Who’s Afraid of May 21?

Submitted May 18, 2011

"Judgment Day - May 21" billboard near Kansas City, Missouri

Source: Todd Hare

May 21 typically comes and goes without me noticing. That’s not going to happen this year, thanks to radio evangelist and author Harold Camping. Camping’s predictions of the “rapture” and the beginning of the end of the world are well-known. Now many Christians are concerned and afraid, wondering whether they’ll be raptured on May 21 or whether they’ll die in worldwide calamity.

I’m not afraid, though, because Harold Camping is wrong. If you are afraid, there are a couple things you should know about what Camping says and, much more importantly, what the Bible says about the time of God’s judgment.

First, Jesus told the disciples that, “Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew:24:36). At this point of His ministry, at least, Jesus was not even aware of the time of His return. Why would any man be granted superior knowledge to our Savior? Jesus then gave us a list of events or world trends to observe, finally saying in verse 42, “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” Only by watching the “signs of the times” can we know the general condition of the world at the time of Jesus’ second coming. This discounts Camping’s claim that he arrived at the exact date of Jesus’ return via a convoluted mathematical equation.

Camping says that many of those not taken by God at Jesus’ return will be killed in global calamities such as earthquakes. He also says that five months after May 21, on October 21, the entire universe will be completely destroyed by fire. This is what has many concerned for their own lives or those of their friends and family. Again, though, let’s look at the Bible to see why we shouldn’t listen to what Camping has to say.

Revelation:11:15 tells us that, at Jesus’ return, He will be accompanied with the sound of a trumpet and the announcement that, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” If the world and those in it are going to be destroyed immediately after Christ’s return, what kingdoms will He reign over? Also, Revelation:20:4 tells us that those who are faithful to God will live and reign “with Christ for a thousand years.” What will they reign over? The same earthly kingdoms that became Christ’s at His coming! There are major problems with Harold Camping’s predictions—they just don’t match up with what the Bible says.

Jesus said His words are “faithful and true” (Revelation:22:6). That’s why I’m not afraid of what Harold Camping has to say. If you find yourself afraid because of his or any other man’s predictions or ideas about what the Bible says, go straight to the source and read God’s faithful and true words of hope and encouragement.

Blog posts do not undergo review by the doctrinal review team of the United Church of God. This post represents the personal opinion of the author and should not be considered the official stance of the United Church of God. If you have any questions or concerns please direct them to webmaster@ucg.org.

Jason Nitzberg

Jason Nitzberg's picture

Milan - nicely and succinctly put. I have seen references to an unnamed person about to be proved wrong, and now I know who that person is.

I do want to say, however, that more than likely there will be a really cool math equation that shows when Christ returns, however, we won't be able to solve it or understand until AFTER He returns. As a math geek like yourself, we both are well aware of the awesome math equations that we find in nature; Fibanacci's sequence comes to mind. But to Jesus's point found in the bible, if no man, nor even the angels know when 'the Son of Man' will return ... then I am leery when people through out dates, especially hard dates like 5/21/2011.

We are in rough times, but if we do trust what the bible says, then we have seen nothing yet. But with God's grace and mercy, we may be able to enter His Kingdom.


dust_i_am's picture

Next year around this time, it'll be the turn of Church of God groups to explain Ronald Weinland.


marcryan71's picture

Let's say that Mr. Camping was actually RIGHT. Why would you be afraid either way? -- If you have given your life to Christ, are a baptized in the name of Jesus Christ...live a repentant and humble life...there should be nothing to "fear" either way. Your salvation is not based on which theories you believe about Christ's return. It's about if you love God and put Him first...and if you love your neighbors as yourself. It's about attitude, not about you properly interpreting Bible prophecy.

You know, if UCG was "wrong" on this and Jesus DID return yesterday...would we all not be filled with tremendous joy right now? I know I would be very glad to be wrong about something like that.

But in this case, Mr. Camping was ignoring so many Scriptures to make his theory work, there no doubt it would fail. I am concerned about the aftermath...for those who would leave the church...for those who would avoid coming in because of this...and for the future when He will REALLY be returning soon because the prophecies are coming to pass as Jesus told us they would.

God bless you all.

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