Judgment Day? 5 days and counting…

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that an evangelist named Harold Camping was predicting — no, stating — that Judgment Day will be May 21, 2011.

At a time, I didn’t know if anyone would really notice Camping’s big news, as he is somewhat of a fringe TV preacher.

But everyone loves a good End-of-the-World guarantee, so Camping is getting quite a lot of media attention. Plus, his Family Radio Network has billboards up all over the country — I saw one the other day on the Garden State Parkway — warning of the Big Day.

Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer, also has a small army of followers driving around the country and letting people know not to bother planning anything for Memorial Day.

One volunteer told NPR: “I no longer think about 401(k)s and retirement. I’m not stressed about losing my job, which a lot of other people are in this economy. I’m just a lot less stressed, and in a way I’m more carefree.”

The UK Independent’s most popular on-line story at the moment is: “US preacher warns end of the world is nigh”

Camping, who is based in Oakland, is not predicting an immediate global apocalypse. He is saying, based on his reading of the Bible, that Jesus will return on May 21 and that saved Christians — he says about 2 percent of the world’s population — will be raptured to heaven. Everyone else will face God’s judgment. The world will be destroyed 153 days later, he says.

You can read all about it at WeCanKnow.com. The website was, until recently, taking orders for We Can Know materials. But they’ve stopped: “With our Lord’s Return such a short time away, we are no longer offering free printed materials since there is not enough time remaining for us to effectively produce and distribute them.”

Makes sense, I guess.

Most media accounts point out that Camping previously predicted that most of us would be goners on Sept. 6, 1994. When that didn’t happen, he chalked it up to a mathematical error.

Well, May 21 is Saturday. Come Sunday, if Camping is wrong, I’m sure he’ll get quite a few interview requests.

I get the feeling that a lot of people are gearing up to make fun of him, which would be kind of sad.

AP Photo

That strange Israel/televangelist connection

Benny Hinn, the controversial Pentecostal televangelist who claims to have healed thousands during his crusades, has a new book about the Middle East.

Hinn was born in Jaffa, Israel, raised as an Orthodox Christian. He became an evangelical in his teens.

Like many evangelical “leaders,” Hinn is very pro-Israel. A description of the book from its publisher includes:

*****

In Blood in the Sand, Hinn gives readers a deep understanding of the threats Israel faces and reflects on his lifetime of diligent research and analysis. This book, which demonstrates Hinn’s love for the Holy Land, offers previously unpublished personal photos and eyewitness accounts of the harsh reality Israelis face every day.  Often politically charged, this book offers Hinn’s educated insight and sobering projections to the future of the increasingly heated conflict.

*****

Some evangelical supporters of Israel, of course, have theological and not just political reasons for supporting Israel — believing that Israel will play a big part in the unfolding of the End Times.

Hinn says: “The world has its eyes focused on the political resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but according to Scripture, the next step on God’s agenda is a mighty spiritual revival that will descend on Israel.”

Interestingly, the foreword for the book was written by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Many Israeli leaders are happy to have unqualified support for Israel from American evangelicals.

But you have to beleive that Olmert and others have absolutely no interest in what the Book of Revelation says about the End.