I ran across another story yesterday about another group of people proclaiming a date for the Rapture. I don’t want to waste a lot of time or space, but I feel I can offer a service for those who might get sucked in by such a thing. Here are 3 simple reasons why May 21, 2011 is not the date of the Rapture, and I am not even going with obvious reasons that others might give you (with one exception).
1. The man who has predicted this, Harold Camping, has made a previous prediction that proved to be false. I could absolutely stop there with no further explanation, but I don’t want to let this go. In trying to explain why he was wrong then but is right now, he has made this excuse:
He explains now that he originally thought 2011 was the year, but a few verses tripped him up and he concluded that the Great Tribulation might get cut short. There was still scripture he was grappling with, end-time signs that were to come — he points to the gay pride movement as one of them — and truths that had yet to be revealed, “but because of the urgency of time I had to get it out quickly,” he says of his previous warning.
This time around, he has no doubts.
“I know it’s absolutely true, because the Bible is always absolutely true,” he says. “If I were not faithful that would mean that I’m a hypocrite.”
If your best excuse is that you felt “rushed” to get the prediction out there, then you are already on shaky ground. The only thing in the above quote that is even true is that the Bible is always true. The man made a false prediction and ascribed it to God, let me make plain what the Bible says about this:
20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ 21And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
– Deuteronomy 18:20-22
No matter what Camping says at this point, I simply tell you that the Word of God says he was presumptuous and you don’t need to listen to him anymore. This is the first “infallible” proof that May 21, 2011 is not the date of the Rapture.
2. Camping offers a long mathematical dissertation as an infallible proof of his calculation for the May date and it is full of holes as well. For those who might be tempted to overlook the whole prophecy gone wrong and the biblical warning to ignore people who do such a thing, I will also offer the service of dismantling this mathematical rant. They claim to know the year of the Noahic flood, although they offer no proof whatsoever. The claim holds no water based on his previous track record and the biblical admonition. Furthermore, I would note that the Jewish calendar indicates the current year as 5771, which is supposed to be dated from the creation of Adam by tradition. Any supposition of dating the flood is questionable at best and cannot be used to assume for accurate calculations. This is a case of make the “proof” fit the facts they want to assume. Throw it out.
The second part where the vast amount of calculations come into play is even more dubious. They presume to know that the date of the crucifixion of Jesus had to be on April 1, 33 AD because they feel it had to be on a Friday. This is a sad case of confusing modern Christian tradition with actual history. It is quite possible(likely even) that Jesus was in fact crucified on a Thursday. The key is the realization that the first day of Passover is a special Sabbath no matter what day it falls on. I won’t go into a lengthy explanation here, but you can check it out for yourself. So the “starting date” for their calculations is already problematic.
He further complicates things with some dubious numerical ideas. One is the declaration of some “special numbers”:
Likewise some numbers in the Bible also frequently point to spiritual truth. We will look at five numbers that are examples of this, as they focus on significant spiritual truth. These numbers are 3, 5, 10, 17, and 23.
I am not even going to bother with debunking the reasons given for these numbers being special as they are flimsy indeed. Rather, I will point out that Camping missed some other very significant numbers in the Bible, presumably because the math didn’t work out quite as well. Do the numbers 12 (tribes, disciples and so forth) and 40 (I am not even going to list the number of times this one pops up) ring any bells? I can make a very simple case that these two numbers are far more significant than 23 for instance. The “proof” for that number’s usage is tortured to say the least.
Listen, if God can encode the number Pi in Scripture out to four places, I am certain that He can do better than what Camping has produced in his “infallible proof.”
3. God has a calendar and it isn’t the Gregorian one. It is silly to start trying to tag significant dates to any place on the Gregorian calendar. If there is one thing that God has demonstrated throughout history, it is that He has a definite sense of timing and it is His own times that are appointed times. God’s appointed times are defined in Scripture: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Day of Trumpets, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Tabernacles (Leviticus 23 outlines these). If you want proof that God keeps these days, look no further than the NT. Jesus died on Passover and the Spirit was given on Pentecost; a perfect echo of the deliverance of Israel from bondage in the Exodus and the giving of the Torah at Pentecost at Sinai. There are multiple references to God’s “appointed times” and a study would be fascinating, but this isn’t the place for that either. Suffice it to say that May 21, 2011 comes in at day 32 of counting the Omer and corresponds to absolutely nothing on God’s timetable. Sorry Mr. Camping, you might want to check God’s appointment book before you claim to know these things. Study a little of the history of God’s work in history and you will find that He is very deliberate and remarkably consistent is sticking with these particular days.
There is more that I could say, but I don’t want to belabor the point. Do not be dismayed or confused by these false prophets of doom. There is a day coming when God will judge every person, but it isn’t in May of 2011. I personally lean toward Him utilizing the appointed time of the Feast of Trumpets, since it is commonly known as “the Day when no man knows the day or the hour” in the same way that we call Thanksgiving, “turkey day.” And just so you know, that day is nowhere near May in this year or any other. It typically falls in September/October on our calendars. But God isn’t confined to my idea and I am making no predictions about His return, only debunking one that is patently false.