May 19, 2011

Is the end of the world nigh?

by Jan Harris

A prediction made by California preacher Harold Camping will be tested on Saturday 21st May, which he confidently believes will be the Day of Judgement.

According to Mr Camping we can expect the Second Coming of the Lord at around 6pm, when around 2 per cent of the world’s population will be “raptured” to heaven

Those left behind are doomed to suffer until the 21st October when the world will be destroyed.

Such is the strength of Mr Camping’s conviction that he preaches his beliefs every day from the Family Radio Network, which is funded by donations from listeners.

The US is also awash with billboards proclaiming “Blow the trumpet, warn the people!”, while camper vans emblazoned with similar messages are touring the nation.

Mr Camping’s belief is based on a system of mathematics which he has developed himself, to help him interpret biblical prophesies.

Under his system the 21 May is 722,500 days from 1 April AD33, which is believed to be the date of the Crucifixion.

The number 722,500 is endowed with significance because it is derived by multiplying the holy numbers five, 10 and 17 together twice.

Despite this seemingly nebulous proof for such a momentous event, the idea has gained a substantial following, especially in the US.

Believers are making preparations for the event, even to the extent of making plans for the beloved pets they will leave behind on earth.

A service called ‘Eternal Earthbound Pets’ will arrange for an atheist to care for them ‘post-rapture’, for a price of course!

Anyone worried by the prediction should be heartened by the fact that Mr Camping has got it wrong before.

He previously predicted that the world would end in 1994.

There is also a comfort to be found in the gospels when Jesus tells his disciples that no one will know when he will return to earth.

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36).

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