|Camping's followers live on|
I have written a newspaper column on why those who believe the world will end on October 7 do not
understand their Bibles.Because of space constraints in the newspaper, I would like to add a further explanation for why using 1,600 days is arbitrary. One must read the newspaper column first to understand my explanation here.
According to an essay by Chris McCann, a promoter of this end date, he can substitute a measure of time for a meaure of physical dimension in Revelation 14:20 because of what is said in Psalm 39:4-5 (King James Version). Note his reasoning:
“If their blood is flowing out of the winepress for the space of '1,600 furlongs,' we wonder if it is possible that God is indicating that the life of the wicked will go on for a period of time of 1,600 days. Is that possible? Can we understand 'furlongs' to represent ‘days’? So we take that question to the Bible, like we took all the other questions and we search the Bible to see if we can make that kind of spiritual substitution. When God is speaking of a 'space' of furlongs, can we understand it as 'days'? There are actually several verses that provide Biblical justification for making that kind of substitution. For instance, it says in Psalm 39:4-5:
JEHOVAH, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.”
However, making such a "spiritual" analogy between Psalm 39:4-5 and Revelation 14:20 only highlights how poorly and arbitrarily McCann chooses which numbers to use.
First, the biblical author is speaking of HIS days (“my days”), and not those of anything else in Psalm 39:4-5.
Second, McCann fails to tell us why he chose the number of Revelation 14:20 to signify the number of days after May 21, 2011, when there are many other numbers in Revelation that one could choose (e.g., 5 months of torture in Revelation 9:5).
Third, McCann fails to understand the nature of Hebrew poetic parallelism, wherein a line can simply restate or go beyond a previous line. In this case, “nothing before me” seems to be a further description of a “handbreath.”
That is to say, a “handbreath” seems to be a further description for a small or even zero amount (“as nothing before me”).
If so, one can just as well argue that there will be a ZERO amount of days (not 1,600 days) between May 21, 2011 and the end of the world.
One should not let these apocalyptic interpreters forget that it is atheists who have been 100% correct in predicting that those end dates will fail, while it is believers who have been 100% incorrect. In other words, atheists (and other skeptics) have been the best "prophets" when it comes to these end dates.