Jesus is Coming May 21?

By Rusty Wright and Meg Korpi

We understand that Jesus is coming back this year.

On May 21, 2011, to be precise.  Our wedding anniversary!

We read it in the Washington Post. *

It seems that Harold Camping, a Christian radio broadcaster in Oakland, California, has determined the date through a complex analysis involving biblical prophecies, numerical codes, and his calculated date of Noah’s flood: Jesus will return May 21 to take believers to heaven and begin judging the world.  “Save the Date!” advise billboards and signs on supporters’ cars.

Forget all that Mayan-prophecy/movie stuff about 2012 being the apocalyptic year.  Camping says 2011 is when the real end-times action begins.  According to his website, “The Bible Guarantees It.” 

Guaranteed?  Whoa!  What’s that about?

Finale Forecast

Camping calculates that Noah’s flood occurred in 4990 BC/BCE. (The Bible doesn’t state the year, so we guess one needs faith in Camping’s calculations.)  The Bible does indicate that God gave Noah seven day’s warning to board the Ark; elsewhere it says that with God, one day is like a thousand years.  So, according to Camping, seven days warning for Noah means seven millennia for us.  (The connection’s complex; if you’re like us, you’ll need more faith.)

Now add 7,000 years to 4990 BC/BCE (including an extra digit because there’s no year zero) and you get 2011 AD/CE.  Whew!

There’s more.  Writes Camping: “Amazingly, May 21, 2011 is the 17th day of the 2nd month of the Biblical calendar of our day.  Remember, the flood waters also began on the 17th day of the 2nd month, in the year 4990 B.C.”

Puzzled?  We empathize.

But wait.  2011.  Twenty eleven.  “Eleven” rhymes with “heaven.”  And May 21, 2011, is our eleventh anniversary.  Whoa!  Spooky!

Maybe there is something to this May 21st thing.

If Jesus is coming that day, maybe we should invite him to our anniversary.  It’s on a Saturday this year—wonder if he could make it?

Renewed Vows

On most anniversaries we return to the small mountain chapel where we wed, and renew our vows.  It’s a private celebration, just the two of us … and, of course, God as our witness.  Make’s a great refresher.  We highly recommend it.

Sometimes, the chapel door is locked.  A few years ago, we couldn’t get in, so we renewed our vows in our car across the street in front of the post office.  Not the memoried locale we’d hoped for, but it was romantic all the same.

Of course, Jesus wouldn’t have a problem with locked doors, if his past is any indication.  But he does have a history of attracting crowds, and that could be awkward in a small chapel.  Plus, would he even have the time if he’s busy judging the world that day?

More Concerns

There’s another concern.  The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Camping once promised Christ would return on September 6, 1994.  When that didn’t happen, he allowed he might have made a mathematical error.

Bigger problem: Jesus said there would be signs of his second coming, but “no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself.  Only the Father knows.” 

Oops.  What about Camping’s “biblical guarantee”?  Guess you have to be careful in what – or whom – you believe.

Camping and his supporters may mean well, but somehow we think that Jesus knows more about this one.  His prophetic track record is better anyway.

Think we’ll plan on a quiet, private anniversary celebration on May 21.  Jesus can watch, of course, but we’re guessing it will be from heaven. 

Rhymes with eleven.

Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents.  He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively.

Meg Korpi is a senior research scientist who studies character development and ethical decision-making through the Character Research Institute in Northern California. She holds a PhD from, and formerly taught at, Stanford University.

Copyright © 2011 Rusty Wright and Meg Korpi

* The Washington Post article was a widely-circulated Associated Press news story.  Because the Post website no longer displays the AP article, we have linked above to the same article on another news website.

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