You may have heard about Harold Camping. He has crunched the prophetic numbers in the Bible and determined that the Rapture will (most likely) occur this Saturday. For some time, believers in his interpretation of scripture have been traveling around the United States in RV's to warn everyone that the end is near. I guess the burglar left a note beforehand.
According to the timeline below, the Great Tribulation started when I was eight. I was not aware until very recently. In 1988, Satan was loosed to rule the earth through the churches, which is why Mr. Camping is quick to note that his organization, Family Radio, is not one of those abominable institutions. Camping's analysis of the genealogies in the Bible puts Creation at 11,013 BC so we know his exactitude is above reproach (but beyond reason).
I have no intention of going down the rabbit hole of Camping's calculations. Suffice it to say that they are mostly simple arithmetic based on numbers that Camping has found to be meaningful in the context of certain prophetic books in the Bible. The above timelines were included to give you some sense of the numbers he uses in his calculations.
Patterns in numbers are easy to find and there is a compulsion in the human mind to look for them. The end of the world has been predicted many times before. In fact, Camping once calculated that the Rapture would happen on September 6, 1994 but he forgot about the Book of Jeremiah! And I'm sure he'll find another oversight on May 22nd. Take heart.
Even if he's right, the world won't end next Saturday. The elect will be raptured and the rest will be left behind to suffer God's wrath for five months until October 21st, the end of it all.
Let's plan—tentatively, given the circumstances—to get together next Sunday.
UPDATE: It did not happen. Harold Camping insists that May 21, 2012 was Judgment Day and that it was the spiritual coming of Christ. The world will end on October 21st.