Day of Judgment yields no clear verdict

David Temple, left, distributes fliers on Sproul Plaza. Temple had predicted the world would end last Saturday.
Jeffrey Joh/Staff
David Temple, left, distributes fliers on Sproul Plaza. Temple had predicted the world would end last Saturday.

David Temple came to the heart of the UC Berkeley campus every day for the past several months, handing out flyers, counting down the days and warning passers-by of the end of the world — last Saturday, May 21, 2011.

Temple, better known to the campus and city community as “Yoshua,” said the Bible provides many clues and warnings that Judgment Day — when God will save only a handful of people and destroy the earth — should have occurred on Saturday, according to his calculations, which he draws from different scripture passages.

According to Temple, these passages lay out a timeline for when a time of judgment will come for the world. He cites several passages and makes a connection between the time of Noah and the Ark and the present.

“God is speaking, and he says this: ‘Dearly beloved, there is one thing I do not want you to be ignorant of. One day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day,’” Temple said. “So that seven-day warning that was for the people of Noah’s day, projected into the future, is 7,000 years.”

After a myriad of other calculations, conversions and comparisons between passages and interpretations, Temple concluded that May 21, 2011, should have been the end of the world — when he said God would select only 200 million people to save and destroy the rest of the world with a massive earthquake.

“The people that are left behind, people who have no interest whatsoever in reading the scriptures, which is God’s word, or have no interest in praying to God and so forth — God is going to kill them,” Temple said. “He will do that. He will be a savior, until he takes up his people.”

Temple was not the only one who believed the Rapture would occur on Saturday. Harold Camping — the infamous 89-year-old UC Berkeley alumnus and leader of Family Radio who was a staunch believer that May 21 was Judgment Day — garnered national attention when he assured the world that the End of Days was at hand.

The Oakland minister, like Temple, firmly believed that the selected number of people on Earth would ascend to heaven while the rest of the world would be left behind to witness the ultimate destruction of the Earth — which would eventually reach fruition on Oct. 21 after five months of continued death and judgment.

Initially, Camping believed the Day of Judgment would occur in 1994, but after claiming that he “seriously misunderstood” a key biblical passage, Camping declared he was sure that 2011 would be the year in which the Rapture actually occurred.

Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at one point joined in on the assumption that the world was going to experience some sort of apocalypse, albeit satirically. On May 19, the CDC posted guidelines on how to deal with zombies should the end of the world actually occur.

Accompanying its plan on how to deal with zombies in its natural disaster readiness plan, the CDC said on its website that “the rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen.”

Not only did the center treat the idea of a natural disaster seriously, but it also promised that should zombies begin roaming the street, “the CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation,” though the reference to zombies was written in jest in order to call attention to the need for disaster readiness and awareness.

While some joked about the Rapture, there were those who continued to believe something could still occur past the deadline for the start of the end of the world.

According to Tzipora Krupnik, the spiritual director at Veil Between Heaven and Earth in North Berkeley, the end of the world is in fact happening — at least, the end of the world “as we know it.”

Krupnik said this continuous shift — from the mental to the spiritual — is occurring among people, in which they become more connected to themselves.

“Everything that’s in the media, it’s just fear energy. People get scared because they feel like they don’t have control over something. But that’s because they’re listening to something that’s outside of them. So if they really want to know the answers, they’re in here,” Krupnik said, pointing to her chest.


A previous version of this article may have implied that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took the threat of a zombie apocalypse seriously. The organization was making a reference to pop culture, using the idea of a zombie apocalypse to raise awareness of the importance of being prepared for natural disasters.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Harold Camping said the world would end in 1992. In fact, he said the world would end in 1994.
A previous photo accompanying this article incorrectly credited photographer Jeffery Joh as a Daily Cal senior staff member. In fact, he is a Daily Cal staff member.