What a long, strange trip it has been...
Now I am just finishing setting up part one of a drastic network overhaul, which means the blog gets short shrift. If your comments were not answered or the post was not to your satisfaction I regret to say that my responsibilities to my God, family, employees, students and friends come before blogging.
Back in days past, there have been people who have gone so far as to put on white robes and stand on rooftops, so certain were they that God was ending the world and taking them up out of the way at the same time. Now couldn't God supply the white robes? How come you had to be on the rooftops, did God need help? Giving Him a boost?!
There is always another preacher who has applied a sophisticated and completely cryptic (usually) formula by which the end of the world is forecast. Hal Lindsey sold a lot of books this way. Harold Camping is just another in a long line of goofballs who do not know their scripture well enough to read the part about there will be no more added to the book and that a prophet of God is always 100% right or he is no prophet at all?
Once when I was in seminary I ran into a couple of guys who were buying big expensive house on balloon loans. They would have small payments for 15 years and then suddenly be on the hook for one huge payment! It is a good thing for someone who is working on improving his credit and expects to refinance at a better rate before that 15 years is done. But these guys were SO SURE the world had to end and "Jesus would come back" in 1988 that they just planned on living in the homes for a few years and then skip out up to heaven. Nice motivation for preacher boys, eh? But the world didn't end in 1988 and it isn't ending on this coming weekend, either. Maybe they were looking for a Ring Dang Doo instead of truth?
Before there was aerobics, there was dancing. Just so you know. Used to be that we would do the Philly and the Jerk and the Twist and the (well, the girls would do the Pony, not guys) all sorts of other stuff and dance for a few hours. Then Disco came and then, well, now we have Pop Tarts and Gangsta so that I am almost ready to switch to Country music! Me, a rocker from back before Long John and the Silver Men changed their name! Christian music doesn't have much rock music anymore and neither does secular music. You have to search through indie stuff and although a Muse or a Killers shows up now and then, there is more boring and slutty and stupid and very little RAWK anymore. Sad. Not that Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs were all that good, they were just kind of a fun dancin' club band with a short string of radio hits.
The founding of this current nation of Israel really doesn't have a lot to do with Biblical prophecy and Jesus explicitly told everyone that "No man knows the day or the hour" so where do all these guys get off giving people days and hours? It is pure ignorance on their part and/or a dependence on the ignorance of their audience. Sad, pathetic state of Christianity these days is that probably the majority of Christians have not read their Bibles through even one time! I'm sorry, I usually install computer stuff without reading the whole install document because I know computer stuff, but the Bible isn't an install manual it is a representation of the Living God in written form. It is INFORMATION from the Ultimate Intellect! Just in case you did not know, information is the transmission of intelligence and it doesn't have a material source. God invented information and intellect and life and time and space and existence, you do realize that, right?
Oh well. This is where Darwinist commenters go off the tracks. No matter. My plan for my group of teens and hopefully for the entire youth group and other groups in my church is that we all read through the Old Testament in one year's time. I chopped up the Old Testament into 282 bite sizes and then set up a reading program in a generally chronological way rather than book by book. Thus you have Job coming after Genesis and the first prophets turning up in the Kings and Chronicles area. I gave us 83 days off to catch up when behind or do something else. It is 9 pages to print out but it is doable if we just remember to take a few minutes to be disciplined enough to save time for the Bible.
Old Testament?! Why? I mean, most of the doctrines of Christianity and patterns for living are found in the New Testament, right? Well...no. Jesus Christ referred to the Old Testament constantly and so did the New Testament writers. The Old Testament not only contains history and wisdom and knowledge, it is part of the Word of God and He has things to say to us in that part of the Bible. So if you have been one of those New Testament plus maybe a Psalms or Proverbs type of readers? Think about getting your Christian head on straight by knowing enough about the Word of God to actually understand it! Otherwise, you are in danger of falling prey to Monkey See, Monkey Do!
For instance, when commenters were griping about God hardening Pharaoh's heart, they didn't know the Bible so they didn't understand the situation very well. When Abraham formed his tribe he was in fact like a king. Kings in those times presided over thousands rather than hundreds of thousands. The Children of Israel were a pretty big bunch of folks by the time Egypt was a certifiable power in the region. An enslaved son of Israel by the name of Joseph wound up interpreting the dreams of a Pharaoh to the point that Joseph was put in charge of the kingdom while that Pharaoh was alive! Joseph knew a famine was coming and prepared Egypt to survive it as well as providing a new home for all of his fellow Hebrews. If you didn't read ALL of Genesis you would not know that the Hebrews saved Egyptian butt and how wrong it was that there came a Pharaoh that had turned them into slaves and was killing their baby boys off at birth. In fact Moses was a Hebrew baby that was tossed into the Nile like that Pharaoh ordered, only protected in a boat and watched over by his sister, Miriam. When the daughter of Pharaoh found a baby in a little boat stuck in the reeds, she decided to adopt him and Miriam wisely suggested that a Hebrew nurse be found for the little guy. It just so happened that Mose's Mom got to raise him AND get paid for it!
Anyway, Pharaoh was killing the Children of Israel and mistreating them long before Moses came back to lead the Hebrews away. The Exodus Pharaoh should have let them go. He should have acknowledged God's miracles and repented before the plagues became personally deadly. In the end, the same God who used Joseph to save and help build the might Egypt then used Moses to save the Jews and wipe out Pharaoh's prized charioteers by the miraculous opening and then violent closing of the Red Sea.
Bitter, angry atheopaths usually do not have pleasant lives under this Sun and you can be certain it gets worse under the SON!!!
In any event, tomorrow sometime I will post my Old Testament reading schedule. It won't be exactly chronological because I hate slicing books into multiple little pieces and it makes it easier to follow along when you don't have to jump around all over the place to read the Bible. Where I deviate from the order of books as published or intersperse portions of books it is for good chronological reasons. I hope some of you will join me in reading the Old Testament through in a year's time. Then some of what is written in the New Testament will have more meaning to you and you'll understand things you didn't even notice previously and hopefully you will not go CAMPING without a tent or a clue like the bonehead so eloquently exposed by Al Mohler:
Harold Camping is now warning the world that the Day of Judgment will begin at about 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, 2011. The 89-year-old founder of Family Radio has made such pronouncements before, most recently in 1994. He now says that he simply miscalculated then, but he is absolutely certain that he has the right calculation now. You have been warned.
Actually, millions of people in America have been warned through Camping’s radio program and by means of the more than 1,200 billboards his ministry has put up across the nation. According to press reports, Family Radio has put up 2,000 billboards in other nations, as well.
Camping is no stranger to controversy, but this one has caught national and international attention. He was wrong before, but this time he is absolutely certain that he is right. As he told New York magazine:
“God has given sooo much information in the Bible about this, and so many proofs, and so many signs, that we know it is absolutely going to happen without any question at all. There’s nothing in the Bible that God has ever prophesied — there’s many things that he prophesied would happen and they always have happened — but there’s nothing in the Bible that holds a candle to the amount of information to this tremendous truth of the end of the world. I would be absolutely in rebellion against God if I thought anything other than it is absolutely going to happen without any question.”
If you know the Bible and this statement confuses you, you are in good company. Harold Camping believes that God has revealed to him the exact dates of biblical events and the timeline of the judgment. He says that God revealed some “exquisite proof” that enabled him to determine a “finished product” timeline that ends on May 21, this coming Saturday.
As Michael S. Rosenwald of The Washington Post explains, Camping “says he came up with the very precise date of May 21 through a mathematical calculation that would probably crash Google’s computers.” Further, Camping’s mathematical formula “involves, among other things, the dates of floods, the signals of numbers in the Bible, multiplication, addition and subtraction thereof.” As many have noted, the math seems to make sense only to Harold Camping.
Yet, in a strange way, this just serves to affirm Camping in his teaching. On his website he states:
However, it was not until a very few years ago that the accurate knowledge of the entire timeline of history was revealed to true believers by God from the Bible. This timeline extends all the way to the end of time. During these past several years God has been revealing a great many truths, which have been completely hidden in the Bible until this time when we are so near the end of the world.
These “true believers” turn out to be Harold Camping and his disciples. Others, even professing Christians, will be in big trouble when Saturday comes, he believes.
The Christian church has seen this kind of false teaching before. William Miller and his Adventist followers (known, surely enough, as Millerites) believed that Christ would return on March 21, 1844. In the 1970s, popular Christian preachers and writers predicted that Christ would return on various dates now long in the past. All this is embarrassing enough, but now we have the teachings of Harold Camping to deal with. Given the public controversy, many people are wondering how Christians should think about his claims.
First, Christ specifically admonished his disciples not to claim such knowledge. In Acts 1:7, Jesus said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” In Matthew 24:36, Christ taught similarly: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
To state the case plainly, these two verses explicitly forbid Christians to claim the knowledge of such dates and times. Jesus clearly taught that the Father has not revealed such dates and timing, but has reserved that knowledge for himself. It is an act of incredible presumptuousness to claim that a human knows such a date, or has determined God’s timing by any means.
Second, the Bible does not contain hidden codes that we are to find and decipher. The Bible has been given to us in order that we might know the truth, and the truth is clearly revealed in its pages. We are not to look for hidden patterns of words, numbers, dates, or anything else. The Bible’s message is plain and requires no mathematical computation for its understanding. The claim that one has found a hidden code or system in the Bible is an insult to the Bible as the Word of God.
Third, Christians are indeed to be looking for Christ to return and seeking to be found faithful when Christ comes. We are not to draw a line in history and set a date, but we are to be about the Father’s business, sharing the Gospel and living faithful Christian lives. We are not to sit on rooftops like the Millerites, waiting for Christ’s return. We are to be busy doing what Christ has commanded us to do.
In Hebrews 9:28, we are taught that Christ will come a second time “to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” That is the faithful Christian response to the New Testament teachings about Christ’s coming. The church is not to be arrogantly setting dates, but instead to be eagerly waiting for him. Of that we can be truly certain.
I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AlbertMohler
Michael S. Rosenwald, “This Time, It’s for Real, Believers Say: Doomsday Coming This Month,” The Washington Post, Thursday, May 5, 2011.
“A Conversation with Harold Camping, Prophesier of Judgment Day,” New York Magazine, Wednesday, May 11, 2011.