What you are now reading is the last post ever at Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion.
That is, if Harold Camping is right.
Who is Harold Camping? Glad you asked.
Harold Camping is this crazy old coot with WAY too much time on his hands. He is out in California, where there is no shortage of loonies and crazies and wackos and other such things. Face it: There is nothing so completely and totally absurd, backward, bizarre, outlandish, or just plain whacked that someone out in California has not done it at some point. I do not understand California, nor do I want to understand it, nor do I even want to try. If I ever get to where I understand California, then I’ll have become one of them and I’ll be doing the same things they do. I don’t want that. And you don’t either. Trust me.
Somehow or other (more on this later), Harold Camping got it into his head that the Rapture will take place today, May 21, 2011, at 6 PM local time, with the end of the world to follow on October 21.
Now you may have never heard of Harold Camping before in your life–unless you were paying attention back in the early 1990s. Camping made a lot of hey back then when he predicted that the end of the world would be on September 6, 1994. Of course, September 6, 1994, came and went and we are all still here. One would THINK that once you pick a date for the Rapture and it comes and goes and everybody is still here, that would kinda shut you up…just a little bit. Right?
But for the people who make their living by doing this sort of thing, it’s not a problem when the proposed date of the Rapture comes and goes and we are all still here. Just ask the the Seventh-Day Adventists. They could tell you an awful lot about this.
And it was not a problem for Harold Camping. He just claimed that he had made a slight miscalculation because he hadn’t fully studied all the relevant passages of Scripture (WHOOPS!!!!!), covered his little faux pas by adding a 6100-day “period of ingathering”, and voila, he was back in business. And it all worked out to…May 21, 2011.
In Camping’s own words: “At the time there was a lot of the Bible I had not really researched very carefully. 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.”
In Camping’s little alternate universe, numbers mean all sorts of crazy things and everything in Scripture stands for something else that only he knows or understands. According to MSNBC.com, here is how he came up with May 21 as the big day:
He believes Christ was crucified on April 1, 33 A.D., exactly 722,500 days before May 21, 2011. That number, 722,500, is the square of 5 x 10 x 17. In Camping’s numerological system, 5 represents atonement, 10 means completeness, and seventeen means heaven. “Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story,” Camping said on his Oakland-based talk show, Family Radio, last year. “It’s the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you’re completely saved. I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that.”
Here is another way that Camping and his peeps reckon it: May 21 (today) marks 7,000 years exactly since God closed Noah into the ark prior to the Flood. At the time, God issued a warning: Seven days until the final destruction. In other places in the Bible it says that with God, “a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8) Ergo: Seven days—seven thousand years. Exactly. Literally. Right on the button. Never mind that numbers in Scripture rarely mean exactly what they say they mean. Never mind that the point of this verse is that God’s way of reckoning time is completely and totally different from our way of reckoning time and we can’t even begin to understand it and shouldn’t even try.
Of course there are a hella lot more numbers that go into this thing. You think Camping would be running around out there spouting off May 21 if all he had to base it on was this day-thousand years thing? Especially after he’s already gotten it wrong once?
But get this: May 21 (that would be today) isn’t REALLY the end of the world. It is only the Rapture, which is just the warmup act.
Now what is the Rapture? Glad you asked.
The Rapture is a doctrine that is espoused in many corners of fundamentalist Christianity and many parts of evangelicalism as well. It started out among the Puritans with Increase and Cotton Mather, and grew as it was preached and taught by Baptists and Plymouth Brethren, particularly John Nelson Darby, during the 19th century. There are many permutations and variations of the Rapture in evangelical eschatology, but the dominant one nowadays basically says that Christ will come in secret and all Christians will disappear, rising up into the air to meet Him. After this, a lengthy period of turbulence, distress, and suffering–both man-made and from natural sources–will afflict the wicked who remain on earth. Finally, Christ will return loudly and publicly and bring an end to the whole shebang. If you’ve read or heard of the Left Behind books, you are familiar with this.
Back to Camping.
After the Rapture (today), there will be an intense period of distress and suffering–fire, earthquakes, volcanoes, Antichrist, etc.–which will last for exactly 153 days, until October 21. Then God will step in and bring an end to the whole shebang.
Why 153 days?
In John 21, Peter and the disciples are out fishing after Jesus has been crucified. They are having a rough go of it, when all of a sudden the resurrected Jesus comes up to them and directs them to a good spot, and they catch a whole mess of fish (153 to be exact–John 21:11).
153 fish—153 days.
Wow, it all just lines right up!!!!!
I’m not making this shit up. I’m not that creative, and I couldn’t be–even if I wanted to.
As I said earlier, there is nothing so absurd, backward, bizarre, ignorant, outlandish, or just plain whacked that it has not been done by someone in California at some point. I do not understand California, I do not want to understand it, and I do not even want to try.
And I don’t want to try to understand Harold Camping either. If I ever get to where I understand him, then I’ll be just as crazy as he is. And you don’t want that. Trust me.
Well, I’m off to the pool to catch some rays and wait for the Rapture. Nothing like laying out by the pool on a beautiful summer day waiting for the end of the world.
Read William Cwirla’s take on Harold Camping here and here. And while you’re at it, watch this video from Jonathan Fisk in which he gives his take on the whole thing.
Wondering what Camping will say or do if May 21 passes without event? Yeah…I am too. Here is a post which gives some ideas as to possible Camping contingency plans.