Time Has An End

Harold Camping has again proclaimed the probable end of the

world. This time the end of the world is set for 2011 A.D. He has

written a new book entitled Time Has An End: A Biblical History of

the World 11,013 BC – 2011 AD (Vantage Press: 2005). In this book

he proclaims like a modern day prophet that the Church Age

ended in 1988, 40 years after the beginning of the nation of

Israel in 1948. This is also the beginning of the Great Tribulation

in 1988. 1994 marks the beginning of the 2nd Jubilee (Later

Rain). Previously, he said 1994 was to be the end of the world.

The probable end of the world is now set at 2011 A.D.

Usually millennialists say there are seven years of tribulation

followed directly by the return of Christ. I may not be good at

math, but there seems to be a lot more than 7 years between

1988 and 2011.

According to Camping there is now a two-part program to the

Great Tribulation (page 421). The main reason Camping sites for

the end of the world in 2011 AD is that it is 7,000 years from the

Noachian Flood which he claims was in 4990 BC. It is also 23

years from the beginning of the Great Tribulation which is the

magic number of judgment (page 425). Christians are now to

leave their (spiritual) homeland (the church) just like Jacob and

Judah did (page 426). The most likely time of Christ’s coming is

at the Feast of Ingathering (the 15-22 of the seventh month of

the Jewish calendar) which would be in the fall of 2011

(September-October, page 433). According to Camping, when

the Tribulation ends, the sun will be darkened, the moon will

not shine, and the stars shall fall from heaven (page 433). It

sounds like a spectacular astronomical show for 2011, but since

Camping has been repeatedly wrong in the past, I have little

hope that we will see the promised spectacular show in 2011.

Update 2002

Harold Camping 2002

Like many other Bible-believing Christians, the Rev. Dean Harner

for years has tuned in to Harold Camping’s Bible studies on the

Family Radio Network, but Camping wants Christians to stop

going to church. “The church age has come to an end,”

according to the Oakland, Calif.-based Camping, a fixture on

national Christian radio for 43 years who is not ordained. The

end times are imminent, and churches are not merely irrelevant

but “altogether apostate” because they soft-pedal the gospel,

Camping, 81, has been telling his national audience since about

June of last year. Instead of using Presbyterian, Methodist,

Baptist and other “corporate” denominations to evangelize the

world.

I am concerned about a book entitled 1994? by Harold Camping

and published by Vantage Press. Camping states that the end

ofthe world may occur somewhere between September 5th and

the 27th of 1994 (p. 531). He does not know the exact day

because scripture says “no man knows the day nor the hour”

(Matt.24:36) but according to Camping we can certainly know

the month and the year that Christ will return. According to

Camping, he knew over 20 years ago when the world should

end. He is just now coming out of the closet and telling all. Many

people listen to Harold Camping over Family Radio stations

across the country.

I am worried about those people who are easily swayed by his

rhetoric. After one man heard Camping he wanted me to

change our church project because the world was going to end

and all our buildings would be melted with fervent heat. Many

listeners of Camping will believe anything he says without

studying it for themselves. Gematria is the main glue that holds

Camping’s book together. Gematria is that part of ancient

mysticism that endeavors to find hidden truths locked in literal

terminology through numbers. Mystical numbers are the keys

that unlock the hidden truths concealed in literal language. The

basic theory that this system operates on is that God created a

perfect world and a perfect word (the Bible) which exhibits

precise numerical and symmetrical design. The Greek

philosopher, Pythagoras is accredited with the development of

the first system of mystical numbers by which one could

understand the nature of the universe.(1) The Cabala of the

middle ages is an excellent example of Jewish gematria.

Camping’s interpretation of John 21:1-14 displays his use of

gematria. Jesus tells the disciples who were about 200 cubits

out in the Sea of Galilee to throw their net on the right side of

the boat and the result was a catch of 153 fish. According to

Camping the scriptures are teaching that the 200 cubits is

about 2,000 years between the first and second coming of

Christ (p. 503).

Since Camping states that the most likely date for the birth of

Christ is on October 4th, 7 BC when the Jubilee Trumpet

allegedly sounded (p.418), one needs only to add 2,000 years

minus one year for the year 0 and presto, 1994. The number

153 equals 3 times 3 times 17. Camping says, “the number three

signifies the purpose of God whereas the number seventeen

signifies heaven. Thus we can learn that purpose of God is to

bring all believers that are ‘caught’ by the Gospel into heaven.”

(p.504) Would it not be hermeneutically better to go to Matthew

24 where Jesus clearly teaches about the end of the age instead

of trying to mystically find hidden secrets behind clear narrative

prose?

Camping’s numerology has amazingly pinpointed the exact day

of the creation of man to 11,013 BC (p. 295). The genealogies in

the Bible have gaps and additions in them so we can not

assume there is a direct link back to creation. For example, Luke

chapter three verse thirty six adds the name Cainan while

Genesis chapter eleven verse twelve omits this name. Which is

right, Genesis or Luke? They both are. One is more complete

than the other one. The word “begat” can mean descendant not

just a direct father-son relationship as Camping points out (p.

274), yet by ignoring Jewish customs he assumes that the

genealogies are dynastic and sequential.

The major purposes of the genealogies in the Bible as well as

the ancient world were not chronological, but domestic, legal-

political, or religious.(2) Omission of names is common as seen

in Matthew one where several names are left out so there can

be exactly three groups of fourteen names. Jews would arrange

genealogies to be symmetrical and not chronological. So one

can not assume a direct chronology back to Creation.

Allegory is another hallmark of Camping’s book 1994? Allegory

seeks the deeper spiritual truths from the literal text. For

Camping the time of the great tribulation started in 1988 and

has nothing to do with tribulation, troubles, or God’s wrath (p.

218). Christians will not be martyred. What this really means is

that Christians will be kicked out of the churches that preach a

false gospel (p. 198). If one follows this logically then Paul’s

beatings were mere spiritual temptations and Christ’s death

was really excommunication. For if the word “martyred” really

does not mean death than the language of New Testament has

no meaning.

Allegorical interpretation allows Camping to twist scripture to

say whatever he thinks it should mean. This is great news to

know that the tribulation does not really mean tribulation but

temptation, killing does not mean killing but kicking, and the

abomination of desolation is merely the different

denominations being overrun by satanically inspired gospels

like the charismatic movement (p. 438).

If one looks back at the years since 1988 one does not find the

terrible events of the book of Revelation happening. It seems

that Camping has out done even Philo, the father of allegory.

Inconsistency is another characteristic of Camping’s book.

According to Camping the seventy sevens of Daniel 9 are literal

years, except for the last three in a half. He calculates the years

precisely to the death of Christ which he says occurred 33 AD

He then turns around and says the last three in a half years

equal 2,000 years.

Camping takes a page to explain the subtitle “The Prerogative of

God to Use Numbers as He Desires” (p. 403). This should be

amended to say that it is the prerogative of Harold Camping to

use numbers as he desires. Ignorance in the eschatological

views of the New Testament era is yet another characteristic of

Camping’s book.

Camping conjures up a mythical man that he calls Nathanael

who represents the typical student who should have easily

recognized the precise dates of the messiah’s coming (p. 335).

When one studies the Dead Sea Scrolls, the pseudepigrapha,

and early church fathers, one sees that Nathanaels views are

atypical. The Epistle of Barnabas states that the world would

end 6,000 years after creation when Christ would destroy the

lawless one, because the world was created in 6 days, and a day

is as a thousand years unto the Lord(3). This is very different

from Camping’s view of eschatology who sees the world ending

over 13,000 years after the creation of man. This leaves a

difference of 7,000 years.

Ignorance in ecclesiology also plagues Camping’s book. He sees

the church as being overrun by Satan and some of evidence for

this is Christians using birth control, divorce, armenianism, the

social gospel with its concern for feeding the hungry, not

observing Sunday as God’s Holy Day, and lack of preaching on

hell. When one reads the signs of the end of the age in Matthew

24 none of these things are mentioned. Camping devotes

chapter five of his book to how God will destroy the external

church by Satan mainly through the charismatic movement.

Does the New Testament teach that the church will be

destroyed by Satan? Matthew chapter sixteen and verse

eighteen states “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall

not prevail against it.”

In Camping’s computations he does not take into account the

different changes in calendars. Before the Julian calendar was

established in 45 BC Rome had a lunar calendar which was often

shortened or lengthened to manipulate elections. Because the

Julian calendar was 11 minutes and 14 seconds longer than the

actual solar year Pope Gregory XIII decreed in 1582 that ten

days be dropped from that year and that leap year be omitted

very one hundred years except when the number of years was

divisible by 400.(4) The Gregorian calendar is what we use today.

What did the Jews use to reckon time? Recently published

fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls in cave four indicate that

the scribes of Qumran started reckoning time from the fourth

day of creation. Their year consisted of 364 days with lunar

months alternating between 29 and 30 with a full moon every

third year on the first day of creation week(5). The Mishna has a

different way of reckoning time. This makes it very difficult to

pinpoint exact dates as Camping has done.

I am afraid Harold Camping is another name that we need to

add to our long list of date setters. If there is a sign that is being

fulfilled, it is the one about many false christs that will come

saying he is here. Harold Camping’s book 1994? is a great book

if one is interested in mystical and allegorical interpretations of

scripture.

– Stephen C. Meyers

Endnotes

(1) Davis, John. Biblical Numerology. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book

House, 1968), pp. 125-126. This is an excellent little book on

biblical numerology.

(2) The NIV Study Bible. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985), p. 581.

(3) Lightfoot, and Harmer, eds. The Apostolic Fathers. (Grand

Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984), pp. 283-84.

What Camp Is Camping In?

Where is Harold Camping coming from theologically? I see

Harold Camping as coming from a reformed, five point

Calvinistic, amillennial, covenantal theological point of view. In

Covenant theology the Church grafted into the blessings of

Israel. So Camping wrongly concludes that all the old Testament

passages about Israel are referring to the church. Thus

Camping sees that the history about Israel is symbolic and

prophetic of the church. This is where he goes off the deep end

and gets his allegorical interpretations and numerology. (It

should be noted that covenant theologians do not go to the

extremes that Camping does.)

Camping sees the literal numbers of scripture as having hidden

symbolic meanings that predicts when the world will end. Thus

200 cubits off shore in John 21 means 2,000 years until Christ

comes again. The Literal meaning of scripture is ignored for a

higher hidden symbolic meaning. 2 Peter 1:21 declares that

scripture is not of any private interpretation of man (Harold

Camping).

I am afraid that Harold Camping as gone off the deep end

theologically. Let us try to follow and teach the clear simple

message of the Bible without trying to fish for hidden

eschatological meanings 200 cubits off shore.

A Plea of Concern!

I am very concerned about the many loyal followers of Harold

Camping. Many have come to trust in Christ because of his

ministry on the radio. Many have learned marvelous truths of

scripture from Harold Camping. He has many good things to

say. The difficulty comes when we accept everything he says as

absolute gospel truth. We assume that he is right in every thing

he says, because of all the marvelous truths that we already

have learned from him.

The only perfect teacher is Christ. But somehow we become

emotionally attached to the teacher that gave us spiritual birth

as a new born baby is totally dependent on it’s mother. The

time has come for maturity to cut the umbilical cord and to

decide what is right and wrong from scripture with out having

to call up his radio program for the answer.

A number of my spiritual teachers when I was a young Christian

have fallen, but that does not mean I throw out everything they

taught. It is like eating watermelon. You eat the good parts and

spit out the seeds. Some want to throw out the whole water

melon, others choke on the seeds. All teachers have good and

bad theological teaching. It takes a mature Christian to decide

from scripture what are seeds that need to be spit out while

enjoying the melon. The setting of the date September 1994 as

the end of the world is a seed that needs to be spit out. 

I pray that the followers of Harold Camping can break their

emotional bonds of attachment so they can make clear mature

decisions about the teachings of scripture.

-Stephen Meyers

Interview with Harold Camping

June 8, 1994 at Sandy Cove

By Stephen C. Meyers

Harold Camping, the founder and President of Family Stations

Inc., was born July 19, 1921 in Denver, Colorado. At the age of 6

his family moved to Southern California. His father was in and

out of a number of businesses, dairy farmer, bakery, and cattle,

to help support his family during the great depression. Harold

Camping is the second oldest of five sons. His mother dearly

loved the Lord, but his father did not become saved until the

age of 60. This sometimes created difficulties between his

parents. Camping states that his father died at age 62 at peace

with God. Camping was raised in the Christian Reformed

Church. He was married and baptized in this church. Camping

says he has been a Christian all of his life. He just grew up

trusting the Lord.

Camping describes his father as a good church man with whom

he got along fine. Discipline was very strict and legalistic. He had

a strict Dutch upbringing. When Camping was asked if his father

ever told him “I love You” he responded by saying his family did

not readily show their emotions, was completely aware of his

parent’s love for their children. He describes his childhood as

happy. Harold Camping started the first grade when he was 5

years old. He graduated from High School at age 16 and

finished college at age 20. Because of his young age in high

school he felt awkward. He did not mature as fast as the others

in his grade. He was a late bloomer. He never got in trouble at

school.

Camping attended two years at Long Beach college then he

went two more years at the University of California at Berkeley

where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil

engineering in 1942. That same year after graduation he

married a girl named Shirley Vander Schuur that he had met at

the Alameda Reformed church that he was attending while in

college. Camping says that he was poor and he had to work his

way through college.

After college Harold Camping worked for awhile with other

companies before he started his own construction business.

After about 25 years in the construction business he sold it and

is now living off the money from that sale. He does not receive a

salary from Family Stations. Because of the need for civil

engineers, Camping was delayed three years from being

drafted. When he received his A-1 to serve he was rejected

because of a physical problem, a hernia.

In 1956 at age 35 there was a turning point in Harold Camping’s

life. Because his construction business did not require his full

attention, he turned to an in-depth study of the Bible. He

studied the Bible like he was studying for finals in college. Today

Camping continues to study the Bible two to six hours a day.

Very frequently he studies for an hour or more after Open

Forum.

Because Harold Camping wanted to share his views from his

study of the Bible, he together with two other men incorporated

Family Stations in 1958. The first radio station was bought in

1959, KEAR in San Francisco. Family Stations now has 39 radio

stations and 14 short-wave transmitters.

Camping is the President and General Manager and serves on

the board of directors with only two other board members,

Scott Smith who is vice president, and Richard VanDyk who is

the treasurer/secretary. Camping takes care of personnel

problems, decision making, and sets policy.

Harold Camping is the father of one son, six daughters, twenty

four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. He likes to

keep a low profile and “treasures times to be alone.”

Over twenty years ago Camping says he saw the end of the

world, but he did not talk about it. Because he had a

compulsion to share what he had learned, it was a great relief

to him when he published his book 1994? Camping sees every

true Christian as having a prophetic office and must share the

“true” gospel with others. He sees Family Stations as “a voice

crying in the wilderness” against the apostasy of the church.

When asked what if the world does not end in September, he

said that sometimes he wishes it does not end so they would

have time to do more evangelism.

In 1974 Camping published the book Adam When? after five

years of research. He tested the results of his calendar system

with secular history at the Pacific School of Religion in their

Palestinian Library. He also claims that he is trained in reading

carbon 14 in which he disputes the reliability of the results.

Camping claims the earth was created in 11,013 BC When he

discovered this date he had a strange feeling about himself, he

thought, “who am I to work out the exact age of the earth?”

Harold Camping has had no formal training in the Bible. He

does not know Greek or Hebrew. He uses a concordance to find

out the original language. If he does have a question about the

Greek or Hebrew he goes to Dr. Ortero, who he says has a Ph.D.

in Greek and Hebrew. Dr. Ortero has a Ph.D. in Psychology from

Argentina.

Camping admits that Dr. Ortero does not agree with him about

the world ending in September 1994. Camping thinks that if Dr.

Ortero really studied his math in-depth that he would then

agree with his book that the world will end in September 1994.

In fact, if everyone did their homework, Camping believes

everyone would agree with him.

In 1988 Camping published the book The Final Tribulation where

he states that no one can be saved once the Tribulation has

started which according to him was May 21, 1988 (p.137-8 and

158). He has since corrected this to say that once the tribulation

has ended no one can be saved, which according to him is

September 6, 1994.

Camping also has stated that the nation of Israel may be

destroyed before the end of the tribulation, but he now no

longer believes this will happen. Camping continually has to

change his story. More and more of the book of Revelation is

being spiritualized like great earthquakes, the heavens being

shaken, the sun and moon being darkened, until even the

coming of Christ is spiritualized away in September just as the

Jehovah Witnesses did to 1914. For example, the sun represents

Christ, the moon represents the church, and the stars also

represent the church. If the moon can change into the church,

then anything can happen in Camping’s interpretation of

scripture, or should I say his mutilation of scripture.

If Camping keeps changing his story, why should we believe his

September date? On June 5, 1988 Camping with about 60 people

broke away from the Christian Reform Church to form their own

independent Reformed Church. Today the attendance is now

about 300-350 people. They have visiting pastors each Sunday

since they have not been able to find a pastor since 1988.

Camping claims that the pastor of his church was jealous of him

and the elders made rules about teaching that would exclude

him from teaching so he decided to leave because he must

teach (or must be in control).

When asked why Family Stations, Inc. does not join an

organization like the Evangelical Counsel for Financial

Accountability (ECFA), he said that the board of directors are

not supposed to work at the organization. They do have an

outside audit, but when I asked for one I did not receive it. The

ECFA states in 7.11, “An organization must make every effort to

avoid accepting a gift from or entering into a contract with a

prospective donor which would knowingly place a hardship on

the donor, or place the donor’s future well-being in jeopardy.”

Camping says he does not know of anyone selling their house,

or business, or quitting their job, but other sources confirm

that these things have happen.

Camping still denies that a reporter from the Christian Research

Journal, who wrote an article about him, in the Summer of 1993

issue ever talked to him although the reporter has a tape

recording of his conversation with Camping and phone bills to

prove it. Camping believes that the reporter must have sliced

together a tape recording of him. A small portion of this tape

was played on the “Bible Answer Man Show” to prove that the

reporter did indeed talk to Camping. A copy of this show may be

purchased from the Christian Research Institute (P.O.Box 500,

San Juan Capistrano, CA., 92693. Ask for tape #BC-011394. The

cost is $6). You can judge for yourself who is telling the truth.

Inside sources also confirm the accuracy of the article.

In the article Camping shared about a radio station in Russia,

where He says he did not want to be unequally yoked with

unbelievers so Family Stations built the Radio Station and then

gave it to the Russians in exchange for free broadcast time. The

article also mentions his wife wanting a new floor, but he wants

to delay this until after September. Camping replied that this

was just an illustration that he used. It never really happened as

he says.

Conclusions

After personally interviewing Camping, listening to his

teachings, and reading his books, I have come to the following

conclusions.

Camping’s very strict and legalistic Dutch upbringing has had a

profound affect on his life. This strictness, which lacked outward

loving affection, has produced a vacuum of love that was filled

with legalism where love is based on works, and on how well

one performs. Perfection is the goal that is set forth, and

Camping has worked hard to achieve it. A proof of one’s

election is his successful godly works. Being the second born

there was a great need to prove himself to his father and

mother and to out do his older brother. At age five he was in

the first grade. At age 16 he graduated from High School. At age

20 he graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University

of California at Berkeley

This driving compulsion to achieve was carried over into his

construction business that he started, which later became very

successful. Finally, at age 35 this compulsion was applied to the

study of the Bible which led to a very successful religious

broadcasting network, Family Stations Inc. with over 39 stations,

and 14 short wave stations.

There are a number of things that characterize a legalistic family

(Miller, p.19). First of all, there is an authority figure who has the

answer for everything who must be in control. Any loss of

control is seen as a threat. The Bible is used as a tool to forge

the unbreakable chain of command of God’s divine order.

Camping’s father was very legalistic, and like father like son,

Camping is also very legalistic. Camping claims to be the

authority on the Bible who has the right answer for anyone who

calls in on his Open Forum program.

In childhood, Camping’s base of authority depended upon his

father. One’s view of God and others depends upon one’s

relationship with their father. Camping’s authoritarian father

has passed this power structure down to his son. The way he

tightly controls Family Stations is an example of this. Another

example of this is in 1988 when Camping broke away from his

own Christian Reformed Church and took 60 people with him to

start his own independent Reformed Church. He has a problem

of being under the authority of someone that does not agree

with him. In the past six years they have not found a pastor and

probably will not because Camping needs to be in control.

Another component of legalism is the misconception that there

is a correct and precise answer to every question. Everything is

right or wrong, black or white with no in-between gray area.

Camping always seems to have an exact answer with a proof

text from the Bible which many are taken out of context. He has

pinpointed creation to 11,013 BC The tribulation started May 21,

1988 and will end September 1994. Camping’s whole bases of

his calendar system is on the false premise that everything

must add up exactly right in the Bible. It truly amazes me that

Camping, with no formal training in the Bible, no training in

Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic, no training in the cultural milieu of

the Bible can make authoritative pronouncements on the

interpretation of the Bible as if he were the Protestant pope.

Another important part of legalism is the me vs. them mentality,

or the separation from the world. It is easier to avoid the world

than to face the world. Rather than go out into the world one

must come out from it. According to Camping most churches

and pastors have gone apostate, therefore one must separate

from apostate churches. Apostasy according to Camping is

anyone who does not agree with his interpretation of the Bible.

This super sensitivity to the slightest challenge to authority by

crying apostasy is just another ploy of legalism.

Legalism also leads to keeping one’s emotions completely

under control, and perhaps even feared and avoided, but

always evaluated before expressed. Camping’s somber, stone

face reflects this control of emotions and lack of unconditional

love.

These legalistic tendencies has led Camping to a theology of

judgment. The judgment of God is emphasized with the

destruction of the whole world. Camping says very little about

the love of God, because God hates the sinner. Millions of “Does

God Love You?” tracts have been handed out, but the answer to

the question is a resounding NO! God does not love you. God

only loves the elect according to Camping. Not only does God

hate sin, but also hates the sinner as well.

What Camping needs to understand is the unconditional love of

God and his acceptance of him just as he is, which he probably

lacked so much of when he was growing up. I feel sorry for

Camping. He needs to experience the unconditional love of God

like D.L. Moody did when Henry Morehouse came to speak for a

whole week just on the love of God.

What about Camping’s loyal followers? Most of the tell tale signs

of legalism are the same signs of a cult leader. Many cult leaders

were victims themselves with an inferiority complex, and who

must be in control. There is the true believers vs. the apostate

world. There is the right or wrong mentality. There is

performance based happiness. There is the strict obedience to

the leader who has all the right answers. Anyone who does not

agree with the leader is apostate. Many people are followers

who are drawn to authority figures who have all the right

answers.

What will happen to the followers of Camping after September

1994? There is an example from history that may help out. In

1956 a book was written by Leon Festinger entitled When

Prophecy Fails. It tells of a Wisconsin flying saucer cult whose

leader predicted the end of the world. Followers sold their

homes and then waited on a mountain side for the flying

saucers to pick them up before the world was to be destroyed.

When no flying saucers came most members became more

convinced than ever that their leader was right rather than face

public humiliation (Hassan, pp. 59-60).

When September 1994 passes it is best not to make fun of

Camping’s followers. This may only drive them closer to

following Camping. I hope and pray that Camping will publicly

step down from the control of Family Stations in October to

avoid turning it into a cult, and allow qualified trained Christians

answer questions on Open Forum in their area of expertise.

-Stephen Meyers

Endnotes

Hassan, Steven. Combating Cult Mind Control. (Rochester,

Vermont: Park Street Press, 1988). This is an excellent book

about cult mind control.

Miller, David. Breaking Free: Rescuing Families from the Clutches

of Legalism. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992. This is an

excellent book on legalism and its affects on the family.

source: bibleandscience.com


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