Saturday, May 21, 2011

Weasels of the Week: "Armageddonists"

Back in January, radio evangelist Harold Camping, based out of California, made the bold claim that the Rapture foretold in the Book of Revelation would take place on this day. Fellow blogger Sam Wilson took note of this over at the Think 3 Institute on January 3, and I responded to his post then by noting that Camping and his followers were off base.

During the week, the press picked up on the story, but, judging from the letters pages in the New York Daily News, few were really buying into Camping's prediction. After all, he'd similarly declared the Rapture would take place 17 years ago, and of course it didn't.

How Camping even came to any sort of conclusion about the Rapture is an even bigger mystery. Allow me, however, to quote from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter 24, verses 32-36. Jesus is teaching a parable to his disciples.

"Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

So likewise ye, when ye 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.

Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of Heaven, but my Father only."

From the King James Version.

More than one reader of the Daily News referenced the last verse in their letters after reading the articles and interviews with Camping's followers. The Pastor at my church never once discussed this matter with our congregation, perhaps deeming it unnecessary.

Only God knows when the Rapture will happen. Will it be in our lifetime? We do not know for sure. Harold Camping and his followers thought they did, and thus are bestowed weasel ears for misreading the scriptures, and misleading the public.


Samuel Wilson said...

Don't only a minority of Protestants believe in the Rapture, anyway? And speaking of anyway, how do you sinners know that it didn't happen just because you didn't get taken up? It may be embarrassing for Camping that he wasn't raptured, but for all we know that reflects more on his characer than on his exegesis.

hobbyfan said...

As has been documented, Sam, Camping has erred before, but let's understand also that he is a retiree pushing 90 whose radio ministry is the only thing he has keeping him active. I would not classify him as a crackpot on the order of Fred Phelps, far from it, but rather consider him misguided. As I said before, I just don't know where he came up with his calculations.