People around the world are preparing for what many expect to be "Judgment Day" on May 21.
May 21, 2011, is the day Harold Camping, a preacher from Oakland, California, predicts the Second Coming of the Lord. He has said that at about 6 PM, 2 percent of the world's population will be immediately "raptured" to heaven, and everyone else will go to hell, according to a report on him in the Independent.
Camping, 89, has tremendous reach and apparently fabulous public relations skills. He has billboards up around the United States and is often heard on the radio.
Camping's California-based Christian group, Family Radio, has sent four traveling caravans of believers around the globe. The group sends out banners informing people of the upcoming Judgment Day, including one which says, "Cry mightily unto GOD for HIS mercy," reports CBC.
Donations from listeners to the Family Radio Network have enabled the group to broadcast its message of Judgment Day, the Independent reports. Camping has programs in 48 languages, has followers around the globe and has radio stations in South Africa, Russia and Turkey.
"After 70 years of studying the Bible, he claims to have developed a system that uses mathematics to interpret prophesies hidden in it," it states. "He says the world will end on 21 May, because that will be 722,500 days from 1 April A.D. 33, which he believes was the day of the Crucifixion. The figure of 722,500 is important because you get it by multiplying three holy numbers (five, 10 and 17) together twice."
"When I found this out, I tell you, it blew my mind," he told the Independent.
Camping told New York Magazine that he is absolutely certain May 21 will be the day.
"God has given sooo much information in the Bible about this, and so many proofs, and so many signs, that we know it is absolutely going to happen without any question at all. There’s nothing in the Bible that God has ever prophesied — there’s many things that he prophesied would happen and they always have happened — but there’s nothing in the Bible that holds a candle to the amount of information to this tremendous truth of the end of the world."
Not everyone is quite as confident. ABC News has a roundup of other so-called "Judgment Days" that have come and gone.
What does happen if Camping is wrong? Doug Weaver, a religion professor at Baylor University, told the Washington Post: "I suppose he will go back and re-calcuate. He has done that before."
DISCUSSION: What do you think will happen on May 21? Do you believe in a "Judgment Day?" If you do, what are you doing to prepare? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.