The End Is Nigh!
Dr. Jay Worth Allen
That’s right! The end of the world is nigh, 21 May 2011, to be precise. That’s the date California preacher Harold Camping is confidently predicting the Second Coming of our Lord. At “about 6pm,” he reckons, “2% of the world’s population will be immediately Raptured to Heaven” - the rest will get sent straight to . . .
Anyone could easily dismiss Camping as just another religious eccentric, wrongly calling for the apocalypse, but thanks to his ubiquity on America’s airwaves, his unlikely Doomsday message is almost impossible to ignore.
Every day Camping, an 89-year-old former civil engineer, speaks to his followers via the Family Radio Network, a religious broadcasting organization funded entirely by donations from listeners, whose assets total $120 million, with 66 stations in the U.S., alone.
Those deep pockets have allowed Camping to launch a high-profile campaign, proclaiming the Day of Judgment. More than 2,000 billboards across the U.S. are adorned with its slogans, “Blow the trumpet, warn the people!” A fleet of logo-ed vans are touring every state in the nation. “It’s getting real close. It’s really getting pretty awesome, when you think about it,” Mr. Camping told Britain’s, The Independent. “We’re talking about the end of the world, and it’s all coming to a head right now.”
After 70 years of studying the Bible, Camping claims to have developed a system that uses mathematics to interpret hidden prophesies. He says the world will end on “21 May 2011, because that will be 722,500 days from 1 April A.D. 33,” which he believes was the day of the Crucifixion. He said, “The figure of 722,500 is important because you get it by multiplying three holy numbers (5, 10 and 17) together twice. When I found this out, I tell you, it blew my mind.” Mine too!
“Recent events, such as earthquakes in Japan, New Zealand and Haiti, are harbingers of impending doom,” he says, “as are changing social values. All the stealing, and the lying, and the wickedness and the sexual perversion that is going on in society is telling us something.”
This isn’t the first time Camping has predicted the second coming. On 6 September 1994, hundreds of his listeners gathered at a California auditorium in Alameda, looking forward to Christ’s return. He didn’t. “At that time there was a lot of the Bible I had not really researched very carefully,” he said. “But now, we’ve had the chance to do just an enormous amount of additional study and God has given us outstanding proofs that it really is going to happen.”
Camping’s argument convinced devotee, Adam Larsen. He’s among scores of Ambassadors who’ve quit their jobs to drive around America warning of the impending apocalypse. “My favorite pastime is raccoon hunting,” Larsen told CNN. “I’ve had to give that up. But this task is far more important.”
History has countless examples of people who have proclaimed that the return of Jesus Christ is imminent, but perhaps there has never been a stranger messenger than a hen in the English town of Leeds in 1806. It seems that a hen had began laying eggs on which the phrase “Christ is coming” was written. As news of this miracle spread, many people became convinced that doomsday was at hand - until a curious local actually watched the hen laying one of the prophetic eggs and discovered someone had hatched a hoax.
And then there was a New England farmer named William Miller, who after several years of very careful study of his Bible, concluded that God’s chosen time to destroy the world could be divined from a strict literal interpretation of scripture. As he explained to anyone who would listen, the world would end some time between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. He preached and published enough to eventually lead thousands of followers, who decided that the actual date was April 23, 1843. Many sold or gave away their possessions, assuming they would not be needed; though when April 23 arrived (but Jesus didn’t) the group eventually disbanded - some of them forming what is now the Seventh Day Adventists.
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, called a meeting of his church leaders in February 1835 to tell them that he had spoken to God recently, and during their conversation he learned that Jesus would return within the next 56 years, after which the End Times (1891) would begin promptly.
In May 1980, televangelist Pat Robertson startled many when - contrary to Matthew 24:36 (“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven. . . “), he informed his “700 Club” TV show audience that he knew when the world would end. “I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world,” Robertson said.
In 1997 global catastrophe was assured by Richard Noone’s book, 5/5/2000 Ice: the Ultimate Disaster. According to Noone, the Antarctic ice mass would be three miles thick by May 5, 2000 - a date in which the planets would be aligned in the heavens, somehow resulting in a global icy death (or at least a lot of book sales). Perhaps Al Gore’s global warming has kept Noone’s ice at bay.
According to Ronald Weinland’s book, 2008: God’s Final Witness, millions of people would die by the end of 2006, and “there will be a maximum of two years remaining before the world will be plunged into the worst time of all human history. By the fall of 2008, the United States will have collapsed as a world power, and no longer exist as an independent nation.” Weinland also claims that he and his wife, Laura, are The Two Witnesses of Revelation.
It’s been true for thousands of years, the thoughts of men “are altogether lighter than vanity” (Psalms 62:9). Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
The End Is Nigh!
Published: 7 May 2011 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
Published: 28 April 2011 in Dr. Jay's Opinion Column of The County Journal.
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