What is it with Colorado? The thin air? The altitude? For whatever reason, we have more than our share of out-of-this-world kooks. Monte Kim Miller, for example, a former market exec for Proctor & Gamble who started the Concerned Christians cult and, after his prediction that an earthquake would level Denver in 1998 failed to come true, took his crew of kooks to Israel, where they planned to get into a firefight with Israeli police, and trigger the Second Coming. That didn't happen, either.
And then there was Harold Camping, a Boulder native who created a worldwide ministry based in California and then started predicting the end of the world. Back in 1992, when he was a sprightly seventy, Camping concluded that the world was almost certain to end on September 6, 1994, and even wrote a book about it, 1994?, followed by another book, Are You Ready? Much More Evidence that 1994 Could be the End of the World.It wasn't, of course.
Camping tried again almost a decade later, predicting the world would end on May 21, 2011, and spending a million dollars to push that prediction on billboards. When the Rapture again failed to arrive, Camping proclaimed himself "flabbergasted" and offered a backup date: October 21, 2011.
But once again, the world failed to disappear, and a few months later Camping offered this mea culpa on his website:
In this time of confusion and turmoil, God's Word remains the only truth in which we can trust. God has shown us again the truth that He alone is true. In Romans 3:4 God declares: 'Let God be true but every man a liar.' Events within the last year have proven that no man can be fully trusted. Even the most sincere and zealous of us can be mistaken.
The May 21 campaign was an astounding event if you think about its impact upon this world. There is no question that millions, if not billions of people heard for the first time the Bible's warning that Jesus Christ will return. Huge portions of this world that had never read or seen a Bible heard the message that Christ Jesus is coming to rapture His people and destroy this natural world. Yes, we humbly acknowledge we were wrong about the timing; yet though we were wrong God is still using the May 21 warning in a very mighty way. In the months following May 21 the Bible has, in some ways, come out from under the shadows and is now being discussed by all kinds of people who never before paid any attention to the Bible.
We learn about this, for example, by the recent National Geographic articles concerning the King James Bible and the Apostles. Reading about and even discussing about the Bible can never be a bad thing, even if the Bible's authenticity is questioned or ridiculed. The world's attention has been called to the Bible.
We must also openly acknowledge that we have no new evidence pointing to another date for the end of the world. Though many dates are circulating, Family Radio has no interest in even considering another date. God has humbled us through the events of May 21, to continue to even more fervently search the Scriptures (the Bible), not to find dates, but to be more faithful in our understanding.
We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God's hands and He will end time in His time, not ours! We humbly recognize that God may not tell His people the date when Christ will return, any more than He tells anyone the date they will die physically.
We realize that many people are hoping they will know the date of Christ's return. In fact for a time Family Radio fell into that kind of thinking. But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible's statement that "of that day and hour knoweth no man" (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32) were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. Whether God will ever give us any indication of the date of His return is hidden in God's divine plan.
We were even so bold as to insist that the Bible guaranteed that Christ would return on May 21 and that the true believers would be raptured. Yet this incorrect and sinful statement allowed God to get the attention of a great many people who otherwise would not have paid attention. Even as God used sinful Balaam to accomplish His purposes, so He used our sin to accomplish His purpose of making the whole world acquainted with the Bible. However, even so, that does not excuse us. We tremble before God as we humbly ask Him for forgiveness for making that sinful statement. We are so thankful that God is so loving that He will forgive even this sin." So we must be satisfied to humbly wait upon God, and trust He will guide His people to safety. At Family Radio, we continue to look to God for guidance. If it is His good pleasure for us to continue on with our original mission, the proclamation of the Gospel, God's Word, then we must continue to look to Him.
We consider you to be a real part of this ministry and the tremendous opportunities which God, by His unfathomable mercy and grace, continues to give to us. And, your steadfast involvement and support is so appreciated!
May God bless you,
Harold Camping and the staff of Family Radio
After that, Camping got out of the prediction business. He passed away last December, at the age of 93, but the empire he created lives on at familyradio.com.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Send tips to email@example.com.