I’d like you to look around your circles and tell me: re there prophets among you?
The disciples of Yahoshua had been curious to know the time when all he prophesied to them would be fulfilled. So finally, one day, while he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, they asked him the question recorded in Matthew 24:3. “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”
They may have wanted a short answer like, next week, or a few days or even a specific date or time. Instead, Yahoshua replied with a long answer, prophesying to them about the things that will happen and the precautions they must take to not be deceived; in verse eleven he told them, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many”. Then in verse thirty-six, He answers with “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). Then he went on for fifteen more verses prophesying more signs of things that were to come.
Read the whole chapter for yourself because there is a lot of valuable information there. Though he never gave them a date, he told them what signs to look for; and when they would know that, the time was near and very near, in other words how close they were to the end or appointed time. By His answer, they knew what to expect, what to watch for; but not the exact time or date.
I recall last winter; I was driving through a neighborhood and was trying to find a post office. I had spent some time driving before I saw someone to ask directions. I saw a woman out riding her horse and stopped to ask her for directions. She was very specific in her directions. I was amazed how specific her answer was down to the measurement; after giving me the direction in which to drive, and the landmarks to look for, she said, “and you will see that in 1.2 miles”. I looked at my son who was in the passenger seat, and we both giggled, thinking we had just encountered a human GPS. I think the disciples wished they had received an answer like this one– short, concise and to the point. Instead, they were given a challenge to be alert, to think, to remain steadfast and to recall all He had said to them for as long as the time lasted.
After the ascension of Yahoshua the persecution of his followers was in full force. The apostle John was immersed in hot oil as part of his persecution then left for dead on the isle of Patmos. While there, he received revelation from Yahoshua (Jesus) of events to come in the last days. Among all the revelation he received, he also received a promise from Yahoshua, which we read in Revelation 3:11″I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown”. The message of the return of Yahoshua has been preached as encouragement for us to: not give up, not lose hope, remain steadfast! James, the brother of Yahoshua tells us in James 5:8 that “The coming of the Lord is at hand”.
Therefore, when preachers tell us that the coming of the Lord is near, we are not surprised! We only know that they cannot tell us when, because Yahshua told us in Matthew 24:36 that only Yahovah knows the date. However, we are often surprised when preachers we have trusted come forth with a calculated date of the return of the Messiah. We know right off the bat, that anyone who makes such prophetic predictions are false prophets because in Matthew 24:11 Yahoshua told us that false prophets would come forth. Therefore, if we are deceived we have no one to blame, because Matthew 24 is a public document for all to read the warning and heed.
When Harold Camping, the president of Family Radio network for 50+ years, and host of “Open Forum”, announced that he had done the end time calculations, and prophesied assuredly that the rapture would occur on May 21, 2011 we knew for sure that a false prophet had made himself known. The sad thing is that many Christians enjoyed the programming on Family Radio and became trusting of the teachers of programs aired on Family Radio. Open Forum was boasting 140 radio stations in the United States. His program was translated into many foreign languages and broadcasted in shortwave, on AM/FM stations, and the internet. Mr. Camping was not restricted to the airwaves, he also made his footprint in the paper media having published some 30 books and booklets. He was a lifelong member of the Christian Reformed Church http://www.crcna.org, which is a moderately conservative Christian organization boasting some 300,000 members in the United States and Canada.
Apart from his ministry life, Mr. Camping was a well-educated and smart man. He held a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley in 1942. He formed the non-profit ministry of Family Stations, Inc. (i.e., Family Radio Christian Education Network) and served as its pastor, president, and general manager. Camping made national news in 2011 when Camping predicted that the rapture of the Church would occur on May 21, 2011. The reason he made such a splash in the media was his superlative marketing strategy that included the spending of millions of dollars on advertisement.
Followers of Camping donated great sums of their personal wealth and many even left their jobs and sold most of their possessions in anticipation of their imminent departure for heaven. His advertising campaign generated some 5,000 billboards and 20 Recreational Vehicles that displayed the “Judgment Day” message. Television and radio talk shows, social media, the print media, and water cooler talk were all dominated by the Camping Judgment Day message. May 21, 2011 came and went, and not one soul left the ground without the aid of an airplane or a cannon or slingshot. Not to be completely done-in, Mr. Camping, after the May 2011 rapture failed to materialize, he revised the date to October 21, 2011 based on his explanation that there were errors in his calculations which affected the interpretation of the revelation he had received. Well, October 21, 2011 came and went; and once again, no rapture.
Americans need not be so shocked over the events surrounding Harold Camping’s miscalculation, and in his words, misunderstanding of the revelation given to him. History is replete with other false prophets who while predicting either the end of the world or the rapture of the Christian Church, amassed significant followings and was able to convince many to follow them in error. You will be amazed at the number of false prophets listed. For a comprehensive list of false prophets, I would encourage visit this webpage; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dates_predicted_for_apocalyptic_events.
Therefore, it is no wonder so many people were deceived into following him, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Now this was not the first time he had wrongly predicted the second coming of the Messiah. He had made a practice of doing this without regard for the messiah’s prophecy in Matthew 24. Mr. Camping had several prior predictions of the rapture occurring back on September 6, 1994, Sept 29, 1994, October 2, 1994 and March 31, 1995 and as he did with the 2011 failed predictions he wrote retractions and apologies.
If Yahoshua, THE great Prophet that was foretold by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15, and the angels in heaven do not know the date and time of the end, why would Camping think that he had access to data for calculation not available to the Messiah?
What Should Messianic Believers Know About Such Predictors of the End Times
In 1Corinthians 12:28, Paul tells us that God has given gifts to the body of Christ. He says, “God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers.” In 1 Cor 14:1-4 Paul encourages us to seek eagerly the gift of prophecy, because the role of the prophet is to build up the body of Christ. With the encouragement to seek such a noble position, many who are overcome by ambition, have lost their way.
The True Believer of Messiah should never fall victim to deception by false prophecies, because that Believer should be acutely aware of THE absolute preventative instruction given by the Yahoshua, Himself regarding the end times in Matthew 24.
Yahoshua made known to His Disciples several important precursors before the advent of the rapture of the Bride:
- Wars, civil unrest, famine, and earthquakes will only signal the start of the end-times.
- Next will come a massive persecution of the disciples of Yahoshua.
- A great outpouring of the Spirit and the Word of Yehovah will occur.
- A repeat of the Abomination that causes desolation in some form or another must occur (similar to the desolation of the Temple during the times of the Maccabees). It will be during this general period that great and terrible atrocities will occur throughout the known world. Some contend that a nuclear holocaust may not be out of the question. Millions of people will die and the aftermath of war will make the light of the sun and the moon virtually hidden. Dead bodies will liter the desolate scenes that will be repeatedly played out around the globe.
- Satan will take out his vengeance upon the saints by harshly persecuting those who are still alive (Revelation 12).
Yahoshua was quite clear in His discourse to His disciples that these key events MUST occur prior to any snatching away of the elect and the soon-to-follow advent of the millennial reign of Yeshua, the Messiah as King over all the earth.
Harold Camping ultimately posted a retraction of his predictions for that year on his ministry’s website indicating that he was in error of the posted dates for the rapture and that he had no idea when the rapture would actually occur. However, he died from complications of a traumatic fall on December 15, 2013. He was 92-years old at the time of his passing.
Human Calculations and perceived personal revelations from unknown spirits cannot overrule what Yahoshua said on the Temple Mount. The most definitive statement of all: no man–not the angels in heaven–not even the Son Himself–knows the time for the return of Yeshua. That specific date and time is known only by Yahovah, the Father.
Let us be watchful, for many false prophets are gone out like wolves in sheep’s clothing.
- Music by Daniel O’Connor of DanOsongs.com
- References: USAToday.com