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.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • 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.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. 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.

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