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Predicting the Rapture
If you are reading this article, chances are you survived the Rapture this May 21st, 2011. Set around six P.M., you might have been slightly disappointed if the world really didn’t end. The botched prediction of Harold Camping may have had you disappointed that you weren’t whisked into the sky. Either a little chuckle or a grim face could have been your response to 6:01 P.M. Yet, there might have been a lot you didn’t know about the supposed end of the world, uncovered here.
Let’s get the biggest misconception out of the way. The world was not going to end (Rapture ? Doomsday) at six P.M. The Rapture, in a strict sense, means the lifting of all good hearted Christians into the sky. Doomsday, as we normally think of it, could be a giant meteor crashing into the Earth or the planet blowing up. For those of you that just want to know, Armageddon is also not the same thing as Doomsday. Armageddon is the great battle of good and evil between Jesus and the Anti-Christ. So Rapture, Doomsday, and Armageddon are not synonymous. That alone should make you feel a little better, considering the world isn’t ending anytime in the next couple of days.
Now look at the creator of this failed attempt at identifying the rapture. His name is Harold Camping, a fairly famous Christian radio host. Not only that, he is also: civil engineer, author, and creator of Family Radio, a Christian radio station. Why did he, of all people, decide to take up biblical prophecies? His new end time’s prediction came after his failed hunch in September of 1994, leaving many disappointed. But he didn’t give up, and his new prediction of May 2011 came into the spotlight. Let’s look at the math behind his predictions.
Harold Camping has reached these predictions by using numerology found in the Bible. The number five equals atonement; the number ten equals completeness; and the number seventeen equals heaven. The number of days between April 1, 33 AD and May 21, 2011 AD is 722,500: Christ is said to have hung on the cross on April 1, 33 AD. The time between April 1, 33 AD and April 1, 2011 is 1,978 years. If 1,978 is multiplied by 365.2422 the result is around 722,449. The time between April 1 and May 21 is 51 days. 51 added to 722,449 rounds out to 722,500. (5 × 10 × 17)2 or (atonement × completeness × heaven)2 also equals 722,500. Camping said that (5 × 10 × 17)2 is telling us a story from the time Christ made payment for our sins until we're completely saved.
He predicted that starting in Kiribati, on the small Christmas Island, earthquakes would begin to occur at six P.M. As the sun made its daily rotation, more areas would begin witnessing earthquakes at six. As these earthquakes killed off the unfaithful, the faithful would be taken into the sky. Yet when six P.M. struck in New Zealand, a few hours from Kiribati, there was nothing. More people realized that earthquakes didn’t occur, and no one was being lifted off. In many places, to make a mockery of the supposed Rapture, atheists let go of helium filled human shaped balloons. The day went on without any significant earthquakes.
Numerous believers thought that in the event that the rapture did occur, they wouldn’t need their worldly possessions. A man in New York City used his retirement money, close to $150,000, to help advertise for the Rapture. Many sold their homes, spent their children’s college funds, took cross country tours, and when the rapture didn’t happen they lost it all. Just recently, an elderly woman gave $300,000 to Family Radio right before she died. Her family members, who would have received the money as inheritance, were not too thrilled. Family Radio has no plans on reimbursing the families for the money they lost.
Yet, May 21 was still fairly memorable. Thor had made its weekend debut, and there were thunderstorms at around six P.M. Some of you may have been huddling with family waiting for the rapture to occur. Although close to 2750 miles from New York City, a natural disaster sure did make people believe the world could be ending, or that air traffic would be temporarily suspended. Grimsvotn volcano has caused the greatest Icelandic eruption within the past 50 years, accompanied by a seven mile ash plume in the sky. From May 23 to the 25, close to 900 flights were canceled. This certainly could have been a rapture-like event. So maybe Harold Camping wasn’t completely wrong.
What happened to Mr. Camping? The days following, no one had heard of him. He came out of his house two days later, and gave an interview. Surprisingly, he didn’t say he was wrong. Moreover, he says that the Rapture did occur. You heard it, he was completely right. He says it was a spiritual reawakening, and that the physical rapture will occur on October 21 of this year. Those of you who though it was the end of the world, the date is now October 21. You can see his interview below, courtesy of The Huffington Post. Earthquakes and volcanoes, the blowing up of the planet is set to occur four months from now.
Maybe the Mayan prediction of December 21st 2012 lacked the Biblical prophecies enciphered by Harold Camping. Like the number of licks to get to the center of a tootsie pop, “the world may never know.”
Harold Camping Interview
Family Radio ads and pre-recorded preaching by Camping is playing.
"Every delay means that more will be brought to salvation," says Camping in one recording, apparently a new one. Old recordings and music had been playing throughout the weekend before today. "Let's hope he comes," he says, referring to Jesus Christ.
"God bless you,"
Have You Hurt the Credibility of Religion? And Why Keep Predicting 'The End'?
Absolutely not, says Camping.
"God says again and again he resists the proud and gives grace to the humble," says Camping, who adds "I am nothing, I am nothing."
He tells the audience to "walk humbly before God" and "give all the credit to God."
A reporter asks him "then why keep predicting the end?"
He thanks the crowd for not asking anything "embarrassing."
What About People Who Depleted Life Savings to Promote Your Message?
Camping declines to offer help.
He says the country experienced a recession. "Lots of people lost their homes" and jobs. But he says "they survived."
"People cope. People cope," says Camping.
He says job, housing and investment losses during the recent economic decline are far worse than what "the average Family Radio listener" has experienced.
What Will Become of the "Jews, Hippies and Christians of the World" During 'The End,' Asks a Reporter.
Camping says "if God has saved them, they will be caught up" to heaven, even "if they are Hinduists." Camping doesn't believe one has to be a Christian to be saved. "They don't have to know about the Bible, they don't have to know about all the things we learn in the scriptures."
Camping is speaking out against various Christian denominations again, which he believes are corrupted. Mormons are one group that he mentions. He says "what the churches call their Christian religion isn't necessarily from the Bible. Maybe they started, but theologians have twisted it."
"Not one of us has ever gained a chunk of money out of Family Radio. Every nickle has been spent as fairly as possible, as efficiently as possible," says Camping.
He says people are concerned about "greed, greed, greed," but greedy people have been rooted out of his company.
Will You Give Donations Back?
"How much money has Family Radio raised as a result of this campaign and do you intend to return it?" asks a reporter.
"I do not know," says Camping.
Camping says listeners have given because of "their desire to propagate the gospel" and have given to Family Radio "because we can do this more efficiently."
Will You give it back?
"No, that money is still going out...We are not out of business, we've learned that we still have to go another five months," he says.
Earlier, Camping said all billboards and new advertising would stop. It's unclear what donations will be spent on, as Camping has said the donations don't go directly toward the station's operations.
"We are spending it as wisely as possible. Maybe by Oct. 21, we will only have $10 left," he says.
"I thank God for the media," Camping says after being asked about all the attention he has gotten. Camping says he is happy that the media has spread his message.
"If people want me to apologize, I will apologize...I did not have all that worked out as accurately as I should have had it. That doesn't bother me at all."
Reporter asks Camping: Will You Apologize for Being Wrong?
"I have never said I'm infallible," says Camping. He says God is never wrong, pointing to "the signs he has given such as gay pride that we are on the threshold of judgment or a fantastic increase in wickedness."
"There isn't any student of the Bible who can't say 'You know, I have made a mistake.'
Reporter, speaking of a May 21 follower: "How do you feel about this woman who tried to take her life and her own daughters' life?"
Camping: "She attempted to? Oh my that makes me feel better because death is terrible. It's contrary to all that the Bible teaches."
Reporter: "Do you take any responsibility for that?"
Camping says he does "not take responsibility. I don't have spiritual rule of anybody, except my wife," he chuckles. "Because as head of the household I have spiritual rule over my wife."
Are you saying that "we as humans are not capable of understanding the Bible?"
"You are correct," says Camping. He starts telling a story from the Bible about Saul.
Reporter Asks Camping About Previous Statements that May 21 Would Not be a "Spritual Judgment." What Happened?
"We don't always hit the nail on the head the first time," Camping says. He seems to be repeating the same points over again. He believes Judgment Day happened May 21 and was "spiritual," not physical.
"This Business is God's Business. He's the C.E.O. and I've Tried to Be As Faithful as Possible."
He says reports that Family Radio has lots of money are inaccurate and says the company uses much of the money to "spread the gospel."
He says he is a "full-time volunteer" and that the station is not trying to make money.
How much has Family Radio spent to publicize May 21?
A reporter asks the question and Camping says "I don't know." He says he has "not kept track of that."
"If we found that we make a mistake, immediately we will correct that, of course," says Camping, but he says he was not incorrect in his math, just his interpretation about how May 21 would play out. He calls the day "an invisible Judgment."
Camping says again that Judgment Day Came, "It Was Just Spiritual."
"The timing, the structures, the proofs, none of that has changed at all," says Camping.
He is sticking to the numerology he used to determine the May 21 and Oct. 21 dates.
"All I am is a humble teacher. I search the Bible. I search the Bible," he says.
Will Camping Give Donors Money Back or Help Them Out?
"It is true that a few people have" quit jobs or depleted life savings to donate to Family Radio or spread his Judgment Day message, Camping says, but he says he never told people to do that.
"There are people who for example that have given up their jobs...to work for Family Radio, given their time, and they do because they love the Lord."
A reporter at the Family Radio station: "On Oct. 21, will you give away all your worldly possessions?"
Camping: "I still have to live in my house...I still have to pay my bills...I still have to live until the end. The end is five months away."
Reporter: "How about on the day before, the 20th?"
Camping: "What would be the value of that?...If it's Judgment Day, it's the end of the world."
Camping is talking about Greek and Hebrew Bibles, referring to an unnamed 35-volume set that he refers to, to analyze the Bible and do his Biblical numerology. He says certain Greek and Hebrew words can have many meanings each. He's referring to his belief that most modern Bible translations have been corrupted.
Camping's "Task Is Done."
"Our task is done," says Camping. "The whole business of Judgment Day and all the terrible things we have been saying in the past will all be gone." Family Radio will return to gospel music and Bible readings as programming, he says.
"May 21 Was A Spiritual Coming, Where We Had Thought It Was a Spiritual Coming."
"It won't be a five-month terrible difficulty...that we have learned," said Camping. Instead, he says, the world will end quickly on Oct. 21 without any build up.
"The World Has Been Warned. My Has It Been Warned!" says Camping
Camping says there will be no more billboards or street preaching, but the world is still ending Oct. 21.
"On May 21 this last weekend...God again brought Judgment on the world...We didn't feel any difference," he says, "but we know that God brought Judgment" on the world. "The whole world is under Judgment."
"There was judgment" in 1994, Camping Says
Without apology or elaboration to his followers about last week's incorrect prediction, Camping continues going over dates he deems important in church history. The next year he points out is 1994, which is the year he had previously predicted would bring the world's end.
"It is true, there was judgment in a terrible way and there was salvation in a wonderful way. The salvation came because in the previous 2,300 days...virtually no one could be saved in the entire world. We didn't even know how bad it was. Family Radio was broadcasting in those days and we had no idea what was really going," he says.
Camping clarifies that this "judgment" in 1994 was "spiritual, not physical," and says Jesus Christ did not arrive on Earth.
Camping Says "End of the World Began on May 21, 1988"
"Now this last few days has been a learning program believe you me. Actually there are four days that are very crucial at this point in time. We have talked about all four of these days in the past and we are not making any changes in these four days except for in the emphasis...The first part the end of the world began on May 21, 1988," he says.
There is "no eternal hell" and that churches are corrupted. These are beliefs that led many of his followers to leave mainstream Christianity.
"Every congregation had a plan where they would show people how to become saved. You have to accept Christ, you have to do this, you have to do that. You know, if you join our church and follow all that we are doing, you can know you are a saved person and when you die, you are going to go to heaven. It really was a terrific club the churches could use to bring people into their congregation," says Camping.
Camping quotes a listener who had written him a letter at an unspecified time. The listener wrote he believes that "the great earthquake and the universe melting in fervent heat will all happen on the last day, Oct. 21, 2011."
The preacher says that Family Radio will investigate that prediction, but admits "we have been saying it was going to happen on May 21" and that "the great earthquake didn't happen on May 21 because no one would be able to survive it for a few days or let alone five months to suffer God's wrath."