Friday, 21 October 2011

Is the Rapture coming?

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The Great Day of His Wrath by John Martin (1851-53)
Is today the day when the Christian faithful will be swept up to join Christ in His eternal dominion, leaving the heathen hordes (that's you, and me) to do battle with Satan and his host, condemned to become food for the crows that will scour a godless and forsaken land? 

Seasoned Rapture watchers will know that 21 October 2011 is of special significance, as it's the date supplied by prize US Doom-merchant Harold Camping, who was forced to revise his prediction after the End failed to materialise on 21 May. At the time, he offered a plausible excuse for why there was no widespread destruction on that date, and explained that Armageddon was coming in October:
"On May 21, this last weekend, this is where the spiritual aspect of it really comes through. God again brought judgement on the world. We didn’t see any difference but God brought Judgment Day to bear upon the whole world. The whole world is under Judgement Day and it will continue right up until Oct. 21, 2011 and by that time the whole world will be destroyed."
And now that the Day of Reckoning is finally here, it appears Camping is sticking to his forecast, although he does seem keen to lower our expectations:
"I really am beginning to think as I’ve restudied these matters that there’s going to be no big display of any kind. The end is going to come very, very quietly."
I'm no expert, but I would have thought that a day like today, when most national newspapers are running a photo of a bloodied corpse on their front pages, would be a good one for a Rapture. But if it's going to be a quiet one, as Camping suggests, then I think today may be a case of mis-judgement day (yes, mis-judgement day) for him once again.

So, time for another rethink – don't stake your mortgage on it, but I'm going with Thursday 5 April 2012 instead.

[Since our Sept/Oct issue had a piece on the Tate's exhibition of the work of the Victorian artist John Martin, who painted stunning images of Apocalypse, I thought I'd use one to illustrate this post]

Update: in these tough economic times, it's well worth noting that predicting the Rapture can be a profitable enterprise. According to the Guardian, Harold Camping is worth around $70m. With that in mind, I would like to draw the attention of any rich, Apocalypse-hungry investors to the prediction I make above.
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