Fringe Christian Group: 'Christ to Return May 21'

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A fringe Christian group is predicting Jesus Christ will return on Saturday, May 21, and that's caused a big discussion in the Christian community.

The idea that the world will end on a specific date has been the subject of speculation for many years. But many say the Bible is clear on the issue - that no one knows the day or hour of Christ's return.

Author and radio show host Harold Camping is the man behind the idea that Christ will return to earth Saturday.

"Absolutely. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. It's going to happen," Camping said.

He also believes the world will end five months later on October 21.

Camping's radio show is broadcast five nights a week on Family Radio and is translated all over the world. The 89-year-old bases his endtimes prediction on a mathematical system to interpret prophecies hidden in the Bible.

"There's going to be a great earthquake such as never been. It'll be so great that all the tombs everywhere in the world are going to be thrown open. That's going to require a granddaddy earthquake," Camping explained.

Many of Camping's followers are convinced his theory is true and are warning everyone about the world's demise.

They have spent millions of dollars on billboard advertisements announcing that the rapture will take place on Saturday.

Some people don't know what to make of the end of the world warning.

"I don't really have that much thoughts about it. If it's true, it's true. If it's not, it's not. I'm still going to try to look for a job," Alexander Barnett said.

"To say something like that is to scare people. I don't know if it's right to do that," said Roseanne Beebe of Pittsburg, Pa.

Many in the Christian community disagree with Camping's theology.

"I wish he could come today, but based on the authority of scripture, the Bible says no man knows. Even Jesus when he walked the face of the earth as the Son of Man didn't know. Only the heavenly Father knows," said Joe Abraham of Cleveland, Ohio.

One Fresno, Calif. pastor has launched a series of teachings on the end times because of all the talk about Judgment Day.

"My personal opinion is when somebody predicts a specific day, the Lord says, 'I will not come back on that day,'" said Jan Van Oosten of the New Covenant Community Church.

Vinson Synan, professor of church history at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. told CBN News that according to the Bible, no man knows when Jesus will return.

"The answer is found in Matthew 24:36," he said. "'But of that day and hour no one knows.' That means no one on earth -- not even the angels of heaven. Some translations say or Son but my Father only. Only the father knows the day and the hour when Jesus will return and when the world ends."

Synan says predictions like Camping's give the Christian church a bad name.

"To the unbelieving world, it makes the church look silly, especially people who have no understanding of scriptures. Christians become a laughing stock because people like Harold Camping are violating what they know in scripture," he explained.

Camping mistakenly made a similar prediction back in 1994. He says he miscalculated his findings at that time. But no matter the date, some sum it up another way.

"Rather than panic or get overly excited just draw near to Jesus today. Let Him love on you today and He'll bring you home when it's time," Abraham said.

"But just be ready," said Wanda Ward. "He said, 'Be ready.'"

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.