The last day according to Harold Camping.

Posted: May 21, 2011 in End times, false teachers
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Many have sunk their entire savings into the hope that today will be the day they are raptured.  However anyone with a measure of common sense would have reach out to their nearest Bible and read what it said.

Mat 25:13   Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Yet we are somehow to believe contrary to what Jesus had to say, mere man can work it out to the very day and hour. History tells us that over the centuries religious zealots have made predictions usually at the end of millenniums, during great catastrophes and sometimes based upon pure speculation.  While many have become wealthy speculating dates, others have lost their wealth supporting such quacks.

Such tails are not new.  The Watchtower Society has made many predictions over the years, only to see those dates come and go.  Usually their numbers fall when dates fail, however they found that by setting new dates seems to rally people to their cause.  It seems we either have a short memory or we don’t learn from the past. Harold Camping is not the first and he will certainly not be the last.

 The daily mail carried this article on one family whose parent believed that today will be the day.

This pictured is not being used to mock this family but to warn others.

In a last ditch effort to spread the word before the Armageddon that they believe will happen today at 6pm local time wherever you live, Robert and Abby took their children to a New York street fair. Speaking to the New York Times, 16-year-old Grace Haddad said: ‘My mom has told me directly that I’m not going to get into heaven. At first it was really upsetting, but it’s what she honestly believes.’ But while the followers of radical evangelist Harold Camping prepare to meet their maker, no rapture reports were heard from Christmas Island in Kiribati – where the earthquake was set to hit first at 6pm local time

In Auckland, New Zealand, one of the first major cities to reach 6pm, no major incidents were reported. Beijing in China also appeared to have escaped unscathed. Two earthquakes of magnitudes over 2.5 were reported shortly after 6pm local time (midnight Eastern Time) hit Christmas Island. The U.S. Geological Survey says a 4.8 magnitude earthquake hit the Solomon Islands region and a 3.1 in the Hawaii area between 00:30am and 00:45am Eastern Time. But before you start preparing for the Armageddon, there are usually 30 to 40 earthquakes measuring more than 2.5 every day worldwide.

A fake Twitter account purporting to be run by the BBC World Service was making statements about what was happening. One post jokingly said: ‘President of Kiribati, Mr Anote Tong, shall address media shortly regarding “unprecedented” events on Christmas Island.’ Auckland, New Zealand, the first major city to experience the rapture and earthquake at 6pm local time (2am Eastern Time) – reported business as usual today. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took a more relaxed attitude on Friday to impending Armageddon – joking that Doomsday will result in him suspending alternate side parking indefinitely.

According to Camping’s followers – who claim he calculated the date and time of ‘The Rapture’ by adding up numbers in the Bible – tomorrow will see the start of a six month process where the chosen will ascend into heaven.  Camping, 89, is the leader of Family Radio, an independent ministry which spreads its word via a network on 66 radio stations and online broadcasts. He has previously written a book called ‘1994?’, in which he wrongly predicted the end of the world in that year, and was later forced to apologise for a mathematical error.

Despite the dire warnings, Mayor Bloomberg listed a number of reasons why tomorrow can’t be the end of the world. Speaking on his weekly radio show he said: ‘The world cannot end tomorrow. You know why. ‘It can’t end at least until the Knicks win a championship again. We’ve got a long time to go.’ He continued: ‘If the world ends tomorrow I don’t think you have to worry about returning library books, parking tickets.’ But despite the doom and gloom, the Mayor found a possible upside to the Earth’s destruction.

He added: ‘Think about it. If the world were to end tomorrow it would fix our traffic problems.’ The Rapture is supposedly the time when God’s chosen people ascend to heaven and the rest are left behind to face apocalyptic scenes of earthquakes and fire. A period of ‘trial’ on earth for non-believers is forecast to follow and could last six months, but by October 21 all those who have not been saved will be dead, goes the prophecy.

The concept of Judgment Day is a long-standing one, but the idea of the Rapture is more modern, having first appeared in Christian teaching in the 19th century. However, this predicted date is entirely the work of Camping and his followers, who have spent decades studying the bible for coded messages. So certain is he of his revised date, following on from his 1994 embarrassment, that he and his followers have spent millions of dollars on billboards across America that have been warning for weeks: ‘Judgment Day is coming May 21st, 2011 – The Bible guarantees it!’

Most Christians barely pay the ‘prophecy’ a second thought but Camping, from Oakland, California, stands by his latest Doomsday warning. ‘We know without any shadow of a doubt it is going to happen,’ said Camping.

‘There’s going to be a huge earthquake that’s going to make the big earthquake in Japan seem like a Sunday School picnic. ‘Camping, a civil engineer who once ran his own construction business, plans to spend the day with his wife in Alameda, in northern California, and watch doomsday unfold on television.  ‘I’ll probably try to be very near a TV or a radio or something,’ he said. ‘I’ll be interested in what’s happening on the other side of the world as this begins. ‘His prediction has been dismissed as ‘flat-out wrong’ by one leading Christian author, who has accused Camping of abusing the current climate of fear rendered by natural disasters to make money. 

‘Nobody knows the exact day when these things are going to happen,’ Steve Wohlberg, who has written more than two dozen books about the End of Days, told the New York Daily News. ‘They’re looking at all of these disasters and everything that’s going on in the planet, and this is creating a climate of deep interest in Biblical prophecy. ‘In my mind, Harold Camping has quite an account to render with God when judgment day comes.’

However, just in case the prediction is right, some Americans are making the most of their time left with ‘Rapture Parties’ across the country, some serious, some not. In Fayetteville, North Carolina, the American Humanist Association is organizing a two-day anti-Rapture extravaganza. There will be a party on Saturday and a concert on Sunday – with the tongue in cheek proviso that Sunday’s fun could be cancelled due to a natural catastrophe of some sort. Camping’s prediction has been publicised in almost every country, said Chris McCann, who works with one of the groups spreading the message, eBible Fellowship. McCann plans to spend Saturday with his family, reading the Bible and praying. His fellowship met for the last time on Monday.

‘We had a final lunch and everyone said goodbye,’ he said. ‘We don’t actually know who’s saved and who isn’t, but we won’t gather as a fellowship again.’ The publicity has had some effect outside North America. In Vietnam, a crowd of around 5,000 members of the Hmong ethnic minority gathered near the border with Laos to await the biblical event, but they were soon dispersed by the government. However, the Rapture – the belief that Christ will bring the faithful into paradise prior to a period of tribulation on earth that precedes the end of time – is a divisive belief even among Christians. Most don’t believe in it, and some are actively against it because they feel it makes them look foolish. ‘People like this man are over-literalising certain passages that are not meant to be taken in such a strictly literal sense and they’re trying to build strict chronologies by piecing together different Bible verses that were never intended to be interpreted in such a fashion,’ said Dr. Don Howell, professor of New Testament at Columbia International University.

In an attempt to talk to Camping on his own literal terms, Dr Howell also points to Matthew 24, which says no one but the Father knows when the end will come, not even Jesus or the angels. The Rapture is often mocked by on-believers in popular culture – the comic strip ‘Doonesbury’ has tackled the subject – while a Facebook page called ‘Post Rapture Looting’ has won huge support. More than 175,000 people have joined the group, leaving comments such as: ‘When everyone is gone and God’s not looking, we need to pick up some sweet stereo equipment and maybe some new furniture for the mansions we’re going to squat in.’ Jerry Jenkins, co-author with Tim LaHaye of the ‘Left Behind’ series of apocalyptic novels that have sold millions of copies worldwide, is among those who has a problem with the prediction. ‘As a believer, I’m already a kook compared to most people, so for someone to choose a date and get everyone excited about a certain time, my problem is it makes us look worse,’ said Jenkins, 61. But the very industry in which Jenkins’ books are aimed and sold are part of the problem according to Barbara Rossing, professor of the New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She describes a huge apocalyptic ‘prophecy industry’ that includes video games, board games and books, and says: ‘It is very appealing to people.

Indeed, according to its tax returns Family Radio, a non-profit organisation, has raised more than $100m over the last seven years. It owns 66 radio stations worldwide  and a recent spike in activity has seen it lavish millions on its international billboard advertising campaign. When asked what the church was going to do with the money when the world ended, Camping told Contra Costa Times; ‘When Judgment Day comes, if someone is a billionaire, how will they take their money with them?  ‘If we have any money left, and we will because we have to pay bills up to the very end… it will all be destroyed because the world will be in a day of judgment.

‘The money is not important at all. It’s a vehicle to spread the judgment and a vehicle of the Lord.’ But as the true believers prepare for what they hope will be their last day on earth, many atheists are having fun with the anticlimax they anticipate. In Tacoma, Washington, atheists have organized a party for Saturday night under the banner ‘countdown to backpedaling’, on the assumption that Camping and Family Radio will change their story if Judgment Day does not come. At least 100 people are expected at the party, said Sam Mulvey, 33, an organizer of the event and the producer of a weekly atheist radio show in Tacoma.’If the world still exists the next day, Family Radio is going to have to say something and most of the time they backpedal, and that’s what we’re counting down to,’ he said. Other atheists have taken a more practical approach to the ‘rapture’ by turning the ‘prophecy industry’ on itself to make money. In New Hampshire, Bart Centre started his company Eternal Earth-bound Pets in 2009.

He offers rapture believers an insurance plan for those pets that won’t join them in heaven: 10-year pet care contracts, with Centre and his network of fellow non-believers taking responsibility for the animals after the Rapture. The fee – payable in advance, of course – was originally $110, but has risen to $135 since Camping’s prediction. He has 258 clients. But for some people the rapture is no laughing matter. In Harrison, New Jersey, reformed raver John Ramsey, 25, has given up his job to spread the word with his wife, Marcia Paladines.  Marcia, featured in the video below, is pregnant. Her due date is May 27.  ‘God is in control. I have prayed for mercy on my baby,’ a crying Paladines told The Huffington Post. ‘But I don’t know what’s going to happen. If I’m here May 21, then I will suffer the consequences of the wrath of God. I know like anybody else I’ll deserve it because none of us are perfect.”

Camping schedule

Personally I can’t help believing that Camping is being used wittingly or even unwittingly to destroy people belief in the rapture, but also to destroy people belief in the Bible.  It has long been my contention that before the literal rapture of the church the belief in the rapture will be discredited.  When the rapture happens the world will not know or care.  Either because the world will be preoccupied with other matters or the number of rapture believers will be so small, and few will notice their departure.  We can be certain that when the true rapture takes place, there will be no bill boards, adverts, or people setting dates.

Our hearts and thoughts should go out to Camping’s followers who are about to experience some major disappointment and embracement.  This is one situation that has been predicted with a good measure of success.   It’s sad and I hope that there will be someone that can get along side some of these people.  I suspect however many will leave, but the main hardliners will stay with Camping to follow the next load of dates.  Those who leave will need our love and sympathy.

  1. ‘I don’t understand why nothing’s happened’: Baffled believers face jeers as ‘Rapture’ passes… and the only person who’s disappeared is the man who predicted it

    Disillusioned: Robert Fitzpatrick, who spent his $140,000 life savings on ads to spread the word of the Rapture, believed that it would happen at 6pm on May 21, but unfortunately for him it didn’t (source Daily mail)

    Sadly you can see the disillusionment on Mr Fitzpatricks face as he is forced to recognise that he was scammed out of his life’s savings. He will not be the only one. This is so sad. Jeers is not what they need at this moment. They were victimes of a scam and they fell for it. They need people to get along side them and help them. Believe me they will need help in some manner or other. My prayer is that God will meet them in their need at this time.

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