As I write this, it is eight hours till the hour set by Harold Camping as the end of the world as we know it. That is, assuming I read understand him right when he said it will happen at 6:00 pm. Considering we have several timezones across the globe, and further assuming that Camping is right, that means the Philippines will be hit by judgement eight hours earlier than GMT countries. (I know there’s a country east of the Philippines that has an earlier timezone but for the life of me, I can’t remember what the name of the country is.)
Those west of the Philippines will still have enough time to “prepare” themselves once judgement hits, again assuming Camping is correct in his “calculations.”
On another note, we don’t let Camping off the hook because he’s either a) a famous personality, or b) his methods are the opposite of subtle, or c) both. I’ve been to services (mind you, I come from a Chinese-Filipino background) where the Sunday speaker, usually a pastor (with the title “Reverend”) would say something like this: The Bible says that the gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached to all the earth, and then the end will come. So let’s exert more effort in sharing the gospel, so Jesus would come sooner!”
Why do I mention this? We publicly go against Camping for his dangerous (and far-reaching) abuse of Scripture. The example I provided is no less dangerous, and far reaching. Yet hardly any one mentions it.
Why is it dangerous? Here’re several reasons:
- The speaker/s assume that the Day of Judgement is variable. It’s almost as if they imagine a scenario in heaven wherein God decides to have the Second Coming occur on Tuesday, November the 8th (for example), but having to postpone it because the angels inform him that the gospel hasn’t been preached in a far corner of Tanzania. Or maybe moving it up to November 1st because he just found out that the people were very zealous in their gospel sharing and there were only a hundred people left to share to.
- Since the speakers are ordained, people assume (I know this for a fact) that they’re never wrong. “How dare you correct him! He’s an ordained minister!” This is almost idolatry. Again, I’m speaking from a Chinese-Filipino church background. I am not certain if this is being done in the west, or in a purely Filipino setting. I just haven’t heard anyone say something similar, outside of the Chi-Fil setting.
- While not going all out and like Camping, declaring a particular day for Judgement, those who share this particular abhorrent teaching are setting themselves up as gods in their own way. They think they can manipulate God’s timing, clearly forgetting passages such as Acts 17:31. (Of course, some pastors think they can manipulate other things anyway, but that’s another story…)
- It gives a false premise and an ulterior motive for preaching the gospel, instead of doing so primarily for God’s glory (love for God) and for love of neighbor. “Why do we preach?” “So Jesus would come earlier.” Have fun looking support for that in the Scriptures.