Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Rapture: God and Numbers

Image Source: That Burning Sensation.

According to California-based radio preacher Harold Camping, the Rapture is scheduled today for 6 p.m. (EST). For those who don't follow the New Testament closely, the idea of the Rapture derives from its oldest book, St. Paul's first epistle to the Thessalonians:
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."
- 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17
This predicted event concerns the moment when God will alight upon Earth and take up true Christians, whether dead or alive, as a prelude for huge and terrible things, including the Second Coming, resurrection of the dead, the annihilation of the Earth, and the Day of Judgement.

The annihilation of the Earth in a ball of fire is particularly distressing and is promised in a passage from St. Peter:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

"Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?" - II Peter 3:10-13
Camping's prediction comes from scrutiny of Biblical numerology, a subject with which he has been fascinated since he gave up his career as an engineer. Wiki provides a summary of Camping's numerological justification:
As early as 1970, Camping dated the Great Flood to 4990 BC. Taking the prediction in Genesis 7:4 ("Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth") to be a prediction of the end of the world, and combining it with 2 Peter 3:8 ("With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day"), Camping concludes that the end of the world will occur in 2011, 7000 years from 4990 BC. Camping takes the 17th day of the second month mentioned in Genesis 7:11 to be the 21st May, and hence predicts the rapture to occur on this date.
Another argument that Camping uses in favor of the May 21st date is as follows:
  1. According to Camping, the number five equals "atonement", the number ten equals "completeness", and the number seventeen equals "heaven".
  2. Christ is said to have hung on the cross on April 1, 33 AD. The time between April 1, 33 AD and April 1, 2011 is 1,978 years.
  3. If 1,978 is multiplied by 365.2422 days (the number of days in a solar year, not to be confused with the lunar year), the result is 722,449.
  4. The time between April 1 and May 21 is 51 days.
  5. 51 added to 722,449 is 722,500.
  6. (5 × 10 × 17)2 or (atonement × completeness × heaven)2 also equals 722,500.
Thus, Camping concludes that 5 × 10 × 17 is telling us a "story from the time Christ made payment for our sins until we're completely saved."
Camping's followers expect roughly 200 million people to be Raptured. Camping also says that God will obliterate everyone left behind on 21 October 2011.  This is the kind of thing that goes over well in office chatter and on the internet, and it's making Camping a global household name in the short term.  (Witness this post.) You can't pay for publicity like this, it's so good.

Camping has set a date for the Rapture before, on 6 September 1994, a failed prediction that won him some critics.  He also believes that people who think the world will end in 2012 are in for a big surprise, since everything will happen, according to him, one year early:
Harold Camping lets out a hearty chuckle when he considers the people who believe the world will end in 2012. "That date has not one stitch of biblical authority," Camping says from the Oakland office where he runs Family Radio, an evangelical station that reaches listeners around the world. "It's like a fairy tale." The real date for the end of times, he says, is in 2011.
But Camping has plenty of critics aside from the disaffected from 1994 and the army of 2012 theorists.  No community on the internet survives long without its shadowy online nemesis manifesting itself, and skeptics and atheists have been comically setting up Facebook pages and other sites, principally the Post-Rapture Organizational Meeting, to lay claim to the abandoned possessions of Christians who ascend to the Firmament today.  They suggest meeting at "your local Christian House of Worship" tomorrow between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to "divvy up all the cool stuff that Christians 'left behind.'"

Atheists dismiss Doomsday cults as "moneymaking enterprises," but they're not above trying to cash in on Camping's prediction themselves. They're planning various parties and big anti-Rapture events today. One Facebook commenter remarked, "I'm now offering Rapture Insurance (Copyright 2011 jpd/almighty enterprises) ... I sin so your valuable objects, pets and unbaptized convalescent loved ones have a watchful eye over them after god has turned his back on em."  Insurance is available from Post Rapture Pet Care for abandoned pets. The site is semi-serious in its enjoinder to the true believers who may dump their animals (see stories on similar enterprises here and here):
Do you wonder what is going to happen to your pets when Jesus descends from Heaven to re-unite the Church with the Father taking all Christians - dead and alive - up to Heaven? Will your pets be left behind with no-one to care for them?

Have no fear! We at Post Rapture Pet Care are confirmed atheists and as such will be part of the left behind when the time comes. Just because we are atheists doesn't mean we are not animal lovers. We adore all kind of pets and would love to look after your pets after you are gone.

For a small donation of £69.99 pounds, we will make sure your pets are well fed and taken care of long after you and your family have been taken up.

We have representatives in the South East of England and also in the North East of Scotland so can accommodate for most areas of the country giving you peace of mind wherever you are.
Another Facebook page - Beat the Rapture - Don't LOOK Left Behind! - is for people who want to avoid the embarrasssment of still being around after the Big Event. In order to look like you haven't been rejected by God like a bad pistachio, the site instructs you on how to remove your Facebook profile pic. They explain: "Note: The silhouette image replacing your profile image will be sufficient proof of your departure once Tribulation begins." According to Wiki, Tribulation is:
The Tribulation is the name given to the event or events referred to in the Olivet discourse, specifically Matthew 24:21 and other passages of the New Testament. In the futurist view of Christian eschatology, the Tribulation is a relatively short period of time where anyone who chose not to follow God before the Rapture and was left behind (according to Pre-Rapture Doctrine not Post or Mid Rapture teaching) will experience worldwide hardships, disasters, famine, war, pain and suffering, which will wipe out more than 75% of all life on the earth before part two of the Second Coming takes place.
Ironically, the fact that many Christians criticize Camping lines up in their view with the actual events leading up to the end of times.  Why?  Because according to the Bible, the period leading to the end of times is meant to be speckled with false prophets predicting - you guessed it - the end of times.  These false prophets will culminate with the ultimate doppelganger.  Depending on whom you consult, he will be Satan or the Antichrist, who will impersonate Christ, and deceive the misguided. Wiki:
Many Christians believe there will be a great deception before the coming of Christ. In Matthew 24 Jesus states[:] 
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
-Matthew 24:21, 24 NKJV 
These false Christs will perform great signs and are no ordinary people "For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." (Revelation 16:14) Satan's angels will also appear as godly clergymen, and Satan will appear as an angel of light. "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works." (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) 
"As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. The church has long professed to look to the Saviour's advent as the consummation of her hopes. Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation. (Revelation 1:13-15). The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the air: "Christ has come! Christ has come!" The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his hands and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed." 
The Great Controversy, p. 624.
Thus, the Bible warns of an era of lies about the ultimate culmination of Christian beliefs. And in the minds of believers, this era coincides with the spread of the biggest global communication tool the world has ever seen.

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