Billboards Predict That Judgment Day is in Less Than Two Weeks

Better quit cursing like a sailor, cutting off other drivers during rush hour, or cheating at Scrabble, since the Heavenly Father will evidently judge your eternal soul in less than two weeks time.

At least that's according to numerous religious-themed billboards that have popped up across the country (including several located around the Valley) predicting that Judgment Day will occur on Saturday, May 21.

"The Bible guarantees it," states one such billboard, which is located near the intersection of Roosevelt and Seventh streets. Similar advertisements can be found scattered throughout the metropolitan Phoenix area, each predicting that the rapture will occur 12 days from now

What's the story behind the prediction (or the significance of the date)? Before you start furiously fulfilling all those items on that bucket list, however, you should probably know the full story.

​The billboards are the work of Family Radio, an ultra-conservative Christian broadcast network based out of Northern California run by 89-year-old fundamentalist minister and wingnut talk show host Harold Camping.

The company spent some major cash spreading the word that all righteous souls will be whisked away to a heavenly embrace on the evening on May 21, which is based on the divinations of Camping. According to the minister, the destruction of the world itself will then take place five months later on October 21.

What's his reasoning? Per the Family Life website (and the voices inside his head), the minister based his prophecy on a complicated series of mathematical calculations based upon the Hebrew calendar, portions of the bible, and divine revelation.

His prediction goes something like this: According to select verses from the New Testament, a thousand years are like one day in the eyes of the Christian god. Camping then believes that Heavenly Father told Noah after the great flood (which he claims happened on the date of May 21) that Judgment Day will occur seven "days" (or 7,000 years) hence.

This isn't the first time that Camping has declared that end of the world is nigh, as he erroneously predicted that the mankind's swan song was going to take place in September 1994. (He later blamed his mistake on a "mathematical error.")

If you're of the sort that believes such crackpot religious theories, the practical upshot of Camping's prediction is that it will happen on a Saturday, allowing folks one last Friday night filled with drinking and debauchery before their souls ascend to the sky.

The sinful sirens of local burlesque troupe Scandalesque (who probably would be left behind if The Rapture does come to pass) are even poking fun at the prophecy by holding an "End of Days" party that Saturday at The Duce. (Details can be found here.)

Here's hoping it's one helluva party.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.

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