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I Was Never on Saturday's Rapture List

[NOTE: It appears that FamilyRadio.org is undergoing some serious website update right now, so I’m not sure how long the links in this post will be good. If anyone wants to follow up, I’ve saved .pdf files of all the relevant articles, but I wasn’t able to save the video.]

When discussing Saturday’s then up-coming rapture, it was fascinating to hear so many Christians assume they were actually on the list.

Sorry guys, but if we’re in churches that are denying that last Saturday was the end, we were in big doo-doo:

A knowledge of the actual time of the Rapture and an understanding of Judgment Day is of enormous significance. God warns in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 of the Day of Judgment coming to destroy those who deny that near the end of the world the true believers will know the time (the hour) of Christ’s coming to bring to Heaven (to rapture) the true believers and to begin the Day of Judgment (the day). (NO MAN KNOWS THE DAY OR THE HOUR?

And in case there is any doubt, we get the line up:

Christ and Judgment Day come in the night. In 1 Thessalonians 5:3 Christ tells us, “When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” Because destruction comes upon them, we can know for certain that these people are not saved. Being unsaved, they are in spiritual darkness. They are in the night. Judgment Day is coming for them as a “thief in the night.” Yet they believe they are at peace with God and safely under His care. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? (Ibid.)

…and the pitch:

The language of this verse describes perfectly all of those in the world who on May 21, 2011 are still following any church. Because churches teach many things that are not true to the Bible, including a plan of salvation that is contrary to the Bible, and the Holy Spirit has abandoned all churches, those still following any church on May 21, 2011 are not saved. (Ibid.)

Shoulder-shrugging and saying “Well, if He comes, cool; if He doesn’t, NBD. He will.” is a simplistic response does not adequately deal with the teacher from whom the prediction was coming.

The fact of the matter is, according to Mr. Camping’s teaching, the rapture that was suppose to happen on Saturday was not for me.

And I can see why. Mr. Camping thinks my church teaches a false plan of salvation. It’s hard to get saved when you have the wrong plan. So what’s the correct version?

It’s outlined in Mr. Camping’s, “I Hope God Will Save Me“.

He begins

There are at least seven truths revealed in the Bible that should be of great encouragement to the individual who truly wishes that his sins were covered by the blood of Jesus. We have already made reference to some of these truths. However, they are so important that we will briefly outline them again. They are as follows.

And proceeds list them off (I’ve edited it down, you can read the whole thing for yourself at the link above):

1. Presently, it is the day of salvation. We have learned that God is no longer saving people by utilizing the efforts of the local congregations, their leaders, or their people. However, a striking and emphatic teaching of the Bible is the fact that today, God is bringing a great harvest of people into the kingdom of God.

2. The setting or the environment in which God saves is the hearing of the Word of God, the Bible. The Bible declares in Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Today, more than ever before in the history of the world, a higher percentage of people are literate, and the Bible is available to them in their native language. What an enormous encouragement it is that anyone can place himself and the saved and unsaved members of his family under the hearing of the Bible. He can do this by personally reading the Bible. In many instances, he can listen to the Bible being read and faithfully taught on radio broadcasts such as those of Family Radio. Indeed, the environment for God to save people is greater and more hopeful than ever before in history. And so, we parents want our babies and all our children to be under the hearing of the Word of God. And that is one reason why radio is an especially valuable and important tool that can be used to make the Gospel available in our community and to large multitudes of people around the world.

3. Christ came to save sinners. Christ did not come to save the self-righteous, those think of themselves as decent, moral people who trust that their righteous conduct inducement for God to look favorably upon them. Christ came to save sinners!

4. Jesus is not a respecter of persons. This means that no class of people is more likely to become saved than any other class or group of people.

5. God is merciful. It is true that mercy is no longer found in the local congregations where their pastors, elders, deacons, and Bible teachers minister to those poor people. And what a terrible truth that is! But outside the local congregations, throughout the world, God continues to demonstrate His unfathomable mercy. God is a God of mercy.

6. We can personally make known to God our intense desire to become saved. We can
beg, beseech, and plead with God for salvation. Praying to God is work that we do, so we know that praying to God will not guarantee or contribute to our salvation. But we can know that as we cry to God, He will know of our desire to become saved.

7. We need never lose hope for salvation. If God plans to save us, He will do so in His own time. He may save us early in our life or salvation may come hours before our death. We are never to attempt to dictate to God the time frame of our salvation, if, indeed, it is God’s intention to save us.

Well, this seems a bit odd. #7 and #6 doesn’t make sense to me. My hope for salvation isn’t that I might get it. My hope is in a salvation freely offered by Jesus to anyone who believes (that’s me).

#5 is a no-go. I’m suppose to find God’s mercy outside of organized church, but how am I suppose to think about the organization that is teaching me not to listen to teachings of organized churches.

#4 makes salvation sound like a matter of probability (“likely to be saved”? What does that even mean?).

A hearty amen to #3.

#2 is a compelling case for using media (one I’ve made before to my students), even if it does seem weird in light of #1 which says the churches are out. Question: how am I suppose to get great Bible teaching from the “radio” when I’m only suppose to listen to non-Church radio Bible teaching? I guess that leave me with one choice: Mr. Camping’s radio show.

But that brings us back to the opening paragraph:

There are at least seven truths revealed in the Bible that should be of great encouragement to the individual who truly wishes that his sins were covered by the blood of Jesus.

What does Mr. Camping think of the blood of Jesus?

In his Easter “Bible study” (May 13, 2011), he read 1 Cor. 15:3 (“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” KJV [“παρέδωκα γὰρ ὑμῖν ἐν πρώτοις, ὃ καὶ παρέλαβον, ὅτι Χριστὸς ἀπέθανεν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν κατὰ τὰς γραφὰς”]) and made the following argument:

Uh oh, I gotta stop right there. This sounds like when he came in 33 AD and when he hung on the cross and he died, he died for our sins. Isn’t that what that verse is saying? That happens to be a– that word “for” actually could have been translated as “concerning”. It’s the same word that’s used, for example, in Romans chapter 9 verse 27 (I want to give you the evidence why we know for sure that we can change that word “for” to “concerning” in order to make it be faithful to the whole context). If you go to Romans chapter 9 verse 27 you’ll find there –and this is just the kind of detail that you go through when you’re trying to really find truth in the Bible: you have to be aware of every word and make sure that even the translators have done it correctly. … “Isiah also cried concerning” that is the word that is translated “for” in the passage we were looking at. But it’s the word “concerning”. And if we substitute, back in 1 Corinthians 15 verse 3, the word “concerning” for the word “for” then it will fit into the context of the whole Bible. It will be faithful altogether:

…”For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received how that Christ died concerning (for) our sins.” Why do we have to make the change? Because when he came to the cross and when he died and when he was put in the grave it was not to make payment for our sins it was concerning the whole matter of how he made payment for our sins before the foundations of the world. He is only illustrating, he is demonstrating how he made payment for our sins. He did not come to make payment for our sins.

Mr. Camping then moves on 1 Tim 1:9-10 and remarks “These are very helpful verses to let us know that the payment was all made before the foundation of the world and when Christ came he just came to demonstrate that.”

Firstly, (and I’m sorry, I just can’t let this go), the word translated “for” (ὑπερ, huper) is actually used 150 times (580 times if you include the LXX) and can be translated as about, above, behalf, beyond, concerning, exceed, more so, more than, over, regard, and than. It’s a preposition. And, as such, is dependent on context. (And it takes quite a bit of grammatical gymnastics to say that “abolished death and brought life” applies to “before the world began” rather than “a holy calling” being granted “before the world began”.)

So, a word of advice: Don’t build a theology that contradicts 1,950 years of church teaching on a preposition.

But more to our point, the same “teacher” who made a prediction about the rapture also teaches that I’m not saved and the atonement happened before creation.

After hearing all this, Saturday’s rapture isn’t funny anymore. There are real people out there who trusted (and maybe still trust) this false teacher, intensely studied the Bible with him, and even now are having to deal with shame of his finest hour.

The whole situation is just sad.