Worrying about finals? While they’re fast approaching, a religious group from California doesn’t think you should lose sleep over the end-of-semester tests, because the world is ending in less than a month.
What’s that? You thought the world was supposed to end in 2012 like the History Channel and Nostradamus claimed? Well, there is a new group of people telling us that we are all wrong.
The group WeCanKnow based out of California claims that “He will close the door on salvation on May 21, 2011, when He returns to take his elect children to heaven.”
Harold Camping, founder of Family Radio Inc., made the prediction, and fans of the radio station paid for billboards that can be seen around Nashville and other cities. Their goal is simple– with the message “He is coming again!” nonbelievers are to change their ways and follow.
According to Camping’s prediction, the second coming will occur exactly 7000 years between Noah’s flood and the rapture. Camping claims Noah’s flood happened in 4990 B.C., on May 21 in the modern calendar.
God supposedly gave Noah one week of warning before the flood. And, stretching the made-up calculations even further, Camping says that one day equals a thousand years for God. So this obviously means that 7,000 years needed to pass between the flood and the rapture.
And so, through the magic of improvable dates, algorithms and calculations, Jesus will come again on May 21, 2011, according to Camping.
“We hope that anyone would get a Bible out and try and prove that this is wrong,” Camping said.
Before I do that, I’ll tell you this. Camping predicted the world to end once before. He initially predicted the world’s end to be Sept. 6, 1994.
Scripture tells us plainly that no one, not even the Son of God, knows when the second coming will happen.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.” Mark 13:32-24
People that try and predict Jesus’ second coming, like Camping, obviously have not read this part of scripture.
However, Camping says that he is supplied with scripture and only scripture, and it plainly states that May 21, 2011 will be the when Jesus emerges from the Heavens.
Lipscomb Bible professor John Mark Hicks disagrees with Camping’s claims.
“When talking about this in Mark, Jesus did not give enough information to predict the day that he was going to come back because even He did not know when he was doing it himself,” Hicks said. “He plainly said that he didn’t know when that day was.”
Jesus knows scripture. He knows what happened in the Old Testament in the times of the flood. However, he did not even know when he would return to the earth to rescue His father’s people.
“He knows what happened with Noah,” Hicks said. “He knows the text that is used to say ‘one day is like 1000 years.’ He knows all the scripture that [Camping] knows, and Jesus talked about the very thing that [Camping] is talking about and Jesus says, ‘I don’t know.’”
It’s hard to imagine that people believe the assumptions and calculations of Camping when the answer is plainly stated– no one knows.
“God’s time is not our time,” Hicks said. “God’s time cannot be quantified. That is simply a metaphor. [Camping] is taking a poetic statement and turning it into a scientific proposition.”
Dr. Hicks believes that people like Camping make predictions because they need something to look forward to, or simply because they are scared. While Hicks did not mention that it was a crooked way to bring followers in, some experts believe that is their motive.
“Jesus says that when he comes back it is going to be like a thief in the night,” Hicks said. “It’s going to be sudden; it’s going to be a surprise. I don’t think May 21 is going to be a surprise. I think they will be surprised. They were surprised in 1994, weren’t they?”
If you have peace in your life, if you have peace in your heart, then the date doesn’t matter. Jesus said he did not know, and he told his disciples, ‘the times and the seasons are not right for you.’ The focus needs to be on living out the kingdom right now rather than trying to figure out when Jesus is coming back.
So, instead of living like May 20is your last day on earth, live each day like it’s your last. Cherish the moments you have, and just keep living.
“Through the good times, the bad times, and all the times, just keep living.” -Wooderson, Dazed and Confused, 1993