21 May : Another failed prediction?

This month’s scare story is that the rapture will occur on 21 May. Dont get too frightened because according to Harold Camping who worked it out, it is only the rapture which occurs on that date. The desolate left behinders have until October to witness the actual end of the world. There goes the Rugby World Cup. Brave fellow that I am, I have resisted the urge to panic and instead am offering a healthy challenge.
Just for the record. If there is anyone there who actually believes this stuff about being able to predict the date the faithful will be raptured up to heaven, would they please prove it by signing over their possessions to Christian World Service as from the 22nd May. (A post dated cheque would be fine) If you turn out to be wrong and have been frightening everyone unnecessarily with a false prophecy, regard it as a just self-punishment and a form of penance, not to mention a generous donation to a good cause.
If you turn out to be right, you wont have lost anything because you are whizzing up to heaven and you can have a good laugh at everyone else’s non raptured expense. Either way there will be a just outcome.
If you are wanting to cover all options a wee word of practical advice. If you feel the rapture coming on try not to stand under any power lines. (OSH!) I have just been sent a plan by a well-meaning friend for a rapture hatch to install in the roof but I doubt if I could get planning permission through in time, not with the current Council.Of course if you prefer the more cynical option you might like to check out the extensive list of past failed prophecies and get a little more reason back into your faith. You could always start with the list on my site if you dont know where else to look.

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17 Responses to 21 May : Another failed prediction?

  1. Judi says:

    2 Peter 3 (New Living Translation)

    This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory. I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles.

    Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”

    They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.

    But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

    Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.

    And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.

    And remember, the Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.

    I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.

  2. peddiebill says:

    So is that a post dated cheque for Christian World Service in the mail?

    • Judi says:

      No. 🙂 Nobody knows the day or the hour, so all those predictions are kinda self-defeating. I would just encourage you not to mock the fact that Jesus is coming. “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.” Matthew 25:13

      “Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.

      But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.

      For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 1-11

  3. peddiebill says:

    Here was me thinking I made the same point as the quotes are suggesting. A prediction was made. I thought it was silly to make the prediction. I was simply taking the mickey out of those who think they can predict to encourage them to think how silly they are. The fact that you say I am therefore not taking their prediction seriously and providing copious quotes about why the prediction is about a serious topic doesnt help. Dont you even bother to read the many scriptures you place on my site? The first one above is clear. “For you do not know….” If you say you do know I would have thought that even by your rules you would be wrong. If others say they know they would be wrong. If you say I should treat their claim seriously you would be wrong. Either you too think it is inappropriate for someone to make yet another claim about the date – or you actually support them – in which case you are not only going against the very scripture you quote, but if you do wish to take them seriously and believe them, you should be consistent in your support and put up the money. If I choose to tease the ones who want us to run round like headless chooks and in the process stop doing that which we should be doing, in my view that is better that I should tease than pretend that what they are doing with their prediction is to be taken seriously. I have to tell you that the numerous failed prophecies have done heaps of damage in the past (eg causing people to commit suicide and make disastrous family decisions – like killing their children). No I am not making that up. Read my post on the topic. Why should we stand by and let it happen again? I dont know how else to make the point. I suspect the fact is that you dont either or you too would have told them not to be so silly.
    You tell me I am not taking the 21 May prediction seriously. Really? I thought that was my point. In the same way, despite the fact that the Jehovah’ Witnesses are deeply sincere, each time they have made a new prediction for a date for the end of the world I do no longer take them seriously because time after time they have turned out to be wrong. My training in science tells me that when the predicted result is wrong the theory needs changing. I have tried quoting the above scripture at them – and it doesnt work. If you think I was wrong in what I said to the predictors of the day of judgement as 21 May – a very simple question. What did you say to them?

  4. Judi says:

    I agree with you about not making predictions. I read your list of false predictions weeks ago. Although I agree about not staking claims on particular dates, the tone of your disagreement seemed to me to mock the whole concept of a rapture, and to say he’s not coming at all. Perhaps I misread you. If so, I apologize.

  5. peddiebill says:

    I certainly dont accept some of the more bizarre claims about the rapture and I would have to say thus far I have been justified many times over. The tone of my disagreement is admittedly cynical but surely it is focussed on date after date predicted and missed. Surely you would not have me move on to the next claim with a sincere expectation that this next one is the one we should take seriously. If you want me to take the concept of end times seriously please advise me in the following. Since I should presumably do it from a Bible based perspective there are some theoretically sensible alternatives. The top three are probably the Roman Catholic view (which has by far the biggest number of followers – and lots of Bible quotes), the Jehovah’s Wittness point of view on which I have many pages in my library (again with heaps of Bible verses) and the Mormon point of view, again well justified with lots of Bible passages (including some from the Book of Mormon). I personally find the Televangelist versions including detail like being whipped out of moving cars etc a bit flaky and far less knowledgeable about scripture. But of the first three – which at least have the advantage of being agreed by rather large chunks of the Christian Church, which one should I go with? Please dont say all three because they certainly differ in detail.

  6. abhi says:

    There is a fundamental difference between eschatology and escapology. Some people seem to miss the mark entirely.

  7. abhi says:

    Let me expand – eschatology is transformation of the earth below. Escapology is about the evacuation of the earth below.
    Rapture is relatively modern doctrine, developed by a British preacher, completely divorced from the biblical Judeo-Christian tradition.
    However I do accept the parousia which points to hope and renewal of the earth.

    • peddiebill says:

      Good point Abhi, but traditionally working out by analysis that a particular doctrine is flaky and divorced from standard traditional teaching doesnt seem to stop people believing. In fact the curious thing is that even when a prediction fails to materialise, it often has a minimal influence on those who you might expect to abandon a teaching when it is apparently proven to be unsuccessful. Look at the number of times the JWs failed to get it right.

  8. abhi says:

    And the very problem is that people associate prediction with prophecy, they seek to interpret it in a theological framework for their own material benefit. There is something inherently wrong with it.

    • peddiebill says:

      Harold Camping who is the religous genius and self styled prophet who has done the calculations for the 21 May 2011 date may well be getting some material benefit somewhere along the line. But even if he isnt I should admit I have an additional reason for suspecting him as being slightly less than a prophet with a 100% score since this the second time he has done it. His first calculation placed the firm date for the rapture in 1994. I wonder if there is a money back guarantee in the small print!

  9. Judi says:

    Seeking to interpret scripture for material gain is certainly off the mark. Also, focusing on the teachings of man (Catholics, JW, Mormons, whatever) misses the mark. Scripture’s not a magical crystal ball and we can’t look into it for specific dates. God has told us enough to verify His omniscience, not to give it to us. He warns us to stay alert and gives a basic idea of what will happen. I guess you could say we’re on a need to know basis.

    That being said scripture is always fulfilled and so much has already been fulfilled that we are clearly in the last days. But whether Jesus comes now or after I’m gone, I just want to be ready to meet Him.

    It’s true that the concept of a rapture is fairly recent. That gives me some pause too, but it may be that end time scriptures are unfolding more as we get closer. In either case, Jesus is certainly returning. If we must endure the tribulation, God’s grace is sufficient, and if He pulls us out all the better.

    As to which theories you should listen to, you’re only making fun of me to ask since you have no intention of doing so. 🙂 All three groups over emphasize extra biblical materials, and in doing so veer strangely off course from scripture. I encourage you to forget the predictions people make, without mocking or ignoring the predictions of scripture.

  10. peddiebill says:

    Yes, I was teasing. I find it hard to sustain a ponderous and pontifical sincerity for any length of time ( and I suspect from your comments that is your preferred mode of discussion).
    I agree that the Catholics, JWs and Mormons all come across as dogmatically different but the Catholics in particular are very careful and very scholarly in their use of scripture. And no, all three are not really options for me, not because they haven’t read their Bibles very carefully, but just because (in my view) they have seized upon and emphasised parts without apparently seeing the effect on people, and particularly people of other faiths. Perhaps like a number of the Baptists in the Bible Belt, they make the automatic assumption that theirs is the only valid way of looking at the Bible, Christ and Christianity. Those who find no good in other faiths worry me.

  11. abhi says:

    Followers of Popular Christianity today understand eschatology or the end time in terms of destruction and divine cleanup of this world. This means that to them this world is sinful and distorted, therefore one day, soon, world is going to be destroyed and only those who are “Christian” can escape this horrific destruction.

    Two things we get out of this modern understanding of eschatology. Firstly, we accumulate the idea that Jesus is coming back to gather those, who believe in him. Secondly, it suggests the idea of an ethnic cleansing, by the divine violence, whereby Jesus will come with heavenly army to destroy this earth. Furthermore, this destruction will be accompanied by gathering the lost sheep of Israel – meaning those who accepted Jesus as their Lord and saviour, and leaving behind those who are not Christian to suffer in this wicked world.

    What we get according to this understanding is not “eschatology” but “escapology”. By this I mean that somehow escaping this world to get to another world, for that’s where some would have us believe we belong, in other words evacuating this cruel and sinful world for new heaven. In fact many people apparently become Christian so that they can go heaven.

    This particular understanding can take us away from our earthly responsibilities, to care for Gods good creation. After all in the gospel of John we read that “God so loved the world that God gave Gods one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16.

    God is good, and God loves the world because God self has made it. John is not writing that God only loves Christians or God only loves people. Quite differently John is saying that God loves the world, which means, God is interested in everything God has made. To put it simply, God is in love with God’s creation.

    So the question arises, why will God destroy this world? Six time in the Genesis creation narrative God declared that the creation is good, and finally when all was done, God saw everything that God self has made, and indeed, it is very good, (Genesis 1:31).

    Perhaps to remove this serious misunderstanding we must first acknowledge how Jesus and his followers understood eschatology.

    Jesus and his followers communal experience was very much influenced by the imperial injustice and regal control. It is, by putting the words of Jesus within the contextual matrix of Roman Empire we recognize how Jesus himself and his followers understood eschatology.

    Eschatology has its origin in Greek eschata + logos, and it concerns endings or last things.

    But question is what is going to end? If we think that Jewish/ Christian eschatology is about the divine destruction of this physical world, then we definitely have missed the mark. In the KJV bible we find the phrase “end of the world” twice in Matthew 13, verses 39 and 49, and in chapter 24 verses 2 and 20. The Greek term translated there as “world” is aion, from which we get our word eon, meaning period or era. So what is going to end is the era, or period of injustice and violence.

    One thing is for sure, that for us it is effortless to imagine the earth’s devastation because we are participating in it; we already are doing it biologically, chemically, environmentally and in many different forms. Perhaps maybe we really have missed the mark, we are running away from our God given responsibilities to take care of this beautiful creation.

    But for Jesus and his followers eschatology was not about escaping this unjust earth for new heavenly location, rather it was about the transformation that will take place here below on this earth. This transformation begins with one’s participation in the Kingdom of God movement that Jesus initiated. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus never said your will be done in heaven as in earth below, rather he said “Your Kingdom come,Your will be done on earth below as in heaven above”.

    Thus eschatology is about transformation of this earth below from violence to peace, from injustice to Justice, where everyone will have equal amount of material and spiritual possession. Jesus and early Christians not only preached it but they enacted it through their lives. So should we, I believe.

  12. peddiebill says:

    At morning tea this morning I was cynically suggesting we have an office sweep to see who was going to be left amongst us on Sunday after the rapture. One of my unkind colleagues suggested a trap door might be more appropriate for me rather than a rapture hatch in the ceiling. Then another colleague brought us down to Earth (metaphorically speaking) to tell us an item on last night’s TV news showed believers in the May 21 date talking about having their pets euthanased. The sudden realisation that for many it is no joke – and even the thought that some might do the same for children and the elderly, gives such nutty beliefs a rather nasty twist. Perhaps the more rational amongst us should be a little more direct in persuading the public that this 21 May story is a silly and even dangerous tale to be spreading.

  13. Aaron says:

    I thought the following website fits well with your topic. What time was the end of the world supposed to happen again?

    http://livingthequestionsonline.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/jesus-is-coming-look-busy/

    • peddiebill says:

      Oh Dear, here we still are on the morning of 22 May.
      I think I have spotted the flaw in Harold Camping’s detailing reasoning. He said the Rapture would start with an earthquake in New Zealand. Didnt anyone tell him about our time warp and that it is still 1962 in New Zealand. Mind you perhaps I shouldn’t be hasty. When I went for my morning walk there was a missing cat notice down at the Town Centre. Also to be fair no-one has been able to locate Harold Camping – not even the people who took him seriously and sold their houses, cashed in their insurance policies and invested in bill-boards.

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