Have you heard the word? Jesus is coming soon! As a matter of fact, he is allegedly returning on May 21, 2011. At least this is what is being taught by Harold Camping, President of Family Radio. According to Camping, (who by the way also predicted the end of the world in 1994) the Bible teaches that Jesus is coming back on May 21, 2011 to “rapture” the saints out of this world, then on October 21, 2011, the world will be destroyed.
How does Camping arrive at this date? Well, it’s a rather long and convoluted series of mathematical equations, but to summarize, Camping states that Noah was given a “7 day warning” before the flood came (Genesis 7:4). He further reasons that these “7 days” were also intended to be representative of 7000 years of history, that when fulfilled, will bring the end of history. And according to Camping’s dating methods, he has concluded that May 21, 2011 is the completion of that 7000 years.
I find it disturbing when men attempt to set the date for the return of Jesus. Countless men have done so. They have claimed divine revelation for the dates they set, or to have found some “new truth” that had not yet been discovered. Yet, in every case, they have been proven wrong. What I find even more disturbing than the “faulty predictions” is the fact that countless people blindly follow these prognosticators, even after their predictions fail!
Friends, we need to remember what God told the children of Israel about false prophets. It was a serious offense for one to falsely claim to speak for God under the Old Law. Moses stated, “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘how shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ – When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” In other words, if a man prophesies and it doesn’t come to pass, he is a false prophet.
According to the Bible, the coming of the Lord will be as a thief in the night (2 Peter 3:10), and it will come at a time in which only the father in Heaven knows (Matthew 24:36). While the timing of Jesus’ return in uncertain, his coming is certain. In view of the certainty of his coming, we should live holy lives (2 Peter 3:11) and always be ready for his return (Matthew 24:42).
Might Jesus return on May 21, 2011? Yes. But it won’t be because of the baseless and presumptuous speculations of Harold Camping, but rather because this it was the unknown by man, but pre-appointed by God, day that God selected.
(P.S. – One other thought, if the Lord wills that there be a May 22, 2011, we will have a unique opportunity to reach out to people who have been misled and may be confused, and who are searching for answers).