Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is it the End of the World... Again?

Billboards and pamphlets have been appearing around the world claiming Judgement Day will occur on May 21, 2011.
"No one knows the day or the hour..." ~ Mathew 24:36
What is Judgement Day?
For centuries people have contemplated the end of the world and have tried to predict when and how this might happen.  Judgement Day, often referred to as Doomsday, refers to an end of the the world as we know it.  Most religions have a theory as to the events that what will occur on Judgement Day.  Theories typically involve an epic battle between good and evil and include cataclysmic natural disasters.     
“It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.” ~ REM
Why May 21, 2011?
Family Radio Worldwide, the source of the billboards and pamphlets, base their claim on two numerological “truths” they claim they have discovered within the Bible.
"If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later." ~ Mark Twain
The first “truth” is based on Genesis 7:4, when God said to Noah: "Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made."  They claim that when God referred to seven days, he meant both seven days and seven thousand years, because "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." They believe that the flood occurred in 4990 BC, exactly seven thousand years ago.
“If the Apocalypse comes, beep me.” ~ Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The second “truth” they discovered is said to be based on the number of days between Christ’s Crucifixion and May 21, 2011.  According to their math, May 21st will be exactly 722,500 days after the Crucifixion.  They claim that 722,500 is a significant number because it is composed of the significant numbers 5,10, and 17. Five signifies redemption; ten signifies completion; and 17 signifies heaven.  They feel that since those number are so significant they should be doubled.  If you multiple those numbers twice (5 x 10 x 17 x 5 x 10 x 17) you get 722,500.  
"Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." ~ Matthew 24:44 ESV
Other Judgement Day Predictions?
This isn’t the first time Family Radio Worldwide has predicted the end of the world.  Originally this group claimed a date in 1994 would be the final day of earth.  The group justifies their 1994 date was inaccurate because “important subsequent Biblical information was not yet known.”
"They say God existed from the beginning of time and will exist beyond the end of of time.  Can you imagine trying to sit through his home movies?" ~ Scott Roeben
Other noted prediction dates for the end-of the-world:
  • Jan. 1, 1000:  Many Christians in Europe predicted this date. (This prediction turned out to be wrong.)   
  • Mar. 21, 1843: William Miller, founder of the Millerite movement, predicted Jesus would return on this date.  (This prediction also turned out to be wrong.)   
  • Oct. 22, 1844: After being wrong the first time William Miller predicted this date.  Many of his followers sold their property and quit their jobs to prepare for the second coming.  (Guess what... this prediction turned out to be wrong too.)   
  • Dec. 17, 1919. Meteorologist Albert Porta said that six planets would come together that day, with the resulting magnetic current causing the Earth to be engulfed by the exploding sun.  (I can’t find proof on the Internet but I’m pretty sure this prediction turned out to be wrong.)   
  • Aug. 18, 1999. Charles Criswell King, an American psychic, said the world would end that day. His other predictions ranged from Denver being struck by a ray from space to saying in March 1963 that something would happen to U.S. President John F. Kennedy in November 1963 that would mean he wouldn't run for re-election in 1964.  (Did anyone question this guy about being on a grassy knoll?)
  • Jan. 1, 2000. Otherwise known as Y2K, it was a widespread prediction that computers wouldn't be able to handle the arrival of 01/01/2000. (They did.)  
  • Dec. 12, 2012. Based on the final date on the Mayan calendar (To be determined.)
“The apocalypse is coming, that's the one thing I like about George Bush, I really think he can get us into the ... apocalypse, like the BIBLICAL ... I really think he believes that he'll be the guy in the white hat. I think he's read the Stephen King novel The Stand a couple times, and he really thinks there's a dark man in the desert somewhere and he's gonna fight him or something.” ~ Patton Oswalt
So now what... What to do?
Many religious groups are angry at the audacity of this group for proclaiming that they know God’s plan, but not me.  While I give their fuzzy math date calculation no merit, the prediction does serve people some good.  It reminds them that this world will end at some point.  If the world did end would you have accomplished everything you want to?  I haven’t.  Would everyone you care about know how much?  I hope so.