The usual picture of the Rapture as presented by Xian fundamentalists has it occurring everywhere in the world, all at once. However, Harold Camping of Family Radio has come up with a new twist. He says the Rapture will happen at 6PM on May 21, separately in each time zone. So what Camping is predicting is not Rapture Classic, but rather a Rapture Wave, sweeping around the world over a 24-hour period as each time zone reaches 6PM.
For an idea of what Camping's Rapture Wave would look like, consider the world as it is when this blog post will appear, at 11PM on the evening of May 20 on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. A thousand miles west of here, in the Central Time Zone, it is 10PM. Two thousand miles west of there, in the Pacific Time Zone, it is 8PM, and in Hawaii it is 5PM. And west of Hawaii . . .
West of Hawaii is the International Date Line, where the date jumps forward from May 20 to May 21. There, in Kiribati, it is 4PM on the afternoon of May 21, and the Rapture is just two hours away. Two hours from now, at 1AM Eastern Time, when the clocks strike 6PM in Rawaki, all the Real True Christians there, and everywhere else in that time zone, will be raptured up to heaven. An hour later, at 2AM Eastern Time, the same thing will happen in the next time zone to the west, the time zone containing New Zealand. An hour after that, the Rapture will reach Port Vila, Vanuatu; an hour after that, at 4AM Eastern Time, it will reach the east coast of Australia.
The Rapture Wave will continue moving west across the face of the Earth, reaching the Eastern Time Zone itself in seventeen hours. Six hours after that, it will pass through the Hawaiian Islands, the last place on Earth to experience the Rapture Wave.
So, keep your eye on Kiribati. If everyone is still there at 1:01 AM Eastern Time, you'll know that Camping was wrong, again, and the Rapture hasn't come. Of course, there may not be enough Real True Christians in Kiribati to make any impression, so the real test case will be in New Zealand, three hours from now. If all the Real True Christians are still in their bodies at 2:01 AM Eastern Time, we'll know for certain that this was yet another false alarm.
UPDATE: 2:54 AM EDT. The Rapture seems to have passed New Zealand by. O the embarrassment.
UPDATE 2: 10:29 AM EDT. Australia still unraptured. More on this story as it develops.