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May 21, 2011: The Day Before May 22

05/12/2011 06:00 PM - Permalink

So, I was asked today by an atheist friend if I'm ready for May 21st. My first reaction was, "what's so special about May 21st?" So I Googled it.

Because this article is rather long, I recored this abbrieviated explanation! :)

What I found really disturbed me: a rather long religious article from a Christian group (please note that I am devoutly Christian) about how this day is The Rapture (a Christian-ese term to describe the glorious day when Jesus will come back to take those found faithful to Him in heart and deed to heaven). This group claims the rapture on May 21, 2011 is to be followed up by the end of the world on October 21st, 2011. (Which is ridiculous in itself: The Bible says the earth endures forever -- Ecclesiastes 1:4.) That's just what was in Google Result position number 1, indicating the Internet finds that page most authoritative for the topic.

Second, was an article on MSNBC / MSN covering the same sort of content. Third was a link to a large count-down clock on the homepage of Family Radio, who seem to have originated the argument from what I can tell. There was even a Wikipedia article.

The Rapture is a biblical fact -- the Bible says it will occur, and so it will. We get the doctrine of the rapture from many places in the scriptures, the most famous of which is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Since the rapture is established in the scriptures, I'm not contesting that. I even believe that we should talk about it much more than we do! But this way? Making such a prediction the scriptures are clear about being impossible to make? I say this as a Christian to those who are in Christian groups creating this content:

Shame on you.

Most of their doctrine comes through adding up a bunch of calendar dates which are speculation at best, in order to fit the equation they claim was divinely given by Genesis 7:4 along with some promises in Daniel that the secrets of the book will be hidden until the end of days (speaking about Daniel -- but our friends seem to have confused the whole Bible with the book of Daniel, which is only part of the Bible).
Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.
- Genesis 7:4
The key text here is "seven days." Why does that matter? Because they're reading these verses in light of 2 Peter 3:8 to make a conspiracy theory!
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
- 2 Peter 3:8
The first thing that comes to mind when I read this is, then why didn't Jesus stay dead for 3,000 years instead of 3 days? The second thing that comes to mind is... the keyword in this passage: "like." It has also been translated "a day is as a thousand years." This suggested a simile in the mind of the author (Peter), as they existed when Peter was around. Jesus, during the same time Peter was alive, frequently spoke of the kingdom of God being as or like something. We know that when something is like something, it does not mean it is that thing.

More importantly... isn't Jesus the fullness of the Word of God (John 1:1,14), and as such, shouldn't He be heralded as the final authority on the matter?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
- John 1:1
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
- John 1:14
Being the Word itself (both in physical form, and in the sense that He is actually the author of the Word), it stands to reason that there is nothing hidden within himself that the Lord Jesus, son of God, King of Kings, does not know or understand... right? So again, He should be the final authority.

So What Does Jesus Think About Figuring Out the End Times?

Let's just take Him at His word, why don't we? From Mark 13:32-33, as always, red letters denote the words of Jesus Himself.
But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.
- Mark 13:32-33
Not only does Jesus say that "no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son" (Himself) -- but He also said, "You do not know..." Here He seems to go a little out of His way to particularly state two things that will not be known: "the day or hour." Perhaps we will be able to know the season, or maybe the "signs of the times" (which are all around us, might I add)... but we will certainly not know "the day or hour" one of which happens to be exactly what this group is claiming they do know -- the day, May 21, 2011. Umm... have you even read the Bible?

In fact, it stands to reason to me that just because these people claim to know, they have guaranteed that May 21st, 2011 will not be the day -- just so Jesus' words that no one knows can be fulfilled.

Does it bother you a little that these people that have claimed to figure the rapture out have staked their entire lives on the Word of Jesus to lead them to salvation through His blood (a legitimate truth), but have completely disregarded His words here? It bothers me.

Let me make one more point...

The disciples of Jesus -- you know the ones, the Twelve, who are later called apostles, and even later have been given titles such as "Saint" and even prayed to (blasphemy) by the Catholic church -- were obsessed with the return of Jesus themselves. So much so, that the first 11 verses of the book called "The Acts of the Apostles" (which should be referred to as "The Acts of the Holy Spirit") dedicated themselves to telling about a time God was so disturbed with their obsession that He sent angels to tell them to quit, after they ignored Jesus' own command! (Acts 1:1-11)
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." Then they gathered around him and asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
- Acts 1:1-11
Jesus said, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority." What's that mean? Hrmmmm.... *confused*... it means... it is not for you to know! It's a rebuke for them the angels came to correct -- those that were "staring into the sky." But note that once again, Jesus specified exactly two things are particularly not to be known: "the times or dates," again, one of which they claim is May 21, 2011. Except that in the two passages we just read, Jesus makes it clear that we are not to know them because they are not for us to know. Maybe they're for someone to know, but whoever that person or those people may be, it isn't us!

So why is this group so set on making a date known?

The issue here is that Jesus did call us to "sound the alarm" and "warn the world" -- of their sin, and the hellfire that follows as a result of it. Don't believe me? Read Ezekiel 33, which this May 21st group hails as their Biblical directive to cause such panic... let's pay particular attention to verses 7-9:
"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, 'You wicked person, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.
- Ezekiel 33:7-9
Doesn't sound like anything about the rapture or end of days to me... it sounds like warning people of their sin (wicked ways).

Now is it fun to try to put two and two together? Sure... and I even enjoy some of it myself. But when you cause this sort of panic, you're not doing anyone any good. You're disobeying Jesus, and making the rest of us look like fruit cakes.

Is Jesus coming? Absolutely. Is He coming soon? I believe so, and maaan... I sure can't wait. So it goes without saying that if on May 21, 2011, our Canaan King returns from another world to take us home, I'll never have been more happy to be wrong. But when you cause people to sell their homes or stop paying their mortgage or rack up thousands of dollars in credit to visit places for the last time they are able to and do all sort of actions at risk that you may not actually be right... that's not Jesus or obedience... its cruel, harmful, and idiotic. I frankly think you should be ashamed of yourselves -- and repent.

So what is May 21, 2011?

Is it the day of the rapture or the day the earth will end? In my opinion, it is neither. It will be, as every other, the day the LORD has made... but really it'll just go down as the day before May 22nd, 2011.

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