Harold Camping was wrong - again. May he stand as a constant reminder to us that our whole hope has been tragically misplaced.
If mainstream Judeo-Christian today were to be honest, Harold Camping has not done anything wrong except to try to pin down a date for the rapture, and attempts to justify himself by doing so. What most Christians today don't understand is that they are just as wrong - and just as accountable for their error - as Camping!
Camping is a Dispensationalist, and Dispensationalists openly reject what the Inspired Word says concerning the Last Days. If it weren't for this passage, no Dispensationalist would have any response at all to Harold Camping's "miscalculation": they ALL appeal to Matthew 24:36:
But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
The problem is the contextual passage just a couple of verses above it:
So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Jesus said that the Last Days events would occur in within the lifetimes of His Disciples - it was THEY that did not "know the day or the hour" (not us!) He could not have been more explicit:
Therefore be YOU also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 24:44)
For all the presumed Christian scholarship out there, it amazes me that we persist in trying to apply the "last days" to us, 2000 years later. Near does not mean "a long time in the future." You does not mean "them". So any Christian teacher preaching a future "2nd Coming" is teaching that Jesus failed to do what He came to do and needs to be openly confronted in their error.
In the hours up to the the presumed "end" the blog I did on Camping several months ago received more hits than any of my other messages. People are genuinely interested in knowing if there will be a rapture and an end of the universe. I used to be one of them! Many years ago, I met my future wife over a copy of "The Late Great Planet Earth" by Hal Lindsey, and I believed anything these authors presented as being factual.
It's not just the fakes, frauds and shysters helping propagate these futurist myths, which are not to be found in the Inspired Word. It's also well-meaning leaders in our community congregations that teach the poison of futurism. I have met with many of them, and can tell you without hesitancy that they do not want to face this obvious problem in the Faith today. The biblical answer is not the answer they want to hear, because to embrace the biblical answer would force a dramatic paradigm change for them.
How uncomfortable would you be if confronted with the following Bible challenges?
1. Jesus promised He would return to a generation that existed nearly 2000 years ago, in fulfilment of prophecies given to Israel by the prophets of Israel, for whom alone alone He came to save.
2. If Jesus did not return in that generation, He failed, the prophets failed, and the inspired writers of the New Testament got it wrong.
3. If Jesus did not return in that generation, the redemptive, restorative and salvation promises are not available to us today, and we are not in the New Covenant.
4. The Bible does not speak of an AntiChrist, Rapture or "Battle of Armaggedon". It does not speak of the destruction of the literal universe.
Mainstream Judeo-Christianity misses the targeted people as well as the timing and the nature of the Last Days events, because they misidentify the people, the hyperbolic language and - most importantly - the entire covenantal, soteriological focus of the Last Days events!
The "Last Days" concerned the "last days" of Old Covenant Israel - not the last days of the universe. By trying to apply these events to us today, you are not only in the wrong row, aisle and seat, you are in the wrong stadium, and are completely missing the game as well!
If these things are new to you, there are a number of great resources out there for your study. Don K. Preston has authored perhaps the most books on the fulfilled view of eschatology. Gary DeMar also has written some life-changing books that re-insert HOPE into the Christian today: we really do live in Victory right NOW!