Camping’s Family Radio’s website “proves” through some dizzying mathematics that Jesus will come to usher in the eschaton (the end of time).

Here are three reasons I gave why the world will (most likely) not end on May 21, 2011:

"> It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) | Forum for Theological Exploration

It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

By: Rev. Alan R. Rudnick
May 20, 2011

REM’s musical lyric: “It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine” describes the way I feel today. Today, millions of people seriously doubt that the world will end tomorrow, as predicted by Harold Camping. Camping’s Family Radio’s website “proves” through some dizzying mathematics that Jesus will come to usher in the eschaton (the end of time).

People are throwing end of the world parties as a way to celebrate the dubious prediction. Recently I was interviewed by Albany’s WTEN news cameras as a way to counter all the news hype. They asked, So, is the world going to end on May 21, 2011?

Here are three reasons I gave why the world will (most likely) not end on May 21, 2011:

1. No one knows the date when the world will end.

Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.” (Mark 13:32). Jesus was not cryptic about this. Since Jesus left the earth people have claimed he was to come back soon. Every generation claimed that their generation was the “time”. Through the Black Death in Europe, the Crusades, World War I, and World War II. And each time, people claimed that they “know” Jesus will return. Christ tells us that no one can know God’s plan – even the Son himself!

2. God’s word is not a mathematical formula.

Anyone can come up with a date, event, or time from the Bible and prove whatever they want. Counting backwards, forwards, by 7′s, or using algebra cannot produce anything definitive regarding the end of the world. The Bible is not a math equation that we must figure out. It is a story about how God and God’s people lived and struggled with their faith. Out of many scriptures that proclaim what God’s word is, Hebrews 4:13-14 is the clearest: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.”

3. Trying to interpret an end time often ignores the context of time.

The Apostle Peter wrote, “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. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.” (2 Peter 3:8) The biblical concept of a “day” differs depending on the context. Believe it or not, the Bible was not originally written in the King’s English. Shocker, I know. It was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. In Genesis, for example, the word yom is used to describe a day, an era, a span of time, an amount of time, evening, years, or forever (among other things). Certain scriptures are used to prove the number of days from an event or span of time till the end of time. However, context is required to understand if the time or yom is past, present, or future. Jesus told us to be watchful – not complacent or excited for the end of days. It is clear from scripture that the Jesus will come again, but it is unclear when it will happen. However, Jesus spoke more about discipleship, evangelism, feeding the poor, uplifting the lowly, loving God, and loving our neighbors than about the end of the world.

So there you have it. Take comfort in knowing that the world will not end.

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Rev. Alan Rudnick is the pastor of The First Baptist Church of Ballston Spa. He was a TiM participant with the Lewis Fellows. He is also a Albany, NY Times Union blogger and faith based social media practitioner. Look for his book on associate pastor ministry in 2012 with Judson Press.

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