Time Has An End

by Harold Camping
Family Stations Inc.


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This book is a study of the Bible that is concerned with the entire history of the world. We will learn from the Bible that God has pre-determined and pre-arranged and pre-planned in exquisite detail the entire program for this world including its salvation. We will understand that whenever anything happens, it has been precisely pre-planned by God. God is the Creator of time, and therefore, He is the Ruler of time (Colossians 1:16-17).

We will discover that the timeline of history is not governed by the rise and fall of civilizations or social structures, or anything else that mankind may consider of great value or importance. Rather, it is governed by the unfolding of God’s pre-planned salvation program. It was planned and initiated in eternity past, unfolds in time, and will continue into eternity future (Romans 11:36; Ephesians 1:10). Between these two eternities are the approximately 13,000 years of the existence of this universe which, of course, includes our planet Earth.

Our purpose in this Bible study is to examine this timeline of God’s preplanned salvation program. This, of course, means that we will identify dates which may relate to the timing of the end of the world. Our conclusions, even those which relate to the future, will not be formed capriciously or for the purpose of gaining undue attention. As we discover important milestones along the timeline of history, we will see their strategic relationships to what the Bible discloses about future time events.

The Bible is a Book that is absolutely true and trustworthy. It is the centerpiece, the keystone of this study. There are many principles that should be kept in mind as we study the Bible, two of which are very important as we attempt to set forth the history of the world according to the true data set forth in the Bible.

Correction by the Bible

The first principle is that the Bible is the teacher and corrects the student of the Bible. The Bible declares in 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.

As we study the Bible, our conclusions are always subject to being corrected by the Bible. As a captain keeps a great ship on course by making  

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very small adjustments in the ship’s forward progress toward its destination, so the Bible keeps the student on course to truth by making correction in the student’s thinking and doctrine whenever necessary. The Bible is the authority. It is the final word (Matthew 24:35; John 6:68). Without it, or if the student goes contrary to it, the student will most certainly stray off course (Psalm 119:105).

The necessity for these corrections is a result of the fact that however carefully we have studied a particular subject in the Bible, there is a second principle that also must be kept in mind. That is the principle which we can call “progressive revelation.”

Progressive Revelation

What is progressive revelation? We should spend a moment examining this question. The Bible is the complete revelation of God’s Word to the human race. We are not to add to it. We are not to take away from it (Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18-19). It alone and in its entirety is the Word of God.

However, determining when any individual might receive truth from the Bible is another matter altogether. Before anything else, we must affirm that God alone gives understanding of His truth (Job 32:7-9; 38:36; Proverbs 16:1; Romans 8:28-29; Philippians 2:13). Then, in addition, we find demonstrated time and again in the Bible that God governs when that understanding will be given (Proverbs 21:1; Daniel 2:20-23; Luke 24:45; II Timothy 2:7; I John 5:20). There is a timetable known only to God as to when He plans to reveal, to whom He wishes, truth from the Bible. And that timetable reflects precisely each and every point in time when He knows the revealing of that truth is necessary in order to bring together all the intricacies of the unfolding of His salvation plan (Ephesians 1:9-12; 3:1-5).

God’s schedule for revealing truth works perfectly in conjunction with His control of the affairs of men (Psalm 31:15). There are no conflicts; no emergency adjustments. Nothing happens incidentally or coincidentally. Nothing happens accidentally. God’s timetable is always in play when anyone becomes aware of any of His truth. We will cite a few examples from the Bible. Jesus clearly told His disciples that the time would come when He would be killed and, after three days, He would rise again. Mark 8:31 declares:

And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Even though this is a plain, clear statement, it was not understood at all by the  

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disciples (Mark 9:31-32). It was only after Christ’s resurrection, as the disciples were reminded by the two men in shining garments, who stood outside the empty sepulcher, that they understood. Luke 24:6-8 informs us:

He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words.

This verse indicates that God had given them the revelation that Christ was to be killed and was to rise again, but it was not a revelation that became a part of their understanding until Christ had risen.

Likewise, we read in Ephesians 3:3-5:

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.

God is indicating that what had been a mystery was now made known to the Apostle Paul, “that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Ephesians 3, verse 6). However, this truth had been written about repeatedly in the Bible. For example, Abram’s name was changed to Abraham because he would be the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5-7). Another example is when Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 28:19:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

The truth that those whom God would save would include people from all nations of the world is taught in many places in the Bible. But while this truth was included in the Bible, which is God’s revelation to mankind, only when Saul of Tarsus had become saved was this wonderful principle fully revealed.

Thus, we can know that, in the Bible, many truths are declared. But God may not reveal to students of the Bible an understanding of those truths until long after the students’ first exposure to them. We can call this progressive revelation. That is, God has His own timetable for giving an understanding of those truths.  

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End Times

The principle of progressive revelation is especially emphasized in Daniel 12:8-9:

And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

In God’s revelation, which is the Bible, God has a great many things to say about the end of the world and the details that lead up to the end of the world. But God has a timetable for the giving of understanding of these truths. We learn from these verses in Daniel Chapter 12 that this is definitely true of the details of God’s plans for the end of the world. The true meaning of these end-time statements is not to be revealed until the time of the end. This is why many devout, God-fearing theologians of the past have endeavored to explain the meaning of Biblical end-time passages, but they have not even come close to the truth. This was not because of a lack of trust in the Bible. It simply was not the time that God had set up to reveal the meaning of these end-time passages.

Thus, we can expect that in our day, when the Biblical signs are showing that we must be close to the end of time (see, for example, Matthew Chapter 24; Romans Chapter 1; II Timothy Chapter 3), God is now revealing the meaning of a great many Biblical passages that deal with end-time truth to the minds of careful, diligent students of the Bible. The very fact that we can find great harmony in our understanding of Biblical passages that heretofore have been very obscure, greatly encourages us that we have correctly understood this principle of progressive revelation. We can expect, therefore, that many passages of the Bible, which in earlier times have been somewhat mysterious, must now be re-examined. And we can expect that they can now be understood.

This also means that regardless of the time when we believe we have come to truth, we should still continue to study the question at issue because we may need further correction. If we have come to truth in regard to any teaching of the Bible, we will discover that continued study of the Bible will repeatedly affirm that truth. At the same time, as we continue to study the Bible, should we find other teaching that contradicts or corrects what we had assumed to be true, we will know we earlier had not come to truth.

II Timothy 3:16 Applied

About thirteen years ago, I wrote the book entitled 1994?. In it, I set forth a great amount of information derived solely from the Bible that suggested  

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very strongly that there was a high likelihood that the world would come to an end sometime in the year A.D. 1994. Of course, the world did not end, and now, eleven years later, the world is still here.

However, during the past eleven years, God has been opening up to many who are studying the Bible considerable additional information which relates to the unfolding of God’s salvation plan. When this additional information was integrated into the information which was set forth in the book 1994?, we knew that indeed the year 1994 was an extremely important year. Moreover, we will discover that now, as we understand the Bible, it was the year 1994 in which Christ came a second time to begin the completion of the evangelization of His true people. We also have found considerable evidence that there is a high likelihood that the year 2011 will be the year in which the end will come. Nothing has changed in God’s program. The Bible has simply made correction on our course toward truth!

We do know with absolute certainty that there will come a time when this world will come to its end (I Corinthians 15:24). We also know that any reliable advance knowledge of such a dramatic event can only come from the Bible (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).

We also know that about 7,000 years ago, in the year 4990 B.C., God destroyed the entire world by means of the Noachian Flood (See Chapter 5 of this book). It also appears that 120 years before the time of the Flood, God gave the inhabitants of that world the knowledge of the year when the Flood would occur (Genesis 6:3). Moreover, seven days before the Flood, God made clear the exact day when the Flood would begin (Genesis 7:4). We also know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). That is, the way God acted in the past tells us the way He will act in the present and in the future. Therefore, if He gave Noah such precise information concerning the timing of the Flood, we have every reason to believe that God has placed in the Bible similar information concerning the timing of the end of the world. Thus, we are greatly encouraged as we diligently search the Bible for anything and everything God might reveal to us.

It goes without saying that it is very hazardous to focus upon future dates about any matter, and certainly it would appear completely unwise in regard to the end of time. We immediately see the enormous risk of such an action. Throughout history, men have set dates and in every case, without exception, they were wrong in their prediction. Therefore, it would appear that anyone who dares to set any kind of a date for the end of time is virtually guaranteed to be wrong.

Moreover, if the Bible teacher who dares to suggest a date is trusted by many, there may be confusion or hurt and disappointment in the lives of many of  

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these trusting individuals. Having said this, let us look for a moment at the responsibility of a Bible teacher.

How Should One Teach the Bible?

If he is a true child of God, the Bible teacher will attempt to teach as accurately as possible. He will teach all that he, himself, has learned from the Bible. He will readily admit, of course, that he is not infallible in his teaching. As we have already pointed out, the purpose of the Bible is not only to bring an understanding of truth, but also to provide correction of that which has been wrongly understood. This does not mean, however, that the Bible teacher should be the least bit careless in his attempt to teach truth. He must be supremely careful and responsible as he teaches what he believes to be the truth of the Bible (James 3:1).

Ordinarily, if a very responsible teacher teaches a doctrine as Bible truth, but later he is corrected by further study of the Bible, it is not looked upon by others as a dreadfully serious matter. Fact is, there will be those who will sincerely appreciate the honesty of the teacher as he makes correction to his wrong doctrine.

However, when it comes to suggesting any kind of date for the end of time, many will vehemently oppose his efforts. These people might be included in one of three groups.

The first group could be those who are unalterably convinced that the Bible prohibits making any statements that suggest the timing of the end. Their objections will hopefully be answered in this study. The second group would include those who believe fully that their Bible teacher does teach truth but who will selfishly use the end of time information for their own personal gain. For example, they may seek to purchase an automobile or some other object that they cannot possibly afford to buy. But if they can “buy now and pay later,” they believe they can have the automobile now and never have to pay later because the end of the world will come first. But later on, if the teacher makes correction based on Biblical truth concerning future time, this group will find themselves trapped by their very wrongful ventures. (Those who engage in this kind of thinking and action deserve to be trapped because they have no idea of the nature and purpose of Bible truths.)

A third group will use the Bible teacher’s error to discredit everything else he teaches. These people admit that the Bible teacher is ordinarily very accurate in his Bible teaching, but should his suggested end-time date prove to be wrong, they will seize upon the opportunity to call into question many other things he is teaching. Thus, these individuals will be given a convenient alibi to justify their unbelief of Biblical truth.  

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For these reasons, as well as possibly others, it certainly appears totally unwise for any credible Bible teacher to suggest any kind of end-time date.

But the Bible teacher must guard his relationship with God. He knows he must be obedient and speak the truth of God’s Word. When he believes, after very careful study and prayer, that he understands any Biblical doctrine, he must teach that doctrine (Jeremiah 1:7-10,17; 20:9; Acts 20:26-27; Ephesians 4:14-15; II Timothy 2:2; 4:1-4). He must never be concerned about protecting himself from slander and reviling as he endeavors to be faithful to God’s Word (I Corinthians 4:1-4; I Peter 2:21-23). His first and only task is to please God, not to please men (II Corinthians 5:9; Galatians 1:10).

Moreover, when the Bible teacher knows that we are living in a time when God is increasingly giving more enlightenment to serious Bible students (as we noted earlier, we can call this progressive revelation), the teacher knows also that trying to understand where our world is in God’s timeline should be an even greater exercise than before — a matter to be taken more seriously today than at any other time in history (Revelation 22:6-7). God warns in Ezekiel Chapter 33 that when the watchman sees the enemy coming, but does not sound the alarm, the watchman will be under the wrath of God (Ezekiel 33: 6-8).

With regard to the idea that, in the past, no date setter has ever been correct, there is another side to this coin. We know that God’s salvation program in time is real and ongoing (Acts 15:14-18). But also we know absolutely that there will be an end of time; the Bible says so (Revelation 10:5-6). And we know that there is a great deal of general evidence that the time of the end has drawn very close. Jesus tells us we must discern the times (Luke 12:35-57). And wonderfully, we affirm that a likely date for the end of time can be known — a date not set arbitrarily, but a date identified from and based upon all the information that the Bible gives us concerning the unfolding of God’s grand salvation plan! (Matthew 24:39; I Thessalonians 5:4)!

For several years now, we at Family Radio have been teaching that God has already come to bring judgment upon the local congregations, that is, He is already preparing them for the trial of Judgment Day. We, therefore, have been teaching that God has abandoned each and every local congregation so that the true believers in Christ, if they have not already been driven out, are commanded to come out. We, for several years, have been teaching that we are in the time of the latter rain during which God is bringing in the final harvest of those who are to be saved. This is the time when the Gospel is no longer under the care of the local congregations but is being sent into the world by individuals who are not under any church authority but who are definitely under the authority of the Bible.  

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For several years, we at Family Radio have been teaching that we are already in this second part of the Great Tribulation (the latter rain) and, therefore, the end of the world can be only a relatively few years in the future (see The End of the Church Age and After and Wheat and Tares available free of charge from Family Radio). In this study of the history of the world, we are simply adding to all that we have already been teaching concerning the probable year for the end of the world.

But, someone can argue, “Is it not enough to repeatedly insist that Judgment Day is coming?” The answer is: If we are told when the enemy will be here, the warning will be far more insistent. It should be obvious that the cancer patient will react quite differently if his trusted, competent doctor tells him, “Your cancer is terminal; you have six months to live,” than if his doctor tells him, “You have cancer and someday, you will die of that cancer.” The giving of a timetable should clearly enhance the seriousness of the warning! In any case, we must remember that a faithful Bible teacher cannot pick and choose what he wishes to teach. He must teach everything he learns from the Bible (Acts 20:26-27). If he truly believes God has given a timeline to the end, then he must teach what he understands from the Bible concerning that timeline. True, he may delay teaching certain doctrines because he believes he is not properly prepared to teach them. It is always foolish for the teacher to teach something before he clearly understands it. But once that understanding is fully in his grasp, the Bible teacher must proclaim what the Bible has shown him is God’s message. The teacher is compelled to speak because he knows it is not his own word, but God’s Word that He is declaring (Jeremiah 1:9; 20:9)!

Why God Would Give Us End-Time Dates

But questions still linger in our minds. Why would God give us end-time dates? Why should we be concerned with knowing the possible year of the end of the world?

As we have already indicated, God’s true people must publish to the world anything they can learn from the Bible about any subject. The true believer has no option. His role in the world is to teach all nations (Matthew 28:20) and what he teaches must be the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:26-27). Moreover, as we learned earlier, it is the duty of the true believer to warn the citizenry when danger is threatening (Ezekiel 33:1-10).

But consider the situation of those who are threatened by a very great hurricane or typhoon. People want to know, “Where will it make landfall?” That is, what is its path over the ocean, and where will it begin and continue its devastation on land?  

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Then people want to know “How strong is the hurricane? How much damage will it do?” And the people in the path of the hurricane desperately want to know, “When will it make landfall? How fast is it moving down its destructive path?”

Why are people in the potential path of this hurricane asking these questions? The answer is obvious. They want to know how severely this approaching hurricane will affect their life and property. Furthermore, they want to know how much time they have to prepare before its destruction begins. Likewise, people who are not ready for the return of Christ and the Judgment that will immediately follow must know the seriousness and the severity of the approaching end of time (Matthew 24:42-46).

Jonah Gives an Exact Time for Destruction to Happen

Significantly, when Jonah was sent by God to Nineveh to warn of impending judgment on that great city, he not only published that the terrible judgment was coming, but he also gave a precise time when that judgment would fall. We read in the Bible in Jonah 3:1-4:

And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

In the experience of Jonah at Nineveh, we see the wonderful mercy of God in saving a great multitude of people. We see the results of this salvation in how they responded to the warning in a God-pleasing way. Thus, the impending catastrophe was avoided. We read in Jonah 3:5-10:

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: but let
 

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man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Time Has An End

In parallel fashion, God is warning the world that, in all likelihood, in the year 2011, the whole world will be destroyed. Sadly today, there is no evidence that the leaders and the people of our world are responding to this warning as the King of Nineveh did to Jonah’s warning. However, there is surely the possibility for individuals all over the world to escape this awful destruction. All those who become saved will indeed be protected from this destruction. They are the individuals who are spoken of in Revelation 7:9-14 who are saved during this time of Great Tribulation during which God has already begun the judgment process (Jeremiah 25:26-29; I Peter 4:17). This explains why God has given so much calendar information in the Bible. As we carefully go down the timeline of history, we will see definite structure and harmony in the important historical events recorded in the Bible as they relate to each other. Thus, as we project them, based only on Biblical information, to the end of time, we will conceivably come to the year that possibly may very well be the last year of the history of the world.

We might recall that in Noah’s day, the people of his world were given warning of the year of the Flood. But they remained in complete denial and perished in the Flood. We have just noted that ancient Nineveh was given the precise day that total destruction would come upon them. They repented and pleaded for God’s mercy. God did not bring destruction upon Nineveh, but He did bring horrific destruction upon the world of Noah’s day.

Now, as we have already noted, the warning that the end of the world is almost here is making very, very little impact upon the peoples of the world. We would be very naive to believe that the whole world of today would react to the news that God is almost ready to bring the world to an end!

Would today’s world cry to God for mercy? Well, the Bible informs us in Matthew 24:37-39:

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they
 

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were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

On the other hand, God also tells us in Revelation 7:9-14 that a great multitude will become saved during these closing years before the end of time. Even as the Ninevites reacted to the preaching of Jonah, and cried to God for mercy, so there will be this remnant in our world today who in total are the great multitude who will react to the terrifying news that, in a few years, the end will come. May it be that a great many people will cry to God for His mercy as they become aware that the end of time has almost arrived!

It is our earnest, fervent prayer, as you become involved in the undertaking that is now before us, that you not become so bogged down or so engrossed in academic detail that you miss the urgent, demanding message which constantly transcends the whole: YOU AND I MUST BE SAVED! We cannot escape the ultimate terror — the destruction and judgment that will fall when Christ returns at the end of time — unless God gives us His mercy and salvation. Oh, how wonderful is His mercy and salvation which He repeatedly reveals in the Bible (Acts 4:10-12; 17:30-31)! (Please see Chapter 13 of this present writing, “What Must I Do to Become Saved?”). God says in Acts 4:10- 12:

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

And God says in Acts 17:30-31:

. . . God . . . now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Having said all of the above, the end-time dates presented in this study 

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are not being offered as absolute fact. They are being offered based upon our present knowledge of Biblical truth. Continued study of the Bible may result in correction being made at some future time if any errors have been made. We must never forget that the Bible is given not only to teach us doctrine but also to make correction in whatever doctrine we hold. Wherever we have correctly understood the Bible, however, the resulting date absolutely will be correct.

How then should we live in the face of a possible known date for the end? At Family Radio, on the one hand, we make decisions as if the end could be quite far away. For example, contracts are negotiated as if the future was altogether indefinite. We are the first ones to understand that we are not infallible in our conclusions, and that there may be correction at some time in the future. Yet, on the other hand, we fully realize the high likelihood that the dates set forth in this study are correct. Fact is, as we continue to study these matters, our conclusions are confirmed again and again. We find more and more evidence of the likelihood that 2011 could well be the end-time year. Thus, we are greatly stimulated to send forth the Gospel so that as many people as possible can hear the Gospel in the shortest possible time.

If this world is still in existence after the end of 2011, we will know that there is still much more we can learn from the Bible. Before that time, or at that time, we surely will receive correction from the Bible concerning any conclusions which prove to be in error.


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