RADIO SHOW HOST FOOLISHLY PREDICTS MAY 21, 2011 AS DATE OF THE RAPTURE: The Bible says “no one knows” but the Father alone

In this Dec. 17, 2010 photo in Raleigh, N.C., Allison Warden poses with her car showing a message about the rapture. Warden, of Raleigh, has been helping organize a campaign using billboards, post cards and other media in cities across the U.S. through a website, We Can Know. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

A radio host named Harold Camping is making headlines in the Washington Post, Associated Press, National Public Radio, and elsewhere this month by publicly predicting that the Rapture — the sudden disappearance of born-again followers of Jesus Christ from the earth, followed by the Biblical judgments described in the Book of Revelation as the “Great Tribulation” — will occur on May 21, 2011. Sadly, he is just the latest person to foolishly ignore the teachings of Jesus Christ and mislead people regarding Bible prophecy.

The San Francisco Chronicle seems to be the first to have picked up the story. They reported: “Camping, 88, has scrutinized the Bible for almost 70 years and says he has developed a mathematical system to interpret prophecies hidden within the Good Book. One night a few years ago, Camping, a civil engineer by trade, crunched the numbers and was stunned at what he’d found: The world will end May 21, 2011….Employees at the Oakland office run printing presses that publish Camping’s pamphlets and books, and some wear T-shirts that read, ‘May 21, 2011.’ They’re happy to talk about the day they believe their souls will be retrieved by Christ. ‘I’m looking forward to it,’ said Ted Solomon, 60, who started listening to Camping in 1997. He’s worked at Family Radio since 2004, making sure international translators properly dictate Camping’s sermons.”

Camping’s declaration is deeply misguided. In Matthew chapter 24, the Lord Jesus Christ gave His disciples a  list of signs to watch for that would indicate when His return for His true followers was approaching. Such signs included the rise of false messiahs, wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, other natural disasters, persecution of believers, the spread of the gospel to all people in every nation, the rebirth of the nation of Israel, and so forth. But in Matthew 24:36, Christ warned His followers not to try to speculate on exact dates of His return. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone,” Christ said. 

If “no one” on earth knows the date of Christ’s return, how then does Harold Camping know? He doesn’t.

Yet this is not the first time Camping has been misled or misled others. In 1992, he published a book through Vantage Press in New York entitled, 1994? I actually have a copy because I have started a collection of books and pamphlets of false teachings about Bible prophecy. It’s a 552 page volume with this conclusion: “The results of this study teach that the month of September of the year 1994 is to be the time for the end of history.” In the following sentence he notes: “We must be cautious. There could be something that has been overlooked. In view of the many paths that I have found that focus on 1994 it seems extremely unlikely that we have overlooked something. However I modestly and humbly acknowledge that such a possibility exists.” (emphasis added)

Obviously, Camping was wrong. Neither the Rapture nor the end of the world occured in 1994. He did, in fact, overlook something — the words of our Lord Jesus Christ who said in Matthew 24:36 that “no one knows” the time of Christ’s return but the Father alone.

Camping is not the only one who has refused to accept the words of Christ and have decided that they do know, and have spread such misguided and unbiblical teaching to others.  In 1987, an author named Edgar C. Whisenant, for example, wrote a book published through the World Bible Society entitled, 88 Reasons Why The Rapture Could Be In 1988. On page 3, Whisenant actually cites Christ’s warning in Matthew 24:36. Yet he then proceeds to speculate with a professed near certainty that he knows what no one else knows. His conclusion: “We are now in the 100th Congress of the United States, and 1987 is the 212th birthday of the Constitution of the United States. Water boils at 100 degrees centrigrade, and at 212 degrees fahrenheit. We will not see another national election; nor will we see the end of the 213th year of the Constitution (which is the end of 1988), before the war comes (World War III) which destroys us completely as a nation, before the election in November 1988 — and before the harvest 1988, on 4 October 1988.”

Obviously, Whisenant was wrong. Neither the Rapture nor the end of the world occured on October 4, 1988, nor at any time that year. The following year, however, he published another book explaining that the Rapture would actually happen in 1989, claiming that he had previously miscalculated. The Rapture didn’t happen then either.

Such date-setting is not only unbiblical, wrong and misleading, it also invites ridicule, scorn and discredit upon followers of Jesus Christ who study the Bible seriously and teach the Word of God — including prophecy — carefully and soberly.

Jesus Christ was very clear that He is coming back. “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go and prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

The Apostle Paul was very clear in describing the Rapture that “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain [as born again believers in Christ] will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Teachers of Bible prophecy need to be very careful. Our responsibility is not to predict when Christ will return, but to help people be ready for the Lord’s return, whenever that occurs, and especially if it is soon. We can do this by sharing the gospel, making disciples, spreading the Word, strengthening the Church, living lives of holiness and purity, and becoming men and women of prayer and worship. We also need to do this by helping people to discern the difference between solid Bible teaching and false teaching. Let’s ask the Lord to help us to serve Him wisely and humbly. Let’s also pray for Harold Camping and others that their eyes may be opened to the truth and they make make a rapid course correction.


Shimon Peres and wife Sonia. (photo: Haaretz/Israeli govt press office)



Please pray for Israeli President Shimon Peres as he mourns the passing of his wife, Sonia, 87. Please pray, too, for their entire family and friends, that the Lord would comfort them and draw them each to His heart.

“This is my comfort in my affliction,that Your word has revived me,” wrote King David in Psalm 119:50.

“Peres is survived by her husband, their three children Tzvia, Yonatan, and Hemi, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren,” reports Haaretz. “Her son-in-law and physician, Dr. Raphael Walden, told Israel Radio she died peacefully in her sleep. The president arrived at the Peres family home Thursday afternoon. The presidential residence publicity adviser announced that the family is currently in deep mourning, and will issue another release soon….”


Historically, the nations of Turkey and Iran have not been close. Iranians, by and large, are ethnically Persian and religiously Shia Muslims. Turks are neither ethnically Persian nor Arab, and religiously they are generally Sunni Muslims, who see the world dramatically differently than do Shias. Under the Ottoman Empire, Turkey was the seat of the Islamic kingdom or “caliphate.” Iran has never been the seat of the caliphate.

What’s more, for nearly a century since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, modern Turkey has been a model of Reformer Islam. It has been pro-Western, pro-democracy, a NATO ally, a friend of Israel, a friend of the U.S., and in recent decades desirous of joining the European Union. Iran, at least since the 1979 Islamic Revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini, has been the leader of Radical Islam, and more recently apocalyptic Twelver Shia Islam.

Yet now, despite millennia of deep differences, Iran and Turkey are becoming more than friends. They appear to be becoming strategic allies. And they are becoming allies at the same time that they are forming strategic alliances with Russia, and just as they are growing increasingly hostile and threatening towards Israel, just as Ezekiel 38-39 indicates will happen in the “last days” before the “War of Gog and Magog” begins. Consider these recent headlines:


Russian President Medvedev meeting in Jericho with Palestinian President Abbas on Tuesday. (Reuters photo/Ammar Awad)

UPDATED: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today began an historic Middle East tour. He is meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders in the West Bank. Then he will meet with King Abdullah and other Jordanian leaders in Amman. While he canceled his scheduled visit to Israel, Medvedev did speak by phone with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday. The two are taking steps to deepen the alliance between their two countries and coordinate their Mideast policies. “Russia is ready for all cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Medvedev.

Prior to the trip, Israeli officials were reportedly particularly concerned that Russian leaders might unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state, as a series of Latin American countries have recently done. CNN reports: “Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat called Medvedev’s trip a ‘historic state visit’ adding that ‘the message to the world is that the Palestinians are ready for statehood and independence.'” Their fears were confirmed on Tuesday. “Russia recognized an independent Palestinian state in 1988 and they would continue to do so today, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday,” reported Haaretz. “‘We made our decision then and we have not changed it today,’ Medvedev said during a press conference after meeting with the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Jericho….One [Israeli foreign] ministry official said that Russian recognition of a Palestinian state would be a severe blow to Israel that would cause a domino effect of other states following Russia’s lead, including China.”

Momentum for the Palestinians to unilaterally declare a state, or for the world to recognize the Palestinian state inside the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital even without a negotiated treaty with Israel, has been growing for the past year or so, as I explained a blog column in December. At the time, summer 2011 seemed to be the target. Now the September opening of the U.N. General Assembly may be the new target. According to veteran Israeli columnist Aluf Benn, “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are apparently planning to act in September, before the United States begins its presidential election year. At that time they will convene the United Nations General Assembly and pass ‘the recognition resolution.’ General Assembly resolutions are not binding, but Israel will find itself internationally isolated. The territories will be transformed from a bargaining chip into a burden.” In a different column, Benn also notes that “Abbas has been telling the world he has presented Netanyahu with detailed positions on all of the core issues and Netanyahu has not answered him, or has agreed to discuss only other matters. This is the Palestinian version of ‘there is no partner.’ The world believes him.” Enormous pressure is building on Netanyahu to divide the Land and divide Jerusalem. It would be a terrible mistake, but Israel’s enemies are trying to lure Netanyahu and his Cabinet into a honey trap, as it were, while the world isolates and delegitimizes Israel more and more.

What’s particularly noteworthy about all of these trends is the central role Russia is playing, and the close relationship Moscow is developing with Iran and the Palestinians.

Are recent trendlines — including the latest news reports out of Moscow and Tehran — consistent with the Bible prophecies found in Ezekiel 36-39 and the coming “War of Gog and Magog”? We will examine this question in detail at the 2011 Epicenter Conference and during The Joshua Fund Prayer & Vision tour of Israel in May. Please come with us and study these prophecies and current events for yourself. For now, consider the following:

  • According to the Hebrew Prophet Ezekiel, writing more than 2,500 years ago, Israel will be reborn as a country in “the last days.” Jews will return to the Holy Land after centuries of exile, and the Jews will rebuild the “ancient ruins” and make the deserts bloom. This, of course, has already happened, beginning in the late 19th century, accelerating on May 14, 1948, and continuing to the present. 
  • The prophecy then indicates that Israel will become prosperous in the last days, before the “War of Gog and Magog.” Interestingly, in 2010, Israel’s economy grew 4.5% and is the fastest growing economy in the industrialized world at the moment. What’s more, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange is at record heights. Now massive amounts of natural gas have been discovered, potentially making Israel even more prosperous over the next few years. 
  • The prophecy also indicates that Israelis will be “living securely in the land,” even as new, existential threats rise over the horizon. Last November, Israel’s outgoing military intelligence chief, Major General Amos Yadlin, indicated that Israel was more secure than at any other time in its modern history. “The recent security calm is unprecedented,” Yadlin told a parliamentary committee. Despite emerging and serious threats from Iran and her Radical Islamic allies, for the moment Israel is enjoying a period of remarkable calm in light of the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, almost no terrorism emanating out of the West Bank, relative calm in Gaza in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, relatively calm borders for the last four years with Lebanon and Syria, and a regime change in Iraq that led to a nascent but improving democracy. “Israel’s deterrence is very strong but the lull [in regional violence] shouldn’t mislead anyone, the opposite is true. Our enemies are strengthening and arming,” Yadlin added.
  • Then the prophecy says a dictator (described in the prophecy as “Gog”) will rise in Russia (described in the prophecy as “Magog”) in the “last days” and will form an alliance Iran (“Persia”). This Russian-Iranian alliance will then form alliances with Turkey (“Gomer”), Libya (“Put”), Sudan (“Cush”) and a group of other Middle Eastern countries to attack and takeover Israel. That’s what makes today’s reports particularly interesting. “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed to boost ties between their countries, in a a telephone conversation, state media reported on Monday,” according to Agence France Presse. “The call came after Russia snubbed Iran’s invitation to visit two atomic sites in the Islamic republic that were thrown open to a group of foreign diplomats on Saturday and Sunday. Iran and Russia must always be “friends and colleagues,” state television quoted Ahmadinejad as telling Medvedev. ‘The Islamic republic of Iran welcomes an increase of ties in all areas between the two countries.’ Its website said Medvedev echoed the Iranian hardliner’s views….”
  • As the Russian-Iranian-led alliance comes against Israel, the Jewish State will find herself internationally isolated. The prophecy indicates that not a single country will come to Israel’s defense. Sadly, this is precisely where the trend lines are now heading. U.S.-Israeli relations are at their weakest point in 62 years. Meanwhile, most of the nations of the world are turning against Israel, or at least showing little interest. There are notable exceptions, of course. Canada and Greece are particularly warm allies of Israel right now. But consider these facts from an article in the Jerusalem Post this morning: “80 percent of all 2010 General Assembly resolutions criticizing specific countries for human rights violations were directed at the Jewish state. Only six of the remaining 191 UN member states faced human rights criticism at all, one of which was the US. And now half of the country-specific condemnatory resolutions and decisions ever adopted by the UN Human Rights Council target Israel.”
  • Ezekiel indicates that at the last moment, when it seems all hope is lost, the God of Israel will supernaturally intervene and rescue Israel. A terrible judgment will come upon Israel’s enemies at that time. Fire will fall from heaven. A giant earthquake and terrible diseases will also ravage Israel’s enemies. The Lord says that He will then pour out His Spirit on the house of Israel and not hide His face from His people or the world any longer. In other words, not only will Israel be physically rescued but spiritually blessed beyond measure as well. The eyes of many in the epicenter will be supernaturally opened to the Lord’s love, His grace, His mercy, His power, and many will enter a personal relationship with Him.

We cannot say definitively that the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39 are coming to fulfillment right away, or even that the “War of Gog and Magog” will happen in our lifetime. But there is no question that events and trends in the Middle East are strikingly consistent with the prophecies, and suggest that it is possible that these events could be closer at hand than most people realize. This week’s developments certainly underscore that assessment.




>> Fmr. Delta Force commander Gen. Jerry Boykin to speak at 2011 Epicenter Conference. Come with The Joshua Fund on a prayer & vision tour of Israel and attend the conference as part of the package

Interesting political developments today in Israel as Defense Minister Ehud  Barak bolted the Labor Party, his own political party, the party of which he is the head. He has created a new, “centrist” party and pulled a number of allies along. Why did he do it? Clues can be found in the articles below. Will it strengthen or hurt the Netanyahu government? For now, I believe it will strengthen. Why? Because it means the most far Left-wing members of the Labor Party are no longer in the government and thus can’t bring down the government. What’s more, those center-Left leaders like Barak who believe the Iranian threat compels them to help Netanyahu prepare for war, should it come, are able to keep their eye on their mission, and won’t have to worry about internal, divisive politics for the time being. They are free to vote and act their consciences and not worry they’ll be stabbed in the back, politically speaking, by those who believe they are traitors for serving in a Netanyahu government.

Meanwhile, interesting developments with Iran. More evidence that Israel and the U.S. developed the Stuxnet computer virus together, and that Russian officials are warning Tehran not to turn on the Bushehr reactor for the time being, lest there be a Chernobyl-style meltdown. And outgoing Mossad chief Meir Dagan is now backtracking on his confident prediction that Iran won’t have the Bomb until at least 2015. Now he’s saying he could be wrong and Iran could have nuclear weapons sooner, though he still believes that Iran’s efforts have been slowed down in recent months. Developing….


>> Fmr. Mossad chief Dagan backtracks, says Iran could have the Bomb before 2015

“The Dimona complex in the Negev desert is famous as the heavily guarded heart of Israel’s never-acknowledged nuclear arms program, where neat rows of factories make atomic fuel for the arsenal,” reports the New York Times. “Over the past two years, according to intelligence and military experts familiar with its operations, Dimona has taken on a new, equally secret role — as a critical testing ground in a joint American and Israeli effort to undermine Iran’s efforts to make a bomb of its own. Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to Iran’s at Natanz, where Iranian scientists are struggling to enrich uranium. They say Dimona tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive program that appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran’s ability to make its first nuclear arms. ‘To check out the worm, you have to know the machines,’ said an American expert on nuclear intelligence. ‘The reason the worm has been effective is that the Israelis tried it out.’ Though American and Israeli officials refuse to talk publicly about what goes on at Dimona, the operations there, as well as related efforts in the United States, are among the newest and strongest clues suggesting that the virus was designed as an American-Israeli project to sabotage the Iranian program…..” To read the rest of the story — including details about what the Times calls “the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever deployed,” please click here.

FMR. DELTA FORCE COMMANDER BOYKIN TO SPEAK AT 2011 EPICENTER CONFERENCE: Jan 28 is deadline to sign up for Joshua Fund tour of Israel in May — please sign up today!

Lt-Gen. (ret) Jerry Boykin will speak at the Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem in May.

I’m very pleased to announce that retired three-star Lt.-General William “Jerry” Boykin has agreed to address the 2011 Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem in May. He will speak on the Iranian nuclear threat and other military threats to Israel and the people of the Middle East. Boykin was a founding member of the U.S. Army’s elite counter-terrorism unit known as Delta Force. He later became commander of Delta. Boykin also served as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence before he retired. Boykin has become a dear friend and a trusted advisor to The Joshua Fund. He has spoken at three Epicenter Conferences (2008, 2009, 2010), as well as at the “National Town Hall Meeting on the Threat of Radical Islam and the Church’s Response” in 2009.

It is also an honor to note that Tom Doyle, a dear friend and ministry ally with a deep heart of love and compassion for Israel and her neighbors, will be hosting a panel at our May conference on “How To Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.” Boykin and Doyle will join me, Pastors Skip Heitzig and Ray Bentley, and Bible teachers Kay Arthur and Anne Graham Lotz as conference speakers. Lord willing, we’ll have more speakers to announce soon, as well.

If you haven’t registered for The Joshua Fund’s “Prayer & Vision Trip” to Israel in May — which includes first-priority admission to the Epicenter Conference — please do so today. The deadline to register at the current (reduced) prices is January 28th, and that’s coming up fast!

For more information on our 12-day Israel tour — including a video from me explaining our goals — please click here.

Can’t afford the time or money for the full tour, but want to join us? Consider our 7-day Israel tour, that also includes admission to the Epicenter Conference.


On Wednesday, the government in Lebanon collapsed as Hizbullah ministers resigned, leading to fears of a civil war in that country. The Joshua Fund’s Director of Communications, Dave Olsson, was on a conference call the same day featuring Ilan Mizrahi, former deputy head of the Mossad, and former head of the Israeli National Security Council, who addressed that and other questions. On the call were journalists from around the world; the format of the conversation with Mizrahi was Q&A, with questions submitted prior to the call by journalists. Below are Dave’s notes from the call with all the questions that were asked. Please be in prayer for that situation, which remains unstable. >> Notes from conference call with fmr. Deputy Director of the Mossad


“Lebanon’s year-old unity government collapsed Wednesday after Hezbollah ministers and their allies resigned over tensions stemming from a U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri,” reports the Associated Press. “The walkout ushers in the country’s worst political crisis since 2008 in one of the most volatile corners of the Middle East. Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the son of the slain leader, cut short a visit to Washington after meeting with President Barack Obama. He was heading to Paris where he will meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday, his office in Beirut said. Hariri planned to hold consultations on his government’s collapse while in France, then would return to Beirut, according to an official in Hariri’s delegation who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic moves….”

More coverage.


Netanyahu meeting with foreign reporters in Jerusalem on Wednesday.


Lots of news from the epicenter this morning. Stories that are drawing my attention this morning include:

Netanyahu holds press conference with foreign journalists to discuss Iran nuclear threat, outgoing Mossad chief’s assessment, and the peace process (see below) 

Egypt warns Hamas to stop the rocket attacks or risk a new war from Israel 

Hezbollah threatens to topple regime in Lebanon over Hariri probe

Each story is important, but chief among them is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with foreign reporters earlier today. The PM warned that the threat of the Iranian regime acquiring nuclear weapons is still very real, very worrisome, and hinted that Israel is actively considering military action. Indeed, he said that the only way for economic sanctions ultimately to convince the regime in Tehran to stop pursuing nuclear weapons is if those sanctions are backed by a credible military threat. What’s more, Netanyahu distanced himself from last week’s assessment by outgoing Mossad intelligence chief Meir Dagan that Iran won’t have the Bomb until 2015. He called it was one view among many, and implied he disagreed with Dagan.

“The only chance that these sanctions will achieve their objectives would be to couple them

with an understanding from Iran that no matter what…that is if they do not achieve their goal, they will be followed with credible military action,” Netanyahu said. He noted that the only time Iran briefly suspended pursuit of the Bomb was in 2003, after the U.S. invaded Iraq. “When Iran thought there was a credible military option from the United States they temporarily suspended their nuclear weapons programme.”
With regards to Dagan’s 2015 assessment, Netanyahu said: “I think that intelligence estimates are exactly that, estimates. They range from best case to worst case possibilities, and there is a range there, there is room for differing assessments.”

Netanyahu and his close aides are privately furious with Dagan for allowing his somewhat generous assessment of Iran’s capabilities to become public. They are concerned that this potentially allows the international community to ease up on pressure on Iran and undercut the Prime Minister’s strategy of intensifying world pressure on Iran. One advisor said, “Dagan should be drawn and quartered.”

“The timing of Dagan’s remarks, and the way they were said, is unacceptable — former heads of Mossad did not behave that way on the day of their departure,” said other senior Israeli sources to a reporter. “There’s something unprofessional in this. Dagan does not set policy, but only recommends, and his is one of several recommendations.”


The situation strikes me as similar to the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that stated that Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003. President Bush and his senior aides at the time felt blindsided by the report which leaked before they had read and processed the assessment. What’s more, Bush disagreed with the NIE. He said publicly that he believed Iran was still a real threat and still determined to acquire nuclear weapons, and later said in his book, Decision Points, the NIE had limited his options and undercut his efforts to build international pressure on Iran. In the end, it has become clear that Iran has reengaged its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, valuable time was lost by the leak of the NIE report.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu said he wants to negotiate peace with the Palestinians, but they are simply refusing to sit down and have honest, direct talks. “What is preventing the advent of peace, the advent of peace negotiations is that the Palestinians are doing everything in their power to avoid them,” said Netanyahu. “That is the simple truth….The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They are not going to get an imposed settlement from the outside, it does not work. The only way to get peace is to negotiate peace….If they are prepared to negotiate then they will find — that this government, my government, this prime minister, me — that I’m prepared and able to achieve historic peace.”