Members of churches near Oakland, Calif. based Family Radio, are pouring out in droves, offering comfort and spiritual support to the dejected followers of false Doomsday prophet Harold Camping, who has predicted that the World will end on May 21, 2011.
Family Radio President Camping, relying on Bible verses from Genesis 7:4 (Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth) and 2 Peter 3:8 (“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”), has come up with May 21, 2011 as the day when 200 million people will Rapture and the rest left behind will perish in a series of natural disasters, including violent earthquakes which would make Japan’s recent earthquake “look like a Sunday school picnic in comparison.” The world will be completely destroyed on October 21, 2011.
However, when no earthquake of magnitude greater than the one that struck Japan (9.0) took place on May 21, 2011, it soon became clear that Camping’s prediction was false and his followers became devastated.
Many of Camping’s followers, believing his Doomsday predictions to be true, had sold their possessions and quit their jobs before the May 21 date.
For instance, Adrienne Martinez and her husband have reportedly quit their jobs and planned to spend their “last” days in Orland. She said, “We budgeted everything so that, on May 21, we won’t have anything left,” said Adrienne.”
But with days still continuing after the appointed time, what would happen to the deceived followers who might have lost everything by now?
Some Christian leaders, such as author of “Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse” and “O Me of Little Faith” Jason Boyett, have expressed their concerns about the followers’ plight devastation.
“Camping's faith will survive the impending disappointment, as will his ministry and radio empire. He'll make excuses and set another date. I don't worry about him; I worry about his followers and their families,” wrote Boyett on The Washington Post On Faith page.
He added, “It is easy for us to sit here and to poke fun at Harold Camping...he'll get past it… But what we got to remember is that he has a whole lot of people whose lives and faith will be devastated… As a result, many of them will have lost money; many of them who quit their jobs will be in a tough spot.”
Other Christian leaders and church members have extended their support and help for those who were affected by the false Doomsday prediction.
Pastor Jacob Denys, head of the neighboring Calvary Bible Church of Milpitas, Calif., was among the first to extend his hand of support and offer counseling to Camping’s followers.
Denys, who led a group of his church members to Family Radio headquarter in Oakland, Calif., on May 21, 2011 around 4 p.m., told IBTimes it was their duty “to reach out to those people who might have bought the lie.”
“We are here to counter the message of Harold Camping and his End of the Day prediction – the Rapture prediction – that is supposed to be today. And of course we are standing here in a beautiful day, knowing that God still has given us a day to enjoy.
“But we are here to reach out to those people who might have bought the lie and who might have hurt themselves financially. What we are hoping is that we would be able to invite people who might have been affected to our church in Milpitas and hold a special service (at 10 a.m. on May 22) that would embrace them and reach out to them.
“We are not here to condemn anyone. We are just here to talk to (them), to let (them) know that false teaching and deception have always been in the church, and even it says it rises within the church. And so we want to help those people who are going to wake up tomorrow, realizing this was a bad dream for them.
“In a nutshell they are deceived, because he (Camping) has a very unorthodox way of interpreting the Bible. It’s sad to see that many people repeat this mistake over and over and over again. Here we are again, and we are here to just let people know that we are not supposed to do this as the church, but wait for the Lord. ‘Watch and wait,’ is what he says, and be ready anytime,” Denys said.
James Bynum, a deacon of the church, also shared his concerns with IBTimes about the mental anguish Camping’s followers must be experiencing now.
“He was a false prophet and his lies have deceived so many people. People have been hurt by this. That’s what we are, Calvary Bible Church. We are here, offering help to people who realized now that what they heard from this man is wrong. People who may have given away everything that they had, believing that he was telling the truth. We are here to tell them that we are going to offer counseling help.
“You know, basically Harold Camping has taught that the church – we are a small church, and churches like ours, he says, are of the devil, that the Holy Spirit left the church and all is left now is a shell. Even though this is what they’ve been believing and they’ve been teaching, we love them and we care about them. We don’t want them to be hurt. Today is a hard day for them,” said Bynum.
Watch Calvary Bible Church Pastor Jacob Denys and deacon James Bynum express their concerns toward Camping’s followers: