The End Of The World Again
There have always been doomsday predictions – and we’re all still here. But is a new index which shows imminent Armageddon a cause for worry, wonders Ted Harrison
Saturday, 15 October 2011
Have you been feeling anxious lately?
Depressed by the incessant stream of gloomy headlines from around the world? If so, you can take heart – up to a point. It may not go on much longer. The explanation lies in a little-known measure of current affairs known as the Rapture Index which monitors the frequency and intensity of the end-time signs mentioned in the Bible.
This year, the Rapture Index – a Doomsday Dow Jones – has been at an all-time high. In August it hit an unprecedented 184. Thousands of Christians around the world are on red-alert for the Rapture and Judgement Day.
In the last days, according to St Luke’s Gospel, “there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring”. There will also “be wars and commotions… Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom… and great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences.”
Not surprisingly the fighting in Libya, continuing unrest in the Middle East, economic recession, natural disasters such as hurricanes and tsunamis, are all being interpreted as signs that the last days are imminent.
The index editor, Terry James, of Little Rock, Arkansas, says he records the signs and then factors them into a “cohesive indicator”. He stresses he is not in the business of making predictions, he simply measures the type of activity that “could act as a precursor to the Rapture. The higher the number, the faster we’re moving towards the end.”
In December 1993, when the index began, it stood at 57. Today it stands at over 180, comparable to its short-lived 9/11 peak 10 years ago. Any reading over 160, say the organisers, and it is time to “fasten the seatbelts”. The Apocalypse will start, so thousands of Christians believe, with the Rapture, when, suddenly, the righteous will vanish from the face of the earth – whisked up into heaven, leaving the unsaved to face earthquakes, fire, brimstone and destruction.