You’ve most likely seen the numerous billboards and other advertising telling you that May 21 is Judgement Day … Some believed it was a prediction of the end of times, but it’s one religious group predicting the Rapture with their believe the end of life as we know it will happen in October 21, 2011.
Some are taking a light hearted view and I confess when I first saw some of the advertisements, I suggested a party so that if it all ended on May 21, we went out in sinful style.
Then of course, curiosity led me to digging into how this latest predicted Rapture and the End of Times came about.
If we ignore some of the previous predictions as to the End of Times:
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.
1914, 1918, 1925, 1942 and 1975 – 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 6th, 1994.
Note the last name referenced, Harold Camping … Camping is the one who is predicting the May 21 Rapture and the End of Times as Oct. 21, 2011.
“But Lisa,” you may ask, “You believe in God, you’re a Roman Catholic aren’t you?” Yes, I do believe in God and yes, I am a Roman Catholic and I believe what many Catholics do:
Catholics generally are not preoccupied with prophecies of impending doom. They have an optimistic view of the world, and see the end as the gradual (not sudden) passing of creation into God’s realm. They give value to the things of earth by incorporating them into their journey to God. Perhaps this is related to our rather “earthy” tradition of using material things— palms, ashes, water, bread, wine, oil, fire, incense, vestments, colors, icons, symbols—in our worship.
It’s also worth noting that the Catholic Church has a different view on the concept of the Rapture. The history of the Rapture is an interesting one, some believe it was created by John Nelson Darby in 1831, some credit Edward Irving around the same time period as adding to or inspiring the theory, some suggest the seeds were planted by Francisco Ribera, a Jesuit, who published a book in 1591 (the same year of his death). A good number of biblical experts don’t believe the Bible even references the Rapture, at least not as how it’s promoted by some religions.
Having survived through several of the previously predicted Raptures and the End of Times, should those of us who don’t take much stock in this be proven wrong? Then all we can do is hope for the best, but I have a very strong feeling nothing will happen on May 21 and on Oct. 22? I’ll still be here … God willing.
There’s been some recent media coverage on this – one example is Time. Another is this piece by David Reynolds in Salon that points out some of Camping’s followers have quit their jobs to help try to spread the news about the upcoming Rapture and the End of Times …