The May 21, 2011 church rapture prediction by Harold Camping has come and gone.  Those of us who heard of his prediction must accept one of two possibilities of what happened on this date; either Jesus did return for His church but found no one, including Mr. Camping, worthy to be raptured, or Mr. Camping gave a false prophecy.  According to Deuteronomy 18:21-22, if anyone claims to speak for the Lord and gives a prophecy, and that prophecy does not come to past, then that person is a false prophet.  When confronted with his false prophecy on live radio by a former follower, instead of confessing his error, Mr. Camping attempted to defend his reputation by describing that his prediction was not based on a revelation from God, but based on his own interpretation of scripture; so therefore, he is not a false prophet.  This type of double-talk and backsliding is a common method used by those whose ambition is committed more to self-worth rather than to the absolute truth of the word of God.  Despite the obvious, there are still many who have rejected the truth found in the Bible in exchange for lies regarding the rapture of the church and the second coming of Jesus.  These are those who claim alliance with God, but deny His messages and instructions found in His book, the Holy Bible.  As described in part 1 of this article, Jesus gave us clear and concise warnings of great deceptions that will come from many who will pretend to be speaking in His name: 

  • "take heed that no one deceives you....." Matthew 24:4
  • "Many will come in My name saying, ‘I am the Christ.' And will deceive many...." Matthew 24:5
  • Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many." Matthew 24:11
  • "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." Matthew 24:24
  • "And Jesus, answering them, began to say: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you.' Mark 13:5
  • "For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,' and will deceive many." Mark 13:6
  • "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." Mark 13:22
  • "And He said: ‘Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,' and, ‘The time has drawn near.' Therefore do not go after them." Luke 21:8


The real tragedy behind all false prophecies is that the lazy, uninformed and gullible will continue to be victimized by the false prophet, in some cases resulting in death, even after the false prophet had been exposed as being a fraud.  Take, for example, the case of Jim Jones' Peoples Temple.  According to Catherine Wessinger, author of the book "How the Millennium Comes Violently: From Jonestown to Heaven's Gate," Jones openly  reject traditional Christianity as a "fly away religion," and the Bible as being "white men's justification to subordinate women and subjugate people of color and stating that it spoke of a ‘Sky God' who was no God at all."  But yet his convincing messages resulted in a mass suicide/murder of over 900 members of the Temple.  Jones' misconstrued interpretation of the Holy Bible produced the single greatest loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the events of September 11, 2001.   


This type of misinterpretation and false hope is extremely dangerous.  In the case of Mr. Camping, in an article in the May 31 edition of the Christian Post, author Ethan Cole stated "People who believed in Camping have lost their entire life's savings, some quit their jobs, and in a few extreme cases - there were several people who attempted suicide before or after the May 21 date because of his prediction."  As of July 5, 2011, there has been at least one confirmed suicide, a 14 year Russian girl who hung herself because she feared the horrors of being left behind, directly relating to Mr. Camping's rapture prediction (reported by the International Business Times and by the Christian Post).  After being exposed, again, as a false prophet, Mr. Camping continue to have followers who are willing to carry his message forth.  Amazingly, Mr. Camping and his followers are clinging to October 21, 2011 as the date of the second coming of Christ and the end of the world as we know it.  Although the Bible is clear that no one will know the date nor the hour of the rapture of the church or the second coming of Jesus Christ, this intriguing subject is often packaged and repackaged and sold for profit, fame, or glory again and again to anyone who is willing to listen, and to those who have need for belonging to something, to anything, that will help cope with life's problems. History has shown that the end result is almost always disastrous to the person, and damaging to the image of true Christianity.  To the unsaved, uninformed or gullible, persons like Mr. Camping and their false prophecies diminishes the image of the infallibility of the word of God, thus creating an additional battle that Christians, Christian evangelists, and Christian missionaries must now fight - having to defend the accuracy and reliability of the word of God against the errors of other people who also claim to be Christians.  


Although the Bible is clear that no one will know the day nor hour, it does provide us with signs to watch for.  Most of us are probably familiar with the signs of the end that Jesus provided in what is called the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 - see also Daniel 12).  These signs include:

  • There will be great tribulation on the earth
  • People will betray one another
  • There will be great hatred in the world
  • There will be many false prophets
  • There will be people claiming to be the Christ
  • There will be great deception in the world - many will be deceived
  • There will be a lost of genuine love for one another
  • Family members will turn on one another
  • There will be cosmic disturbance
  • The gospel will be spread throughout the entire world

There are other signs of the end which the Bible teaches that are not as widely known:

  • The church will be raptured from the earth (Isaiah 26:19-21, Zephaniah 1:ff, 2:3, John 14: 1-4, 17:24, 1 Corinthians 15:50-52, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
  • The son of perdition, (also known as the lawless one, the anti christ, and other names in the Bible) will rise to power and will be revealed (Daniel 9:27, 11:20-45, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, Revelation 6:1-2, )
  • The Jewish Temple will be rebuilt (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Revelation 11:1-2)
  • The Jewish Temple will be desecrated by the anti Christ (Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:4)
  • Israel will be attacked but defended by God Himself (Ezekiel 38:14-23, Zechariah 14:1-3)
  • There will be a war in which the use of nuclear weapons will be used as a judgment by God (Ezekiel 39:1-16, Zechariah 14:12-15)
  • Many unbelieving Jews and people from many nations will repent of their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah and will accept Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 23:37-38, Romans 11:25-27, Revelation 7:3-8, 7:9-17, 13:5-10)

Mr. Camping was right in that faithful members of Jesus' church will be raptured (harpazo in the Greek) from the earth prior to the tribulation and second coming.  However, he is confused in his theology in many areas, including viewing the rapture of the church as a matter of eschatology rather than a matter of ecclesiology.  Those who are true Bereans rely on the Holy Spirit as our teacher (John 14:15-30) and the instructions of the Bible as our guide for measuring and testing all spirits (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 & 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Bible believing Christians were not fooled by the spirit behind Mr. Camping's false message, however, many Christians who have a genuine love for lost souls were fooled.  They have become like the church of Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29 who allowed themselves to be seduced by a false messenger.  The sad irony in the similarity between Mr. Camping's followers and the church of Thyatira is that Jesus has stated that such people who follow a false messenger will experience great tribulation.

Don't be deceived by godly sounding words that are without substance.  It is truth that gives power and substance to words.....and Jesus Christ is the Word of Truth (John 1).   Always confirm what is taught through prayerful examination of the Bible.  God rewards the diligent.

If you were fooled and had believed the lie, whether it was from Mr. Camping or other persons who have missed the mark, now is the time to return to the Bible as the authoritative word of God for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).     

Note:  It is not the intent of this message to bring shame or dishonor to Mr. Camping or to any of his followers, but rather to promote focus and responsibility on handling the word of God, and to bring glory and honor to the True Prophet, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

"But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one."  1 Corinthians 2:15