It’s May 21, and that makes it Rapture Party Day. The observance traces back to a man named Harold Camping who predicted the return of Jesus Christ and the rapture of all faithful Christians that would occur on May 21, 2011. He actually made the prediction in 2001, and caused a flurry of his followers to prepare for their final days on planet Earth. Unfortunately, some of Camping’s followers believed the rapture would occur on May 21, 2011, and not only prepared for their miraculous departure, but began to sell off their possessions. Many lived in fear and went on “soul-winning campaigns” as they tried to save a lost generation from being left behind to face God’s final wrath on judgment day. Camping also predicted that God’s final judgment would take place five months after Rapture Day on October 11, 2011. Atheists across the nation had a field day with Rapture Day, and threw parties to celebrate the removal of those who would make their sudden and grandiose exit from the planet. Camping’s May 11, 2011, failed rapture prediction wasn’t his first. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Camping falsely predicted the rapture in September 1994.
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Today is “Rapture Party Day”
— The Mill Exchange (@themillexch) May 21, 2015
Today is Rapture Party Day. pic.twitter.com/1ArShKYapt
— David Nelson (@DavidNelsonNews) May 21, 2014
— Alltrade Printers (@AlltradePrinter) May 21, 2016
When May 21, 2011, came and went, and May 22, 2011, approached, many realized that Camping’s predictions and prophecies were false, and Rapture Party Day became a time of celebration. Now, Rapture Party Day isn’t just for atheists, and Christians can celebrate in the fun. As most Christians believe the rapture will one day occur, and hold to the Biblical teachings that no one actually knows when the rapture will take place, they can use the time to beef up their witnessing skills, and have get-togethers with others while watching rapture-ready films like the Left Behind trilogy and remake starring Nicholas Cage. Kirk Cameron also stars in the Left Behind films and there are the A Thief in the Night films from the ’70s that are viewed by some as a cult classic.
— extremely attractive (@veridialtulio) November 5, 2015
Rapture Party Day is a great time to celebrate being alive. While there are still many religious people worldwide who believe that the world will end soon and the final judgment of God will fall, Rapture Party Day is a time to celebrate just being alive. Those who want to use the time for something serious might want to focus on disaster preparedness and getting things in order. Non-religious folk, however, tend to celebrate Rapture Party Day in typically partying fashion with food, alcohol, and friends.
Though many religions believe in a final judgment, tribulation, rapture, and Armageddon, the teachings are commonly seen in what is known as end-time or death cults. An end-time cult is often a fringe, religious group that focuses on the teachings and beliefs of one “anointed” leader. The leader is someone who claims to have divine information or prophetic insight into either the Bible or God directly. The leader then becomes the source of all information for the group. Many followers will deny their own faith, logic, and reasoning and accept the leader’s word as a “spokesperson” for God. When this happens, the group becomes vulnerable to dangerous teachings, such as those that were evident with Camping’s failed predictions of the rapture and those followers who sold their possessions and quit their jobs in preparation for leaving this world.
Many cults have focused on the rapture or end-time events, and their followers have met with devastating and horrific consequences. These include Jim Jones and Jonestown; David Koresh of Waco, Texas; and David Berg who led the Children of God cult (The Family, Family International). Even Charles Manson and his commune meet the criteria for an end-time death cult. While Rapture Party Day is a great time to celebrate being alive, it might also be a good time for religious people to recognize the warning signs of dangerous teachings like the ones Harold Camping preached, and make sure their religious organization is sound and trustworthy and that their leaders are held accountable for the things they say and do.
[Photo by Benjamin Haas/Shutterstock]