Moment of Zen: The Rapture

It’s a complicated business calculating the precise date of the end of the world. There’s the Great Flood to consider, which may have happened around 4990BC, depending on who’s estimating. And the timing of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Then there’s a bit of math that involves equating one day to 1,000 years.
Do all that and it turns out that Armageddon will begin at 6pm on Saturday. That is, if Harold Camping has got his calculations and his reading of the Book of Ezekiel right.

The 89-year-old doomsday prophet, a former engineer, has prompted a tide of expectation, elation and derision after persuading listeners to his Family Radio Worldwide across the US and as far away as the Philippines to sell up everything and prepare for the beginning of the end of the world with the second coming of Jesus.

If all goes according to plan, those who have been “saved” by Jesus will rise into the air in the Rapture and look down as God smites billions of nonbelievers with a great earthquake rolling from city to city across the planet, and a bit of fire to boot.

Judgment day will begin at 6pm wherever you are. The mayhem will move west over the planet, wiping out cities, towns and villages.

In the US, some believers have given up their jobs and donated money they think they will no longer need to pay for more than 2,000 billboards across the country proclaiming “Judgment Day: May 21, 2011 – Cry mightily unto God. THE BIBLE GUARANTEES IT!”

Camping previously predicted that the end of the world would be in 1994. He blames that on an error in the math but says he has it right this time. “There is no possibility that it will not happen because our information comes from the Bible,” he told the Philadelphia Daily News.

Besides his mathematical formula, Camping has conjured up more “evidence” that doomsday looms. He has pointed to the re-establishment of Israel – which some Christians believe is a prerequisite for the second coming of Jesus and the Rapture – as a sign from God “that the world is getting near its end”. He has said that the earthquake and tsunami in Japan were a divinely organized foretaste of what awaits most of humanity.

Camping has also said that “gay pride” and same-sex marriage are “a sign from God that judgment day is very near”. “No sign is as dramatic and clear as the phenomenal worldwide success of the Gay Pride movement. In the Bible God describes His involvement with this dramatic movement … We will learn that the Gay Pride movement would successfully develop as a sign to the world that Judgment Day was about to occur,” he writes.

I, for one, will be standing outside when 6pm comes today.  I don’t want to hit my head on my way to heaven, LOL. This will also be my last post if the Rapture occurs;  so I will say goodbye to you all and will say hello again once we are in Heaven together.

Though this post is done with humor, Harold Camping does believe he has predicted the end of the world, which will actually come five months after the “Rapture” on October 21, 2011.  I am a Christian, and I tend to believe the Bible:

Matthew 24:36

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Mark 13:31-32

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.  But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

Therefore. I just can’t take these predictions seriously.  I also don’t believe in a literal “rapture” as described by those who say we will be flown up into heaven.

Some notable rapture predictions include the following:

  • 1844 – William Miller predicted Christ would return between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844, then revised his prediction, claiming to have miscalculated Scripture, to October 22, 1844. The realization that the predictions were incorrect resulted in a Great Disappointment. Miller’s theology gave rise to the Advent movement. The Baha’is believe that Christ did return as Miller predicted in 1844, with the advent of The Báb, and numerous Miller-like prophetic predictions from many religions are given in William Sears book, Thief in The Night.
  • 1914, 1918, 1925, 1942 – Dates set for the end by the Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • 1981 – Chuck Smith predicted that Jesus would probably return by 1981.
  • 1988 – Publication of 88 Reasons why the Rapture is in 1988, by Edgar C. Whisenant.
  • 1989 – Publication of The final shout: Rapture report 1989, by Edgar Whisenant. More predictions by this author appeared for 1992, 1995, and other years.
  • 1992 – Korean group “Mission for the Coming Days” predicted October 28, 1992 as the date for the rapture.
  • 1993 – Seven years before the year 2000. The rapture would have to start to allow for seven years of the Tribulation before the Return in 2000. Multiple predictions.
  • 1994 – Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church in Los Angeles predicted June 9, 1994. Radio evangelist Harold Camping predicted September 6, 1994.
  • 2011 – Harold Camping’s revised prediction has May 21, 2011 as the date of the rapture.
  • 2060 – Sir Isaac Newton proposed, based upon his calculations using figures from the book of Daniel, that the Apocalypse could happen no earlier than 2060.


About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

7 responses to “Moment of Zen: The Rapture

  • Vilges Suola

    It's 19.09 here and life goes on. I had hoped the fundies might indeed have been swept aloft and out of our lives, but no such luck. We're stuck with them.

  • jaygeemmm

    I tend to agree with you, Joe. As a Christian, I take the literal with a grain of salt. Once again, one person (or a group of people) have taken one verse or section, and twisted it to their own wants/needs, completely ignoring the other verses that you cite. I have to wonder what all those broke people are going to do on Monday, and how he will explain it away this time! I mean, cmon folks, scientific calculators ought to make the math easy!Peace <3Jay

  • fan of casey

    Joe: I'm not sure I understand why people have to sell everything — they can't take the money with them to heaven. And I don't understand why they have to give their stuff away either.

  • JoeBlow

    VS, I'm still here, but it might have been nice to get rid of some fanatics.Jay, you'd think they could do the math, especially since the guy was an engineer. Oh well, who knows what the fanatics will do next. Jack Van Impe has been predicting the end of times for decades now. He has yet to be right.FOC, I don't know. Fanatics do crazy things. Think about the cult that thought aliens were going to take them away in a comet a few years ago. They all dressed identically and took the same poison dying and not going to the comet. The only advice I have is "Don't drink the Kool-Aid!"

  • fan of casey

    Joe: Kool-aid has much too much sugar in it, I'll stick to diet soda. 😉

  • Uncutplus

    You mean when they are raptured, we'll see their NAKED bodies rising, leaving their clothing on the ground?Since I doubt that many good-looking young men will be raptured, I am not looking forward to those fundamentalist bodies!

  • JoeBlow

    Uncutplus, I do hope they get to keep their clothes. Though I don't think we have to worry. I doubt that very many of those fundamentalists would be raptured.

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