“Harold Camping predicted that Jesus Christ would return to Earth on May 21, 2011, whereupon the saved would be taken up to heaven in the rapture, and that there would follow five months of fire, brimstone and plagues on Earth, with millions of people dying each day, culminating on October 21, 2011, with the final destruction of the world” [Wikipedia “Harold Camping”].
I have mentioned Mr. Camping before [in a June 24, 2015 post]. Mr. Camping felt he was a prophet. He believed he knew something the rest of us did not know. God had given him the prophetic vision for the end of the world.
He revised his date of rapture to October 21st and from that point on he avoided the press. He suffered a stroke in June 2011 and never made public appearances. He died on December 15, 2013 and sadly was labelled by the mainstream media as a “false prophet.”
What happened to this man?
His credibility was destroyed because his prophesy was incorrect.
What happens to the Bible when the standard of prophesy is applied to God’s Word? Well, something else entirely.
Paul Little says that prophesy in the Bible proves that the Book is the Word of God. There are literally hundreds of prophesies in the Bible and as you study the Bible and see the prophesies fulfilled it becomes clear that fulfilled prophecy is evidence of the supernatural Word of God.
The Bible is full of prophesies about the Jewish people, historical events, kings, nations and cities. There are too many prophesies to mention in such a limited discussion in this blog format.
To focus our discussion, let’s look at a sampling of prophesies regarding the life of Jesus. I remember the first time I became aware of some of these prophesies. I was in a Disciple Bible Study with my pastor at that time and I was (to use a common expression) “blown away.”
Isaiah 7:14 says “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Concerning Jesus’ ministry and death—Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Psalm 22:16-18: “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”
Likely the clearest prophecy about Jesus is the entire 53rd chapter of Isaiah. Isaiah 53:3-7 is especially unmistakable: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
The “seventy sevens” prophecy in Daniel chapter 9 predicted the precise date that Jesus, the Messiah, would be “cut off.”
Isaiah 50:6 accurately describes the beating that Jesus endured.
Zechariah 12:10 predicts the “piercing” of the Messiah, which occurred after Jesus died on the cross.
We could go on and on, but I have vivid memory of my feeling the day I was reading some of the passages from Isaiah and we were discussing our reading in the Bible study class.
I thought truly this book is the word of God. How could all this be said in the Old Testament, written by a prophet [for example, Isaiah] in the mid to late 700’s B.C. and it be fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ?
There could only be one answer.
Harold Camping probably fell prey to the temptation that is out there for many who want to prophesy today. Maybe he had pride in his Bible knowledge. Maybe he wanted to make money or promote his organization. I don’t know. I did not look into his heart while he was alive. I can’t do that type of thing and we are not supposed to judge people as Christians.
But the poor man was wrong and he paid the price for being wrong.
When you hear someone question the Bible as the word of God, don’t let them do that without telling them about some of the fulfilled prophesies.
Those prophesies are there for a reason, not to destroy The Book’s credibility, but to get us to realize exactly what I realized in that Disciple Bible study…
Truly this book is the word of God.