A Letter to Harold Camping and Those Who Expected Judgment Day

[Note: Many thanks to those who have shared this letter.  Thanks to Ed, Dillon, Collin, and others who've posted links so far.  Please consider connecting with me on Facebook or Twitter, and please see the UPDATE at the end.]

When people say, “It’s not the end of the world,” they usually mean those words to be comforting.  Yet those words will not be comforting to you.  Not today.  That the Day of the Lord did not arrive when you had expected it to arrive will be a source of profound disappointment, of embarrassment, and perhaps — now or in the days to come — of disillusionment with your faith.

Harold Camping

You were wrong.  Let’s face that fact.  You were confidently wrong.  You believed with all the fervency of a hopeful heart, a heart that longed to see God and longed to see the day when suffering would cease and justice would reign and the truth of God would be made known.  When people mocked you for what you believed, you thought to yourself, Just wait and you’ll see.  Today I will be thought a fool for Christ; tomorrow the world will see that we were right.

Harold Camping, the 89-year-old founder of the Family Radio Network, used his broadcast empire, two thousand billboards and a flood of tracts and posters to warn the world that Judgment Day would arrive on May 21. He expected earthquakes that would spread across the world; two percent of the world’s population would be raptured to heaven while the rest would be left behind for tribulations.  You believed it.  You kept in prayer throughout the day, you shared important words with your loved ones, and you waited eagerly for the news you were sure would come.  Yet the earth never shook.  This day was just like so many other Saturdays before it.  The sun rose, the sun fell, and the world kept turning.

Now, some of you may be wondering: What happened?  Did God change his mind?  What if Mr Camping was just a day or two off?  Perhaps the Gregorian calendar has not been perfectly kept, or perhaps Christ was crucified a day later than Mr Camping had suspected, and so perhaps we have not yet reached 722,500 days since Golgotha?  If you’re asking yourself these things, this letter is not for you — yet.  But I hope you’ll bear it in mind and return when you’re ready.  Because, my brother, my sister, I think we’ll all still be here a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.

This letter is more for those who are wondering: How did this happen?  Why was I deceived?  Why did God allow me, when I sought the truth in prayer, to believe this and go into the cities and distribute flyers and tell my loved ones that they should prepare for the Day of Judgment?  How do I face the mockers now?  And how do I know that my faith as a whole is not a falsehood as well?  When I once went about with my youth group or college group or small group and proclaimed the gospel, and told people earnestly that Christ had died for them and that they should receive God’s gracious offer before the end — was believing that and pronouncing that any different than believing and pronouncing that May 21st was Judgment Day?  What if it’s all just a silly story, and I’m a fool to believe it?

Tonight the Rapture Parties will go on.  The atheists will gloat, the mockers will mock.  Yet there’s nothing funny about this for you.  You are broken and crestfallen, left abandoned in the ruins of unfulfilled expectations, among them the very highest expectations a human can have — the hope of union with God, the hope of a world made new, the hope that every tear will be wiped away.  You are left disoriented.  You were so sure of this.  People you love and respect — perhaps your parents, your pastor, your mentor, your brother and sister — may have believed it too.  You do not feel relieved that the end of the world did not arrive.  You are not rid of this world yet, so all of its weight fell back upon your shoulders.

So let’s reflect on this together.  First, what can be affirmed? What were you right to feel and to believe?

  1. Your heart was in the right place. This may sound like a minor matter, or it may sound like condescension, but I assure you it’s not.  This is a rare and exceedingly important thing.  It’s perfectly right to yearn for the day of Christ’s return.  It’s right to desire with all of your heart that you could be with God right now.  ”Better is one day in your courts,” writes the Psalmist (84:10), “than thousands elsewhere.”  You longed to be in those courts together with the saints.  It is a good thing to thirst for God and to look forward to the day when God’s truth and grace and justice will be made known to all humankind.  I believe that desire is precious to God.
  2. You were right to believe that God will, one day, gather his children unto himself and draw history as we know it to a close. The most persuasive falsehoods are always the ones that contain the greatest proportion of the truth.  Although only a very small slice of the Christian community believed that Judgment Day was arriving on May 21st, the vast majority of the church around the globe and throughout its history has believed that Christ would come again to bring judgment and restoration, and ultimately the beginning of a new age of peace and justice.  We should always live as though Christ’s return is imminent.  Today is always the day of salvation.
  3. You were right to spread the warning.  It’s important to say this, because the Harold Camping prophecy and the movement he mobilized will be used by the skeptical press to make Christians in general look silly.  Yet given what you believed was coming, it would have been irresponsible and unloving in the extreme if you had chosen not to spread the news as broadly as possible.  Some will jeer at the billboards that were rented and the literature that was distributed.  Given your sincere belief that the end was near, sounding the alarm was the only loving option.

Second, what can be learned? What might you learn from this experience?  I would suggest, in humility, five things:

  1. Our faith is not placed in a person or in a prediction, but in the good news of Jesus Christ. The fashionably skeptical will be eager to tell you that you are wrong about your faith in Jesus just as you were wrong about the arrival of Judgment Day.  Yet these things are worlds apart.  The core of the gospel message has stood strong for two thousand years.  It is communicated plainly in the scriptures and has undergone extraordinary scrutiny historically, philosophically, theologically and in every other way — and it has survived and thrived and spread and it is preached throughout the church all over the world.  The belief that Judgment Day would arrive on May 21st was held by only a vanishingly small minority for a very small period of time; it was not revealed (at least not plainly so) in the scriptures themselves and most Christians did not think it stood up to scrutiny.  Further, charismatic people come and go, and some propose new ideas and exciting interpretations of God’s Word.  Yet our confidence in them should never be equal to our confidence in Christ.  People and predictions come and go, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.
  2. No one knows when the end will come–so we must always be ready. Jesus tells us specifically (Mark 13:32) that no one knows when the end will come.  Mr Camping had ways of explaining that passage away, but I think we can agree that he should have taken that passage at face value.  It’s one thing to interpret the times.  It’s another to set dates on the basis of obscure mathematical formulae.  To be sure, there are many mysteries in our faith.  But that which can be known, and that which must be known, God has made known to us quite clearly.  God does not conceal important truths in esoteric codes so that only the ultra-enlightened can figure them out.  We do not know when the end will come — and this means that we must always live as though it will come tomorrow, and today is the last today to make things right with God and with God’s children.
  3. We should remember the difference between scripture and an interpretation of scripture. The Christian scriptures did not say that May 21st would be Judgment Day.  Harold Camping’s prediction was based on an interpretation of the scriptures that used some obscure tools and methods.  An interpretation of the scripture does not have the same force as what the scripture says so plainly that no interpretation is required.  So what was disproven in this case is not the scripture itself — not remotely — but an interpretation.
  4. We should always beware the power of charismatic leaders and groupthink to sway our beliefs. I do not believe that Harold Camping is a crackpot or a cult leader, though some will construe him as such.  I believe that he got caught up in a particular way of looking at the scriptures, and was eventually surrounded by people who believed likewise.  I would guess it probably gave him a sense of extraordinary insight and excitement to believe that he could find hidden truths in the scripture that others could not.  He should have been humbler.  But his followers should also have been more critical, quicker to test him, and less quick to explain away the inconsistencies.  They also should have listened to the gentle criticisms and encouragements they received from fellow believers who did not accept the May 21st prophecy.  In any case, I will soon be writing a series on this blog on why we believe the things we believe, and I hope you’ll subscribe and follow along.
  5. Finally, we should never believe that we’ve got God figured out. God always confounds our expectations.  Sometimes we have to die to one way of thinking about God in order to come alive to a new one.  And yet soon, even that new way of thinking about God may become an idol as we begin to think that this new way of thinking about God has God figured out, has God in a box.  If some of you find that “your faith” is crumbling as the reality dawns that you believed in a falsehood, let me suggest to you, gently, that any faith that capsizes when Judgment Day fails to arrive is not a proper faith to begin with.  If your faith is shattered here, then your faith was not in God but in a particular way of thinking about God and God’s plans.  There’s a very important difference between the two.

When you want to believe something, and someone you respect tells you to believe something, and everyone around you also believes and wants to believe the same thing, those are extraordinarily powerful forces.  I wish that you had not believed in the May 21st prediction, because I fear that it damaged the credibility of Christians in the eyes of some.  But I see no reason now to belabor that point.  Rather, I hope you have grace with yourselves.  Those forces operate not only in religious groups.  They operate in political movements, activist groups, even in enclaves within scientific communities.  In fact, when your friendly neighborhood atheist mocks you for what you believed, you can point him or her to scientific evidence that atheists in general are more gullible.

And you know what?  God has a way of using even our mistakes.  Perhaps your expectation of the imminent return of Christ helped you assess your life, remember what’s important, reconcile with your brother or your sister, take refuge in God’s gracious provision for sin in the work of Jesus Christ, and pray with great fervency that you have lived a life worthy of the gospel.  If you did all these things, then perhaps you should not regret that you were wrong about the whence.

UPDATE: The response to this letter has been heartening.  Among the critical responses, however, about half have said that I should have been harder on Harold Camping himself.  Honestly, the letter was written for those who followed Camping’s teachings, but I added “Harold Camping and…” into the title at the last moment.  (You’ll note the letter never really addresses him.)  That said, I think the commenters have a point.  The consequences of Camping’s false teaching have been, for many families, devastating.  Fellow believers need, lovingly but firmly, to encourage him to confess his error, seek forgiveness, and seek most of all to make amends.  To the extent that he is able to use his resources to help families recover from the wreckage his teaching has wrought, I hope and pray that he will.  In any case, there will be a time to call for accountability from Harold Camping.  It seemed to me, however, and still does seem to me, that now is a time rather to reach out lovingly to those who were misled by him.

I have a few other comments in this most recent post, as well.

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • Jodie Sargent

    THANK YOU so much forn this!!!!!

  • http://wordsofwayne.blogspot.com Wayne in Woodstock

    Great message, Timothy. I am forwarding it on to many people, believers and non. I would make one correction: Camping was basing the year on 7,000 years after the flood (an even more perilous calculation), not the crucifixion. As for the exact day, that math has remained a secret known only to Rev. Camping.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Wayne, I did see reference to the Flood-based calculation, but my impression was that this came second. What came first — I believe, though I could be wrong about this — was his calculation that May 21 was 722,500 days from the crucifixion (and that long number is a multiple of certain sacred numbers). You can do a search on the number and see some pieces referring to it.

      Anyway, you still may be right. Thanks for the note.

      • http://wordsofwayne.blogspot.com Wayne in Woodstock

        Yes, after I wrote I found your reference as well, so they are both out there. I’m ready to let the whole thing go. God is still God, and we are still not.

  • http://blackwiremarketing.com Greg

    By far, this is the most fair, loving, sensible, kind and accurate assessment to this issue I have found. Great job.

  • http://kathydecosmo.blogspot.com Kathleen Decosmo

    This is beautifully and thoughtfully written! I am subscribing to your Blog to follow along with the series you plan to write concerning today’s Blog.

    I have also written a Post today: May 21st 2011, My Response to Harold Camping : http://bit.ly/May21MyRsvp

    God Bless
    Kathleen Decosmo

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks, Kathleen, I’ll check that out. -Tim

  • http://www.yahwehyeshua.com JamesJust

    This is strange…666 can be decoded in Hebrew to predict the following;

    Camping – Two – False – Ending = 666 in Hebrew

    The Method is shown in this video, weird…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lB4rzR6rHMU

  • http://jmsmith.org JM

    Thank you for expressing this as well. Here is my own attempt to do so: http://jmsmith.org/blog/harold-camping

    I’m hoping more Christians will respond similarly to those who are most hurting as a result of all this. Thank you for doing so.

  • http://moedoc.com/ Muhammad

    mean but true my friend. shame feel sorry for the poor dude, he tries to do good but all he going to get is mass mockery.

  • john foster

    Harold Camping was not wrong. His goal was to scare people into giving him their money. He knew the world would not end but he also needed to set a specific date in order to get people to send money faster. He’s laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Andrew

    Wow, excellent article, thank you!!

  • shawn

    Just so sad so much money was spent on nothing…As Christians, even if they felt led to spend millions on “spreading the word”, If I felt led by God to do something for the world, so much good could have been done with that money!! They spent millions to promote stupidity…Sad.

  • http://excellentmeetings.com Scott

    “No one knows when the end will come–so we must always be ready.” – How true! It still could happen today – but if it did Camping would spend eternity saying, “Told you so.” Something tells me God will not allow that kind of arrogance in heaven.

  • Brian Elder

    I appreciate your response and your points are well thought out. My problem with all this is that this is not the first time Mr. Camping has done this. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. People may have good intentions and they may even learned from this experience but past lessons should have raised the red flag of caution. We are warned of false teachers and are called to be good Bereans of the word.

  • http://thecoinwash.blogspot.com/ Josephine

    Thank you. In the midst of all the hype and propaganda, your words are comforting and refreshing to read. I’m the daughter of parents who have been caught up in this May 21st deception and convinced of Harold Camping’s interpretations of scripture. For years, it has been a heavy topic of contention, causing a great divide in our family dynamic in which we once shared a common understanding of the Bible and who Jesus is. The danger of deception is all too real and I know with this date passing, it is not the end. I pray that starting today, my parents and all those who have followed Harold Camping will begin to look at the Bible without the filter of past misinterpretations–that they’d be able to examine God’s Word anew.

  • Rodney

    Jeeeez. You still just don’t get it, do you?

  • tsk tsk

    What more will it take to get you morons to realize that men will lie to make money & acquire power (Harold Camping) and that the entire book that you all worship is little more than an ancient Harry Potter novel?

  • Diginess

    You know, you put people up to running around the country in RVs with messages all over them. Every time you are wrong about something like that, you lose credibility. About now, you have none. That’s important to remember next time you decide to open your mouth.
    On your opinion of gays (I’m a monogamous heterosexual) also shows you to be ignorant as well. A person’s attributes in that area are grounded in biology, and if something gets messed up in their genetics, they could easily be all kinds of mixed up in any of many ways. So your opinion of God’s view on homosexuals is basically that God says “I screwed up, now you take care of it. I created a faulty product. I’m a screw-up.” Since that’s your view of God, it shows that you don’t trust your assumed creator in the way you say you do. You’re a hypocrite and an idiot.

  • Bob A

    Beautiful, beautiful letter

  • Patrick

    good job on this article. compassionate.

  • http://TIMOTHYDALRYMLPE-PATHOOS PATRICIA MULLINS

    A BEAUTIFUL BLOG. IT TOUCHED MY HEART. THANK YOU TIM.

  • LovinGodNLife

    I agree so much with you! I did not believe we would go anywhere, and only God knows when we will! I feel very sorry for what all the followers are about to go through. I also fear The Devil, will use this to gather more of Gods Christians, and turn a lot of them away from God. A part of me feels Mr.Camping didn’t even believe it himself, he spent part of his money on this whole thing, but not all! Shame on him, he should be leading people to God, not to bankruptcy! How many people left their jobs, homes, and family, and used all the money they had? Its sad. Thanks for this letter! I like your look at this! I will also take this view of things. Bless you, and Family.

  • Gabesmom

    God bless you for your compassion!

  • http://www.ourchurch.com.member/b/blessedforever8 Elaine Brown

    Thank You so much for this lovely Word of God! Amen! the truth stands AMEN!

  • Leah

    Well said. Thank you. What a great lesson for us all!!

  • Sean

    Beautifully written but there is one thing very wrong with this letter. God is not real. The bible was written by humans without divine intervention. Using references from the bible to disprove a delusional doomsday prediction is like trying fighting magic with magic.

    It was very wrong of these 5/21 people to believe this. Denying yourself of logic when it comes to your entire existence is foolish. How can you trust a silly old man when the earth is constantly being studies by the worlds most brilliant minds. May 21st believers should be ashamed however they should use that shame to motivate themselves to live a more normal healthy life.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I’m happy to talk about reasons to believe or disbelieve in the existence of God. I’ve spent a large portion of my life studying them. But that was not the purpose of this post.

  • http://MSN Humberto

    This is not the first nor the last time that someone with its missinterpretation of the word to take God’s position to announce biblical events. Through history we had seen many taking part of this. As a Christian I will not take too seriously this kind of prediction, neither I will fall to doubt and being nervous about it. If you are really in a true and sincere connection with the Holy Spirit, then you will wait paciently until God decides that is his time.

  • Katie Oates

    Very, very nice

  • CLava

    It’s going on 6:30pm in western Canada, Me and my family and seven billion other people are still here. But this couldn’t possibly mean that God doesn’t exist! What would give anybody that idea?

  • Michael

    Well it’s 6:30 pm May 21, 2011 and the end of time has past us by..Maybe you should focus your energy on what is written in the Bible and save yourself before the real second coming of Christ..

    Radio waves may have adjusted your thought pattern.

    • jessica

      amen! from what i understand, NO ONE knows when the second coming will happen, “he will come like a thief in the night” which to me says, we won’t know when. This guy scared people into making things right with their loved ones or repenting of their sins, just to be ruptured, in my opinion, we should always be ready for the second coming, because for all we know, it could happen at any time.

  • Satan

    You are an idiot.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      If Satan thought well of me, I’d be concerned. :-)

      -Tim

      • LovinGodNLife

        I have to subscribe to your blog now! I cant believe you let a comment like this come through the filter! I guess it goes to show, you even welcome the real idiots to come and comment also. I loved the blog! I think your not an idiot, you have a heart, even for those who believed in a fool. Thanks again for writing this! ~ Andrea

  • David

    Harold Camping may be wrong about the end of world for good and the exact date for it. However, he is not completely in error. The world is coming to an end of sorts – it will soon be so completely transformed that we may not be able to recognize it. The Christ is soon to return the world openly, not to destroy it, but inaugurate a whole new age – where justice and egalitarianism prevail. See http://www.christmaitreya.org for more info. Harold Camping may have the last laugh afterall (but he will still be on earth when he does).

    • Wendy

      You would just be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire with that link of yours dave

  • http://www.mayrayinthecity.blogspot.com Meredith

    I have not seen seen any atheists speak out about this rapture business, but plenty of Christians weighed-in and attempted to call out the crazy. I don’t like that you attempt to console a group of well-meaning people, and then mock atheists. Is that really necessary? All of the atheists I have met are quite well-meaning as well.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I have seen quite a few atheists speaking out about the subject. My intention was merely to say that beliefs in things like the paranormal, alien abductions, astrology, or a May 21st Judgment Day are spread across the religious and the irreligious.

  • Al Radzik

    Dear Mr. Camping,
    I have tuned into your show sporadically over the last 25 years. You say some very good things and you seem sincere in your beliefs but the biggest misktake of all was to put yourself before God and make false predictions TWICE! First in 1994 and now on this day May 21, 2011. If you actually believed today was Judgement Day, I hope you are not disappointed to the point of being so stressed out that your fragile old body may give way before the night is done. I eagerly await your explanation of why you were wrong, DO me a favor: Don’t pull the math card out this time. You’d better come up with a good reason AND return the money to your followers or you might find yourself in the company of Judas Iscariot having a “hot” home cooked meal with Satan.

  • mw

    god is a made up fairy tale

    • Rick

      You are very wrong my friend. I used to think the same. I am not some idiot either. I have an IQ of 140 + . But I know no matter what I say, I will not be able to help you understand. Just know that despite your unbelief, Jesus loves you. Jesus is a historical fact. He has been tried to be explained away. But we can see in Psalm 22 that Jesus’ crucifixion is written about BEFORE CRUCIFIXION WAS A METHOD OF EXECUTION. No my friend. God is not a fairy tale. He is just not understood by the lost.

    • LovinGodNLife

      Yes this is smart, and one day, it will be the real Judgement Day, and then when your face to face with, God Almighty, what will you say? “I do believe, I do Believe”? Those who deny him here on Earth, will be the ones who will be denied into Heaven…

  • http://purposeandnow.com Mark

    How duplicitous can you be?

    “You were right to spread the warning” – even though it was in direct contradiction to scripture? Someone is right to reinvent, reinterpret and even dismiss God’s Word? Really?

    Your thesis is as confused as Harold Camping’s theology. He is a cult figure trying to invent his own religion by predicting the End Times. You are coming across as loving, compassionate and forgiving, which is fantastic, but for directly opposing concerns. Praise those who speak and live by the Truth, not those who will make up their own truth, nor those who foolishly support false teachings. Comfort and pray for Harold Camping and those who follow him, but for the right reasons. Believers who are ready for the second coming does not mean we need or even want it now. It means we are ready.

    Please, leave to God what belongs to God.

  • Ray Clark

    This is why Jesus built A Church upon the Apostles, and principally upon Kephas, the Rock, Peter and the successors of the Apostles, of which Pope Benedict XVI is primus inter parus.

  • Aaron Polk

    you have very intelligent beliefs on god and religion, it was refreshing to read something similar to my own thoughts…

    that aside im just looking for a response from the man himself on the net have yet to find it??? anyone?

  • http://www.body-mindandspirit.com David H-T

    Thanks, Tim, a very respectful, polite, considered reply. Along with the New Republic piece, a great balance to all our own self-serving smugness. Here’s my take on the subject, “The Rapture, the Wizard of Oz, and Our Eternal Home”: http://www.body-mindandspirit.com/2011/05/rapture-wizard-of-oz-and-our-eternal.html

  • Linda King

    This letter was extremely gracious and gentle and, hopefully, those who were deceived will read the last paragraph if they don’t read anything else and will go forward, attempting to be ready for WHENEVER He comes for us.

  • Erkki

    Timothy, my brother, thank you for writing this article.

    How loving and kind of you, and your words are a mighty reflection of our Lord, His character, and His love. I only hope those involved in Mr. Camping’s teachings might actually get this in front of them as I know a message like this will bring them in a time when they no doubt will be very vulnerable. Let’s pray for this. I can only imagine how crushed they must feel. I know from past experience in something similar myself, that such an experience as they are going through will tempt them to deny their faith entirely. Your words will definitely be cool water for them and will bring healing to their brokenness. And what seems like a terrible experience God can turn into a mighty milestone in our life. It’s in brokenness that it seems we are often most able to embrace grace.

    Thank you, brother. I wholeheartedly applaud your loving efforts. Peace be with you.

    My Best,

    Erkki

  • Chris

    Really? You link to a wall street journal opinion columnist who is stating polls as scientific evidence?

    Right up until you started showing your true colors by going after the atheists in that paragraph before the last this whole thing was genuinely compassionate. Way to kill that.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I wanted to point to one source that dealt with several of the studies that have shown this over the years. The most decisive is the What Americans Really Believe data. I’ve spoken with Rodney Stark, the sociologist behind it. When it comes to what large numbers of people believe, the only evidence we have comes from the social sciences.

      My point was not that atheists are foolish. My point was that believing in false narratives — even things other people find silly, be it the paranormal, alien abductions, astrology, or a Judgment Day dated by biblical codes and mathematical formulae — is not solely the province of the religious.

  • George

    Dr.D,
    Every word you wrote – though I’m sure carefully chosen and deeply contemplated, drilled into you by some combination of exposure to fundamental Christianity as a child and then through much study, philosophical thought, debate with confreres and fervent but very loving efforts to stand up to atheists and those of other beliefs (like Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, etc)- is piffle. You’re wasting what appears to be quite a capable brain on useless nonsense. Go learn how to mediate a divorce settlement, or build a bridge, or serve at a soup kitchen or grow good tomatoes. Find something useful to do.

  • http://www.ladyyoly.com L ady Yoly

    Harold Camping what your excuse now???

  • Whale Chowder

    Orrr…you could recognize that the difference between most Christians’ interpretation of First Century Just So Stories and Camping is a mere matter of degree and maybe think your way out of the box you’ve put yourselves in.

  • Glenn Rutland

    Thanks, Tim. God blessed you with these thoughts that those who are suffering right now might be blessed, those who are sincerely wondering what to think might yet believe and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, and those who do not know Jesus Christ might yet realize that the end, their end, could come at any moment. God Bless You.

  • http://www.singingchaplain.com Rev. Christopher P. Adams, The Singing Chaplain

    Bro. Tim,

    This is a letter that should be read by all. The Bible “God’s Word” needs to be continually read by all. If Jesus was truly taken at, by, and for His word by Rev. Camping and all who believed this false prophecy, then this day would not have happened. But despite all this entailed, we rejoice in the greatest truth “Jesus is Lord!” Amen!

  • http://www.pauljenkins.tv Paul Jenkins

    Great, reasoned response. I, too, feel like this is a great time for us to show compassion to those who were deceived. “So, now what?” http://pauljenkins.tv/blog/so-now-what-or-the-post-rapture-post/

  • Jack Pattison

    Tim gave a very good reply. My Camping is right about the coming judgement, he is wrong about the date. If we live according to the will of God, we have nothing to worry about whether Christ comes in the next microsecond or millennium.

  • Sharon

    Very gracious, very hopeful, good work!

  • Doreen

    What a beautiful letter. Tonight, I have to admit, I was truly finding myself believing in Jesus returning today. I do not feel embarrassed or ashamed of that fact. The truth is I know one day it will happen and I am trying now, more than ever before to live my life accordingly. Something good did come out of all of this. It changed my relationship with God and I hope that it was a wake up call for many others. There is nothing to be ashamed of and I hope Harold Camping and his followers come to that realization as well. God bless you all and thank you for making me a better Christian this week. I will love more strongly and give more often and most of all I will yearn for a more personal relationship with God everyday I have left on this Earth however long that may be.

  • Mike

    I found your post via twitter. Excellent response! I’ll be making a point to read more of your posts. Thank you for putting together such a well thought out, insightful, helpful and gracious post.

  • http://alexspeaks.com Alex Humphrey

    Thank you Tim. I will be sharing this. This is such a great response to the pain that so many are going through right now.

  • Joel

    I’m not religious, but thank you for writing this. Although a lot of people are just plain mocking right now, I don’t really see what’s so funny about people selling off their possessions to finance a fraud like Camping. People are swindled out of their hard earned money all the time and the absolute worst scam artists are those who manipulate people through their faith or beliefs.

    • lisa

      no one made them do any thing.

      • LovinGodNLife

        Lisa your right no one made them do anything. But believing in something,can make one more susceptible to scams, and even if they did it free will, they would not have done it if they had not had their hearts and minds brained washed, and what Camp did was wrong, Scam artist come in many different forms, he came through radio, billboards, campers, vans, picketers, news, Church, internet, the man belongs in jail, a lot of people lost everything because of his false promises! These people are victims.

      • David N Moore

        I have compassion for the people who were unfortunate enough to dedicate their careers to Enron, or those who bought into subprime mortgages.

        Plenty of hucksters our there of every ilk. Very sad.

      • http://redemptionjunkie.blogspot.com HeidiRenee

        when you have a distorted view of authority that influences your view of God it is very easy to be influenced by those in power. the first thing you learn in this kind of belief system is not to question the men in authority. the will to please god is so profound – and you are taught that it makes god happy when you are subservient to them. that all of creation order falls into place when you do. it is not as simple as it seems. all of their faith and their eternity is wrapped up in obedience. questions are not an option.

    • Gil

      These people dug their own graves. They chose to follow a man rather than follow Christ. They chose to be gullible but failing to realize that what the Bible says and what Harold Camping says the Bible says are two totally different things. What is it about “no one know the day or the hour” that Harold Camping didn’t understand. False prophets abound in this day and age because fools just swallow whatever false teachings come out of their mouth, hook, line, and sinker, as if a man can have God totally figured out. It’s time to stop following what a man says the Bible says and simple believe what the Bible says. Harold Camping is not God, nor is He the Messiah.

      • Rachel

        Unfortunately, this is often human nature. If times are hard, you find something comforting to cling to. It could be as simple as telling yourself “tomorrow will be better” or “in the long run, these trials don’t matter.” But when someone says, “But, look! You don’t need to worry about these things, because everything ends at this specific time and beyond that, everything is wonderful for you,” some will cling to that. And no amount of reasoned, rational discourse will sway them once they do.

        Imagine yourself — regardless of political leaning — in a room surrounded by those of opposing political views. And they’re all trying to convince you that your views are wrong. Some are doing so politely, with reasonable discourse. Others may be doing so rather vitriolically, deriding you as a fool for believing what you do. But you’re unlikely to be swayed; even as they can’t understand why what they see as self-evident isn’t so plain to you, you still cling to your own beliefs. Those who are clinging to a belief that’s all that they seem to take comfort in… well, they’ll cling even harder in that same situation.

        These days, we live in a world where people often prefer to stick to their individual comfort zones. We read or watch our preferred news sources — liberal or conservative — and often stick to the places that agree with our views. We shouldn’t be surprised that these people preferred to listen to their fellow believers over those who said “Stop, wait, think about this.”

        In the end, mankind is fallible. We all make mistakes: some big, some small. The true measure of a person’s greatness is how forgiving and understanding they can be.

        (For the record, I’m not mainstream Christian; I’m a member of the Society of Friends, often called ‘Quakers.’ But I like to think compassion and understanding are universal traits… or at least, that’s the ideal to strive for.)

      • Nick

        We still have to be compassionate. Humanity dug its own grave, followed what Satan says yet Jesus still came and dug us out. We have to replicate that grace for others too. Don’t be so damning of these poor people.

    • Manny

      So, why not go the whole way and instead of just saying “Harold Camping fooled me, I must not trust him anymore”, say that about any religion. Yeah, stop having faith in Camping, but why keep having faith in the other swindlers and scammers (i.e. Churches)

  • anne

    A reply much needed. For all of us feeling smug about the non-event, there are many feeling embarrassed, hurt, humiliated, devastated and wondering how to go on from here. Thank you for reminding us to think of them with compassion.

  • Randy Pence

    Tim,

    Your gentleness astounds me. especially in these days of pointing fingers and calling names! As a Presbyterian minister for the past 32 years, I hunger for this type of caring for others, and pray that I portray the concern for others that you so elegantly show in this piece. The nation needs more thoughtful-and thought provoking-thinkers such as yourself. Thank you for such an excellent epistle to those who may now be hurting, as well as those who are just waiting to capitalize on that hurt!

  • Rochelle

    This is a great letter, thank you for your sincerity and truth, instead of mocking and blaming. And now we should pray for Mr. camping and his followers. GOD will get the glory from this, I am sure!

  • http://www.caringhandsministries.com Ann Fleming

    An excellent response and one we would all do well to use as a pattern. We have all every one of us who has known Christ for at least 6 months and can be honest with ourselves made at least one error in our understanding – perhaps not so dramatic or public. The only human who has ever been perfect is the Lord Jesus Christ. The rest of us are still growing, still learning and still limited to finite human strength and understanding. None of us is in a position to throw stones or mockery at these or any other wounded brothers or sisters.

  • http://gordonjohannes.blogspot.com/ Gordon J.

    Thank you, Dr. Dalrymple, for this very well written piece. I couldn’t have said it better…

  • Annalyn

    Thank you for the Letter Tim. You were kind, yes, but there are a few things that must be pointed out.
    Mr. Camping does not represent all Christians in the world.

    Despite his failed prediction – I do not question my faith, the gospel, and even my own belief that – yes – that day will arrive, but Mr. Camping LED people to believe it so much that they sacrificed everything they had and had worked hard for – not out of FAITH – but rather FEAR.
    The God I know and love is all knowing, all loving, and no man is capable of knowing when the rapture will occur.

    Mr. Camping is just a man and we are all children of God.

  • Monika D.

    Dear Timothy,

    What a truly eloquent letter you have composed. I too, have the same sentiments towards Harold Camping, and wish him well. I believe he lost his way on the path of rightousness and became obsessed with the timing of the rapture, rather than the event itself. But our almighty God will forgive him. Mr. Camping did indeed have pure intentions in his heart and was doing what he thought was right, trying to save countless souls from damnation. I hope the public will soon forget and not try to crucify Mr. Camping. He does not deserve that. Those who claim to believe in the scriptures should have known better than to heed the words of a mere mortal man. In my case, I did not believe the rapture would occur today, but I do belive it will happen in my lifetime. The season is upon us. As for those who gave away or lost everything in expectation of the rapture, why would you even worry about material goods and assets? I, for one, could care less about what would happen to my belongings and savings once I was gone. What was the point of quitting jobs and selling homes? All of that nonsense would have been resolved by those who were left behind anyway. Learn from your foolishness people! Mr. Camping please do not let this destroy you, pray for forgiveness and focus on what the Bible says, and stop trying to second guess God! My prayers are with you.

    • Thom J.

      God may forgive Camping, but what of those, his followers, who are now jobless, homeless, penniless? Will Camping now divide the wealth he as obtained through his ministry between those whose lives he has destroyed? I think not. False prophets abound. A wise person will pray to God, but row toward shore.

  • http://benspens.tumblr.com Ben

    Hope you don’t mind me putting a link to your letter on my blog. Really appreciated your effort to comfort and encourage the people involved, and even try to understand how Mr. Camping’s had gone wrong. We all sin and make mistakes, but I liked how you gave them credit for living what they believed by trying to warn people. I am a little skeptical and feel this may have been a publicity stunt or something, but they seemed to at least put their money where their mouth was. Thanks for being one of the first to offer a gentle rebuke and a helping hand of encouragement.

    • LovinGodNLife

      Yeah Ben, his followers did put money where their moths were, they sent him life savings for his cause, and they quite jobs to follow him, some moved across the Country, some painted their vans and campers for him, you know what he did? He gave half his life savings up… Half, that may be a lot to you and me, but he has MILLIONS!!!! Almost all of it he got from his first scam back in 94, he spent 2tho then and made Millions, his donations went to the Church, His Church where he says what he gets paid… If he really thought this was gonna happen, why didn’t he practice what he preached, he gave half, and prolly made it mack with a few more Million! No doubt he gets a big raise tomorrow… I feel so bad for all the people he scammed….

      • Allen

        Harold Camping was simply a heretic who lead thousands of people in error. If these people were scammed. then the problem here is that they simply did not search the scriptures for themselves. I know that there are difficulties in places but much of it is just straight forward. His calculations? You have got to be kidding me. Much of it was just plain unsupportable and not even related to the end times. Mr. Camping, who may have started out to be an orthodox Christian, but his arrogance lead him astray first. For thos who remain of his cult, there is ample time to repent…they are still here. Their most usefulness is to to learn the tru meaning of scripture and pass that on to people who stil search. One thing that I heard from his own lips that just rang wrong in my heart, is he was saying that you should keep begging for God’s mercy and salvation. However the NT (Paul) says “whoever calls on the name of the Lord, shall be saved”. Calls on the name….not continuously beg.

  • Sara

    Tim,
    This is a very gracious and classy response to Harold Camping’s 2nd time predicting the end – Christian worthy….
    Peace, Sara

    • oldenoughtoknowbetter

      We are followers of Christ. It does not make us classy to do the right thing….we are not judges, we are to be examples of Jesus. So be it…..

  • Lara

    Thank you for this. As the daughter of a man who completely bought into Harold Camping’s false teachings this is the most comforting thing that I’ve read so far. Our lives have been wrecked for the past 2 – 3 years. My father apologized to our family today. We are thanking Jesus for the miracle. We have hope that God will use evil for good. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • TeeChur

      Lara, many of us are praying for you and those like you who were hurt by this. So glad to hear of your father’s humble apology. God will use you and your family for His glory!

    • Donna D

      Tim, thank you for writing what so many are truly feeling today, amidst the worldwide mocking, many good and well-intentioned people have been hurt, and have hurt others. They should not be left without hope and encouragement. Lara, it is for families like yours that I prayed today. I am happy to read that healing and comfort can begin for those who have been humbled and are ashamed. I am grateful for have found this site and the reason and compassion that it brings to the discussion.

    • Anger & Compassion

      I am glad your father apologized to you. My husband has been a follower of Harold Camping and frightened our ten year old son. I know that my husband apologized to our son, but he has not yet apologized to me or any others he has “condemned”. I feel compassion and anger towards my husband for what he has put us through. I am most angry at how he frightened our son. Camping destroyed a lot of families and took life savings under false pretences. How many innocent children have been hurt by this? Camping was thrown out of his own church for false teaching, and then proceeded to condemn all churches. The damage Camping has done while amassing millions is horrifying in its scope. I feel compassion for those Camping misled, but I cannot find compassion for the megalomaniac that destroyed so many families and hurt so many innocent children.

      • Timothy Dalrymple

        “Anger & Compassion”: a sobering note. Thank you very much. Although their situations were not identical to you, you might check my latest post to this blog, where I cite a few commenters whose families were divided over Harold Camping and his teachings. My prayers are with you.

      • Anna M.

        I have researched Harold Camping, initially believing him to be a complete charlatan. But actually, he lives quite modestly and used most of what the station earned on his campaign to warn the world about May 21, 2011. I believe he sits as stunned and confused today as the rest, so my compassion extends to him.

  • Tiffany Viney-Bruggers

    Thank you. I read your post aloud to my husband, and it helped us to see that even though this man has brought such a mess in some peoples life, it will not stop those of us with a relationship with God to halt in any way. We must stay strong to our faith and those who are hurting may seek peace in remembering that before Mr. Camping, they had no date in mind and they still followed christ.

  • http://davidcalves.com David A

    Of course, you handled this well. Only one thing remains. This is not the first time Harold Camping has set a date for the return of Jesus. This is the second or third time. And this is not the only false doctrine he has championed. He has opposed the work of God’s Spirit in important texts. I’m flabbergasted that NO ONE has called him to repent or apologize for the effects of his foolish Gnosticism on those who sincerely long for the return of our Lord.

    Camping needs first to humble himself, admit his errors, and ask his supporters to forgive him. Then he needs to sit quietly under the teaching of someone more biblically sound.

    Graciousness can be applied AFTER Mr. Camping makes restitution for the damage done to all of those who followed him and to all of us who expect the immanent return of Jesus . . . but don’t set dates because Jesus warned against it.

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. But don’t be shy about admonishing a man who, in his pride, does not listen to the Holy Spirit and ignores Jesus.

    • Patrick

      If we only give graciousness after Camping makes up for his actions its not graciousness. If you earn it it’s no longer grace. Camping was misled, and unfortunately he had the resources to mislead many other people, though his intentions were good. As the letter says if you believe judgement day is coming and you don’t do anything to try to save the lost then you are unloving. Camping was using his vast resources to do just that.

      Christians hold each other accountable, true, but judgement is the Lord’s. When Judgement day does come how many false beliefs do you think you’ll find you have? Is your understanding of theology the same as it was 5 years ago? Probably not, I would hope. I must constantly reject and repent of my old broken understanding of God and the bible, and will probably have to repent of how I understand it now.

      Camping only did what we all constantly do, just on a far grander scale. He does not need to earn forgiveness, Jesus has already died to fix the hurt and suffering he caused. He is not accountable to us, only to God, and as Christians we are required to give forgiveness regardless of who we are forgiving and what they did.

      • Louise Schiefelbein

        An excellent reply; an excellent article.

    • http://johnandperla.blogspot.com John and Perla

      Mr Camping absolutely needs to repent. He definitely needs to be forgiven. Fortunately, the two go hand in hand. We’ll be praying for a heart of repentance.

  • Jon

    Thoughtful item. I was with you up to the point you said you don’t believe Camping is a crackpot. The simple fact is he is. I don’t know how to put that politely, nor do I see a reason I should ar this point; yes, it is abundantly clear that he is, that he has been for many years now, and no discussion of his latest nomsense would be complete that failed ro mention this. Hey, some folks are. He happens to be one of them. His Bible quoting doesn’t change that, and shouldn’t distract us here. His crackpot spoutings and meaningless numerology have misled well meaning people, and that is sad. He jowever is simply a guy who has found a way to make his delusions popular.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I should have said that I don’t think he’s necessarily a crackpot for believing what he believed. I’ve known a lot of sane and intelligent people who have believed similarly bizarre and unlikely things. But I suppose he may be a crackpot; I really don’t know his story well. -Tim

    • LovinGodNLife

      I feel he is not only a crackpot, but a criminal! If he really believed in all this, he would have given up all his money as he wanted everyone else to do, and send it in to him for his cause, he only put up half, but only his Bank knows how much he made off of this, like back in 94, he made millions! He only spent 2thousand back then the rest was donations! He is a man who belongs in jail, his next attempt should come from behind bars, and he should be made to stay there until he gives back all the money he stole, from the first bunch back in 94, and this whole new scam! I bet he wont give back a dime! Yeah he is a crackpot, with a lot of money!

      • Louise Schiefelbein

        He drives and old car and lives very simply. He drives an old car. He lives in a plain and simple house. He wasn’t trying to scam anyone. He is very sincere in his beliefs, wrong though they were. But you might want to start some type of fund to help the people who gave away their life savings. I’m glad you are concerned for them.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          I was just thinking about such a fund this morning, Louise. It’s an intriguing idea. -Tim

  • JJ Anderson

    I was thinking about how good of a day my family and I have had today. My husband and I got to spend some adult time without kids. We got home and we cleaned up a bit and then enjoyed some relative peace and quiet for a while. It is disappointing that the rapture has not yet happened. In the meantime I am so very grateful for the wonderful blessings that God has given me to enjoy everyday. Thank you Lord for all that You bestow upon us in Your love.

  • daveInAustin

    Harold Camping’s heart was not in the right place. If he really believed what he was saying, he could have sold his radio empire at a discount with a delivery date of June 2011 or later and used that money to spread his word. Unlike some of his followers, he has made sure that he and his family are not poor after the non-apocalypse.

  • Al

    All scoffers should read Matthew 24 and note Matthew 24:26 because Jesus himself predicted that before he returned there would be out cries to people that he was returning that were not accurate. So this inaccuracy is apparently a part of a larger prediction that is proving to be accurate in which Jesus does return like a thief in the night when we least expect it.

  • Joel

    It is people like Camping that make religion look like its full of nutters. The fact that this man can garner so many followers and make so much money off these false prophecies shows that the world is full of naivety, people need to grow up and think for themselves.

  • Mike Corsini

    Even if we could be absolutely certain of the day and hour of Christ’s return, there is no gaurantee we would live to see it. Just as no one knows the day or hour when He will return, no one knows the day or hour when we must face our mortality. Christ may/may not come during the span of our lifetime, but we will face him at the end of it. . .So let us live each moment to the fullest, for it may be our last… whether by death or Rapture! Either way, we WILL face him… When that time comes what will be the state of our faith?!…To me, that is the question!

  • http://www.defendingobama.blogspot.com Greg Metzger

    Camping is small potatoes compared to Lahaye, unfortunately. I have a piece up looking at the two.
    http://defendingobama.blogspot.com/2011/05/hageebeck-alliance-hardening.html

  • Dan

    One other positive aspect of all of this May 21 rapture talk (even if we thought how “far fetched”), is that perhaps it did give us pause to ask ourselves- “Where will I find myself the day after Christ does return?”

    • patrick

      Amen brother.That is what it did to me.Brought me closer to God so I won’t be ashamed when HE does come.Thanks

      • Adrian in NZ

        I absolutely agree. It was a good reminder that we need to be as pure as possible before God for the time when it does come. We need to be getting to know God more and more on a personal level and have no question within ourselves of being taken up by to heaven when that time comes around. For those who say ‘we are in the end times’, yes, there is some evidence of that. However, our time scale is very different to God’s. Jesus is coming back soon could be 10 days, 10 years, or 10 decades.

  • Jon

    Great reply, very mature and apologetic, however where is the outrage!!!!!!!,

    people have blown their live savings on this, kids won’t be going to college, families have lost their homes, a woman sliced her daughters throats, the christian community looked the other way while this idiot was making his predictions for the last couple of months, now you are writing little letters on how to learn from this? Maybe it’s just time to throw out the bibles or admit it’s not literal.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I hear you, Jon, regarding outrage (although I haven’t heard of a woman who sliced her daughters’ throats). But this was more intended to reach out to those who believed in Camping. -Tim

      • German reader 1

        Here it is:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Vj8-_jhFAA

        I really hope people who bought into this will learn critical thinking so that shit like this doesn’t happen again.

      • Rachel

        I think what the poster above was referring to is this news report.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Vj8-_jhFAA

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          Thanks, Rachel. I’ll check it out. -Tim

      • Mike F.

        Tim, I too commend your peaceable and considered approach, which will no doubt be a great help for the disillusioned followers of Camping in the next few weeks and months, no doubt — well done, brother!
        However, for Camping himself, as a false teacher you were too peaceable. This man is responsible for the destruction of the faith of many (no, it’s not too premature to say that), incorrectly dividing the Word of God, leading many astray, subjecting believers everywhere to mockery, and preying on vulernable people financially and spiritually. And it is not the first time he’s done it! We should not hesitate to verbally warn and admonish him as the good apostle Paul taught us (see his instructions to Timothy in particular).
        To go lightly on Camping in the name of ‘love’ is really false love. Love for the saints means we will clearly warn them about false teachers like him, in unequivocal terms.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          I do have compassion for Mr Camping, but I also think he needs to be held to account for the consequences of his false teaching. I must say, whether it is right or not, that my sense of compassion is far more for those who believed in him, though.

          There will be a time for accountability for Mr Camping. I hope God gives him the strength to confess and do everything in his power to make amends. I saw this more as a time to express love and grace for those who were deceived by him.

      • LorieK

        Here’s the sad story about the woman who sliced her daughter’s throats. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VgXMhBLp7M

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          Thanks, Lorie. I’ll take a look at that. -Tim

  • Melva

    Your Christian love and gracious comments illustrate well how our Savior would want us to think and reply. I know this experience gave me opportunity to share the Bible and the text in Matthew that speaks of end times and that no one knows the time except our heavenly Father.

  • Cary D

    Nice job of making all the points I would have liked to have made, but in a much more polished manner. We need to remember that those who Jesus and Paul said are prepared to catch thieves don’t know in advance when they will show up.

  • patrick

    I have been listening to Brother Camping for 30 years.I appreciate Your letter.Did I sell my house?No.Did mr. camping tell any one to sell their house?No.Did I think Christ would return today?50/50.I looked at the evidence and searched the scriptures and it looked quite possible.I listened to the debates that Mr. camping had with Dr. James White who is suppose to be a great debater and Dr.White had no real case to back his case.All he did was call Camping names.Did I agree with the way Mr. Camping proclaimed to know?No.I do know that Mr. Camping is a sincere man and believed in what he was doing.Maybe before you condemm this man,and I see how easy that is to do right now,if you are not familiar with family radio one should look at what it has done over the last 50 years .For what it is worth this has made me look at my life and my relationship with God and has changed the way I will live my life for the better.I hope and pray that this is what people take from this and I hope you will pray for Mr. Camping.

    • vivek

      First, note that a period should be followed by a space. Next, what Mr. Camping did say was quite enough – piping doomsday predictions into countries near and far, when he could have kept these to himself. Do you believe his intent was other than of getting people to react to his predictions? And now that they have reacted, as blinded people do react – by stumbling and falling – you say he had nothing to do with it? Wake up.

      • Timothy Dalrymple

        Did I say that he had nothing to do with it? I’ll (mostly) ignore the churlish comment about punctuation. -Tim

  • http://www.connectafrica.us Michael Flowers

    Very, very good and gracious pastoral response for the followers of a false “profit” (spelling intentional). The only think I would have included is the whole falsehood of the secret rapture as one of two comings of Jesus. This is absolute false doctrine. There is no two comings of Jesus … He will come to judge the living and the dead and his Kingdom will have no end. This is the doctrine that led them astray. Address the source of their deception – sound doctrine will keep us from following the likes of Harold Camping & Tim Lahaye.

  • JayCee

    Wow. In the last couple weeks I’ve been diligently trying to avoid the gossiping and mockery that goes on at work against employees and everyone. At the same time- I’ve been mocking Camping and the rest. I googled it to tonight to see if any of his followers had a response when I came across you letter. While I believe it to be important to dispel untruths as they come along so as not to lead others astray- your letter was so full of Love for these same people. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me to see the perspective from Gods eyes. From Love.

  • Ameruban

    I disagree. What has happened here is VERY wrong. Because people (both those doing the leading and those choosing to be led) did not study to show themselves approved, they believed seducing, deceptive spirits – Harold Camping is responsible for the shipwreck of faith some of these people will find themselves experiencing. For those who think he is not responsible, this again. Jesus stated, “Offenses will come… but WOE to him by who they come”. This man has caused the world to mock a day that is precious to those of us who are waiting for Jesus’ return. He has desensitized the entire world and they’ve made a mockery out of Jesus coming back. This is why it is SO important to KNOW your bible for yourself… so that when you stand in front of God one day, you won’t have to be ashamed having rightly divided the Word of Truth… so that when false prophets and messengers of satan come to you, you will be prepared. This isn’t a joke… make no mistake, one day Jesus IS coming back and it will happen in exactly the manner Jesus said it would. God will NOT be mocked.

  • melody

    Absolute…Jesus is love kindness and forgiveness…each of us has been deceived at on time or another if even by a simple ‘friendly’ suggestion of what a scripture could mean. Many times people manipulate the Bible to fit their life styles which is heartbreaking. Forgiving and asking forgivness renewing ourselves each moment through Jesus is our key to salvation. There is no shame in being ready May 21 any day. False prophets are all around for thousands of years compassion is the answer for our brothers and sisters wounded by this terrible mis-representation of the scriptures…even Mr. Camping may have been deceived by the enemy! As for non believers God be with them most of all prayers go out to them as well. Our God is Merciful Loving and Kind. Did he not give to us his most cherished and only begotton so we mite be saved from damnation? Everyone has a ticket to paradise we must only get on the bus and take the ride HOME! MEL

  • Randy

    Thank you Tim for your words. They are like the Balm of Gilead to those who were humiliated from this wrong prophecy.

  • Adrian in NZ

    This is a wonderful, well-balanced response. I am really impressed. I would much rather spread this than the beliefs about knowing an exact day when Jesus will come back from his children.

  • Phil

    I find the assumption that Atheist are more gullible to be rediculous. Being an atheist says nothing about what else you believe…it has nothing to do with it. I know many atheist and many of them are also skeptics. None of them would agree with this. Using a Gallup pole to prove this just shows how gullible the writer of this article is.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      It’s not an assumption; it’s been indicated by several studies have shown this over the years. People generally interpret it to mean that those who don’t believe in a transcendent God are especially eager to believe in other things that are bigger than themselves, other things that will give mystery and purpose to their lives.

  • David Draper

    Thank you for this careful and prayerful response to individuals and families who need God’s love at this time. I pray your words will help many to return to the Lord and forget there misplaced trust in man.

  • http://Www.substancechurch.com Peter

    Tim, I struggle with empathy for this guy. I mean, we’re not talking about a guy who’s merely “gotten it wrong.” I mean he openly teaches that all churches are under the influence of Satan and that all people should leave them. So I’m not sure I share your restraint. He’s been brazenly kicking the body of Christ in the head year after year even after being warned over and over. Sure, I’ll pray for him…but I’m gonna warn people to stay away just as much… This guy seems like a hardened false teacher.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      You know, I could have avoided a lot of trouble if I had not, at the last minute, added “Harold Camping and…” to the title. It was really a letter to his followers. Let me cut and paste something I wrote elsewhere:

      I do have compassion for Mr Camping, but I also think he needs to be held to account for the consequences of his false teaching. I must say, whether it is right or not, that my sense of compassion is far more for those who believed in him, though.

      There will be a time for accountability for Mr Camping. I hope God gives him the strength to confess and do everything in his power to make amends. I saw this more as a time to express love and grace for those who were deceived by him.

  • Grant

    A lovely article.
    Keep the suckers roped in to believing bullsh**, who knows, they may start donating to Philosophical Fragments once they are coherrent enough to get a new job.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I’d never thought of asking for donations. Thanks for the idea. -Tim

  • Marty

    Tim,

    Very thoughtful. However I must say that you might be a lilttle too judgemental about those who do not believe what you do. There are those who mock Camping’s believers, certainly, but they are not necessarily atheists; most non Christians probably looked on this whole affair with anything from indifference to amusement to, yes, mockery.

    But when your “friendly neighborhood atheist” guffaws about this, why should you feel compelled to begin the argument anew by pointing out, scientifically, his/her gullibility? Is that really necessary? Does it restore your faith? It shouldn’t make you feel any better to take anyone else down a notch, should it? Wy not just accept that he/she believes that they have carried the field today and just walk away? Not all atheists are laughing and many are bright, scientific, thoughtful people who just don’t believe what you do.

    That’s it. That little section of your piece just bothered me because it’s not restorative and does nothing to help those who may be feeling bad about this whole thing to get on with their lives and their faith. People who choose to be mean and laugh about others’ misfortunes do not deserve a reply…at all, they deserve simply to be ignored.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Point taken, Marty. My point was simply that gullibility is found in all segments of humanity, and is not merely a Christian or merely a religious matter.

      I spent much of my life studying underneath world-renowned agnostics and atheists, some of whom I loved and respected deeply.

  • DeAnne

    That was a very kind and compassionate response to these people who believed in Campling’s prediction. I think its helpful to them but I also think its helpful for them to experienced the humiliation of being mocked because it may help prevent them for getting caught up in such false prophecies in the future. There has to be consequences – its how we learn and for these people, there will be plenty of consequences for their foolish decisions to quit their job and sell their homes in this economy.

  • theresa rafon

    i believe too that there is no need to mock about, christians,, this is but a warning to us, we believe that the Lord will come though no one really knows when, Jesus did not said because it was not our concern.. He wanted us to be on guard always.. live in his enduring presence.. remember the parable of the ten brides…

  • http://www.ernie'sworld.com ernie

    ok, rapture didnt happen, we are all here, yet we know time will still come that we experience rapture, Mr Camping has done wat He has done, we had responded as per our knowledge about the rapture thing from his insight and out own insights, some were nowhere close to knowing wheather even rapture does mean wat was being said by Camping, now tht its as it is today, still the same old earth here, dont waist much time trying to crucify Mr Camping…The world still need to to know tht Rapture is real, even though mistakenly (if)* proclaimed by our fellow brother Camping.We should still bear with Camping and His ministry of serving God. i personally never got a confirmation in my spirit that rapture is due but has always known that God can skip my conscience whenever He wants and act outside my consult. So Mr camping, you have tried too, you wanted to help other souls to turn to God in Time but it seems the time thing(factor)was not correct, that doesnt mean you cannot hear from God…so march on and dont loose your faith in Him.From Botswana with love.

  • Nobull

    Why can’t you Christians realize or at least contemplate the possibility that your bible was written
    thousands of years ago by a bunch of unknown people who where probably just as confused and
    deluded as Harold camping?

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Christians contemplate this possibility all the time. -Tim

  • http://www.dannyhaszard.com/1975.htm Danny Haszard

    Watchtower Jehovah’s Witnesses have little credibility with their own fairy tale primary doctrine of Jesus ‘invisible’ second coming October 1914
    Watchtower society false prophets declare end of world in 1874, 1878, 1881,
    1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1984….


    Danny Haszard been there!

  • http://restorationfellowship.org ANTHONY BUZZARD

    Is it really wise to whitewash this amazingingly damaging false prediction? I thought that under the law a false prophet was to be executed, for fear that he might do more damage. Yes, compassion is the right way to go and we are not under the law, but what excuse is there for this fantastic and elementary error, which stole money from thousands, encouraged the mockers and disillusioned on a grand scale. Jesus was rejected by this false prophecy. Jesus said “when you see the Abomination of Desolation standing where HE (note the masc. participle in the Greek) ought not too…” (Mk 13:14). This is the sign of the end, and it has not happened! The Bible is full of warnings against false alarms.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I do have compassion for Mr Camping, but I also think he needs to be held to account and do everything in his power to make amends. I must say, whether it is right or not, that my sense of compassion is far more for those who believed in him, though. -Tim

  • http://www.defendingthelentils.com Bill Greenfield

    Thanks for writing the first article on the subject that I’ve come across that approaches the intended audience with respect, kindness, and accuracy. Brilliantly written and very powerful.

  • Harold

    EXCUSE ME ….. EXCUSE ME !!!!

  • Jillian

    I do hope that these misguided folks and their families are able to reflect upon and then emotionally heal from what happened. I especially feel sorry for the children involved because to be told that some psychopathic arsonist God is taking a few elect people up to heaven and leaving the rest behind to suffer horribly either on Earth or in hell is emotionally abusive and damaging for a child.
    What an awful view of the world…no wonder so many beg for the rapture.

    There is good news folks. Listen to the beautiful birds chirping outside your window, look at the clear blue sky, notice the gorgeous flowers all around…that is your God. And the beautiful energy behind that creation wants you to stop, listen, notice and lay down your very very old fear based man-made beliefs about God and know that the same force that creates the roses and bluebirds DID NOT create a eternal pit of torture for its own creation and a terrible system of saved versus unsaved. What an awful awful portrait of God which smacks of manmade.

    I’m afraid anyone waiting for a rapture at all will be sorely disappointed and baffled as such an event will not literally occur. We will continue to evolve on this planet as we always have and those positive changes we see in humanity (ie racial equality, gender equality, greater social justice, greater environmental stewardship, etc) will reflect the heart of Jesus and other great masters who have walked our precious Earth and tried to show us a more loving and conscious way throughout the ages.

    Go outside,sip your coffee, and enjoy the gorgeous sounds of the birds this morning. See the miracle of the blooming flowers. Take off that heavy yoke of fear, guilt, and shame humans concocted long ago and be still and know that God does not need to come back for you…he never left in the first place.

    Now, that is some good news….

    • Adrian in NZ

      While I accept your descriptions of God as being in the gorgeous nature around us, Jillian, I do not think you have taken seriously the parts of the Bible that does talk about Jesus coming back for his faithful children. The book of Revelation and many other references throughout the Bible give evidence to this. Now, I agree that such verses are, unfortunately, often misconstrued, but the essence of the versus that there will be a rapture some time in the future shines through as truth.

      • Jillian

        Adrian, yes, you’re right. I don’t take those parts of the Bible seriously. I refuse to accept such a heinous, ugly, sadistic, and psychopathic portrait of a narcissistic toddler-like God who tosses a good bit of humanity into the garbage because it doesn’t behave accordingly. Only man in his primitive fear, ignorance, and need to control could concoct something so utterly bleak and awful.

  • Jillian

    By the way, I admire the very compassionate, gentle, and loving energy which is so reflective of Jesus behind your response towards these folks on their spiritual journey. Your tone sets a fine example of a follower of Jesus.

  • http://www.twitter.com/judgmenttime Duke

    Peace be with the reader.

    There was no ‘Rapture’ however the Son of man
    has returned, and the judgment has commenced.
    Hopefully the censor(‘moderator’:-) will allow this
    message to go through.

  • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp@A Holy Experience

    Thank you…
    I have felt so… sad… these last few days. For the mockery and the joking and I have grieved.

    God’s used you to speak gentle, wise, loving truth and comfort. These words are a gift to the body of Christ and the world at large.

    My sincerest, humble thanks, Tim… I will be sharing.

    All’s grace,
    Ann Voskamp

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks very much, Ann. I enjoy your blog — and my father’s a big fan. -Tim

  • zammbi

    I saw no good come out of this at all. A number of people died including children. Many lives ruined. A ton of money spent that could of gone to much better things. But that’s what blind faith does to people.

    As an atheist I found this was a sad time for human history.
    But I fear more of these dates will pop up since a study showed 40% of people in the US believe that the rapture will happen before 2050.

    I’m just glad I live in NZ one of the fastest going atheist countries.

    • Adrian in NZ

      That may be your opinion zammbi, re New Zealand being one of the fastest growing atheist countries, but I completely disagree.

      New Zealand is not a secular nation. We honour God in our National Anthem. The church in New Zealand is going strong. Tens of thousands of people will have gone to church yesterday in New Zealand. Come to any of the more lively churches spread throughout the country and you will see many people who passionately believe in God, and are praying for and actively working towards more and more New Zealanders seeing how much they need God in their lives, and to accepting Jesus into their hearts. We are seeing the churches of New Zealand work together like never before. New Zealand becoming a secular, atheist nation? Rubbish!

      • Jillian

        You are correct. People do need “God” and spirituality in their lives….just not a man-made version of it. Jesus was a spiritual master whose teachings were hijacked into an in- the-box organized religion of the saved versus unsaved to gain power and control of the masses. A strict literal interpretation of the Bible as God’s word is Harold Camping on a much larger scale. Beyond the awful fear, guilt, and shame of the organized Christian teachings (if you believe in heaven and hell and eternal separation from God…..then you are part of that fear, shame, and guilt machine) exists a beautiful pure form of spirituality inherent within ALL of creation. So I guess right now I’m saying all of this to try and save the saved from their own brand of salvation…something more pure exists out there but it takes lots of courage to break free from old paradigms (especially those inherited from parents and grandparents…very very hard sometimes to chart a new spiritual path from our families) and experience it. It doesn’t matter though….we are that energy and it is us and we cannot ever be separated from Sprit. There is no separation, no death, and only unity beyond the illusions of duality. Jesus was a master of this understanding of ultimate reality and it does sadden me to know that many have tremendously misunderstood his life and message.

        • HIndsight

          Yeah, there is a pure form of spirituality. It’s called Buddhism. It’s the only religious philosophy that is more concerned with the spirituality of the individual than converting someone who believe something different, which is the main reason I dislike most Christians. You all seem to believe I can’t be a good person unless I believe exactly what you believe. I won’t print my opinion of that.

  • Julie

    I feel compassion for them… Well, the ones who didn’t euthanize their pets.

    • Jo Lewis

      So do I Julie, I didn’t know they they were euthanizing their pets though, I heard so much I became confused. The one thing that I remained very clear on was that no man knows the hour or the date of His return.

      I also think the letter to him is very compassionate and well written.

      Jo

    • Deliah

      Did people actually do that???

    • http://facebook vICKI hOLLAND

      I listened to Harold some time bqack, and he has a sincere heart ,however he should take that scripture,No one knows the time of his return,not even jesus,but only the father….so Harold,i thank you for the reminder,we need to be ready,,yes…because he will come like a theif in the night… Vicki graciusly keep giving us the bible….

  • Jim

    If I was HC’s spokesperson, on Monday morning I would say something like “Geez relax everybody we were just teasing you, can’t take anyone take a joke anymore?” Then I would go out for some beers. Believe me after ten beers or so everyone would be laughing and soon thereafter hardly anyone would remember it even happened.

  • stephen stretch

    let us laugh at Harold Camping

    • james b.

      Man, what’s the point of laughing at harold? There is none, and you shoukd removed your post

    • grow

      Let him who is without sin cast the first stone!

  • Larry

    Thank you Tim for your sensitive and compassionate letter. I agree that we need to be loving and concerned for those who whole-heartedly followed Mr. Camping. However, as I read some of the posts here I see many blaming the victime for “not knowing their Bible” The Bible is a book that has been used for mischief repeatedly. Because, it is difficult to understand in places it is easy to be misled by someone claiming to have secret knowledge of the scriptures. There is an entire theology that basis it’s understanding of the end times on secret knowledge and is dispensationalism, a realatively new method(last 200 years)of interpreting scripture. The dispensationalist grid for interpreting scripture is one that is forced onto the Bible, it is means made by man for getting out of the world unscathed by tribulation. It is escapest and it is harmful. I suspect that Mr. Camping is dispensationalist and carried that theology to it’s logical conclusion. Mr. Camping was decieved by John Darby, Scofield and that like, he simply took his personal/theological disception to its end and thus deceived others.

    • Russ

      I agree Larry! Yet this Dispensational grid of understanding scripture hits closer to home than the outlandish interpretations of Harold Camping. I know many Evangelical believers who truly love Jesus, and are looking for His appearing, yet are divisive and critical of those who hold a non-dispensational view of scripture. It seems to me that the coming of the Lord is to remind us that we live each day with hope, and with a sense of Godly responsibility to reach out to others in Hope. Crunching numbers and being overly paranoid about the state of Israel, can be a distraction and just plain wrong. I would rather live with some questions that only eternity can answer, than to force an interpretation that fosters an unhealthy fear and naval gazing! “Look UP! Your REDEMPTION DRAWS NIGH”. Live as if “Jesus died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back tomorrow!

  • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin @ Joyful Mothering

    Your grace for Camping is commendable and maybe what I’m about to say is already in the comments. But the truth of the matter is, the Bible warns about people like Camping, and warns us not to listen and not to follow.

    I greatly question his motives based on all the money he’s taken from people. There’s absolutely no reason to take someone’s money for such time. If he really believes what he was claiming, he wouldn’t be here to spend it anyways! Look at the facts.

    I don’t know whether to rebuke Camping or pity him. :(

    • Handy

      Luke 17:2
      It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

      It is a very serious thing to claim to speak for God and not be speaking for God.

      James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

  • Rory

    This letter was very kind. I would add two key points to those seeking Truth. Jesus said,”I am the Truth…” How can we know Truth, which is to know Jesus. The way we can be sure of our knowledge of Jesus is to keep His commandments. 1John 2:3-4. The followers of H. Camping believed that the age of the church had come to an end. But the Church is the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ. Just as Eve was both the body of Adam and the bride of Adam, so is the Church the Body and Bride of the New Adam. Jesus is the head of the Church. He has one Body and one Bride. This is essential to understand. There is one Lord, one faith, one birth. Seek the one Church which from Pentecost has been guided by truth by the Holy Spirit John 16:13. Expect to find sinners in His Church as the parable of the wheat and the weeds tells us. My second point to the followers of Camping is,”I invite you to seek Jesus in His Body, His Church and to investigate the claims of the Church founded by Him. Welcome!”

    • Brianisha

      Truth eh? What about the people that died before jesus was born? that is a lot of people in hell btw.

      You christians think you have it all figured out, but all it offered was more questions, questions that couldnt be aswered by those that thirst for Knowledge and not Blind Faith.

      You see, if ADam and eve did eat the apple, then they are flawed, and if HUMANS wrote the bible, then the bible, also flawed.

      Christians are funny at first, but as Ive said before, I can see the souls of others, and the more devout the chistian, the more likely I am to see “the truth within the lies”.

      (Not christian anymore btw)

      My eyes were once a dark black, but now theyve taken on a goldish hue.

      • Timothy Dalrymple

        Brianisha, the things you mention are pretty basic questions that have been addressed many times by Christians over the years. There are answers to those questions. You’re certainly free, of course, to find those answers unsatisfactory, but you might benefit from knowing what those answers are. -Tim

  • Larry

    Thank you Tim for your sensitive and compassionate letter. I agree that we need to be loving and concerned for those who whole-heartedly followed Mr. Camping.
    However, as I read some of the posts here I see many blaming the victime for “not knowing their Bible” The Bible is a book that has been used for mischief repeatedly through out history, sometimes intentionally sometimes by the sincere but disceived. Because, it is difficult to understand in places (especially in books that speak of appocoliptic themes) it is easy to be misled by someone claiming to have secret knowledge of the scriptures. There is an entire theology that bases it’s understanding of the end times on “secret knowledge” it is called dispensationalism, a realatively new method(last 200 years)of interpreting scripture. The dispensationalist grid for interpreting scripture is one that is forced onto the Bible, rather than letting the Bible speak for itself. Dispensationalist theology is a means of interpretation made by man for getting out of the world unscathed by tribulation. It is escapest and it is harmful. I suspect that Mr. Camping is a dispensationalist and carried that theology to it’s logical conclusion. Mr. Camping was decieved by John Darby, Scofield and the like, he simply took his personal/theological disception to its logical end and in so doing deceived others.
    I fear the majority of evangelicals and fundamentalist have fallen for the dispensationalist veiw which has led to a willingness to believe that we can figure out, if not the day or the hour, at least the month and the year. I grew up with a pastor who was dispensationalist and he believed back in the 70′s that Jesus would return in a certian year and month. Camping is not new, he is just better funded.

  • http://at&t Rita Randall

    Tim, many have thanked you & I would like to also. Instead of making people feel foolish, you put a realistic yet compassionate explanarion to it. I think God is in your words trying to reconcile as always, wordly knowledge to His infalllible Word. You helped many “save face” and still be proyd to be called acChristian. And lest you should feel “proud” ,which I don’t think you would, I feel God has lwd you and each of us to respond to the misled with the love of God. Gid Bless You & all of the rest of us.

  • NENA

    My heart feels sadness for Mr. Camping and for those that relied on his word. I do not feel that Mr. Camping set out to “scam” anyone. For him to do so, he would have needed to gain from this. True, there were those that sold their possessions, but Mr. Camping is not to blame for that. He merely expressed his opinions of what he thought was going to take place. He did not financially gain anything from delivering a message that he believed in. For those that believe in the Bible, we know that it clearly states that NO man knows the time…not even His own son. It clearly tells us to not put our trust in man…but to put our trust in Him and His written word. We are told to “watch”…to “pray”…and to keep our eyes and ears open. These people were a bit mislead, but they were sincere in their thinking…as they understood it. So many want to believe because they have a desire to be in a better place than what this world is offering…and that can and does lead to vulnerability. Mr. Camping did nothing wrong…he only expressed what he felt in His heart…and he so believed in it that he wanted to share with others.

  • Clif

    Timothy,

    I like your letter as it is stern, yet gentle. With that being said, I can only hope that this crushing embarrassment to Camping and his followers will lead them to true repentance to Jesus.

    His failed prophecy of rapture is just the icing on the cake of the false doctrine that Camping teaches which includes rejection of the Trinity, rejection of Salvation by Faith and more.

    • james b.

      What is up with the rude and completely childish comments? Dude, I hope you are going to take this down.

      • Handy

        Not sure what part you thinking is rude? Could you give us a better understanding?

  • Brenda Boulder

    I stumbled on this article by accident. With all due respect, it continues to amaze me that anyone of any intelligence believes that this place you all eventually think you will be going to (on a predicted or unknown day) even exists. It is sad to see how much fear of death as influenced our world. Heaven? Really? If you all were less afraid you would acknowledge that deep down you all know this is simply a way to be less fearful. I am afraid also, but none of you REALLY believe this stuff.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Well, Brenda, it’s just not true that “none of you REALLY believe this stuff.” Whenever I see or hear someone say, “You can’t *really* believe that,” whether “that” is referring to a religious or political belief or etc., it always tells me that they haven’t really done the work it takes to understand the arguments and enter into the mindset of the people who do believe those things. This is one of the most important academic tasks, giving us the information and the sympathetic imagination that are required in order to see other points of view. In your case, I’d recommend N. T. Wright’s “Surprised by Hope” as a place to start, since you seem to be operating with a (no offense) pretty simplistic view of Christian teaching on the issue. Ultimately, you’d want to look at specialists in the topic — philosophers, theologians, biblical scholars — and they could give you a better sense of why educated modern people find it perfectly plausible to belief that death is not the end.

      In any case, thanks for the comment.

      -Tim

      • Brent

        “I don’t know”….it’s an unassuming phrase….try it sometime…

        • Jennifer

          I truly believe! I don’t have to prove it, I just believe it.

    • LaVaughn

      Brenda, Here is a prime example of the harm that people like mr.Camping causes when they make perdictions that will not come true, no matter how sincere he may have been. In no way do I mean you or anyone who doubts the Bible is true any disrespect, but I can’t see where your lack of belief comes from when there is so much evidence to it’s truth. Do you think that over the years so many would have died for someone who was nothing more than just a man, and not the Son of God as Jesus said he was, if it weren’t true. After a time he would have been shown to be a false prophet just as mr.Camping has been proven to be and while he might have still had a few followers, nothing like today, were Christanity a “fantasy” as some believe it to be. Please don’t allow people like these folks who expected the world to end yesterday to influence you in the wrong way. You say don’t believe in Heaven, therefore you most likely not believe in Hell, or God or the Devil, but lack of belief therein does not change the fact of their existance. I’d ask that you think about it this way, if you believe in Heaven, God etc, and at the end they don’t exist, you’ve lost nothing, but if you don’t believe and at the end they do exist, and Jesus was telling the truth when He said I am the ONLY way to Heaven, then you’ve lost everything. I would just ask that you have an open mind and think about it.

      God Bless

    • CAROL

      My Dear Brenda,, I’m sorry that you have no hope and that you have admittedly said you have some fear.. but when you truly know Jesus , for real,, and that He died
      to give you that wonderful place called heaven,, you will no longer be afraid of anything,,,expecially the the
      “unknown”,,

    • http://www.bestluggagecarts.com/travel_luggage_carts.html Marcia

      Seems just as odd to me that one person can simply dismiss the beliefs of thousands of others with such impenetrable hardness and assume that “none of you REALLY believe this stuff” based on the fact that you do not believe it. (Which, by the way, is not a fact, but an opinion.)

      You have just implied that we are all “liars,” along with “simpletons.” Don’t worry, I don’t mind your point of view. Jesus, himself, said that “a person cannot see the kingdom of God, unless he is born again.”

      It is your own blindness that you have displayed. If you have the courage to check out God for real, then go to Him in prayer and ask Him to reveal the truth to you. He will answer your true prayer of faith and seeking. If you do not have the courage to seek Him for yourself, well then, that is your own sad choice.

      I find it hard to believe that anyone can have any kind of peace without God… and I say that because I have been in the place of unbelief and fear where you are now, and I have also stepped into the place of belief that I occupy now, and I know from personal experience, that, without qualification, belief is better. It is so much better that if I could describe it, you would not listen to it anyway because it would sound so “fanciful and impossible” to you. Just because you have never been there, does not mean that it does not exist.

      I pray that you will seek Him for yourself and find out the real truth, instead of simply basing your life on your own limited opinions.

      There is an unlimited God who created the first atom out of nothing but His word and, for reasons that only He fully understands, He loves each and every one of us — including you. If you have even a remote desire to hear His voice, He will speak to you — but only if you are listening.

      May you be blessed to know the peace that can only come from knowing Jesus Christ who already loves you. I don’t think you found this article by accident… and then were compelled to state your thoughts so strongly, opening yourself up to replies. I think God is calling you to something higher. May you be blessed to find it.

      Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart,

      • Handy

        Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

        Heb 11:6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

        This is the crux of the issue.

    • Tuco

      Brenda — You refer to intelligence as though it should be a qualifier for discovering the Truth. As an obviously intelligent person yourself might be interested in the question, let me ask, can you devise a more equitable “qualifier” for admittance into the promised eternal life of the Christian than Faith? Or would you exclude the less intelligent, the less aristocratic, the less connected to some inside scoop grapevine to meet that qualification? Here’s a thought for you, as a geneticist, I would invite anyone to contemplate the DNA molecule and come away confessing having seen nothing of intelligent design. And as a former ditch-digger, I’d invite you to read “More Than A Carpenter.” Evidence that, indeed, demands a verdict, and it’s in abundance if you’re not afraid to consider it.

  • http://none alice brown

    Charles Taze Russell, founder of Jehovah Witnesses, set dates too. When his prediction didn’tcome true, he just changed his doctrine.

    Harold Camping will answer for among other things, his encouraging born-again Christians to stay home from attending their Bible-believing churches.

  • HoldingOntoJesus

    Tim,
    The love and concern expressed herein reflects Christ powerfully. Thank you for the time and care invested. Followers of Harold Camping should be in the prayers of all of us brothers and sisters.

  • Brad

    “Not a crackpot”???? OK maybe senile would suffice>
    I would say he is on Crack and Pot, and so are you for saying that people who act like the boy who cried wolf at the age of 89. Get a life.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      As I said in response to another commenter who made a similar point: He may be a “crackpot,” in fact, but (1) I don’t know much about him other than this whole predictions story (and the prehistory, with his prediction of 1994), and (2) I don’t see that calling him a crackpot really gets us anywhere. My point — not especially well expressed — was that I don’t think this particular belief necessarily indicated that he was a crackpot. I’ve known many non-crackpots who have believed many silly things. -Tim

  • Lee

    Where Mr. Camping went off the track is where we all go off track from time to time. He did not stick to God’s Word. Matthew 24:36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Here scripture clearly states not man, angels, or Christ Himself knows the day. Only the Father knows! Nothing more needs to be said. God gave us His Word to be read and understood by the teaching and guidance of the Holy spirit and when we get away from His Word, we mess up. This is what happened. We all as believers should take a great lesson from this and understand Christ reply while being tempted by satan in the wilderness, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4. Again, we ALL are guilty of this mistake at not taking God at His Word. 2 Timothy 3:16 clearly states that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

  • Zarathustra

    Why do you religious folks think you are mocked so often? Is it because you are oppressed? What self-servile nonsense; all dominant groups attempt to make themselves the oppressed, the victims, the meek, because it is a moral high ground. I almost piss myself laughing every time I hear that it’s ‘hard to be a Christian’, that ‘Christians have a hard time around the world’, and so forth. How childish.

    Or, perhaps we mock you because your bronze-age beliefs are ridiculous, and therefore an appropriate object for ridicule? All religions, ‘equal and equivalent glimpses of the untrue.’

    Many of you find that Camping’s predictions and particular beliefs are improbable and ridiculous; pray tell, what is the actual difference between his and yours? Which ones are more demonstrable by evidence? By what means can we assign their relative likelihood? What measure of ridiculousness actually makes his beliefs different from yours, let alone distinct?

    Even if all you suggest is true, we would be living in a cosmic dictatorship, a positively awful one and a terrible place to exist, and I should indeed rather burn than lower myself in any such manner. I refuse to bow to any cosmic Führer.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I always find it entertaining when someone tries to educate me on the modern critique of religion. I also find it ironic that a “Zarathustra” would complain about a Führer.

      More seriously, the questions you pose are fair and important ones. I don’t presently have the time to address them, since doing so would require a lengthy series and I’m already committed to several. In the meantime, it’s really not difficult to find resources where extremely intelligent, exquisitely educated and intellectually responsible Christians reflect on these things. If you’re interested.

    • http://facebook Judi Mott

      I am sorry for you. But know this one day EVERY KNEE WILL to CHRIST . For it is appointed unto man once to die,after this the judgement.

    • Dave B

      The Bible says that before we know Christ we are enemies of God, that we hate to do His will. That without Christ we are incapable of desiring God without Him changing us.

      Although you may feel you can’t bow a knee to God now, your attitude proves this teaching of the Bible to be true.

      You hatred to who you think God is does not shock anyone who knows their Bible, you are merely more honest than most and the example of a man without Christ. Most un believers like some ideas about God (his Love and protection) but not all of Him. Your state of enmity towards God is the norm among those who have chosen to not believe in Christ.

      I would suggest however that maybe you should just read a Bible (maybe start in the New Testament) and see what it says before you make judgement calls on things you don’t know about including making God on par with Hitler. God never said that the whole world would love him, or want to obey Him. Christ said that “few” would follow Him, not armies of devoted slaves.

      I would say that God doesn’t want anyone’s devotion like a dictator. He would have our loyalty and devotion from men who truly desire Him as a son desires the love of his father. The son also has a fear and reverence for his father and he also does not want to disappoint his father.

      Whether I am walking in darkness and there is no God. I choose to believe in God for a number of reasons. But ask yourself this, if you had 1 percent of the knowledge in all the universe, and lets just say that you did which is a lot of knowledge, do you think in the 99% you don’t know that God could be found there? You stance of saying there is no God is one of faith because you can’t say for a fact that you know there is no God.

      Paul the apostle lived his life with such a devotion to God that he said he should be “pitied more than all men” if there was no God. Pitied for using his whole life for the purpose of serving God and making him known among the nations. This is what God calls us to, Jesus said you “are with me or against me”. There is only one side of the fence to be on and if you are only “luke warm” he would spit you out of his mouth.

      I have chosen to follow Christ in faith and in the promise of eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRi4VwcrYmA

      • Handy

        Psalm 14:1
        The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good.

        It is sad that he has not tasted the Riches of His Glory and the absolute peace and love of Christ Jesus.

  • Desma Jones

    Harold Camping is a false prophet and should be dealt with accordingly. Sure, we can forgive him for making Jesus Christ look like a fool and those who follow him like idiots but he needs to pay the price. He should completely step down and repent and get right with God. Any pastor who preaches tithing and does not baptise the way the apostles did is a hireling. It is that simple to discern. The people who fell for it deserve what they got, nothing.

    • Handy

      Your lack of Pity for those who were deceived into this shows your lack of love. Your lack of Love should be a sign to you that your heart is not right.

      Matt 18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

      Matt 7:1 and 2
      1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
      2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

  • Icey

    I’m an atheist. I like to mock religous folk from time to time because I can counter their beliefs and rules. I find all religions beliefs and their ways rediculous and scoff whenever they praise me in ‘God’s name’.
    Why am I telling you all this which may offend some people?
    Because I wish to thank you for writing this.

    I understand there will be some depressed, even sucidial people, around shocked and horrified that the judgement or end of the world or whatever, didn’t come.

    You may have just saved some lives of some people. And that alone is worth a good pat on the back.
    Good on ya, mate.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks, Icey. Your comment is much appreciated. I have a series coming up that will be of interest to religious and non- or anti-religious people alike. Hope you check in. -Tim

    • Brianisha

      Some will also become atheists, or other forms of non christian too.

  • Haass

    We know Jesus himself said,no one knows the hour in which the Father has placed in His own power,but we must realize that Christs commission to us is to preach to every creature.This proclimation is evident as to what the Bible teaches about false teaching and leaders in relation to end times.This should only encourage our faith and motivate us to teach all nations about Christ!I think Campings intentions were and are good,and we are not to judge.WE have seen and heard of many people who have been led by the Spirit to forsake all and preach the Gospel in all ages.I say Praise God for the revival movement of the Spirit and allowing this moment to search our own hearts!

  • Lydia

    Thank You so much for writing this,it reminds me and all of us what we should feel toward these people.It’s tre that i haven’t been all that gracious about this prophacy but it did make me think about getting things right with god and allthough a part of me wants to mock the stupidity and absurdidy (sp) of the prophacy and of those who beileved it in. What you’ve said here is how I and any christan should act , show them god’s love and compassion , heck even if someone isn’t spritual they shouldn’t mock these people’s pain even it seemed foolish some of them really believed it and we need to help them.I think the real bad thing about this is all the people who knew this was false and tried to bank in on it like those people who started the pet care for after your gone,those people should pay for what there doing bcause that is malicious, mocking, and cruel.I would say Camping should pay some too but he probably beileved what he was preaching too , maybe. So thank you Tim for reminding this christan to be compassionate toward those who were destroyed by this i hope everyone who want to mock those who beileved in this prophacy reads this and reconsiders there actions.

  • TL

    Thank you so much for this wonderful post. I really needed to read something like this. My mother has been wrapped up in this for the last twenty years, believing in Camping’s 1994 prediction as well. She left her church about eight years ago. The faith she gave me as a young child (and my sisters) became the subject of much ridicule. This has been so hurtful on so many levels. Today, on May 22, I am strengthened by your words and pray for compassion. I will say that I am very grateful for the press coverage Camping received this time around. Perhaps this exposure will put an end to Camping’s misleading ministry, and give his followers a chance find truth before our savior returns on His timetable.

  • David

    I like so many who didn’t believe the camping predictions have to say that I did remain vigilant and watch the clock. This all made me think” are our houses in order right now?” I was raised baptist and my wife catholic. I have to say that after being together for 10 years we never talked about what we believed in individually. We learned a lot about each other. This whole expirence was good for us.
    How many can say that they are ready right now. I have my doubt that I can answer. I Wont be ready until I know my wife is ready too. I have seen stories of men leaving their families to follow camping and it really made me sick to see that. Our families are our responsibilities and should not be neglected. I hope many people look into their own lives and find out where they stand.

  • Ingrid

    Thank you Tim for your gracious letter. My hope is that many will read and be strengthened and encouraged by your words.

  • Phil

    I mock your faith.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but your mockery says more about you than it does about me.

    • Handy

      Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.

  • kathy

    Thanks for posting this letter as a witness of how to respond as a Christian. I am ashamed I discounted and scoffed at these people. I forgot Jesus loves them as much as He loves me and died for them as well. I can’t accept, condone, or make excuses for them, but I can’t judge and discredit them either.

  • http://n/a Denny

    Another way of approaching the Biblical apocalyptic begins by asking, “For how long have we been living in the last days? When did they commence?” The Apostle Peter began his sermon on the Day of Pentecost with the very words of the prophet Joel: “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh” (Acts 2.17a). If Peter got it right then, we’ve been living in the last days for some two thousand years. This is not as ridiculous as it sounds. II Peter 2.38 can imply such an understanding: “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.” In God’s ‘timing’ we may well be only at the beginning of the third day in Salvation history (i.e., our 3rd century AD). Those happenings Jesus said characterize the ‘last days’ have been true of history ever since: wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, persecution, and, of course, false prophets. Though we are intended to judge false teaching, I’m not at all sure that we are meant to judge the prophet’s motives or the actual condition of his heart.

  • Wallabee

    Jesus taught that no one would know which hour he would come. He repeatedly taught that he would come unexpected “as a thief in the night.”

    So as soon as someone tells you His coming will be on such-and-such a date, you can be assured they are not only wrong but are in violation of Scripture. In other words, they are doing something directly opposed to what Jesus and Scripture teaches us.

    So its not just a matter of making a mistake, its a matter of violating Christ’s own clear teachings.

    Scripture tells us that teachers have a heavier burden than others and will be judged more harshly. Because they can mislead others into errant beliefs.

    Whether or not Camping is or will be a cult leader (of a FAILED cult) will depend a lot on how much humility he has and whether or not he repents of this sin.

    Lets hope Camping and his followers show this repentance and humility and demonstrate they are truly part of the fold of genuine Christians and not just a bunch of nuts who let wishful thinking over-ride the clear teachings of Scripture.

  • Josh

    “Atheists are more gullible than Christians.” Some scientific studies don’t work, bud. Atheists who are rationalists are as a rule not superstitious at all. These are predominantly the people who claim Christianity to be “irrational.” Not to mention that study was absurd. Those questions were tricks and can be taken as a scientific feasibility rather than an ignorant superstition. I’m not trying to attack you, but next time please don’t reference “scientific evidence” that has the credibility of a high school sociology project.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Josh, there have been several studies done along these lines over the years, done by reputable scholars and organizations. I know you’d like to dismiss them because they puncture the image you prefer, of the atheists as the hard-headed realists, rationalists, skeptics. The studies are not as easily dismissed as you seem to think. People have a yearning for mystery, for transcendence, for purpose, for an metanarrative that encompasses their own individual narrative, and they’ll find those things in one place or another, religious or non-religious. -Tim

    • Jimmy

      I read the entire WSJ article as well. Something isn’t right with the poll that was conducted. I don’t know of ANY atheist that prays. That’s a contradiction and indicative of something wrong with the poll questions.

  • Brianisha

    Well, Im not an ex christian for nothing. I deconverted years ago because my family argued over who had the right christian sect.

    Some christians believe in “spiritual discernment” but if they ever used it, it would be considered magic. I can feel out neg/pos energies, something I Couldnt do as a christian, but as a Pagan it comes naturally.

    Every day, I shake my head in frustration, and shake my fist in anger. Christianity WILL fall, I just dont have the patience for it to do so on its own.

    • Handy

      Matt 16:18
      And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

      In this text it tells us that there is hell on earth. It also tells us that it shall not prevail upon His Church. Not the corporate Babylon the world calls church, but his little flock. Your right about hating the argument of whose got the right sect. But very wrong to turn your back on the saving grace of the gospel and His Christ. If you were truly a follower of Christ instead of the system called churches you would not have turned. I would invite you to truly taste and see that the Lord is Good. As for your gift. Your right, they would consider it magic. But God gives gifts without repentance. Do you not remember when they cast lots to see who would be the 12th apostle? Have you ever seen such a thing in these times?

      I do hope that God would help you to see the truth.

      Remember what He said.

      Matt 10:34-36

      34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
      35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
      36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household

      Also remember what Jesus said in the sower of the seed parable.

      Matt 13:20-21

      20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
      21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

      His words are forever. It is best to change and repent while you can. God grant you the chance to do so and see your folly.

      Much love

  • Brianisha

    Heh, I find it ironic that christians are acting smug about the whole camping thing. The natural reaction would be to ask, what went wrong? not snub people for their misgivings.

  • http://facebook Judi Mott

    I used to listen to Mr Camping while growing up. He preached the gospel. Yes he is wrong to set dates. However I wonder if as has been suggested,he has dementia of some sort. Thank you for your letter to him.Still as our pastor suggested-we should be thinking what if it were today? How would we live ?

  • Liz

    To me this is very simple. Satan is very good at deceiving us. This just happens to be more out in the open. Mr. Camping will have to answer for this someday, just as all of us will have to answer for our actions. Satan sometimes has a hey-day, this is one of them.

  • grow

    My sermon this morning was not about laughing at Camping but about the many who have been exposed to the thought of Eternity who may not have heard it before. Some may be laughing and mocking but the seed has been planted. Who knows what God will do with it! It gave me the opportunity, not that I needed this sort of catalyst, to once again explain the necessity to make a decision to follow Christ, to live in obedience to God and to make diciples of all the world.

    • Handy

      John 1:12,13
      12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
      13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

  • snake

    Blah, blah, blah…………………

  • Darwin

    Wait … So that hissing sound is not the sand sinking into the cracks in the worlds foundations. What is to be gained by laughing at those brothers and sisters who risked their blessed hope? I already see people running through the sand trying to get to solid ground. Maybe this earthquake is just a little bit slower and majestic than they thought…

  • Dale

    A great article thank you.

    On point 4 — Mr H Camping while he attracted many who adopted his position, I think did so on the basis of fear in the hearts of those who thought they knew him well, admired beliefs he stated before (such as scripture is the ultimate and its own authority, the bible is totally reliable and the only resource we need, salvation is a work of God alone — we can do nothing to earn or deserve it) and used them as a latch-key to open themselves up to anything he said, including the worst position of all, that anyone or any church that disagreed with his explanation of what scripture was saying about the last days was in error and deceived by Satan. I doubt his position was intended as a group think, and certainly it was not the kind of position to charismatically attract followers who weren’t already into him, or those unsatisfied by standard eschatology.

  • Shortcake

    At first, I thought he should be bitch slapped for causing mass panic, but then the more I thought about it the more sympathetic I felt for him. This elderly man honestly thought he had found out when Judgement Day was and did his best to warn people with good intentions, yes he was wrong, but maybe he was doing what he thought was right, and now for that a vast majority of people will be ridiculing ad 89 year old man like schoolyard bullies. I really think he deserves pity right now when he is receiving such a wave of torment by others, when he thought he was doing the right thing, whether we felt it was right or not. :(

    • Handy

      The sad thing is that even Judas thought he was doing the right thing. In the end it shows how dangerous false teachings or beliefs can be.

      2 timothy 3:13-15
      13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
      14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
      15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

  • Leah

    Hi Tim

    I wanted to say that your letter was very kind, gentle,and heartwarming; even to me, a non-believer. The way many people are responding to this whole situation, mocking other’s for believing, has really made me feel sad, so it was nice to find this site.

    I also wanted to say thank you for your comment below, suggesting the book N. T. Wright’s “Surprised by Hope” as a place to start for non-believers who wish to better understand Christianity. When I was younger I was a believer in Christianity and since then nothing has been able to refill the feelings of warmth, safety, purpose, and fulfillment I felt when believing God was with me, at that young age. Maybe this book will help me rebuild lost faith!

    My only problem is I feel like my desire for faith is completely selfish. I miss the “good” feeling faith gave me, and I fear the possibility of going to Hell. I don’t really know about how to change my motivation.

    Anyhoo, that was sort of off topic, but again thank you for this kind letter! :D

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Leah, I think I understand where you’re at. Faith has never come easily for me — if by faith we mean that sense of certainty and security on matters of ultimate concern. I’ve come to believe, however, that that’s the wrong way to think about faith. Sometimes all that remains of our faith is the desire to believe (“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.”), the desire to rest transparently in God. God has given you a precious memory, a precious recollection of a time when you rested in him and he rest with you. I think God is in that desire, and you should let it lead you. Since we cannot be purified at the beginning, where else can the journey home start but with a little enlightened self-interest?

      I mentioned Wright’s “Surprised by Hope” in part because it addressed specifically the commenter’s misunderstandings of Christian teachings on heaven. But let me know if there are any specific issues you wrestle with and I might be able to point you in some other directions. Feel free to write me at EvangelicalPortal@patheos.com. Blessings.

      -Tim

    • Handy

      Leah, I think that a good seed was planted in your heart and my prayer is that God would make it to grow. I too understand the selfish feelings. But rest assured God can use that to draw you to His Son. I see a lot of disheartened people that were given a taste of religion but have not tasted the goodness of His Love and his Son. As for the good feeling faith gave you. There is nothing wrong with having peace with God. I hope that it will drive you to the cross and that you would be born again, to see the kingdom of God for yourself.

      Much love

  • Lark

    What is funny to me is this chance to make a reply to something that happened yesterday…and while people may talk about this for a long time, no one really cares one way or the other what will become of those who believed or Camping. I feel Camping was a teacher. He taught what he read. It is that simple to discern. Today, my heart is still seeking truth, but at least I have more foundation to build upon because of Camping’s teachings. I do not see him as a false prophet. In the end, he kept saying, “It is going to happen”, and I think he felt the pressure to be that persuasive. Someday something will and should happen concerning our human condition…so much blindness, ignorance, hatred, self righteousness. But today I am just seeking truth-plain and simple. And the bible did say, ‘where your treasure is, there also is your heart’.

  • Sam

    I doubt the author will read this post; however I’ll post anyway. That was a timely, compassionate, and frankly touching “letter” to those who were mistaken. Far too often I am hearing Christians disparaging their choices. Well, obviously they were wrong, that’s a fact. But it’s also a fact that while I wasn’t taken in by this “False teacher”, I am taken in by my own heart which is “deceitful and wicked above all things”.

    I’ve been hearing local churches are compassionately opening doors to help bring healing into the May 21st-er’s lives, this is a fantastic thing to do.

    Sam

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      That’s encouraging to hear, Sam. I do wonder whether churches shouldn’t take an offering and seek ways to restore Camping’s followers into fellowship. -Tim

  • Anne

    Please be prepared to write a similar letter to all the Mayan calendar believers when we find that we are all still here next year after December 21, 2012.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Since I just watched “2012″ a few weeks ago, Anne, the same thought occurred to me! -Tim

  • http://anastasias-corner.blogspot.com Anastasia Theodoridis

    As for Mr. Camping himself, who has made this same ‘mistake’ for a second time, I have to wonder whether he isn’t crying all the way to the bank.

  • http://www.thehunters.net Jeff

    I appreciate your post, Tim. I have read so much Christianity bashing today. It breaks my heart to hear the LORD scorned and His faithful mocked. I pray that Mr. Camping will confess and repent of his false teaching. I pray that all who followed him will receive the peace and grace of our precious savior.

  • Pat

    Thank you for this helpful way of viewing this very sad situation. I was in a church for 35 years that regularly set dates for the end of the church age and fleeing the Great Tribulation. It was always difficult in the expectation and devastating when it was unrealized. We were then told that the reason it didn’t happen was because “we the church (the Bride) didn’t make herself ready”. Not because the head of the church was wrong to set dates. The bible says that “knowledge puffs up”. I think a lack of humility is always part of the equation as one thinks they have God figured out (as one commented earlier). Even if the “knowledge” is wrong knowledge it is a very heady experience. Maybe Mr.Camping,being 89, always thought and believed God would come in his lifetime. He was probably convinced of it. I’ve heard others on Christian radio and clients of mine make the same assertions. I’m always kind of shocked by this. The one thing I did think about today is that we should all be relieved and humbled that yesterday wasn’t the day. One more day, week, month or year to get out spiritual houses in order. God in his mercy is giving us more time. We should use it wisely, soberly. The truth remains that there is a time when life as we know it will end whether it is the day we die or the day Christ returns. The Word says that “not all will ‘sleep’”. But all will change. And, sadly, for many, the change won’t be a good one. Scoffers have always abounded (look at Noah). God says that he is not slow as some count slowness but longs for as many as who will, to come to true repentence. May God help us to do just that.

  • Chris

    Thank you for the loving and respectful approach you’ve taken. Today must be a very difficult day for those believed in a May 21 rapture. It would be easy to be come disheartened and lose faith, and they have been in my prayers today.

    Tomorrow they will return to school and jobs, or they will have to begin to make some decisions about what is next. It will be a challenge. I have reminded my own teens to be kind to their classmates who gave them brochures. I appreciate your reminder that in the big picture, it isn’t about whether they were right or wrong; it was about whether they lovingly cared enough to reach their fellow humans.

  • John Woodard

    Brilliant! This is an exemplary example of a Spirit-filled and loving rebuke. It was also very insiteful for the overly critical….., being ME. My haughty religious attitude toward Camping and followers was “How could they, as Christians, pursue this? It’s CLEARLY not biblical! One even has to exalt themselves above Jesus to even claim such knowledge since Christ states that even He does not know the time or date but only the Father knows. Blasphemy!”. I’m so quick to forget that we are all linked to all sin and folly. That is why we should always approach such matters with grace and mercy. Thanks for the reminder! I’m convicted of my unloving response to this entire affair. Thank God for repentance and prayer and for The Holy Spirit working through others to convict me of my sin!

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks for this humbling response, John. -Tim

  • Marrian Stinson

    You know what’s so sad about all of this is those who mock others for their belief and lost. It is very sad because the Bible say there is no private interpretation, yet many refuse to obey all that Elohim Word has given and that is to keep His Commandments! When preachers and others refuse to obey all of the Father and the Son’s commandments how can we stand with so many unbelievers of the Bible and so many different churches when the Bible says one faith and one baptism so which one is right? The one who are will follow the words of the Bible and what it says. It ends with those who keep all of the commandments of the Heavenly Father and the testimony of His Son our Savior. There is no rapture period but the Bible says clearly that every eye shall see as we see lightning the coming of the Son of man with great power along with His powerful angels. He also stated clearly that certain events will take place during a Time of Trouble like there never has been before. This gospel must and will be preach into all of the world and everyone regardless of religion or belief throughout the entire world will have to make a choice. When the great multitude of every nation and kindred will stand on the truth of Yahweh by the power of the Holy Spirit then they and the 144,000 will become the remnant. The end will come sooner than you think and it will be like it was during the days of Noah only seven last plagues will be poured out to finalize this event and those who oppose the Almighty Ones will feel the wrath and the coming of Yashua in the clouds. This earth will burn but we will return to a new clean earth with the New Jerusalem to live peacefully with the Almighty Ones and also with the unfallen worlds throughout eternity. So mockers you may laugh at this unhappy event but a time will come and it will not be a laughing matter when it does happen because like a thief He will come and certain events say it sooner than most think! Pray for these misguided ones and yourselves, repent and confess your sins because the time is soon at hand!

    Blessing to you all especially to Camping believers,

  • Oaklander

    His heart was not “in the right place.” Wanting to be with Christ is one thing. Where was the care for the lost shown by God in Jonah 4:11? Why would you want the world to end sooner than later? Why weren’t they praying that God would give them more time to do his work on earth? Mr. Camping said it all came from the Bible and he was given no revelations (phew!), but it takes no small amount of grandiosity and self-righteousness to think you alone are the one who can crack the code, as if the Bible is nothing but prophecy, as if one big code to crack. I do not get the sense he was deliberately malicious, but his self-absorbed arrogance has misled a lot of people and negatively impacted their lives in serious and concrete ways.

  • Tina

    OK…people euthanized their pets.. Would God not raise his animals up into heaven, freeing them from misery? Did these people believe they would be left here to suffer when their owners were taken home to be with the creator? that is just stupid and cruel and I truly HOPE they are never allowed to own pets AGAIN..Did not know that it was these Christian’s decision to KILL God’s creatures? THESE are the things that give true Christians a bad name…..I see Harold Camping and his followers more like David Karesh and Jim Jones than true believers in God, living for the day they will be united with him. They choose to whole heartedly believe in the word of A MAN as gospel instead of believing the gospel itself. It is quite sad indeed.

    • Handy

      It is sad that you cannot see that their deepest desire was that there pets would not suffer. I would behoove you to put your foot in one of their shoes before you go spouting off like your grander than thou. While you are right that they should have followed the word instead of a man you should still have pity and mercy on them for being deceived. Beware lest in your pride you too fall into some sort of trap. And to put them in the same camp as David Karesh and Jim Jones shows you do not understand this issue at all. Were talking apples and oranges. They were not waiting to take their own lives. They were simply misunderstanding scripture.

      1 Cor 8:1b
      Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

  • Cheryl Martindale

    This is another sad example of how many can be lead astray by a leader. Jesus himself did not know when judgment day would be, only that he would come like a thief in the night; and also that the world would know when he did make his appearance. Do not trust anyone that says that they know the date of judgment day, because that information is not in the Bible.

  • Dan

    Camping is crazy because he claimed to know the precise time? At least he made a falsifiable claim. For those who claim that the rapture is coming but won’t say when, is it at least near? Does that mean before the year 3000? Don’t need a precise time. If it is not before 3000, is it really near?

    • http://www.metacafe.com/channels/RabbitNexus/ Rabbit

      Dan if you ask such questions you really are in the wrong place. You have no idea what this admittedly false idea amounts to or about the nature of faith or specifically the Christian faith. There really is nothing in the scriptures about any rapture. It is a modern invention. This is the first thing.

      Then of course as with all of God’s plans, no man can no the day, this is how it is always written it is logical and correct also, it goes with the nature of the one God of all. Not even the prophets are usually given to understand the precise day or even God’s plans. It has always been so. I suggest that if Atheism is your particular belief system (science does not offer any more support for your belief than Theists as it happens although most Atheists are too ignorant to realise it) then maybe you should concentrate on learning more about what you do believe in, rather than taking badly aimed pot shots at other peoples’ faiths.
      For the record, I am a Muslim myself.

      • Dan

        It’s a modern invention? That is news to a lot of Christians. Look at the posters on this board, they don’t believe it’s a modern invention. The believe it will happen *soon*.

        I have no idea what a false claim is? It is claim that does not correspond with reality. Is that good enough?

        Do you mean, no one can “know” the day? What is logical and correct? Think through your responses before posting on a public forum.

        Just because we don’t know the precise time and date, it does not follow that we can’t know approximate time and date.

        If I predict that a meteor will strike the Earth soon, but, no meteor hits the earth 50 years from now, can we safely say that I was wrong? Of course, I did not predict an exact time and date. But, still, I am wrong if no meteor in 50 years.

        I’m not an atheist. But, that’s neither here nor there. My hope is that Christians who participate in this predicting the future (with precise dates or with vague claims using terms like “near” or “soon”) game will stop.

        You are unnecessarily making people anxious and scaring children and getting animals euthanized. You are no better than Camping!

        • abc

          Dan’s comments are interesting, however, I would like to take this time to address his concern

          It is true that we often make estimates of when particular events will happen. We can estimate how long a patient lives, we can estimate when a meteor might strike the Earth and so on. However, the reason why we can estimate this is that we have been able to observe these things happening. We can observe the speed and trajectory of a meteor and estimate when it might hit the Earth. We can estimate how long a person has to live after contracting a particular disease by observing past patients. However, with regards to the rapture, we don’t have the benefit of past experience, neither can we observe the unfolding of the rapture. Furthermore, it is written: “No-one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” – Matthew 24:36. Thus, any attempt to approximate the date and time would merely be an arbitrary date that holds no significance.

          Furthermore, it is written: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Matthew 24: 42-44. Therefore, whatever prediction we make will be false, since we would then be expecting Christ to return after/before a certain time, and He will most definitely not come at that time since we were expecting it.

          Lastly, to conclude, let us heed the lesson of the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13). The five foolish virgins who did not take any oil with them clearly were not adequately prepared for the occasion. Therefore, while we do not know when Christ might come again, all we can do is to be constantly alert and prepared, living as though Christ will return tomorrow.

          • Dan

            Sorry, concerns not properly addressed. What basis one uses for predicting a meteor hitting the Earth is irrelevant. The issue is whether a prediction that it will hit the earth *soon* can ever be false. The answer is “yes”. Even if I don’t specify an exact time and date, there comes a time and date at which we should all agree that what I said was false.

            If the meteor has not hit after 10 years, what I said was false. A meteor may still hit at some point in the future. But, my initial claim, that it will hit *soon* has been falsified.

        • ken

          Rabbit and Dan Scripture is very explanitory on the rapture see references: then study some of the key word meanings.

          1Th 4:17 KJV 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

          One of the most important events that will take place in the end-times is the rapture of the Church. The rapture is when Jesus comes into the clouds for His Church. Some argue against the doctrine of the rapture because the word ‘rapture’ is not in Scripture. While this is true, the concepts certainly are found in Scripture. The word ‘rapture’ is a Latin word that means ‘catching away’, and that’s exactly what will happen when Jesus stands in those clouds. Now let’s look at some of the verses and concepts that let us know that Jesus is coming back for His Church.
          Jesus tells us that He will come back for us.

          Joh 14:1-3 KJV Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

          2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

          3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

          Many verses talk about the appearing of Jesus.

          1Th 5:23 KJV And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

          1Pe 1:7 KJV That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

          2Th 2:6 KJV And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

          2Th 2:8 KJV And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

          2Ti 4:8 KJV Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

          Heb 9:28 KJV So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

          1Pe 5:4 KJV And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

          1Jo 2:28-2 KJV 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

          29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

          KJV 1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

          2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

          Paul gives us a description of the rapture.

          1Co 15:23 KJV But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

          1Co 15:51-57 KJV 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

          52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

          53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

          54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

          55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

          56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

          57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

          1Th 4:13-18 KJV 13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

          14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

          15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

          16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

          17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

          18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

          2Th 2:1-3 KJV Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

          2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

          3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

          Phi 3:20-21 KJV 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

          21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

          Many argue when this will take place. Some believe it will take place before the Great Tribulation (pre-tribulation). Others see the rapture as taking place in the middle of the Great Tribulation (mid-tribulation). Still others see the rapture as taking place after the Great Tribulation (post tribulation). I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture. One reason I believe this is because we are with Jesus when He comes back at His second coming.

          1Th 2:19 KJV For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

          1Th 3:13 KJV To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

          Col 3:4 KJV When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
          The Great Tribulation is a time of wrath. It is the wrath of God poured out on Israel and the whole world. The Scriptures tell us that He will keep us from wrath and that we are not appointed to the wrath that is to come.

          Luk 21:34-36 KJV 34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
          35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
          36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

          1Th 1:10 KJV And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

          1Th 5:9 KJV For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

          Rev 3:10 KJV Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

          It simply would not make sense for the Church to go through the Great Tribulation when Jesus told us that He would keep us from His wrath.

          Throughout the book of Revelation we see descriptions of the rapture and of the saints in heaven.

          Rev 4:1 KJV After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

          Rev 5:8-10 KJV 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
          9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
          10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

          Rev 19:9 KJV And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

          Rev 19:11-16 KJV 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
          12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
          13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
          14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
          15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
          16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

          Rev 20:6 KJV Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

          The rapture can take place at any moment.

          Rom 8:19 KJV For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

          1Co 1:7-8 KJV 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
          8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

          Phi 4:5 KJV Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

          1Ti 6:14 KJV That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

          Tit 2:13 KJV Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

          Jam 5:7-9 KJV 7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
          8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
          9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

          Rev 2:25 KJV But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

          If the rapture takes place after the events in Revelation start, we could know from the events when the rapture would take place. Jesus said that we could not know the day or the hour of His return.

          Mat 25:13 KJV Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

          It can happen at any moment. Jesus will step into the clouds, and with a shout He will call His people to meet Him in the clouds. Those that are ready to go will meet Jesus in the air. This event will trigger the outpouring of God’s wrath on the world. Regardless of when you believe the rapture will take place, the rapture will take place. Be watching and be ready.

          • Dan

            Thanks for the long post. But, I don’t see that this has anything whatsoever to do with what I said.

      • lisa

        Mr. Camping was totally wrong. Though his earnestness is commendable, he is foolish to try and target a specific date. Did not Jesus say, ‘ I come as a thief in the night?”!

    • Damon

      Dan,
      nobody on the earth knows the date, time and place when we will be going home but the Apostle Paul tells us to live every day knowing that he is soon coming back. All i can say to you is that it is soon

      • Dan

        If I say that you will get married soon, does that commit me to you getting married in 5 years. If after 5 years you are not married, what I said was false.

        Does something happening 100 years from now count as happening soon or in the near future? Does you claim that he is coming soon commit you to his coming within 100 years? If so, make that explicit. So, if after 100 years he is not here, you were wrong. If not, then, I’m not sure i understand what you mean by “soon”. If its taking place soon is consistent with its happening after 100 years, your claim that it will happen soon is meaningless. Better not to scare the children with then.

    • restlessnative

      The end is as near as our last breath. It’s that simple, our lives can end at anytime and only God knows that time. It’s more important to have our spiritual houses in order than to try to make predictions we cannot begin to calculate.

    • ron

      Why do people think that it is necessary to end the world?
      If the so called god created good ,and, of necessity,evil,{for there cannot be one without the other}.He is guilty of setting up, and, according to many, he is responsible for ALL occurences whether for the good of all,or, the detriment of all,then, whats the problem?

    • http://ocii.com/~dpwozney/daniel70.htm David Wozney

      The writers of the New Testament believed that Jesus would return for His church (1 Corinthians 15:51-54, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17) near in time, soon, and quickly relative to other future prophetic events in the Bible. No other future prophetic event in the Bible has to occur prior to 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 and 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17. This supernatural event will end the present church age and may occur at any moment. This has been the case since about the late 60′s A.D. The end of all things in the present church age is an imminent event (1 Peter 4:7).

    • 4Yahshua

      The Bible = Best Instructions Before Leaving Earth

      Yahshua said, “No man knows the day or hour.” Matthew 24:36 He said nothing about the year! Yahweh told Noah that man’s days would be 120 years, Genesis 6:3.
      According to Yahweh’s Calendar 120 Jubilee years equals 6000 years. Every 50th year is a Jubilee. (120 X 50) At the end of these years, Yahshua will come. It will be on a Day of Atonement because the Jubilee years begin on this day. If we could no for sure the year of Jubilee during Yahshua’s life we could know the year by adding 2000 years to that year. However, He could shorten these years in order to save His saints.
      Of most importance is be saved!Please consider this your altar call to believe on Yahshua, the Son of Yahweh. THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS CHRISTIANITY WHICH CONTAINS THE #666 (Revelation 13:18,Greek Diaglott) AND THE MARK OF THE BEAST!!
      Choose to be sealed with the True Names of the Father and Son to survive forever! Revelation 14:1
      Yahshua is returning SOON (No Rapture!) and no New World Order can stop Him! HalleluYah! This ancient Hebrew word means “Praise ye Yah”. Peace in Them!

    • wittykid

      “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
      —Matthew 24:36-44

  • http://modestfashioncents.blogspot.com Renee

    For those who find themselves feeling lost, bewildered and looking for someplace to turn following this perdiction of Campings. I’m willing to talk to you – I was there too – 17 years ago.

    http://modestfashioncents.blogspot.com/2011/05/family-radio-dooms-day-confessions.html

    • http://modestfashioncents.blogspot.com Renee

      I have continued to up date my story and experiance with the 1994 perdiction. So, I will just “repost” the blog address and those who wish to read can brouse posts at will.
      http://modestfashioncents.blogspot.com

  • sgh

    “No one knows the hour in which our Lord is coming”.

    Mr. Camping used his wealth and just-loud-enough voice to unwittingly make himself a stumbling block and false prophet. Whether or not he know will feel guilty or continue on as an unknowing and loudly braying donkey is his decision, but people who know and believe in God should know that this has happened before. “The futures not ours to see, que cera, cera”.

    Maybe he was led to do with he did as a test of faith, who knows. No more animosity though, that is THE test for us all…

  • Paula

    It amazes me the lust for destruction, nothing about those left behind to face the terrible tribulation? You know the ones that will rebuild earth and create a New Heaven on earth? If Jesus was walking the earth right now would he rapture if even one person was left behind? The Jesus I know would not. He would be either “we all go or no one does”. This is known as “compassion”. He died his horrible death for this? I think we all forget these words, “and God so Loved the earth He gave his only begotten son” How dare we love it any less.

    • Handy

      Paula, If you look in scripture it says that the whole world I.E. the created world trees and animals waits for the regeneration. It is not a “lust for destruction” it is a desire to see His kingdom come. This world is full of sin and it’s evidence is everywhere. Also if you look at what Jesus said about the virgins you would understand the need to be right with God and having your lamp trimmed and full of oil. Not everyone that says Lord Lord will enter into the kingdom. But those that do his will. We are given a choice everyday to either do His will or our own. And let’s not forget the ending of that verse ” That those that believe upon him should not be dammed but have eternal life. It is His desire that all would be saved. But if you read further you will see that few will be saved and his flock is called a little flock. If the rest of the world does not take his warnings and offer seriously then their blood is upon them. Time is short. Be careful of the Idol you make him out to be. He did not come to bring peace but a sword.

  • james

    I’m just happy that people are talking about GOD!
    The point made in the story that their “Heart was in the right place”. Never thought of it that way.
    Their mistake in this matter was they listened to a man.
    Their bible clearly says NO ONE will know the time.
    Very well written.
    It’s later than you think!

  • http://unsealing-the-seven-seals.blogspot.com/ Michael Cecil

    A VERY good, and compassionate, letter. (And how LITTLE compassion have I seen recently for those who have been so egregiously misled.)

    But still he misses the one DOCTRINAL issue here:

    The Doctrine of the ‘Rapture’ is a Satanic doctrine in and of itself.

    It is based upon the denial that Jesus taught the Doctrine of “resurrection” as a Doctrine of ‘Rebirth’; and its companion florid delusion and Satanic doctrine is that Jesus will return ‘riding a white horse out of the sky’.

  • steven w

    What a thoughtful and compassionate essay.
    The ‘end of the world’ comes for many thousands of us every day. we are all only a few lost breaths or a wrong turn away from it.
    It’s good to get a ‘memento mori’ from Camping. Let us consider ‘sister death’ once in a while. All here below is transitory. In the Buddhist tradition sometimes monks meditate all night staring at a skull.
    Each of us, w/ the help of the Holy Spirit, must see the need for repentance and the eternal life and happiness Christ offers that comes with and through that.
    Not from fear of death, but from the love of God, our hearts are turned from wrong.

  • http://leejohnbarnes.blogspot.com/ Lee John Barnes

    Camping made the mistake of confusing the subjective nature of the Rapture as the moment of Gnostic enlightenment with an objective global event.

    The Rapture is the moment any human being achieves Arhat – enlightenment.

    In the Gnostic Gospels and other Gnostic teachings it explains the Rapture as the moment the ego and self enter into the divine – the inner light of the spark of God within the soul merges with the Pleroma.

    The problem is that the Bible misses out its most important gospel – The Gospel of Thomas – which explains the Gnosis and the meaning of events like the Rapture.

  • Mark

    If I’m not mistaken. Christ the Messiah (Messa, he who is annointed with the fat/oil of the Egyptian Nile Crocadile). Stated very clearly he would return before those he spoke with around 33CE, passed away. So it’s possible he has already returned. Isn’t it? The one’s I’m concerned about are the 500 who were raised out of their graves at the crucifixon scene. Were they “raptured”? Or did they have to die all over again? I think these questions deserve honest answers. I will not accept the “mysterious ways” argument.

  • Tom Lowe

    “As it was in the beginning, is now, and shall forever be, world without end, Yawn.”

  • John

    People are genuinely gullible creatures. The Christian religion, like all religions, is based on themes that come from sun worshipping. In other words, Christ never existed as a physical person. He was a personification of an astrological story. It’s the same story that the Pagans, Egyptians, and Sumerian cultures worshipped.

    Of course there’s a creative force in the universe that is responsible for life throughout the cosmos. All of this didn’t happen by mere chance. The Christ story, and the other worshipped false gods, however is nothing more than a mythological story designed to mind control and confuse the masses. And this it has done very successfully for thousands of years.

    Religion is a substitute for thinking and it’s a very clever tool used by the people that really run the world to manage the common slaves.

    • wittykid

      hi john! i respect what you believed in. but i would like to correct what you’ve said that Christ doesn’t exist as a physical person, He does exist as one before.remember that He died on the cross for us(sinners) to be saved For God loved the world that He gave His begotten son.

      truly God will return but no one knows when.We should be prepared always

      “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
      —Matthew 24:23-31

      God bless you!

    • http://patheos Brian

      Very true John, but I’d like to know what happens to all the money & property donated by these gullible people to “Family Radio” just prior to the rapture. One of their people on a local radio station stated, ” I don’t fnow if it’s possible to return the donations. Just like religios organizations, take the money from your people, but let God take care of them.

  • true patriot

    Please,
    Camping deserves everything they can throw at him. He wanted US to BURN while he and the rest went to heaven! Thats what he really thinks of us!! To hell with this false prophet!!

  • Steve Wright

    funny – even Jesus says in Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” KJV ..in fact all of matt 24 talks about it ..so how is it Uncle Harold or anyone would know the day or hour? 5 5 5
    steve
    Thailand

  • reason prevails

    I’ll boil it down for you: Idiot religion poisons everything. Think for yourselves and throw off the yoke of superstitious claptrap.

  • Fuyer Fythliuo

    Rapture is one of God’s funniest jokes. If He let his own son be nailed to the cross, why please would He let some crazy preacher to escape death and proceed directly to heaven? Think about that folks, heaven is supposed to be for spirits who come from dead people. What exactly would a human do up there? Spirits probably don’t have to eat anything, and you know how many people have died over time. If they could and they did all take a crap at the same time, the floor of heaven would break and it would be raining shit on us for months.

    It is a joke folks, there ain’t no rapture, at least not like you are led to think. Maybe rapture means when you die your spirit is raptured from your corpse. That is all it could possibly mean.

    Live life and enjoy it, every day, that is what God probably would have told us if He so desired.

    • Richman

      The people in first-century Corinth also believed that when you die, you die and your body decays. Paul, writing the message God gave him, insists that people will be raised physically from death, which means that we will have bodies in heaven. “We shall not all sleep (die) but we shall all be changed…the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:50-53) So it is not the spirits of the dead that inhabit heaven, but the spiritual bodies of the living, for “if there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:44)
      Paul said, just as you did, “If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.” However, Paul didn’t enjoy life, and half the time he hardly even lived life; he nearly died more than once (2 Corinthians 11:23/29). Why would he do this? Because he knew that Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of God and that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 This is why Dalrymple commends the followers of Camping for their zeal to warn people of the coming judgment, although they were misguided as to the timing.

  • Lonnie

    Camping is a false prophet whose other teachings are laced with error and fololishness. In the Old Testament, the Mosaic Law would have him stoned to death. He has amassed, at last report, $134 million from his irresponsible ramblings. Maybe the author would write a kind and empathetic letter to Rasputin 100 years ago, too. Give us a break!

  • Waverly

    Rapture doctrine is for children ! By that, I mean it not only was a doctrine based on a vision of a “child” but that it is childish thinking. On top of that, it isn’t even scripture based unless you only take a few verses of the bible out of context to defend your fantasies. I could spend all day refuting every ‘rapture/end of the world’ argument these type of people use. I used to believe this crap when I was 19 y/o….still just a child really….just in college, out on my own, and “bewildered” by life. But that is who this rapture doctrine appeals to most….those that are children spiritually. Harold Camping should have known better at his age even back in 1994. He just never grew up or didn’t take the spiritual effort of really digesting the scriptures of God. And as for predicting the “end of the world”…….scripture states the wicked one will be revealed first; the Anti-Christ, who will persecute the Christians unto death (just like some of the Roman Caesars did in the time of the apostle John). Getting laughed at because you are a nut job who doesn’t read his/her bible and makes a fool of themselves on TV, isn’t the persecution spoken of in the bible. Real persecution is facing physical abuse, imprisonment or death because you stand up for your faith (live your faith) and the demons see the REAL JESUS inside you and try to destroy you for your testimony. Grow up Harold Camping and all those other “rapture children” and start reading, believing and living the scriptures.

  • Dave E. Iles

    I, like the vast majority knew that this prediction was made in error. However, the “season” of these events that were foretold long ago are now upon us. You would have to be completely blind at this point not to see that the world is reaching a “flash-point” event being fomented by our completely corrupt (Satanic) government and the global banking cartel and the military Industrial Complex that owns it.

    Here’s the lesson that maybe Christians should heed and I’ve heard many say the following: “I don’t need to be concerned about this world – I’m going to be Raptured”. Maybe, but you’re here now and you’re just as responsible for our nation and world as the next person. The whole “Rapture” thing is a really convenient cop-out that many Christians use to not get involved with exposing injustice and evil in our world.

    If we Christians don’t stand against darkness then, what good are we? I say, forget about dates and get in the fight and expose evil where ever you find it and never back-off! Our nation is turning into a stinking cesspool of corruption, perversion, greed and we are becoming the most evil nation the world has ever known while the vast majority of so-called Christians say and do absolutely NOTHING!!!

    I sick to death of the Hypocrisy of the Christian churches and their sanctimonious complacency with regard to fighting to save our nation from the two completely corrupt political parties that are destroying our nation. STAND-UP AND EXPOSE EVIL!

    • Handy

      Ec 8:5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man‘s heart discerneth both time and judgment.
      Pr 22:3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
      Ec 7:7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.

      I do understand where you are coming from my friend but this is not the time to scream at the house tops. I to know these things and have wrangled with God in prayer about what is going on. But His reply to me was “Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the Heathen”. The thing to do now is to teach out brothers and sisters what you know. Time is short and most are still sleeping. And a parting thought for you, Ps 11:3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

      We wait for the Lord and Pray and be faithful. It’s not our job to change the world. Ours is to be a light to those around us.

    • Cole

      Dave, Thank you for stating the very point I’ve been raging about for years, that is ….willingly castrated Christians! I FIERCELY CHARGE these out of LOVE….these self absorbed, pacifist, whiny, uninvolved, pathetically irresponsible, gullible, stupid, feminized, infantile, portfolio and prosperity driven….compromising COWARDS!!!! Glad to hear I’m not left as the only Christian man left to fight this overwhelming enemy on my own. They ( our deluded brothers) are lovers of the world, and traitors of their faith and to the very God they claim to serve…..woe be unto them!!!! They will be held to account. Despite these fools I WILL STAND EVEN IF ALONE.

  • Jonathan

    A beautiful read. Thank you for this one. As you so rightly pointed out, anyone whose faith is shaken by such events had a faith, not in God really, but in some particular plan or action attributed to God. A faith that is God-initiated and God-sustained will persevere until the end – A faith of which, Christ is truly the author and finisher. All other faith (based on people/things/predictions/evidence) will crumble and only that which will be tested and passed by the fire of adversity will remain. 1 Peter 1:5-7. God values our faith so much that He sends us trials to purify it. God bless.

    • Handy

      My heart goes to those that deeply desire to see our Lord, I hope that this will help them to grow and to seek the truth they could not or would not hear. You are right that He will shake all that can be shaken. But let us remember to carry our brothers and Sisters burdens. Ro 15:1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. By the Grace
      “undeserving favor, love and strength” Goeth we.

  • Alexis

    At church on Sunday, our paster reminded us that the bible does in deed say Jesus is coming soon. The point you should get is that Gods timing and our timing are not one in the same. Jesus said he is coming soon, yet he does not even know when. God is the only one who knows and we are not able nor meant to rationalize the date in which he comes. Just prepare your heart.

    • Handy

      It would be better for him to simply read the scriptures! No we will not know the day, but we will know the seasons if we are really looking. Let us awake and see what is around us.

      Much love

      3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
      4 ¶ And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
      5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
      6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
      7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
      8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
      9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
      10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
      11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
      12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
      13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
      14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
      15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
      16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
      17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
      18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
      19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
      20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
      21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
      22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
      23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
      24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
      25 Behold, I have told you before.
      26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
      27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
      28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
      29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
      30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
      31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
      32 ¶ Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
      33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
      34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
      35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
      36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
      37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
      38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
      39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
      40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
      41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
      42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
      43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
      44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
      45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
      46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
      47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
      48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
      49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
      50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
      51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

  • Rico Nance

    Jehovah’s Witnesses have been doing this same BS for over a century. Wise up!

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    I was raptured on the 21st at 8pm.

    It’s true. But the Lord took one look at me and threw me back.

    • Handy

      Pr 10:14 Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.

  • Cheryl

    The compassion you have demonstrated toward those who made the mistake of putting their faith in a fallible human being moved me to tears. Who of us at some point or another hasn’t put more trust in another individual than was wise? While none of us would score 100% on a theology test, it is good to know that we serve a God who sought us, redeemed us, and sanctifies us based not on what we bring, but upon the gift that He gives and His pursuit of us! Still, it is humbling to me to realize that what we share with others has impact and that each of us bears influence. We need to be diligent to represent the Word of God and not our own interpretation.

    • Mary

      Cheryl, I agree with you. You responded with compassion and with the love of God. I am not a theologian; however, God hasn’t written His book to keep us ignorant. All creation, knows that something is different – the human race and earth is on the cusp. God tells us that no one knows the day nor the hour – then the very next paragraph says, “But I would not have you to be ignorant.” His people know the signs and we are to prepare. The world is not going to end – remember that there is a tribulation and the Millenium (sp?) and many things have to happen before the world “ends.” Hmmmm, I think I said way more than I wanted to, because I just wanted to say, “Thank you Cheryl, for responding with God’s heart.”

  • Eldor12

    There will never be a rapture. Its all nonsense, fairytale and not even possible. Its not going to happen not next year not over 1000 not over 3000 years.

  • Dan Ribera

    Thanks for this most gracious and wise response. I have re-posted on FB, sent a link to my colleagues, and read it to my two Apologetics classes. Email me if you want the name of my school. Thanks for writing and sharing this.

  • jim p

    This kind of thing is about people using the Lord to justify their exalted sense of themselves. When you define yourself as inherently better than most of humanity, you’re messing with Satan’s version of Christ’s teaching, not Christ’s. It’s not about YOU being saved, vindicated, lifted above your fellows, or any other self-serving perversion of His teaching and instruction.

    The only reason you are given prosperity — material or spiritual — is so you can help the least among us, it’s not a sign of how superior you are, whatever nonsense someone might tell you.

    Christ lays out the requirements for salvation in Matthew 25:31-46. It is about taking care of the worst-off amongst us. It is not about having the right doctrine, dropping the Lord’s name into every conversation, even about fervent belief in Jesus. It’s how you treat the least among us, and nothing else. People need to wake up to the reality that real religion is not about our own pre-eminence. It’s about constantly weighing our own heart, not our neighbors. It’s about about helping your fellows, about forcing oneself to ever greater mercy and generosity.

    You’ll also note that God did not put “deserving” in front of “poor” in the Bible. Ask yourself if God didn’t but it there, who did and for what purpose?

    • Handy

      5:4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

      Our salvation does not hinge on the things that you do for the poor. You do build up your treasures in heaven when doing such things though.

      Also the believers were not a charity bank.

      Mr 14:7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

      2cor 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

      You said that it does not even depend on the right doctrine! Scripture disagrees with you.

      Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

      John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
      29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

      If we believe that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God and that He only spoke the things that God the Father told him then we will do those things he told us to do in faith believing that He will do the things that He said He would do. It’s called Faith. And it was not something that you had, it is given to you.

      Our faith is based upon truth. What would happen if Jesus did not have the right doctrine? When Satan tempted him on the mount?

      Correct doctrine is everything.

      Matt 15:7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
      8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

      Lu 11:42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

      There are many faiths in the world. But only one was handed down from the saints.

      I understand your desire to the poor and it is commendable but don’t confuse salvation with your giving. Those things will come from salvation.

      Much love

      • jim p

        Thank you very much for your kind and well-thought out and considered reply.

        I think you are mistaken, though.

        Nothing you’ve quoted overrides who will sit in heaven and who will be sent to hell as stated in Matt 25:31-46. In fact, they tend to highlight it. “Believe” is from the word meaning “to give lease to.” So it’s not an abstract or intellectual thing. It’s not that surge of sentimentality people mistake for emotion. (And, btw, the Soul aka psyche is not the Spirit.) Belief is an action. You give lease to Jesus. And Jesus says “take care of the least and you do it for me.”

        That we shall always have the poor with us is not a relief from making them (Jesus) a priority. The specific story is about having a sense of perspective, and recognizing the greater and lesser event at a given moment.

        After all, we are instructed that the path is narrow, and very few will follow the detailed instructions recorded in Matthew. Therefore, the poor shall always be with us. As will the primacy of serving them (aka “Jesus”).

        Jesus was untemptable (excuse the invention) because he loved God entirely. Not because he had an intellectual frame. The Lord our God is a Living God, and as such we are in relation to Him, whether we acknowledge it or not, whether we have the right words and sentiments or not. There is no getting away from this reality. Just like we are all in relation to gravity while we walk the earth. God is the fact about which all else revolves.

        Doctrine is Satan’s doing, and the proof is the large number of cruel and vicious murders, literally 10% of the ancient world starting in the 4th C, all conducted for the sake of personal glory, regard in the eyes of men, and for worldly power. This is just the history. It is true of the perverse versions of Christ’s teaching we suffer now, where people think it about how precious they themselves are, and all they have to do is flatter Jesus all the time. As if he needed their flattery. The entire mentality hinges of one’s self-importance, and this is the “god” such worship.

        Christ gave no instruction except to greater Mercy, and watchfulness, and discernment. All of which are the natural outpourings which arise from loving God and no other.

        See, people can’t have it both ways. They place their love of position, either what they imagine they are already granted in heaven, or what they are gifted or seize on earth, high above their love of God. This is what is meant by “lukewarm.” Anything that makes you feel special and above others is a lie. It’s infantilism in an adult body, and nothing else. If God raises this one for a time, and lowers that one for a time, that’s one thing. No human can claim that power, or understanding God’s plan and actions, without being possessed by a rapacious vanity. For God can, at any moment, bestow his Mercy on anyone of us. Ask Paul.

        And PS: It was Satan’s doing, putting “deserving” in front of “poor.” God didn’t forget to put the qualifier in when He wrote the book, be certain. English Puritans, convinced of their own rectitude and greedy for prosperity invented that for their own self-serving interests. As they did the bit about misinterpreting “poor always with you” as a justification for ignoring what Christ actually told us. The fount of murder, theft, and lies which Henry VIII unleashed purely so he could satisfy his lust for women and lust for power, we, and all humanity suffer from it to this day.

        Again, thank you for your kind thoughts and intentions. May you always find favor with God, and may you always remember Him as you go through this world, and meet Him in his various guises.

        PPS: I don’t remember if “He’s the same in you as He is in me” is in the Bible or not. But behind that phrase is a great, a great and shattering, truth.

  • http://www.rense.com james

    it says right in the scriptures about this end time that no man knoweth the day or the hour of this event, but to be aware & ready lest it over-take you as a theif in the night. camping is a false-prophet leading many astray. the blind can’t lead. people need to read the scriptures for themselves & be alert to the times & signs. christ is at the doors.

  • TERRI

    I’m not upset, it’s not my place to judge him anyway. Jesus may have returned already or the time is near, judgement may have come or is near. I certainly don’t care to hear the opinions of those with no faith or those who have never even opened the bible yet quote that “no man knows” for the bible also reveals many other signs for a reason, to be ready.

    We certainly are experiencing the highest magnitude of disasters

    • wittykid

      hello!

      i agree with you..

    • Chris

      “We certainly are experiencing the highest magnitude of disasters” that you can remember. Everyone that has proclaimed that “the time is near” has witnessed the highest magnitude of disasters that they can remember. It does not matter whether we are noticing an unusually great number of major disasters, or that it appears that life just couldn’t get any better. Those who are just looking out for themselves will live their lives one way, while those who show interest in the needs of others will live their lives yet another way. You just need to determine which category you fall in to, and live your life accordingly.

  • JamesKL

    B.S. You even said it.

    “Jesus tells us specifically (Mark 13:32) that no one knows when the end will come.”

    So basically Camping and his followers called God a liar. He will have to answer for this and the fact that some of the disillusioned will turn their back on the faith because of his actions.

    • Mark

      Contraire’.
      Jesus indeed said he would return in clouds of glory, sitting at his father’s right hand. BEFORE THE PEOPLE HE WAS SPEAKING TO PASSED AWAY!
      Stop the insanity! If a 1st grader wrote a letter and said it is without mistakes and perfect. Would you believe It? Of course not!. So why do people today subscribe to a majority illiterate Bronze Age civilisation, on today’s terms?
      All one needs to see the mass confusion, is to walk into a bookstore and look at all of the books written to explain and excuse religious doctrine. Now think about it. The torah and bible were written by a slightly less ignorant group of people to control the truely ignorant. The earth is spherical, the sun does not stand still for wars and donkeys do not talk. Please report to the 21st century.

      • Sayre Swarztrauber

        Jesus did not say that the end of the world would come before those listening passed away. He said that the Son of Man would come before many of those listening would pass away. In 70AD Jerusalem was destroyed. This may have been the event Jesus was referring to. To the Jews of the time the destruction of Jerusalem was the end of the world and many listening were alive when that happened. You have to be very careful when you interpret scriptures. St. Peter said in 2nd Peter 3:16 that may would read St. Paul’s letters to their own destruction. I am afraid that this has happened again on May 21. Have the humility of the eunuch in Acts 8 – he told Philip “how can I understand unless someone teaches me.” This whole event happened because people interpreted scriptures and spoke with authority that God did not give them.

  • J

    I’ve listened to Camping on the radio while driving when no other station would get reception. I see him as a man full of narcissism. For decades, every day he has people calling him asking him questions as if he is some font of omniscience, and he has likely come to believe it. People call in with arcane questions and no matter what, he always has an answer which to my mind usually sounds invented ‘off the cuff’ and when he’s really clueless he sort of just ends the call quickly. He’s a man who will question everyone else’s beliefs or ideas, but never question his own, and he’s so certain that he is speaking for God that he ‘found the keys’ to the Bible, which was likely some kind of hocus pocus he invented to support his own view of himself as a prophet. If you want to see an elephant in a large cloud, you will. What amazing hubris. I believe he mentally feels separate and above humanity at large, and secretly revels in the idea that he is one of God’s chosen ‘insiders’ and everyone else will perish for not listening to him-and separation and narcissism is the opposite of Godlieness, despite all his talk about God. I really feel sorry for all the people who sold off all their things and gave away their money because of him. These are the same people who would condemn the cultishness of Jim Jones, Sai Baba, the Moonies or other cultists like Kim of North Korea, or even the cult of Obama …they’re just more people who set aside their brains and power in lieu of doctrinal adherence to a charismatic leader daddy type who tells them what they want to hear and incidentally always takes donations. infowars.com

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks for that info, J. -Tim

  • Dan

    This is with love. The claim that the rapture will take place “soon” or in the “near” future or that Jesus is coming “soon” or that his return is “near” is false in just the way Camping’s claim that this will happen on 5/21/11 is false. “Near” is a vague term meaning that there is no precise cut off time between an event happening in the near future and it happening at some time in the not near future or not happening at all. So, asking for an exact cut off time is unfair. That much is conceded.

    But, it should not be concluded from this that there is no time at which we can conclude that the claim is false.

    For instance, if my doctor tells me that I don’t have much to live, then, even though he does not tell me the precise time and date when I will die, if I don’t die within 5 years of his telling me this, what he said was false.

    Even though he did not predict a precise time and date, after 5 years, if I’m still alive, what he said is clearly false.

    He can respond in one of two ways. He can just admit that he was wrong. Or, he can be weasely and say that he never gave me a precise time and date. That he did not give me a precise time and date is a red herring. If he was saying that I could die within 5 years or live past 5 years, then, what he said was meaningless. What did he mean that I did not have much longer to live? He should have just shut his mouth and not made me so anxious if his claim was consistent with me living past 5 years.

    If claiming that Jesus is coming soon does not commit you to his coming within the next 50 years, then, shut up about it. You are unnecessarily making people anxious and frightening children. If it does commit you to his coming within the next 50 years, make that clear. So, if it does not happen, we can come to you and say that you were wrong.

    • wittykid

      hi Dan!

      i understand what you’ve said..but truly Christ will come but no one knows when.Christians kept on telling that Christ will come soon for us to be prepared and open our eyes and hearts to the Lord!

      God bless you!

      • Dan

        No one knows when? You mean we have no idea when? So, we don’t know whether it is in 50 years or 1000 years or 10,000 years?

        Then, can people just shut up about it.

        The sun’s energy is going to run out at some point and the entire solar system is going to die a cold death. But, that is not going to happen for another few billion years.

        The cold death is far enough away that I shouldn’t scare children with it by say that it is *near*, right?

    • j2

      Dan- this is with love.. Quit your rambling.. Humble yourself

      • Dan

        This kind of response is my favorite!

    • Chris

      Dan
      God and a man were having a conversation, and God said “In my eyes, infinity is like a second”. Then God said “In my mind, a Trillion Dollars is like a penny”. At this point, the man spoke up and asked God “Could you please give me a penny?”. To this God responded “Can you wait a second?”

      If someone claims that you don’t have long to live, and you live another fifty years, are they truely wrong if your timeframe is infinity? How bout if they state that your life will come abruptly to an end within 1% of infinity? If it is cliamed that Christ will return “soon”, shouldn’t you consider looking at His watch, the same as you would look at your watch to determine the effective time frame standard? We all have to live our lives in line with our beliefs. I live mine that way, and if my beliefs are incorrect, it’s of no consequence. If one lives their life based on a lack of belief, and they are incorrect, imagine the consequences then. I choose to live my way. Go on about your life as you choose. Good day!

      • Dan

        Chris,

        You have missed the point. The good thing about Camping is that he put a date out there so once the date comes and goes, we can ignore him. He made a falsifiable claim. That is to be commended. He did scare children and get animals euthanized, but, at least now, we don’t have to bother with him.

        But you people can keep scaring chidlren even 50 years from now because you will not commit to a falsifiable claim.

        Here is a way to put it. At what point can we say that you were wrong? At what point is the claim that the rapture is *near* false?

        Insofar as the answer is “never”, your claim is worse than Camping’s. And, you are doing more harm than he did.

  • ….

    I think this is going to get worse as the the States collapses over the next few years. doomsday will be on the world’s mind

  • http://www.jean-bush.blogspot.com Jean Bush

    The entire New Testament is a forgery. Jesus Christ and Christianity was created by Constintine as a way to end the squabbling amongst the various pagan religions at the time by making a one god one saviour religion.

    Read it here: http://jean-bush.blogspot.com/2011/05/forged-origins-of-new-testament.html

  • Chuck Vekert

    Camping’s heart was in the right place? He calculated that 200 million would be saved. That leaves about 5,800,000,000 men, women, and children going to hell. All the Christian churches have been taken over by Satan, much less other faiths. Camping represents the worst sort of “Christian” intolerance. Good riddance to his hate and intolerance.

    • Dan

      Well said Chuck.

      But, it is not only Camping. Any Christian who welcomes the rapture and the tribulation is morally bankrupt.

      You would welcome the destruction and agony of billions of people because you are one of the lucky ones that are exempt? It’s like being indifferent to what happened to the people of Japan after the earthquake because it did not directly affect you.

      Shame on you!

      That is morally contemptible. You should be praying and fasting day and night pleading with God to change his mind about the tribulation.

      Don’t say that the *damned* deserve it because they don’t believe. That shows even more how morally bankrupt you are. No one whose moral sensibility hasn’t been completely corrupted by religious indoctrination would suggest that.

  • Handy

    It is heart breaking to know that many believed in this man. For those that bought into this lie, PLEASE, DON’T GIVE UP. All of us at one time or another has believed in something to our hurt. Thankfully you are still alive and though this has shaken your faith, let it not destroy your faith. Go now and re-read your bible and see what you have missed. Ask God to reveal to you what you have been missing and believe Him that he will reveal it to you IN SCRIPTURE not by some man. And not just one or two lines but by study and context. These are very dark times and there are many false christs “I.E. anointed to speak for God” They say they speak for God but don’t believe it. We now truly live in Babylon. The root of that word is babel which means undicernable language. And we have a million different “religions” teaching they are the only way but using the same book. Something is not right. Jesus said this day would come and it is here. This is the time to gird up your loins in strength and renew your hearts to God. He will not cast you off. Throw off your shame and stand in the truth. When those who don’t believe hound you for this just remember. A righteous man may fall seven times but the Lord will hold him up. I have been where you are now and I know the shame that comes with following someone or something that turned out to not be true. But remember, humility before honor. God shall burn you to ashes, but there is beauty and purity from those ashes. Satan shall try to destroy you heart and your faith and sift you like sand. But God is able to restore what the kanker worm has eaten. And He is able to turn that which was bad to good. Have faith and know that He loves you. Let this be a new day and do not look back.

    Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

    Also

    2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

    I know it is not easy to glory in our weakness but it is very easy to glory in His strength.

    Thanks be to God, as He has not left us desolate, but we have a helper. Our Lord sits at the right hand of the throne and He is our High Priest. Not some man here on earth.

    He will not leave you nor forsake you…….

    Much Love

  • walt

    Stop believing in man, and start believing in God.
    No preacher has any better connections to God than any other believer. He is just a man and all men are just as important and loved by God than any other.
    Camping was mislead like millions of others. Stop worrying about the last days, predictions of the end of days, we will all have our last day- be prepared for yours and do it the best way you know. Not everyone is equal when it comes to faith and believing- just keep an open heart and mind and at least read the word and try and understand in your own heart and your needs will be met.
    Remember, it is God who calls you, not you who calls God. He does his own will.
    I have no bad feelings for Camping, but for those who don’t know enough about Gods word to know better than to fall for his mistake. Get educated to be prepared for these things that will come again so you can recognize the truth when it comes.

  • Christian C.

    Harold Camping’s been in a fog for a few years now at least. I’ve listened to him on and off on WFME for years and his recall of the Word and clarity of thought given his age is astonishing. Too bad he’s just become more and more deluded and inexorably convinced of the infallibility of his interpretation of Scriptures—particularly on the Church and End Times. Maybe he just knows his life is about to expire and he’s trying to put a dramatic point atop the accomplishments of his radio ministry. I so love him for his reverence for God’s Word, his uncompromising zeal for what he believes is the truth, his exhortation for people to humbly seek God’s salvation, and his emphasis on obedience to the Word of God, no matter how unpopular it becomes. I just wish he could have anticipated the fallout that is inevitably occurring in the wake of his audacious, uncorroborated, and unconfirmed ideas. We need to pray not just against the disillusionment of people who were taken in by brother Camping’s End Times teaching but also for Camping himself to learn humility and hermeneutics. If God were going to reveal the Day, I would think He’d do it as he did in the past—through dreams and visions to holy men/women rather than protracted, convoluted mathematical equations and backward logic. ~C

  • heather

    This is a great essay. Thank you for writing this. I agree whatever faith we are there is no excuse for putting down the people around us. Especially when they feel shattered and betrayed. As for Camping, all i want to hear from him is an admittance that he was wrong instead of claiming his math was off by five months. He needs to humble himself before God and take responsibility for those he has mislead. Again, thank you for writing this, although i did not believe Camping myself, I know many people who’s faith is wounded. I appreciate your sentiments and words of comfort to the wounded.

  • frustrated

    I’m not sure I understand the impulse to affirm people who are both ignorant about the content of the Bible and the historic Christian tradition, and so naive about how the media manipulates and profits from religious fringe movements. I guess, by comparison, you could say of people who spend a fortune on as-seen-on-tv diet and health pills that their “heart was in the right place,” but their credulousness is still destructive, for themselves and for others.

  • wittykid

    But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
    —1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

  • Rauline Judice

    I appreciate the fact that you responded humbly, lovingly and in a very Christian manner. Harshness will make the people involved understand what has happened. But to remind everyone that NO ONE knows, only our Heavenly Father, and if He felt we should have known the date, would He not have given it to Jesus to tell us? Thank you for your kind reply.

  • ‘lil bastard

    Cute. So how does the world work again? The runners run, the poopers poop, the mockers mock, and the atheists gloat? Poor Christians getting made fun of by the big bad gloatheists! Here’s to you: gloat gloat gloat gloat gloat gloat gloat gloat gloat gloat gloat gloat gloat gloat gloat gloat. Now Imma eat a gloat-and-baby sandwich and celebrate being able to gloat cause Imma big bad gloatheist.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Sometimes I don’t “approve” comments that add nothing helpful to the conversation. But this comment is pretty revealing, if you ask me. Why such eagerness to believe yourself superior? What’s the source of the insecurity? These are the questions that run through my mind when I see a comment like this.

  • OM PREM

    Timothy, Camping is an easy target and it was good that you took the high and compassionate road and didn’t attack him. Instead you wrote an excellent article sympathetic to all who believed Camping (including Camping himself) reminding them and the rest of us of the realities of scripture (it should not be read literally) and of the non-dual, non-egotistical attitudes appropriate to spiritual realization.

    Leave it to the Atheists to employ the faulty logic of converse accident and generalize from a spectacularly wrong particular to an unrelated general.

  • http://www.LarryShort.com/ Larry

    Reading through these various responses, it occurs to me that a lot of people are confused about what the Bible actually teaches about Christ’s return. I don’t think the Bible teaches that Jesus will return at any specific point in the near future or even necessarily that it will be “soon.” It merely teaches that his return is “imminent.”

    “Imminent” doesn’t mean that it will definitely happen tomorrow (or at any other specific time), it simply means that it COULD happen tomorrow (or today, or a year from today, or a thousand years from today). The point is that no one (but God) knows.

    And this is not a matter of what various Christians claim and believe, “hedging their bets” or whatever — that has nothing to do with it. The issue is what the Bible says. It basically says, be prepared, he could come back at any time. (In fact, it will most likely be when we least expect it … hence, like “a thief in the night.”)

    So how do we stay prepared? Stockpile food and build bomb shelters? No! Preparedness is simply an attitude of expectation, keeping on “short accounts” with God, making sure you are seeking His perspective, telling the truth in love to those around you, living with no regrets. That doesn’t sound so terrible, does it?

    I think we all need a much larger dose of humility about such matters. Scripture is vague on this score (God must have his own reasons for that), and therefore we can’t be specific.

  • JP

    I’m fairly certain Jesus would tell us not to “worry” about tomorrow (and all of the following tomorrows), and simply live as he has taught us to live!

  • Sayre Swarztrauber

    We must be very careful with interpretation of scripture. Peter said in 2nd Peter 3:16 that many would interpret Paul’s letters to their own destruction. I believe that St. Peter’s prediction has been fulfilled again last Saturday. We must interpret scripture with the humility of the eunuch in Acts 8. He asked Phillip “how can I understand unless someone teaches me?” The problem on May 21 was that Camping interpreted scripture and assumed an authority that was not granted to him by God.

  • Zhu Bajie

    Camping is not a cult leader. But I think it IS fair to say he is a crackpot.

  • Heidi

    This letter is so well- balanced with pointing out error and then finding grace for those who have been lead astray. That is what Christianity should be to the world. I am also blessed by the responses of those who are believers. True Christianity is a grounded in love. For those who know Christ and are known by Him we have nothing to fear. Keep letting your light shine to a lost world.

  • john

    There is only one God given authority on this earth to interpret Scripture .It is that very same authority that put the bible together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.It is the Roman Catholic Church.Ever since the Reformation…protestantism has been nothing but chaos and confusion..millions of various,disagreeing interpretations of scripture leading to hundreds of thousands of differant denominations each claiming to be the authority.Is this what Jesus had in mind?Is this of the Holy Spirit?Now you know why Jesus prayed..Father..I pray that they will be one..as you and I are one.

  • http://knmietz33@frontier.com Ken Mietzner

    Let’s stick to the basic facts that we know to be true. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man can come to the Father except through me.” AND, “Only the Father knows the hour…” Now, since when can a mere man/woman entertain the thoughts above God and claim a sovereign position? The foolishness of some children… < Kn

  • Charm

    Too bad you did not actually send this letter to Camping. I just saw the Associated Press video of Camping and he is totally unrepentant, claims the judgement day did come but “spiritually” and that the physical end of the world is now in October. What’s next: Kool-aide for his followers like Jim Jones?

  • todd

    What a bunch of morons you people are. You waste your entire lives waiting for a reward that will never come. You would be better off enjoying the time you have on earth, because that is all there is. None of you are any better than the oh-so-deluded Camping.

    • Seth

      What is it about the Christian life that gives the impression that we don’t enjoy it? I for one love life. Indeed, Christ himself says that He came to give us not just “life” but abundant life.

      I gotta say, life is good.

    • Brody

      Have you nothing better to do then deevaluate the faith and belief of millions of people?

  • Sorry

    There is no god.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Not exactly a compelling argument, but thanks for leaving a comment. – Tim

  • JD

    Why do you seek to advise those who, according to yourself were decieved? It appears that you presume know something perhaps, that the rest of us, or no one could. This is your first mistake, so I could guess that you are decieved, and well, the rest of us are left up to our own interpretation, or rather, discrimination of the spirit. Sorry, but I come to this conclusion after only the first few paragraphs of your blog, so I found no reason to read any further.

    • Trevor

      If you are not even able to read a whole letter without having to find an excuse to put yourself in the position of God, ex.(all knowing) then you will never be able to see truth. There is no presumption, in what is called the New Testament, our Lord said that no man will know the day or the hour. Only the Father knows, Christ who is God and a part of God is not given these details by the Father. You cannot presume to know something if you do not diligently work to evaluate the claims and see what the claims are based off of.

  • Jim Keton

    Let me see – 200 million out of 7 billion is 2.8%. What a dismal message and positioning job God must be doing if that is all that are going to the Promised Land.
    This “Philosophical Fragment is Fundamentally Flawed”
    sheesh

    • Trevor

      Just because man does not choose to follow God does not make Him irrelevant. According to our scripture, our Lord warns that the path is narrow. Matthew 7:14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Our hope is not in how many people we can convince, it is in that the God of the universe knew who would and who would not accept Him. So the only philosophical error is in your presumption, by not knowing what our faith is about and what our Lord has called us into.

  • http://www.onespiritualview.blogspot.com/ Love M.

    Mark 16:16-18.
    He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

  • Dan

    Camping is no worse than any other Christian hoping and rooting for the rapture and tribulation.

    You would welcome the utter destruction and agony of billions of people because *you* will be exempt? Only a morally bankrupt person thinks in that way. It’s like being indifferent to the mass suffering and agony of the Japanese people after the earthquake because *you* are not Japanese and don’t live in Japan”. Only a morally corrupt person thinks in this way. Didn’t Jesus teach us to love our neighbors as ourselves?

    You should be praying day and night (with fasting) pleading with God to change his mind about the rapture and tribulation. That would be horrifying, for everyone (raptured or not). The destruction in Japan was horrifying for everyone (in and out of Japan).

    The unbelievers and damned are dehumanized by believers. Just like the Nazi’s and Nazi sympathizers dehumanized Jews in order to justify and tolerate their mass suffering, the believers dehumanize unbelievers and the damned in order to justify and tolerate their mass destruction.

    What made the Nazi sympathizers callous and indifferent to Jewish suffering? Indoctrination, propaganda, demagogy, brain washing, etc.

    If you say that the damned deserve what they have coming to them, your moral compass is broken. You have been brainwashed and corrupted by religious indoctrination. No one deserved what the Jews were put through by the Nazi’s. No one deserves what is supposed to happen to the unbelievers in the tribulation.

    Camping needs to repent not for putting forward a date but for wishing and cheering for the rapture and the tribulation. Anyone cheering for the rapture and tribulation needs a cold hard look in the mirror.

    • http://Rapture4.netfirms.com Richard Ruhling

      Camping needs to be hung on a cross of shame for his use of Bible texts out of context and his lie of certainty for May 21, when he was unwilling to sell his radio stations for $100,000 to Doug Batchelor of Amazing Facts.
      But Camping’s followers who did what they could for what they believed to be a right cause, deserve better information to share with world if a super quake hits the US on May 26 as information at http://Rapture4.netfirms.com suggests (bottom of right column, not about a rapture or end of days.)

    • Trevor

      Though I agree with your concern of any condemnation toward Camping and his followers and I pray that many will see the area that they have been deceived in, I am told, scripturally, to look forward to the day that I will be reunited with God in eternity. Only in hope though, acting as if that moment could be the next moment. Living as if I could die tomorrow and knowing that, even though I am not perfect, my desire and actions show that the Lord has done a work in me that He receives the praise for. So spewing condemnation to anyone is not scriptural, Christ shared the truth. If the heart and soul are submitted to God then people will know. In is not about what people deserve it is about what they have chosen, if someone has not chosen God in this life they will live eternally apart from Him. That is what hell is. Eternal separation from God. People do not ever experience total separation from God in this life, because He is apart of all that He created.

  • Seth

    I see no reason why a Bible-believing, Christ-following Christian should look forward with great anticipation towards the moment we see Christ face to face. Whether that happens in this temporal life or after it is of no consequence to me.

    No true Christian prays for the rapture for the consequences it may have on unbelievers, but rather for the unspeakable joy that will accompany the moment after, when the realization that our faith has been justified and our Father in heaven cherishes us has overwhelmed our senses. There is no reason that we shouldn’t look forward to that, just as a Tennis player looks forward to a Wimbledon victory when they are a little boy. They are not excited about another person’s loss, they are excited for the moment of fruition in their own lives.

    I personally don’t look forward to the human suffering that will occur during the tribulation, however I do have a profound hope, and joy comes with that hope, that many will turn to our father in heaven not only despite the trials that will come, but truly because of them.

    • Seth

      first sentence…should be “shouldn’t”

      sorry! I suppose that’s a significant error.

    • Dan

      Are you people in a trance? It’s like talking to the wall.

      “I see no reason why a Bible-believing, Christ-following Christian shouldn’t look forward with great anticipation towards the moment we see Christ face to face”.

      I just told you why. It will mean the destruction and unspeakable agony of *billions* of people. Because you are going to be fine and escape the tribulation and party up in the heavens, the hell with the rest of us? Doesn’t that seem incredibly selfish and myopic? Didn’t Jesus teach us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

      Personally, because I’m a decent human being (at least not a wretched one), I would have a hard time partying in heaven if I thought that others were suffering and being tortured here on earth. That would be morally reprehensible.

      Your tennis comparison is terrible. People who lose Wimbledon aren’t thrown into hell where there is a lake of fire and gnashing of teeth. Win or lose you get to spend a fortnight at the all England club. So, you can win and enjoy that win.

      If the losers were burned to death, would you be able to enjoy your victory? Would you look forward to winning Wimbledon if the losers were tortured?

      Come on! You are not looking forward to the tribulation? But, are you gonna party in heaven when it does come?

      • Travis

        Actually it is selfish and myopic not to fall on one’s knees in worship of the living God.

        We are all wretched humans – that’s why the song says, “amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a WRETCH like me,” but some of us won’t admit it.

        I trust in the goodness of God that the end of the world will not come until everyone who would repent has done so. His patience is meant to lead us to repentence as are many of His judgments.

        I am certainly troubled by the thought of MANY people suffering in Hell, but this is the natural consequence of rejecting a loving God.

      • Trevor

        Physical agony in this life is minimal compared to eternal life separated from God. Put that into your calculation of what it will mean for the people living during the tribulation. Many who otherwise would not have accepted God will see first hand, and believe. My hope is in that God knows who will turn to Him and who will not, no matter if it was during WWII because of the unspeakable things done on both sides or during a time when the earth is having unimaginable earth quakes, and many other troubles that the Bible predicts.

  • Jordan

    From the letter: “An interpretation of the scripture does not have the same force as what the scripture says so plainly that no interpretation is required.”

    Interpretation is always required, and you always do it when reading a text. Without a doubt, Camping’s interpretation is very contrived, more so than many other interpretations of scripture. But in my opinion it’s dangerous for a human person to start believing that when reading the Bible (any part of it) they’re not really interpreting. That inhibits a critical eye, and even if you don’t believe in being critical of scripture, you should at least be critical of your own interpretation. Not doing so is a good start on becoming just like Camping.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I’ve certainly spent a lot of time in places where my colleagues agreed with you that “interpretation is always required.” But it’s a bit of a semantic issue. Sometimes the meaning of the claim is plainer than others. In some cases, the meaning is so plain that a very minimal amount of translation, if any, is required. I think Christians and scholars can be discerning on these things. -Tim

      • Lin

        Arguably, interpretation *is* always necessary because everyone comes to a text with different bias, part experience, education and beliefs. What you claim to be a ‘plain’ meaning in a text may be so for you, based upon your understanding. However, another will view that same text in a different manner. There is no such thing as self-evident meaning.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          Believe me, I’m thoroughly familiar with this argument. In fourteen years of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral work, all devoted to the interpretation of texts, this came up frequently. It has some legitimacy. I just think it’s often taken too far, to imply a sort of textual relativism. (We cannot really say what a text says, so why bother trying?) It’s too often a way of escaping “the tyranny of authorial intent”, or getting out from under texts that make claims that the reader finds uncomfortable or inconvenient. Having waded through all of that material pretty thoroughly, I’ve come to the conclusion that some texts pretty plainly communicate authorial intent, and that we remain capable of discerning better and worse interpretations of texts.

          It would take an awful long time to go through all the issues here. Let’s just suffice it to say: I know the argument, I don’t find it compelling in the end, but we can have our differences of opinion.

  • WAIW

    More hocus pocus to soothe the feeling of the weak minded. Camping wont get what he deserves for fear mongering and exploitation of his deluded followers. Just like the rest of us he’ll die. No rapture. No judgement. Just oblivion. Same fate as every other living creature on the planet.

    • Trevor

      The problem with that, philosophically, is that we are not like any other creature on the earth. Though there are similarities among all created things, we have choice, feelings, that we can direct. ex. We can get intimidated like other creatures, but we are able to choose to not attack for reasons other then self preservation. Though other creatures will often take a beating first. Nothing else is able to question let alone comprehend anything moral.

  • David Netzorg

    Great letter. I just have one critique. You are doin the same thing as Camping by saying Christ won’t come back within a year. Remember your main point, no one knows the day or hour, only the Father. As you said, always be prepared! He’ll come like a thief in the night.

    God bless you for your kind spirit!!!

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks, David! And although I can’t find the passage right now, I was wary of committing the same mistake in reverse, so I believe I said something along the lines that “I suspect” or we will “probably” be here a week, a month, a year from now. Or, if I didn’t write that, I should have. God bless! -Tim

  • http://goshkate.blogspot.com/ Kate

    You seem to be missing a key point here, which is that Christians recognise (or should, if they have understood the Bible) that ALL of us deserve what’s coming to us in the form of Judgement Day.

    It’s not that Christians are somehow better than non-believers – a huge part of becoming a Christian is recognising that you’re not “good enough” on your own. We all mess up, it’s part of being human – but it is a part of our humanity which makes us all (Christian or not) deserving of God’s judgement.

    It’s only by God’s grace that Christians are promised an eternity with him (a promise which is given to EVERYBODY – regardless of background, race, gender, sexual-orientation – if they choose to accept that promise). Non-believers should never be “dehumanised” by Christians, the ONLY difference between them is that Christians have chosen to accept and live by God’s promises in a relationship with him.

    Of course Christians shouldn’t be “hoping and rooting” for the suffering of others – God himself hates the necessity of judgement, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen. That said, the promise of an eternity where the world IS as it should be is something to look forward to and yearn for, but this doesn’t mean that you’re longing for others to suffer.

    Pleading with God to change his mind, however, is not the way to react to the promise of the day of judgement. God is wholly perfect, and justice must be done. What we should be praying for instead is that as many people come to personally know God before that day comes.

    • Dan

      Kate, thanks for the thoughtful response.

      “ALL of us deserve what’s coming to us in the form of Judgement Day”.

      Sorry. But, this sounds like nonsense. We *deserve* to go through the events in the tribulation as described in Revelations? Have you read carefully the sheer agony and destruction unbelievers are supposed to suffer through? All of this is followed by an eternity of torture? A lake of fire where the flames never cease and no matter how much we scream and beg for mercy, none is offered?

      Did the people of Japan *deserve* to go through what they did following the massive earthquake? Since we all deserve hell, the people of Japan at least deserve what came to them, right? Did the Jews in Europe before and during WWII *deserve* what they went through? Well, the holocaust is a day at Disneyland compared to the tribulation and hell. So, if we all deserve hell, then, the Jews deserved at least going through that. right? I guess Hitler was an agent for justice.

      We all deserve torture and punishment. So then, the Jews deserved it. Hitler gave them what they deserved. Hitler, it turns out, was an executioner of justice.

      God’s punishments make Hitler look like a wuss. Like he wasn’t committed enough to the final solution.

      “a huge part of becoming a Christian is recognising that you’re not “good enough” on your own. We all mess up, it’s part of being human”

      That’s right. You would think that God would know this and not torture us for eternity for simply being human. When I punish my children for wrongdoing, I make sure the punishment is measured because they are after all, just children. They are bound to mess up. That’s what children do.

      That’s why I don’t torture them (put a hot iron on their backs or rip off their finger nails or waterboard them). That would be excessive, right? What kind of monster would I be if I did that? They are children and they do what children do. To say that they got what they deserved would be perverse.

      No matter what they did, torture would be unjustified. In the same way, no matter what we do, none of us *deserve* to be punished by torture? Agreed? That what the judgment via the tribulation and hell would be.

      “Non-believers should never be “dehumanised” by Christians”,

      agreed. But, they are. The fact that you don’t root for their destruction does not mean you haven’t dehumanized them. Nazi sympathizers didn’t have to root for the “final solution” of the Jews to have dehumanized them. The fact that they accepted the treatment of the Jews was enough to show that they have dehumanized them. If you accept the fate of unbelievers (even if not rooting for it) as the nazi sympathizers did with the Jews, you have engaged in dehumanization.

      You talk about justice…

      A judge is just only if he gives to people what they *deserve*. Insofar as God punishes excessively (and torture as punishment in my view is always excessive and eternal torture is infinitely excessive), it is hard to see what you mean by *justice*.

      I understand that this is the sort of thing you were taught in Sunday school. But, this is indoctrination. You are a smart lady. Think.

      • Trevor

        Justice for a Christian was carried by our Lord on the cross. He paid the debt or what would be eternal separation from God. Having paid the debt He has offered all to accept what He has done for them and their debt is paid. God knew no man could pay what was required, so He sent His only begotten Son to pay it.

        • Dan

          Eternal separation is fine. But, does it have to be eternal separation and torture?

          Pay for what? sin? “Sin” is a term of abuse. It is used to justify all kinds of genuine evil. God ordered the genocide of Philistines and many other people groups because of unbelief and sin?

          *Genocide* because of “sin”. What’s worse, unbelief or genocide? If you say unbelief, you have been brainwashed and indoctrinated and your moral sensibility has been corrupted.

      • Trevor

        We were created with a direct relationship with God, we destroyed it by disobeying a single rule, which resulted in man living for Himself, not for God. So we see throughout all of history what it means to be living for yourself. Whether it was the crusades, ww1, or ww2, or even the simple conversation where one person puts themself above another.

        • Dan

          We disobeyed a single rule? What is this, a game? Adam ate the fruit but didn’t wait til God said “Simon says”?

          So we deserve the tribulation and eternal punishment? If my neighbors capriciously treated his kids with the same kind of callousness and cruelty that God treats his “children”, I would call the police on them.

          After God creates us and makes up arbitrary rules and then threatens to torture us forever if we break even one of them, he sends his son as a human sacrifice to atone for our breaking one of his capricious rules? And, we are supposed to fawn all over him and be thankful for his graciousness?

          sounds like Stockholm Syndrome.

  • Heart

    Firstly, I admire your sentiments. I feel very sorry for those who have been let down by the lack of the rapture, and particularly for those who’s ability to return to their physical life has been damaged by actions they took believing that it would not matter after may 21st.

    However, that said, the jabs at atheism in this otherwise grace-filled piece gave me mood whiplash. Would it be possible to show the same grace as you do here to atheists?

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Yeah, I get this. The point was not to criticize atheists but to say that gullibility is a common human problem amongst the religious and non-religious, but I think it came out poorly. Thanks. -Tim

  • Dan

    Praying for God to relent on the rapture and the tribulation and especially hell is what Christians ought to be doing. Praying for the damned to be saved is not enough.

    Hoping and praying that people don’t commit murder is good. But, if we have a criminal *justice* system that tortures criminals, that is not enough. The system needs to be modified. It needs to be changed. No criminal system can torture and be just.

    In the same way, even if you pray and many unbelievers are saved, there will inevitably be those that are not. (unless you are universalist). What to do with them?

    Since punishment by torture is evil, God’s penal system must be changed. You can appeal to God’s goodness and sense of justice to overturn that system. The (eternal) torture of anyone is evil.

  • Former Zygote

    Corrected for proper terminology:
    To the well meaning “non-believers” who respond to this blog, you must consider and understand that in the end whether by Gods’s final judgment, natural calamity or by how most of humanity leaves this life with the body’s decay in old age, we will all surely die. We will all go were we desire to go. Some will get what they don’t deserve; to be with their Savior because they believed in what He accomplished for them on the cross. Others will get what they deserve and be forever removed from the God whose mere thought nauseats them. I submit to you that although our bodies die our consciousness will continue into eternity. God will not have to torture anyone, he will just leave them alone and it will be a dreadful thing to be aware and be all alone for eternity. I refer you to Pascal’s wager.

    • Dan

      So you are saying that non-believers will not go to hell. Rather, they will go where God is not present but will not be tortured there.

      That sounds much better!

      Is it also possible for God to take all the believers in the rapture and then leave the rest of us alone? Could he leave and take all his children with them and then leave the rest of us to just be. Missing you guys will be enough of a tribulation.

      • Former Zygote

        I’m not speaking of the Rapture, I’m speaking of the end of your life. Make no mistake Dan, it will be hell! As for “leave the rest of us alone” what makes you think there will be any “us”. There will be no “buds” with you. It will be you and you alone with the knowledge of your hubris and stubbornness. Your only companion will be the unsatiated worm. You will have nothing that you now have to enjoy that has been given to you by your creator. He will take it all away since you want nothing of Him. Your time will indeed be spent weeping and gnashing your teeth. Dan, I warn you because it’s the right thing to do. Just as you would want to be warned if you or your family were in imminent danger. You and I both take by faith what happens to us when we die. Although I trust you have never spoken to anyone that has returned from the dead, you “believe” that nothing happens to you when you die. I believe that I will be with my Creator when I die because He has left His testimony for all men to observe. Believers have a more sure Word from Him who made us. His word has endured attacks by scoffers for thousands of years and it still stands. People on this blog engage you not to battle you but to encourage you to look at reasonable evidence in scripture with a true open mind.

        • Dan

          According to the Qur’an, rejection of the Islamic faith results in eternal punishment (hell). So, everyone here who rejects the Islamic faith should prepare him/herself for hell as well. Make no mistake about that.

          You think you and your buddies are going to be raptured and have one giant party. Think again. The teachings of the Qur’an and the prophet Mohammed are very clear. No party in heaven. Instead, an eternity in hell where there are worms that eat your flesh and gnashing of teeth.

          Allah will not leave you to be. He will find you and he will torment you forever for rejecting his word and his prophet Mohammed.

          I don’t warn you of what is to come because it’s fun. Rather, I do so because warning “unbelievers” in Islam is the right thing to do.

          Unbelief in Allah and his prophet Mohammed is going to result in twice the torment and 5 times the flames and 10 times the misery.

          I should also give you instructions on escaping Samsara (the cycle of birth and rebirth and suffering) according to certain Buddhist texts.

          My only companion is going to be some unsatiated worm? The only companion for you is going to be two such worms and the unrelenting punishment of Thor’s hammer.

          You will beg for mercy from the god of thunder and he will give you none.

          It’s not too late. Get right with Thor, the god of thunder and with Allah and his prophet Mohammed and start detaching yourself from worldly attachments so that your soul can rid itself of the karmic dusts and you can finally escape samsara and achieve Nirvana.

          Don’t mock what I am saying. The words of Allah (the Holy Qur’an), the teachings of the Buddha and the sacred writings of Greek mythology has endured attacks from scoffers for thousands of years.

  • Michael Paylor

    Thanks for this post and I appreciate your kind letter to those who may be disillusioned at the lie they believed. However, the most important facet that you (and, incidentally, Camping) omit is the proclamation of the gospel…that God sent His Son as the sin payment for man; that this Jesus was killed by crucifixion, buried, but raised from the dead that sinners my be declared righteous before God; that he arose to heaven to the seat of all authority; and that He will indeed to return in judgment (at an unknown time) of the wicked and reward of His people. Warning people (and telling them they were right to do so) without proclaiming the sacrifice of Christ is worthless, for apart from the gospel no man can be saved. As you move forward with your words of healing toward those deceived, please make sure to preach the gospel of Christ; the balm for believers and the sure hope of sinners.

  • http://blogs.bible.org/blog/26077 Steve Drain

    Tim, Good column. Though I was harder on Camping, I wrote my own version of this at http://www.examiner.com/christian-perspectives-in-philadelphia/to-err-is-harold-camping-may-22nd-2011

    I have also encouraged Camping followers with Acts 3:19. They may have been deceived or fooled, and aided in deceiving and fooling others, but Saul (Paul) persecuted and consented the deaths of believers. Our God is a forgiving God through Jesus Christ. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

  • http://xian.sdjj.com/forum/member.php?u=1616413 Corrin Hartill

    479 comments WOW, can i said something that hasn’t already been said?awesome, excellent, fabulouslove the post. great points. i am currently in the faking it till you make it phase.will have to subscribe )

  • Tess

    I am filled with pride as I read these comments. Pride for humanity, knowing that some people (atheists) have sense and logic in their minds and a good head on their shoulders. I know there is no possibility of any religious dogma coming to fruition. THAT is winning. I think that these people who followed harold camping deserve sympathy. I think that Christians in general deserve a forcible reality check (maybe in the form of submersion in ice water).

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      You very succinctly illustrated what’s wrong with the New Atheism movement. Nice work.
      -Tim

      • Dan

        I don’t get it. Spell out how she (Tess) did that?

        Not one decent reply to the many arguments that the doctrines of the tribulation and eternal punishment are morally problematic and you conclude that the problem is with “The New Atheists”?

        One gets the sense that reason and good sense have no currency around here.

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