Jerry Newcombe, senior producer of Coral Ridge Ministries

Jerry Newcombe, senior producer of Coral Ridge Ministries (Courtesy Coral Ridge Ministries)

Editor's note: My last blog post cited one reason -- guarding a brand -- that many Christians have objected to Harold Camping's prediction that the world will end on May 21. Jerry Newcombe offers several others in this essay. Newcombe is the host and senior producer of "The Coral Ridge Hour," based in Fort Lauderdale. -- Jim Davis

Judgment Day on May 21?
Let's Talk It Over -- on May 22!

By Jerry Newcombe

Oh brother, here we go again.

Another false prophet -- dare I say that? -- is predicting exactly when Christ is coming again, even though Jesus Himself said that no man knows the hour of His return, including Himself.

From the early days of the Church to the present day, hundreds of millions of Christians have affirmed, “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.”

But now a group is trying to fear people into thinking they know when Jesus is coming. May 21, 2011 is the day, supposedly, of Christ’s “secret” rapture. (Doesn’t sound too secret to me.)

The latest prophets of doom have managed to get their message out in a series of billboards and bus ads. In my humble opinion: What a waste of money and what a mockery they make of people’s faith. (If the message said simply Judgment Day is coming -- get ready to meet your Maker, then I would whole-heartedly endorse that message. It’s the specific date that’s the problem.)

Do I think Judgment Day is coming on May 21? Well, let’s talk it over, on May 22.

In addition, October 21, 2011, according to these people, is Judgment Day.

Who are “these people”?

The main leader is Harold Camping, who has a network of Christian radio stations. You would think he would be gunshy about setting a date for Christ’s return. He wrote a book about it, predicting that 1994 would be the year.

Another man predicted that Jesus would return in 1988, and he listed 88 reasons for it.

But you can always tell that such predictions are wrong. Why? Because they are setting a date. That violates what Jesus said about His return:

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (24:36-37).

I’m tempted to ask these people who give a specific date: What part of “no” -- as in “No man knows the hour” -- don’t you understand?

I even read one such prophet who said essentially that Christ didn’t tell us the day or the hour of His return, but that doesn’t mean we can’t know the year, the month or the week!

It’s tragic to me that the world looks at such predictions and just laugh, justifiably so, at those who think Christ will return one day.