Most of us roll our eyes when we stumble across an apocalypse
theory. But Family Radio has been proclaiming May 21, 2011, as the
veritable Judgment Day, and the prediction has been getting a lot of
attention. How could the network come up with such a specific date?
NewsFeed crunched the numbers to see if the calculations could
indeed signal the second coming of Christ, using passages from the
New International Version of the Bible.
The Bible lists very few specific dates for events, so calculating
Judgment Day is a daunting task. It takes a healthy leap of faith to
take the Family Radio summation as fact, but if the numbers are
correct — and biblical evidence stands true — Judgment Day could
indeed be upon us on Saturday.
The Great Flood Struck in 4990 B.C.
Family Radio president Howard Camping determined the date of the
flood by cobbling together information from the Bible. Starting with
the exodus of the Jews out of Egypt, commonly thought to have
occurred in 1447 B.C., he counted back through each generation to
form a timeline, reaching the year 4990 B.C. for the flood.
The accuracy of this date is paramount to Camping's argument, but he
seems to be one of a minority group in arriving at this number.
Other biblical scholars say the flood happened around 2000 B.C.
Seven Days' Warning of the Great Flood
“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)
People had seven days to prepare for the great flood — an
apocalyptic event in that time. This number serves as a benchmark.
Seven Days Equals 7,000 Years
“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)
Using the seven-day warning as a benchmark, Camping's calculations
take this passage to heart. He added 7,000 years to the great flood
date of 4990 B.C. (accounting for the fact that Year Zero doesn't
officially exist in the Gregorian calendar we use today) to
determine the date of the next destruction of humanity. But isn't
this number a bit contrived? After all, no other biblical event used
a multiplier of 1,000. So why this one?
Month 2, Day 17
“In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day
of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep
burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.”
(Genesis 7: 11)
The great flood occurred on 17 Iyar of the then standard Hebrew
calendar, which 7,000 years later corresponds to May 21 in 2011.
Taking this evidence into account, Camping and his crew predict that
earthquakes will shake the world at 6 p.m. on May 21. But many
nonbelievers of the prediction, particularly religious ones, refute
Family Radio's claims using other biblical evidence. After all,
would God truly reveal his plans in a calculated manner?
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in
heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24: 36)
And it appears that not even Camping truly knows. After all, he
predicted the same situation before — in 1994 — and 17 years later,
we're still here. He later blamed that failed prediction on a
miscalculation. Will he have to draft a similar excuse after