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” (CNN.com, “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 and verses 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:
The Bible does teach a flight of the saints prior to the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:20), and their protection for 3½ years (Revelation 12:14) in “the wilderness,” or eremos in the Greek. Eremos refers to a rocky, harsh, desert landscape on this earth—not 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 lightning 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.
To learn more about how to distinguish between truth and error regarding the events leading up to Christ’s return, please read Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return, and request the free DVD, “2012: Mystery and Truth.”