Harold Camping demonstrated without any doubt (in case anyone still happens to think he might have some validity) that he is a false prophet. Deuteronomy 18:22 is very clear about how to detect a false prophet. It says, “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” There is no doubt that Camping claimed to speak for the Lord, predicted the rapture (which didn’t happen as he predicted), and thus, no one should pay any attention to him. His brazen claim to predict the date of the rapture is also in direct conflict with Jesus’ statement regarding the apocalypse in Matthew 24:36 where He said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” If even Jesus in His incarnation didn’t know the timing of the Lord’s return, why would Harold Camping think he was capable of determining the day and time of that event?
And now that he has been proven wrong, he has done exactly as I expected—he has come up with another bizarre explanation that May 21st was an “invisible judgment day” and that the physical judgment day for the world will be October 21st. The question is, what will he say if judgment day does not occur on October 21st as he has predicted? Let me predict now that if such is the case, he will once again come up with some cockeyed explanation and a new date for the Lord’s return. And I will also predict that there will still be a few idiots out there who will believe him.
But I think the issue that bothers me the most about this whole disheartening incident is the unabated ridicule that has been directed toward anyone who believes that Christ will one day return physically and rapture His church, followed by a period of tribulation of a like which the world has never seen. Camping’s fraudulent date-setting has opened the gates for talk-show hosts, news anchors, journalists, and even our next door neighbors to heap scorn and disdain on anyone who would proclaim the truth of Scripture regarding Christ’s return. As I listened to a radio talk show host scoffing and trash-talking anyone who would believe Camping, he sounded exactly like those who the apostle Peter described in 2 Peter 3:3-4 where he said, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’” Had Camping taught the truth of the Scriptures rather than violating Scripture by engaging in setting dates, the scoffers would still be there, but not the extreme intensity that we now see.
The only positive thing which Camping’s actions have accomplished is that his true colors have now been revealed to a much greater percentage of true Christians. I cannot count how many times through the years I have been approached by believers with questions about Camping’s teaching, and I had to explain to them why he is a false teacher. They often replied, “But he sounds so convincing.” Many of those people left, saying they appreciated my explanation, but I could tell they had doubts about what I told them and were still wondering if there was a possibility that Camping was a legitimate Bible teacher. But now Camping himself has removed any doubts in the minds of most Christians about who and what he is. Now if we can just get back to watching for our Lord’s imminent return as we should—by simply believing and proclaiming, “Perhaps today!”