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.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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