“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. “ — Matthew 24:11
Family Radio founder and radio show host Harold Camping, has apologized for his false prophecies on the May 21st Doomsday and stepped down from his positions at the radio station. In May of this year we covered extensively the false Doomsday Prediction of Camping, who stated that the Biblical end times Great Tribulation would begin on May 21, 2011. Camping stirred up an international media frenzy as he predicted worldwide earthquakes, disasters and suffering. In our article we went into the reasoning and faulty use of Bible scripture that led him to his ‘prediction.’ We also detailed the history behind the “Doomsday Prediction” movement that started with a man named William Miller in the 1840s and how Camping was just a continuation of the same incorrect ideas today.
When May 21st came and went, Camping revised his prediction to say that Jesus did come, but did so invisibly, in spirit form only, and that all judgment and wrath would be put on hold until October 21, 2011. This is precisely history repeating itself as some of Williams Miller’s followers stated the exact same thing when the original Doomsday of 1844 came and went. In fact, Ellen G. White, a disciple of false prophet William Miller, went on to start the Seventh Day Adventist Church based on the exact same reasoning that Camping used to his explain away his error about May 21st. (For more information on the history behind the Doomsday Movement, and how it led to the birth of the Seventh Day Adventist and Jehovah’s Witnesses, see here).
But thank The Lord, Camping has finally repented. A statement on the Family Radio website stated:
We’re living in a day when one problem follows another. And when it comes to trying to recognize the truth of prophecy, we’re finding that it is very very difficult. Why didn’t Christ return on Oct. 21? It seems embarrassing for Family Radio. But God was in charge of everything. We came to that conclusion after quite careful study of the Bible. He allowed everything to happen the way it did without correction. He could have stopped everything if He had wanted to.
I am very encouraged by letters that I have received and [am] receiving at this time concerning this matter. Amongst other things I have been checking my notes more carefully than ever. And I do find that there is other language in the Bible that we still have to look at very carefully and will impinge upon this question very definitely. And we should be very patient about this matter. At least in a minimal way we are learning to walk more and more humble before God.
As is often the case, when a figure in the church embarks on some type of heresy or strange unbiblical effort, the media will give it major coverage. There were thousands of news stories about the many Camping followers who sold their possessions, quit their jobs and spent their “last days” trying to warn the world about “the end.” There was great damage and harm done around the world by this false prediction to the great number of people who listened to Camping’s broadcasts on a weekly basis. It also made a mockery of the Christian faith and end time prophecy, as many non-believers and skeptics used Camping as at tool to bash God, Jesus Christ, the rapture (which is a Biblical event) and various aspects of Christianity. This again stresses the importance of studying the Bible yourself and finding a good Bible-believing church. Camping often stressed in his broadcasts that every church in the world was corrupt and that no one should attend. The Doomsday Date was just one of many dangerous, unbiblical teachings he shared with his listeners, many who viewed Camping as a Bible expert.
Now that he has repented and retired from Family Radio, we should not revel in this man’s demise. Camping suffered a stroke shortly after May 21st and his speech was slurred in his broadcast apology. God will judge Camping for his misdeeds and sins. Lord willing, he will understand true Biblical repentance and abandon the doomsday predicting business altogether. As Christians, we should remember that we too have a multitude of sins on “our record” that God has forgiven us for through Jesus Christ. So just the same we should forgive Camping and pray that he finds true Biblical salvation and starts to understand God’s Word, instead of just giving people his own.