I can’t resist a challenge. So when I read this in the Tennessean newspaper, I knew I had to leap into the fray:

There are 24 shopping days left till Christmas.

And 171 days left until Jesus’ second coming.

That’s the message on 40 billboards around Nashville, proclaiming May 21, 2011, as the date of the Rapture. Billboards are up in eight other U.S. cities, too.

Fans of Family Radio Inc., a nationwide Christian network, paid for the billboards. Family Radio’s founder, Harold Camping, predicted the May date for the Rapture.

Tom Evans, a spokesman for Family Radio, insisted the predictions are true, and he and other Family Radio supporters want to save their friends and neighbors from God’s judgments. The billboards are also up in Louisville, St. Louis, Detroit, Little Rock, Omaha, Kansas City, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Bridgeport, Conn. In cities with Family Radio-affiliated stations, the message is on the air.

The latest prediction comes from a verse in Luke 17: “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man.”

It’s a matter of simple math, said Evans.

According to Camping’s prediction, the Rapture will happen exactly 7,000 years from the date that God first warned people about the flood. He said the flood happened in 4990 B.C., on what would have been May 21 in the modern calendar. God gave Noah one week of warning.

Since one day equals 1,000 years for God, that means there was a 7,000-year interval between the flood and rapture.

“We hope that anyone would get a Bible out and try and prove that this is wrong,” he said.

So I sat here pondering this question. Is there anything in the Bible that would prove this wrong? Where could it be? I thought and thought, bringing all of my limited knowledge of Scripture to bear. And then, approximately one-tenth of one second later, it hit me:

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Jesus, in Matthew 24:36)

Any questions?

(Via Mark Shea.)