We’ve blogged about how radio preacher Harold Camping is predicting that Christ will return on May 21 of this year. Journalist Kimberly Winston interviewed Mr. Camping and asked him how he calculated the date with such precision:
If preacher Harold Camping is right, that’s the exact date Jesus will return and the righteous will fly up to heaven, leaving behind only their clothes.
That will be followed by five months of fire, brimstone and plagues, with millions of people dying each day and corpses piling in the streets. Finally, on Oct. 21, the world ends exactly as the Book of Revelation says it will — with a bottomless pit, a lake of fire and, at last, a new heaven and new earth. . . .
Asked how he arrived at the date, he opened his Bible to Genesis and said Noah loaded animals into the ark in 4990 B.C., a number he said he arrived at years ago after looking at carbon dating, tree rings and other data. Paging forward to 2 Peter, he read aloud, “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years is one day.”
Leafing back to Genesis, he said that the seven days Noah spent loading the ark was really 7,000 years. He then added 7,000 to 4990 B.C to arrive at 2010. He added one more year, he said, because there is no year one in the Bible.
As for the exact date of May 21, he pointed again to Genesis, which says the flood began on the “17th day of the second month.” According to the Jewish calendar, which he believes God uses, that is May 21.
“Now I am telling you, that gets pretty heavy when you see this coming right out of the Bible,” he said, looking up from his Bible’s dog-eared pages.
But. . .but. . .What connection does Noah’s ark and the number of days it took to bring in the animals have with the return of Christ? I know, the parallels with God’s first destruction of the world, but that can hardly be definitive, especially since God told us that He won’t destroy the world like He did last time. And how does Mr. Camping know the exact date of the flood? By carbon dating? Of what? And doesn’t he know that those dates are not precise to the year? And. . .Well, even accepting his premises, I don’t understand how he and his thousands of followers are so sure of his numbers.
At any rate, his claim is meaningful because it is falsifiable. We’ll know very soon if he is right or wrong.