Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
CrimsonLine

Harold Camping and the end of the world

Recommended Posts

Everyone still here? I am not sure exactly when this was predicted to happen. Just checking in...

The rapture was supposed to take place at 6 PM in each time zone, accompanied by an earthquake that would make the one in Japan earlier this year look like nothing. So far, it's past 6 PM in almost half the world (Jerusalem passed it half an hour ago), and there are no reports of said earthquakes or people disappearing.


Edward Curtis

Morgantown, WV

Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was who created his profession. Sirach 38:1 NAB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've posted a few thoughts re. Harold Camping and May 21 on Christ and Pop Culture.

I like this response. It has been interesting to see that the response of secular editorial and non-Camping Christian editorial has largely had the same tone, in that I have seen an almost universal smirk. Smirk might not be the right word, but a certain sense of parody is in play. I am bummed that guys like Camping actually end up inoculating us against the joy of believing that an end is ultimately what our faith envisions. False prophecy isn't just a lie, it is actually a cancer that gnaws on the eschatological core of our identity.

For this reason, I shudder at the doom that awaits false prophets.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've posted a few thoughts re. Harold Camping and May 21 on Christ and Pop Culture.

I like this response. It has been interesting to see that the response of secular editorial and non-Camping Christian editorial has largely had the same tone, in that I have seen an almost universal smirk. Smirk might not be the right word, but a certain sense of parody is in play. I am bummed that guys like Camping actually end up inoculating us against the joy of believing that an end is ultimately what our faith envisions. False prophecy isn't just a lie, it is actually a cancer that gnaws on the eschatological core of our identity.

For this reason, I shudder at the doom that awaits false prophets.

Word.


In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not only was James' confirmation not interrupted by earthquakes or other apocalyptic signs, a day of intermittent rain ended with a rainbow over the church. No kidding. A rainbow for James' confirmation at 6PM.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, I think false teacher would be a more accurate category of false prophet. Camping didn't claim to have divine revelation, only to be interpreting revelation.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But he did claim that God ended the church age by "opening up" or "unlocking" a new way to understand Scripture. Which sounds awfully close to a claim of divine revelation to me.

If he's merely a false teacher rather than a false prophet, does that make a difference in how he ought to be dealt with?


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But he did claim that God ended the church age by "opening up" or "unlocking" a new way to understand Scripture. Which sounds awfully close to a claim of divine revelation to me.

I won't disagree.

If he's merely a false teacher rather than a false prophet, does that make a difference in how he ought to be dealt with?

Probably not a practical difference, no. Assuming we're leaving stoning off the table in any event.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am bummed that guys like Camping actually end up inoculating us against the joy of believing that an end is ultimately what our faith envisions. False prophecy isn't just a lie, it is actually a cancer that gnaws on the eschatological core of our identity.

Well said.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably not a practical difference, no. Assuming we're leaving stoning off the table in any event.

Well, let us hope that Family Radio has a proper nonprofit board of trustees in place, composed of people who [a] are empowered by its articles of incorporation to force Camping into retirement; have the guts to do exactly that; and [c] will seek to proactively make some restitution to people who quit their jobs and blew their life savings in order to help Camping get the word out.

I am currently listening to the local Family Radio affiliate. Thus far: hymns, scripture reading, a segment from a previously aired episode of Camping's "Open Forum" show. Not a peep thus far about you-know-what. WeCanKnow.com and FamilyRadio.com don't seem to have changed at all.

Edited by mrmando

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, here is a question. Are people who express confidence that we are in "the Last Days" and that Jesus will return in their lifetime (and I have heard that from countless Christians over my lifetime) really that less foolish than people who pick a date? I mean, how is that not trying to pinpoint a time of return? And some of those people have died. Why would God give them a strong sense of the false?


"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, here is a question. Are people who express confidence that we are in "the Last Days" and that Jesus will return in their lifetime (and I have heard that from countless Christians over my lifetime) really that less foolish than people who pick a date? I mean, how is that not trying to pinpoint a time of return? And some of those people have died. Why would God give them a strong sense of the false?

As mentioned above, for many Christians the belief that these are the "Last Days" boils down to the belief that the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 fulfilled certain prophecies (whereas Christians in ages past might have considered that these prophecies were already fulfilled by, say, the return from exile described in Nehemiah). But people in every age have managed to construe the Bible so as to suggest that Jesus' return was just around the corner. Textual evidence suggests that Jesus believed some of his contemporaries would still be alive when he came back. And Paul seems to have expected Jesus' return to occur in his own lifetime. So these beliefs are very common, and in a sense the Bible leads believers to expect that Jesus will return soon, whatever "soon" happens to mean. So to answer your question: It may depend to some degree on the specific reasons that people give for believing Jesus will return soon, but even so, it's possible to hold this belief and still take seriously the idea that you are not given to know the exact moment.

Edited by mrmando

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone still here? I am not sure exactly when this was predicted to happen. Just checking in...

Depends on what you mean by here. I was pleased to find that heaven had wifi, so I can continue to monitor all of you left behind. Films also open here before the release date down below. Just wait until you see Pirates of the Caribbean 14. Wait, if I'm watching that where am I really?


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As one of my friends on Facebook put it:

One morning, however, one of the train whistles must've gotten stuck or something, because it just kept going and going. So I woke up to this long, droning roar of a whistle, and I have to admit, I couldn't help wondering if it was one of the angels' trumpets.

What an exciting thing to wonder. I have to admit that the idea of rising up out of bed at a strange hour, hearing blaring noises echoing outside, and looking out the window to see Christ's return genuinely excites me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Doomsday Believers Cope With an Intact World (NPR)

As recently as two weeks ago, Gary Vollmer was absolutely certain that on May 21, 2011, God would send devastating earthquakes, raise believers to heaven in the "rapture," and then destroy the world five months later. Now that it hasn't happened, Vollmer is unfazed.

"God is God, God's going to do what he has to do," he says.

True, he says, believers got some of the details wrong. But the thrust of the message is right.

"Judgment day has come and passed, but it was a spiritual judgment on the world," he explains. "There is no more salvation. Salvation is over with. The fact is we have 153 days, and on the 21st of October, the world will end."

I profiled several believers before May 21. The day after, most didn't answer the phone. Those who did wouldn't talk on the record. But one man, his voice quavering, said he was still holding out hope that they were one day off. Another believer asserted that their prayers worked: God delayed judgment so that more people could be saved, but the end is "imminent."

Tom Evans was contrite. Evans is on the board of Family Radio, the organization led by Harold Camping, who calculated and promoted the May 21 date.

"I don't know where we went wrong other than that we obviously don't understand the Scriptures in the way that we should," he says.

Camping has yet to make a statement, but Evans hopes they will not recalculate and announce a new date for Judgment Day. After all, they've done that at least once before — in 1994 — and he believes they've learned a lesson.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, I appreciate the impulse behind those who quote 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...") to counter people like Camping, but I'm not sure I could ever do that myself, because it's based on the premise that Matthew 24 is talking about the end times, and I'm not so sure that it is. In context, Jesus seems to be talking pretty clearly about the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 ("Truly I tell you, not one stone here [at the Temple] will be left on another; every one will be thrown down", "Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened", etc.). But anyhoo.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FWIW, I appreciate the impulse behind those who quote 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...") to counter people like Camping, but I'm not sure I could ever do that myself, because it's based on the premise that Matthew 24 is talking about the end times, and I'm not so sure that it is.

I think part of the passage is about the destruction of the temple, but Matthew 24 also rather explicitly talks about the return of the Son of Man. Not only does the disciples' initial question lead in that direction--"Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?"--but Jesus gets pretty darn focused on the Second Coming part once we reach 24:30-31:

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.

And Jesus' "nobody knows the day" comment comes a verse or two after that, and directly leads into even more talk about the Son of Man in 24:36-44:

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.

I think you have to stretch to suggest Jesus' comment is really about the temple destruction.

Edited by Ryan H.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think you have to stretch to suggest Jesus' comment is really about the temple destruction.

I don't. Given the cultural backdrop of apocalyptic language in the OT prophetic tradition, I think it's both natural and obvious to read Jesus' teaching in Matthew 24 as a prophecy of the destruction of the Temple and the Holy City.

However, I also think that Jesus is predicting the destruction of the Temple and the Holy City in terms that anticipate and point toward the Eschaton. I think that the destruction of the Temple is itself a prolepctic anticipation of the end of the world, and I suppose that Jesus' teaching in Matthew 24:36 applies to the Eschaton precisely because it applies first to the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't. Given the cultural backdrop of apocalyptic language in the OT prophetic tradition, I think it's both natural and obvious to read Jesus' teaching in Matthew 24 as a prophecy of the destruction of the Temple and the Holy City.

Don't get me wrong, I think Jesus in Matthew 24 is partially talking about the destruction of the Temple, particularly in the first half of the chapter. I just don't think the destruction of the Temple can sufficiently cover everything Jesus says in that passage. Even taking into account the cultural backdrop of apocalyptic language, it's hard to make sense of the Second Coming imagery in reference to just the destruction of the Temple and Holy City. Furthermore, Jesus's reference to the "day or hour" is later underlined with "the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect," which I think clearly points that the hour Jesus is speaking of at that part is not the hour of the Temple's destruction, but the hour of his triumphant return.

Edited by Ryan H.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ryan H. wrote:

: I think part of the passage is about the destruction of the temple, but Matthew 24 also rather explicitly talks about the return of the Son of Man. Not only does the disciples' initial question lead in that direction--"Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?"--but Jesus gets pretty darn focused on the Second Coming part once we reach 24:30-31 . . .

Well that all depends on where you think the Son of Man is "coming" to. Is he "coming" to earth, as Rapture devotees believe, or is he "coming" to heaven, as per the Daniel 7:13-14 passage that introduced the concept of a "Son of Man" in the first place?

The Daniel passage in question:

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

: 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.

The "son of man coming on the clouds of heaven" -- sounds like what Daniel was talking about, all right. He will "send out his angels" and "gather his elect" -- sounds like he was "coming" not to earth but to his throne in heaven, as per the Daniel imagery.

: 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.

It's amazing to me, how many years I spent under the delusion that being "taken" was a good thing and being "left" was a bad thing. In context -- where the flood taking people away was clearly a BAD thing -- it seems pretty clear that being "taken" means being taken to one's doom, whereas being "left" means being left alive.

SDG wrote:

: Given the cultural backdrop of apocalyptic language in the OT prophetic tradition, I think it's both natural and obvious to read Jesus' teaching in Matthew 24 as a prophecy of the destruction of the Temple and the Holy City.

Absolutely. The point is made all the clearer in Luke's version of the prophecy, which may have been written after the prophecy was fulfilled, and which replaces some of Mark/Matthew's cryptic language with a clear reference to armies surrounding Jerusalem, etc.

: However, I also think that Jesus is predicting the destruction of the Temple and the Holy City in terms that anticipate and point toward the Eschaton. I think that the destruction of the Temple is itself a prolepctic anticipation of the end of the world, and I suppose that Jesus' teaching in Matthew 24:36 applies to the Eschaton precisely because it applies first to the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem.

Obviously, if, e.g., Isaiah's prophecy about a child born during his lifetime (and possibly even sired by Isaiah himself) can be interpreted as a prophecy about the virginal conception of Jesus, then there is certainly room to ascribe secondary or tertiary layers of meaning to other prophecies, as well. But I agree that the primary referent in Matthew 24 (and parallel passages) is to the destruction of Jerusalem and especially its Temple.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The "son of man coming on the clouds of heaven" -- sounds like what Daniel was talking about, all right. He will "send out his angels" and "gather his elect" -- sounds like he was "coming" not to earth but to his throne in heaven, as per the Daniel imagery.

Sure. But it is Jesus saying only what Daniel says, or is he saying more than Daniel is saying? And does it make sense for Jesus to frame his coming to authority as something following the temple's destruction? And what do we understand by the comment about the gathering of the elect? Or that the disciples specified that they were asking about the "close of the age"?

In context -- where the flood taking people away was clearly a BAD thing -- it seems pretty clear that being "taken" means being taken to one's doom, whereas being "left" means being left alive.

Well, it depends what you see as the context. Is it talking about the flood? Or the angels gathering the elect? But yeah, I agree, it's probably better to take the darker reading of this passage, especially since the "thief" imagery comes up soon after.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Camping gives the briefest of interviews to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to listen to Camping's "Open Forum" radio program this evening. I had entertained a notion of calling in...


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ryan H. wrote:

: Sure. But it is Jesus saying only what Daniel says, or is he saying more than Daniel is saying?

He may have been saying more (and Matthew's version of Jesus may have been saying more than the historical Jesus did), but I don't think he was saying less.

: And does it make sense for Jesus to frame his coming to authority as something following the temple's destruction?

Apparently it does. N.T. Wright, who first exposed me to this line of interpretation about 15 years ago, gets into this in some detail in his books.

: Or that the disciples specified that they were asking about the "close of the age"?

The destruction of the Temple coinciding with the rise of the Church would certainly seem to mark the end of one era and the beginning of another. What, if any, salient difference would there be between the "close of the age" and the "end of an era"?


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...