Today is May 19th. We all know what that means: the rapture is supposed to happen in a few days (according to Harold Camping and the false teachers at Family Radio…and he’s never been wrong before about this, has he?). Given that the event is supposedly on Saturday, I figured I should cover it. Do I agree with these people? No.
For those of you who haven’t heard it, here’s their logic: Harold Camping says that the number five equals “atonement”, the number ten equals “completeness”, and the number seventeen equals “heaven”. He states that Christ died on April 1, 33 AD. The time between April 1, 33 AD and April 1, 2011 is 1,978 years. If 1,978 is multiplied by 365.2422 days (the number of days in a solar year, not to be confused with the lunar year), the result is 722,449. The time between April 1 and May 21 is 51 days. 51 added to 722,449 is 722,500. (5 x 10 x 17)2 or (atonement x completeness x heaven)2 also equals 722,500.
So, according to Camping’s logic, since the number of days since Christ’s death equals the product of three numbers squared, He’s coming back Saturday. Do I need to start going over how ludicrous this is? I do? Ok.
Let me begin by saying that I believe in the pre-tribulational rapture. At any moment, Christ will return, and all church-age believers (both living and dead) will instantly leave the surface of the earth and meet Him in the clouds, at which point we will go to heaven for approximately seven years, while bad stuff happens here on earth. Then Christ will return (with us in tow), crush His enemies and set up a one-thousand year reign on earth. That’s the basics of my view on end-time events (also called “eschatology”).
Here are my problems with the Family Radio view:
- I don’t know where he’s getting this “five equals atonement” business (or any other of the other numbers). The only numbers I’ve ever heard of that meant anything were 666 and “7” which is the number of perfection (but I wouldn’t base a doctrine on that).
- Christ died on April 1, 33 AD? According to whom? Personally I believe He died around 29 AD, which throws this whole thing in the trash.
- He multiplies by the amount of days in a solar year. He totally rejects the fact that the Jews don’t use a solar calendar, they use a lunar calendar. This is a weak point, I know, but it bears stating.
- My final point is more of a question: Why does he square the product of those three numbers? What is the logic behind doing that math step?
In conclusion, Christ could return on Saturday, but I don’t think He’s any more or less likely to return on Saturday than He is on Friday, Sunday, next week, or in 2013 (that one’s for you Mayans!). I wonder what Harold Camping is going to say on Sunday if the rapture doesn’t take place on Saturday. One friend of mine suggested he will say something like, “We prayed to God for an extension of His mercy, and He has granted that extension…the rapture has been postponed so that more people can be saved.” I’ll be interested to see what happens.