May 20, 2011

Tying up a few loose ends before the Rapture

It's all over tomorrow, in case you haven't heard. It's a mathematical certainty, and I take a certain pride in emphasizing that it's a Bay Area man, Harold Camping, 88, of Oakland who made the gutsy call that The Rapture will happen tomorrow, May 21, 2011. He's run the numbers:

Camping, 88, has scrutinized the Bible for almost 70 years and says he has developed a mathematical system to interpret prophecies hidden within the Good Book. One night a few years ago, Camping, a civil engineer by trade, crunched the numbers and was stunned at what he'd found: The world will end May 21, 2011.

To give you a clearer idea what to look for tomorrow, let's go to the source: Revelation 4: 1.

"After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter."
That doesn't sound like something you'd want to miss. A door in the sky, a talking trumpet, a guided tour. This is why, as a kid lolling my way through endless, thrice-weekly sessions at our windowless church, I would thumb my way through Revelation as distraction. Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Seven Seals, behold a pale horse, serpents, monsters, magic numbers of the Beast, phantasmagorical, hallucinogenic imagery on nearly every page. Cool stuff. Some have speculated that John, who wrote this William Burroughs-like story (I should say, rather, that William Burroughs obviously took his cue from John), was shroomed up or otherwise consciously altered when he penned Revelation. I don't know. I think he was just on a roll, invited to write what was obviously going to be the final book in the Good Book, and he let it all hang out.

He finished by daring anyone to change a single word. More than once, during those endless Sunday mornings, I wondered whether John hadn't written a satire. There's really nothing else like Revelation in the Bible. It was rarely mentioned in Sunday school or in sermons (and believe you me, there were a lot of sermons). You might say that if Revelation was quoted at all, it was quoted out of context, as if going into the whole story was a little embarrassing. It didn't really fit with the basic Christian message. What's all this stuff, suddenly, about the anti-Christ, and 666, and horses of four different colors, and seven seals, and on and on?

Simply musing to myself, I would wonder whether John wasn't putting people on. Hey, you believed everything else: people rising from the dead, water into wine, walking on water, virgin birth. Let's finish up with this. Let's go to a different level. And I dare you to change a word!

Oh well, I'm playing with fire (see: fire, lake of). A few minor cavils with the timing, of course. Why wait till after April 15? After both property tax bills are due? Just before summer? That's the thing that used to really get me down about organized religion and its mythology. The casual toss-off of this life in favor of the next one, and the next one was full of burning lakes, trap doors in the sky, bugles talking like people, and horses named Conquest, Famine, War & Pestilence.

I'm going on record right now. I'm going to make my call. The Rapture will not happen tomorrow. Harold Camping is full of shit. He couldn't calculate the End Times if his after life depended on it.

1 comment:

  1. hammerud4:05 PM

    Harold Camping has been touting bizarre interpretations of Scripture for years. I find him to be an enigma, right about the essential issue of Christ being the basis of salvation (although he is a hyper-Calvinist on the issue and I am not), but wrong about almost everything else. I got through on a call to his program about 20 years ago and he cut me off because he does not tolerate counter-arguments to his positions that are Scripturally based. Anyway, Scripture states that there will be many false teachers. He is just one in a long line.