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The doomsayer who swore that the world was going to end on May 21, Harold Camping, is doubling down.Last spring, you’ll recall, Camping predicted that “The Rapture” would arrive as a series of rolling earthquakes beginning at precisely 6PM on May 21.
God was well aware of time zones, Camping said, and therefore understood that 6PM was a rolling event around the world. This allowed us to establish links to live web-cams, so our readers could watch the world end in real-time, starting in Auckland, New Zealand.
Of course, the world didn’t end. But, despite suffering a stroke in June, Camping isn’t backing down. Last spring, he quickly admitted to some disappointment that the world hadn’t ended, but immediately changed his forecast to October 21. And now he says that the rapture did, in fact, commence on May 21, it’s just that no one noticed.
In a new announcement on his Family Radio Network web site, a recovering Camping says we’re “getting very near the end.” October 21, Camping further says, won’t be the beginning of some horrible “rapture” period in which the chosen ascend and everyone else suffers. It will be The End.
The good news, such as it is, is that Camping doesn’t think the world will end in a sudden flash of hell-fire and brimstone. He thinks The End will come quietly. He also thinks that God won’t take special vengeance on those who are sceptical — they just won’t be saved.
Why, exactly, is Camping convinced that the world will end on the 21st?
Well, back in May, his logic was tied to a close-reading of the Bible. According to a pamphlet we picked up in Union Square to see why so many people like Camping were talking about the world ending, the theory boiled down to two numerological proofs.
The first proof is based on Genesis 7:4, when God said to Noah: “Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”
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.” The flood occurred in 4990 BC. Seven thousand years later is 2011.
The second proof looks at the significance of the number of days between the Crucifixion and May 21, 2011.
There are 722,500 days between these dates. 722,500 is a significant number because it is composed of the significant numbers 5x10x17x5x10x17. Five signifies redemption; 10 signifies completion; and 17 signifies heaven. The numbers represent the day of redemption (5) and the end of the Christian era (10) and the ascent to heaven (17) — and these factors are doubled for added significance.
So that’s why everyone thought the world was going to end on May 21.
Will it actually end on October 21?
We’ll know for sure soon.
Now check out 12 places to go if the world goes to hell >
Camping’s latest via Stephanie Pappas at Live Science.