Countdown: group says Judgment Day is here, or near
Brittney M. Walker | 5/4/2011, 5 p.m.
Maybe you've seen billboards in your area, suggesting that May 21, 2011, will mark the biblically prophesied Day of Judgment. Although Jesus said in Matthew 24:36, "No one knows the day or the hour," a group of enthusiastic Christians are convinced they know when Christianity's risen savior will return to snatch away believers.
Billboards across the country in urban areas send a condemning and eerie message suggesting that "The Bible Guarantees It," Judgment Day on May 21, that is.
Produced by Family Radio, a Christian station based in Oakland, the campaign actually began about three years ago and has seemingly turned up the heat in recent months.
According to the special projects coordinator, Michael Garchi, the purpose is to get non-believers ready for what the group says is the beginning of the end of the world.
He says the signs and evidence are clear.
"The Bible talks about a wicked and adulterous nation. The sin of homosexuality is a really big sign," he said. "God puts emphasis on this particular sin. In the days of Lot ... lots of sexual actions were going on ... homosexuality is a huge sign that we are right at the end."
Harold Camping, president and general manager of Family Radio, which broadcasts in 70 languages, calls himself a "tireless student of the Bible," which he says qualifies him to announce the Day of Judgment. He derived the date from evidence he claims is in the Bible.
The radio network's website says, "The timeline of history is God's predetermined timetable for the unfolding of God's Gospel program for this world. In other words, the length of time between the day God created this world in 11,013 B.C. and the day he will destroy it in Oct. 21, 2011.
"The discovery of this information built the foundation for what God would later reveal from the Bible as the date for the end. Judgment Day on May 21, 2011, is the culmination of five decades of intensive biblical study by Mr. Camping and other Bible teachers who have discovered the same biblical data."
Todd Rogers, a subscribing Christian and follower of Camping, agrees that Jesus will come again on May 21 and take up believers in the Rapture while leaving heathens to suffer on earth.
"God specifically states in the Bible (in Genesis. 7:4) that Jesus will return 7,000 years after the great flood in 4990 B.C., which falls on May 21, 2011," he said.
Despite the commonly quoted scripture (Matthew 24:36), Rogers says that information is no longer true.
"According to the Bible, not even Jesus knows when he will return to earth. But God himself does," he said. "This was true until Harold Camping helped expose the true date of the Rapture."
Garchi agrees, explaining that many have misinterpreted the Bible.
"The Bible didn't say no one will know or can't know," he said, adding that there is some misunderstanding that Jesus didn't know the day or the hour. He said that would be impossible if Jesus is God.