2011.05.18 Is this our final issue?

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

There’s a pastor in California who knows this newspaper you’re reading is the last Observer you’re ever going to see. This is it; the final edition.

That’s because the world as we know it will end Saturday. No more newspaper, no more nothing. Everything devastated by a tremendous earthquake.

Actually, I’m rushing things a little. The earthquake comes Saturday. One-hundred and fifty-three days of death and horror will follow and maybe I’ll have the opportunity to get something published during that time. It’s not until Oct. 21 that all life is extinguished and the official end of the world takes place.

Harold Camping is the 89-year-old leader of Family Radio and his followers seem to be looking forward to the event.  A photo of his followers shows some pretty happy faces as they prepare to travel across the country to exalt in the  good news that Earth is about to be destroyed. They’ve given up their jobs and possessions—many have left their families—to embark on a nationwide tour to announce the “Awesome News.”

It’s good news to them because they’ll be among two to three percent of the world’s population that will be taken to heaven by Jesus. At least they hope to make the cut.

And don’t tell them they’re nuts because they’ll tell you the proof is in the Bible. Their slogan, “The Bible guarantees it,” appears in large print on the sides of their three large RVs driving across the country.

Here’s how it works, twice over.

Proof One: Noah's great flood occurred in the year 4990 B.C., what they say is exactly 7000 years ago. Don’t check their math; just believe. God told Noah the flood would begin in seven days.

Jumping ahead to the New Testament, Peter explains that for God, a day is like a thousand human years. Therefore, Mr. Camping reasoned that seven “days” equals 7,000 human years from the time of the flood, making 2011 the year of the apocalypse.

Proof Two narrows things down to the exact day: The date of the crucifixion is said to be April 1, 33 AD. There are exactly 722,500 days from April 1, 33 A.D. until May 21, 2011. That number can be represented this way: 5 x 10 x 17 x 5 x 10 x 17 = 722,500.

Don’t forget that numbers in the Bible have special meanings, with the number 5 signifying atonement or redemption, the number 10 signifying “completeness” and the number 17 equaling Heaven.

Mr. Camping isn’t the first person to practice Bible math. One of the most famous was Vermont pastor William Miller who predicted that Judgment Day would arrive somewhere between March 1, 1843, and March 1, 1844.

When the prescribed time passed, Miller announced that he recalculated and set Oct. 22, 1844, as the big day. He missed again but soon realized it was actually coming in the spring of 1845. Perhaps this went on and on through 1849 when Miller finally did die an ordinary death.

Miller’s preaching was influential, however, and one of his followers founded the Seventh-day Adventist church. Adventists, through history, have had many doomsday dates of their own.

The 16th century psychic Mother Shipton said the world would end in 1881 and her followers thought it was right on due to a meteorite crashing to Earth, some big earthquakes and unusual weather.

There’s still Dec. 21, 2012, to prepare for. Some say the ancient Mayan calendar ends that day, leaving nothing more of future history.

There’s some Awesome News about Mr. Camping’s prediction—or totally disheartening news, depending on what you’re after in life and death. 

Back in the 1990s, he made the news with another prediction: The world would end Sept. 6, 1994. So if you’re still around Sunday morning, don’t despair. He’s recrunching the numbers one more time and a new date will soon be unveiled.

I’m not sure how I feel about all of this. Maybe just tired. My prediction? I’m going to have to put out another newspaper next week.

  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.grieders
    ONE-TWO PUNCH—Morenci’s Griffin Grieder saved his best for last, running his fastest time ever in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state finals Saturday in Grand Rapids to finish first in the state in Div. IV. His brother Luke, a junior (right), claimed the state runner-up spot. Bulldog junior Bailee Dominique placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
  • Front.sidewalk
    MORENCI senior class president Mikayla Price leads the way Sunday afternoon from the Church of the Nazarene to the United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate ceremony. Later in the day, 39 members of the senior class received diplomas in the high school gymnasium.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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