Harold Camping, the end of the world prophet whose initial rapture prediction last May proved false, is back with a message for his remaining followers: The end is “probably” still coming on October 21st, 2011.
Camping’s most recent prediction was that believers would be raptured, or swept into heaven, on May 21, 2011 while the rest of the world would enter a time of judgment before a day of final destruction on October 21. On Faith gave details of his calculations in May. While many Christians have similar beliefs about end times, mainstream Christian teaching says that the actual date cannot be known.
When no one was raptured on the appointed date, the 90-year-old founder of Family Radio said he was “flabbergasted” but maintained that a “spiritual” rapture had occurred. The Family Radio Web site offers an official interpretation:
“What really happened this past May 21st? What really happened is that God accomplished exactly what He wanted to happen. That was to warn the whole world that on May 21 God’s salvation program would be finished on that day. For the next five months, except for the elect (the true believers), the whole world is under God’s final judgment.”
That interpretation offered little consolation to some who believed Harold Camping and gave money for his cause. There were enough dedicated followers of Camping to help post at least 2,000 billboards around the United States to warn of the coming judgment. A number of them quit their jobs, and spent their savings spreading the word in anticipation of the May rapture.
Camping had a stroke on June 9th, but he has recently returned from the hospital. “I am still a long ways away from being healed but there is progress being made,” Camping said.
Now that the “final” October 21 date is nearing, Camping is sending out audio messages on their radio Web site. The most recent was sent on October 2nd, and is aired throughout the day on the radio, a representative of the station said.
Camping has not returned to full-time broadcasting, and has not announced plans to do so, according to operators at Family Radio. There are still “a lot” of people who listen to the program which reaches about 65 stations in the United States.
“We've learned that there's a lot of things we didn't have quite right. And that's Gods good provision,” Camping said in his audio statement.
The tone of his message is more mild than his previous declaration. Shying away from talk of wrath and judgment, he says “the end is going to come very, very quietly probably within the next month . . . by October 21. Probably there will be no pain suffered by anyone because of their rebellion against God . . .” he said. “We can become more and more sure that they’ll quietly die and that will be the end of their story.”