The news of the impending Judgment Day filled cyberspace, inundating Twitter and Facebook with chatter about the End of Days.
Harold Camping, an 89-year-old Oakland-based independent preacher, predicted that Judgment Day will begin at 6 p.m. in each time zone.
Camping and his followers believe that on Saturday, some 200 million people will be saved, and those left behind will die in earthquakes, plagues and other calamities until Earth is consumed by a fireball on Oct. 21.
Camping predicted the first apocalypse in 1994. He blamed his false predictions on a mathematical error.
The preacher has convinced thousands of followers, and his ministry has raised millions of dollars based on the apocalyptic prediction. That money has paid for 5,000 billboards all across the nation.
Some followers are spending their life savings to prepare for the end. Believers around the globe spent Friday praying, visiting with loved ones and saying goodbyes.
Meanwhile, skeptics are throwing Rapture-themed parties or completely ignoring the apocalyptic prophecy.
But some Christians believe Camping's predictions only taint Christianity.
"The Bible says very clearly, if you read the text, that nobody knows when that day will come, so it's pretty controversial. So, I think it makes Christians like myself look foolish when some people say they know. How can they know?" said Ed Wood of Orlando, Fla.
Those who do believe in the prediction point to recent natural disasters such as the Japan earthquake and tsunami and the tornadoes and floods in the U.S.