What exactly is the millennium?


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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“But of that day and hour no one knows,
neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son,
but the Father alone.”

(Matthew 24:36)

The Millenium

The accepted definition of a millennium, a period of 1,000 years, did not originate from nature or from any practical calendar.

Unlike the primary cycles of days, lunations and years, it does not correspond to any factual astronomical cycles, or the practical needs of humanity, but to social factors, the peculiarities of Christianity. In fact, the issue of the millennium reflects a Christian-centric view.

Outside the Christian world the year 2000 will actually be the year 5760 according to the Jewish calendar, 5119 in the current Maya great cycle, 5100 years elapsed in Kali Yuga according to the Hindus, 2544 according to Buddhism and 1420 according to the Moslem calendar.

The arbitrary construction of the millennium is the domain of eschatology – a part of theology, physics, philosophy, and futurology concerned with the final events of history, the ultimate destiny of humanity – commonly called the “end of the world” or “end time”.

During the period of the great Roman empire, Jesus and his initial followers fully expected the fulfilment of the apocalypse and the inception of the millennium in their lifetime. It was no Utopian dream relegated to some future unspecified time at the time of Roman oppression, social turmoil and ideological uncertainty.

Millennial thinking is deeply embedded in the apocalyptic writings of the Bible. In traditional Christianity, “the millennium” means the future reign of Jesus lasting one thousand years, following a last battle between Christ and Satan. Satan loses, and is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, and Jesus wins, overseeing a Last Judgement of all the dead. Modern traditions of Christian eschatology use the term “Rapture” in two senses; as a general synonym for the final resurrection, and in the view of pre-tribulationists, where a group of people would be left behind on earth after the events mentioned in Matthew about “The Coming of the Son of Man”:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)

During Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica along with Silvanus and Timothy, a doubt arose among the Thessalonians about the fate of those Christians who would die before the return of Christ. Would they miss the glorious events of Christ’s second coming and the resurrection? Paul assuaged their fears. He assured them that God would save those who had already died, as well as those still living with these words:

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

After the crucifixion of Jesus, and even now, countless groups and people have compared the events of their time to Bible prophecies, and concluded that Jesus would
be returning soon. Some even set a date for the Rapture and led their followers into the deserts, to the mountains, and into the wilderness, to await the phenomenon.

Though the consummation of the second coming and the expected biblical millennium failed to materialise over the generations, and even after every one of those predictions turned out wrong, steadfast Christians still make modern-day predictions that Jesus will be returning soon and postpone the date of the expected apocalypse they ardently believe in.

However, most mainstream Bible scholars, do not think current world affairs evidence the imminent return of Christ. Even so, we still do come across Christian groups who believe in the Rapture as the centerpiece of the second coming of Jesus – a glorious, dramatic event with Jesus appearing and literally taking the believers physically along with him up into the sky.

In recent years, the Rapture and the second coming of Christ have spawned a lucrative industry. Besides the many books written on this subject, there are thousands of self-styled television evangelists with websites, radio stations, lecture series, audio recordings, videotapes and other Paraphernalia. Many of these accouterments feature imaginative and vivid embellishments of the Bible prophecies, and usually classified properly as fiction, and not as Bible prophecy.

Among these Christians, there are several theories about the timing of the Rapture. Thus the apocalyptic millennium has transformed itself into a calendrical measurement.

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The Rapture and the Doomsday Predictions of Harold Camping, King of KooKoo Birds


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matthew 24:36)

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Harold Egbert Camping

Harold Egbert Camping

Whenever I come across the word “Rapture” it reminds me of Harold Egbert Camping, an American Christian radio broadcaster, widely known as the doomsday radio preacher. Why? Camping has successfully predicted the Rapture multiple times.

The Oakland Tribune says that according to an estimate made in 2009, Harold Camping presides over an empire of more than 70 radio stations worth $72 million.

Camping first predicted that the Judgment Day would occur on or about September 6, 1994 and that became a significant red mark on his record. On that day scores of his crazy followers gathered at his offices in Oakland, California waiting for the return of Christ. Later, Camping attributed his prediction to a mathematical error.

Last year, Camping, once again predicted May 21, 2011 as the day of the Rapture and the Judgment Day. Camping reportedly spent more than $100 million over a span of seven years publicizing the Rapture, mainly through billboards and constant chatter on his Oakland-based Family Radio International.

Harold Camping reportedly spent more than $100 million over a span of seven years publicizing the rapture, mainly through billboards.

Harold Camping reportedly spent more than $100 million over a span of seven years publicizing the rapture, mainly through billboards.

According to him, God started allowing his true believers 37 years ago to understand what they were reading in the Bible and recognize the signs that pointed to the exact date and time for the Rapture and the Judgment Day. Using passages from The Book of Daniel and The Book of Revelations, he predicted that the Rapture would occur on May 21, 2011 with the coming of Jesus, and the Judgment Day – “like a thief in the night.”

His website said:

This web site serves as an introduction and portal to four faithful ministries which are teaching that WE CAN KNOW from the Bible alone that the date of the rapture of believers will take place on May 21, 2011 and that God will destroy this world on October 21, 2011.

When asked who will be among the lucky ones, to be Raptured up to Heaven and escape this Earth before chaos ensues, Camping said that anyone who still followed a church on May 21, 2011 will not be included in the Rapture because churches do not follow the true teachings of the Bible. A true believer he said would end up in Heaven on May 21, 2011; and the heathen left here on Earth to suffer the chaos of End Times.

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Judgement Day, May 21

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In the following video titled “Harold Camping Countdown: 10 DAYS LEFT UNTIL JUDGMENT DAY / Timeline” uploaded on May 10, 2011, Harold Camping explains the Biblical Timeline that begins with Christ’s Crucifixion and ends with Judgment Day.  Also they added the following in YouTube: “Judgment Day begins May 21, 2011. Daily updates will be posted on this youtube channel.”

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The mass media widely reported his prediction: “After the righteous fly up to heaven there would follow five months of fire, brimstone and plagues on Earth, with millions of people dying each day, until October 21, 2011, when the world would be finally destroyed”.

A poll conducted on the Coast to Coast AM website revealed that out of 26,634 respondents, 4.39% believed Camping’s prediction. However, an overwhelming 82.97% did not believe Camping, and an undecided 12.64% respondents.

On May 21, 2011, Jesus did not return to Earth as predicted by Harold Camping.

Dr. Michael Shermer

Dr. Michael Shermer

In the “End of the World Special” show conducted by the Coast to Coast AM website, skeptic Dr. Michael Shermer spoke about Harold Camping’s failed May 21st Rapture prediction, and why people believe the things they do, especially as it relates to the apocalypse. Sherman then said he expected Camping and his followers, while not admitting they were wrong would likely issue some kind of rationalization for the error, such as the date was slightly miscalculated or the group’s faith spared the world. “We don’t have a good bologna detection module in our brain, so we tend to believe almost all patterns we encounter, even the false ones,” he explained.

However, as the predicted doomsday passed with the planet intact, Camping switched his claim as expected by Shermer and Company, to October 21, 2011, as the “real” rapture day.

In the following video uploaded by Richard Holicker on May 24, 2011 with audio from May 23, 2011 press conference and the images from the internet, Harold Camping explains why the world did not end on May 21, 2011.

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Again as Camping’s prediction failed to come to pass October 21, 2011, he suffered a stroke, and was hospitalized.In his apology letter, posted Thursday, October 27, 2012, on Family Radio’s website, the Alameda preacher called the May 21, 2011 campaign – which according to the Times inspired Camping’s followers to empty their bank accounts and quit their jobs – “an astounding event” that raised awareness about the Bible and Jesus Christ. However, he said, his prediction a “sinful statement” and he asked God’s forgiveness.

In stark contrast to his previously staunch position on the subject he said: “Family Radio has no interest in even considering another date,” the letter said. “We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and he will end time in his time, not ours!

“We humbly recognize that God may not tell his people the date when Christ will return, any more than he tells anyone the date they will die physically.”

Camping said in his letter that as he had no evidence that his predictions would ever come true, he would cease predicting the apocalypse. He added that he was now searching the Bible “even more fervently…not to find dates, but to be more faithful in [his] understanding.”

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BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS!

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The Rapture

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The Rapture


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matthew 24:36)

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The Rapture

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The word “Rapture,” a term found in Christian eschatology does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Most Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias do not mention the Rapture at all. The word “Rapture” derived from the Latin word “rapare” means “seize,” “snatch,” “being caught up” or “take away.”

In the article “Rapture what does it mean?” published in the Belgian Christadelphians’s website, the author lists several bibles that translate the word “Rapture” as:

    • Rapt: Etheridge
    • Caught up: ABU, ACV, AKJV, AMP, ASV, AV, BWE, Cath.Seredipity B, CAB., CENT, CJB, Common, Darby, Diaglot, EMTV, ERRB, ERV, Evid, GSNT, HCSB, HNV, IAV, ISV, JB2000, JSV, KJ21, Lamsa, Lit, LITV, MKJV, Mont, MRC, Murdoch, NAB, NASB, NET, NHEBJ, NiRV, NIV, NLT, Noyes, NSB, RNKJV, RSV, Rev.Mur., RWebster, RWP, Ryrie Stu.B., Sawyer, TCNT, TNIV, TRC, Twenty, Tyndale, UKJV, WEB, Webster, WORNT, Worrell Rev&Tr, Worsley
    • Caught away: Rotherham, Synaitic
    • Gathered up: GNB, NCV, the Script.1998,
    • Snatched away: CEV, CLV
    • snatched up: Orth.JBC, Wyc
    • be seized and snatched away (carried off by force): JMNT
    • Taken up: BBE, Douay, GWV, LO, CPDV
    • Swept up: Phil2007, Philips
    • To meet: ECB, Amp, ESV, ABU
    • Seized … for meeting: ABP
    • Ascend (together) to meet: PNT
    • Conveyed together: Mace

Modern traditions of Christian eschatology use the term Rapture in at least two senses; as a general synonym for the final resurrection, and in the view of pre-tribulationists, where a group of people would be left behind on earth after the events mentioned in Matthew about “The Coming of the Son of Man”:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)

During Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica along with Silvanus and Timothy, a doubt arose among the Thessalonians about the fate of those Christians who would die before the return of Christ. Would they miss the glorious events of Christ’s second coming and the resurrection? Paul assuaged their fears. He assured them that God would save those who had already died, as well as those still living with these words:

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Here are some passages from the New Testament that describe the resurrection of the dead, and gathering in of the faithful when Jesus comes again: (Matthew 16:27, 24:29-31, 25:31-32, 26:64, Mark 12:18-27, 13:26-27, Luke 17:26-35, John 5:21, 5:28-29, 1 Corinthians 4:5, 6:14, 15:12-32, Philippians 3:20-21, Colossians 3:4, 2 Peter 3:8-10, Revelation 1:7).

These passages use various descriptions and images to describe wondrous events that we cannot fully fathom (1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13:9-12).

None of these passages depicts the image of the faithful caught up in the clouds, and meeting the Lord in the air nor did Paul use that description again in his later writings.

A few years after the crucifixion of Jesus up to the present day countless groups and people have compared the events of their time to Bible prophecies, and concluded that Jesus would be returning soon. Some even set a date for the Rapture and led their followers into the deserts, to the mountains, and into the wilderness, to await the Rapture. Though every one of those predictions turned out wrong, that has not deterred people from making modern-day predictions that Jesus will be returning soon. Most mainstream Bible scholars, however, do not think current world affairs are evidence of the imminent return of Christ.

Even so, we still do come across certain Christians who believe in the Rapture as the centerpiece of the second coming of Jesus – a glorious, dramatic event with Jesus appearing and literally taking the believers physically along with him up into the sky. Among these Christians, there are several theories about the timing of the Rapture.

In recent years, the Rapture and the second coming of Christ have spawned a lucrative industry. Besides the many books written on this subject, there are thousands of self-styled television evangelists with websites, radio stations, lecture series, audio recordings, videotapes and other Paraphernalia. Many of these accouterments feature imaginative and vivid embellishments of the Bible prophecies, and not surprisingly, in most cases properly classified as fiction, and not as Bible prophecy.

Doomsday hysteria grips Russia


Survival kits and trips to hell, doomsday hysteria grips Russia …

Source:  RT – 01 December, 2012

RIA Novosti / Sergey Yolkin

RIA Novosti / Sergey Yolkin

Doomsday hysteria has gripped Russia and some of its neighbors. Travel agencies are selling tours to either heaven or hell and people are stocking up on food and fuel. Officials are publicly denying the apocalypse, hoping to calm the hype.

Those awaiting Doomsday have three weeks to finish their preparations before the date of the much publicized apocalypse allegedly predicted by Mayan calendar, that is going to happen on December 21, 2012.

Thousands of people across Russia keep stocking up their back rooms and balconies with food, fuel and other supplies they might need when disaster strikes. Some are even moving outside of cities because of the widely spread rumors that cities would be impossible to survive in after an apocalypse on Earth.

According to one of the most popular scenarios, on December 21 the sun is going to line up with the center of our Milky Way galaxy which will cause an entire blackout on Earth and a wave of different natural disasters.

Doomsday merchandize offered in Russia and Ukraine include survival kits. In the Siberian city of Tomsk such itemsfor “meeting the end of the world” include ID cards, notepads, canned fish, a bottle of vodka, rope, a piece of soap, among other items. The packages are said to be popular among customers, more than 1,000 kits have been already sold, the company says.

Ukrainian entrepreneurs also offer a version of a doomsday kit. Just like Tomsk package, the Ukrainian one also includes alcohol: champagne for ladies and vodka for gentlemen. The rest of the kit consist of jack-knife, two-minute noodles, shampoo, soap, rope, matches and condoms.

Marina Mendelson wedding agency sells Last Day sets in Tomsk. (RIA Novosti / Yakov Andreev)
Marina Mendelson wedding agency sells Last Day sets in Tomsk. (RIA Novosti / Yakov Andreev)

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Not all doom and gloom

An apocalypse kit is not the only way for the entrepreneurial minded to cash in on the end of the world hype.

One Ukrainian enterprise is selling tours to heaven and hell for December 21 promising full return of money in case of “not getting to heaven or hell.” A trip to heaven would cost about $15, while trip to the underworld is more expensive at around $18. The agency explains difference in price by saying that Hell should be more fun.

While Ukrainian trips are even said by the firm behind to be just for fun, some individuals in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod offered far more expensive doomsday fair – one being a salvation trip in an arc. An internet ad offered seats in the arc for just 80,000-150,000 rubles, which is approximately $2,600-5,000.

Bars and nightclubs are getting ready for apocalypse day in their own way announcing theme parties and inventing special cocktails like “Total Recall” – an extremely alcoholic drink that makes you “recall your entire life.”

But doomsday hysteria isn’t isolated to just the former soviet Republic. In France authorities had to ban access to a mountain that doomsday theorists believe will be the only safe spot during the apocalypse on December 21.

At the birthplace of Mayan calendar, Mexico and Guatemala agencies offer tours “The end of the world with Maya” and “The world of Maya 2012.”

Pictures advertizing tickets to heaven sold for $15. Images taken from pokupon.uaPictures advertizing tickets to heaven sold for $15. Images taken from pokupon.ua

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Russian officials cancel apocalypse

Meanwhile, in Russia rapidly growing doomsday hype has sparked a negative reaction from authorities.

Russia`s Emergency Ministry is not expecting any global cataclysms in the near future, the head of EMERCOM Vladimir Puchkov said on Friday, adding that those worried are free to call the Ministry hotline to talk about their concerns.

Another senior official took a more emotional stance about doomsday speculations. Russia`s Chief Medical Officer of Health Gennady Onishenko lashed out at those publicizing the apocalypse warning that they would end up in court.

“This directly influences people`s health. When they depress you and say that in less than one month everything is going to end, there are many people, who believe this,” he said.

Russian State Duma deputies wrote an open letter urging media to stop speculating about the doomsday. The deputy head of the Duma committee on Science and Technology publicly promised that no apocalypse is happening on December 21.

“In our committee there are academics and scientists, and with all responsibility we state that there will be no doomsday. Who made that up and circulates this around?” he asked.

Mayan legacy

The speculations about December 21, 2012, doomsday are prompted by the Mayan calendar ending on this very day.

The Mayan civilization reached its height from 300 AD to 900 AD was based in modern day Mexico and Central America. Mayans were good astronomers and created very precise calendars.

Their Long Count calendar begins in 3,114 BC, measuring time in 394-year periods known as Baktuns. The thirteenth Baktun ends around Dec 21, 2012, which first produced rumors about the end of the world.

Despite numerous scientists and Mayan descendants denying the connection between the end of the calendar and the end of the world the rumors quickly got out of control causing public hysteria.

It is not known why this particular end of the world theory became so popular. Over two dozen doomsday predictions have failed to materialize since the beginning of the 20th century.

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