Who’s Afraid of May 21?
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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 Matthew 24:36But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
American King James Version×). 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 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
American King James Version×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 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
American King James Version×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 Revelation 22:6And he said to me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show to his servants the things which must shortly be done.
American King James Version×). 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.