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We’re Still Here (Harold Camping)

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The internet (especially) was full of jokes and derogatory comments about people missing the Saturday, May 21, 2011 “Rapture” as predicted by USA wannabee prophetic “expert”, Harold Egbert Camping (born July 19, 1921). Camping’s contorted “mathematical” interpretations of out-of-context parts of the Bible led him to declare that Jesus Christ would return to Earth at 6pm, Saturday May 21, 2011 (presumably California time!);the rapture would take place; there would be months of devastation and destruction, with millions of people dying each day and the climatic conclusion would occur on October 21, 2011 with THE END – the total destruction of the Earth and Universe, and everyone (everything) in it. Camping had previously predicted THE End would occur on May 21, 1998, and then again on September 7, 1994.

Millions of dollars were invested in a massive billboard and other advertising, forms, campaing, warning of Christ’s May 21st return.

Camping refused to consider any errors in his calculations. In a New York Magazine interview, Camping was asked: You haven’t thought about what you’ll tell your followers on May 22 if the Rapture doesn’t take place?
Response: I’m not going to think about it at all. It is. Going. To. Happen. Because I trust the Bible implicitly, the Bible is God’s Word - it’s not from man, it’s not from some organization of some kind where there’s plenty of room for error. It is the Word of God. When God speaks that is going to happen, the Bible is a very factual book, and God gives many examples of how he had made prophecies and it has always happened in exact accord with what God had prophesised.

In spite of his own dogmatic assertions, and apparent sincerely misguided belief, he missed the Rapture on May 21, and had to explain his miscalculations. He then claimed his miscalculations. He then claimed everything was still going “according to plan” but he misunderstood the differences in meaning between the earthquake and rapture. He then “realised” that the Rapture will come at the same time as the final total destruction:

Thus we can be sure that the whole world, with the exception of those who are presently saved (the elect), are under the judgement of God, and will be annihilated together with the whole physical world on October 21, 2011, on the last day of the present five months period. On that day the true believers (the elect) will be raptured. We must remember that only God knows who his elect are that he saved prior to May 21.
(According to Camping, no one could receive salvation from God after May 21.)

Camping suffered a stroke on June 9, 2011. His non-profit “Family Radio” network had re-runs of some of his programmes, before it finally stopped his voice going to air at the end of June. An official July announcement from his family, just before his 90th birthday, stated: “Mr Camping continues to make marked improvement as he continues with intensive rehabilitation therapy. By God’s mercy his speech ability was not affected by the stroke. The Camping family appreciates your continued thoughts and prayers on their behalf”. (Others have disputed his supposed clarity of Speech – but he certainly was not back “on air” at the time of the family statement.

We believe that Camping’s October 21st prediction will turn out to be another of his failed predictions – possibly his last!

(From TACL Vol 32 # 3 May - June)

Update: Following the Oct 21st failed modified prediction - taken from Update Nov 2011.


It’s gone and past (again) … did you even notice it this time?

Harold Camping’s new Endtime/ Rapture date has come and gone yet again and the world continues as per normal. Apparently Oct 21 was supposed to be the end. This date was actually a modified prediction from Camping’s last “Doomsday” prediction.

Camping, leader of the US Family Radio International had, some time ago, predicted that the “Rapture” would occur on May 21st this year. Camping’s predictions were based on so-called mathematical formulas he says are contained within the bible. The frenzy from Camping’s followers grew stronger as the May 21st date neared.

Camping’s ministry had invested millions of dollars on billboards and advertising. Many followers of his radio program actually sacrificed careers, houses and all their savings, to help promote the “End of the world.” May 21st came and went with no “Rapture” - leaving many followers disillusioned and angry.

The 90 year old suffered a stroke shortly after his failed May 21st prediction. He is, however, back at home recovering.

Camping stayed closed indoors in the initial stages after the event. When he finally had the courage to face the media, he had the opportunity to recant and admit his prediction were false. Instead Camping revised his position saying the end had actually come; just in a “spiritual” manner. He said the real visible end would come October 21st.

The doomsday predictions of Camping have become a case of the boy who cried wolf too many times. This time around there was little hype concerning Camping’s October 21st prediction.

The media attention was minimal. Not many were interested this time round. People eventually lose trust when some one continues to insist something will certainly happen and then doesn’t. Bear in mind also that Camping made failed doomsday predictions in 1994 and 1988. Yet people were still gullible enough to believe his May 21st 2011 prophecy, despite those earlier failed predictions and some even believed in the 21st Oct prophecy. Thankfully few took him seriously this time around.

Even Camping himself appears to have expressed doubt in his own latest prediction saying just prior to Oct 21;

"A lot of things we didn’t have quite right will probably be finished out on Oct. 21,…That looks like it will be at this point, looks like it will be the final end of everything… I really am beginning to think as I restudied these matters that there’s going to be no big display of any kind,… The end is going to come very, very quietly, probably within the next month. It will happen, that is, by Oct. 21."

Since October 21st Harold Camping seems to have gone quiet. He is no longer “on their air” at the Family Radio station that he co-founded in 1958 and of which he is still president.

All those put dates on Jesus’ return would be better to read Matthew 24:42-44 and refrain from date setting, instead seeking to live a life pleasing to the Lord in the here and now.

(From Update November 2011)

Shortly after the publication of this article Camping issued a public apology via recording on his FR website.

Camping said he was wrong to say last May that those Christian who didn’t believe his prophecy that Christians would be “Raptured” on May 21st were likely to be unsaved. He also said; "When it comes to trying to recognize the truth of prophecy, we’re finding that it is very, very difficult.." Although Camping does admit error; his apology is vague to say the least. Camping repeatedly insists in his apology that God hasn’t abandoned us [Family Radio and followers]. Given the amount of people Camping has led astray a more robust apology would have been suffice. It is still unclear from the apology whether Camping acknowledges his mathematical system to predict the end was a bad method of Biblical interpretation in the first place. Camping’s erroneous “end time” predictions were fundamentally born out of a mishandling of the Bible.

Perhaps it may further dawn on him that his radical teachings that only those who listen to his radio station are the genuine people of God while those who belong to the “institutional church” are apostate is a seriously distorted teaching. It is a bit too early to conclude Camping and Family Radio have genuinely repented of their errors.

He says; We’re ready to cry out and weep before God: "Oh Lord, you have the truth, we don’t have it".

A little bit late to reach this conclusion, really.