Rapture follower still has the answers – just new ones, for a later date

2011-05-28 17:31

Last week no one turned up on the stoep of the Devonshire Hotel in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, to help Oom Johannes Coetzee trek to that golden place in the sky.

And you can be sure that Coetzee and his abstemious followers were not sipping sundowners while they watched their “last” sundown, waiting for the arrival of the celestial siyayas.

They were getting more anxious by the hour.

Nobody knows at what point the group realised that the apocalyptic exodus had been cancelled. Coetzee did not refer to this terrible moment when he was interviewed this week.

He merely declared that he felt what Christ’s disciples must have experienced when they crucified the Saviour instead of crowning him as king. He also said the “final end” has now been postponed – to October 21.

But the barrage of laughter, cheeky tweets and blogs that followed the disaster date must have alerted Coetzee to the need for a more substantial public explanation for his ­actions.

He has now summoned the country’s journalists to Nelspruit for a press conference tomorrow.

“We will answer questions at the press conference,” he told City Press. Family Radio, the American organisation who started the 2011 rapture rumour, will share the microphone with him.

Journos will likely be curious about the state of Coetzee’s bank account and his pension, which he said paid for all those flyers and posters distributed to sinners on the streets of South Africa in the last months.

And they may want to know how it’s possible to predict the terrible date by reading and understanding the Bible.

“Christian scripture itself says that it is not given to man to know the end of time,” Reverend Keith Vermeulen, the SA Council of Churches’ parliamentary representative, points out.

The Bible is all about faith and spirituality. “We have to live every day as if it is our last on earth,” he said.

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