
His first words were: "Watch out that no one deceives you." He goes on to list the real "signs" of the end times.
He also said: "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
Jesus had a lot more to say in answer to that question. He shared a wealth of information, but His ultimate answer was, "I don't know." Jesus didn't know when He would be coming back. He knew that He WOULD, but He didn't know When. "Before the race dies out" was one way He expressed it. So, despite all evidence to the contrary, we won't manage to destroy the planet or kill off the human race with a nuclear holocost. Good to know.
I grew up with Biblical prophecy. I remember how disappointed everyone was in the '80s when "The End" was not written across the sky. Being young, even I got caught up in it. I lost friends because of the hoopla, too. One really good one whose loss I still mourn.
I have been thinking and praying for the people who fell for Mr. Camping's confusion.
I've run afowl of Mr. Camping's doctrine before.
The year was 1990. I'd just lost a baby. My heart was broken. I turned on the radio and listened to Christian programming...and came across this preacher who sounded so knowledgeable. Then he said something crushing. He said that babies that are miscarried go to hell. Seriously, he said that. I was already suffering a horrid post-partem depression, and that one radio broadcast was almost the end of me. I cried for days until a friend showed me that the Bible actually teaches the opposite. (Age of Accountability...in case anyone is curious.) Oddly enough, a friend asked me about this teaching just the other day. I've known for years that the standard "Christian" radio teachings are...well? Wrong. The more I read my Bible, the more I realize how very frighteningly wrong these teachings are.
And why is this? I don't know...but I do know this: it IS related to the "end times."
Why? Because these horrid teachings, these fantastic failures that make Christians look like idiots...are creating the environment where Christians will be hated. How many people who should have just lost faith in Mr. Camping have instead lost their faith in God? God didn't say He was coming back last weekend...but I'm sure there are a lot of people who believe that God missed His date. I'm guessing there are a lot who now wonder if God is even real. Or coming back.
They're growing cold.
As I once cried at the cruetly of Mr. Camping's doctrine, I now cry to see the harm he has caused. He has insulted my Lord.
And this circus won't be the last. Others are going to do the same thing...and will deceive many.
I can guarantee one thing: Pick a date that someone says Christ will return -- any date. That is the day He will NOT be coming back.