By Aldo Santin
Scientists believe that our Sun will burn out in about 5 billion years, destroying Mercury, Venus and Earth in the process. But there is a Christian group in the United States that believes the end will occur much sooner than that — in just a few days!
You might have noticed the billboards around the city proclaiming Judgment Day Is Coming, May 21. Thousands of billboards like this have been erected across Canada, the United States and Europe by the Family Radio Network and its supporters.
Harold Camping is the co-founder and president of Family Radio Network, a Christian broadcasting company based out of Oakland, Calif. He has concluded that the Second Coming will begin May 21, based on his calculations and his interpretations of passages within the Bible.
Judgment Day is when the dead all over the world will rise up and those chosen by God will ascend to heaven, followed by the chosen among the living. Judgment Day is also the beginning of the end for our planet and universe, when a series of massive earthquakes will occur, rolling across the planet, lasting for 153 days, culminating on Oct. 21, when Earth and the entire universe will be destroyed.
Of course, Camping predicted this was going to happen before, on Sept. 6, 1994 but he was a little hesitant in his conviction at the time. Lucky for us. Now, he says, he’s re-done the math and re-examined the Scriptures and is convinced May 21 is indeed Judgment Day.
“The world has been around for 13,023 years but God has exhausted his patience with the world. That’s just the reality,” Gunther von Harringa, president of Bible Ministries International and a spokesman for Camping and Family Radio, told me this week while I was researching an article for the Winnipeg Free Press.
Von Harringa said God could destroy the earth in an instant if he wanted to but will drag out the destruction for 153 days, as predicted in passages in the Bible. He estimated about 30 million to 40 million of the dead around the world will rise up on May 21 and lead about 160 million to 170 million chosen from among the living into Heaven.
“Then God will annihilate the entire universe. Nothing will remain of planet Earth or its inhabitants,” von Harringa said. “Then, God will create the universe all over again.”
Von Harringa said Judgment Day will begin in New Zealand, where the first earthquakes will be felt and the first of the chosen will rise to heaven. “Because we’re about 16 hours behind, we’ll be able to watch the Rapture as it moves from country to country,” he said. “We’ll be able to see the chosen rise to heaven.” Live on TV. It will be about 1 a.m. on the 21st in Winnipeg when it starts, if you’re wondering, and the Rapture will roll westward around the globe.
Camping isn’t urging people to repent and isn’t using the coming Judgment Day as an opportunity to raise money for his broadcasting company. He’s simply asking people all over the world to prepare. Von Harringa said as part of his preparations, he and his family are ensuring they will have no money left by May 21 and are giving their funds to support Family Radio’s billboard campaign. According to von Harringa, others are doing the same.
Von Harringa said the Chosen were chosen before Creation — souls already designated by God to ascend to Heaven on Judgment Day. There is no need to repent, or to plead to God for mercy, he said, because the Chosen have been chosen and only they will join Jesus.
Rev. James Christie, director of the Ridd Institute for Religion and Global Policy at the University of Winnipeg’s Global College, said doomsayers like Camping are a part of a long Christian tradition. Most recent of those were David Koresh and the Rev. Jim Jones, whose lives and those of their followers ended in death. Camping is not the head of a church but Ridd said with his following on radio he has become a cult-like figure. Those who believe his predictions are looking for some sort of order and understanding in the world, even if it means the destruction of the Earth.
Christie reminds us that the Bible says no man will know the day and time of Judgment and he will not be spending the next few days fretting. On the 21st, Christie said he expects to spend the evening with his wife relaxing in their home.
And when the earthquakes don’t come and there is now Rapture? Christie says, “(Camping) will either say it was because of the complexity of the calculations and produce a new date or say the prayers and devotions of people around the world persuaded God to give a stay of execution.”