Not on May 21st

Making Merchandise of Immortal Souls

2 Peter 2:3


God the Holy Spirit warns us plainly to beware of false prophets who “with feigned words” (cleverly molded words of their own devising) make merchandise of immortal souls. Their motive is always covetousness, a deep-seated craving for influence, recognition, and applause. They speak “perverse things,” because they desire to draw away disciples after themselves (Acts 20:30). The covetousness which motivates false prophets is not always a covetousness after money and fame. It is often a covetousness, an insatiable desire, to have followers.

Back in 1992 Harold Camping wrote and published a 551 page book titled 1994? It is filled with charts, mathematical schemes, and “feigned words,” and much “vain jangling,” by which Camping tried to convince the world, and did convince thousands that a rapture would occur and history would end on September 4, 1994. In 1993 Camping published another book titled Are you ready? Another 405 page pile of waste paper, filled with the same stuff, scaring people to death with the idea that on September 4, 1994 Judgment Day would come. When the sun rose the next day, Mr. Camping had a problem (Deuteronomy 18:22); but (like all the date-setters before him) he refused to back off. Instead, he immediately began working on another scheme, clamoring to keep a following of disciples. Numerous excuses were offered: “Perhaps we followed the wrong calendar.” “I may have made a mathematical error.”

We’ve had many other self-serving, self-appointed, and self-exalted prophecy experts throughout history who were certain they had figured out what our Lord assures us no man can know (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32; Acts 1:7). After Camping’s prophecy failed, we experienced the flood of prophecy pros who wrote books about the Y2K scare and the sure end of the world in the year 2000. When that failed, the same prophecy pros wrote and sold just as many books to their poor, deluded disciples about the sure end of the world after the Islamic attack on the United States, September 11, 2001. Not to be outdone or take a chance on losing any disciple, Mr. Camping has now predicted that May 21, 2011 will be Judgment Day. This time he has people going all over the United States and Great Britain putting up billboards, passing out tracts, and driving around with huge signs on their vans and campers, saying, “The Rapture – May 21, 2011 —— The End of the World – October 21, 2011.” This time Camping claims he doesn’t have a doubt, saying, “I know it’s absolutely true, because the Bible is always absolutely true.”

When a man came in my office last week desiring to persuade to embrace Camping’s drivel, I immediately demanded that he leave and leave immediately. Had he refused, I would have thrown him out physically, with the fury with which our Lord drove money changers out of the temple. Why? Because the whole scheme has been concocted, as are all the doctrines of men, to make merchandise of immortal souls! On May 22, 2011, all who have followed Camping’s craftiness should see clearly that it is not of God (Deuteronomy 18:22). God’s servants are not men who speculate about the future; but men who proclaim redemption and grace in Christ Jesus, not with feigned words they have devised, words no one can understand, but with the simple force of plainness and truth. — “We preach Christ crucified!









Don Fortner



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