And lo, there shall be a sign that the end times are upon us. Almost five thousand of them, in fact, declaring this May 21 "Judgment Day," apparently the biggest news in area billboards since the Beatles hit iTunes.
Bought and paid for by Oakland's Family Radio, these end-of-times announcements turn up not just on Muni, BART, and area billboards but are also flung throughout the world, including 450 in India. A Good Housekeeping–style seal on each promises "The Bible Guarantees It," and a line of scripture commands that beholders "Cry mightily unto God."
Uncertain whether we should bother continuing to make our student loan payments, SF Weekly asked Harold Camping, Family Church's president (and a '62 UC Berkeley grad!) to give us the lowdown on the last days.
The Jehovah's Witnesses pegged a date in the 70s for the last day and got it wrong. How can you be sure?
Until 1988, the Bible assured us that nobody could know the time. Now God has given us magnificent proof and some significant signs that May 21 is the day. The Bible is absolutely dependable and certain on this.
[Here, Camping chapters-and-verses numbers from Genesis and Peter and then works some math. His conclusion: "If we substitute 1,000 years for each of the seven days, 2011 is exactly 7,000 years from the Flood."]
What is that recent proof?
God has given us an enormous amount of proof, like the gay pride movement and the extraordinary amount of wickedness in the world.
Do you consider the end of the world good news?
I'll tell you, it's a mixed bag. Everybody here knows children, husbands, and wives who mock and don't believe this. On May 21st they'll be entering Judgment Day, and that will be sad, sad, sad.
So, the just are raptured on the 21st, right? What happens to the rest of us?
The wages of sin is death. There will be huge earthquakes and death everywhere. God will throw open all the graves, and the bodies of the unsaved will be thrown out like — this is the word God uses — dung or manure. Then after a five-month period the world will be annihilated, and there will be no memory of it. When you're dead, you're dead. You'll have no conscious existence.
That's different than what most churches say.
There is no eternal suffering. That's been a club the Church has used to bring people into their congregations. We're not a church. God is no longer working through churches. Every church has its own doctrine. We have the Bible.
What if it doesn't happen? Can we give you a call on the 22nd?
If I tried to answer that, it would indicate I have some tiny bit of doubt. I do not. On May 21st, judgment will happen.