If you are reading this post today, one of two things may happen in the next day (May 21, 2011): (A) the Rapture will occur and you will not be chosen, or (B) the Rapture will be miscalculated yet again. I suppose the Rapture could happen and no one will be chosen; things are rather evil these days so maybe this time the Godhead will be totally pissed off and we are all on our way to hellfire and brimstone.

So let’s assume, for insanity’s sake, that it is option B. Move over Bishop Ussher, the alpha and the omega have been revised again. Bishop Ussher was the Irish prelate who in 1654 published a tract that calculated the creation of the world commencing October 23, 4004 BCE. This was the date that became embedded in many editions of the KJV, although there were other counts of the biblical begats that came up with different dates. You would think that a loving God would at least give his creation an exact time rather than this “one day is as a thousand years” nonsense. Bishop Ussher sure thought that.

Now one of the current daze of judgment scenarios making the rounds among bibliolaters of this age is for May 21, 2011, tomorrow by my reckoning, but I do hope God is using the Gregorian and not the Julian calendar. The folks at ebiblefellowship.com have pushed creation back to 11,013 BC, bumped the birth of Jesus back to 7 BC, initiated the “great tribulation” back in 1988 (the year the film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” was released) and now predict the rapture for May 21, 2011. I, for one, will be checking their website on May 22 to see what I might have missed, since I do not have reservations myself for the Last Trump (and I do not mean the Donald). I can’t even get Broadway tickets for “The Book of Mormon” before mid-June.

Dating according to ebiblefellowship.com

So why this day and this year? Let’s go back to Noah: “The year 2011 AD will be the 7000th year from the flood of Noah’s day. It will be the end of the length of time given to mankind to find grace in God’s sight. This means that the time to find refuge in Christ has grown extremely short. We are only a little ways off from the year 2011 AD!” say the ebiblefellowshippers (or at least so they said before 2011). Seven millennia since God destroyed the entire earth (small unbaptized babies included along with all but the few animals fit on the ark with Noah and his nuclear family), Jehovah is supposed to déjà vu the earth’s destruction all over again. But here is the good news (i.e. Gospel for those on the inside): Bible believing Christians (at least some of them in the right fold) will disappear in the twinkling of an eye in the great “Rapture.” Even their pets can be taken care of, although I wonder if one can trust the evildoers who remain to care about cats and dogs when all hell is breaking loose on earth. It might be more ethical to just put them to sleep a few minutes before midnight on the 20th).

While Bishop Ussher was not shy about resurrecting biblical history, he had the courtesy not to predict the end of the world, as many of his forebearers had done (the year 1,000 AD was a good target) and spiritual descendants would indeed continue to do over three centuries on. I suspect that there has hardly been a year gone by since the ink was dry on St. John’s Revelation that the end of the world has not been anticipated. If the Rapture does indeed occur tomorrow (I do hope Sarah Palin goes in the first wave), then true Christians will not be around when the world ends on December 12, 2012 according to the Mayans (at least as reported in USA Today).

What we are still missing, it seems, is a contemporary prophet of Jonah’s stature. After all, when Jonah was found not to be a tasty morsel for the whale, he went on and preached so well in Nineveh that the great heathens there confessed their sins and converted, thus averting God’s judgment (although God did allow the Babylonians in 612 BC to conquer Nineveh and slaughter the people there.) But there is always a moral lesson lurking in biblical texts: “God did not destroy the people of Nineveh. Although there is no possibility that God will not follow through on His intention to destroy the world in 2011, we can know from His dealings with the people of Nineveh that God is tenderhearted and full of mercy. This should encourage each one of us to go to God and beseech Him for His great mercy.” we are consoled by the ebiblefellowshippers. So, like Congress, we can put off judgment day but ultimately there will be hell to pay (even if the burden is on our socially insecure and Medicare-deprived grandchildren).

Now, according to the prediction, on May 21 all the dead will rise from their graves (which should clear up some urban land for more practical use), with the good people going up to meet Jesus and the bad people having their bones strewn about. I am not sure what will happen to those who have been cremated, but maybe God will recreate them as he did Eve and then let the bones scatter on their own. There will be a lot more earthquakes, so if you live near a nuclear plant, you might want to get out of town now. I am not sure where you might go, though, since the whole earth will have earthquakes. I did hear that there are caves in Alaska where Bibles (good Protestant translations, of course) have been buried and so you could buy some can tuna and evaporated milk and head up north.

By the way, if you read the prediction carefully, May 21 is only the alpha of suffering, as the real end of the world will occur at the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles on October 21, still in advance of the Mayan prediction. Imagine if the Mayans do not have a world left to see destroyed. But there is hope in all of this. Remember that the thief on the cross was saved at the last moment by Jesus. I suppose this means you could wait, like a football coach in a close game, to one second until midnight to accept Jesus into your heart. But I would not trust your watch, so you might want to give yourself at least an hour to get rid of all the porn on your laptop, the beer in your fridge and open your Bible to John 3:16.

But let’s be practical. What should you do if the Rapture occurs and you are not in it? Here are some practical suggestions:

1. If you know of any born-again Christians who did not get chosen, you might want to send them a sympathy card and invite them to convert to Islam.
2. If your neighbor went up to be with Jesus and you hear your neighbor’s dog barking, it will not be unethical to take a gun and put the animal out of its misery. There is nothing in the 10 Commandments about that. And now at least you can’t be guilty of coveting that neighbor’s wife.
3. If Newt Gingrich is still around and running for president, you might tell him that converting to Catholicism will not get him many votes in the Bible Belt. But then, the Republicans are in deep trouble for the 2012 election since they just lost most of the evangelicals.
4. If you were flying on an airplane and the pilot was a born-again Christian, your plane probably crashed and you would not be reading this post.
5. Feel free to burn your copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species. It seems God fooled us rather well by creating the universe with the appearance of age and then giving us the brains to doubt illogical things.
6. If you were thinking about asking a co-worker to have sex, go ahead since you are all damned anyway. It will be Pompeii all over again and maybe a future archaeologist (coming here from a different creation, of course) will find you brimstoned in the act. So your fling could help the future of an alien culture’s scientific curiosity.
7.. I would not bother to buy The Apocalypse Handbook (for $17.95) that still questions whether the end of the world will happen in 2012, since it just happened.
8. For your party on the 4th of July, you won’t need charcoal to cook your hot dogs and you will be able to view the fireworks in the sky from your living room (or what remains of it).
9. Now you now that the guy who held up the sign that read “John 3:16” behind home plate at the World Series was not really a baseball fan.
10. If you are Republican and still here, be thankful that it really is the end of the world because you would have to suffer another four years of Obama as President and Harry Reid as the Senate Leader and know that Mormon Mitt Romney will still be trying to get your vote.

Luke R. E. Publican