Some people are saying that “The Rapture” will happen on Saturday, May 21. That’s right: they believe that Jesus Christ himself will reappear in two days, identify the faithful, and take them up to Heaven.
Apparently this prediction originated with an 89-year-old guy from Oakland named Harold Camping, who started Family Radio Worldwide, a radio ministry. Camping performed some kind of complicated calculations based on his reading of the Bible and concluded — “beyond a shadow of a doubt,” he says — that Saturday will be The Day. It sounds similar to the work of Bishop Ussher, who performed similar calculations and determined, with scientific precision, that the world began on Sunday, October 23, 4004 B.C.
The Rapture is not quite the End of the World, however. As I understand the concept, The Rapture describes the event when all humans are judged and those found worthy go to Heaven. Some believers envision the process as involving people disappearing as they go about their everyday lives. (If it happens on Saturday, it won’t be a good time to be out driving.) Then, after The Rapture occurs, the rest of us apparently get to stay on Earth to deal with a period of disaster and chaos and turmoil before the world eventually ends.
Wouldn’t you know it? Russell is supposed to graduate on Sunday!