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Harold Camping, Family Radio, and Bible Prophecy
by Scott Rohter, May 2011
For the past couple of years, radio preacher Harold Camping has been teaching that Jesus Christ would be returning to Earth on May 21, 2011. On that fateful day, according to Harold, the Lord was supposed to come to rapture all of the believers, and there would be a world-wide earthquake, and all of the graves would be opened, and the bones of all of the unbelievers would be scattered upon the face of the ground for all to see, as a sign of shame and reproach! Well that day came and went, without any of these things happening!
I have been listening to Family Radio and Harold Camping for over thirty years! I don’t remember how or when Harold Camping first began teaching about May 21, 2011. When I first began listening to Family Radio, I didn’t notice anything too unusual about it. Harold wasn’t teaching anything really out of the ordinary about the end of the world, per se. That was in the 1970's. Family Radio has a wonderful library of music, and they play the most beautiful Christian music on the radio, with absolutely no commercials! Hendrick Van Dyke has recorded most of the Bible on audiotape for Family Radio, and they have continued to play his Family Bible Reading Fellowship with Hendrick Van Dyke over the years, three times a day, at 12:30 pm, 8:00 pm, and 2:00 am, without any commentary or faulty human interpretations. It is without a doubt my favorite part of the Family Radio ministry! It is something that I always look forward to, and it gives me a great deal of comfort. Whenever someone else fills in for Mr. Van Dyke, because he didn’t quite finish recording all of the Bible, it is never the same, and I usually turn the radio off! The Family Bible Reading Fellowship is Hendrick Van Dyke’s signature piece of work, and it is also Family Radio’s signature work! I wish that Mr. Van Dyke was the president and general manager of Family Radio, but alas, he is no longer alive, and he never was the president or general manager of Family Radio!
There are also other wonderful things about Family Radio that I love. It has come to be an important and valuable part of my life! I consider myself to be a loyal member of the Family Radio community! However, for many years I have also considered Mr. Camping to be off-base, out of balance, and too frequently off-message! I looked at him as a cooky, or eccentric old uncle that comes to visit every once in a while, and you just have to put up with him, out of respect and love, because he is also an important part of the Family Radio family. And I have always tried to follow my own advice over the years. But I no longer feel that way anymore!
While I never put much faith in his predictions of Jesus’ imminent return to earth on May 21, 2011, I know that there were a lot of others who did, and I had to allow for the possibility that he might have been right. But the whole point of the Scriptures has always been NOT to focus on WHEN Jesus was coming, but to love God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, and to be ready for whenever He is coming! Harold Camping has lost sight of that truth! As time went by, Harold’s teachings about the End Times have gotten more and more bizarre, and they have assumed a larger and larger part of his programs, The Open Forum, and the Family Bible Study with Harold Camping. It became clear to me that something was drastically wrong! He was seriously off-message! I thought that he was standing on the tender limbs and the leafy branches of the strong tree that he had been firmly planted on! But one day on the radio, I heard him compare himself to Noah, and on another occasion to Jonah! I thought that he was putting himself in some pretty good company! I know that it was only an analogy, however it was presumptuous and out of place. Then one day he said that if you didn’t believe that Jesus Christ was coming on May 21, 2011, that you couldn’t be saved! If you even questioned his prediction, then you couldn’t be saved! That was a clear red flag for me, that he had obviously lost his way, but I still thought that it was only the hopeful musings of an elderly man, and I tried not to be too disrespectful of him! However, it was clear that something was drastically wrong!
The Bible says to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved! It does not say to believe on the predictions of Harold Camping and you will be saved! …or to believe that Jesus Christ is coming on May 21, 2011, or even on October 21, 2011 as Harold is now teaching! These teachings were already an anathema even before May 21st came and went, without Jesus’ return to Earth at the day and the hour that Harold Camping had predicted! But this has now become far more than just the hopeful musings of an old man who has lost his way, and hopefully his position on Family Radio! He is bringing discredit not just upon himself, but upon the entire ministry of Family Radio! He has brought the attention of the whole world upon himself, not upon Family Radio and their healing ministry, or upon the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ! The whole world is watching Harold, just like they would watch the scene of a car wreck as they drive past it on the road!
The Bible states that God hates a lying tongue and false words!
Prov. 6:16-19, Prov. 12:15-23, Prov. 19:9, Rev. 21:27
The Bible teaches that the Devil is a liar from the beginning, and the father of lies.
Gen. 3:1-4, John 8:44, 1 John 2:21
Furthermore, it notes that God cannot lie, and will not lie! …especially to his children! He will not send a strong delusion to his people!
Num. 23:19, 1 Titus 1:2, 2 Thes. 2:1-17
The test of whether or not a particular teaching comes from God, depends upon whether it comes true or not, as the Bible states.
Deut. 18: 20-22.
The Bible tells us to try the spirits.
1 John 2:27, 1 John 4:1
If Harold Camping had been teaching God’s Word correctly, then whatever he was teaching would have come true! …even as Elijah commanded fire to come down from Heaven at his word, and it occurred! Harold Camping placed himself in some pretty important company, Noah, Jonah, and Elijah, but he is clearly not worthy of being there! He is clearly just another flawed human vessel like all the rest of us! But even worse! The teaching of Harold Camping lately has NOT been coming from God, because what he said did not come true! He said he just made a mistake. Well let me remind you, if he was teaching God’s Word correctly, God doesn’t make mistakes! I don’t know who put those false ideas into his head, and those false words into his mouth, but they obviously did not come from God! …or if they did, then God is sending him a strong delusion, for what purpose I do not know! 2 Thes. 2:11-12 There is no other explanation except that Harold Camping has become a false prophet! There is no other possible conclusion! Matt. 7:15, 24:4-24, 2 Peter 2:1-2
“If thou shall say in thine heart how shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet shall speak in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously… [of himself!]”
Deut. 18: 21-22 also see 1 John 2:21, 27
"A journalist has no better friend than the truth." - Scott Rohter