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May 23rd, 2011
05:04 PM ET

Preacher now says end of the world will happen in 5 months

By Kim Hutcherson and Dan Gilgoff, CNN

(CNN) – Harold Camping is sticking to his apocalyptic guns.

In his first radio broadcast since his doomsday prediction failed to pan out in a spectacularly public fashion, the California preacher insisted his was an error of interpretation, not fact.

What's more, he has another calculation for the day the world will end - October 21, 2011.

Camping had kept a low-profile since Saturday, the day he had forecast for the return of Jesus Christ to Earth. He and his devoted followers have been warning for months that on May 21, a select 2% to 3% of the world's population would be taken to heaven. Those left behind would face months of tribulation before perishing in the Earth's destruction, which Camping said would happen on October 21.

This is the basis for his new prediction, which Camping claims is not new at all. He told listeners on his Family Radio broadcast Monday that God is "loving and merciful," and had decided not to punish the humanity with five months of destruction.

But he maintains that the end of the world is still coming.

"We've always said October 21 was the day," Camping said during his show. "The only thing we didn't understand was the spirituality of May 21. We're seeing this as a spiritual thing happening rather than a physical thing happening. The timing, the structure, the proofs, none of that has changed at all."

However, Camping said his group would not be mounting another advertising push. In the months leading up to May 21, Family Radio billboards popped up across the country, warning that the end was near.

"We're not going to be passing out tracts," Camping said. "We're not going to put up any more billboards. We're not going to be advertising in any way. The world has been warned. We did our little share and the media picked it up. But now the world has been told, it's under judgment."

Fred Store, who led one of four RV caravans that toured the country in recent months to spread the word about judgment day, said he and other followers heard Camping's broadcast "and we were quite happy - it will be interesting to see what the next couple of months will bring."

"It appears as though this whole [rapture] thing happened in a spiritual, rather than a physical way," said Store, 66. The retired electrician said that he and the other nine members of his five-RV caravan were still at an RV park where they waited for the rapture to arrive on Saturday.

He said the park was within 100 miles of Boston, Massachusetts, but didn't want to disclose the specific location. He said the caravan was waiting for word from Camping's ministry, Family Radio, about arranging the return of the vehicles to the broadcaster's Oakland, California, headquarters.

Store said he and the others in his caravan were not disappointed that the dramatic events associated with the rapture had not come to pass.

"We think that judgment day did happen," he said. "It didn’t result in an earthquake, and there were a number of things that weren't exactly the way we said they would be, but we were only reading from the Bible.  We’ve been humbled by the whole experience."

Camping founded Family Radio, a nonprofit Christian radio network with about 65 stations across the country, in 1958. It received $80 million in contributions between 2005 and 2009.

He first inaccurately predicted the world would end in 1994. Despite his poor track record, he has gathered many followers. Some gave up their homes, entire life savings and jobs because they believed the world was ending.

Reporters who were allowed to ask questions during the broadcast Monday pressed Camping on this issue, but he would not admit that he bore any blame for his followers' predicaments.

"I don't have any responsibility," Camping said. "I'm only teaching the Bible. I'm telling ... this is what the Bible says. I don't have spiritual rule over anybody ... except my wife as the head of the household."

Experts in apocalyptic movements said that reinterpretations like Camping's are not uncommon in the wake of failed doomsday predictions.

“Historically, failed prophecies tend to result in disillusionment, with members deserting the group, or, more typically, a faith-saving (and face-saving) statement to the effect that while divine revelation remains infallible, human calculation is not,” said Lorenzo DiTommaso, author of the forthcoming book “The Architecture of Apocalypticism” and an associate professor of religion at Concordia University in Montréal, Canada. 

“In short: The math was off, and it’s back to the drawing board,” he said. “If the logic seems a bit self-serving, recall that in the apocalyptic mindset, faith precedes theory, and theory informs the evidence."

–CNN's Jessica Ravitz contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • End times

soundoff (4,998 Responses)
  1. Chicken Little

    OK CNN, we're sick of this one. Please get up some new articles, and NOT any that have anything to do with Harold.

    May 25, 2011 at 7:10 am |
  2. donny

    No Imaginary friend son, more real than you are, and that i will bet everything i own on ;)

    May 25, 2011 at 6:50 am |
  3. Spock

    To be polite the rev is full of it...And should just stop predicting and keep his mouth shut.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:04 am |
  4. JME

    Weak- minded people.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:21 am |
  5. hiyousuckers

    The time is near, but not one person knows when, Jesus told us He didn't know either. At least Jesus said what He did not know. It is amazing what the many folks here write about the Bible as though they do know. The Bible is the "living word" of God. You will gain nothing from it unless He is leading you to the truth in it. People like Camping read the Bible without the leading of God, and twist it according to their vain imaginations. Jesus warned about people like him. A true minister of God will not try to overriide what Jesus said doing math computations and research. Mr. Camping, you have caused many to stumble, and there is a heavy price to pay for that. The BIble tells us you will know a prophet because what he prophesises happens. You, Mr. Camping are not a prophet, period. Jesus is coming for His church, with a shout, at the sound of the trump. When He does, His angels will gather all of His followers from the four winds. It will be very soon, that part is true, so just in case it is tomorrow, or even tonight....bye bye!

    May 25, 2011 at 3:58 am |
    • Pssst

      "You will gain nothing from it unless He is leading you to the truth in it."

      It seems like you think that you are one of the extra special ones who has been 'lead to the truth', huh? Guess what, so does Camping.

      May 25, 2011 at 4:12 am |
    • Jarno

      Every generation of Chistians since the very beginning – including the writers of the New Testament, believed that THEY were living the end times, and that Jesus would be returing "any minute now".

      It's been "any minute now" for two thousand years. How long will it take before people realize that they are reading mythology, not unlike any other mythology of the world, no less fantastical, and no more worth taking seriously?

      May 25, 2011 at 6:02 am |
  6. Jimmy

    This guy will die in 5 months and wants the world to go with him. Hahahaha.

    May 25, 2011 at 2:34 am |
  7. Matt

    @Alienbrother

    I would have to agree with you there on one point I would not trust in the Bible either with all the false prophets, and false Christians out there today who disown their Christianity by their conduct. People like Howard are twisting the scriptures so as to get more money. Then there are the examples of Jim Jones and David Koresh.

    So, I agree with you I would not trust the Bible either Based on the examples of these people. But you can trust the Bible.
    It contains information on economics, personal hygiene, family life, just to give you some examples.

    May 25, 2011 at 2:31 am |
    • Alienbrother

      I have no doubt that the bible provides guidelines such as those you mention, but then so does any new age bookstore – and by this point in human evolution, I would think perhaps we might have arrived at how to conduct ourselves in society both hygienically and morally by our volition. Most certainly, I, and most I know, don't need to consult any kind of literature to know how to live the most comfortable and enjoyable life possible while we are here. However nothing will change my opinion on the prophecies and scribbles in the bible, to get back to the point, including your previous comment regarding a new government. Show me the proof – other than what you blindly accept as fact from this mumbo jumbo and I might be on board. I believe gods were merely visitors to this earth from other worlds that ancient man could not comprehend, and who fashioned us in their own image initially as their workforce and then for their own amusement.

      May 25, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Alienbrother

      Hey there -Alien bro...

      I am in general agreement with you regarding your posting.

      And... you kinda' lost me when you said: "gods were merely visitors to this earth from other worlds that ancient man could not comprehend, and who fashioned us in their own image initially as their workforce and then for their own 'amusement'."

      However, I did notice you said..." I -believe.- O.K... I guess like most things. It certainly went down as you believe.

      Discussing within your 'beliefs' here... what kind of 'work' would these 'visitors from other worlds' need humans to do...?

      Curious.

      Peace...

      May 25, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  8. Captain Jack

    Harold, listen to this:

    http://syncmyworld.blogspot.com

    May 25, 2011 at 2:19 am |
  9. Matt

    @Alienbrother

    Actually, there is something else. We were not meant to live and die. We originally were to Live Forever.

    Under the New Government arrangement No-one will die or get sick. This Government was formed back in 1914, and is ruling now in outer space. And it is ruling here even now in a spiritual way. Causing that message to spread. by over 7 Million volunteers in over 210 lands.

    The reason we live and die is because our first parents disobeyed God, They conspired that Humans could do a better job of governing themselves without a "GOD". But after 6,000+ years evidence shows we just can not make it on our own.

    There is something better. All wars, death, aging, sickness, and etc. are soon to end.

    Peace

    May 25, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • claybigsby

      "the reason we live and die is because our first parents disobeyed God, They conspired that Humans could do a better job of governing themselves without a "GOD"

      So explain why plants and animals live and die....did they disobey god? I guess that tree told god to get F***ed. Just because we have evolved minds does not make us any better than any other life on this planet.

      May 25, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  10. sunworshipper

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o&w=640&h=390]

    May 25, 2011 at 2:07 am |
  11. Steve T

    Another lying Christian, what a surprise.

    May 25, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • Mike D

      Well...... Technically he isn't lying. Look at this guy. The end of days could be any minute for him. LOL

      May 25, 2011 at 2:26 am |
  12. chris

    No, Christians who believe in a rapture and the dude picking the date are not two sides of the same coin. One believes the bible...the other believes in himself. IF, as we 'Christians' do...we believe what Jesus said "No one knows the day or the hour." Then how in the world can we be like a man who believes he has divined what even Jesus did not have knowledge of (based on the fact that he had become fully man to live a sinless life and die for the iniquity of mankind, He did not get his @ss kicked as the person above inferred, he came and accomplished his purpose) There is so much flawed theology and thinking I don't think I can even begin to tackle it in a news comment section. Christians KNOW The Jews are the root and we are the grafted branch. TAking the Jews out of the picture is utterly ridiculous and anyone who does so is in serious error...as mr. camping has already proven TWICE. Those who bless Israel will prosper, those who don't will be cursed..besides the FACT that Israel is the ONLY democratic country in the middle east...a bastion of prosperity and peace in what can only be called a pile of excrement known as the middle east. There is no arab spring...It's a regression to militant theocracy and anyone who thinks this is some sort of harbinger of an awakening to democracy is a fool and will b e sorely disappointed. I wish people would read more. If you want to know what the bible says, read it. If you want a good case for the divinity of Christ...or even for God..read lee strobels the case for faith and the case for Christ. Lord help us all. Until people wake up from the dream land that people are inherently GOOD and realize that we need to govern ourselves, restrain ourselves and TRAIN ourselves, this world will never get better.

    May 25, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • Jose Sanchez

      The only difference between you guys and Camping is Camping gave a date. Your claims are no less lacking evidence.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:17 am |
  13. Matt

    @ Peace2all
    Hi, I appreciate your humble opinions.

    Does that mean then you do not believe what is written in the bible? Or, what is written in the bible about earths destruction?

    Peace

    May 25, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • Alienbrother

      Absolutely. I have absolutely no trust in the bible whatsoever. It has been written with ancient perception and has no relevance to anything. In my opinion man is as primitive today, to believe that the bible means anything, as they were when those books were written. These writings have been passed down through millennia and most follow blindly like the sheep they are – in my opinion.

      May 25, 2011 at 1:57 am |
    • Bible Clown

      I think the Bible is probably a collection of writings about Christianity which have taken on such importance that they are now considered to have been dictated by God Himself, and at least half of Christians would be glad to kill someone who shares my opinions in order to show the Great Sky-Father how enthusiastic they are. If there was any truth in it, it was edited out centuries ago by people like Harold Camping.

      May 25, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Matt

      Hey -Matt...

      You Said: "@ Peace2all...Hi, I appreciate your humble opinions. Does that mean then you do not believe what is written in the bible? Or, what is written in the bible about earths destruction? ...Peace"

      Well, -Matt, I guess you would have to ask me about each specific verse in the Bible for me to tell you my opinion on it. But, in general... that would be correct... in general, I 'do not' -believe- what is written in the Bible to be true as it describes it in Revelations, Daniel, Ezekiel, etc...
      about Jesus finally 'coming back'...

      Yes, you are correct I do not believe, in my opinion, that it will happen as the Bible 'says.'

      Peace...

      May 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  14. Alienbrother

    Anybody even wasting their time talking such absolute tripe such as this subject matter is just as wacko as Camping. You live you die. There is nothing else.

    May 25, 2011 at 1:38 am |
  15. Julius X

    I told you, it will happen in the 10th day of the 7th month.

    May 25, 2011 at 1:03 am |
  16. myklds

    Camping is way off base, it only proves that the Bible speaks the truth.

    May 25, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Peace2All

      @myklds

      Hey there -mykids...

      I'm curious... how do you know this...?

      Peace...

      May 25, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • Matt

      Harold Camping is way off his understanding of the Bible.

      Didn't he ever read that Jesus said that 'no-one would know the "day or the hour"'. Matthew 24:36.

      In the Book Of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Jesus also gave many details on what would be going on in the world before he brings and end to it. In the book of Revelation Chapter 18 it includes these key points:

      • The 1st stage will begin with an unmistakable attack of world leaders on Christendom. They will plunder her wealth and property.

      • The 2nd phase will include that the governments will believe that they have achieved peace and security.
      • The 3rd phase is that the world leaders under the direction of the Gog of Magog and the King of the North would turn their attention to God's people. see Revelation Chapter 20.

      It doesn't help us to speculate who now is the King of the North" or calculate how many "days" we think are left. (Daniel Chapter 11 & Mathew 24:36)

      Some of the anointed ones still on earth will go to heaven shortly AFTER the great tribulation. NOT before. The sealing of the 144,000 would be complete when the 4 angels let go of the winds of the earth at Armageddon. Then Jehovah and Jesus will step in and bring about Armageddon, even using the forces of nature and fearful signs in the heavens so everyone will know that this was a divine act.

      All who yearn for a New World will want to learn about what God is yet to do, so there is much to be learned. It has been promised that if people apply what they learn, then all those would live through the destruction. ( see John 17:3, Revelation 7:14

      May 25, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Matt

      Hi -Matt...

      Wow... Very impressive knowledge of what the Bible 'says.' Mr. Camping may very well be off or actually in denial, etc... of what the Bible actually 'says'... and, just because the Bible 'says' something doesn't *mean* that it will (in fact) actually happen as it 'says' in the Bible...end of days... book of Revelations, etc..., correct...?

      For the World 'will' in fact come to an end at some point due to a variety of scenarios, but it doesn't mean that it will happen as stated in the Bible.

      It's possible... I will grant you that, and... highly unlikely, in my humble 'opinion.'

      Peace...

      May 25, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      @Matt
      JC also said in Mathew 24:34, "Amen, I say to you, THIS generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place". So as you can see, the "missing it" for Awkward Harold here, is nothing exactly new for these folks, and is maybe exactly in their tradition to keep doing this.

      May 25, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • Steve T

      The bible is a medieval comic book that is used to justify the slaughter and oppression of millions. Religion needs to be banned.

      May 25, 2011 at 2:03 am |
  17. Scott

    "Amen" to those who say this guy is a nut and CNN even nuttier for continuing to run this nonsense! I think the band Concrete Blonde said it best in "Tomorrow, Wendy" when they sang: "I told the preacher, don't count on any Second Coming. God got his ass kicked the first time He came down here slumming. He had the balls to come, the gull to die and then forgive us. No, I don't wonder why, I wonder what He thought it would get us."

    May 25, 2011 at 12:04 am |
  18. Jean

    It's the Third Time's a Charm Finishing School. You will learn everything you need to know to handle the Rapture with grace and deportment. Not sure about proper Rapture attire? We'll tell you. Not sure if you should bow or curtsy when you meet St. Peter? We'll tell you. Not sure how to address God? We'll tell you. Let us help you to make your Special Rapture Day a memorable one. Seats are limiited. Call now.

    May 25, 2011 at 12:04 am |
  19. Ex-Listener

    This guy is a false teacher. If the Bible says that no man knows the day or the hour except the Father, who does camping think he is? God? This is 3rd false prediction, don't listen to him. Just because his arguements make sense that doesn't make him right. Read the Bible yourself and make your own mind up.

    May 25, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Ex-Listener

      I'm not 'quite' sure from your posting if you are a christian... or, someone who is just reiterating what the 'bible' says vs. actually believing it.

      But, either way...

      In my opinion, there really is very little -if any- difference between Mr. Camping and his followers and the christians who actually believe that there will be a 'rapture.'

      It's all a matter of 'when' for the rapture believing christians. The only difference really is that Mr. Camping picked a date... and the true bible believing christians just 'know' the bible is 'truth'... and it 'will' happen someday, "just a matter of time." And it's just a 'matter of time,' and the reason we don't know, is...? because..."Only God knows, etc..."

      Again, Mr. Camping and his followers and the christians who still believe this will happen..."at some point," are basically two sides to the same coin in reality, in my opinion.

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      May 25, 2011 at 12:41 am |
  20. joseph

    its too bad he was off base on this one issue. he tells so much truth otherwise. I really like the way he lays into the jews .a real chistian would never support those little pip sqeaks in israel

    May 25, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Peace2All

      @joseph

      Hmmm... I'm not up so much on my bible these days, but... isn't there something in the book of revelations about something has to happen in Israel at some point before all the rest of the revelations unfold...?

      There was a huge article centered around the issue for the GOP candidates for the 2012 election, in that if they hadn't made a literal physical trip to Israel as a photo opp., they would most likely never get the 'christian rights' voter base.

      Also, watched and read articles on the 'love' 'real christians have for Israel... not about Jesus but, about again... the role that Israel plays in the EODS (end of days).

      Calling any and all Chrisitans/Bible believers with knowledge... help me out here...!!!

      Oh... and by the way,- Joseph your comment in general...where you said "Those little pip squeaks in Israel." WOW...W T F..?!?!?!? I'm at a loss for words. Doesn't happen to me very often.

      Peace...

      May 25, 2011 at 12:56 am |
    • Joe R.

      @Peace2All

      Yes, in the end times acording to the books of Ezekial, Daniel, and Revelation, Israel plays not only an important role, but the CENTRAL role. The first major step was the formation of the nation of Israel back in 1948. In Ezekial, it says that the people of Israel would be scattered amonst the nations, but that they would one day be brought back to the land of Israel. Eze 34:12-13–12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.

      That is what happened when the state of Israel formed. Technically, nothing else has to happen before the rapture takes place. But there are other signs that deal with Israel before the end of days. Another prophecy concerning Israel is that sometime near the end of days, that all the nations of the world will turn their back on Israel in her darkest hour. There will be an alliance of nations that comes against Israel seeking to destroy her. It is believed that this aliance will be made up of Russia, Iran, Syria, and a few other countries. Iran already speaks openly about seeking for the destruction of Israel. Russian and Iranian scientific, economic, and military ties have been increasing in recent years as well. But at some point, these nations will converge on Israel to destroy her. When all hope seems lost as nobody comes to Israel's aid, God intervenes, destroying the enemies of Israel that sought to destroy her.

      Also at some point, a world leader will rise, coming on the scene offering peace, to the world in general, and to Israel specifically. This person will broker a peace treaty between Israel and the world for 7 years. This is what the book of Revelation says will mark the beginning of the 7 year tribulation period.

      That is, in a very general nutshell, the basics. I know more of Revelation and the Bible if you would like to know more. Simply ask. I promise not to "pass harsh jugdement" but will simply try to say what the Bible says, and offer what I best know that to mean.

      May 25, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Joe R

      Thanks for refreshing my memory. I really hope that -joseph above will read this, as I believe his posting to be off, not only in terms to what the Bible 'says' but also... just plain rude.

      Peace...

      May 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.