Saturday, May 21, 2011 dawned bright and clear.
That morning, most of the 6.9 billion souls inhabiting the Earth went about their business in the usual manner. A tiny fraction of that population - observant Jews - abstained from work and attended their Sabbath services, just as they would on any given Saturday. The others did what they normally would do: going to work, fighting wars, screwing their mates, shopping, traveling, healing the sick, burying the dead.
But there were those who knew that it would not be just any Saturday. They had studied their Scripture, read the hidden signs. They knew with a certainty born of absolute faith that this was to be the day of the Rapture.
The Rapture! When all of the heaven-bound souls would be swept up en masse, physical bodies and all, leaving behind a world populated with the damned, the unbelievers, the hell-bound... the ones that would have to deal with the years of Tribulation as set forth in the Book of Revelation.
Over the years, there had been the occasional prediction of an imminent Rapture, but these predictions had always been disappointing: The faithful were still walking the planet with the rest of humanity rather than being “caught up together... in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” And yet they were still faithful. This time would be it! Judgement Day! The beginning of the Apocalypse! The end of the world as we know it!
At 6:00 p.m. Jerusalem time, the ground shook, an earthquake felt simultaneously all over the world for a full minute. Believers everywhere stood stock-still... and then gasped and grabbed their groins in sudden agony.
Harold Camping, the evangelical preacher who had predicted the day’s events, had gotten the timing exactly right. But an unnoticed scribal error in his source documents - a mistake made almost two thousand years ago - was his undoing.
May 21, 2011 was to be the day of the Rupture.