Getting Understanding

7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.  – Proverbs 4:7

I have a funny post queued up for later in the day, but I wanted to get this up first.  I have been doing several messages in the last few months playing off of this realization that we frequently misunderstand or make up meanings for obscure or difficult things in Scripture.  It is based on something I heard from First Fruits of Zion a year or two ago.  I found a couple of video clips on youtube that give a fuller explanation of this concept that I highly recommend.  It will take about 15 minutes of your time to watch these two clips back to back.  It is time well spent.

I know the end of the second clip includes a promo for some of their study material, but I can say this. Their study material is some of the most in-depth and thorough stuff I have ever seen.  When I got my first copy of Torah Club Volume 4 several years ago, I went through it with a fine tooth comb to look for areas of questionable scholarship or theological issues.  These guys do a great job of providing information as well as the sources that go into their materials and conclusions.  I highly recommend their work to anyone I talk to these days and I always enjoy checking out their new materials.  I currently have a small wishlist going for stuff I haven’t yet managed to purchase.

Here is one last video that talks about some of the deeper Hebraic concepts in the Gospels.  Enjoy.

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Misunderstandings, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, church, Discipleship, Faith, FFOZ, Giving, Gospel, Hebrew, Holy Spirit, Humor, Kingdom, Questions, theology, Truth, Yeshua | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Harold Camping -Twice Bitten and Still Not Shy

As bad as the storm damage has been to witness this spring (and it has hit areas that I am very familiar with), I am just as concerned with the spiritual damage that folks like Harold Camping have caused with his false prophecies and predictions.  As I previously wrote, May 21, 2011, was not the date of the rapture or judgment or anything else specific in regard to God’s appointed times.  As for his now revised date of October 21, 2011, I will just tell you now that it also does not fall on any of God’s appointed times.  The only thing on the calendar for that date is Simchat Torah, which marks the beginning of a new Torah cycle.  It is hardly an ominous date in God’s previously revealed character.  I am confident to say that Camping’s latest grasp at another straw will prove to be fruitless indeed.

Word out now is that Camping has resorted to the JW’s defense.  He is trying to claim that the rapture did happen on May 21, but that it was “spiritual.”  This tactic isn’t new; it has been used by false prophets before Camping and it will probably be used by false prophets that are yet to come if the Lord tarries long enough.  I would instead call your attention once again to Scripture:

Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25See, I have told you beforehand. 26So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.  – Matthew 24:23-28

I have already posted some of my own thoughts regarding the Rapture and you are welcome to peruse them if you like.  Suffice it to say that I am not going to buy in to the predictions of those like Harold Camping.  He has been proven false a second time (once was already enough for me to disregard him).  Don’t put your trust in men; instead you should search God’s Word for yourself and test and try these teachers against the Truth.  Camping has been measured and found wanting.

My prayer is that those who have been deceived by him to this point will awaken and seek the truth.  I noted that the site run by the believer of Camping’s prophecies has not been updated in over a month.  He has had nothing to say since the failure of the “prophet” he believed in has become evident.  I pray that his eyes would be opened now that his false prophet has been exposed.  I pray that for them all, so that the devastation will not continue.  It would seem that Harold Camping has no shame after being prove false.  I highly doubt that the third time in October will be the charm, either for him being right for once or for him admitting he has been wrong all along.

Categories: America, Apologetics, Bible Misunderstandings, Christianity, church, devotional, End Times, False Teachers, Heresy, Kingdom, Messiah, Prophecy, Signs of the Times, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mercy, Judgment, and All that Falls Between

Sunday night after we had arrived back home from a longer than expected return trip from the Black Hills, I pretty much just wanted to veg out and then head to bed a little early perhaps.  But that plan was interrupted by a text message from my sister that simply said:

R U watching the news?

It took a few seconds to switch on the TV and flip to Fox News, only to see Geraldo (who Rush jokingly refers to as “the grim reaper” for his ubiquitous presence in announcing celebrity deaths) and a crawl that announced that Bin Laden had been killed.

There are no words to convey what was going through my mind at that point.  I couldn’t have said much or typed anything.  In fact, I missed sending out a weekday devotional post completely on Monday from a complete inability to process or write anything useful (this blog has been on a slightly longer hiatus of the same sort).  The next day, I ended up writing a devotion for the Tuesday edition that addressed some of these feelings.  All of my friends on facebook seemed to have something to say about the matter and the opinions ran along a pretty varied continuum.  Blog posts were written and things were shared from every corner, but all I could put down at first was this post for Tuesday’s devotional.  While this could be a shameless plug for the devotional, I will just repost it here as well:

When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.  – Proverbs 11:10

After the news broke about the death of Bin Laden Sunday night, I had kind of a conflicted feeling about the scenes of celebration that I was witnessing.  I understand the sentiment to be sure; as this proverb indicates, this is a natural reaction to such an event.  I also noticed many people quoting various Bible verses both “pro” celebration and “con” celebration, which might lead some to think the Bible is a bit contradictory about this type of thing.  But that only comes from a failure to recognize the difference between commandments and observation.  The Bible observes the truth, we tend to celebrate when we feel someone gets “what’s coming to them” in whatever way that manifests.  That isn’t a commandment however.  We are encouraged to mourn the demise of the wicked and to seek their repentance and warn them of judgment if given an opportunity to do so.  God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked either and we are to take our cues from His standards and His perspective.  We shouldn’t rejoice in the death of the wicked and when we do it is another reminder of God’s perfect character juxtaposed against our own fleshly nature.

Take this time as a reminder of the fact that God loved each of us while we were still His enemy and wicked in His sight.

6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  – Romans 5:8

A few weeks back in Bible study at our church, we were talking about the passage in the book of James where he states that “mercy triumphs over judgment.”  There has been a lot of talk about this lately in fact with Rob Bell’s book proclaiming that “Love Wins” and seeming to say that judgment will never come.  But while we are commanded to love and forbidden to judge, God is perfect in love and in judgment and has the authority to administer both.  He will judge, both the living and the dead.  His judgment is sure, more sure than the CIA or the Navy Seals or a human court or any other judgment on this earth.

In that verse I mentioned from James, we are told that judgment is “without mercy to him who has shown no mercy” and Jesus taught this same principle in Matthew 18:23-35.  Why do I share it here?  As much as we are tempted to condemn Bin Laden or someone else that we feel “deserves it,” we should never imagine that we are any better or different.  Yet, God’s rich mercy has flowed to each of us through His Son, Jesus Christ.  If you have received mercy, you must give it as well.  Leave judgment and all that falls short of mercy to the only One who is qualified to mete it out.

Categories: America, Apologetics, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, church, Culture, devotional, Discipleship, Gospel, Kingdom, Law, Messiah, politics, Questions, Salvation, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thomas Jefferson – Heretic? Yes. Atheist? Think Again.

Interesting story from over the weekend that fits within the stream of recent posts on this blog.  One of Thomas Jefferson’s self made “bibles” is going on display in the Smithsonian soon.  In many ways this is hardly unique.  A lot of people do their own “cut and paste” version of Scripture, but very few go to the extreme that Jefferson did with his.  Most people are content to simply ignore vast portions of Scripture on the belief that they have been “done away with” or are obsolete or something like that.

Jefferson’s “bible” is an attempt to discern what he thought were the real teachings of Jesus.  You see, while atheists like to proclaim Jefferson as one of their own and thus try to dismiss his use of Christian terminology and thought, it turns out that Jefferson was far more interested in the words and work of Christ than they might like to admit:

During the election of 1800, Jefferson was denounced as a “howling atheist” and “a confirmed infidel” known for “vilifying the divine word, and preaching insurrection against God.” But the Virginian also revered Jesus as “the first of human Sages” and was, according to one biographer, “the most self-consciously theological of all American presidents.”

Let me be quick to point out that Jefferson’s theology and view of Christ was nowhere near orthodoxy.  Jefferson was actively engaged in remaking God to suit himself and his own views.  That is why he produced a cut and paste scripture of his very own.  Jefferson generally downplayed the miracle stories about Jesus and didn’t believe in the resurrection either based on these accounts, but atheists might want to take a pause before declaring him one of their own:

After completing this second micro-testament, Jefferson claimed in a letter to a friend that it demonstrated his bona fides as a Christian. “It is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”

This is not your typical atheist speech pattern.  Jefferson claims about himself is that he was a “true disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”  I would dispute this point vigorously as the things that he denies aren’t just the work of a couple of overzealous followers of Christ, they are bedrock beliefs that are rooted in the Old Testament long before Christ even lived.  Jesus’ disciples didn’t “make up a bunch of stuff,” they testified to what they saw firsthand and proclaimed how this was all shown beforehand in the Law and the Prophets.

16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

– 2 Peter 1:16-21

Jefferson was apparently unable to recognize this and was content to create his own “cleverly devised myths” in their stead.  That makes him a heretic, not an atheist.

Categories: Agnostics, America, Apologetics, Atheists, Christianity, church, Culture, Discipleship, Faith, False Teachers, Kingdom, Law, politics, Questions, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When the Queen Kills the King – Check Please

From the title you might be guessing that this is a post about chess.  Sorry, but no.  It is a title about bad sermons with an attempt at a witty headline, but it got you this far so you might as well keep reading.

It is said that theology is the “Queen of the sciences,” and indeed that is so, but it is dangerous when someone mistakes the “queen” for the King.  I recently heard a sermon where the preacher didn’t bother to quote from Scripture, aside from a couple of “glancing” mentions of two verses without citing what they even were.  The sermon was based on the work of three theologians and their pontification on the death of Christ.  I hesitate to give a great number of details about the sermon, firstly because it made no real significant point and secondly, because details might more readily identify the subject and I don’t wish to make this a personal issue.

I am certain that I will never desire to hear this person preach again, but it isn’t because I have any animosity toward the preacher.  I just don’t see any point in “preaching” that doesn’t start, abide and end within the Word of God itself.

1And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.   – 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

There is nothing wrong with theology.  It certainly is the “queen of the sciences.”  It was so named because of the assertion that it is “the first among pursuits of knowledge, since it was believed that all other pursuits were vitally linked to its dictates.”  But it is beyond credible to place the pontifications of theologians above the very Scripture that should be under-girding the arguments they make.  Don’t base a sermon on the words of a few theologians who gave their opinions on why Christ had to die while asking the question “why did Christ have to die?”  Go to Scripture and find the answer there!

1Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. 3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  – 1 Corinthians 15:1-5

Paul didn’t beat around the bush about this.  He said that Christ died “for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.”  This means that the reason Christ had to die is in Scripture.  In fact, it is all over the place in the Old Testament since that is the Scriptures that Paul is referring to; but in the New Testament, you find the writers working again and again to explain these things, just as Jesus had taught them Himself.  It may not be easy to follow or understand for everyone, but it is there.  Read the book of Hebrews for a blow by blow discussion or look at other epistles like 1 John or 1 Peter for smaller explanations or statements.

This comes back to my original point.  Don’t spend so much time talking about the queen, that you take the King from His throne.  Theology is wonderful and can give us interesting conversations and loads of speculation, but she can never replace the King of Kings and she certainly doesn’t belong in His place.  When some well meaning preacher allows the “queen” to kill the King, I am going to check out every time.  I may not be able to get up and walk out (although don’t put it past me), but I won’t be there anymore mentally.  Actually, in this case, I picked up the Bible in the pew in front of me and started to read a little bit.  I figured if the guy delivering the sermon wasn’t going to read from the Bible in church at least I would. Suddenly, I found myself wishing that the guy had heard of this place before.

Here is a small piece of advice for young preachers or even old preachers who feel the need to awe others with your seminary knowledge and the ability to name-drop an obscure 12th century theologian for effect; DON’T.  I don’t use caps lightly here.  Listen.  Stick to God’s Word.  It has and will stand the test of time and it is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”(2 Timothy 3:16b-17)  People don’t need the “doctors of theology,” as much as they need the Great Physician.

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Elementary, My Dear Watson

In other funny news for the week, there is a “scientific” study that has concluded that religion will go extinct in as many as 9 countries.  There is a much more biting critique of this study available at Vox’s blog, but I wanted to throw in a couple of extra nuggets for fun.

First thing I noticed is that they patterned this “study” after one that was done on the death of languages a few years back.  I don’t know how you equate linguistics with religion in this manner.  If anything, religion is directly responsible for maintaining a knowledge of several “dead” languages in its own right.  Not the best concept that one might try to start with in any case.

While I am sure it didn’t enter into their equations, such as they may have been, while some religions have died over time, the Christian faith (and its ancestor Judaism) not only haven’t died out; they tend to get stronger and more resilient in the face of persecution and/or trials.  God maintains a remnant of His people.  I don’t see any of the countries listed in this study going complete irreligious at any time.  Vox posits that some of the countries are more likely to go Islamic before they abandon religion altogether (which might please some atheists), and he adds an additional amusing thought on why religion will not cease to be in any case:

The non-religious groups don’t provide their memberships with the same benefits as the religious groups, for the obvious reason that they are an intrinsically negative group, defined solely by what they are not. As atheists love to claim, none of them have anything in common with one another, except for the fact that they are uniformly smarter, more highly evolved, better educated, and morally superior on the basis of their non-belief. (Hey, I TOLD you they were irrational).

As for the study, I think Watson the Jeopardy computer stands a better chance of doing a good scientific study before these folks do; at least he has logic circuits capable of connecting relevant data for the problem at hand.  Maybe these folks should go and learn something from him.

Categories: Apologetics, Atheists, Christianity, church, Culture, Fun, Humor, Kingdom, Persecution, politics, Science, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

When Things Seem Hidden Away

Last night was the celebration of Purim among the Jewish people and those who embrace the Jewishness of our faith in Yeshua.  I have been reflecting on the story of Esther again and after reading a post at another blog a little bit ago it hit me a little harder.  We often get the impression that we must be in the spotlight to help others, so much so that many in our culture tend to seek out fame or influence as a means of “helping” people.

I am thinking of the young sports talents who look to “get big” so they can “give back” by helping others and those who seek celebrity and so on and so forth.  But we don’t have to be a celebrity or wealthy or of huge reputation to be involved in Kingdom business.  In fact, God delights in using those who are of no reputation.

Esther is unique in that God’s name does not appear anywhere in the text.  God chooses to work “behind the scenes” and out of view in this story.  In the book of Esther, Mordecai does a great service to the king by revealing a plot against his life; and while it would seem that it is Esther who is the “spotlight” person of influence, it is Mordecai, the unnamed fasting Jewish people, and most importantly God (whose name never appears remember), who are key to the story.

God may seem hidden at times.  The book of Esther and her story, reminds us that even when God seems hidden, He is still at work.  He is always at work.  Let us not be tempted to think that in order to accomplish big things we must be big.  God does not need the biggest or the most well known to accomplish His purpose.  He doesn’t even need you.  Rather, He will use the things that are hidden away, unknown, or of no reputation far more often than not.


Categories: Bible Thoughts, Christianity, church, devotional, Discipleship, Faith, Giving, Hebrew, Kingdom, Love, ministry, Yeshua | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Just Because He Predicted It Right, Doesn’t Mean You Should Listen to Him

A few days ago, I wrote a post explaining several reasons why a group claiming that the rapture is set to happen in May were set to be disappointed.  Even though it was about a “prophet” who had predicted wrongly before, I wanted to address the issue of a prophet whose predictions come true.  The post generated some comments that convinced me to do another post regarding the folly of trusting prophetic signs as a way of measuring God’s approval of a person or “prophet.”  It was something I had been mulling over for a bit, so here we go.

Let me start out by going “Old Testament” on you for a minute.  In Deuteronomy, as Moses is giving final instructions to the people of Israel and by extension all of us who hold to God’s Word as true and our standard of God’s character and nature; he cautions the people about prophets who will come after him:

1“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. 5But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. (emphasis mine)

– Deuteronomy 13:1-5

I dealt with this topic with a slightly different emphasis over a year and a half ago, so this is not new stuff for me.  A prophet who prophesies correctly and yet contradicts the Word of God is a false prophet.  This is something that simply isn’t talked about much in my experience.  The plain implication of this text is that simply making correct predictions is not a ringing endorsement of a Godly person or ministry or whatever.  I hate to break it to you, but Kreskin can predict the future with sometimes uncanny accuracy also and that doesn’t make him a prophet of God.

We have an unhealthy fascination with people who can “predict” the future and I fear that we forget the words of Jesus as well.  Not only did Moses downplay the “prophet who could tell the future,” but Jesus did as well:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

– Matthew 7:21-23

Read that again.  Really soak it in and read it.  These people prophesy in Jesus’ name, and cast out demons in Jesus’ name, and perform many mighty works in Jesus’ name, and He says He doesn’t even know who they are!!!

But they did all of these amazing things with prophecy and miracles and such, how can this be?

Remember the warning from Deuteronomy 13?  The second test for a prophet is where he tries to lead you.  Is it to obedience to God as He has revealed Himself in His Word or is it to follow some “new way” that the prophet is declaring based on his “authority” from his “prophetic power” that is indicated?

Don’t get dazzled by signs, predictions, miracles and so forth.  They are unreliable indicators of God’s Spirit.  Instead, set your mind on the Word of God and learn its truth.  It will set you free.

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Misunderstandings, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, church, Culture, Discipleship, End Times, False Teachers, Gospel, Grace, Heresy, Holy Spirit, Kingdom, Law, Messiah, Prophecy, Questions, Salvation, Signs of the Times, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Radical Together by David Platt – A Review

I received my copy of Radical Together yesterday, and I am already finished reading it.  This was a book that was hard to put down.  It is challenging and engaging at the same time.  I confess that I haven’t yet read David’s first book, Radical, but I plan to do so in the near future thanks to this book.

I am encouraged to see that so many are choosing to engage in a life of faith that goes beyond the culture we are accustomed to here in the western world.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a call to comfort or ease or wealth or prosperity; it is a call to sacrifice, suffering and possible loss in the midst of joy in the journey.  David captures the mind and the spirit and is careful to point his readers back to Scripture itself; directing his readers to see for themselves the basis for his assertions.

This isn’t a comfortable book.  If you elect to read this, prepare to be challenged and possibly changed.  Your view of God and His work and plan in the world may get turned upside down.  This book will challenge you to look beyond the good things to grasp the great things of God, as David uses a technique from our Master’s toolkit and works with phrases that seem almost contradictory at first glance but prove to be true in practical terms.

You can get a taste of this by checking out the first chapter online, in which David asserts that “one of the worst enemies of Christians is good things in the church.”  The other chapter statements offer similarly “backwards” concepts that have to be chewed on which you can see on the title page at the link above, but I have to say something about the final chapter.

The statement for the final chapter is, “we are selfless followers of a self-centered God.”  This one stood out to me the moment I hit the table of contents, but I resisted the urge to read the last chapter first and I recommend you do as well.  I won’t give it all away here, but it has to do with the fact that God doesn’t need you or I to accomplish His plan, yet He includes us in His plan because He loves us.

This isn’t an exercise in theory either.  David and his congregation are living the same journey he is inviting others to discover.  I highly encourage you to read Radical Together, it is a fantastic view of the work of God in His people.

One final thing, in order to be faithfully transparent, I must also mention that  I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

If you have found this review helpful, visit WaterBrook Multnomah and rank my review at their site. Thanks.

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A Doomsday Prophet Without a Leg to Stand On

I ran across another story yesterday about another group of people proclaiming a date for the Rapture.  I don’t want to waste a lot of time or space, but I feel I can offer a service for those who might get sucked in by such a thing.  Here are 3 simple reasons why May 21, 2011 is not the date of the Rapture, and I am not even going with obvious reasons that others might give you (with one exception).

1.  The man who has predicted this, Harold Camping, has made a previous prediction that proved to be false.  I could absolutely stop there with no further explanation, but I don’t want to let this go.  In trying to explain why he was wrong then but is right now, he has made this excuse:

He explains now that he originally thought 2011 was the year, but a few verses tripped him up and he concluded that the Great Tribulation might get cut short. There was still scripture he was grappling with, end-time signs that were to come — he points to the gay pride movement as one of them — and truths that had yet to be revealed, “but because of the urgency of time I had to get it out quickly,” he says of his previous warning.

This time around, he has no doubts.

“I know it’s absolutely true, because the Bible is always absolutely true,” he says. “If I were not faithful that would mean that I’m a hypocrite.”

If your best excuse is that you felt “rushed” to get the prediction out there, then you are already on shaky ground.  The only thing in the above quote that is even true is that the Bible is always true.  The man made a false prediction and ascribed it to God, let me make plain what the Bible says about this:

20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ 21And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.

– Deuteronomy 18:20-22

No matter what Camping says at this point, I simply tell you that the Word of God says he was presumptuous and you don’t need to listen to him anymore.  This is the first “infallible” proof that May 21, 2011 is not the date of the Rapture.

2. Camping offers a long mathematical dissertation as an infallible proof of his calculation for the May date and it is full of holes as well. For those who might be tempted to overlook the whole prophecy gone wrong and the biblical warning to ignore people who do such a thing, I will also offer the service of dismantling this mathematical rant.  They claim to know the year of the Noahic flood, although they offer no proof whatsoever.  The claim holds no water based on his previous track record and the biblical admonition.  Furthermore, I would note that the Jewish calendar indicates the current year as 5771, which is supposed to be dated from the creation of Adam by tradition.  Any supposition of dating the flood is questionable at best and cannot be used to assume for accurate calculations.  This is a case of make the “proof” fit the facts they want to assume.  Throw it out.

The second part where the vast amount of calculations come into play is even more dubious.  They presume to know that the date of the crucifixion of Jesus had to be on April 1, 33 AD because they feel it had to be on a Friday.  This is a sad case of confusing modern Christian tradition with actual history.  It is quite possible(likely even) that Jesus was in fact crucified on a Thursday.  The key is the realization that the first day of Passover is a special Sabbath no matter what day it falls on.  I won’t go into a lengthy explanation here, but you can check it out for yourself.  So the “starting date” for their calculations is already problematic.

He further complicates things with some dubious numerical ideas.  One is the declaration of some “special numbers”:

Likewise some numbers in the Bible also frequently point to spiritual truth. We will look at five numbers that are examples of this, as they focus on significant spiritual truth. These numbers are 3, 5, 10, 17, and 23.

I am not even going to bother with debunking the reasons given for these numbers being special as they are flimsy indeed.  Rather, I will point out that Camping missed some other very significant numbers in the Bible, presumably because the math didn’t work out quite as well.  Do the numbers 12 (tribes, disciples and so forth) and 40 (I am not even going to list the number of times this one pops up) ring any bells?  I can make a very simple case that these two numbers are far more significant than 23 for instance.  The “proof” for that number’s usage is tortured to say the least.

Listen, if God can encode the number Pi in Scripture out to four places, I am certain that He can do better than what Camping has produced in his “infallible proof.”

3. God has a calendar and it isn’t the Gregorian one. It is silly to start trying to tag significant dates to any place on the Gregorian calendar.  If there is one thing that God has demonstrated throughout history, it is that He has a definite sense of timing and it is His own times that are appointed times.  God’s appointed times are defined in Scripture: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Day of Trumpets, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Tabernacles (Leviticus 23 outlines these).  If you want proof that God keeps these days, look no further than the NT.  Jesus died on Passover and the Spirit was given on Pentecost; a perfect echo of the deliverance of Israel from bondage in the Exodus and the giving of the Torah at Pentecost at Sinai.  There are multiple references to God’s “appointed times” and a study would be fascinating, but this isn’t the place for that either.  Suffice it to say that May 21, 2011 comes in at day 32 of counting the Omer and corresponds to absolutely nothing on God’s timetable.  Sorry Mr. Camping, you might want to check God’s appointment book before you claim to know these things.  Study a little of the history of God’s work in history and you will find that He is very deliberate and remarkably consistent is sticking with these particular days.

There is more that I could say, but I don’t want to belabor the point.  Do not be dismayed or confused by these false prophets of doom.  There is a day coming when God will judge every person, but it isn’t in May of 2011.  I personally lean toward Him utilizing the appointed time of the Feast of Trumpets, since it is commonly known as “the Day when no man knows the day or the hour” in the same way that we call Thanksgiving, “turkey day.”  And just so you know, that day is nowhere near May in this year or any other.  It typically falls in September/October on our calendars.  But God isn’t confined to my idea and I am making no predictions about His return, only debunking one that is patently false.


Categories: Apologetics, Bible Misunderstandings, Christianity, church, Culture, End Times, False Teachers, Feasts, Heresy, Kingdom, ministry, Passover, Persecution, Prophecy, Shavuot, Signs of the Times, Thanksgiving, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

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