Judgement Day and the dead are rising: it must be Saturday

Feeling a bit rough? You might be undead! AAP

Judgement Day is upon us, according to US Christian cult Familyradio - specifically May 21. So what does this mean and what should we expect?

Can you explain the Rapture?

The Christian New Testament refers to the second coming of Jesus in a passage from 1 Thessalonians chapter 4: “For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever.”

Here, the Bible is talking about what will happen at the end of time when Jesus returns, on the day that’s traditionally known as the Last Judgment. This passage has been taken very literally by some groups, who argue that the dead will rise up and walk around, and those Christians who are being saved, will be physically lifted up into the sky, while everyone else will be subjected to eternal punishment and destruction.

So why May 21?

Last year, an 89-year old evangelist in America called Harold Camping announced the date of the rapture would be 21 May, 2011, five months before the final destruction of the world.

Camping has tried to calculate a date a couple of times in the past and – as far as we know – has been wrong.

There’s been a long history of trying to use various numbers and dates mentioned in the Bible to work out when the world was created, and when it is all going to end.

The date 2011 comes from one calculation which says that the world will be destroyed 7000 years after the Great Flood, the time of Noah and the Ark, and that the Flood occurred in 3990 BC.

Finding the date of creation has been a favourite past-time for centuries, requiring reconciliation of historical events and the long genealogies in the Bible.

Personally, if you must have such dates, I prefer Archbishop Ussher in the 17th century who said the world was created at about 8am on 28 October, 4004 BC. How we got to 6pm on May 21 is, quite frankly, a bit of a mystery to me.

How seriously should we take this?

The vast majority of Christians would reject the concept that we could know when the rapture will occur. After all, Jesus himself is recorded as saying that “about that day and hour no one knows” (Matthew 24:36) and “the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour” (Luke 12:40).

I’d say it’s a good chance to have some fun - especially when we wake up on Sunday and find out why the timing wasn’t right this time!

Twitter is afire today with the zombie apocalypse. Do we need to be careful about flesh-tearing, brain-eating undead tomorrow?

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we see quite a few creatures that look like zombies wandering around tomorrow, I’d suggest a friendly wave and hello is all that’s needed. If you are worried about the rapture, you might like to think about what to wear in case you are one of the lucky ones raised up into the sky.

Any tips on coping with a zombie apocalypse if it does happen?

If the zombie apocalypse is really happening it’s probably too late to do anything, except take some more biblical advice from Ecclesiastes and “eat, drink and be merry”!

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