What Are You Doing This Saturday?
By Pastor George Van Alstine

Judgment Day will be this Saturday, May 21, 2011! So says the latest date-setter, Harold Camping, President of Family Radio, which owns or can be heard on over 100 Christian radio stations. Using the King James Bible exclusively, Camping has determined that creation occurred in 11,013 BC and Noah’s flood in 4990 BC. Calculating 7,000 years from the flood (since “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years” {2 Peter 3:8} and 7 is the number of completeness), Camping comes to the solid conclusion that Judgment Day will confront us in 2011. In fact, based on other numerological indicators, he can pinpoint it to May 21, 2011. You can count on it; as his billboard ads say, it’s “Guaranteed by the Bible!”

Actually, says Camping, the “Great Tribulation” predicted in the Book of Revelation began in 1988, and during the 23 years since, all churches have been apostate (out of fellowship with God). But during the last few years (since September 7, 1994, to be precise) many people have come to faith in Christ outside of the churches. All true believers will be “Raptured” out of the world this Saturday, which will be the end of the Great Tribulation and the beginning of the Day of Judgment. Then, watch out! Tsunamis, hurricanes, 9/11 terrorist attacks — you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Beginning this Saturday, God’s Judgment will be continually poured out on the world. This will last for five months, until October 21, when God will totally destroy the earth by fire.

So, here’s what I was wondering — what is it like to be Harold Camping? Here I am, a 89 -year-old man with a degree from Cal-Berkeley in civil engineering, brought up in a conservative Christian Reformed church tradition. One day — how many years ago was it? forty? fifty? — I began to notice those numbers. A 7; look, there’s also a 7 there, and there. I wonder what that means. And why is that 6 next to the name of Mordecai? And Noah had 3 sons; there must be some significance to that. The Bible is a holy book; nothing in it is accidental.

Once I went down that rabbit hole, I realized I was in a whole new world of wonder. One number led to another, and soon I was having “Aha!” moments every time I read from the Bible. It was all falling into a magnificent pattern. Most people I talked to didn’t see it, but some did; enough to form this small group of cheerleaders who rejoiced at every new discovery.

And so, I’ve made my bold predictions. I’m really sure that I’m right. I’ve double-checked all the numbers. And I’ve done my best to warn the world: radio commentaries, billboards, street demonstrations. Nothing to do but wait.

But what will I do if Sunday, May 22, arrives, and I’m still here? How will I face my followers? How will I face myself in the mirror? What will I say to the reporters on the front lawn?

Maybe I’ll look on line to see if on Saturday there were mysterious disappearances of any groups of people. Wouldn’t it be awful if the Pope was Raptured and I was left behind?

How long will it take me to begin to recalculate the numbers, correct for some minor error, and work toward my revised set of dates?

You know, maybe the ancient Mayans had it right all along. 2012 — What was it, December 21?