May 18th, 2011
05:00 AM ET
Tick tock goes the doomsday clock
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
(CNN) - For months they’ve been spreading the word, answering the biblical call of Ezekiel 33 to sound the alarm and warn the people.
Their message, which they say the Bible guarantees, is simple: The end of the world is near.
And now, it’s suddenly really near - so near that if these folks are right, you should probably pass on buying green bananas.
Perhaps you’ve already noticed, what with the billboards and signs dotting the landscape, the pamphlets blowing in the wind and the RVs plastered with Judgment Day warnings weaving through cities. Or maybe, as the birds chirped outside and you sipped your morning coffee, a full-page newspaper ad for the upcoming mass destruction caught your eye.
May 21, 2011, according to loyal listeners of Family Radio, a Christian broadcasting network based in Oakland, California, will mark the Day of Rapture and the start of Judgment Day (which, they say, will last five months). Those who are saved will be taken up to heaven, and those who aren’t will endure unspeakable suffering. Dead bodies will be strewn about as earthquakes ravage the Earth, they say. And come October 21, they’ll tell you, the entire world will be kaput.
It’s the kind of belief that riles up churchgoers who insist no one can know when Judgment Day will come, and the sort that many say does a disservice to Christianity. And it’s the kind of message that delights the types who are planning tongue-in-cheek End of the World parties and are responding to a Facebook invitation to attend a post-rapture looting. Rapture events, including one at a tiki bar in Fort Lauderdale, are being hosted by American Atheists. News outlets, comedians and even Doonesbury can’t seem to resist a good end-of-the-world prophecy.
Billboard battle over Judgment Day
Earlier this year, CNN traveled with a team of believers - all of whom had walked away from friends, families and jobs - as they set out to share this serious message aboard a caravan of Judgment Day RVs. These ambassadors or co-laborers in God’s work, as they see themselves, let us into their world. Along the way we met other supporters, as well as a sea of skeptics, many of them drunken pirates gathered for an annual festival in Florida.
Read about that journey and the roots of this doomsday message
With only days to go, we wanted to know how the ambassadors are feeling now. Are they making special plans and saying goodbyes? Have their convictions stayed strong, or have doubts crept in? Are they at peace, excited or maybe afraid?
“We’ve been a little busy, as you can imagine,” said Fred Store, the team leader on our journey.
Reached at a motor home park in Providence, Rhode Island, Store spoke of the surge of support he’s seen in recent months – the 60 like-minded people (including someone who works for Homeland Security, he boasted) who joined his small crew on the Mall in Washington, and the hundreds who gathered in Times Square in New York.
But at the same time he said resistance from those who don’t believe has grown, too. The more people heard about the May 21 warning, the more they discussed it with their pastors and came prepared to argue.
Learn about doomsdays throughout time
And the media, while they’ve helped spread the message, will be turned away in the coming days. CNN hoped to be with Store and his team on doomsday, but the members said they needed that time to focus on their relationship with God. Perhaps that’s just as well, as an official at Family Radio headquarters pointed out: “What makes you think you’ll be able to get to them? The roads will be a mess," he said, referring to the expected earthquakes. Plus, Store said, even if we got there, there would be no time to edit and publish, so what's the point?
Store’s faith remains unwavering. Come Saturday, he and his team will be in Boston, standing in a spot with heavy foot traffic, passing out their pamphlets – which they call tracts – and doing what they believe God called them to do until the very end.
No longer with the team is Darryl Keitt, who ditched his caravan on May 6. He said his time on the RV was a “gift from God,” but he decided he needed to spend the last couple of weeks focusing on his non-believing family and friends in New Jersey. It was a decision he prayed about for several weeks.
His Elizabeth, New Jersey, apartment is pretty sparse, seeing as he gave away most everything before hitting the road.
“I was able to get my old place back,” he said. “But we only have four days to go, so I don’t need much.”
He’s reaching out to old friends and hoping his family will come around and believe what he says he knows to be true.
“I have not seen any signs that they are believing the message,” he said. “But I can’t read anybody’s heart; only God can. And I’m still praying for them. All I can do is continue to share my convictions.”
Tisan Dawud may not share his older half-brother's beliefs, but he supports the positive nature of what Keitt's doing and is awestruck by his dedication.
"He's trying to spread what he believes is the word of God, and I can't knock him for that," Dawud said Tuesday evening. "I became Muslim when I was very young, and he remained Christian. But I've always had respect for his beliefs, and he always had respect for my beliefs."
And rather than criticize or ridicule his brother, who he said isn't hurting anyone, Dawud wishes people would focus on those who deserve examination and condemnation - those selling drugs, molesting children, raping women or embezzling money, for example.
Keitt spends his days in prayer, reaching out to people on Facebook, listening to Family Radio and walking around his neighborhood in his Judgment Day cap and T-shirt. He ran out of tracts some time ago, and at this point it’s too late to order any more, he said. As for where he’ll be on Saturday: “It’s a good question," and one he's still considering.
He doesn’t like goodbyes, he said, and only told two people in his caravan team of 10 that he was leaving. He gave those two men, one of them Store, a quick hug and that was it.
“Preferably we’ll meet each other again,” Keitt said, “in heaven.”
Dennis Morrell was driving through Jacksonville, Florida, pulling his Judgment Day billboard trailer, when we reached him on his cell phone. He wasn’t part of the caravan of RVs but was among the Floridians who joined in to help Store’s team when they were in the city.
Morell and his wife quit their jobs to focus on warning others, a move that’s left their four kids – ages 17 to 24 – thinking “Mom and Dad are crazy,” he said.
He still hopes God will “open their spiritual eyes,” he said. “But they’re at an age where they love their lives. They don’t want this world to come to an end.”
His faith, though, is as firm as ever, and he wishes others would open their minds and hearts to this possibility.
“Why would you wait to see if this is actually going to happen? You have that option to cry out for mercy,” he said. “I don’t want to die and go to hell. Do you?”
He plans to spend the last days praying, up until the early hours of Saturday - when he’ll both pray and wait for 16 hours.
Why 16 hours? Morrell explained that the massive doomsday earthquake will start at the International Date Line before moving west. New Zealand, he said, will get hit first – at 6 p.m. local time. And then that wave of destruction will roll around the world, wreaking havoc at 6 p.m. in each time zone.
While Morrell expects he’ll reserve Saturday for private time, Benjamin Ramrajie of Ocala, Florida, doesn’t have any special plans.
We met Ramrajie in Tampa after his 7-year-old daughter issued a doomsday warning about how the sun would “turn red like blood.” He stood by and nodded his approval as she spoke about dead bodies and her fears of dying.
“Most of my family doesn’t agree 100 percent, and I don’t blame them because it is far-fetched,” he said. “I strongly believe it’s going to happen. But I just figure I’ll relax, maybe watch TV. If that’s the day we get raptured, great. If not, we’ll move on.”
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Matthew 24:36
Although I can only speak for myself, of course, that very passage ends the debate of May 21st, 2011 for me.
It is coming this Saturday.
The world will run red with blood of a Loving God's vengence.
His Angles of Hate will visit unspeakable tortures on you unbelievers.
All those not saved will be forced to kill their famlies before they are burned in hell forever.
Praise be the Loving Holy Spirit.
How many cats do you currently live with. 15? 20?
That is just a tad too much love for me.
Am I allowed to pass on this one?
The Loving Spirit is going to make families kill each other before they burn in hell? How is that loving?
The East German judge gives it an 8.7. Nice invective technique, with just enough believability to sell it.
LMAO!!! Keep that to yourself! Nobody cares and wants to hear what you lame Christians think!! I GUARANTEE the world will not end on Saturday! You freaken IDIOTS!!!!!
I don't know I just made it all up.
I gotta go cop some weed ~ catch you all later
Wow thats a contradiction. Loving God and Hell in the same sentence,,,,,,,,,,hmmm you couldnt be more wrong about a loving God. Hell is nothing but a scare tactic used by babylonian churches and their water downed teachings. Gods justice is balanced and eternity versus 80 years of insubbordination doesnt balance. I wouldnt put my childs hand on a burning stove to teach her that the stove is hot no more than God would burn you in hell to teach you that you need to listen to him. Only pagan Gods came in threes and burned disobedient followers. Its time to wake up and search for the truth here.
According to 2 Corinthians 5:17- I'm a complete maniac and believe in fairy tales written in man made books.
Um, which version are YOU reading? I did not get that from that passage.
I've not read an article yet that explains how these people selected this date. Do they have any basis for choosing this particular day? I do believe the end is near and I would love for it to be Saturday, but it won't be. That being said, I'm just clueless as to how they chose May 21.
check yahoo later on it mite tell u
and I have sweet pics of my poohole on yahoo! Totally message me for them!
hey you guys i hope superman comes to since the bad guy doomsday is coming. Lol very funny. 🙂
I can't remember the actual web site/news reel I saw it on, but the priest & some of his followers research through the Bible & analyzed the date that the Bible coded the secret, the day the end would come. They tried this once before, in 1995 I think, but it didn't happen. Re-analysis showed what they "missed" the first time, thus this one's for real!
I've got some stuff to take care of Saturday morning; they say it's in the afternoon... hope it's during Pacific Time Zone. Earthquake anyone?
After the world does not end this weekend the religious idiots should have to enroll themselves in every advanced science and mathematics classs that are available. Get an education. Learn how the world really works. Enough with this jesus non-sense. Enough with thinking that talking to yourselves (I mean preying) solves any of your problems or worries. We need to advance/evolve as a society and as a species. Looking back two thousand years to a primitve time without knowlege or science to answer the questions of our world and our universe is just simply wrong.
ima have a good laugh if it dont happen wanna join in the fun
by opening my poohole to stangers
Speaking of more classes and furthering an education, before you attack someone else on that premise, you might want to make sure you spell simple words correctly such as c-l-a-s-s, and praying, and um...oh yeah non-sense is actually not spelled with the hyphen.
Also, I bet those people two thousand years ago might have thought the same as you...that dedicating time to advancing the knowledge of a belief was futile at best. History is replete with examples of people who were thought of as crack pots for their beliefs...Abraham Lincoln trying to free the slaves; Wilbur and Orville Wright and their flight pursuits; the attempt at space travel, etc. People thought those ideas were archaic, however look where the fruits of their labor got them. I don't attack those with or without religion because whether their choice is right or wrong only effects that person.
And, until you can spell simple words, I would not try to tackle deeper issues above grade school ones, then move on from there.
We have freedom of religion, and I want to keep it that way. Adults have every right to believe what they choose.
But I'd be hard pressed not to have a look at this group for signs of child endangerment & mental abuse.
Wow!! These "Rapture" folks are dumber than a bag full of hammers. Bunch of Henny pennies screaming "The sky is falling!!" Brain washed losers. I for one have will not be canceling my plans for next week.
This whole thing is relying on a misinterpretation of 2 Peter 3:8. It's amazing how many people take the first part where "one day with the Lord is as a thousand years" as a scale so they can "interpret" prophecy and Biblical accounts such as the creation to fit their world view without any consideration for the second part where "and a thousand years is as one day". Taken in context with the very next verse, 2 Peter 3:9, the statement is going on to talk about how God is not slow to react but instead reacts with patience. It's basically talking about how irrelevant time is to an eternal God who would rather be patient and wait for those who will come for him rather than destroy the world immediately in fire.
On that note, where the crap does FamilyRadio.com get off saying that a worldwide earthquake will happen that will destroy the world when the Bible very clearly in the quotes they reference states that it will be destroyed by fire?
People, quit listening to fame and power driven public spiritual leaders and learn to read, research, and think for yourselves. As a Christian, I do believe that this day will come, but I don't believe that it's Saturday, nor do I believe we can predict it with a simple calendar conversion and 1 day = 1 year equation.
u are so right u let the words right out of my mouth
The bible is made up. Anyone who believes this stuff should not be a position of responsibility- especially the White House.
and the poo from my poohole!
So the earth will be destroyed by fire aye? Well what about what Solomon said at ECC 1:4 that the Earth remains forever. So the destruction by fire must literally be something else not the literal Earth. Need to think out of the box here, the earth isnt going anywhere...
due to another hacking of sony's network the return of jesus will be delayed indefinitely! stay tuned for updates.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE GREEN BANANAS???
BANANAS SCARE ME!~!!!!!
II CANT STAND THE THOUGHT OF A BANANA APOCALYPSE!!!!!!!
IT'S PEANUT BUTTAH-JELLY TIME!! PEANUT BUTTAH-JELLY TIME!!
...stupid christers... Stop drinking the KoolAid and think critically for once!
Man, the end of the world is a bummer. Thank God I don't believe in imaginary friends anymore. Now, if only i could get some of you insaneos to give me some of your belongings. Oh well. Maybe i'll wait for the next wave in 2012. I should be able to make a lot of money off that.
Wow, you guys. Do you see how many pages of comments are for this article?
yup its very insane.
dead kittens are awesome!
I am not sure what bible they are reading but it is not the Christian Bible. It plainly says no man knows what hour the return of Christ will ocurr. It also tells us the world is without end, it will only be transformed.It is very sad these people have given up their jobs and houses and in some cases their families. There have been many "beleivers" throughout history who have tried to predict the return of Christ. One such event has since been called "The Great Disappointment". I am sorry to say May 22nd will be their disappointment as well.
It also plainly says things like: I can own slaves (as long as they're from neighboring countries), can sell my daughter into slavery, declares that people that work on Sunday should be put to death, etc. yet we don't accept those things. I find it sad that people live their lives by a book that spouts such nonsense.....
im wondering where is he going since the end of the world is over the weekend. i have something better for this guy. maybe he should drive to the Grand Canyon and drive off... just saying just an idea.. Tell Ramrajie's daughter she needs to look up at the sun to see if it does turn red like blood... i tell you what we need more stories like this to distract us from the everyday depressions of our gov'ts lack of leadership.
On Sunday 12am, they'll all commit suicide to be with me, God! Call 1-800-IM-CRAZY OR 1800-IM-PSYCHO... HURRY AS SPACES ARE LIMITED
Lol Shut up Dad
JESUS... I'll crucify you AGAIN! NOW OBEY! CALL 1-800-IM-CRAZY... NOW! NOW! NOW!
Dad! This is so embaressing! This is Uncle Vishnu's boathouse vacation all over again.
JESUS! Only the Good ones will be in Heaven! Now bend over and take it like a MAN! SUBMIT TO ME! SUBMIT!
SATAN... SHUT UP! I'll ban you to a lifelong journey of listening to WILLIAM HUNG'S SHE BANGS... 24/7
Thanks for the lulz, both of you.
Lol CNN sucks!
Like come on whole really believes in this s**** its only to scare poeple.
I can't spell your. I don't how to make proper English. I love pooholes and dead kittens
You can contribute to rapture relief program right here:
Ezekiel 33? i got a better Ezekiel from "Jules" in Pulp Fiction:
"Well, there's this passage I've got memorized that sort of fits this occasion. Ezekiel 25:17. "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of the evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and goodwill, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. [Says it louder] And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger, those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. [Says it even louder] And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!"
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!
I believe the Bible... period! But, it's people like this that make God look like He is subject to us instead of the other way around. I appreciate their efforts to share the Gospel of God's Grace and Truth... Jesus! However, while the 'end-of-the-world' message is ever so clear, it's not the method of sharing the Love of God that would truly impact a nation for Christ.
like i really believe in the bible to but GOD doesnt say the exsact day the world will end poeple keep coming up with predictions that the world will end and their always wrong when the day comes. think about it really it sounds crazy. 🙂
Pooholes are fun!
I don't beleive in the bible, i believe there is more out there than i see, feel, hear, taste, etc. If there is a supreme being, i don't think he cares about us at all. I see all the butchering in his name, the hatred of the people that "follow" the bible but are the first to cast stones at people who believe differently. all of those books are nice stories created by people who lived thousands of years ago and did not understand. If someone wrote that kind of thing down these days, you'd call them a nut. think about it. maybe that's the problem. the whole think thing.
Well, I better not show you where the lemonade is made
You "believe" the Bible? Which one? Which part? What is your process for deciding between contradictions? Cherry-pick the one you like better? The "Bible" was assembled by clergy sifting through years of literature, written by every Tom, Dick, and Harry of the day (hence the inconsistency and contradictions). At least consider that what you "believe" was constructed by the Nicene council, not God.