Some Christians in the Central Oregon area and many around the world are looking forward to an important event today, May 21, 2011. Saturday, May 21 has been predicted by Harold Camping, a Christian radio Broadcaster and president of Family Radio, a Christian based broadcasting network. 1
Websites, including Family Radio, and billboards around the United States and world abound waiting for the return of Jesus. 2 A man from NYC even spent $140,000 of his retirement savings on an ad campaign around the city to promote Judgment Day. 3
Harold Camping uses Bible based numerology to predict dates for the Rapture and end of the world. He previously predicted this would occur on September 1994 but claims he miscalculated. He believes that the Rapture will happen today and claims that on October 21, five months from now, God will destroy the Earth and universe.
This is not the first time the rapture has been predicted and if it fails to come true, it will also not be the first failure. Notable predictions that failed in the past are numerous, including four predictions by Jehovah Witnesses. 4
There is one problem with the rapture happening soon or in the future. It is an argument based on biblical scripture that Christians either misinterpret or misrepresent to avoid admitting its real meaning. Evidence from the bible undermines Christian doctrine and apologists go to a great length to avoid rationalizing and admitting it. Among the scriptures there is evidence that refutes any proclamation of Jesus’s Second Coming any time soon or in the future.
The New Testament gives us a specific time of when Judgment Day occurs: during the lifetime of those to whom Jesus was speaking (i.e., those who were standing among him).
Jesus claimed several times that those to whom he was speaking (those alive among him) would not see death until they saw God’s Kingdom coming and that their generation would not pass until the signs of the his Second Coming were fulfilled.
Matthew 8:34-9:1 starts with Jesus talking about those who give up their earthly life to follow him for eternal life will find it, but those who want to save their life to gain the world will lose it. He goes on to say that when he returns, he will be ashamed of those who are ashamed of him. Then he concludes in 9:1, “That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.”
Likewise, Matthew 16:24-28 begins with Jesus elaborating on losing and saving one’s life. He tells us that the Son of man will reward every man according to his works. He then adds, “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
Luke 9:23-27 is almost identical to Matthew 8 and Jesus finishes with “But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.”
There is another repeated warning.
Mark 13:24-30 Jesus describes signs of the end times and tells his audience that when they see these signs pass to know that the end is near. He concludes, “Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.”
Matthew 24:29-34 restates Mark 13 and ends the same, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”
Luke 21:25-32 repeats the signs and warnings and Jesus says, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.”
Some Christians try to dispute this by claiming that the generation it is referring to is not the one Jesus is not people Jesus is speaking to, but the one that will be living when these things happen. They claim that he is just saying that some people will be alive when these things occur. This is an illogical and ridiculous attempt of apologetics to avoid the real meaning of the text. The events themselves require living people to notice them; it would be meaningless to be so redundant.
Christians often quote Mark 13:32 that tells that no one, not even angels or Jesus, knows the specific day or hour, except God. This causes two problems. It shows that Jesus is not omniscient and is one of many scriptures that tell us Jesus is separate from, and cannot be one with, God.
Matthew 10:5-7, 23 Jesus tells his disciples to not preach to Gentiles or Samaritans, but to go to the lost sheep of Israel to tell them “the kingdom is at hand.” Jesus tells them that they shall not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of man comes.
The theme of the New Testament is the end was very near and believers should not bother themselves with the cares of the world or tomorrow but prepare for the end which was vastly approaching. We find Paul reiterates this idea.
We can conclude from the given biblical scriptural evidence that the end of times was to occur during the lifetimes of some of those to whom Jesus was speaking to that were standing with him. There is no way around the clear meaning and so it is vain for present day Christians to be awaiting Jesus’s return. It can also be concluded that Jesus’s message was only for the Jews and salvation is not meant for the rest of us.
Jesus did not give a specific day or hour, but he did give a specific time, which was during the lifetime of some of those who were listening to his words first hand.
There are a few other attempted arguments to try to avoid admitting this evidence that devastates Christian doctrine, but they are irrelevant and have no merits. Even if the bible were true, it undermines Christian doctrine because they have taken it out of context.