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The Last-Minute 'Rapture' Reading List

It's simple. You want to know about the "rapture"? Read the Bible. Turn to the Book of Revelation.

Of course, you won't see anything there about the rapture happening Saturday. But that's the scuttlebutt: The rapture is coming at 6 p.m. Saturday.

As just about everyone knows by now (save for Bret Easton Ellis, who was nothing but confused when asked about it at a reading Thursday night in Los Angeles) the date May 21, 2011, was picked as the rapture by Harold Camping.

Camping, who runs the Family Radio ministry, is a rapture guy. In fact, he once predicted that the rapture was coming Sept. 6, 1994. The failure of the end of the world to arrive at that time only spurred him to revamp his analysis -- and so he came to May 21. A number of Christian believers have been spreading the word that come Saturday, those whom God has saved will ascend to heaven.

As Maud Newton writes in the Awl, people who truly believe that the rapture is nigh make huge life changes; as a child, she was suffused with doomsday fear. NPR spoke to a couple who quit their New York City jobs and moved to Florida to proselytize about the end of the world. "We budgeted everything so that, on May 21, we won't have anything left," 27 year-old Adrienne Martinez told the reporter. The New York Times reports on a family whose teenage children were trying to make plans for college without the help of their parents, who believe there is nothing but heaven to plan for.

The rest of us sinners will be left behind. Which brings me to your Last-Minute Rapture Reading List.

1. "Left Behind: A Novel of Earth's Last Days" by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Published in 1995, it kicks off a 12-volume series of novels that illustrate the rapture. Worried you won't have time to read them all? Get a taste by watching the 2005 film "Left Behind: World At War" starring believer Kirk Cameron.

2. "The Book of Revelation for Dummies" by Richard Wagner and Larry R. Helyer. The yellow-and-black "For Dummies" series turned its attention to the Bible's Book of Revelation in 2008. But should you take seriously a book about the end times co-authored by a man named "Helyer"?

3. "The Late, Great Planet Earth" by Hal Lindsey with C.C. Carlson. Newton cites this as the granddaddy of end-times novels, and it sets the bar much lower for entrance to heaven than Camping's theology. It was a 1970 New York Times bestseller.

4. "1994?" by Harold Camping. In this 1993 book, Camping predicted the end of the world would arrive in 1994. But just in case he was wrong, he added that question mark to the title.

5. "The Bible." Go back to the source.

6. "The Inferno" by Dante Alighieri. It's the "Scared Straight!" of 14th century epic poetry. After you're done with this, you'll want to be saved.

7. "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell" by Tucker Max. If Dante doesn't scare you off sin, the prospect of being trapped in eternity with Tucker Max might do the trick.

8. "Heaven Is for Real" by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. The story of a little boy who sees heaven and lives to tell about it has been burning up bestseller lists. I mean, flying.

9. "God Is Not Great" by Christopher Hitchens. End-time reading for skeptics and nonbelievers.

10. "The Survivors Club" by Ben Sherwood. Thinking you'll be left behind? Learn tactics and strategies from survivors of  mountain lion attacks, natural calamities and concentration camps.

11. "The Kama Sutra" by Vatsyayana. If the rapture happens without you, why not enjoy yourself? The ancient Hindu guide for lovemaking includes practical advice for sexual intercourse, including a number of illustrations. It's available for download many places, including Apple's iBookstore, where it's currently No. 12 on its free bestseller list.


Apocalypse when? May 21 and other doomsday dates on film

Five post-apocalypse TV shows to watch while you're waiting for the "rapture"

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Giving notice of the Rapture this week in Tampa, Fla. Credit: Jim Reed / The Tampa Tribune / Associated Press Photos

Comments () | Archives (74)

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did these crazies state that this would be 6pm eastern, central, mountain, or pacific time?

But people should read the book of mark chapter13 verse 20 till the end

Fools. I wish I belonged to another species.

Do we know if the rapture is time-zone savvy? In other words, if the rapture happens at 6 pm west coast time and I live on the east coast, will it be 3 pm my time? I just want to be prepared. Thanks.

lmel - it's 6pm in your time zone.

Any one who reads Revelation chapter 13 will understand that christians will go through a tribulation period then will the Savior arrive. Jesus cannot come back yet because most of what is spoke about in Revelation has still yet to be fulfilled. If any one of these May 21st believers are willing to put their money where their belief is there are charities that will be willing to accept their money before they "leave" this earth.

The Rapture, according to Harold Camping, is supposed to begin at 6pm 5/21 on the Pacific Rim and continue at 6 o'clock in each subsequent time zone.

Christians, know that this is a lie. No one can predict the rapture, only God knows the day and the time. Read your Bible, obviously Mr. Camping has not.

Which version of The Bible is my question, and in which language?

Camping has also said that it's going to be at 6pm Eastern - but he also says 'God's time zone', so it's a guess what he actually means. (Sunday morning would be a good time to ask him, and his followers, lots of questions.

Unfortunately the 'Left Behind' books are very poorly written, and depend on 19th-century US revivalists' interpretations of Revelation ... which itself isn't a reliable source for much of anything, being entirely in allegorical and metaphorical language.

The way I understand it, sometime tomorrow faithful fundamentalist Christians will all be removed bodily from the earth and the rest of us will be left to suffer on earth without them.

Oh please let it be so.

Thanks to those who posted here and explained the REAL truth behind this rapture thing, citing the appropriate Bible passage. You're right, of course; the May 21 fantasy is wrong and YOUR fantasy is right. Without your help I'd frankly have difficulty telling them apart.

@lmel- Apparently, according to Harold Camping anyways, a giant worldwide earthquake is going to occur 6pm local time, and it will start in new zealand

@ lmel- it's 6pm in your local time, or wherever you live at.

Mmm... Is anybody hear gonna be saved tomorrow? I could take care of your car since you are going to heaven.

One of my Sons is in the South Of France. He is throwing a "Going to Hell" Party
the Evening of 5/21 with some of his French Friends. They are doing it with typical French Panache. Their Party will include : Fine French Wine, Good Cheese and Bagguettes. Since I didn't get an E-mail invite to the "Rapture" Friday night I'll be going to Stater Bros. to pick stuff up for Saturday's MOAB (Mother-of-all-Bar-B-Ques)

Submit your non-refundable donations NOW. Send them in by US Mail to 12345 Anywhere, USA. That way you'll receive credit upon your entry through the pearly gates and St. Pete can say, "Well done. good and faithful servant".

Btw, make sure you leave enough in your earthly bank account so the checks won't bounce or St. Pete's gonna issue a NSF and you'll get caught up in Purgatory!

This is all an imaginative mis-reading of the apocalyptic literature style that was all the range in the centuries surrounding the turn of the era and is found the the Bible. It's _literature_, not reality. People need to consult actual scholarship instead of radio preachers.

Well i think this whole ratue bisuness will great things for our planet, and the right minded people on it. while many who beleive that some cosmic or planetary disaster will occur it seems the more feasable outcome of tomorrow and the days to come will be many radical beleivers in the bible will throw away everything they have and become the bottom portion of our society. this is great news for the truth movment as many of these radicals will either be forced to accept what i hope is the truth. This is a turning point in humankind on a mental and spiritual level. as i always have said "humanity will never realize its full potential untill it focuses on the here and now not on the past or the future."

I believe the Rapture will occur at 6:00 PM PST, at least from what I hear from the flat-Earthers. Have a good end of the world weekend and I'll see all of you on Monday!

And what does God's parents think of all of this?

The one thing that Camping hasn't answered is what time zone is it happening, or is it 6:00 p.m. local time, sort of like New Years?

I plan to have a "tail-gate" type event at my house. The BBQ will be hot, the chairs will be set out and I'll have all the appropriate adult beverages on hand. We will be in my backyard, as this faces East from whence the Rapture will be coming. Might be quite a site. Could be fireworks, could be UFOs, I don't know, but I'll be watching none the less.

Sad thing about this, all kidding aside, is that many people have fallen for this lie, changed their lives and given up their personal possessions or some serious money. If this does not happen, which it won't, then this Harold Camping fellow should be brought up on fraud charges, or at least run out of town, tarred and feathered. He might understand being tarred and feathered as his mind is clearly in the past.

The upside of all this is that when those golden chariots whisk all these nitwits away, the average intelligence of the American people will jump about 30 points.

I elect to stay and not be saved.. I sure am not going to miss the Al-star NASCAR race Saturday night!

the word rapture never appears anywhere in the bible , in fact the whole rapture theory was started by a [vision] a lady had back in the 1800's her name was mary but i have forgot the last name but it's there somewhere to read about --

Buy a Bible in a Christian store and read all of Matthew Chapter 24. Camping is a false profet, and is fooling many people.

all i know if does happen hope you rite with god and jesus. are you willing to take a chance ?

Yes let's debate what the bible actually says. So all of you who can read ancient Greek and Aramaic and who have access to original versions of the writings, step forward.

Is there not a law against some one yelling, "Fire in a Theater". If Camping said that this falls under the 1st amendment right of freedom of speech. I would say Camping dose not have the wright to causing a panic. And I hope that the State Attornay's Office will look into this matter. Being this is Camping second time doing this. I hope you will no longer give this man a forum for his, "Fire in a Theater" Speech for a news filler storie.

Is it rapture or rapeyour pockets?

So, this means that is not going to rain on Sunday?

I ❤ you michael!

I was raised a Catholic Christian, I'm 46 years old, and question the bible altogether now. I don't understand why this book, which is suppose to guide us on how to live our lives, it written in a manner that can be interpreted in so many different ways. If we're suppose to live our lives based on the words in this book, why wasn't it written in the manner that is clear and understandable to that read it? Is Christianity a hoax? Is the bible a hoax?

to me, why do people believe in whats written in a book from oral traditions dating some from 5000 years ago is beyond my comprehension. I understand that people like to have faith, but to base your whole life on something that childish escapes me. See, the problem is that God never spoke to more than one person or a few...everything is based ( God's word ) on visions, or rumors or one human's interpretations of what he thought god said to him on a dream or hallucination! still to this day people say that god speaks to them...and other people just believe that without questioning...

Thanks, bardgal. Are you cute? Never mind, I'm way too old.

The issue of sources and translations is important. Most biblical scholars agree that the original Hebrew word describing Mary meant "young woman." The word was later mistranslated into a word that meant "virgin." The doctrine of the Virgin Mary is based on a mistranslation.

When I see people arguing about what's really in"the bible" I have to laugh. When they start using primitive numerology based on a censored, edited, multiply translated collection of the writings of a bunch of primitive middle eastern tribesmen to predict events in the real world, I start to feel pity.

@ Cherie A 3:33pm, the answer to your last two questions are Yes and Yes.

As a Liberal, I am genuinely conflicted when I read things like this:

"NPR spoke to a couple who quit their New York City jobs and moved to Florida to proselytize about the end of the world. "We budgeted everything so that, on May 21, we won't have anything left," 27 year-old Adrienne Martinez told the reporter."

If these delusional people have spent themselves into poverty over something as ... STUPID... as this, I feel no particular sympathy, or motivation to extend them any state or federal aid to rebuild their lives.

Yet I would like to see them undergo psychiatric evaluation, to learn how they can so blithely embrace an event that would necessarily result in the horrendous, tortured deaths of billions of their fellow human beings?

If the Rapture is at 6pm, that's 18 hours into one day...or 6 hours short of a full day. Camping's prediction is based on the Biblical statement that 1000 years is as one day to God. So, if 1000 years is divided by 24 hours there are 41.67 years assigned per hour. How does Camping account for the final day's 750 years (18 hours x 41.67 years), or 250 years (6 hours x 41.67 years)? Continuing Camping's numerology either there are an additional 750 or 250 years before the Rapture. If the years assigned to the "day" are counted as being short the Rapture would occur in 250 years.

The problem I'm trying to illustrate is Camping isn't applying his numerology to what he considers the final day's 24 hours.

He was right. Last time all 7 went. This time there will be 9 of us.

Ah, Dante's "The Inferno." I read it for the first time just three years ago.
Forget about the rather intimidating words "epic poetry," forget about whatever "poetic meter" in which it is written. You don't have to worry about that, in order to read it and understand it easily.
The stories are as engaging as those in any current horror film, if that is to your tastes.
I'll agree: there is a certain "Scared Straight!" element to it!

I want to find these idiots and ask them to give me their money not a silly pamphlet. They wont need money after their doomsday hits.

There is a couple flaws in the good preachers predications the bible clearly states that not even the angels in heaven nor even the Son (Jesus) but only the Father knows the appointed hour. So if Jesus does not know the hour in which He shall return I don't believe these knuckleheads know. I'll still be here Saturday night and so will everyone else(unless some of us die before then)

As an artist I have always looked forward to making little studies of the bottoms of thousands of ascending people's feet!

hopefully this rapture will sweep up all the pseudo-religious grifters and cafeteria christians - what a wonderful world it would be without them

My heart goes out to the folks that so want this to happen, are putting everything into it, and will likely be emotionally crushed by Sunday morning.

Please, be kind to them...

See the problem with this is that there is NO God. Its that simple.

WOW! I can't believe some people in this world actually believe in the "RAPTURE" I think it's all a bunch of crap talk obviously the people that do believe in ti don't have lives!!!!!!!

This sounds like a solution to our over population problems, the removal of hundreds of thousands of people off of the earth. Can it be true?
Finally Christianity and Natural Selection unite.
Imagine there is a Heaven (with all the fundamentalist in it).
Its easy if you try!

I heard tomorrow is the start to the end. Oct. 21 will be the end.

We still have time to sin and repent five more months.

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