Sunday 22nd May 2011 After The Rapture.

Though the tremendous earthquake and ascension into heaven of the faithful predicted by doomsday prophet Harold Camping did not happen, there were lessons to be learned from the most-hyped non event since Y2K.

For those who were invested in this prediction, their world did end Saturday, said the Rev. Jeremy Nickel, the minister at Fremont’s Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation. “They thought they were going to heaven, and they didn’t. They may have donated all their money. They’re going to be in a world of hurt.”

Billboards guaranteeing the end of the world Saturday were almost as ubiquitous as Starbucks outlets in the Bay Area and the world and just as galvanizing to followers, who donated more than $100 million over the past seven years and drove RVs all over the United Statesto alert people of the coming rapture.

Oakland-based Family Radio, with 66 radio stations across the globe, continued to broadcast pre-recorded gospel talk Saturday, though its website was down.

The deadline has passed, so we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief because it looks as though the world will not be coming to an end in the UK.

Ever since dawn broke in the Pacific this morning, a select few have been counting down the hours to 6pm in their respective time zones.

For this is when the world would end and believers in the ‘Rapture’ would finally be on their way to heaven.

But with night falling across the globe it looks like the doomsday message from Harold Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer was, well, wrong.

And for Twitter followers it was time to point this out and for sceptic revellers to chill the champagne for tonight’s ‘Rapture’ parties celebrating that the world is still turning.

Camping has built a multi-million-dollar non-profit ministry based on his apocalyptic prediction.

They believe the end of the world today will likely start as it becomes 6pm in the world’s various time zones.

Unfortunately for Mr Garcia – but fortunately for New Zealanders – the world kept on turning.

Shortly after 6pm online users were mocking the predictions.

‘Harold Camping’s 21st May Doomsday prediction fails; No earthquake in New Zealand,” read one posting on Twitter.

‘If this whole end-of-the-world thingy is still going on … it’s already past 6.00 in New Zealand and the world hasn’t ended,’ said another.

Camping’s radio stations, TV channels, satellite broadcasts and website are controlled from a humble building on the road to the Oakland International Airport, sandwiched between an auto shop and a fortune teller. Family Radio International’s message has been broadcast in 61 languages.

Camping, however, will be awaiting Jesus Christ’s return for the second time. He said his earlier apocalyptic prediction in 1994 didn’t come true because of a mathematical error.

‘I’m not embarrassed about it. It was just the fact that it was premature,’ he said last month. But this time, he said, ‘there is…no possibility that it will not happen’.

Sceptics are planning Rapture-themed parties to celebrate what hosts expect will be the failure of the world to come to an end.

Bars and restaurants from Melbourne, Australia to the Florida Keys advertised bashes.

In Oakland, atheists planned a gathering at a local Masonic temple to include group discussions on ‘The Great Success of Past Apocalypses,’ followed by dinner and music.

Camping and his followers believe the beginning of the end will come on May 21, exactly 7,000 years since the flood in the biblical story of Noah’s Ark.

Some 200million people will be saved, Camping preaches, and those left behind will die in earthquakes, plagues, and other calamities until Earth is consumed by a fireball on October 21.

In the Philippines, a big billboard of Family Radio ministry in Manila warned of Judgment Day. Earlier this month, group members there distributed leaflets to motorists and carried placards warning of the end of the world.

Christian leaders from across the spectrum have widely dismissed the prophecy, but one local church is concerned that Camping’s followers could slip into a deep depression come Sunday.

Pastor Jacob Denys of Milpitas-based Calvary Bible Church plans to wait outside the non-profit’s headquarters on Saturday afternoon, hoping to counsel believers who may be disillusioned if the Rapture does not occur.

‘The cold, hard reality is going to hit them that they did this, and it was false and they basically emptied out everything to follow a false teacher,’ he said. ‘We’re not all about doom and gloom. Our message is a message of salvation and of hope.’

On Friday afternoon, a small group of eccentrics, gawkers and media opportunists convened outside Family Radio’s closed office building. A sign posted on the front door said ‘SORRY WE MISSED YOU!’

As May 21 drew nearer, followers say donations grew, allowing Family Radio to spend millions of dollars on more than 5,000 billboards and 20 RVs plastered with the doomsday message. In 2009, the nonprofit reported in IRS filings that it received $18.3million in donations, and had assets of more than $104million, including $34million in stocks or other publicly traded securities.

Marie Exley, who helped put up apocalypse-themed billboards in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, said the money helped the non-profit save as many souls as possible. She said she and her husband, mother and brother planned to stay glued to the television Friday night in Bozeman, Montana for news of an earthquake in New Zealand.

Camping recommended this week that followers surround themselves by their loved ones and not meet publicly, Exley said.

‘It’s an emotional time and we’re kind of nervous and scared about how things will pan out as to who will be here and who will go to heaven,” she said. ‘I’ll probably be scared in the fog of it, and crying, because we don’t know who is saved and who is not.’

Some people wanted to make sure their pets receive good treatment, no matter what happens.
Sharon Moss, who founded AfterTheRapturePetCare.com to provide post-apocalypse animal care, said a new wave of customers has paid $10 to sign up in the last few weeks.

‘A lot of people have said you should be out there saving souls not saving pets but my heart says ‘why can’t you do both?”‘ said Moss, who identifies herself as Protestant.

As May 21 drew nearer, followers say donations grew, allowing Family Radio to spend millions of dollars on more than 5,000 billboards and 20 RVs plastered with the doomsday message. In 2009, the nonprofit reported in IRS filings that it received $18.3million in donations, and had assets of more than $104million, including $34million in stocks or other publicly traded securities.

Marie Exley, who helped put up apocalypse-themed billboards in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, said the money helped the non-profit save as many souls as possible. She said she and her husband, mother and brother planned to stay glued to the television Friday night in Bozeman, Montana for news of an earthquake in New Zealand.

Camping recommended this week that followers surround themselves by their loved ones and not meet publicly, Exley said.

‘It’s an emotional time and we’re kind of nervous and scared about how things will pan out as to who will be here and who will go to heaven,” she said. ‘I’ll probably be scared in the fog of it, and crying, because we don’t know who is saved and who is not.’

Some people wanted to make sure their pets receive good treatment, no matter what happens.
Sharon Moss, who founded AfterTheRapturePetCare.com to provide post-apocalypse animal care, said a new wave of customers has paid $10 to sign up in the last few weeks.

‘A lot of people have said you should be out there saving souls not saving pets but my heart says ‘why can’t you do both?”‘ said Moss, who identifies herself as Protestant.

Camping, a civil engineer who once ran his own construction business, plans to spend the day with his wife in Alameda, in northern California, and watch doomsday unfold on television.

‘I’ll probably try to be very near a TV or a radio or something,’ he said.

‘I’ll be interested in what’s happening on the other side of the world as this begins.’

His prediction has been dismissed as ‘flat-out wrong’ by one leading Christian author, who has accused Camping of abusing the current climate of fear rendered by natural disasters to make money.

‘Nobody knows the exact day when these things are going to happen,’ Steve Wohlberg, who has written more than two dozen books about the End of Days, told the New York Daily News.

‘They’re looking at all of these disasters and everything that’s going on in the planet, and this is creating a climate of deep interest in Biblical prophecy.

‘In my mind, Harold Camping has quite an account to render with God when judgment day comes.’

However, just in case the prediction is right, some Americans are making the most of their time left with ‘Rapture Parties’ across the country, some serious, some not.

In Fayetteville, North Carolina, the American Humanist Association is organizing a two-day anti-Rapture extravaganza.

There will be a party on Saturday and a concert on Sunday – with the tongue in cheek proviso that Sunday’s fun could be cancelled due to a natural catastrophe of some sort.

While it is an accepted fact that our planet will one day be consumed by the Sun, modern science has calculated that that will not happened for several billion years.

But that hasn’t stopped mankind repeatedly predicting that the world is about to end. In fact, doomsday prophecies have been made ever since we started using calendars, with flood, famine, incoming asteroids and nuclear wars among the favoured causes of annihilation.

Biblical scholars point out that in the Book of Matthew, Jesus himself implies that the world will end within the lifetime of his contemporaries, while a host of scholars made similar predictions in the first millennium.

The craze appears to have reached a peak in Europe in the Middle Ages. In 1500, Protestant reformer Martin Luther proclaimed that ‘the kingdom of abominations shall be overthrown’ within 300 years.

Others to get in on the act included Christopher Columbus (1656), mathematician John Napier (1688) and astrologer Sir Isaac Newton (1948).

More recently, the fad for making Doomsday predictions has become popular amongst Christian groups in the U.S. According to website Armageddononline, prophecy teacher Doug Clark announced in 1976 that President Jimmy Carter would be ‘the president who will meet Mr. 666 – soon’,

And about 50 members of a group called the Assembly of Yahweh gathered at Coney Island, New York, in white robes, awaiting their ‘rapture’ from a world about to be destroyed on May 25, 1981.

‘A small crowd of onlookers watched and waited for something to happen. The members chanted prayers to the beat of bongo drums until sunset. The end did not come,’ the website notes.

The year 2000 was also expected to usher in an apocalypse of sorts, with aeroplanes falling from the sky and computer systems crashing. The planet survived.

In the days leading up to September 9, 2009, fans of Armageddon insisted that the world would end – 9/9/9 being the emergency services phone number in the UK and also the number of the Devil – albeit upside down. Surprisingly there wasn’t the same hyperbole on June 6, 2006.

But if the world does manage to get through today unscathed, believers won’t have to wait too long before another popular Doomsday prediction date looms.

The Maya civilisation of South America was for several centuries one of the most advanced in the world. Along with their architectural achievements, the Mayans left us with calendars that, some argue, predict the end of the world on December 21, 2012.

One Response to “Sunday 22nd May 2011 After The Rapture.”

  1. First of all, this band is the greatest ever..but they don’t play in Berlin!! Come to Berlin next year, an you make me very happy..hope to cu next year..
    Maja

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