Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Harold Camping May Be Ignorant but at Least He's Not Stoned

Harold Camping does more damage for the cause of Christ than many realize. The biblical skeptic thinks to himself, "Those ignorant Christians. I'm sure glad I reject Christianity because they're just flat out wrong about everything."  Camping's prediction that the world would end on May 21, 2011, a prophecy his says is now postponed in terms of its fulfillment until October 21, 2011, reveals the biblical ignorance in both him and his followers. One who trusted Mr. Camping's prediction,  a man named Robert Fitzpatrick,  depleted his life savings and gave $140,000 to spread publicity about the end times. When the hour came and went, Fitzpatrick was left with, “I do not understand why nothing has happened.”

Here is what happened Mr. Fitzpatrick. Like many western evangelicals, Mr. Harold Camping and you have zero understanding that when the Jewish prophets used language like "the end of the world (literally 'the age' in Matthew 24:1-3)," or "the fall of the sun, moon and stars," or "the destruction of  the heavens and earth" and other apocalyptic phrases, they were referring to the end of the OLD COVENANT and the destruction of Jerusalem (the headquarters of the Old Covenant), the Temple in Jerusalem, and the Mosaic economy of law. These Hebrew prophets were predicting the collapse of the Mosaic economy long before it actually occurred in 70 AD. The Hebrew prophets also understood that concurrent with the end of the OLD AGE there would come the establishment of the kingdom of God's Son, called the NEW COVENANT AGE. The contrasts between the Old Covenant Age and the New Covenant Age are startling.

The Destruction of the Temple in 70 AD
In the Old Covenant there was a Temple in Jerusalem. In the New Covenant believers in Christ themselves "are the temple of the living God." In the Old Covenant blessings from God were received by obedience to law (i.e. "keep my statutes and live") whereas in the New Covenant all the blessings of God are received in Christ through faith. In the Old Covenant keeping the sacrificial, ceremonial, ritual laws of God identified the Jews as God's chosen people, but in the New Covenant keeping the Law of Christ--which is "love one another as I (Christ) have loved you"--is THE identifying mark of all those who are in Christ. In the Old Covenant, holiness was measured by one's relationship to the laws of Moses, but in the New Covenant holiness is measured by one's relationship to what James calls "The Royal Law of Love" (see I Thessalonians 3: 12-13). In the Old Covenant, authority came by position within the framework of the Mosaic economy. In the New Convenant all the authority belongs to Christ, and every believer is a "priest unto God" needing no other human being as an intermediary. The Old Covenant--which was the shadow that pointed to the substance of Christ--was fullfilled by Christ and ABOLISHED. No more altars. No more sacrifices. No more tithes. No more holy places or holy days. The New Covenant points people to Christ and the importance of our faith, hope and love relationship with Him as well as the love we display to the world which is, again, THE distinguishing mark of genuine believers (see Jesus' statement in John 13:35).

The laws abolished by the end of the Mosaic economy included Sabbath worship, tithes to the Temple, ritual sacrifices, the celebration of feasts and festivals, and all the other ceremonial, covenantal and ritual laws of the Jewish economy. They were ALL abolished. By the way, any church which tries to substitute itself as the Temple of God and the pastor as the High Priest reveals a biblical ignorance similar to that of Mr. Camping. Ironically, one of the MOSAIC LAWS THAT WAS ABOLISHED by the establishment of the New Covenant is this one in Deuteronomy 18:20:

"But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak... shall die."

Mr. Harold Camping
In the context you find that a prophet speaking "presumptiously" means a prophet who predicts something will happen and then it does not come to pass. Also in the context it is revealed that the false prophet was to die by the Hebrew people "stoning" him. So, at least in Mr. Camping's case, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that his ignorance of the biblical importance of the end of the Old Covenant causes him to make false prophecies regarding the end of the world. The good news is that with the ABOLISHMENT of the Jewish age and the establishment of the New Covenant Age (the kingdom of Christ),  WE DON'T HAVE TO STONE Mr Camping--we simply love him as an ignorant Christian brother who is in need of greater biblical understanding.