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Harold Camping and the End Times: Fraudulent Math, Faulty Numerology and False Dates

# Harold Camping and the End Times: Fraudulent Math, Faulty Numerology and False Dates

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A brief look at the claims of Christian radio broadcaster and End Times proponent Harold Camping's newest claim about a May 21, 2011 rapture.
A brief look at the claims of Christian radio broadcaster and End Times proponent Harold Camping's newest claim about a May 21, 2011 rapture.

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04/07/2011

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Harold Camping and the End Times: Fraudulent Math, Faulty Numerology and False Dates
Kenneth M. Montville DD
Harold Camping is at it again, yes the man who gave us the false prediction that the rapturewould come in September of 1994 has made the claim that it will be on May 21, 2011 that the rapturewill occur and later this year the final judgement will begin. His argument, based on dates, numerologyand a loose mathematical equation goes something like this:1. The number five equals
atonement
, the number ten equals
completeness
, and thenumber seventeen equals
heaven
.2. Christ is said to have hung on the cross on April 1, 33 AD. The time between April 1, 33 ADand April 1, 2011 is 1,978 years.3. If 1,978 is multiplied by 365.2422 days (the number of days in a solar year, not to be confusedwith the lunar year), the result is 722,449.4. The time between April 1 and May 21st is 51 days.5. 51 added to 722,449 is 722,500.6. (5 x 10 x 17)2 or (atonement x completeness x heaven)
2
also equals 722,500.Thus, Camping concludes that 5 x 10 x 17 is telling us a
story from the time Christ made payment forour sins until we
re completely saved.The problem is that this math is incorrect. Even if Camping got the year for the crucifixioncorrect, his day for the event is off by 3 days. It would have been Saturday, April 4, 33, the date forPassover in 33 CE. I assume for this year he is using the Gospel of John for three reasons. First, it isgenerally agreed that Jesus began to minister at age 30
a point made in Luke and disagreed withnowhere else, but in the Synoptic texts his ministry is only one year long, and he would have thereforebeen crucified at age 31, in John it is three
something that can be discovered by counting the Passovermeals Jesus attends,
1
hence 33. Next, The Gospels of Matthew and Luke give near dates for the birth of Jesus, from which we can calculate approximately what year the crucifixion took place, no suchaccount is given in either John or Mark; however, Mark is directly related literarily to Matthew andLuke so one can assume that any date derived from Mark would be nearer to them than John. Finally,Camping is assuming that Jesus was crucified on Passover, an event that only occurs in the Gospel of John, in the Synoptic texts, Jesus is crucified the day after Passover (the last supper was the Passovermeal in Matt, Mark and Luke).
2
If Camping is correct then the Rapture would be on May 24, 2011; here iswhy I disagree. He has the year wrong. In order for Jesus to have been crucified on a Friday that wasalso Passover it would have had to be April 15, 40 CE. Passover occurs on a Friday not once in the wholeof the decade from 30
39 CE. Next, Camping is totally rounding his numbers. This might not make ahuge difference, but when calculating the end times it might be nice to use the actual length of a Solaryear which is 365.24219 days. Camping claims that his knack with numbers comes from his engineering
1
John 6:4; 11:55; 19:14
2
Luke 22:1-15; Mark 14:1-16; Matthew 26:17-19

background, but in my engineering experience we never rounded to 5 places out, even
π
was taken to10 places before being rounded. All things taken for granted, by his numbers the apocalypse would notbegin until June 3, 2018. However, the Gospel of John never makes a claim as to when Jesus was bornwhich makes it hard to tell when he died. In the Gospel of Matthew it says that Jesus was born duringthe reign of Herod the Great.
3
Now we know from surviving documents that Herod died in 4 BCE,meaning Jesus was born before this date. For the sake of argument let
s say that he was born in 5 BCE. If the Synoptic texts agree on the age of Jesus as being about 30 when he begins to minister then the yearwould be 26 CE. If his ministry lasted one year then he would have been crucified in 27 CE. As Matthewlays out that Jesus was crucified on the day after Passover, it would have been Friday, April 11, 27 CE
our math apparently works for a Good Friday event. This means that by Camping
s math, the Rapturewould have taken place on June 3, 2005. That obviously didn
t happen.What does Luke have to say about it? Luke claims that Jesus was born when Quirinius wasGovernor of Syria.
4
This has a date of 6 CE. Now it says that Jesus started his ministry when he wasabout 30, not precisely, but we know that it was the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Augustus.
5
Tiberius took the throne on September 18, 14 CE. The 15th year would have been 29 CE, making thecrucifixion, after a 1 year ministry, Friday April 7, 30 CE
again, a Good Friday event, the math works.However, this means that the rapture would have occurred on May 28, 2008. That also, obviously didn
thappen.It isn
t just Camping
s math that is off, so is his numerology. If the man can barely do basiccalendar research to find a date where Passover landed on a Friday (hence Good Friday), how can weexpect the proper complex mathematics that he has based on numerology. First we must figure outwhat language he is using for his numerology, he might not be using Hebrew as his source language butlet
s start here because there is a rich tradition of numerology within Judaism. In Exodus 29:33 theHebrew word for atonement is
פ

כ

ר

(
Kaphar
) which has a numerical value of 600, 6+0+0 = 6. What aboutCompleteness? Well it appears as
הל

(
Kalah
) in Genesis 2:1 and has a numerical value of 55, 5+5 = 10 (1).Heaven is
שמשםִי
(
Shamayim
) in Genesis 1:8, this word has a numerical value of 950. 9+5+0= 14 (5). Thisdoesn
t make sense, perhaps Camping is using an unusual system which counts Hebrew vowels, whileunorthodox the practice does exist. This would make
Shamayim
equal 474, 4+7+4= 15 (6), sticking withthe two digit end number it is still 2 shy of Camping
s prediction. Counting vowels wouldn
t helpCamping
s calculation of
Kaphar
which would then be worth 627, 6+2+7 = 15 (6).Perhaps he is using Greek numerology. Greek was the language of the New Testament andChristian apologists for ages have used Greek numerology to find so called hidden meaning within thetexts so it would make sense to use this system. In Greek Heaven is
οὐρανόν
, Atonement is
τελειῶσαι
and Completeness is
συνετελέσθησαν
. This means that Heaven is worth 731, 7+3+1 = 11 (2), six off of what Camping claims it to be. Completeness would be 1463, 1+4+6+3 = 14 (5). That
s not correct either.Finally, Atonement is worth 1361, 1+3+6+1 = 11 (2). Still not right. Even using English for his numerology,which would be both sloppy as well as horribly stupid, Completeness equals 11 (2), Atonement equals 8,
3
Matthew 2:1
4
Luke 2:2
5
Luke 3:1

and Heaven equals 10 (1). It looks like Camping more so made up the numbers than did any actualnumerology. Aside from pointing out fraudulent claims, the point here is that this would alter his mathdrastically depending on which source language he uses to calculate values, let alone the fact thatdecimal places would make it nearly impossible to calculate correctly.For example, if he uses Hebrew (without vowels) it would look like this:For Matthew being correct:1. The number six equals atonement, the number ten equals completeness, and the numberfifteen equals heaven.2. Christ is said to have hung on the cross on April 11, 27 CE. The time between April 11, 27 CEand April 11, 2244 is 2,217 years.3. If 2,217 is multiplied by 365.24219 days, the result is 809,742.9323.4. The time between April 11 and December 24 is 257 days.5. 257 added to 809,742 is 810,000.6. (6 x 10 x 15)2 or (atonement x completeness x heaven)
2
also equals 810,000.7. Therefore the Rapture will take place on December 24, 2244.For Luke being correct:1. The number six equals atonement, the number ten equals completeness, and the numberfifteen equals heaven.2. Christ is said to have hung on the cross on April 7, 30 CE. The time between April 7, 30 CE andApril 7, 2247 is 2,217 years.3. If 2,217 is multiplied by 365.24219 days, the result is 809,742.9323.4. The time between April 7 and December 21 is 257 days.5. 257 added to 809,742 is 810,000.6. (6 x 10 x 15)2 or (atonement x completeness x heaven)
2
also equals 810,000.7. Therefore the Rapture will take place on December 21, 2247.If he uses Greek as the source of his numerology it would look like this: If Matthew is Correct:1. The number eleven equals atonement, the number fourteen equals completeness, and thenumber eleven equals heaven.2. Christ is said to have hung on the cross on April 11, 27 CE. The time between April 11, 27 CEand April 1, 7883 is 7,856 years.3. If 7,856 is multiplied by 365.24219 days, the result is 2,869,342.64464.4. The time between April 11 and January 30 is 294 days.5. 294 added to 2,869,342 is 2,869,636.6. (11 x 14 x 11)2 or (atonement x completeness x heaven)
2
also equals 2,869,636.7. Therefore the Rapture will take place on January 30, 7884.Simply be give or take a few years for Luke being correct, either way; no one living now needs to worryabout either prediction as we
re still about 5.8 thousand years out.What about English as his numerology source?