Late Night: Get Ready for the Rapture!

The Rapture

Tomorrow’s the big day, folks! A bunch of holier-than-thou evangelicals are supposedly going to be “raptured” into heaven–or something. I’ve never been exactly sure what’s supposed to happen in “the rapture.” I guess it would be kind of like when the Virgin Mary was “assumed” into heaven or when Jesus “ascended into heaven.” As a kid, I always pictured them floating up, up, away from the earth and into the sky. I guess that’s what the “rapture” is supposed to be like.

Of course I was a little kid then and didn’t quite understand the difference between fantasy and reality. A lot of the people who think they are going to be “raptured” are full grown adults who apparently never got past that little-kid stage of development. I wonder what these believers are going to do tomorrow night when they aren’t taken up into heaven to be with their god? I hope it won’t be too messy.

Anyway, I thought I’d gather a little information about what is supposed to happen tomorrow and what is being said about it around the intertubz.

Harold Camping

We’ll start at Family Radio Headquarters in Oakland, CA, where the latest end-of-the-world prediction emanated from the mind and lips of “biblical soothsayer” Harold Camping. The New York Times reports that PETA members are camped outside, holding signs that say things like “make your last supper vegan,” and the pastor of another church is preparing to help out after the big disappointment comes.

“They are going to be reeling,” said Pastor Jacob Denys of Calvary Bible Church in nearby Milpitas, so he and about 20 volunteers planned to spend Saturday outside Mr. Camping’s compound to let “them to know that God still loves them.”

Another nearby pastor is also very worried about Camping’s followers:

Pastor Dave Nederhood, of Christian Reformed Church in Alameda, said he had met Mr. Camping on several occasions and had followed his radio broadcasts about the apocalypse closely.

“My concern is for the people that have bought into his lie and have sold their belongings, quit their jobs, left their churches and their families and now they are sitting at home listening to Family Radio and waiting for the end,” Mr. Nederhood said. “I’m terribly concerned.”

Harold Camping has predicted the end of the world before and been mistaken. He predicted it would happen in 1994. But he claims he made a mistake in his mathematical calculations–this time he’s absolutely sure he has the right date and time for the scheduled apocalypse.

In New York City, a former MTA employee, Robert Fitzpatrick is also a true believer. So much so, that he spent his life savings in order to warn his fellow New Yorkers. According to the New York Daily News:

The retired MTA employee has pumped $140,000 into a NYC Transit ad campaign to warn everyone the world will end next Saturday.

“Global Earthquake! The Greatest Ever – Judgment Day: May 21,” the ad declares above a placid picture of night over Jerusalem with a clock that’s about to strike midnight.

“I’m trying to warn people about what’s coming,” the 60-year-old Staten Island resident said. “People who have an understanding [of end times] have an obligation to warn everyone.”

His doomsday warning has appeared on 1,000 placards on subway cars, at a cost of $90,000, and at bus shelters around the city, for $50,000 more.
Fitzpatrick’s millenial mania began after he retired in 2006 and began listening to California evangelist Harold Camping’s “end of days” predictions.

Robert Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick even self-published a book about the coming end of days: The Doomsday Code. I wonder what Fitzpatrick will do if his plans for tomorrow fall through? He gave an interview to Brian Curtis at The Daily Beast, but Curtis didn’t ask him that question. Curtis did ask Fitzpatrick if he thought he was going to be one of the chosen ones to float up to heaven.

“Living with this idea, it’s not easy,” Fitzpatrick says. Even an ad buy of biblical proportions doesn’t calm his thoughts. He stands in the subway handing out Gospel tracts and each day sees dozens—no, hundreds—of the unsaved. He knows these poor souls will die in the earthquake, or else cling to life before the whole universe is vaporized on October 21. “That’s one of those things that could really get to you if you let it,” he says. Fitzpatrick’s mother has dementia, and he’s not sure if God will make a special dispensation for her.

Knowing the date of the judgment is only half the Rapture equation. The other half is knowing whether you’ll be among those who will “meet the Lord in the air,” as it says in 1 Thessalonians. When I ask Fitzpatrick if he’s sure he’ll be raptured, I notice that his confidence takes a small but perceptible hit. He can’t say for certain. He uses the words “strong suspicion,” lawyerly language he would never use about the date of the Rapture.

You might think of Robert Fitzpatrick’s dilemma like this. He knows that on May 21 the very last train is leaving the station. But he has only a strong suspicion that he has a ticket. It’s the kind of existential fear that might make you spend your life savings on subway ads, or pass out leaflets until the final seconds before the great earthquake. Fitzpatrick tells me, “I’m still praying, let’s put it that way.”

The world is going to be “vaporized on October 21?” Will that prediction still hold if the “rapture” doesn’t happen? I have so many questions!

Interestingly, Tim LaHaye, co-author of the “Left Behind” series says Camping and Fitzgerald are way off base. The rapture won’t be tomorrow. Nobody but God knows when the end is coming, according to La Haye, but the end is coming pretty soon. He sees signs of it happening right now in the Middle East:

there are things fomenting geopolitically, like the Arab world and the rise of the radical Islamics within the Arab people that are a threat to the whole world. I was just reading today that they want to conquer the whole world! I think it’s a demonic religion, to be honest with you. Ezekiel 38 and 39 predicts that Russia and the Islamic world are going to get together, go down and drive the Jews into the sea and destroy Israel.

Ugh….This guy isn’t any more sane than Camping, if you ask me. Here’s a little explanation of the biblical prophesy of the end times, according to La Haye:

The Hebrew prophet Daniel talked about that time of trouble that would come on the earth. There are seven years, and in the Book of Revelations, the apostle John got a vision from the Lord himself, and it came out to exactly the same: Two periods of three-and-a-half years, one of tribulation and one of great tribulation. That includes 21 judgments, during which time God is trying to get the attention of mankind to call on his Son for salvation by shaking the earth with earthquakes and all kinds of disasters. Man is shaken by his false sense of security and can then turn his faith to Christ. There will be millions of people that do that during that seven-year period of time, but that is after the Rapture of the church. So, as long as the church is still here, the tribulation hasn’t started.

Okay, whatever. I think maybe La Haye is just jealous because of all the attention Harold Camping is getting.

Left behinders have lots of ideas about this rapture thing too. For example, who is going to take care of the pets of the people who disappear in the blink of any eye? Who will get their stuff? How do you get ready if you think your going to be “raptured?” And so on. Here are a few samples.

The Daily Top 10 Things to Do to Prepare for the Rapture

LA Times: The last-minute “rapture” reading list Detroit rapture parties celebrate those left behind

The Guardian UK: How to prepare for the rapture

Daily Markets: Post-rapture pet rescue

Salon: Your apocalypse survival FAQ

MadamaB’s take at The Widdershins

What are you doing to prepare for the big event?

62 Comments on “Late Night: Get Ready for the Rapture!”

  1. dakinikat says:

    I’m wondering how many of these people are so mentally disturbed they will kill themselves. If I were the police I’d been on suicide alert where these people live.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That’s what worries me too.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I wouldn’t doubt it Dak, it really seems that when people completely “believe” someone like Camping…it is like falling for some cult figure. Which usually turns out bad.

    • Beata says:

      Suicides as a result of this are my concern as well. Does Camping have a real congregation that gathers in his “compound” or just a TV and radio ministry? I know next to nothing about him.

      • dakinikat says:

        I think it’s just a radio station/recording studio

      • Seriously says:

        He’s got this big radio empire that’s been going since the 50’s with 100 stations (many probably low wattage, tho), but he’s not really a member of the clergy. He’s actually anti-church because he doesn’t think churches adhere strictly enough to the Bible, so the airwaves are his way to disseminate his own purist interpretation of the Bible.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Its a bunch of radio stations…like a big church on the airwaves:

        May 21 End of the World: Harold Camping’s $72M business – May. 19, 2011

        Harold Camping and his devoted followers claim a massive earthquake will mark the second coming of Jesus, or so-called Judgment Day on Saturday, May 21, ushering in a five month period of catastrophes before the world comes to a complete end in October.

        At the center of it all, Camping’s organization, Family Radio, is perfectly happy to take your money — and in fact, received $80 million in contributions between 2005 and 2009. Camping founded Family Radio, a nonprofit Christian radio network based in Oakland, Calif. with about 65 stations across the country, in 1958.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Harold Camping hosted his last broadcast on Thursday night.

    Near the show’s end, Camping cut short a caller to announce that this would be his last appearance on the “Open Forum” TV and radio show he’s hosted for decades. After all, he explained with a warm smile, the world would be ending Saturday night.

    Then he shook hands with a couple of crewmen. “I probably won’t see you again,” he announced. “I won’t be here again.”

  3. Seriously says:

    A lot of these people seem very lonely, and you’ve gotta wonder if they feel that they’ve been left behind because they’re unworthy if they’ll end up harming themselves or something. And then when they realize they’ve blown their life savings…Sad.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    The Ascension of Jesus

    • Seriously says:

      Lol I actually dreamed the other day that my entire house was completely covered with religious icons and statuary, which may be a sign because if this thing pans out I’m guessing there’s going to be piles and piles of the stuff just sitting around unattended. If anybody wants to be hooked up with unlimited Infants of Prague or prison art matchstick crosses, hit me up on Sunday.

    • dakinikat says:

      These people are so nuts. It’s like the think 2 day old zygotes are little miniature adults too. It’s just serious stupidity.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    GOP expects to lose majority post-rapture; Jesus says, “not so fast!”

  6. Minkoff Minx says:

    Well, lets see…Indiana, Wisconsin and now Tennessee.

    Wisconsin, Tennessee Try To Pull Planned Parenthood Funding

    My guess is Florida is next…

  7. Tim says:

    I’m wondering what’s going to happen to all those newborns who haven’t been baptised and are born with original sin. Poor little babies. Are we supposed to look after them? Do I need to go shopping for formula and diapers?

    • dakinikat says:

      Do you think a raptured pregnant wome goes with her original sin stained fetus?

      • Tim says:

        I did wonder about that. I mean technically the symbiotic relationship between the mother and her devil-spawn (fetus) means that they are one entity so she is tainted, perhaps they both don’t go?

    • Seriously says:

      I’m hoping to get lucky and be assigned frozen embryos. I have room for at least 100 in my ice cube trays, they’re all getting identical tiny sweaters on major holidays, I’ll never have to bail them out of jail.

      • Seriously says:

        Although, this is a Protestant thing, so maybe frozen embryos will rapture. Do frozen Protestant embryos have souls?

  8. Tim says:

    And can you imagine the queue? I thought Customs was bad enough at O’Hare. Peter will have his work cut out.

    • Seriously says:

      Do you suppose that if joking about bombs in the security line at the airport is a one-way ticket to federal prison, making wisecracks like which way to the fields of asphodel in the line to heaven is a one-way ticket to an eternity of fiery torment?

      • Tim says:

        Oh, definitely. Although if you’ve been a good enough Christian to be raptured then you probably don’t have much of a sense of humor.

    • dakinikat says:

      I think the rapture is the express lane. They’ve been pre-certified .

  9. paper doll says:

    it’s 3:00 AM …did I miss it??

    • Seriously says:

      Nah, it’s going down at 5 or 6 pm. Whether that’s GMT, EST, Pacific–ask a theologian.

      • Fredster says:

        I think it’s time-zone specific, sorta like the way New Years goes. Have we had any news from Asia, Australia or similar places?

      • Seriously says:

        For some reason, they believe it’s all going to begin at 6 pm New Zealand time, but aren’t Tokyo and Sydney 14 hrs ahead of NY? It’d be after 6 there already and it must be close to 6 in NZ.

      • Seriously says:

        Close to 8, I mean.

      • Seriously says:

        Actually, no, New Zealand is farther from Australia than crudely drawn shower curtain maps would indicate, it’s actually almost 9 there right now. What with the media blackout, it’s gonna be a long 13 hours.

    • Fredster says:

      Well apparently are rich 2% who don’t get raptured will be okay when the sh!t hits the fan in their ultra nice and protected bunkers.

      • Seriously says:

        Multi-level shelters, each consisting of over 18,500 square feet, for 172 to 200 people.
        A spoke cluster with 10 radiating wings surrounding a 2 story central dome.
        Designed and outfitted for up to 1 year of underground survival.
        Fully furnished living quarters, with semi-private bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens.

        They’re used to 16,000 square feet for 3 people, it’ll be like Lord of the Flies in the $10 million bunker with semi private kitchens.

      • Fredster says:

        They have a real warm and fuzzy video for you to watch in selling their product. It will make you start checking your bank balances, credit card limits and anything else you can use to get hold of cash!

      • Sima says:

        Didn’t we do all this in the 50’s with the fallout shelters? Oh, but those are too small and ill-equipped. Let the proles live there!

      • paper doll says:

        They’re used to 16,000 square feet for 3 people, it’ll be like Lord of the Flies in the $10 million bunker with semi private kitchens


        all I can say is a bunker didn’t work out for Hitler and he had far more resorses at his finger tips than any one getting this come on via a video! ….rubes! the really conected aren’t here any more…now THAT’s a bunker

  10. Sima says:

    Well, I figured if there’s any day to return to the blog world, the night before the rapture… although come to think of it, it’s 2:30 am PDT, so are we raptured yet?

    Anyway, if there’s any day to return to the political world, the day before the rapture is it! So yes, I’m back. I’ve got a heck of a lot of backlog to read, I see, so I’ll get stuck in shortly.

    Hnmm, did the ground just shake? Is this it? No, darn it (can I say that on the day of the rapture?), just the dog jumping off the bed.

    The first article I read about this rapture informed me that I, as an unbeliever, would die on October 21st. I immediately thought, ‘But who’s going to take care of the farm?’ Now I see that we are all to just vaporize on the 21st. I guess the issue of feeding the goats in my absence will not arise then.

    Life in the last few months has been a special bit of hell (must be prep for the rapture), although things are looking up now (see, it’s coming!!). My mother’s operation eventually went well, and she is recovering. She nearly died, and spent 4 weeks in a physical therapy/rehab place. Now she’s at home and slowly, slowly, becoming herself again. I am very grateful.

    I’m still doing some of my sister’s caretaking, mostly cleaning and bathing her, since my mother can’t reach out with her arms at all yet. It went from ‘squick, how can I do this?’ to being kind of fun. My sister really enjoys having me to herself, and we sing and recite silly poems and so on while getting her clean. It’s to the point now where my sister gets jealous of my attention if my mother comes and helps. Heh.

    Our farm truck died, and needed 1k worth of repairs. Our car needed a new timing belt and a few other things, for another 1k. And then… one night… something stirred in the downstairs bathroom. Something… vile. It bubbled and burbled and slid like sewage filled water out of the toilet, and indeed it was sewage filled water. Our septic system failed. 2k later and it all works again. Luckily my partner saw it happening right as it started and shut down everything, so we didn’t lose any flooring or carpets. The bathroom was a mess to clean though, gotta admit. And the front yard has been completely relandscaped (i.e. everything I planted there 18 years ago has been cut down) in the search for the septic tank and its lids. I guess we get lawn out there now!

    Local interest in CSAs is way down, so we are going to be taking our produce to the farmer’s market. It will probably turn out alright, but is a bit stressful as it’s not a sure income.

    Our pregnant does gave birth last month. The last one, Monkey, gave birth to quints! All does. Two of them are really tiny, and we’ve been struggling the last 3 weeks or so to keep them alive. One is doing well, the other, not so much. It’s tough work, as we are bottle feeding every 4 hours, but they are darling. The littlest one, Sundae, weighs about 2 pounds, maybe! She’s so borderline she should really have been put into a goatie neo-natal unit.

    And finally, we’ve added chickens to the farm. The chicks are about a week old and currently living in my dining room (in a cage, I promise!). I will be glad when they move out, but they are really cute.

    So that’s my news. I will be reading and lurking for a bit, and then get back into the farming/gardening/etc posts. I am so glad to be able to come back!

    • Fredster says:

      Glad to see you back! Yes, it sounds like you have been through an ordeal and more.

      • Sima says:

        Thanks Fredster! I think the worst part of it all was personal depression, and the news just made it all the worse. I felt so helpless. But now, I’m feeling like I can take on my little bit of the world again.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hi Sima! It’s so good to see you. I’m glad your mom is better. When people get older, recovery takes longer. But it’s amazing how resilient the human body can be. You should put all your news into a frontpage post. Anyway, welcome back!!!

    • bostonboomer says:

      The chicks in the dining room reminds me of one of my favorite Luci-Desi episodes.

      • I love that episode…but then there aren’t many Lucy episodes that I don’t.

        Welcome back Sima! I’m glad you’re getting out from under enough to blog again. Your voice has been missed.

      • Fannie says:

        Luv it too. Reminds me when my son was little and his chicks came in Post Office, and we had to stop at the store, and he refusued to go in with me, and wanted to care for those chicks who hadn’t had water for a coulpe days………….when I came out he was gone and the chicks too. I ran around screaming for him, and he comes from the back corner of the building and says, Mom we had to go pee.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Oh Sima, you have no idea how happy I am to see you. I have been worried and thinking about you a lot. So good to know Mama is doing better.

      Little goat Sundae must be so cute, you have to post pictures when you can.

    • Seriously says:

      Glad your mom’s doing better.

  11. Branjor says:

    I feel like I’m being raptured as we speak, except it’s not so rapturous. I have a little over $100 to my name and still no job. Soon I will be unable to pay for anything at all, including internet, and will disappear until things are better for me (if that ever happens)>