This article was in the paper yesterday and I wanted to share it. Jeff is one of my favorite coumnists here for our local newspaper.
May 19, 2011
The end is near: Or maybe it’s not
By Jeff Mullin, columnist Enid News and Eagle
OK, let me see. Snacks? Check. Plenty of pop? Right. Bug spray? Got it. Calamine lotion? yessiree.
Oh, hi. Don’t mind me, I’m just getting ready for Judgment Day.
It’s Saturday, in case you haven’t heard. The great apocalypse is scheduled to begin with a devastating worldwide earthquake at 6 p.m. This apparently will not be like network TV, which presents shows at 8 p.m. Eastern time, 7 Central, and so on. Judgment day is supposed to happen at 6 p.m. local time Saturday, wherever you are.
That means at 6 p.m. Saturday believers will be raptured, or swept up into heaven, while the rest will be left behind to suffer the tribulation set forth the Bible.
I’ve decided to get ready for either possibility. In case I happen to get raptured, I’ve decided to dress for the occasion. No, really, I will be in a suit and tie at 6 p.m. Saturday. Actually I’ll be getting ready for a wedding, but if I should be raptured on the way, at least I’ll be in my Sunday best.
The possibility of the rapture is the reason for the snacks. Travel always makes me hungry.
And, just in case I am left behind and the tribulation begins, I am preparing for that, as well.
The Bible tells us the tribulation will be a time of unprecedented trouble, of God’s wrath and the vindication of God’s holiness.
The book of Revelation tells us there will be seven angels with seven trumpets. When the first angel sounds the first trumpet, hail and fire mixed with blood will rain upon the earth. I have an umbrella handy. And galoshes.
The second angel will turn a third of the sea into blood. The third will turn a third of the water bitter. Thus, I bought a filter pitcher.
The fourth angel will turn a third of the sun, moon and stars dark. I laid in a supply of flashlight batteries.
And that, the Bible says, will be the good part. The fifth angel will unleash locusts with the sting of a scorpion. Hence the bug spray and calamine lotion.
Angel No. 6 will set loose four other angels, who will kill a third of mankind. I plan to hide. Angel No. 7 will trigger a severe earthquake.
Then there’s going to be a pregnant woman, and a dragon, a war in heaven, a beast coming out of the sea, another one coming out of the earth, more angels and a winepress to crush the unbelievers. Can I take a rain check?
Then, on top of all that, the seven bowls of God’s wrath will be poured out on the earth. There will be festering sores. Keep some body lotion handy. The seas and rivers will turn into blood. The sun will scorch people with fire. Shades and sunscreen, that’s the ticket.
There will tongue gnawing, drought, frogs, more hail, more earthquakes, lightning, thunder, a lake of burning sulfur and just general mayhem.
And it all begins Saturday, at 6 p.m., if you believe 89-year-old civil engineer turned California radio evangelist Harold Camping. He has done the calculations and says 6 p.m. Saturday the end of the world will begin. The actual end of the world won’t come until Oct. 21. That’s a Friday, which is a crummy day for the world to end. Why can’t it be a Monday? Mondays always feel like the end of the world anyway.
At any rate, Camping and his followers have been touting Saturday as Judgment Day, posting 2,200 billboards throughout the country, criss-crossing the U.S. in RV convoys to spread the news.
Some of Camping’s followers, like New Yorker Robert Fitzpatrick, are putting their money where their beliefs are. Fitzpatrick has poured $144,000 of his own money into an ad campaign touting Saturday as Judgment Day. That was his entire retirement fund.
Adrienne Martinez is 27 and pregnant, with a 2-year-old child and a husband. She and said hubby, Joel, quit their jobs and moved from New York to Florida. They budgeted their money so it would run out today.
Is Harold Camping a heretic, as some have suggested, a false prophet? Is he simply a misguided believer, or is he some sort of charlatan? There are reports some of Camping’s followers are selling their homes and donating the money to him.
I believe Judgment Day will come and Jesus will one day return. I just don’t believe it will be Saturday.
But I don’t know. In fact, nobody does. Matthew 24:36 says, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
It could be Saturday. It also could be a thousand years from now, or 10,000, or 100,000. It could be today.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Be ready. That’s great advice. Not get ready. Be ready, at all times. Live, as Tim McGraw sings, like you were dying. Dance, as the saying goes, as if no one were watching. Sing as if no one were listening. Love as if you’ve never been hurt. Live every day as if it were your last.
Do all that, but plan for the future, as well. And don’t listen to people who claim to know when the end will come.
But just in case it does come Saturday, I’m sorry for every wrong I’ve ever done, I love all my friends and family and, in case I am raptured, the cat food is in the cabinet over the washing machine.
Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, at least until 6 p.m. Saturday.