16th May, 2011
Nigerian pastors have dismissed the prophecy that the world will come to an end on Saturday 21 May 2011 with the Rapture of Christians taking place that day.
Harold Camping, Christian Radio host and President, Family Radio Christian Network, Oakland , California predicted that the Rapture, which Christians believe, is the taking up into heaven of Godâ€™s elect people, would take place on 21 May, 2011, five days from now.
Camping, in his prediction tagged: Judgment Day on 21 May, 2011 said the rapture would be the first phase and would take place that day while the world would end five months later on 21 October, 2011.
He claims the Bible as his source and says 21 May will be the date of the Rapture and the day of judgment â€œbeyond the shadow of a doubtâ€ while his followers claimed that around 200 million people (approximately 3% of the worldâ€™s population) would be raptured.
Campingâ€™s prediction has spread around the world, including Nigeria, with lots of his followers telling people to repent of their sins as the rapture would certainly take place on Saturday and that God had said in the Bible that the world would end after 7, 000 years, which is on 21 May 2011.
Five days to Campingâ€™s prediction to come to pass, many Christian groups have dismissed it as a mere fallacy and a figment of his imagination.
Campingâ€™s critics punctured his prediction by quoting Matthew 24:36 to buttress the fact that he was preaching heresy and branded him a false prophet.
The passage quoted by his critics read: But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father (God) only.
Dr. Ola Makinde, Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria simply waved aside the prediction, saying that â€œhe is not the first person to say that. These are the signs of the end of time.
â€œHe is a false prophet. The Bible says nobody knows the time and the hour the rapture will take place; people should beware of such people. The man is one of the false prophets of the end of time. It is only God who knows when the rapture will take place.â€
Pastor Akin Fasawe of the Wonderland Christ Assembly, Oshodi, Lagos, South West Nigeria said it was not possible for the rapture to take place on Saturday as predicted by Camping.
â€œIt is not possible because the Bible says that the Lord will come as a thief in the night. These are just signs of the end of time. No specific time is given and nobody knows the time,â€ he said.
Pastor Adegboye Arogbodo of Christ Embassy denounced the prediction that the rapture would take place on Saturday, saying that â€œI know it canâ€™t be the time because no man knows the time the Lord will come.
â€œFor any pastor to be saying that shows it is a false prediction or prophecy. Many said it before but we know it is beyond human knowledge.â€
â€œI donâ€™t believe that the rapture will take place on Saturday because the day, according to the Bible, is not known by anybody. No servant or minister of God knows the time,â€ said Rev. Sam Ogedengbe, National President, All Christian Leaders and Ministers Forum, ACLMF.
According to him, â€œthe Lord will come like a thief in the night. Definitely, the end will come and the rapture will take place but nobody knows the time it will happen. These are the signs of the end of time.â€
As for Pastor Akin Akande of the Men of Purpose Ministry, â€œit is not possible for it to happen. The Bible did not tell us the specific date. It is anti-scriptural. This is false prophecy.â€
Also, Pastor Abraham Ojutalayo of the New World Evangelical Church dismissed the prediction, saying that it was not possible for such prediction to come to pass as the Bible says no man knows the time it would happen.
â€œNo one knows when the rapture will take place. These are simply signs of the end of time. This is false prophecy,â€ he stated.