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Set your doomsday clocks once again

Published: 7:57PM Tuesday May 17, 2011 Source: ONE News

If an American preacher is right this coming Saturday will be the most significant day ever - the day the world will end.

His prediction is being broadcast to tens of thousands of people across the world, with people even giving up their jobs and euthanising their pets, before it's too late.

The preacher at the centre of the prophecy, an evangelical broadcaster for Family Radio Worldwide, Harold Camping also predicted the world would end 17 years ago, but this time it has been causing genuine concern.

According to Camping's website, "Judgment Day on May 21, 2011, is the culmination of five decades of intensive Biblical study by Camping and other Bible teachers who have studied the same Biblical data".

The 89-year-old predicts that other than a series of killer earthquakes that same day, the big news will be "the Rapture," a supernatural event featuring "the mother of all heavenly jet streams catapulting Christians by the millions into the stratosphere to meet Jesus".

He also predicts some will be left alive on Earth and that they will "experience 153 days of torment".

However other pastors are calling his prediction irresponsible.

Daniel McKibben, of the Royal Oak Seventh Day Adventist Church, dismisses May 21 as the end of the world, but says he does believe the end is approaching.

"It could end next week, it could end next year, it could end five years from now."

He agrees it is wrong for someone to make a prediction like the one Camping has made, however he says 40% of the world's population believes the end of the world is in fact near.

The Adventist leader told Close Up of another so called sign you probably wouldn't expect.

"There are many beekeepers around the world who are losing 95% of their bees.

"A very famous scientist has said if we lose honey bees, humans have four years left."

The booming City Impact Church also has the end days in its sights.

"A lot people think 'well I don't believe it,' well it's not so much what you believe or what I believe, it's what is right what counts and the bible has stood the test of time," Pastor Peter Morlock of Auckland City Impact Church told Close Up.

"One day it will happen and the point is to get ready."

However firm sceptics like Vicky Hyde are concerned about the impact the predictions have and want the people responsible held accountable.

"These sorts of things play of people's fears a great deal and we've seen a great deal of harm.

"We've seen people commit suicide because they think the end time is coming," she says.

Hyde says the fact that we are now getting more video evidence of natural disasters has an impact on how people perceive these predictions.

"Fifty years ago we when we didn't have instant video technology, we didn't know about half of these things going on and in many cases didn't really care."

She says every year we see predictions that the world will end one way or another.

"I've lived through so many now and we haven't actually seen the world disintegrate yet.

"We should hold these people to account - we should remember when they fail because they fail every time."

Tomorrow night Close Up talks to Harold Egbert Camping himself.