According to Harold Camping and his followers, you only have a few hours left before the Rapture. Camping, the founder of Family Radio, has been using the airwaves to explain how he decoded the Bible and received this revelation.
The Bible states clearly that “no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matt. 24:36).
But despite the naysayers, Camping’s prediction is a trending topic on the Web, and especially at Twitter; the third top hashtag this afternoon is “#iftheworldendsonsaturday.” People tweeted what they will do if this is indeed their final day.
Most tweets are sarcastic, while others reflect a reverential tone regarding the idea of Christ’s return. Twitter’s feed is providing the real-time cultural and global response to the prediction, and is reminiscent of the way many people, and even Christians, feel about the Rapture. Although many believe the world will end someday, the idea of it happening in their lifetime is perhaps too surreal to accept.
Dr. Vincent Bacote, an associate professor of theology and the director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College in suburban Chicago, does not find the prediction alarming or surprising. “Predictions of Christ’s return are nothing new,” he says, noting that it’s been an ongoing phenomenon throughout the course of church history. “In fact, Harold Camping previously predicted Christ’s return in 1994.”
However, Camping claims this time is different. “It was based on incomplete research, and I was quite aware that the research was incomplete,” he said in an interview with NPR.
Dr. Bacote warns that, although it’s a great temptation to try to figure out exactly when Christ returns, “we should remember that Christ told us to live in expectation of His return but not to waste time trying to predict exactly when it will occur.”