Every tin-pot prophet who would predict the End of Days comes up against what would seem to be a highly problematic text:
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.“
Jesus — the Big Banana, Jr. himself — makes this statement about the coming of the Kingdom in identical language in Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32. (Such verbal identity, by the way, is used as evidence that Matthew had Mark in front of him when he wrote his Gospel.)
Since it comes from Jesus, Christian fortune-tellers who would like to predict the “day or hour” of the coming Kingdom need to explain it away.
And they do. But how?
Edgar Whisenant, author of the infamous bestseller “88 Reasons the Rapture Will Occur in 1988,” dealt with it directly. In fact, rebutting Jesus’ statement makes up Reasons #1 and #2.
Reason #1: There are 24 time zones on our planet and always “two days existing on the earth at the same time,” Whisenant points out. So any singular Rapture event will happen at 24 different times on two different days at once. But “the faithful,” he says, can know “the year, the month and the week of the Lord’s return.” Ah, of course. Jesus lets us know the week!
Reason #2: Quoting a Joe Civelli of Pensacola, Florida, Whisenant focuses on micro-parsing the Greek word “know,” which he and Joe claim has two different meanings. They convince themselves (if not us) that the passages use the word (“oida“) in such a way that “no one knows” actually means “no one knows easily but if you try hard you can know.” Thus is black, precisely understood, actually white.
Camping takes the original position that, in fact, it was impossible for Christians to know the “day or hour” until the late 20th century. In Acts 1:8, Luke has Jesus say that “the Holy Ghost is coming upon you.” Camping takes this to mean that gradually, as the Kingdom nears, its dates emerge — but only to Camping and his followers.
His theology is complicated but essentially privileges his own sect. In fact, Camping believes the Church Age ended in 1988 and God stopped saving people. This fact is why he enrages so many other Evangelicals, whom he believes to be damned. (It does, however, confirm my theory that Millennials are Satanic.)
Sounding like any good 2nd century Gnostic or member of a Greco-Roman mystery cult, Camping concludes:
“It is the true believers who know the time (the hour) and much about Judgment Day (the day).” [!!!]