Harold Camping, the self-proclaimed Doomsday prophet who predicted that on May 21, 2011 200 million people will Rapture and the rest will perish in a series of cataclysmic events, including violent earthquakes, till October 21, 2011, is being branded as a false prophet by eminent Christian leaders.
According to Camping, the End of the World will come on May 21, 2011 at 6 p.m. with 200 million righteous people vanishing into the sky. The remaining left behind will perish by October 21, 2011 in a series of natural disasters, including violent earthquakes that would make the recent Japan’s earthquake look like “a Sunday school picnic in comparison”.
The head of the California-based Family Radio is absolutely certain that his prophecy will be fulfilled. We know without any shadow of a doubt it is going to happen,” said Camping.
Camping said he has used the Bible to make his calculation to come up with May 21, 2011 date. Particularly he has relied on 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”) to come to the conclusion that May 21, 2011 is supposed to be exactly 7,000 years after the Great Flood (4990 B.C.)
According to Family Radio speaker Anthony Hernandez, God had mercy on the people of Ninevah in the Bible but God will not be so merciful on May 21, 2011. I look at this the same way that God sent Jonah to the people of Nineveh. He said, 'go to Nineveh, tell them in 40 days they are going to be destroyed. However, He [God] did not destroy that city. This is guaranteed that He's going to destroy this world, said Hernandez.
Hernandez’s friends also believe that the world is going to end and, hence, isn’t thinking twice about selling their possessions. “I believe with all my heart that this is the end so I don’t see anything wrong with that,” Hernandez said.
Adrienne Martinez, an active follower of Camping, and her husband Joel, quit their jobs and are spending their “last” days in a rented home in Orlando, according to a report by National Public Radio.
“We budgeted everything so that, on May 21, we won’t have anything left,” said Adrienne.
However, Camping’s prediction has not been welcomed in the popular Christian circles. Christian leaders have denounced Camping as a false prophet and they are saying that Camping’s false prophecy is anti-Bible.
Camping’s critics are relying on popular Biblical verses, viz. Acts 1:7 (“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority) and Matthew 24:36 (“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father”) to debunk Doomsday prediction.
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,” Christian author Jason Boyett wrote on The Washington Post’s On Faith page. Boyette has written several books, including “Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse” and “O Me of Little Faith”.
Some explicitly said that Camping is heretical. “Camping’s teaching reaches the status of heresy in his recent appeal to the world, ‘Judgment Day,’” said W. Robert Godfrey, president of Westminster Seminary California.
According to James Kreuger, author of “Secrets of the Apocalypse”, despite the five decades Camping has put into Bible studies, he has made a “classic beginner’s mistake when he sets a date for Christ’s return.”
Prominent Evangelical leaders have also joined in the bashing of Harold Camping.
Pastor Greg Laurie, a popular Christian speaker and Senior Pastor of a mega-church Harvest Fellowship in Riverside, CA said, “I’m not one of those date setters Some looney tune will come along and say he’s cracked the code. No man knows the day or the hour.”
“Christ specifically admonished his disciples not to claim such knowledge,” said Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mohler added that they “are not to draw a line in history and set a date.”
Dr. Thomas B. Slater, professor of New Testament at Mercer University, said, “Jesus has told his disciples that they should not be concerned with the end of the world but they should be worried about making the world a better place. These people are doing the exact opposite.”
Whether Camping got it right or not, we will find out soon enough – on Saturday, May 21, 2001 at 6 p.m. PST.
However, it must be stated that Camping had already erred before about an earlier Doomsday prediction. Camping had earlier predicted that the world would face the Doomsday in September 1994. At that time when nothing happened, he managed to get away by saying that he made a calculation error.
If Camping’s prediction turns out to be false once again, his false prophecy will establish him as a big fraud who managed to fool gullible people twice.