Home / History, Perspectives & Interesting Stuff / Harold Camping's Apocalyptic Predictions: May 21, 2011, Just Another Day to Add to a String of at Least 3 Failed Prophecies

Harold Camping's Apocalyptic Predictions: May 21, 2011, Just Another Day to Add to a String of at Least 3 Failed Prophecies

After telling many people that Jesus would return on September 6, 1994, Harold Camping of Family Radio continued to set rapture dates. In the following recording, he told the world to be prepared for the coming of Jesus on Christmas Day, 1994. He says it is a burden on his soul when his predictions are incorrect but that "we are to occupy until Christ comes."

He then claimed that Jesus was coming back in less than a week from April 3, 1996.

Camping is now proclaiming that Jesus is coming back on May 21, 2011 … and his followers are digging deep to finance his message.

Some have signed up for extended caravan tours, either across the United States or other countries, to spread the message, and they have been paying for billboards all over the world.

Camping is quite pleased with the caravan program, as shown in the following broadcast:

The latest billboard campaign looks similar to the American Atheists' billboard featuring the three wise men and a nativity scene, with a message that reads "You KNOW It's a Myth." Family Radio's doomsday followers who operate a website called WeCanKnow.com have paid for 50 billboards which are being displayed in Detroit, Nashville, Omaha and elsewhere. Their message is "He Is Coming Again – May 21, 2011" followed with a biblical quote.

A Merry Doomsday Christmas

The Christian Right Weighs In.

Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, laments that Camping's prophesy is an embarrassment to Christianity, adding:

"It's regrettable when Christians give to the secular world a reason for scorn and derision like this, and in doing so disobey Christ himself, who said that we will not know the day nor the hour (Matthew 25:13)."

Earlier this year, Christian Reconstructionist Gary DeMar opined that he can't believe that people take Camping's predictions seriously and questions how engineers like Camping have special insight into the bible.

About D. Beeksma

One of the growing crowd of American "nones" herself, Deborah is a prolific writer who finds religion, spirituality and the impact of belief (and non-belief) on culture inspiring, fascinating and at times, disturbing. She hosts the God Discussion show and handles the site's technical work. Her education and background is in business, ecommerce and law.
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  • majii

    I read about this on the Atlanta Journal Constitution website. I really wonder about the people who believe what Camping is predicting and who call themselves Bible believing Christians at the same time. My Bible says that only God knows the date of the end of the world, and that even Jesus doesn't know. I'd be very interested in hearing Camping and his supporters explain why they have deviated from the Scripture.

    • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

      Hi Majii,

      Thanks so much for commenting!

      I know people who actually do believe this. In fact, I was aware of it for about a year before the story became 'famous' and was sent some of their pamphlets and literature. We posted some of it here on God Discussion, and then it was picked up by various media within hours. Not sure if they saw it here or were writing the same time I was about this, but it was kind of strange.

      The believers truly believe that Camping is telling them the truth. They "live and breathe" scripture daily. They have lost all sense of rationality, but are still somehow able to hold down their jobs. I am concerned about how they are going to react on May 22 because their expectations are so high. It is a real shame … but no amount of talking will convince them that Camping could be wrong.

      Deborah

  • COinMS

    Sort of reminds me of the Great Disappointment

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Disappointment

    where William Miller had predicted Jesus' return in 1844 and when it failed, the event became known as the 'Great Disappointment'. Looks like Mr. Camping may have another 'Great Disappointment'.
    Besides, many superior students of the scriptures believe that the second advent would be quiet, unknown, invisible to human sight… not a great, cataclysmic event.

    • Fred

      Look around, the world world is falling apart! These are not just like other times.

      Churches never mention these verses that state the believers will know more than the unbeliervers like when christ will return, ask your minister what these verses mean! I am sure that he will not have an answer.

      1 Thessalonians 5:
      4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
      5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
      6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

      Daniel 12:
      8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
      9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
      10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

  • http://kerrysdomain.net kerry

    my mother knew camping back in the 40,s. i am 68 mom first heard of him in the 1930,s.. his track record for faild events go back to the late 1920,s.. i guess he got nuthing else to do and needs attention

  • Fred

    Camping began his ministry in 1960, he was not even born in 1920 are you nuts!

    Churches never mention these verses that state the believers will know more than the unbeliervers like when christ will return, ask your minister what these verses mean! I am sure that he will not have an answer.

    1 Thessalonians 5:
    4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
    5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
    6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

  • Rev Fred

    Sooner or later one of these predictions has got to be right! Look at the world today. How would you fix it?
    The world is in such a mess our only hope is God's return. You who don't want him to return, ask yourself: Who is going to help the world. The world is truly beyond any human help. No jobs, no money, no future. Governments around the world in unrest! Greed and violence and vice has already destroyed our world. Now our only salvation is the Lord's intervention.

    • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

      Thanks for commenting, Rev. The problems you just described are human caused … so why can't humans grow up, take responsibility, and fix their mess instead of waiting for a divine being to do so?

      Deborah

      • Rev Fred

        Here is something you can understand!

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4HZKDel9N0

      • http://www.goddiscussion.com admin

        That's definitely one of the more entertaining evangelical pieces I've seen, Rev. Pretty clever.

        Deborah

  • Rev Fred

    Remember Camping is not selling anything on the radio to make money. Family radio was always free to the listerners.
    What has he to gain by sticking his neck out like this???
    If the end comes, he is off and if the end does not come he is off. He is doing this because he truly believes God is using him for this message. What does he have to gain? I don;t have the kind of courage he has. Just think what he is putting out there.
    I remember the professors in Seminary telling us that the Genelogies in the Bible are only important to trace the line of the prophets. They discounted the actually life spans. Think of it, It would take an engineer to learn the significance of the numbers so God could give us a warning of the actually end.
    Whether he is right of wrong we will know it in less than 4 months.
    But, you have to ask yourself, look at the state of the world. That is more scary than judgment day. What the heck is going yo happen to us if May 21, 2011 does not happen.

  • Ivan

    I'm not an expert in the Bible as most people here, I have read it all as any good Catholic (Yes we are Christians even if many don't think so and don't tell me how wrong I am, because I believe in Jesus and my Church), but will try to be rational.

    Mr Camping predicted not once, but 10 TIMES the end of the world (According to "Test all things" and other sites I read.

    _____________________________________
    1. 1978 – Camping declares to his Alameda Church that the rapture would occur in 1978
    2. September 6, 1994 – Camping prediction # 2 – Based on 1994?
    3. September 15, 1994 – Camping prediction # 3 – Based on 1994?
    4. September 29, 1994 – Camping prediction # 4 – Based on 1994?
    5. October 2, 1994 – Camping prediction #5 – Claimed Christ was born Oct 2, in 7AD and would return exactly 2000 years later.
    6. December 25, 1994 – Camping prediction # 6 – Camping claims that Christ will return on Christmas and that the Bible supported this.
    7. March 16, 1995 (Purim) – Camping prediction # 7 – Camping claims this is “Watch # 1? of a new wave of dates.
    8. September 24, 1995 – Camping prediction # 8 – Camping claims this is “Watch # 2? – Camping claims that there is Biblical evidence of Christ returning “383 days” after September 6, 1994. Camping also claims that September 24, 1995 is 721 + 91 Ceros(A ceros is little over 18 years – 223 lunar cycles or revolutions. A ceros is the complete revolution of the sun, moon, stars and planets) – Camping claims that these revolutions can predict the end. Camping also states that if you divide the 2300 days of Daniel 8 by the number “6? you get 383. Thus, according to Camping, you can add 383 days to September 6, 1994 and come to September 24, 1995. September 24, 1995 ends the magic 383 day period.
    9. April 3, 1996 – Passover (Watch # 3)- Camping prediction # 9 – Camping claims that there is Biblical evidence of Christ returning 191 days after September 25, 1995 on the Passover.
    10. May 3, 1996 – Camping prediction # 10 – Camping claims that there is a 30 day grace period after April 3, 1996 which Christ can return.

    http://testallthings.com/2009/07/31/did-harold-camping-ever-teach-that-the-end-was-coming-in-1994/

    _____________________________________________

    Al dates confirmed in a reply by Matt Tucker who works for the FR Ministry, so…How reliable can be a man who has already missed it, created patches to his original predictions and also missed again for a total of 10 times (11 if we count May 21)?

    I believe he's sincere but also desperate, he has 90 years and wants to see the end of the days before his own end comes (As Louis XV said "After me the flood"), because he will pass to history as the senile old man with diminished faculties who predicted eleven times the world would end (Counting May 2011).

    But there's also another issue, I guess Family Radio is making a lot of money (No radio works for free, probably listeners don't pay a dime as Rev. Fred says, BUT THE ADVERTISEMENT IS NOT FREE) and getting a lot of audience, probably Mr Camping believes what he said, but I also believe that many people in the radio are making numbers, if he misses it again (I'm sure he will miss) he will talk about a 30 days grace or a ten years mistake and their audience will be keep increasing (this gets advertising and money because people will be curious to know what comes next).

    I just hope we don't see suicides and violence when April 22 comes and nothing unexpected happens.

  • Ivan

    I'm not an expert in the Bible as most people here, I have read it all as any good Catholic (Yes we are Christians even if many don't think so and don't tell me how wrong I am, because I believe in Jesus and my Church), but will try to be rational.

    Mr Camping predicted not once, but 10 TIMES the end of the world (According to "Test all things" and other sites I read.

    _____________________________________
    1. 1978 – Camping declares to his Alameda Church that the rapture would occur in 1978
    2. September 6, 1994 – Camping prediction # 2 – Based on 1994?
    3. September 15, 1994 – Camping prediction # 3 – Based on 1994?
    4. September 29, 1994 – Camping prediction # 4 – Based on 1994?
    5. October 2, 1994 – Camping prediction #5 – Claimed Christ was born Oct 2, in 7AD and would return exactly 2000 years later.
    6. December 25, 1994 – Camping prediction # 6 – Camping claims that Christ will return on Christmas and that the Bible supported this.
    7. March 16, 1995 (Purim) – Camping prediction # 7 – Camping claims this is “Watch # 1? of a new wave of dates.
    8. September 24, 1995 – Camping prediction # 8 – Camping claims this is “Watch # 2? – Camping claims that there is Biblical evidence of Christ returning “383 days” after September 6, 1994. Camping also claims that September 24, 1995 is 721 + 91 Ceros(A ceros is little over 18 years – 223 lunar cycles or revolutions. A ceros is the complete revolution of the sun, moon, stars and planets) – Camping claims that these revolutions can predict the end. Camping also states that if you divide the 2300 days of Daniel 8 by the number “6? you get 383. Thus, according to Camping, you can add 383 days to September 6, 1994 and come to September 24, 1995. September 24, 1995 ends the magic 383 day period.
    9. April 3, 1996 – Passover (Watch # 3)- Camping prediction # 9 – Camping claims that there is Biblical evidence of Christ returning 191 days after September 25, 1995 on the Passover.
    10. May 3, 1996 – Camping prediction # 10 – Camping claims that there is a 30 day grace period after April 3, 1996 which Christ can return.

    http://testallthings.com/2009/07/31/did-harold-camping-ever-teach-that-the-end-was-coming-in-1994/

    _____________________________________________

    Al dates confirmed in a reply by Matt Tucker who works for the FR Ministry, so…How reliable can be a man who has already missed it, created patches to his original predictions and also missed again for a total of 10 times (11 if we count May 21)?

    I believe he's sincere but also desperate, he has 90 years and wants to see the end of the days before his own end comes (As Louis XV said "After me the flood"), because he will pass to history as the senile old man with diminished faculties who predicted eleven times the world would end (Counting May 2011).

    But there's also another issue, I guess Family Radio is making a lot of money (No radio works for free, probably audience don't pay a dime as as Rev. Fred says, BUT THE ADVERTISEMENT IS NOT FREE) and getting a lot of audience, probably Mr Camping believes what he said, but I also believe that many people in the radio are making numbers, if he misses it again (I'm sure he will miss) he will talk about a 30 days grace or a ten years mistake and their audience will be keep increasing (this gets advertising and money because people will be curious to know what comes next).

    I just hope we don't see suicides and violence when April 22 comes and nothing unexpected happens.

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      No, I won't tell you that Catholics aren't Xian. You'll get no argument from because they are and you are also right about the failed predictions too.

  • Ivan

    Thank you for your educate reply Mriana, but this post was meant to be in a Fundamentalist site that attacks Camping only based in literal interpretation of a symbolic book as the Bible, a site that hates Catholics, Mormons and even Denominational Protestants.

    Even when I'm a religious person, I try to use logic. If God gave us brains, we must use them.

  • Sandra

    I have been listening to Harold Camping for almost a year now…and I must say weather or not its true of his judgement day being May 21,2011 I have found myself to understand more about GOD and to have more faith in the LORD. Why is it so hard for people to just have some faith…is it that hard….look at Noah, no one believed in him….I give all my heart and soul and faith to God and what will be will be….so do I believe that May 21, 2011 is our Judgement Day…YES! and if I'm laughed at if its not thats ok with me it doesn't change my faith in the LORD! MAY GOD BLESS All Of US!!!!!

  • Ron

    Are you listening to Family radio? I wrote an article about their prediction. I posted in online:
    https://sites.google.com/site/familyradiowarning/

    This article is available in printed form if you want to give it to anyone. If you have any questions, contact me via the website.

  • junapos

    As a Christian, I believe that we must share the Salvation in Christ and not the Apoclaypse.

  • http://theoyap.multiply.com Anonymous Guy

    Another interesting thing to note though would be this. I don't think we can even pinpoint EXACTLY the day of the Rapture because of the International Dateline. For example, it could be May 21 in my country (Philippines), but it's May 20 in North America. It's just a theory of mine. This is more of a "real world" or "practical" proof other than those provided from the Bible.

    We also learned from religion classes in school, not everything in the Bible should be taken literally, such as Adam and Eve, who are said to be simply figures to illustrate the world's fall into sin. The creation story wasn't a theory for the creation of the world. It was a story to keep the faith of the Jews alive in times of clashing beliefs with the Babylonians (I'm also taught that Evolution or the Big Bang Theory are proofs of God because in the creation story, God is a Force that puts order into chaos, and evolution is an organized system that puts order into the natural world).

    People have also used the verse (I don't remember which one), something that goes like: "We're not children of the darkness, but children of the light so we are (either) prepared/know the time of the Master's coming," as proof that we can know, but this line can also be interpreted as: "We may not know, but we'll be prepared," so it's just as simple as be prepared for the Lord's coming whenever it may be.

    (Note: I kind of believe in Nostradamus' predictions. They say more than half of his predictions came true, and they extend all the way to the year 3900+ not because the world ends there, but because he died before writing his last prediction.)

  • Robert

    How can Camping have the correct date when the majority of what is written in Revelations and the book of Daniel has not yet occurred? What about the two witnesses who prophecy for 1260 days (or however long) then die in Jerusalem? How about the one-world currency? Mark of the beast on everyone so they can't purchase anything unless they have it?
    For the person who said 'symbolic' Bible, what the heck are you on? You cannot pick and choose what you believe from the Bible as it would denounce half of the rest. If you did that then it is worthless. This is what Camping appears to be doing: focusing on two small sections and forgetting the rest.

  • Denine

    However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son Himself. Only the Father KNOWS! Matthew 24:36

    We should no longer be immature like children. We wont be tossed and blown about bu every wind of new teaching. We should not be influenced when people try ti trick us with lies so clever that they sound like the truth.
    Ephesians 4:14

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