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The End Of The World: Is It Near?

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MIAMI (CBS4) – The end of the world as we know it has been talked about for centuries. The dates that mark the end of human kind have come and gone, but now there is a new date and it’s message has come to a South Florida.

The beginning of the end is called the Rapture. Some believe it will manifest itself in natural disasters as written in the bible in Thessalonians 5:2:  The day of the lord will come. However, the question remains when?

One group believes the end is May 21, 2011.

“We are talking about Judgment Day. It is a serious thing,” said Fred Store, who headed the South Florida leg of a tour sponsored by Family Radio. The group is spreading the prediction via caravan.

“It will be hell on earth. That is how I would describe it,” said Store to CBS4’s Jorge Estevez who met with him outside one of their caravans in Miami.

The caravan spanned across South Florida from shopping centers in little Havana to the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables.

“As we draw closer to the date, we are trying to get the information out to as many people as possible,” said Darry Leitt, a worker for Family Radio.

The movement is founded by Harold Camping, a Christian broadcaster and founder of Family Radio. So why May 21st? It has to do with a compilation of passages in the bible.

“You can add them up until the times of Solomon. Then you can relate that to today’s calendar,” said Store who hinted to a second coming.

“Do we take these prophesies literally or do we realize this is how people in the ancient times dealt with crisis,” said Daniel Alvarez,  an instructor of religious studies at FIU who points out people of all generations, through the years, have predicted the end of the world.

“We have globalization, an economic crisis, the crisis in the Middle East, and Israel in the thick of it. Now we are thinking this must be our generation,” said Alvarez.

This has attracted so much attention, there is currently a billboard in Hollywood announcing Judgement Day

“I never noticed it. I am here every day. I never noticed it,” said Rob Moscoso who lives in the neighborhood right under the billboard.

You can see it beyond the trees when you drive along the Turnpike.

“I don’t like it. It is giving the image that it is going to happen on that day itself,” said Moscoso.

Religious teachers point out that other people have also predicted the end of the world and they have been wrong.

William Miller, a Baptist pastor predicted the end was to be in March of 1844, then April 1844, and then October 1844. Jehovah’s Witness founder Charles Russel claimed the end was 1874, then 1914, changed it to 1918, and finally 1975. Harold Camping, founder of Family Radio, who predicts the to be May 21, 2011 has already predicted the end back in 1994.

“Every apocalypse ever written throughout the centuries all predict in the time of their living Christ will come again,” said Alvarez.

Followers believe the time is now.

“You don’t really want to be here. You don’t want to be here,” said Store.

So whether it is fact or fiction, the end of the world comes with a powerful message about faith as written in Thessalonians 5:9: God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation.

And depending on what you believe, your own personal Salvation may be more figurative than literal and not just happen after an actual natural disaster, but after you reach a point when you are ready to accept your own new beginning.

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