LCG: Will Jesus Return on May 21, 2011?

Harold Egbert Camping


In his commentary today, LCG’s Wyatt Ciesielka had the following:

A growing movement claims that Christ will return on May 21, 2011.  Some are so convinced of this date that they have left their families and their jobs to embark on evangelistic campaigns to proclaim “the awesome news” that this date marks “the end of the world” and “the rapture” of God’s saints!  Could they be right?

One of the more vocal advocates of the May 21, 2011 date asserts: “I know it’s absolutely true, because the Bible is always absolutely true” (, “Road trip to the end of the world”, March 7, 2011).  However, the May 21, 2011 claim is not true.  It is a false conclusion based on ignoring clear Scripture, coupled with faulty mathematical calculations relating to the timing of Noah’s flood.

In Matthew 24:11, 23-26, Jesus reveals that at the end of the age “false prophets” will deceive many.  Some of these false prophets will claim to know the date of Christ’s return.  Others will claim that He already has returned.  Many will teach His secret return and a rapture of the saints to heaven before the Great Tribulation.

However, in Matthew 24 Christ notes specific end-time events that must happen before His return.  These major events will be clear road-marks revealing where we are within the panorama of end-time prophecy.  Three of these events are:

  1. the abomination of desolation (v. 15), which will be a cessation and a desecration of yet-future Jewish alter sacrifices, immediately followed by
  2. the Great Tribulation, which is a time of war and death more terrible than any time ever before in the history of humanity (v. 21), followed by
  3. the Day of the Lord when Christ will return as conquering King to establish the Kingdom of God on this earth (vv. 27-31; Revelation 19:11-16)

The Bible does teach a flight of the saints prior to the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:20), and their protection for 3 ½ years (Revelation 12:14) in “the wilderness,” or eremos in the Greek.  Eremos refers to a rocky, harsh, desert landscape on this earthnot in heaven!  (Please watch the Tomorrow’s World television programs, “Secret Rapture or Place of Safety?” and “Will You Be Left Behind?”).

Far from a secret return or a secret rapture that can happen in mere months, Christ will return at the end of these events … and His return will be awesome! It will be “as the lightening comes from the east and flashes to the west” (Matthew 24:27).  It is at Christ’s triumphant return at the last trumpet that both the dead in Christ and those saints who remain alive will be raised incorruptible (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16).

It should give pause to those who attempt to predict the exact day of Christ’s return to consider that Jesus plainly stated, “But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36).  Those who attempt mathematical calculations to predict Christ’s return, based on their suppositions of the timing of the Noachian flood, should remember Jesus’ words, and should also consider that the righteous angels would have been very capable of their own mathematical calculations, if that were the measurement to be used!  Yet in 2011, people are caravanning across North America proclaiming that they know the exact day of Christ’s return, in part based on this premise (CBS4, Miami Florida, February 25, 2011, NBC10, Rochester New York, February 9, 2011)!

To claim that Christ will return any time in 2011 or even in 2012 is a serious misunderstanding of Bible prophecy.  Instead of letting our imaginations run away with us, we should heed and trust the plain word of God.

The leading proponent of the May 21, 2011 date is Harold Camping.  He claims that  Jesus will return on Pentecost May 21, 2011 and the world will end on October 21, 2011. Of course, that is not possible, so in less than one month (which will be May 22, 2011), his remaining followers will again see that his prediction was wrong.

Here is one of the predictions Harold Camping wrote in his We are Almost There! book:

The church age embraced, to the very day, exactly 1,955 years in that it began on Pentecost day, May 22, A.D. 33, and ended the day before Pentecost on May 21, 1988 (A.D.). (p. 29)

Of course, PENTECOST IS ON JUNE 12, 2011 AND NOT MAY 21, 2011 (see Holy Day Calendar). Harold Camping does not even understand what Pentecost is all about (to learn more, see Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2?). Because he prefers his own imaginations to the truth of the Bible, Harold Camping seems to load one misleading calculation onto other misleading information to get to the wrong answer. He should not be listened to by those that actually believe the Bible.  If he and others actually kept the biblical Holy Days, they may have been less likely to be deceived by his prediction.

Of course, there are other false prophets and false prophecies, it is just that the world will definitively prove that Harold Camping is wrong before some of the others.  It has been my experience that Harold Camping, and others like him, ignore literal prophecies and allegorize away too many (which is why he feels his date of Christ’s return can be right).

Those who are interested in the truth about Harold Camping, Ronald Weinland (who also claims to be one of the two witnesses and that Jesus will return in 2012), Mayan prophecies, and when the Bible shows that Jesus can return, may wish to study the following articles:

Harold Camping’s Teachings About the End of the World Do Not Agree with the Bible Harold Camping teaches that the rapture will be on May 21, 2011 and the world will end on October 21, 2011. What does the Bible show?
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory.
Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach? Does the Church flee or is it taken up just prior to the great tribulation? Who really is left behind?
What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation? Should the Bible be literally understood? What do the writings of the Bible, Origen, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Augustine show?
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them.
Concerns About Ronald Weinland’s Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God Ronald Weinland falsely claims to be one of the two witnesses God is raising up and that the end will come in 2008 (first April 17th, then June 2008, now December 14, 2008). Why does the Bible show that Ron Weinland is a false prophet? He also has at least one other view that suggests that he is not part of the Church of God.
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2011, 2012, or 2013? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord?
End of Mayan Calendar 2012–Might 2012 Mean Something? Are there Mayan calendar predictions for change in 2012? Changes were centuries ago predicted by the Hopi Native Americans. Do Mayan/Hindu/Hopi/Buddhist/New Age/Nostradamus prophecies have any value here? Why might Satan have inspired this date? Does the Dresden codex show destruction of the earth by flood? Can the great tribulation start before 2012? How might the next pope be involved in 2012?
Who Are The Two Witnesses? What is their job? What does the Bible reveal? What has the Church of God taught on this subject? Might even Roman Catholic prophecies give some clues here?

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