Saturday, May 21st – Judgment Day?

May 19th, 2011 | By | Category: Blog Posts

If you haven’t already heard, it sounds like Saturday will be the end of the world. The Bible is actually quite clear about this. You see, God told Noah that he had seven days until the flood would begin (Gen. 7:4). We know that the ark represents safety in Christ and that for God, one day is a thousand years and a thousand years is a day (2 Peter 3:8). Then, from the genealogies in Scripture, we know that Saturday will be exactly 7000 years since the flood. Hence, it will be Judgment Day. True, the all-knowing incarnate God said that he himself said he did not know the day or the hour (Matt 24:36), but then again, he did not have the precision of modern math or the insight of dispensational theology. – This is essentially the argument I heard from a radio preacher driving home the other day.

All the hype about Saturday might provide a good opportunity to point out that the Catholic Church and Reformed theology share quite a bit of theological overlap in their understanding of eschatology, and especially the millennium referred to in Revelation 20. We both celebrate the “realized-eschatology” inaugurated in the 1st coming of Christ and we both reject millennial views that deny the clear NT teaching that believers are to share in the suffering of Christ (Phil 3:10). We also share the belief that those who preach that Saturday is Judgment Day are misinformed. We do not think this because they believe in a literal second coming of Christ, for we believe this as well. We believe they are misinformed because they have the audacity to think that they know what Christ did not!  Saturday may very well be Judgment Day, just as any other day may be Judgment Day.  We do not know.

This also provides a good opportunity to restate one of our main beliefs here at Called to Communion. We believe God established a Magisterium to authentically interpret Scripture and preserve the Apostolic faith handed down from the Apostles. When individuals reject this Magisterium and put themselves in its place as the ultimate interpreter of Scripture, disorder and confusion are bound to be the result. All the hype about Saturday should serve as a sad reminder to Protestants, that the Reformation, despite what may have been good intentions, has unleashed incredible confusion into the world.

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  1. s tempting as it may be to simply dismiss such groups, I nevertheless believe that there is something mainstream Christians (both Catholic and Reformed) can learn from people like this with such a focus on the immediacy of Christ’s return.

    What if this group actually is right and they just happened to pick the right day? Jesus may not return on May 21st, but I’m certain that a good number of people across the globe will shuffle off their respective mortal coils and go to meet their Maker, one way or another.

    If the Lord came tonight, would He find us sleeping? Do we procrastinate in following his commands? Do we put off going to Confession until next week? Do we delay in reconciling with one another under the misguided belief that we’ll “have time to do that later”? This is the lesson I think we can learn from such fringe groups:

    Don’t think that you have all the time in the world – you don’t. Jesus is coming soon…

    “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” – Matthew 24:42-44

  2. I can see the article already: “Catholic Blogger Supportive of Family Radio Prediction: ‘Saturday may very well be Judgment Day,’ concluded Mr Tate.”

  3. Ha, nice Juan, maybe I should reword that!

  4. Restless Pilgrim,

    Interesting point. I think you’re right that these groups do at least get people to think and consider how they will stand before God. I am convinced that they are also extremely misinformed, to the point that they will not even be swayed by the words of Christ.

    Peace in Christ, Jeremy

  5. Oh come on, you know that if Jesus really was planning to come back on May 21, he has now changed it. I mean, God can’t let Harold Camping be right, even by accident.

  6. JJS – I think I’ve just found the way of perpetually delaying Judgement Day! ;-)

  7. LOVE IT guys!

    Excellent article!

  8. I wonder how they have considered time zones in their prophecy? If it is May 21 in California isn’t it already the 22nd in China?

  9. My biggest concern for those who have bought into this is the after-shock. Sadly, though I pray not, many will be left having lost whatever faith they had.

  10. The problem is that the OT calander is based on the Lunar year and the Gregorian is based on the solar.

    Perhaps its better to be GOA old calanderists, they may get an extra 13 days so if Camping is correct they have more time to repent.

  11. Live blogging from EST in Florida: 14 hours and 3 minutes into it…kids still in beds napping (checked twice), evangelical-rapture ready grandma at home, no reports of any empty swing sets or unmanned cars careening into trees or highly populated outdoor areas. A bird has been reported to have fallen out of the sky. Not sure what that means. Gotta go, I think I hear one of my kids…

  12. Tom (re:#8),

    I agree completely. People are laughing about this situation– Catholic, Protestant, perhaps some Orthodox as well–, and there is certainly a tragicomic aspect to it, but I can’t think about it as, primarily, in the short run, anything but a tragedy.. albeit one which may bring some people to an understanding of the need for a visible, authoritative, divinely ordained teaching authority to interpret the Scriptures.. which, in the long run, if it leads people Home to the Church, will be a cause for great rejoicing.

  13. I’m interested to hear the explanation tomorrow of how he got it wrong (again). I suppose it will be back to the Good Book to make more calculations. At 89 he really doesn’t have that much time left to come up with a new date. I think the Jehovah’s Witnesses have realized that it doesn’t do to make predictions about the end of the world, but there always seems to be someone willing to give it a try….”when will they ever learn?”

  14. ? Did ol’ HC sell off all of his possessions before R-Day, just like many of his followers did? I’m willing to bet he did not! LOL!

  15. There has been some debate about the timing of this ending…and FYI, this rapture will be happening at GFT. I have this on good authority and I am quite confident in it. I mean…who wouldn’t be confident on God the Father’s Time?

  16. Sean, Gotta love the time zone connection….How about those poor guys on the shuttle? I mean, they aren’t on the earth as it spins through its day/night revolutions? I suppose at this time it is academic, but maybe they were the only ones who went through the rapture and if they weren’t Christians…Wait, this is twisted logic, but then again…

  17. Harold Camping is actually fulfilling prophesy with his false prophecy. St. Peter made this prophecy about the last days:

    First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation.”

    There will be scoffing in the last day because of false prophets such as Harold Camping. The scoffers will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? We have heard these Second Coming predictions so many times before and he has never come …”

  18. Well, maybe now that May 21st came and went and we are all here in the flesh and blood, perhaps the followers of this Harold Camping will see the light and come over to the real Church. Somehow I doubt it. If these people were able to swallow this doomsday nonsense, then they will probably be guillable to accept whatever explanation he offers.

  19. Concerning the Rapture and the Liturgy: J. Andrew Deane wrote something on the “already” tip of “already-not-yet” eschatology. That was towards the end of last Summer, and I can affirm that his prediction has hence come to pass many times. Here is the link:

    I Believe in the Rapture–and it Happens Very Often

  20. I saw something at Drudge this morning that evoked a memory.

    When I was reading about William Miller and his belief that the Rapture or the Apocalypse would occur in 1843, I remembered reading that a lot of people had sold everything, paid their bills off, and were standing outside waiting for Jesus’ return.

    This morning, reading Drudge, someone had interviewed some of the people who bought Camping’s prognostication. One guy had quit his job, sent some money to Camping’s ministry (what they would need with that if the Apocalypse occurred is beyond me), and spread the word. His mother was right there with him, switching between various cable news channels looking for the end.

    Another young man had decided to forgo getting his high school degree because he could not see a need for it.


    I think Harold Camping will have some explaining to do. But not to me. I am still employed and tithed to my parish yesterday.


  21. Donald Todd,
    It’s most likely that the people who donated money to Harold Camping thought that their final contributions might help Mr. Camping spread the Gospel (or at least their vision of it) to as many people as possible. They probably sought to do good by it, and didn’t think Mr. Camping was going to use their money for his own benefit (I don’t know Mr. Camping but hopefully he strives to return some of that money to those persons).

    The fact that so many people relied and lost so much on Mr. Camping’s predictions is disheartening, and we ought to pray for them.

    God bless,
    Steven Reyes

  22. re 17


    If I offended you, my apology. That was not the intent.

    The mindset involved in this is rather common in parts of evangelicalism, fundamentalism and pentecostalism. William Miller’s stated position has taken root and brought forth a flower that is now a perennial bloom. There is a belief that the Late Great Planet Earth is a pending fact. Whole sects are built on this idea, as Camping and his followers attest.

    I read that Camping’s ministry was worth about $72.0M. I haven’t read the specifics of his business plan so I don’t know how charitable needs are handled. Hopefully you are right about his ministry returning some money to those who contributed to it. Whatever their faults, they were offering the money to God, which is a charitable impulse. What will happen to that money remains to be seen.

    Having read the histories of various groups making claims that Jesus’ return is imminent, I was reminded of the consideration that there are a few descriptions of insanity. One is trying to do the same thing repeatedly in the face of the fact that it does not work, and the other I have to credit to GK Chesterton who noted an insanity where people are trapped in the orbit of a single idea.

    Hal Lindsay, whose prophetic vision of the end of the age was described in the book the Late Great Planet Earth, is still peddling the end of the age, 23 years after a spectacular lack of success with a very popular book. He is not alone in this endeavor. I have watched various preachers grow old pitching our Lord’s return every time something new happens in the Middle East. Some now dye their hair which perhaps keeps them younger for their audience, and helps hide the fact that they are growing old looking for something that they believe should already have happened. I don’t contribute to them and have a difficult time even listening to them anymore but do see some of them when I am channel surfing.

    I actually do pray for them daily. I don’t ask or demand specifics of God in His dealings with these people since, as a Catholic, I actually believe that whatever He does will be much more sufficient than anything I would do and because barring a conversion to the Truth, I haven’t a clue how to get through to them. God help them. It certainly appears to be something well beyond me.



  23. Donald Todd,
    Oh no, you didn’t offend me, sorry if I came off that way. I was just sort of trying to advocate the other side of the story of how tragic it is that a lot of people might lose their faith and have lost their money to this man’s prediction. (I’m Catholic too) Maybe somebody could ask their local parish priest to offer mass for those individuals who were so scandalized by the failed predictions.

    God bless,
    Steven Reyes

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