Saturday, September 10, 2011

Harold Camping's false prophecy: the deadly toll

With Harold Camping’s previous false prophecies about the end times, those calling themselves Christians should have known better than to fall for his May 21 Rapture prediction (and should SURELY by now see through his latest explanation for this failed prediction and his new October 21 false prophecy; read his original words here). And yet because they didn’t heed this warning from scripture, many in this country lost fortunes and relationships; Bible-believing churches—including many that opening condemned Camping’s false prophecy—were widely ridiculed; and the youth, even among believers, but especially among Camping’s Family Radio cult, have all the less reason to believe the Bible, which Camping falsely claims he relied on, but contradicted by making his prediction to start with (by the way, with his faithful followers selling all their possessions to "get the message out," while Camping stayed nice and cozy in HIS home).

I only wish this were extent of Camping’s damage. But a reading of a recent article in the orthodox Catholic publication New Oxford Review gives a more grim picture: violence attributed to the prediction, including a California mother who tried to kill her two daughters and herself, and a Russian teenager who committed suicide by hanging, because they didn’t want to be left behind in the Tribulation; and a Florida man who, when the time approached for the prediction to be "fulfilled," in a frenzy jumped to his death so he could "get to God."

Then there are the deaths of possibly hundreds of Hmong Christians in Vietnam, who gathered to celebrate the "approaching Rapture" on a mountain—which was to end of their persecution under the Communists—only to be massacred by government troops as the prediction failed (read the original story at WorldNetDaily here). Two of their pastors were beheaded, and others in the group of 7,000 were arrested; the ministry that reported the massacre said these believers, unlike those in the West, were poor, ignorant and heavily persecuted, making them more susceptible to relying on Camping’s rants via short-wave radio.

It’s very easy for Christians to laugh along with the mainstream media about this false prophecy, and dismiss it. But this sad lesson should challenge us to proclaim TRUE biblical prophecy, which heads off such deluded teachings as Camping’s “prophecies” (see my previous blog), and keeps us centered in the truth of Jesus and His Word.

When a prophet speaks in the Lord’s name, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. (Deut. 18:22, HCSB)

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