Well, another prediction has failed about Christ’s second coming, which was dated to May 21, 2011. Another prophecy has been shown to be false, made by Harold Camping, a man notorious for false prophecies. As the world awakes on May 22, we need to consider the implications of this false prophesy made by this false prophet and others like him. It should, therefore, be very valuable to consider how each group of people should proceed to live lives in accordance with reality.
First and foremost, a gentle ‘I told you so!’ is in order (read this article I wrote months ago about why Christ will not come back on May 21, 2011). Second, did you know that in OT times when prophets were proven wrong they were stoned to death? Why such harshness for mere teaching? Because if one were thought to speak for God and later proven wrong, he would be seen as a heretic of the highest order. The Bible communicates that teachers will be judged harshly because they have the capability to lead people astray from the truth.
While it is no longer a cultural and theistic mandate to stone false prophets, those who believed in Camping’s claims need to be more skeptical of the claims being made, and instead of blindly following someone with the audacity to be so arrogant in his claims, it is far wiser to test those claims against the biblical text. In this instance, were those to check Camping’s claims and how he arrived at them, they would quite easily see that he was twisting the biblical text to communicate something it was not intended to communicate. He was taking the Bible out of context.
Many of you were compelled by Camping to sell your possessions, your property and to make a grand hoopla in order to spread the message of the judgment day and the second coming of Christ. While I will not make assumptions regarding Camping’s motives, I will say that quite a many people, homes and families have probably been torn apart and perhaps finding themselves in a state of disarray. Now perhaps a lesson has been learned. False teachers and false prophets will always come. Remember Christ warned us that they would be ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing.’ It is, therefore, extremely important to test the claims of not just Harold Camping, but all preachers. Consider the counter-arguments as well as the claims, but most importantly remember, Scripture is the ultimate authority, and everything must ultimately be tested against it.
To All Christians:
Those who did not fall for Camping’s false prophecies, but were unaware of the reasons for rejecting them, should also learn one important thing – read and learn the Bible! Perhaps if enough Christians knew their Bible well enough we could have averted this damaging spectacle. The lesson from all of this is to know what the Bible says, and if someone is making a claim like this to look into whether or not there is credibility by studying the claim. Remember, there are multiple counterfeits and only one truth. By being intimate with the real deal, we will know counterfeits immediately, just as those who study the real dollar bill and are able to detect a counterfeit at the drop of a hat.
The events of the past few months have no doubt fueled the skepticism that was already in place for some people. And while it would now be even more difficult to break through that skepticism, I would implore skeptics of Christianity to avoid judging the claims of Christianity by what some of its false advertisers have claimed.
Rejecting Christianity is the God-given right of every person. But rejecting Christianity needs to be done by proving its main tenets wrong, not by disproving claims that are made by people who do not speak for the Bible or Christianity’s core beliefs, whether it is about judgment day or any other topic. Harold Camping being proven wrong does not speak for or against any of the claims of Christianity because the Bible does NOT communicate what he propounded as the second coming of Christ being on May 21, 2011.
Most knowledgeable Christian leaders have spoken out against Camping’s claims, and this not being his first offense of an inaccurate prophecy, it may be best to ignore him and his claims altogether. Moving forward, it is important to consider that if you feel empowered by yet another failed prediction, it should not be too satisfying at the moment, because all we’ve seen happen with Camping’s failed prediction, is find ourselves seeing yet another ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ that does not speak for the flock.
Arthur is an author, a former agnostic, and current ambassador of Jesus of Nazareth who loves to share the best of reasons for God's ultimate reality. His love and passion are helping skeptics and Christians grow in their faith and knowledge of God through accessible materials.