Harold Camping, as reported by Wikipedia, has predicted that
the Rapture … will take place on May 21, 2011 and that the end of the world as we know it will take place five months later on October 21, 2011.
Fuller details are given in a tract from Camping’s fellowship, and elsewhere. I note that this is not so much a prophecy, based on claimed divine revelation, as a prediction, based on Camping’s idiosyncratic study of the Bible. There seem to be quite a few of Camping’s followers who believe him. Not surprisingly, most other Christians, and probably all atheists, don’t.
An earthquake strong enough to shake the entire planet. … This will be a rolling earthquake that will begin with all the country around the international dateline and follow the sun around the earth on May 21, Each country in the successive date line experiencing the earthquake and the beginning of judgment around 6pm in each time zone.
Will the Rapture take place this Saturday? Possibly. Probably not. But I don’t care. If a few of Camping’s followers are no longer among us, the world will hardly notice the difference. But I might wonder if they have really been raptured, or if they have decided to disappear to avoid recriminations, or perhaps to re-enact the Jonestown suicide plot. As for the earthquakes, I have no reason to think Camping is any better at predicting them than Raffaele Bendandi.
I won’t worry if I am left behind. Indeed that is what I would prefer. I want to be around to continue to actualise the kingdom of God on earth, as Tony Campolo has today described the Christian calling. And if, as Camping predicts,
The inhabitants who survive this terrible earthquake will exist in a world of horror and chaos beyond description
then there will be all the more need for Christians to be around to minister to those who are suffering and looking for God in their distress.
Will the end of the world take place this October? Possibly. Probably not. But I want to be ready and doing God’s work whenever it does happen.