One Week until Armageddon:
The State of Christendom in End Times
By David G. McAfee
As you are probably aware by now, Judgment Day is near. One week from today, in fact, on May 21, 2011 according to a growing number of Christians. If you aren’t familiar with this particular Christian Armageddon prediction, you can find some details on the Church Website. What you may not know is the particulars behind how this particular Christian sect has arrived at May 21, 2011 as the specific date of the Christian Rapture; and the history behind this Pastor’s prior prophecies and the details surrounding his ministry. This is what I’d like to discuss in this post.
Now, let me first say that not all Christians believe in this specific date for the Rapture; this doomsday prophecy came from a particular pastor (Harold Camping ) who used specific close reading of the Christian Old and New Testaments- specifically surrounding Noah’s flood narrative- to determine the exact date of the Christian Rapture; but, as the date approaches, this prophecy is becoming more popular and semi-mainstream. But, to put things in perspective, while many Christians may not believe in the specific 05/21/2011 date, the majority of Christians do believe that the Rapture will occur “in their lifetime”- ironically, this is always been the case- yet, these firmly held beliefs have (obviously) never been validated.
The biblical validation of this date, for Pastor Harold Camping, comes in the “discovery” that “from the time of Noah’s flood to May 21, 2011, is exactly 7000 years”; but this hasn’t always been his belief. In fact, Harold Camping similarly predicted the end of the world in September of 1994. As I read their literature, see their billboards, and listen to this prophecy, I can’t help but thinking one thing: “What will these believers do on May 22, 2011?” I do not know the answer but, using historical evidence, I can venture a guess. I estimate that once the date has passed, as I suspect rather uneventfully, this pastor and his flock will completely ignore the failed prophecy, as has been the case when they have cried ‘Armageddon’ in the past. “How can they get away with this?” you might ask. Their website seems dedicated to the May 21, 2011 date and they have been a focus of the twenty-four hour news cycle for some time now. The answer is that we let this happen. After the date passes, people will quickly forget and allow similar End Times predictions to receive media attention in the future.
All we can do now is wait; but, don’t hold your breath. It is not just this pastor, this church, this sect, or even this religion, that have these End Times prophecies- I trust that nobody has yet forgotten about what has been creatively dubbed “2012”. Nor is it a modern concept; throughout recorded history there have been thousands of mainstream Armageddon prophecies which span across time and region, and historically, none of these prophecies have remained culturally relevant long past their supposed dates of occurrence; my inclination is to think that May 21, 2011 will be no different. Passing without consequence, May 21, 2011 will most likely go down as a largely unimportant day in world history; and believers will, for the foreseeable future, continue to buy into these falsely conjured Armageddons.