Jon de Vos: The world ends on April 20
Winter Park, CO Colorado
Back in 1988, Lee Jang Rim, a Korean evangelical minister, began to spread the Rapture theory throughout South Korea.
He and his imminent doomsday rants became very popular. With a bunch of variations, the Rapture theory says God will whisk 144,000 folks like James Dobson and Pat Robertson, straight up bodily into heaven, finally leaving folks like you and me alone.
Pastor Rim, relying solely upon the Word of God, calculated the End of the World as Oct. 29, 1992. Hundreds of supporters gathered by his side that day, awaiting their celestial escalation. At one minute past midnight, the good minister looked around at all the grim-faced folks staring back, believers who had given away their homes, hamsters, and Hyundais. Rim was heard to mutter, “Oops,” before running for his life.
There have been more than 200 End of Days prophecies alongside more than 30 modern Christian sects preaching the imminent destruction of the world. Most predictions come from enigmatic and obscure passages in the Book of Daniel and Revelations.
In 1831, by the dim glint of candlelight, dairy farmer, William Miller, happened across Daniel 8:14, where it states that the world would last “2,300 evenings and mornings.” Using just his fingers, toes, and a bunch of cow udders, William calculated from that simple passage that the world would end on March 21, 1843.
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Being this specific about the Judgment Day fooled a lot of people, and William became a growing voice on the American scene as the day grew nigh. His credibility took a bigger slump than George Bush’s when the world passed midnight into March 22, oblivious to its brush with disaster. “Oops,” Miller said before running for his life.
William hid out for a while and went into a frenzy of recalculation, finally coming up with the revised date of October 22, 1844. “This time I got it right,” he said. Somehow lots of people believed him.
That evening, 50,000 faithful Millerites stood on a Pennsylvania hillside, hand-in-hand, awaiting The Second Coming. Awaiting. And then they awaited some more.
Dawn dawned bringing dawning awareness. They, too, had given away all their worldly goods; who needs a house in heaven? Several of the newly impoverished got a little huffy and denounced Miller as a fraud. His health took a downturn over God’s disrespectful refusal to destroy all mankind, and he died a year later.
Fifty thousand people presented too good an opportunity to throw away, so one of Miller’s followers, Ellen White, decided that Miller had the right day but the wrong event. October 22, 1844, was not the Second Coming, but rather the day that God decided to prepare for the Second Coming. Her followers, calling themselves First Adventists, at first, then the Seventh Day Adventists later, were relieved to have this clarified.
Ellen declared that she had supernatural powers, and frequently went into a trance, writing 20 books and more than 3,000 articles. Most of them sound like they were written by somebody in a trance. She was the spiritual leader of the Seventh Day Adventists for almost 70 years, finally meeting her own reward in 1915.
After a careful perusal of Revelations, it was revealed unto me that the world will end on April 20, 2011.
I would have called it sooner but, Lord knows, we all need the income from the winter tourists.
If a mere 10,000 true believers sent me twenty-five bucks, I would be happy to drop them a postcard on April 21 from a sun-drenched beach in the Caribbean with a newly revised date which I would cheerfully share with them.
For fifty bucks.
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