VANCOUVER, Wa, May 18, 2011—For hundreds of years, the hope of Bible-believing Christians rests on the return of Christ.
Acts 1:11, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Can the actual date of the hope be predicted with preciseness? Can we actually use any Bible translation to set dates of Christ’s return, and the end of the World?
California radio station personality, 89-year-old Harold Camping, has been joined by EBible Fellowship in predicting the rapture of the Church (Christ’s return for all true Christians) on May 21, 2011, and the destruction of the world (final judgment) on October 21, 2011.
For some time, billboards and ads have warned the public of the coming end of the age. How did this group determine this particular date from the Bible?
The accuracy of this prediction depends on the date of the great biblical flood and the interpretation of two major passages in Scripture:
I Peter 3:8 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
Genesis 7:11 ”In the six hundredth year of Norah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broke up, and the windows of heaven were opened.”
Seven thousand years from the Biblical flood (4990 BC) is 2010, but allowing for “0” when counting from the Old Testament to the New Testament, one arrives at the year 2011.
1988 ended the church age (13,000 years after creation 11,013 BC) and began the tribulation. The tribulation began September 7, 1994 and ends May 21, 2011, and therefore, the coming of the Lord for believers in Christ.
The group maintains the church age began on the day of Pentecost (May 22) in the year 33 AD. Then, 1955 years later, the church age came to its conclusion on May 21, which was the day before Pentecost in 1988.
The Gregorian calendar date of May 21, 2011 is the Hebrew calendar’s 17th day of the 2nd month mentioned in the flood account in Genesis.
Are any of these calculations reasonable or possible? Are the calculations arbitrary or convoluted in order to arrive at a modern date just in time to warn the world of pending danger?
If there is one date we know the Lord will not come, it is May 21, 2011 because the Scriptures are very exact:
“No one knows about that day or hour, nor even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36, NIV).
“But of that day and hour knoweth on man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (KJV)
“But as for that day and hour no one knows it—not even the angels in heaven—except the Father alone.” (NET Bible) Mark 13:32 reiterates the same sentiment.
There are so many misinterpretations and speculations in this prediction that it would take a book just to point out all the misinformation.
Consider a couple of thoughts on why this date is incorrect. For instance, the date of creation 11,013 BC is unsustainable. Even the well-known Ussher’s chronology using the genealogies in the Book of Genesis counts back to a date of creation at 4004 BC. Some biblical scholars today would suggest gaps in the recorded genealogies would be better interpreted putting the date of creation at 6000-10,000 BC. Other scholars and secular scientists would date creation much, much earlier.
Dating the flood at 4990 BC is another ill founded date. Likewise, the dates of Jesus birth (7 BC) and death (AD 33) are questionable dates. Even if you accept the year AD 33, Camping’s date of April 1, 33 clashes with chronological scholar, Harold Hoehner’s date of April 3, 33. (Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, Harold Hoehner, Zondervan, 1977. 139) Many scholars date Jesus’ death at AD 29 or 30.
For many years, false prophets placed precise dates on the end of times. They have all been wrong because the earth and civilization are both still here. The setting of many so called end-of-times dates have ended in human tragedies.
The best refutation is to remain calm until Sunday—just like we did at Camping’s other predictions of the end of times in 1994. Enjoy your Sunday service and family dinner, and wait for the group’s explanation as to why the date was incorrect.
The Bible has much to say about future events, end times, and the judgment of men and women, but as distasteful as not knowing the exact date might be, it remains a mystery that belongs entirely to God.
Scripture admonishes us to be good stewards of the time we have on planet earth and be ready for the day of justice. We will only know when it happens.
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