The World Will End on May 21st ... Really?!?!

Unless you have lived in a cave for the last 30 days, you know that small, but organized Christian groups are setting up bill-boards and driving around the country warning people that the end of the world as we know it will occur on May 21st of 2011. As I am writing this blog post, we are 2 days away from our projected doom – and I have 2 questions that I can’t get away from: 1.) What possesses large groups of people to go into a state of temporary insanity like this, and 2.) What happens when all of them wake up on May 22nd and the world is still here? It will be interesting to see what the news media records in answer to these 2 questions. Regardless of what they report, I will answer these 2 questions the best that I can below.

Why do so many people believe that the end is near, and why have they begun to do things like quit their jobs and travel the country?

I think that 2 factors come into play here. First, people are hungry for someone or something to believe in. We all have an innate desire to make sense of the world around us. Much of the suffering that takes place can seem to random and cruel. But what if all of a sudden there sprang up a leader who could manipulate something that you already believed in (the Bible) and transcribe a pseudo-religion wherein it was commanded that in order to be thought of by God as “Elect”, you would need to do things like leave your church, quit your job, and spread the word? Sound familiar? (Remember Waco) I think in one regard, this is exactly what has happened. I have listened to people like Steve Brooks from Boone Bible Ministries talk about the May 21st deadline. They are eloquent and intelligent. If you didn’t know your Bible, you may in fact be drawn in.

Second, the Bible itself does tell us that groups and movements like this will occur more and more frequently as time goes on. Jesus tells us plainly in Matthew 24:4-5, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” And again later in the same chapter He says, “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.” There have in fact been many groups and people that have thought they were the end time prophet, or even Jesus himself! (see my other blog post Million Dollar Mansions and False Messiahs). All of this business is interesting and confusing, but none of it is new to God.

What happens when all of these people wake up on May 22nd, and the world is still here?

This is the bigger problem. The news media loves a good story where Christians look silly or stupid. And believe me friend, this is one of them. Damage is being done. If your friend or family member already thinks you are a bit strange for believing in the Bible, this business has not helped your case. Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are laughing together somewhere right now. But what about all of those well-meaning folks that actually DO believe that they are performing a service for God? I’m afraid there can be only one outcome. They will be disheartened, angry, upset, feeling led astray, and worst of all – their faith may be shaken.

It doesn’t matter if their leaders attempt to back-peddle by saying things like, “well we must have miscalculated” … or “God must have changed His mind.” It won’t matter if they suddenly remember that the Bible says expressly that it is not given unto man - or even the angels in Heaven - to know the hour or the day that the end will come. The damage will already be done. These folks will wake up jobless, disillusioned, and embarrassed.

I would not want to be the one heading up this march. I would have a lot to answer for. Let’s just hope that no one decides to drink the cool-aid, if it is offered. On May 22nd there will be disappointment, but also I think, some relief. Now we can go back to reading our Bibles with the Scriptures rightly divided. Just remember, be nice to these people. At least they are doing something with what they believe in, however misguided it may be!



  1. I have yet to personally meet any Christians who actually believe the world is ending May 21 since scripture clearly states that no one can predict this. There is obviously a group of "Christians" who follow this theory, but I wonder about the actual size of the group.

    Bottom line: it's sad that, out of all of the great ways Christians are impacting the world around them, the May 21 prediction is why Christians are in the news headlines right now.


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