It was 9pm EDT and I was hooked up to Family Radio by internet, since I live outside the US. Harold Camping was going to speak and explain why the Rapture didn’t come on May 21. Remember, Camping had been absolutely clear about what was going to happen: the Rapture of 200 million people and a massive worldwide earthquake. This was not supposed to be symbolic. He did not offer a Plan B. He said anyone who disagreed with his interpretation did not believe in the Bible – his words, not mine.
On Sunday the 22nd I predicted how he might explain away that uncomfortable fact (see other essays about Harold Camping on this blog). Here is what I predicted he might do:
- Backpedal: for example, change the date, say that the earthquake was “symbolic” not literal
- Denial: Jesus really did come for the faithful, you just can’t see it! Some of his followers are already admitting, “I guess I don’t have enough understanding.”
- Blame: believe it or not, he may try to blame you, his followers. He might say that you weren’t good enough or faithful enough, so the Lord decided not to come
- “God had mercy.” He will point to Jonah, where God decided not to destroy Ninevah, and claim that as a result of his prayers and the work of Family Radio, God spared the earth for a while longer. My guess is that #4 is what he will say.
Harold Camping gave us a combination of #1 and #4. How did I know what he might say? I’m not a prophet! I have no special interpretation of the Bible! Nevertheless, I study history, and these options are the ones that all false prophets use when their predictions do not come to pass.
Harold Camping is one of the great false prophets of our day. He has had to change, not the details, but his entire prediction about the end times. What he said last night, May 23, was a 180 degree reversal of his previous ideas. He knows many Bible verses but is at a loss to understand them. His prediction about October? Toss it out.
Followers of Family Radio often exclaim how biblical is Camping and the radio ministry. Don’t get pulled into thinking that this man is your only or even primary access to God’s word. This is what cults do, they emphasize the Bible and urge you to follow their interpretation and only theirs.
A better plan is: buy a Bible, and read it cover to cover.
Think of the damage this one man has done. Thousands of people who counted themselves Christians last week are giving up their faith in God and his Word because of Family Radio. Atheists are laughing at us. People are questioning the Bible. A Muslim website I visited is using Harold Camping’s predictions to “prove” that Islam is true, not Christianity. So much damage, and all unnecessary.
If you are reading this, you will be tempted to follow whatever new interpretation he gives, like a lifesaver to keep from drowning. You want him to explain things so that you stop looking foolish. Please, although you will have to take strong medicine, I urge you to renounce Harold Camping as the false prophet he is, turn to the Lord in repentance and return to his church.
As always, for followers or ex-followers of Camping, I’m here to talk; you can contact me by responding below.
May 23: Camping has now spoken; this time ignore him! Gary Shogren, Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica