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  ...presents...               RUSH TO JUDGEMENT
                   Why the World Won't End in September, 1994
                                                         by Omega
                                                         and Reid Fleming

                      >>> a cDc publication.......1994 <<<
                        -cDc- CULT OF THE DEAD COW -cDc-
  ____       _     ____       _       ____       _     ____       _       ____

                          Homo vult decipi; decipiatur
                   "Man wishes to be deceived; deceive him."

                                                             August 24, 1994

     The Second Coming of Christ refers to the Christian belief in the future
return of Christ in glory to judge the living and the dead, an event that will
end the present world order.  Although the Bible never uses the term Second
Coming, in Hebrews 9:28 the hope of Christ appearing a second time is
expressed.  This hope originated in the Easter experiences of the apostles,
which communicated a sense of the incompleteness of Christ's work and the
promise of its future completion.  Early Christians expressed these convictions
by identifying the resurrected Christ with the Son of Man (Dan. 7:13) and by
combining this text with Ps. 110:1 (as in Mark 14:62).  At first, the Christian
community expected an imminent return of Christ, but it adjusted itself with
remarkable ease to the notion of an indefinitely postponed Second Coming.

     That notion has proved especially convenient in our era, as several have
set dates for the Second Coming of Christ.

     After a detailed examination of the books of Daniel and Revelation,
William Miller became convinced that the Second Coming of Christ would occur
sometime in 1843.  Thousands, converted by his teachings in the early 1830s,
began to prepare for Christ's return.  As 1843 passed without incident, Miller
specified first March 21, 1844, and later October 22, 1844, as dates for the
event.  Despite the serious setbacks dealt by the failure of these predictions,
the movement Miller inspired continued, eventually re-forming as the Seventh
Day Adventists.  The Seventh Day Adventist Church would later give rise to
several splinter groups, including the Branch Davidians who, under the
leadership of David Koresh, were especially pre-occupied with the end of the

     Charles Russell expected the church to be Raptured before October, 1914
(shortly after the beginning of the first World War).

     Edgar Whisenant thought the Rapture would take place in 1988.  Evidence
seems to suggest that it did not.

     Flyers pasted to the girders of the I-93 Expressway near Faneuil Hall in
Boston still warn that the Rapture will take place September 28, 1992.

     Joseph Smith, prophet of the Mormons, instructed his chosen people about
the end times, with a caveat:

          Were I going to prophesy, I would say the end
          [of the world] would not come in 1844, 5 or 6,
          or in forty years.  There are those of the rising
          generation who shall not taste death till Christ

          I was once praying earnestly upon this
          subject, and a voice said unto me, "My son, if
          thou livest until thou art eighty-five years of
          age, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man."
          I was left to draw my own conclusions concerning
          this, and I took the liberty to conclude that if
          I did live to that time, He would make His
          appearance.  ... I prophesy in the name of the Lord
          God, and let it be written -- the Son of Man will
          not come in the clouds of heaven till I am
          eighty-five years old (48 years hence or about 1890).

     Interestingly, for Joseph Smith the world _did_ end in 1844, at the
hands of an angry mob in Carthage, Illinois.

     The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) have since
updated their prophecy.  The Mormons believe that God lives on or near planet
Kolob, purportedly in our galaxy, and that a single day on Kolob is precisely
one thousand years on Earth (possibly a reference to II Peter 3:8).  At the
beginning of the seventh day on Kolob, the events foretold in the Book of
Revelation will unfold on Earth.  According to the Mormons, the earth is
slightly less than six thousand years old, fixing day seven on Kolob to begin
around the year 2000 AD by our reckoning.

     As we near the end of a century and, more significantly, the end of a
millennium, the doomsday rumblings have become louder and more frequent:

          Whatever you do, DON'T DISREGARD THIS WARNING.
          Don't hope that this is just an idle threat.
          Don't argue with yourself that your church
          and/or your pastor do not teach this.  Don't
          listen to the scientists who insist so
          confidently that this universe is millions
          or billions of years old.

          The likelihood of September, 1994 being the very
          end of this world is so very great that the alarm
          must be taken very seriously.

     With that, Family Radio president and general manager Harold Camping - the
latest in a succession of men to fix the date of the Second Coming - introduces
his latest book, _Are You Ready?_, the sequel to his epochal work _1994?_.  Mr.
Camping warns that he is "far more than 99% certain.  There's a great amount of
evidence to be considered and anybody who doesn't look at this seriously is at
enormous risk."  Camping continues:

          During the past year as many students of the
          Bible have been carefully examining the ideas and
          conclusions set forth in the book _1994?_, one would
          think that if these conclusions are [sic] in error
          there would be an increasing sense of uneasiness
          in the hearts of many.  There would be a feeling and
          a growing awareness that this whole study is somehow
          incorrect in that there are too many inconsistencies,
          too many 'far-fetched' ideas, too much speculation.

          The fact is, however, just the opposite has
          been the case.  Individual after individual has
          written to me or talked with me offering further
          corroboration, further Biblical evidence that
          validates the conclusion of the extreme likelihood
          of the end of the world sometime in September, 1994.

     His report of many positive testimonials, if true, can only be an
indictment of the public's gullibility.  In truth, Harold Camping's claims are
riddled with inconsistencies, far-fetched ideas and speculation bordering on
fantasy.  To anyone bothering to look into Camping's prophecies this would be
plain.  It amazes us anyone could proudly and with some success pass such
third-rate sophistry off as Biblical prophecy.

     Unlike Mr. Camping, few of the doomsayers who have come before him have
had the benefit of the media to propagate their misinformation.  Thanks to
Family Radio's network of 67 affiliate stations, short-wave radio, his
ministry's many pilgrimages to other countries and the availability of his
books in large bookstore chains, Harold Camping's message is carried almost as
easily across the world as it is across the country.  (A little publicity
couldn't hurt book sales and pledge drives!)  The technology which enables this
kind of communication is also implicitly responsible for legitimizing the
message it communicates.  The tendency on the part of the public is to accept,
without thoughtful examination, something that is presented as factual in print
or over radio and television.  In the months that we have been listening to Mr.
Camping's call-in show "Open Forum" we cannot recall having heard any of his
callers challenge him on the basis of anything in his books.

     For a single moment, Harold Camping glimpses the psychology of the
failures who have come before him.  Of the other charlatans, Camping has this
to say:

          Throughout history mankind has asked this question.
          Because he is created in the image of God, he senses
          that there will be a time when he must answer to God
          for the manner in which he has lived his life.
          Usually, when the trauma he or his nation is enduring
          is especially terrible, both in its size as well
          as in its duration of time, he begins to wonder
          if 'doomsday,' as he frequently expresses it, has
          almost come.

     The Plague, for instance, which killed an estimated one-quarter to
one-third of Europe's population during the Middle Ages, was thought to be a
judgment from God signaling the end of the world.

     Not too surprisingly, Camping fails to see the same psychology at work
in his own mind.  The astute reader can see it, though, in the record of
Camping's prophecy.  Inadvertently, _1994?_ and _Are You Ready?_ have become
projective psychological tests on Harold Camping.  Besides women in the clergy
and a dearth of hell-and-damnation preaching in Christendom, what else is
terribly wrong with the world according to him?  What wish fulfillment of his
will happen as a result of the earth's wickedness?  Read on.  _Are You Ready?_
in particular is the fascinating journal of Harold Camping's Rorschach
interpretations of the Bible.

     We accept the challenge which, by Camping's account, no one else would
accept.  As it is written in the _Bovinomicon_, "the gauntlet thrown in
challenge that cannot be borne up by hand must be lifted by righteous hoof." 
As it is written, so shall it be done!

     As time allows, we will evaluate the great amount of evidence Camping
cites and the enormous and impending peril the earth is certain to face in a
few short days.

     In citing Biblical passages, we often use the New International Version
and indicate it with (NIV) in the citation; in particular we do so when Camping
himself does not supply the KJV quotation for a particular passage.  Unlike
Camping, we prefer a translation which is thorough, annotated and unencumbered
by a cryptic and archaic form of English.

     There are four parts to Camping's thesis:

               1994 is a Jubilee Year, beginning in September.
               Numbers in the Bible have symbolic meaning.
               Particular biblical stories form a time-line; when
               the difference between the dates of the stories
               and the crucifixion, birth of Christ, or 1994 is
               factored into numerologically significant numbers,
               it _proves_ 1994 is the end of the world.

    ----- ----- ---------- --- --- -- --- -----

     The Bible speaks of several signs which are in evidence in the end times. 
Camping identifies seven signs in particular, a few of which are worth
commenting on.


          Matthew 24:32-33

          Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his
          branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves,
          ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye,
          when ye shall see all these things, know that
          it is near, even at the doors.

     Most Biblical scholars and Camping concur: the fig tree is (in this case)
a metaphor for Israel; the fig tree putting forth leaves appears to describe
Israel becoming a nation in 1948.


          Matthew 24:24

          For there shall arise false Christs, and
          false prophets, and shall shew great
          signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it
          were possible, they shall deceive the very

     To this Camping adds, "...let it suffice us to say that never before has
there been such a worldwide interest in signs and wonders, that is, in
miracles, as there is in the present day.  The dramatic rise in interest and
involvement with the matter of miracles is clearly given as a sign that the end
of the world is almost here."  Interestingly, this passage says nothing about
an _increased interest_ in signs and wonders; it says that false prophets will
arise who will evidence great signs and wonders.  These great signs and wonders
are a consequence of the false prophets, not the other way around.

     Nevertheless, Camping offers no proof of his statement here, (although
he alludes to the proof being found in his previous book, _1994?_); his promise
of its verity does _not_ suffice.  How Camping is able to quantify his claim is
beyond us.  For that matter, never before has there been such a world-wide
interest in sex as there is in the present day!  You could marshal all sorts of
evidence on either side of that argument, but essentially the premise is
unproveable, as Camping's is, and about as meaningful.


     Camping refers to II Thessalonians 2:3 for the third and fourth signs
being in evidence.  In this instance, he speaks of the 'falling away' of man
from the true Gospel: "The Bible increasingly is no longer the final authority.
It has become supplanted by the church and the ideas of men as the ultimate
authority. ... The Gospel that is preached to a high degree has degenerated
into a religion that is pleasing to the ears of men."

          II Thessalonians 2:1-3 (NIV)

          Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
          and our being gathered to Him, we ask you,
          brothers, not to become easily unsettled or
          alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter
          supposed to have come from us, saying that the
          day of the Lord has already come.  Don't let
          anyone deceive you in any way, for that day
          will not come until the rebellion occurs
          and the man of lawlessness is revealed,
          the man doomed to destruction.

     II Thessalonians' reference to the rebellion is not believed to be a
reference to the falling away from the faith, rather the Apostle Paul is
speaking of active rebellion, supreme opposition of evil to the things of God.
Matthew 24:10-12 and I Timothy 4:1, however, do mention the falling away
specifically, and are perhaps more appropriate attributions for this sign.


     Camping tells us the fourth sign is that the man of sin is revealed:
"Throughout the New Testament era, it was fairly generally taught that the man
of sin spoken of in II Thessalonians 2 would be some great political or
religious (or a combination of both) world leader.  Thus, in his day, Kaiser
Wilhelm was spoken of as the Antichrist.  Earlier than that one of the popes of
the Roman Catholic Church was regarded as the Antichrist.  During the Second
World War, Hitler and Mussolini shared the spotlight as being the Antichrist. 
But in every instant [sic] these conclusions proved false because the world
continued on its way."  20/20 hindsight is wonderful, isn't it?

     At this point, Camping reveals the identity of the man of sin to us:
"However, in our day, we have come to know without question who the Antichrist
is. Through His Word, God the Holy Spirit has revealed that _Satan_ is the
Antichrist  [Emphasis added]."

     Laughable!  This common-sensical tautologism, though irrefutable, is
redundant and hardly revelatory.  Similarly profound revelations can be made,
for instance: "The Messiah has been revealed to be... the Lamb of God," or "The
next President of the United States will be... the man who's elected in 1996."


     Camping indicates the fifth sign in the language of Daniel 12:4:

          But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal
          the book, even to the time of the end: many shall
          run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

     Camping instructs that this verse has to do with "the scarcity of the true
Gospel in the world at the end of time. ... Thus, [they] are running to and fro
looking for truth."  The true Gospel seems to have been a moving target for
most of the last two millennia, so it's difficult to say whether there is an
even greater scarcity of the true Gospel today.

     "Additionally," Camping explains, "in their quest for truth, frequently
they are seeking for it in places removed from the Gospel.  Such activities as
the New Age movement and similar occult practices attest to this."  Like


     Camping again refers to Daniel 12:4 for the sixth sign.  "Amongst those
that are saved," Camping says, "there is a great increase in the understanding
of the Bible."  And with a bit of self-important gall, he adds: "For example, a
great many of the teachings declared in the book _1994?_ and in this sequel to
it have been known to believers only in the last few years."  Evidently, the
information supplied in Harold Camping's last two books help fulfill Biblical


     Camping spends a good deal of time on the seventh and final sign that
evidences the end times.

     "A seventh sign that shows in dramatic fashion that we are at the end of
the world is the fact that the homosexuals have come out of the closet, that
is, they openly boast of their sin. ... Today, homosexuality is increasingly
being taught and practiced as an alternative lifestyle that should be
acceptable to all people. ... One would think that when the plague of AIDS
began to sweep through the world, being evidenced to a high degree in the
homosexual community, that this would so shame those who practiced this sin
that they would again hide themselves from the eyes of the public ... As we
indicated in _1994?_ (pages 207-214), the AIDS plague which was predicted in
Romans 1:24-27, serves two very important purposes.  They are:

     "1. The AIDS plague together with the fact that homosexuality is
         increasingly being accepted as a viable lifestyle is a dramatic
         sign that the world is ripe for judgment.
     "2. It is a judgment predicted in the Bible which can readily be
         seen by all men, thus indicating the Bible's predictions
         concerning future judgments do come true.  In like manner, the
         repeated predictions of the Bible concerning the judgment of
         the last day will also certainly come to pass."

     Curiously, Romans 1:24-27 (NIV) doesn't mention a plague:

          Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires
          of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading
          of their bodies with one another.  They exchanged
          the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and
          served created things rather than the Creator --
          who is forever praised.  Amen.

          Because of this, God gave them over to shameful
          lusts.  Even their women exchanged natural
          relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way
          the men also abandoned natural relations with
          women and were inflamed with lust for one another.
          Men committed indecent acts with other men, and
          received in themselves the due penalty of their

     God allows sin to run its course as an act of judgment; in the context of
Romans 1:24-27, God's judgment _clearly_ does not involve plagues.  Romans 1

          Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile
          to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over
          to a depraved [the intent precedes the act] mind,
          to do what ought not to be done.

     But completely aside from the lack of any scriptural evidence of a plague
against homosexuals, let's examine more closely the suggestion that AIDS could
be a plague from God against homosexuals.

     While it is true that in the United States, male homosexuals were
initially the hardest hit, AIDS is not a homosexual disease.  In fact,
according to _AIDS Update 1993_, Gerald J. Stine notes:  "The proportion of
HIV infection and AIDS cases among the heterosexual population in the United
States is now increasing at a greater rate than the proportion of HIV infection
and AIDS cases among homosexuals or IDU's (Friedland, 1987)."  Why should a
"[homosexual] plague which was predicted in Romans 1:24-27" afflict
heterosexuals (moreso now than homosexuals, especially in Africa and Asia),
intravenous drug users and blood-transfusion patients?  For that matter, why
should a plague from God afflict the innocent - for instance: the unborn, or
blood-transfusion patients (who aren't necessarily homosexual or even sexually
active)?  According to scripture, God's judgments have singled out the wicked
exclusively.  In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham poses the same
question we do:

          Genesis 18:23 (NIV)

          Then Abraham approached [the Lord] and said:
          "Will you sweep away the righteous with the
          wicked?  What if there are fifty righteous
          people in the city?  Will you really sweep it
          away and not spare the place for the sake
          of the fifty righteous people in it?  Far be it
          from you to do such a thing - to kill the
          righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous
          and the wicked alike.  Far be it from you!
          Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

     Abraham was confident God would do what was right, and intervened on
behalf of his relatives and the righteous still left in Sodom.

     And what about practicing lesbians?  In their book _Human Sexuality_, the
noted researchers Masters, Johnson and Kolodny remark: "While the Old Testament
is specific about male homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), female
homosexual behavior is not mentioned."

     If AIDS is truly a plague from God, He seems to have a soft spot in His
heart for lesbians (that is, lesbians who are exclusively homosexual and are
not also intravenous drug users), who are the least at risk of any sexually-
active group.  _AIDS Update 1993_ reports: "Female-to-female transmission has
been reported in one case and suggested in another (Curran, 1988).  As with
other sexually transmitted diseases, HIV transmission among lesbians is very
low."  A study published in this month's British medical journal _Lancet_ lends
further credence to this conclusion.

     Camping also draws on Luke 17:28-30 to emphasize God's judgment against

          Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they
          did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they
          planted, they builded;  But the same day that Lot
          went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone
          from heaven, and destroyed them all.  Even thus
          shall it be in the day when the Son of man is

     Camping adds: "Mysteriously in our day the identical sin that was boldly
practiced in Sodom just before its destruction is boldly being practiced all
over the world."  However, in the preceding paragraph, Luke 17:26 (NIV), Jesus

          Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will
          it be in the days of the Son of Man.  People
          were eating, drinking, marrying and being given
          in marriage up to the last day Noah entered the
          ark.  Then the flood came and destroyed them all.

     Jesus is drawing a parallel between the destruction that resulted with the
flood (an episode which did not specifically feature homosexuality) and the
destruction of Sodom: judgment of the wicked on the day the Son of Man is
revealed; judgment which takes the wicked by surprise.  Only by taking Luke
17:28-30 out of context can a judgment singling out homosexuals be suggested.

     In the light of fact, Camping's claims for the seventh sign seem
apocryphal.  The "judgment predicted in the Bible which can readily be seen by
all men" fails to materialize.

      --- ------- ----

     The seven signs, if they are actually appearing, signal that we are in the
end times.  Is the Bible more specific about the season of Christ's return? 
Camping and others think so and direct our attention to Leviticus 25 and
Leviticus 27.  There we read about the observance of the Jubilee year:

          Leviticus 25:8
          And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto
          thee, seven times seven years; and the space of
          the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee
          fourty and nine years.  Then shalt thou cause
          the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth
          day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement
          shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all
          your land.  And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year,
          and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto
          all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile
          unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his
          possession, and ye shall return every man unto
          his family.  A jubile shall that fiftieth year
          be unto you.

     The Jubilee year reminded the Jews that the Lord had ultimate ownership
of the land he had given them in Canaan; the land had been given to them
through no merit of their own and hence was not theirs to use for unrestrained
personal gain.  Because of the provisions of the Jubile, contracts were not
binding in perpetuity, and land was "owned" for fifty years at a time at most.

     Camping compares the significance of the Jubilee year with Christ's second
coming: debts are forgiven on the Jubilee year and with our spiritual
salvation, our debt of sin is forgiven; on the Jubilee year, the land returns
to its original owner and with Christ's second coming, the meek inherit the
earth; in the year of Jubilee, slaves are given their liberty and with Christ's
return, the earth and the true believers are delivered from the bondage of
corruption and sin.

     Determining the year of the Jubilee is contingent on knowing when the
Israelites entered the land of Canaan and observance of the Jubile became
mandatory.  From Camping's very careful study, he concludes the Jews entered
Canaan in 1407 BC.  Camping says 1407 BC was a sabbath year and beginning 1406
BC, six years were counted off until the next sabbath year occurred in 1400 BC.
The next sabbath years, according to Camping, were 1393 BC, 1386 BC, 1379 BC,
1372 BC, 1365 BC and 1358 BC followed by the Jubilee in 1357 BC.  Accounting
for the lack of a year 0 AD, Camping's figures lead us to 1944 AD and 1994 AD
being Jubilee years.

     However, the language of Leviticus 25 does not seem to indicate that the
first year was a sabbath year:

          Leviticus 25:2 (NIV)
          When you enter the land which I give you, the
          land shall keep sabbaths to the Lord.  For six
          years you may sow your fields and for six years
          prune your vineyards and gather the harvest,
          but in the seventh year the land shall keep a
          sabbath of sacred rest, a sabbath to the Lord.

     Though the language of the King James Version of this passage is slightly
different (and Camping seems to depend on the KJ version), only when it is
taken out of context can the assumption be made that the year the Jews entered
Canaan was a sabbath year:

          Leviticus 25:2 (KJV)
          Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto
          them, When ye come into the land which I give you,
          then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.
          Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years
          thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the
          fruit thereof; ...

     Assuming 1407 BC was in fact the year the Jews entered Canaan, if that
year was not a sabbath year then the next Jubilee year was 1351 BC, not 1357
BC., which would lead us to 1950 AD and 2000 AD being Jubilee years.

     Marilyn J. Agee, who has her own end-of-the-world theory and has also
written a book, has a different perspective on the calculation of the Jubilee:

          _The End of the Age: The Secret of Secrets Revealed_, pg 254:
          Many mistakes have been made in figuring the Jubilee.
          Some thought crops had to grow in the land for 49
          years before keeping Jubilee because they were to
          keep it after they entered the land of Canaan.
          That doesn't seem necessary.
               The Jubilee cycle is 49 years: the 50th year
          is the first of the next cycle.  The cycles began
          Nisan 1, 1530 BC, the year of the Exodus. ...
          Knowing the Jubilee would begin Nisan 1 should have
          told us a long time ago that Christ would return on Nisan 1.

     She also disagrees with Camping about the year the Jews entered Canaan;
she believes the date to be 1530 BC.  Incidentally, Ms. Agee believes Christ
will return April 6, 2008.  (She also believes that Satan lives on an asteroid
named Rahab which will impact earth in the end times.)

     The best authority on when the Jubile is celebrated would be the Jews
themselves.  We have been unable to contact rabbinical scholars to confirm the
date, so let's accept Camping's account.  It makes no difference, really, since
Camping is predisposed toward the year 1994.

     Camping also draws on the episode of the siege of Jericho.  The Hebrew
word for Jubilee is "yobhel", which means "ram's horn" - the horn that is blown
to usher in the Jubilee.  Recall that the Jews surrounded the walled city of
Jericho, circling it once a day until on the seventh day they circled the city
seven times then blew the ram's horn and shouted and Jericho's walls fell flat.
Camping suggests a connection between the thirteen times Jericho is encircled
by the Jews and the roughly 13,000 years he says elapse between the creation
(in 11,013 BC) and the second coming of Christ.  Camping also says the
destruction of Jericho relates to the Jubilee of 1994 when Christ will return
to lay siege to the earth and its sinful inhabitants.  Lastly, Camping points
to the similarity of the shouting and trumpeting at Jericho to I Thessalonians
4:16 which mentions that Christ will return "with a shout... and with the trump
of God."

     "Jubilee," Camping says, "identifies with judgment even as the judgment at
the end of the world is in a Jubilee year."

     When is the season of the second coming?

          In all probability it could be on September 15,
          which is the date for the day of atonement in 1994.
          ...it also could be sometime during the feast of
          tabernacles which follows from September 20 to
          September 27. ... but the evidence shows that in
          all likelihood it must be from the earliest on
          September 15, the day of atonement, to no later
          than September 27, the last day of the feast of

     However, a CNN Headline News segment on August 8th quoted Camping as
pin-pointing the date as September 6.  Why he has contradicted himself is
uncertain, but don't let it ruin your labor day weekend.

     --------- ------------ -- ------- -- --- -----

     Please bear with us: the length of this section is directly related to its
importance in Camping's scheme.

          II Timothy 3:16:
          All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
          and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
          for correction, for instruction in righteousness

          II Peter 1:20 (NIV):
          Above all, you must understand that no prophecy
          of Scripture came about by the prophet's own
          interpretation.  For prophecy never had its
          origin in the will of man, but men spoke from
          God as they were carried along by the Holy


     Those two passages form the basis of Mr. Camping's third thesis.  The
prophets tell us every word, every phrase of the Bible is authored by God.
Camping reminds us, "included in these words that were God-breathed are all of
the numbers found in the Bible.  They are just as important and just as much
the Word of God as any other word recorded in the Bible.  ... A disregard for
the significance of the numbers of the Bible is bound to limit our
understanding of some aspects of the Gospel message."

     This seems, for the most part, a fair-enough assumption.  While God
sometimes uses phrases like "many," "great," "multitude," "large," and "small,"
to convey size, He often uses specific numbers.  He speaks of the 14,700 who
die in the plague He sends against rebellious Israelites; the 153 fish of John
21:11; the 276 men shipwrecked in Acts 27:37; the giant circular bowl outside
Solomon's temple which is 30 cubits in circumference.

     In addition to recording size or amounts, Camping argues that numbers
found in the Bible are often symbolic and convey spiritual information; they
"embellish and enrich the Gospel message."  God _does_ seem to use numbers
symbolically, especially in the book of Revelation (10 horns on the Dragon,
etc.)  But more specifically, it is Camping's belief that "God has placed many
numbers in the Bible to give us _precise_ understanding of the timetable of the
earth [emphasis added]."  Camping tells us this timetable can be projected
forward to give the date of the Second Coming of Christ.  (More on this in
section IV.)


     Camping's third thesis rests on the belief in the plenary verbal inerrancy
of the Bible: God is infallible and the Bible is the Word of God ("men...were
carried along by the Holy Spirit"), ergo everything in the Bible is infallible
truth, wholly complete and precise.  Very simply, Camping asserts that the
Bible has the Salvation plan as its single message.  If nothing in the Bible is
superfluous or erroneous and everything there exists to advance and corroborate
the message of the Gospel, then where God uses specific numbers rather than
generalizations, He does so with precision and purposeful intent - implying
their inclusion is often to convey a message by means of numeric symbolism. 
The question of the infallibility of the Bible is large and complex, but it
presents an opportunity briefly to digress and present two puzzling biblical

     Although God says "Let there be light," on the first day of creation, and
He says there is day and night, morning and evening thereafter, it is not until
the beginning of the fourth day that He creates "[two great] lights in the
expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night...[and] give light on the
earth."  The stars are created almost as an afterthought.  In defense of this,
Biblical literalists might suggest that between day one and day four, _God_ was
the light that separated day and night.

     A second problem can be found in I Kings 7:23 and again in II Chronicles
4:2.  In these passages which describe the construction of a circular bronze
basin in the Temple of Solomon, the ratio of a circle's circumference to its
diameter is implied to be the same as the ratio of 30 to 10.  The implication
is that the value of pi is 3 - a value which is absolutely incorrect.  (Please
see footnote).  This is the kind of minutiae only a mathematician-historian
could love, but any diligent theologian could find.  The error is excusable,
but only at great expense: if the figure has merely been rounded to the nearest
integer, then the Bible is not inerrant or at least not precise; since God is
infallible as is His Word, then these passages are heretical and possibly call
into question the authorship of other parts of the Bible; if you believe that
the Lord has purposely contrived the measurement, as He seems to contrive the
genealogies of Matthew 1 and Luke 3, then you must decide _why_ in the midst of
entire chapters of careful and exhaustive measurements for the construction of
Solomon's Temple God does so, and to make such a guess might violate the spirit
of II Peter 1:20 and II Timothy 3:16.

     This particular defect actually has no bearing on the Bible's spiritual
message, unless your particular doctrine _depends_ upon the interpretation of
numbers and their inerrant use, as Mr. Camping's does.


     Where God uses numbers in other than a literal context, He unquestionably
is using them for some symbolic purpose.  No argument there.  The problem
arises when men like Harold Camping attempt to impose their own value-systems
on those numbers to derive their preposterous conclusions.  The most well-known
symbolic equation in Christendom is unquestionably

          Revelation 13:16 (NIV):
          He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and
          poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right
          hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or
          sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of
          the beast or the number of his name.
               This calls for wisdom.  If anyone has insight,
          let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is
          man's number.  His number is 666.

     Various interpretations have been applied to explain the meaning of the
number.  One Jehovah's Witness tract explains how 666 can be derived from any
Universal Product Code (UPC), bar-coded on products which we buy and sell.  The
numerological system of Gematria has lead others at various times to believe
666 stood for the Roman emperor Nero, Domitian, Martin Luther, Pope Leo X,
former president Ronald Wilson Reagan and former Soviet president Mikhail
Gorbachev.  (See "The New Merology of Beastly Numbers", pg 110, _Scientific
American_, March 1994).

     A kind of cult mysticism has grown up around numbers in general, and
God's use of numbers in particular.  Despite what Camping says -- "It is God's
plan that knowledge of His Word would increase near the end.  Therefore, we
should not be surprised at what we are learning about the numbers God has
placed in the Bible," - deriving symbolic meanings from numbers in the Bible
is nothing new and Mr. Camping is certainly not the first to have thought of
it.  The Hebrew Cabala is one of the best examples of a document which
endeavors to explain the numerology of the Old Testament.  Similar treatises
exist in Islam for the Qur'an, and in the I Ching for Taoism.


     Stories and announcements in the Bible are often told in the form of
parables.  John the Baptist proclaims the coming of Christ with "Behold the
Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."  When you search the
Bible to discover the allegorical meaning of "Lamb of God" you learn that a
lamb is mentioned as a sacrificial animal; John's symbolic statement prefigures
Jesus' sacrifice at the crucifixion.  Mr. Camping points out that God, by way
of John, could have said, "Behold the one who takes away the sin of the world,"
or "Behold my only son whom I will sacrifice for the sin of the world."  God
does not, Camping says, because He intends to convey spiritual truth through
symbolic meaning.  Camping continues by quoting Ephesians 1:5:

         Having predestinated us unto the adoption of
         children by Jesus Christ to himself, according
         to the good pleasure of his will.

     "This verse could have simply ended with the words 'according to His
will.'  It would still be altogether a trustworthy phrase," says Camping.  "The
addition of the words 'the good pleasure of' makes the verse much more
meaningful."  Exactly what that additional meaning is, Camping does not say,
but his point is to suggest that, by extension, God's inclusion of specific
numbers makes the Gospel message more meaningful: "Likewise, God very
frequently uses numbers...to greatly enrich the spiritual content [of the

     How are we to learn God's symbolic meaning, His "additional truth" for
certain numbers?

          We must, of course, interpret the meaning of
          Biblical words and phrases by the way they are
          used in the Bible.  Likewise, we must understand
          God's usage of the numbers recorded in the Bible
          by the criteria that God Himself gives us in the

     In the same way that we discovered the meaning of "Lamb of God", by
reading the passages in which numbers are contained, Camping says we can derive
numbers' meaning through context and through association.  "We are to determine
if there is a meaning that is a common thread that runs through the verses
wherein that number is used."


     For example, the number 3 is used by itself (that is, not counting 33,
300, 3000, etc.) hundreds of times throughout the Bible -- in all but 11 books
of the Old Testament and all but 14 books of the New Testament.  Camping notes
that the number figures prominently with the trial and crucifixion of Jesus:

          1.   There were three crosses (Luke 23:33)
          2.   Peter denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26:34, 75)
          3.   The inscription above the cross was written in three
               languages (John 19:19-20, Luke 23:38)
          4.   Jesus prayed three times that this cup might
               be removed (Matthew 26:39-44)
          5.   Three disciples went deeper into the garden
               with Him (Matthew 26:36-37)
          6.   He was crucified the third hour (Mark 15:25)
          7.   There was darkness three hours (Mark 15:33)

     ...and so on.  As to the symbolic significance of the number three,
Camping concludes:

          Why does God repeatedly make reference to the
          number 3 in connection with atonement?  When we
          carefully examine each of the above references,
          we find that the emphasis signified by the use of
          the number 3 is that of God's purpose.  It was
          God's purpose to pour out His wrath on Christ.
          It was God's purpose that Jesus alone suffered
          for our sins.  It was God's purpose that He was
          to be crucified so that it would be shown that
          He had become cursed of God.

     Furthermore, Camping adds: "Wherever the number 3 is in view, the truth
found in the event is enriched because we know that God is emphasizing that it
was His purpose to do whatever is recorded in the context in which that number
3 is found."

     At which point, Mr. Camping makes a concerted effort to deceive the

          ...we must never engage in numerology,
          as it is sometimes called.  In this
          practice, number values are assigned to the
          letters of the Hebrew and Greek alphabets.
          Thus, words and phrases are associated with each
          other by their number values which are derived
          from the number value of each letter in the word
          or phrase.  This practice has no Biblical
          validation whatsoever.  It is entirely alien to
          the Bible and no Bible student who wishes to
          find truth should have anything at all to do
          with it.

     Obviously, Harold Camping is making a deliberate attempt to misrepresent
the definition of numerology, because his citation is unquestionably incomplete
and skewed.  Camping's purpose here is to distance his application of numbers
to the Bible from numerology - and no wonder!  The practice of numerology has
fallen into ill repute, and reasonable people credit it with as much prophetic
integrity as biorhythms, daily horoscopes, and 1-900 psychic hotlines.

     What he is referring to in the preceding quotation is the practice of
gematria, which is a particular kind of numerology.  A complete definition of
numerology includes the attribution of occult or mystical significance to
numbers; bearing this in mind, Harold Camping's prime method of divination can
only be called numerology.  The American Heritage English Dictionary defines
the word as follows:

          Numerology (n): (1) Divination through numbers and
          study of their occult significance and interrelation;
          (2) A system of occultism built around numbers
          especially [but not exclusively] those giving birth
          dates, those which are the sum of the letters in
          one's name, etc.; (3) Divination by numbers;
          (4) The study of the occult meanings of numbers and
          their supposed influence on human life.

     Gematria's definition is difficult to find; even many encyclopedic
unabridged dictionaries fail to list it.  Cassell's Concise English Dictionary
does, however:

          Gematria (n): Cabbalistic system of interpreting
          Hebrew Scriptures by interchanging words whose
          letters have the same numerical value when added.
          [Rabbinical Hebrew: gematriya; Greek: geometria - Geometry]

     Biblical numerology has been practiced in one form or another for
centuries.  _The Mystery of Numbers_ notes for instance: "Philo of Alexandria
combined ideas from the Old Testament and the Pythagorean tradition and thus
created the basis for the biblical exegesis of the Middle Ages, which is
heavily determined by number mysticism."  Many of the previous predictions for
the Second Coming of Christ have depended upon these kinds of schemes.


     In _Are You Ready?_, Camping arranges his numerological symbols in
numerical order.  However, since many of his symbols seem to have similar
meanings, we have arranged them by synonymity.  With each numerological symbol,
Camping gives a few examples which provide the context and 'validity' for the
equation of the symbol with its meaning.

     2 SIGNIFIES THE CHURCH, either as a corporate, external body or as the
true believers within the church.

          1.   Two witnesses (Revelation 11:3).
          2.   Two olive trees (Revelation 11:4).
          3.   Two candlesticks (Revelation 11:4).
          4.   They were sent out two by two (Mark 6:7).


          1.   The number 3 is tremendously prominent in the atonement:
               3 days and nights; 3 crosses; Jesus prayed 3 times;
               Peter denied Jesus 3 times, etc.
          2.   Paul prayed 3 times for the removal of the thorn in the
               flesh (II Corinthians 12:7-8).


          1.   Points of the compass (Revelation 21:13).
          2.   Revelation 17:5 (peoples, multitudes, nations, tongues).
          3.   Revelation 20:8 (nations in the four quarters of the earth).

     5 SIGNIFIES GOD'S GRACE (Salvation or redemption) [ Version 1 ]

          1.   Matthew 25:2, five wise virgins.
          2.   Numbers 18:16, five shekels were given as redemption money.
          3.   The five loaves that fed the five thousand (Matthew 16:9).


          1.   Babies circumcised on the eighth day (Gen 17:12)
          2.   Eight persons in the ark (I Peter 3:20)
          3.   Jesus was raised on the eighth day. (The first day of the
               week became the eighth day when added to the previous seven


          1.   Joseph was 17 years old when he had the dream that the
               members of his family would bow before him.  In view of
               the fact that Joseph was a type or figure of Christ, this
               event anticipates heaven when all believers will worship
               Christ (Gen. 37:2-10).
          2.   Jacob lived seventeen years in Egypt under the care and
               keeping of Joseph who as the second ruler of Egypt had saved
               him from the famine.  This event points us to heaven which
               we obtain when we have come under the care and keeping of
               Christ forevermore (Gen. 47:28).
          3.   When Israel was about to go into captivity, Jeremiah was
               instructed to buy a field in the land of Israel and pay
               seventeen shekels for it (Jeremiah 32:9).  This anticipates
               the future return of Israel into the land of Israel
               which in turn is a figure of our entrance into heaven or
               into salvation (Jeremiah 32:37-38).


          1.   The five foolish virgins (Matthew 25:2-12)
          2.   The five brothers who were still under the judgment
               of God (Luke 16:28)
          3.   The five months of Revelation 9:5 signifying God's judgment
               on the Church.


          1.   The 2300 days when the temple is trodden under foot which
               points to the final tribulation period when God is judging
               the church (Daniel 8:13-14).
          2.   The 23,000 who were killed in the plague
               (I Corinthians 10:8).
          3.   The twenty-three years inclusively which began with the
               death of the last good king over Judah.  His name was Josiah
               and he was killed in battle in the year 609 BC.  The
               remaining four kings were very wicked but reigned until
               587 BC when Judah was completely destroyed by
               the Babylonians.


          1.   Jehoiachin freed by the king of Babylon in his
               thirty-seventh year (II Kings 25:27).  This event points
               to the judgment on the church at the end of the world.
          2.   David, who typifies Christ, had thirty-seven mighty men
               who fought the enemies of Israel (II Samuel 23:39).  These
               thirty-seven men typify the believers as they bring the
               Gospel which emphasizes that man is under judgment and who
               with Christ will judge the world at the end of time.
          3.   The number of man -- 666 -- equals 3 * 6 * 37.  This
               signifies spiritually that it is God's purpose (3) that
               those who work (6) to get right with God (this includes
               everyone who is not saved), will come into judgment (37).
          4.   Noah and his family were in the ark 370 days (Gen. 7:11, 24;
               8:4, 14-18).  This is 10 * 37.  it signifies that they
               remained in the safety of the ark until God's judgment (37)
               upon the earth had been completed (10).  Or we could say:
               Because they were in the safety of the ark, they
               completely (10) escaped the judgment (37) of God.
          5.   185,000 Assyrians who assaulted Judah in Hezekiah's reign
               were killed by God in one night (II Kings 19:35).
               185,000 = 5 * 37 * 10 * 10 * 10.  This signifies God's
               complete (10 * 10) judgment (37) upon the wicked who come
               against God's kingdom, which consists of those who are
               completely (10) saved (5).


          1.   Creation.  "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth"
               (Exodus 20:11).
          2.   Six days work (Exodus 20:9).
          3.   Six years planting (Exodus 23:10).
          4.   Christ works to provide for our redemption (Luke 23:44,
               John 19:14-18).


          1.   Seven days of creation.
          2.   The seven spirits of God (Revelation 5:6).
          3.   The seven heads of the dragon (Revelation 13:1).
          4.   The seven churches (Revelation 1:4).


          1.    The ten commandments (Exodus 20).
          2.    The ten virgins (Matthew 25:1).
          3.    The ten coins (Luke 15:8).
          4.    The 100 sheep (Luke 15:4).
          5.    The 1000 years (Revelation 20:1-5).


          1.   The twelve tribes of Israel (James 1:1).
          2.   The twelve apostles (Mark 3:14).
          3.   The holy city Jerusalem has twelve foundations and
               twelve gates, etc.  (Revelation 21:14,21).


          1.   While twelve tribes are normally featured, there were in
               fact thirteen tribes.
          2.   While twelve apostles are normally featured in the Bible,
               the Apostle Paul insists that he was an apostle like
               the others (II Corinthians 12:11-12, I Corinthians 9:1,
               I Corinthians 15:8-9).
          3.   Israel went around the walls of Jericho thirteen times
               before the walls fell (Joshua 6).


          1.   The eleven brothers will bow down to Joseph who is a type
               of Christ (Genesis 37:9).
          2.   The eleven days' journey of Deuteronomy 1:2.
          3.   The eleven sons of Jacob who were born in Haran but who
               came with Jacob into Canaan (Genesis 32:22).


          1.   Israel was forty years in the wilderness as God tested them
               whether they would obey Him (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 15-16).
          2.   Jesus was forty days in the wilderness being tested
               (Luke 4:2).
          3.   Jesus remained on earth forty days before His ascension.
               This signifies a test for mankind as to whether they will
               believe on Him as the risen Christ (Acts 1:3).


     How does Camping account for other numbers, numbers larger than 40?
"...when they are broken down [factored] to their prime numbers, by means of
the spiritual truth latent within each prime number, the spiritual message (if
any is intended by it) is revealed."  This is true, he says, especially of
"[large] numbers in the Bible that are found only once and yet...are in a very
significant context."

     Of the prime numbers 19, 29, 31, 41 and greater, Camping says "at present
sufficient Biblical information has not been found to understand their
spiritual meaning (if any has been intended by God)."  It would seem God
prefers composite numbers (numbers which can be factored) to primes.

     Congratulations for having gotten this far!  This is where the really
interesting stuff begins; the key to Mr. Camping's prophecy is factoring
"Biblically significant" numbers into the products of his spiritually
significant numbers then constructing ad-lib sentences based on the result.

     Let's discover what spiritual truth is conveyed by the number 666.  There
are four unique ways to factor 666; only two of them are composed entirely of
numbers found in Camping's numerology, and only one of those produces a result
consistent with his preconceived beliefs.  Mr. Camping chooses to factor 666
into its "significant numbers" as follows:

               3 * 6 * 37 = 666

               3 signifies the purpose or will of God
               6 signifies work
               37 signifies the judgment of God

     Mr. Camping explains:

          Remember, 6 is a number that signifies work.  It
          points to those who are working for their salvation.
          That includes each and every human being who is
          not saved.  By nature, because they were created
          in the image of God, they want somehow to become
          right with God.  But in their rebellion and pride,
          every idea fostered in man's mind includes the
          concept that man must do something himself to be
          right with God.  He must live in such a way or do
          such a thing that God will recognize their
          worthiness and save them. ... this number signifies
          that it is God's purpose or will (3) to bring to
          judgment (37) all those who are trusting in
          their own works (6) to become saved.

     Example after example, Mr. Camping goes through the Bible finding
important passages that contain numbers, factoring those numbers as he chooses,
then constructing spiritually significant sentences which dove-tail nicely with
his non-numerological interpretations of the passages.  Each spiritually
significant sentence is sufficiently vague as to be applicable as Camping's
desires see fit.  The sheer number of examples Mr. Camping supplies which
evidence prophetic results is supposed to convince you that Camping's
methodology is indeed the key to God's prophecy and per force circular
reasoning, the numerological results are correct because the methodology is! 

     If an analysis of the Bible emphasized only of a handful of words, such
as: sparrow, hawk, eagle, turkey, penguin, and ostrich, then it wouldn't be
surprising if the results sounded predominantly aviary in nature.  These
investigations into works of scripture would not exactly inspire awe and
terror, and would largely be ignored.

     Likewise, if your numerological vocabulary was limited to 16 words and
phrases, like 'End of the World', 'Coming of Christ as Savior', 'Judgment' or
'Will of God', you shouldn't be surprised if everything derived from this
numerological language seemed prophetic.  After all, if the entirety of your
source material is a discussion of God's will and impending judgment of the
Earth, you shouldn't be surprised if the end product of your efforts yields
ominous results.  God In equals God Out.  This is much more in line with
Camping's methodology.

     Merely because Camping's method of factoring numbers can result in ad-hoc
sentences which ring prophetic proves nothing about the nature of the number,
its use in the Bible or for that matter, the time-frame for the end of the


     On page 199 of _Are you Ready?_, Camping discusses "another account that
beautifully illustrates the principle that God frequently introduces numbers"
to numerologically emphasize a message: the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and
Abiram against Moses in Numbers 16.

          Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of
          Levi, and certain Reubenites -- Dathan and Abiram,
          sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth -- became
          insolent and rose up against Moses.  With them
          were 250 Israelite men, well-known community
          leaders who had been appointed members of the

     As a consequence of rebellion, God causes the earth to open up and
swallow Korah, Dathan, Abiram and their families in Numbers 16:31:

          As soon as he finished saying all this, the
          ground under them split apart and the earth
          opened its mouth and swallowed them, with
          their households and all Korah's men and all
          their possessions.

     Of the 250 well-known members of the community also aligned with Korah,
Dathan and Abiram, we read in Numbers 16:35:

          And fire came out from the Lord and consumed
          the 250 men who were offering incense.

     The following day, the Israelites complained to God, saying that Moses
and Aaron had killed the people of the Lord.  God answers this new insurrection
by sending a plague into the Israelites, a plague whose deadly force is stayed
only after Aaron's intervention.  Numbers 16:48:

          He stood between the living and the dead, and
          the plague stopped.  But 14,700 people died
          from the plague, in addition to those who had
          died because of Korah.

     Camping interprets:
          "In this account, rebellious Israel is representative
          of all mankind who have rebelled against God.  The plague
          that killed a great many of the Israelites and the fire
          that came down and destroyed 250 men are pointing to the
          judgment of God that will destroy all of the unsaved.
          The atonement offered by Aaron as well as Aaron himself,
          as he stood between the dead and the living, represent
          Christ Himself..."

     "Why did God give us this information [the quantity of the dead]?  Why
didn't He simply declare that a great number of people died in the plague? Why
did He number the princes of the people who rebelled against Moses and were
killed by fire from heaven?  Why does He bring these two numbers together in
verse 49?"  By this, Camping means to infer spiritual significance from God's
use of numbers and suggests that this Biblical account prefigures the end

     Camping then adds the 250 men who died by fire from heaven to the 14,700
who perished in the plague and arrives at the figure 14,950.  He breaks this
number down into its prime or significant numbers as follows:

               14,950 = 5 * 10 * 13 * 23

               5 signifies salvation or judgment
               10 signifies completeness
               13 signifies the end of the world
               23 signifies judgment

     Camping asserts that "fire from heaven signifies the judgment of God
that is to come on the unsaved at the end of the world," and that the Korah,
Dathan, Abiram rebellion is an allegory of "God's final judgment on the enemies
of God (the unsaved) as they are cast into hellfire on the last day. ... The
14,950 people who are numbered in this Numbers account are a picture of those
who will endure the judgment of God on the last day."  Camping then concludes
that the spiritually-significant 14,950 reinforces this truth:

          Those who rebel against God are under the
          judgment (5) of God and will experience the
          complete (10) judgment (23) of God at the
          end of the world (13).

     One problem, however, with Camping's interpretation is that his addition
is wrong.  His 14,950 figure fails to include the antagonists of this Biblical
episode, namely Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, (and what about the unnumbered
members of their households?) who are killed in Numbers 16:31!  By our count,
3 + 250 + 14,700 = 14,953.  And, unfortunately for Camping, 14,953 is the
product of two prime numbers - 19 and 787 - neither of which are addressed
by his 'Biblically-inspired' numerology.

     ----------- -------- ---- ----- ----- -- ----

               "Everything fits together so precisely!"

               -- Harold Camping, _Are You Ready?_,
               commenting on the Bible's time-paths
               to the year 1994.  Pg 218.

          Since God has given sufficient information so that
          we can reconstruct the calendar of history [an
          exercise Camping performs earlier in _Are You
          Ready?_], how is the Gospel message enhanced and
          enriched by the numbers that describe the passage
          of time?

     Through a process we can only guess at, Harold Camping has already
decided the year of the second coming.  For him, the task remains to collect
'evidence' to prove it _deductively_.  Seek, with enough conviction
aforethought, and ye shall find.

     In the eighth and ninth chapters of _Are You Ready?_, Mr. Camping selects
forty-nine Biblical "calendar milestones" - passages which prefigure the end
times - which he has carefully dated.  (He selects forty-nine examples probably
because forty-nine is seven times seven - seven being the number for perfection
or totality.)  He then calculates the elapsed years from those dates to
Christ's birth in 7 BC, His crucifixion in AD 33, the Tribulation (which
Camping says began in 1988), and Christ's second coming in 1994.  Working
backwards from his desired result, Camping factors the differences yielded by
his scheme and discovers spiritually significant messages.  This is how he
proves that we now have merely days left before the return of Christ.

          As we continue our study of the Bible, we will
          find that the time paths from significant
          historical events to Christ's first coming or
          to His second coming may have great spiritual
          meaning.  When the total number of years
          between the event in question and the first or
          second coming of Christ is broken down to its
          significant or prime numbers, and the spiritual
          meaning inherent within these significant or
          prime numbers is applied to the passage in
          which the larger number is found, the Gospel
          is enriched and enhanced. ... give[s] further
          evidence that the year AD 1988 indeed must be
          the year when the final tribulation did begin,
          and the year AD 1994 must be the year of Christ's

     All this despite that Camping had earlier admonished against deductive

          I Corinthians 2:13:
          Which things also we speak, not in the words which
          man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost
          teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."
          In this statement God rejects the idea that we can
          interpret the Scriptures to make them agree with
          what we have in our minds or our denominational

     Mr. Camping's method is flawed from the outset; the question of 1994
being the date for the end of the world was a premise the data were supposed
to test, not rest upon.


     According to Mr. Camping, all of the numbers in the scriptures were
recorded by God, and each of those numbers He gave us are elements of coded

          Included in these words that were God-breathed are
          all of the numbers found in the Bible.  They are just
          as important and just as much the Word of God as any
          other word recorded in the Bible.

     God may be precise, but concerning His numerological missives, they
certainly lack the sort of self-evident data integrity that Camping implies. 
If Camping's method were valid, then only certain numbers would produce
intelligible results, while anything else should generate meaningless

     There are two ways of demonstrating the falsity of his method in this

          1.   Take composite numbers he has gleaned from his
               investigations and demonstrate the broad domain of
               possible interpretations for each set of factors.

          2.   Factor numbers which appear nowhere in the Bible
               and compare the messages with similar ones of Camping's.

     For instance, let's pretend the Bible is describing a man born in 1890 AD
who probably has bearing on the Second Coming.  Let's also pretend that we
concur with Camping that the end of the world is due in 1994.

     There are 104 years between 1890 and 1994.  We have chosen to factor 104
into 13 * 4 * 2.

               2 signifies the true believers
               4 signifies universality
               13 signifies superfullness or the end of the world

     Did this man's birth have anything significant to do with the armies of
Gog and Magog meeting on the field of Armageddon?  The numbers seem to indicate
that this man's birth prefigures: the end of the world (13) coming for the
entire world (4) full of true believers (2).

     This is actually pretty interesting, because Camping's method has managed
to teach us something we didn't know: the birth of H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937)
was an important and demonstrable sign of the second coming of

     Let's return to Camping's interpretation of the spiritual truth conveyed
by the number 666.  We mentioned earlier that, of the four unique ways to
factor 666,

                      18 * 37 = 666
                   2 * 9 * 37 = 666
                   3 * 6 * 37 = 666
               2 * 3 * 3 * 37 = 666

     Only half of them are composed entirely of numbers found in Camping's
numerology.  Camping chooses 3 * 6 * 37 to illustrate that the number of the
beast signifies:

          it is God's purpose or will (3) to bring to
          judgment (37) all those who are trusting in
          their own works (6) to become saved.

     What if we choose to factor 666 as:

               666 = 3 * 3 * 2 * 37

                2 signifies the true believers
                3 signifies purpose or will of God
               37 signifies judgment

          It is _truly_ God's purpose or will (3 * 3) to
          save the true believers (2) from judgment (37).

     Can the number of the beast indicate deliverance for the true believers?
Camping's scheme generated both decrees.  Is there an attribute that the first
message has that's lacking in ours?  Yes, there is: Harold Camping wrote the
first one and not the second.

     Apart from the difference in authorship, there can be no way of
determining which product of hermeneutics accurately represents God's intended
message.  Therefore, God's chosen means of hidden communication has turned out
to be vague to the point of uselessness, assuming God indeed buried these
messages in the first place.

     Mr. Camping may argue that our result has been taken out of context
(something he is not unfamiliar with) and is therefore invalid, but in doing
so, Mr. Camping would reveal yet another flaw in his numerology: that finding
the correct result requires projecting your beliefs into his method ahead of
time.  It isn't infallible truth if it requires fallible man to sift and
interpret it.


     According to Camping's theory, God is implying a very definite message
through the numbers in the Bible - specifically, the date of the end of the

     Another way of saying this is that God has hidden the date within the
wide variety of numbers encountered in the scriptures.  For the means of
arriving at the date to be in keeping with the authority of the Ten
Commandments, the scheme would have to point to a specific number and none

     This is not the sort of system Camping employs.  Nowhere do we come across
an instance in which his interpretation of a composite number is clearly the
only one possible, even after granting him the extreme latitude of pronouncing
what each of the factors means in his system.

     Let's return to Camping's numerological Rosetta Stone to pose a few

     (1)  Why are there so many synonymous numerological symbols?  Five,
          six and seventeen all signify salvation?  Five, twenty-three,
          and thirty-seven all signify judgment?  Why does
          10 = 100 = 1000?  With so many synonymous numerological
          symbols, the precision God is credited with is not advanced
          (since there is less distinction and more synonymity), so
          any great message God is communicating is watered down
          by such a system.
     (2)  If the spiritual meaning of a particular number is derived
          by the context in which it is used, then why doesn't the
          number two represent the animal kingdom?  (Two of every
          unclean animal went into the Ark).
     (3)  As to the number three, Camping says "Indeed, wherever we
          find the number 3 used anywhere in the Bible, IF IT
          SIGNIFIES SPIRITUAL TRUTH, it will be emphasizing God's
          purpose."  The entire Gospel of the Bible emphasizes God's
          purpose!  What does God do that _isn't_ His will or
          purpose?!  When does something in the Bible _not_ signify
          spiritual truth in one way or another?  Why is Harold
          Camping the arbiter of spiritual truth?  Camping goes
          to great length to remind us that God moved men of old to
          write everything, and that God is very particular about
          everything in the Bible, but somehow, sometimes something
          doesn't signify spiritual truth?
     (4)  After an exhaustive computer search of the Bible for every
          occurrence of the number 37 by itself (that is,
          not counting 137, 637, etc.), we find exactly _two_ occurrences,
          both of which are named by Camping.  The number 37 could not
          have stood out to Camping by the sheer number of occurrences.
          More probably, Camping found 37 occurring as a factor
          in larger numbers and needed 37 to mean 'judgment'.  In
          particular, he would need 37 to mean judgment for his
          evaluation of 666 - one of the first numbers he factors
          in his book.  This would also seem to explain why there
          are three numbers in Camping's symbology which all mean

          Since a list of only two examples for the number 37 would
          not be very persuasive, Camping relies on circular logic
          for his three remaining examples, factoring 666, 370
          and 185,000 and pointing to their subsequent
          interpretations as proof that 37 = judgment.
     (5)  How can five signify two antithetical ideas - salvation
          _and_ judgment?  And when are we to know which idea
          God intends?  The difference could be crucial.
          Interestingly, in Camping's examples wherever there is
          one instance of five, there is usually a second instance;
          Camping makes use of the opportunity to provide some
          kind of numero-spiritual parity.
     (6)  When deconstructing the value of 666, Camping says,
          "Remember, 6 is a number that signifies work.  It
          points to those who are working for their salvation."
          The construction of Camping's numerology relies on
          connotation; in Camping's table of numbers, 6 has
          a positive connotation -- the Lord created the universe
          in six days; Christ working to provide for our
          redemption, etc.  And yet Camping uses 6 in a
          negatively-connoted way to reveal the meaning of 666.

          The number 6 as a factor is one of the rarest in
          Camping's book.  Though a factor of 6 can be extracted
          from most of the spiritually significant large
          numbers in his book, he chooses to do so in only three
          instances: the evaluation of 666, a variation of
          that evaluation used on pg 276, and the assumption
          of Nebuchadrezzar to the Babylonian throne.  The
          last example notwithstanding, Camping seems to have
          specifically designed 6 to meet his needs for
          uncovering the spiritual truth latent in 666.
     (7)  Completeness of whatever is in view?  Fullness?
          Superfullness?!  Super-abundant fullness?!


     Camping selects forty-nine Biblical episodes related to the Gospel message
or the fulfillment of the Gospel program.  He refers to these episodes as
"calendar milestones."  Through a process which is not always clear, he has
dated each event; for instance, Abraham's son Isaac - whom Abraham is told to
sacrifice on an altar - is said to have been born in 2067 BC.  How Camping
arrived at these dates or whether they are even correct is not important in
evaluating Camping's methodology, however.  (If the reader does a little
checking, he will find several of Camping's dates cannot be correct.)

     Because God provides Mr. Camping enough corroborative evidence to date
these episodes and reconstruct the "Biblical calendar", Camping infers the
calendar can be projected forward into the future and that God will provide
corroborative evidence - through numerology - that 1994 is the end of the
world.  Using his own form of logic, Mr. Camping suggests that if the elapsed
years between each of these events and the coming of Christ

          1.   At Christ's birth in 7 BC
          2.   At Christ's crucifixion in AD 33
          3.   At Christ's second coming, beginning
               with the Tribulation in AD 1988
          4.   At Christ's coming on the last day in AD 1994

is calculated and factored, and if those factors result in a spiritually
significant message that (a) there is a relationship between the end of the
world and these milestones which are said to prefigure it, and (b) that 1994
is in all likelihood the end of the world.

     As you scan the 54 pages in which Mr. Camping lays out the evaluation of
the forty-nine calendar milestones, two things become immediately obvious:

          1.   In no instance does Mr. Camping compare all four
               of the dates related to Christ's coming (above)
               against a milestone.  Occasionally he
               selects three of the dates related to Christ
               to compare against the milestone; sometimes he
               selects only one of the dates related to Christ,
               but Mr. Camping never factors the difference between
               any calendar milestone and _all four_ of the dates
               that relate to Christ's coming.

          2.   When evaluating the number that results from the
               difference between the date of the milestone and
               a date related to Christ's coming, Camping often
               factors that number in several ways, suggesting
               all of them are valid interpretations and
               because there are several ways to interpret the
               same number, God is really trying to give us the

     Why doesn't Camping compare all four dates related to Christ's coming
against each milestone?  Let's look at milestone number one.  (Remember that in
figuring the elapsed years between a BC date and an AD date, you must subtract
one year, since there is no year 0 AD.)

                              Event No. 1
                         Creation: 11,013 BC

          In the year 11,013 BC, God created the earth
          and the whole universe.  This was the first event
          required to bring to pass God's Gospel plan.

          TIME LINE.  Years to the end of the world, AD 1988:
               11,013 + 1988 - 1 = 13,000 years.

               13,000 years = 13 * 1000.
               God's Gospel plan, which began with creation
               (11,013 BC), will be brought to completion (1000)
               at the end of the world (13).  The end of the world
               begins with the final tribulation (AD 1988), as God
               prepares the church and the world for Judgment Day.

               13,000 years = 4 * 5 * 5 * 10 * 13.
               God's Gospel of salvation (5) and judgment (5)
               for the whole world (4) will be completed (10) at
               the end of the world (13).  The end of the world
               begins with the final tribulation which prepares
               the world for judgment.

               13,000 years = 5 * 5 * 13 * 40.
               God's plan of testing (40), which results
               in either salvation (5) or judgment (5), goes
               all the way to the end of the world (13).  The
               end of the world begins with the final tribulation
               as judgment begins with the house of God.

               13,000 years = 2 * 2 * 5 * 5 * 10 * 13.
               It is established by God will [sic] shortly
               come to pass (2 * 2) that God will complete (10)
               His Gospel of salvation (5) and judgment (5)
               at the end of time (13) beginning with the final
               tribulation period which prepares the world for the
     For a moment, let's digress on the glaring issue of Camping's date for the
creation: 11,013 BC.  Despite that Harold Camping frequently refers to science
and scientific fact to corroborate his beliefs,

          ...we must remember that the same all-wise God
          who wrote the Bible also created the universe. 
          As we examine the atoms, the molecules, the
          neutrons, the protons, etc., that are all
          integral parts of creation, we know that God's
          use of numbers is found everywhere.  Everything,
          down to the smallest particle of matter, is
          precisely designed by God according to very
          precise number systems.
          If scientists were to disregard all usage of numbers
          in their study of the universe, their understanding
          would be seriously hampered.  Numbers have a tremendous
          involvement in the design of the universe.

he chooses to completely disregard well-founded scientific conclusions when
it's convenient.  Mr. Camping maintains that, in so far as science's
disagreements with his theories, "...scientific conclusions are not even a
fraction as accurate as the majestic statements of the Bible."  The truth is,
Mr. Camping's pseudo-scientific conclusions are only a fraction as accurate as
secular science's.  In a radio program broadcast on Saturday, July 23rd,
Camping repeatedly referred to the speed of light as 156,000 miles per second
- a figure 30,000 miles per second too slow.  (We wonder what this civil
engineer-turned-minister would have to say about the value of pi...)

     The world is older than 13,000 years.  The same all-wise God that created
the universe seems to have given us the fossil record as well.  At nearly 3.5
million years, Lucy (the name given to A. afarensis remains discovered in
Ethiopia in 1974) is certainly much older than Camping's date.  The rocks in
your backyard are probably older than 13,000 years!  Even if for some reason
you refuse to believe in radio-metric dating methods and everything those
methods depend on, you need only visit Greenland.  There you will find ice
cores a mile deep in which you can very distinctly count over 200,000 winters.

     The Hebrew calendar in use today, on which Mr. Camping depends for the
Jubilee Year, begins at the creation, which is calculated to have occurred
3,760 years before the Christian era.  So at the very least, there is some
disagreement between Camping and the Jews, whose information he often depends

     Back to Camping's time-line.  Why didn't Camping compare 11,013 BC against
the dates for Christ's birth, Christ's crucifixion or 1994?  Let's look at the

          TIME LINE.  Years to Christ's birth, 7 BC:
               11,013 + 7 - 1 = 11,019 years.

               11,019 years = 3 * 3673.

     It is God's purpose or will (3) that you not factor 11,019.

          TIME LINE.  Years to Christ's crucifixion, AD 33:
               11,013 + 33 - 1 = 11,045 years.

               11,045 years = 5 * 2209.

     God will save (5) you from factoring this number, too.

          TIME LINE.  Years to Christ's second coming, AD 1994:
               11,013 + 1994 - 1 = 13,006 years.

               13,006 years = 2 * 7 * 929.

     God's true believers (2) think Mr. Camping's method of prophecy is less
than perfect (7).

     What does Mr. Camping have to say about the numerological messages which
result from the comparisons between the dates for Christ's comings and the
calendar milestones?  Why does he now illustrate several ways to factor the
same number?

          Please bear in mind that the spiritual emphasis
          brought...by the number pattern is suggestive.
          With an understanding of the spiritual significance
          of each event together with the number that is
          hidden within the time paths, it might be possible
          to write somewhat different sentences that are still
          in harmony with the Gospel.

     Two hundred fifty seven pages into his book, logic has begun to take its
toll on Mr. Camping, and he has begun to capitulate.  According to Mr. Camping,
now it's no longer important that a specific message intended by God result
from Biblical passages, hence his various interpretations for each milestone. 
As long as something _intelligible_ results, that's corroborative evidence!  So
much for God's definite message and the lesson of "...according to the good
pleasure of his will"!


     In 1975, Pol Pot introduced year 0 to Cambodia.  Aside from that instance,
calendars have not included a year zero.  This is the case partially because it
makes less sense to start with year zero (resulting in a discrepancy between
the cardinal and ordinal order of your calendar) than it does year one and
partially because the number 0 is a relatively new concept.  In _Beyond
Numeracy_, John Allen Paulos explains:

          ...we note that about 2,000 years ago the Chinese
          invented a written positional numeration system
          based on powers of 10.  About 500 years later
          the people of southern India independently
          made the same discovery, but soon thereafter went
          further and invented zero ... The Chinese
          borrowed the notion of zero from the Indians, as
          did the Arabs, who eventually communicated the
          whole system to Western Europe.

     With zero an unknown concept to the Romans, the Julian calendar (on which
our current Gregorian calendar is based) could not have had a year zero. Mr.
Camping has a different perspective on history:

          Everything, down to the smallest particle of
          matter, is precisely designed by God according
          to very precise number systems. ... Was it
          accidental that the Julian calendar, which
          became the Gregorian calendar, when projected
          back to the very beginning, starts out with the
          year 11,013 BC?  [What is Camping talking about?]
          Was it accidental that this calendar left out
          the year 0 so that two paths are possible -
          the calendar path and the actual path - to such
          great events as the cross and the second coming
          of Christ?  Was it accidental that Jesus was born
          in 7 BC rather than the year 0 or the year AD 1?

     Was it accidental that Christ was born on Christmas?  The facts answer for
          God has doubled the possibility of significant
          time paths by allowing or guiding the designer
          of the Julian calendar to leave out the year 0.

     What does Camping mean by "doubled the possibility of significant time
paths"?  Let's look at an example: the birth of Isaac, son of Abraham, in
2067 BC.

     Camping says Isaac's near-sacrifice on an altar prefigures God's sacrifice
of His son Jesus (hence Isaac's birth-date becomes significant to Camping). 
When we look at the time relationship - the elapsed years - between Isaac's
birth and the crucifixion, we find:

                         2067 + 33 - 1 = 2099 years

     Two thousand ninety-nine is a prime number, and so neither God nor Camping
can factor it into a spiritually significant message.  Camping momentarily
concludes, "Therefore, this is not a significant or important time period."  At
this point, Camping invents a make-believe time-unit called the 'calendar year'
to work around the problem and credits God with the concept:

          But [2099] is a significant time period when
          we calculate the passage of time in calendar
          years instead of in actual years.  To arrive
          at actual years in calculating the passage
          of time requires the subtraction of one
          year in going from an Old Testament event
          to a New Testament event.  This is because the
          calendar does not include a year 0. ...
          Had the calendar been designed with a year
          zero, ... [one would calculate] the actual
          years between an Old Testament event and a
          New Testament event...by simply adding the
          Old Testament [date] to the New Testament [date].

     This is an especially useful discovery on Mr. Camping's part because for
any prime number p, greater than 2, (p + 1) is not prime.  (Camping's thinking
must go something like this: if I can propose a method whose results I like,
then the method is acceptable and logical, the result of God's inspiration.)
God could simply have chosen to use non-primes (ie, composite numbers) in the
Biblical time-line, but instead He does something much less simple: He allows
us the luxury of using a calendar with a year 0 whenever it's convenient.  We
now have the divine authority to add one year (to cancel out the subtraction
of a year) to an elapsed actual year if the elapsed actual year is a prime
number.  Mercifully, Camping resorts to using "calendar years" when he
absolutely needs to, otherwise his book might be 800 pages long instead of
400.  Nevertheless, Camping makes use of "calendar years" 27 times throughout
the evaluations of his 49 calendar milestones.

     Why doesn't Mr. Camping apply calendar years in Event No. 1, the creation
in 11,013 BC?

          TIME LINE.  Years to Christ's birth, 7 BC:
               11,013 + 7 = 11,020 calendar years.

               11,020 calendar years = 2 * 5 * 38 * 29.

     Mr. Camping's true believers (2) have not reached a judgment (5) on what
to do with 38 and 29.

          TIME LINE.  Years to Christ's crucifixion, AD 33:
               11,013 + 33 = 11,046 calendar years.

               11,046 calendar years = 6 * 7 * 263.

     Mr. Camping will have to work (6) harder than this to perfect (7) his

          TIME LINE.  Years to Christ's second coming, AD 1994:
               11,013 + 1994 = 13,007 calendar years.

               13,007 calendar years = prime number.

     A prime number.  Doh!

     Additionally, Mr. Camping sometimes chooses not to compare a particular
date related to Christ against a milestone so that he can later point to a
beautiful symmetry whose implications are... compelling:

          We can be quite certain that 7 BC is the year in
          which Jesus was born.  We can also be absolutely
          certain that AD 33 was the year Christ was
          crucified.  We must, therefore, be quite impressed
          by the fact that there are about the same number
          of paths (sixteen) to the year AD 1988 as there are
          to the birth of Christ in 7 BC (seventeen).  In
          each case these are separate and distinct paths.
               Equally impressive is the fact that there
          are twenty-six paths to the year AD 1994 and
          twenty-six paths to AD 33.  Surely this should
          emphasize very strongly the likelihood of the end
          of the world coming in AD 1994.

     Surely it doesn't.


     What does Camping do when a spiritually significant number results in
multiple instances of the same factor?  For instance, pg 251:

          But when 3960 is broken down to prime and significant
          numbers, many spiritual truths are in evidence.
          Let us look first at 3960 years = 3 * 3 * 2 * 2 * 10 * 11.

     According to Camping, when God doubles a factor, He is _emphasizing_ some
part of His message.  With regard to the above example, Camping explains:

          Three signifies purpose and 3 * 3 further emphasizes
          this purpose.  We could say it is God's _definite_
          purpose that Christ will come as Savior.
          The number 2 * 2 is featured.  Since 2 is the number
          signifying the church or believers and a doubling
          of the number gives it added emphasis, we can
          understand that God has in mind that God is teaching
          that the church very definitely will be brought into
          existence before the end of the world.

     This is a convenient, if ludicrous explanation.  Evidently Camping evolved
it a little more than half-way through his book.  Earlier, on pg 198, Camping
merely ignored multiple instances of the same factor:

          If we apply the same principle, of breaking down
          a larger number to its significant or prime numbers,
          to the 153 fish of John 21:11, we find that:
          153 = 3 * 3 * 17.
               The number 3 signifies purpose whereas the
          number 17 signifies heaven or salvation.  Since
          Jesus told His disciples, "I will make you fishers
          of men" (Matthew 4:19), we can understand that the
          153 large fish caught in the net signify all those
          who will become saved.  That is, it signifies
          that the purpose of God (3) is to bring all those
          caught in the net of the Gospel to heaven or
          to salvation (17).

     A conspicuous exception to Camping's rule of emphasis is the occurrence
of 5 * 5.  In almost every instance, Camping makes use of 5's double entendre:

          9100 = 7 * 13 * 4 * 5 * 5.  These numbers suggest
          that: At the end of the world (13) in a perfect
          way (7) the whole world (4) will either experience
          the judgment of God (5) or the salvation of God (5).

     Page 251 of _Are You Ready?_ gives the most entertaining example of
Camping's rule of emphasis:

          2835 years = 3 * 3 * 3 * 3 * 5 * 7
          It is God's _absolute_ purpose (3 * 3 * 3 * 3)
          that perfect (7) judgment (5) will come upon the
          church at the end of time [Emphasis added].

     The set of composite numbers which can be factored entirely by Camping's
Rosetta Stone of 16 significant numbers is therefore infinite.  Since doubling
(or quadrupling...) a factor emphasizes it, then the figure of 2835 years
mentioned above is symbolically the same as 2835 * 3, which is the same as 2835
* 3 * 3, which is the same as 2835 * 3 * 3 * 3... or 2835 * 7,2835 * 7 * 7,
etc.  Camping's biblical time-line seems to be composed of less than
significant numbers.

     Mr. Camping himself has built the best case against his belief that God
is communicating a very definite, infallible message about the end times
through the use of numbers.


          "for all men are of themselves liars, and more
          vain than vanity itself."
               - Article VII of the Belgic Confession

     When considering any Biblical interpretation, or applying theory, Camping
admonishes us, "These statements come from where?  Are they Biblical teachings?
Can it be demonstrated that they originate in the pages of Holy Writ, or are
they just someone's theory?  If they cannot be shown to be derived from the
Bible, they should be corrected."  According to Camping, theories which jive
with the Holy Writ are said to "harmonize."  In practice, however,
"harmonization" becomes a euphemism for forcing a square peg into around hole.

     Mr. Camping goes to great lengths to "harmonize" his conclusions about the
numerology of the Bible by citing numerous examples, but what evidence does he
have in the first place that God intends us to factor particular numbers in a
certain way?  Camping draws his authority from a single passage - Revelation
21:12-13 - in which "God gives us an illustration of a larger number that is
broken down to two smaller numbers":

          And had a wall great and high, and had twelve
          gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and
          names written thereon, which are the names
          of the twelve tribes of the children of
          Israel: on the east three gates; on the north
          three gates; on the south three gates; and
          on the west three gates.

     With judicious use of imagination, Camping concludes:

          By this example, God is surely teaching us that we
          can discover the spiritual riches of numbers by
          breaking them down into prime and/or significant

     In case you've been snoozing this entire time - and who could blame you? -
it is unlikely there was ever any biblical basis for Harold Camping's method of
prophecy to begin with.

     On page 214, Camping addresses this matter directly, but with the most
delusional logic possible:

          If, however, such a procedure [factoring the elapsed
          time between two dates of Biblical significance]
          cannot be adequately justified by the Bible, it
          will in no way weaken any or all of the paths
          that were set forth in the book _1994?_, which
          demonstrate very clearly the extremely high
          likelihood that these years are certain and
          sure as the end of the world.

     Paraphrase: 'If the Bible doesn't corroborate the idea of using numerology
on time-paths - which are the lynch-pin of my theory of when the world will end
- that doesn't mean that I'm wrong.'  At this point, things aren't harmonizing
well for Mr. Camping.

     Despite what Camping would like so desperately to believe, a theory
purporting to advance biblical prophecy yet having no biblical justification
whatsoever is weak to the point of uselessness.  It is unconscionable of Mr.
Camping to foist this kind of stuff on his readers after having lectured and
remonstrated for three chapters about how

          the Bible alone is the authority under which the
          Gospel stands.  The true Gospel is circumscribed
          by the Bible.  There is no other source of
          divinely articulated or verbalized truth

and "the Bible is its own interpreter," and

          when we deal with the Bible, however, we are
          dealing with absolute truth.  Anything that
          is taught, any doctrine that is held, that
          is not in agreement with [that is, justified by]
          the truth is a lie.


     Harold Camping says it does.  For the moment forget everything you learned
in the preceding sections which were contrary to Mr. Camping's method of
prophecy.  Let's pretend his exhaustive analysis implies this conclusion: God's
time-line, when projected into the future, points to 1994 as the second coming
of Christ.  Might God's time-line point to the second coming occurring during a
year other than 1994?

          We must bear in mind, however, that the fact that
          we have found a spiritual path that brings us
          precisely to AD 1994 is not in itself a proof
          that 1994 will be the end of the world.

     Exactly.  Camping should have ended right there.  He doesn't, of course. 
To reassure the reader of the veracity of his conclusions, Camping puts the
question to the test:

          We can, for example, calculate the elapsed time
          from the birth of Terah to say, the year 2024. 
          This would result in an elapsed time of 4320 years. 
          And 4320 years break down to the very significant
          numbers 3 * 10 * 12 * 12.  ... Actually, there
          is tremendous difference [between the calculation
          based on 1994 as the end of the world, and 2024
          as the end of the world].  The year AD 2024 is
          unrelated to the end of the world. ... Therefore,
          the fact that the elapsed time between Terah's
          birth and 2024 has significant numbers within
          it has no value whatsoever.

     So, 2024 is wrong because...it's wrong.  It has a quality of wrong-ness
about it that's irrefutable.  QED.

     If you believe the second coming will occur during a Jubilee year and you
believe New Testament era years ending in 44 or 94 are Jubilees, then we can
reject 2024.  Might God's time-line point to the second coming occurring during
another _Jubilee year_, for instance, 2044?

     Camping reminds us that many of his time-paths relate directly to the
first or second coming of Christ:

          We must, therefore, be quite impressed
          by the fact that there are about the same number
          of paths (sixteen) to the year AD 1988 as there are
          to the birth of Christ in 7 BC (seventeen).  In
          each case these are separate and distinct paths.
               Equally impressive is the fact that there
          are twenty-six paths to the year AD 1994 and
          twenty-six paths to AD 33.  Surely this should
          emphasize very strongly the likelihood of the end
          of the world coming in AD 1994.

     Having said that, Camping admits that there must be a number of time-paths
which point to years other than AD 1988 and AD 1994.

          The year AD 2044 is being offered as an example
          because the evidence of the Bible points so strongly
          to the return of Christ in a Jubilee year.  It is
          also mentioned because more time paths from these
          forty-nine calendar milestones would go to it than
          to any other year OTHER THAN THE YEARS AD 1988 AND
          AD 1994. ... In fact, any years that can be named
          will always have far fewer paths focused on them
          (even fewer than on AD 2044) than the years AD 1988
          and AD 1994.

     Camping is conspicuously wrong there, and offers no proof of that because
there is no proof to offer.

          Must we, therefore, consider the year AD 2044 as an
          alternative possibility for the end of the world
          and the return of Christ?  THE ANSWER MUST BE A
          RESOUNDING NO!

     Camping is wrong.  With a little "harmonization", a Camping-esque analysis
of AD 2044 can evidence even more compelling results than the analysis of 1994,
especially if we resort to the tricks he does.

     If God has "doubled the possibility of significant time paths by allowing
or guiding the designer of the Julian calendar to leave out the year 0", can
the Year 0 rule also be applied to Camping's Jubilee calculations?  If so,
Camping's entire thesis is in trouble.  If not, why not?

     Harold Camping's apocalyptic ramblings are not biblical revelation;
they're a testimony to the power of self-delusion and the appeal of impending


     Harold Camping is no more a biblical scholar than any of us.  He claims
to have worked for hours and hours on these revelations - and we have no doubt,
for his claims are as intricate as they are fantastic.  The question that
continually occurs to us is: why would anyone stake their reputation on
something so non-sensical?  The only conclusion we can come to is also the most
frightening: Harold Camping must believe everything he is investing time and
money into publishing and broadcasting.  If this is the case, what else is he
inadvertently misleading his listeners about?

     Perhaps his errors are understandable; in his zeal to get at the mystery
of the Bible, he has read into the Bible whatever he has most hoped to confirm.
But if the Bible is truly the Word of God, then no proofs (in the way of
numerologically-derived embellishments) are necessary, or even possible.  The
Bible's authority and message must be accepted on faith and biblical testimony
or not at all.  And if the Bible is a living document, intended by God even to
speak to today's era, then God has made his message plain in the Bible and
probably not cryptically hidden it.  If you accept these things, need you look
any further than the Bible?  Is it necessary to know when the end of the world
will come?  If you believe all these things, and consider yourself saved, and
conduct yourself as a righteous person, why should you be concerned when the
world will end?

     By Harold Camping's example, we have already prophesied with great
certainty who the next President of the United States will be.  We close by
making two more predictions:

     When September has come and gone, (1) sales of Harold Camping's books
     will decline sharply as well as his radio listenership and (2) Harold
     Camping will revise his date for the end of the world - first issuing a
     second date in 1994 and then possibly a third date somewhere around the
     year 2000.

     We invite you to call in to Harold Camping's Open Forum program on
Family Radio toll free at 1.800.322.5385 and pose these serious questions
tohim yourself.  Or write to him at

                         FAMILY RADIO
                         OAKLAND, CA  94621


     Due to size constraints, the footnote section has been pared down to a
single entry.  All books mentioned in this article are copyright their
respective authors.

(1)  I Kings 7:23 incorrectly implies that the ratio between the circumference
of a circle and its diameter (pi) is 3.

          I Kings 7:23 (KJV):
          And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one
          brim to the other: it was round all about, and his
          height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits
          did compass it round about.

     The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible notes that technically,
the circumference should be 31.416 (rounded to three decimal places) and
suggests that 30 is either a round number or a measurement taken a little below
the rim or along the inside circumference.  II Chronicles 2:4 repeats the same
passage and again implies the ratio of circumference to diameter is 3.

     The ancients were not ignorant of fractions, and certainly could have
managed to multiply 22/7 (the ratio which the Greeks arrived at, correct to two
decimal places) and the ten cubit diameter - if the Lord had given them the
number 22/7.  Regardless, I Kings 7:23 presents a problem for Biblical
literalists - albeit one that's excusable - and for Camping's argument that
where God uses numbers, He does so with explicit accuracy.

     Petr Beckmann's _The History of Pi_ notes:

          The Book of Kings was edited by the ancient Jews
          as a religious work around 550 BC, but its sources
          date back several centuries.  At that time, pi
          was already known to a considerably better accuracy,
          but evidently not to the editors of the Bible.  The
          Jewish Talmud, which is essentially a commentary on
          the Old Testament, was published around 500 AD.  Even
          at this late date it also states "that which in
          circumference is three hands broad is one hand broad."

     Aside from being a prophet and Rabbi, Nehemiah (who lived in the second
century AD) was also a mathematician and the author of the Mishnat ha-Middot,
the earliest Hebrew geometry known to us.  In reference to the puzzling
implication of pi = 3 in the books of Kings and Chronicles, Nehemiah wrote:

          The circle has three aspects: the circumference,
          the thread and the roof.  Which is the
          circumference?  That is the rope surrounding the
          circle; for it is written: _And a rope of thirty
          cubits did encompass it round about_.  And the
          thread?  That is the straight line from brim to
          brim; for it is written: _From brim to brim_.
          And the roof itself is the area. ... And if you
          want to know the circumference all around, multiply
          the thread into three and one seventh...

     Three and one seventh is the Archimedian value of pi.  How does Nehemiah
explain the aberration in I Kings 7:23?

          Now it is written: _And he made the molten sea of
          ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass_,
          and yet its circumference is thirty cubits, for
          it is written: _And a line of thirty cubits did
          compass it round about_.

     What is the meaning of the verse _And a line of thirty cubits_ and so
forth?  Nehemiah says:

          Since the people of the world say that the circumference
          of a circle contains three times and one seventh of the
          thread, take off that one seventh for the thickness of the
          walls of the sea on the two brims, then there remain
          _thirty cubits did compass it round about_.

     Petr Beckmann comments:

          Hats off to the crafty old fox!  The "people of
          the world" say pi = 3 1/7, but the scriptures say
          pi = 3; so you measure the _inner_ circumference
          of the walls, whereas the diameter is measured from
          the _outer_ rim to _outer_ rim; and the thickness
          of the walls, you blockheads, makes up exactly
          for that secular one seventh!  Certainly the Rabbi
          had more wits than the dogmatic commentators of
          the Bible in Germany in the 18th century; crudely
          ignoring the description "round in compass," they
          claimed that the molten sea must have been hexagonal.
               Nevertheless, the dear Rabbi swindled quite
          brazenly, for the width of the molten sea walls is
          given three verses further on (I Kings vii, 26):
          "And it was an hand breadth thick, and the brim
          thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, with
          flowers of lillies; it contained two thousand


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