Family Radio’s message reached me via the Internet first, but I didn’t realize they had one of their billboards right near our house:
So, I decided to explore their beliefs and learn exactly what they are saying. Why do they believe the judgment will come on May 21st?
Basically, they claim three different pieces of information work together: the date of the flood, the 7 day waiting period, and a 1,000 year measure. So, the formula from the Family Radio website is:
4990 + 2011 – 1 = 7,000
Let me explore each of the pieces in detail.
The Flood Date
According to Family Radio’s Judgement publication, the May 21st date is first based on their date of Noah’s flood. According to that article and the No Man Know’s article, Family Radio claims that the flood occurred in 4990 BC. Family Radio claims some new knowledge of this date came up in the past 35 years.
In my opinion, I would rather believe the figure from Answers in Genesis: 2304 BC. Their article entitled The Date of the Flood very clearly describes how they arrive at such a year. That date is based on Christ’s Birth, the Exodus from Egypt, Galatians 3:7 time frame between the Exodus and Abaraham, and the genealogy of Abraham’s family from Genesis 11. Also, the Answers in Genesis article discusses a margin of error of +/- 12 years rather than claiming to know the exact date.
The next figure used by Family Radio is the 7 days from the story of Noah’s Ark. You can read about it in Genesis 7:
KJV: Genesis 7:4. For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth
Basically, here’s what happened. God tells Noah to build a boat that will fit each type of animal to preserve life through this flood. Once Noah’s job is done and all of the animals are safely on board, they wait for seven days while nothing happens. I can only imagine the reaction of the people watching this crazy man sitting in a boat on the middle of dry land! Remember, they haven’t seen rain yet because God created the Earth to water itself by seeping up from underground springs.
Now, the New Testament does compare the flood in Noah’s day to the judgment to come when God finally declares an end for our Earth. For example, he says that a small percentage of the world was saved during the days of the flood and so will a small percentage be saved from the final destruction of the Earth.
KJV: I Peter 3:20. Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
One of the rules with symbolism though is that you should not base doctrine on it. Symbolism can help clarify something, but you can carry it too far. The flood is used as a word picture to illustrate a point. That doesn’t mean that it is a model to scale of exactly what will happen in the days to come. So, if the 7 days is to correlate with the time we wait for the final judgment, I believe we need another verse in the New Testament that teaches that more clearly. Can anyone point me to such as verse?
1,000 Years Per Day
Finally, Family Radio points out that Peter links a thousands years with 1 day:
KJV: II Peter 3:8. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
I would argue that Peter isn’t trying to set forth a time frame. He is explaining that God works outside of the bounds of time. Waiting thousands of years is no big deal for a God not bound by time. We are not to get impatient or lose our faith as our time flies by. God will keep His promises and prophecies in His time.
This view fits much better with the following verses. Peter says that the judgment day will come by surprise:
KJV: II Peter 3:10. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
I have to admit that Family Radio makes a logical argument for their date of the end of the world. But, I have to disagree. First, I don’t agree with their foundation date, the date of the flood. I don’t even understand how you can be so confident as to nail that down to an exact year much less and exact day.
Then, the following figures are based on symbolism. Can you really be confident enough to give away your savings based on an interpretation? What if the word picture doesn’t stretch that far?
This is one of saddest quotes from Family Radio’s website:
The conclusion that simply believing in Christ will result in salvation is completely impossible
It comes from Harold Camp’s publication called “I Hope God Will Save Me“. Instead, Family Radio turns to the story of Jonah and asks us to cry for mercy. This just leaves us with a thread of a hope that we have any chance in this judgment!
The way I read the Bible, Jesus came to Earth so that we could be freed from our bondage of sin that must be punished:
KJV: Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
If believing is an act that cannot save us, why does Romans 10:9 claim we can be saved by faith in Jesus?
KJV: Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
My belief is not a mere hope that maybe God will spare me when I don’t deserve it. It is something I know I can claim based on these promises. That is what the gospel is all about — the “Good News”.