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Does the Judgment Day of God begin this Saturday, May 21, with Jesus Christ returning to Earth to “rapture” his true believers away to heaven?
A vehicle proclaiming Judgment Day to be May 21, 2011, drives through New Orleans, La.
A Christian broadcaster says “the Bible guarantees it,” but so far he’s given no indication he’s getting rid of his earthly possessions including his radio network, as other Christians label him a false prophet with a dangerous teaching.
Harold Camping, 89, of Oakland, Calif.-based Family Radio is standing firm in his claim that mankind has run out of time and the Creator of the universe is arriving this Saturday, with earthquakes around the globe heralding the event.
In fact, when asked how he was feeling in this so-called final week, Camping admitted he’s already got a case of the shakes.
“I am trembling. I have never been at this place before,” Camping told CNN. “When we are only a few days away from the last thing that has to happen – the whole world destroyed by God – I have never been here before. Where can you get direction so you know how to feel?”
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Camping’s interpretation of Scripture has led many people to alter their lifestyles dramatically in order to take their message of the end of days to the streets, literally. A publicity tour called “Project Caravan” has been touring cities across America in recent months urging people to repent and prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus.
Among those who agree with Camping is Guy Von Harringa, a former atheist at the University of California, San Diego, who has joined Family Radio’s outreach team. He says there is no back-up plan to go on with life as usual May 22nd, the day after the big event.
“What if Noah made a back-up plan when he was building the ark?” Von Harringa asks in a video posted on YouTube. “What if he didn’t spend all of his money and resources on building that ark? What if he spent a little bit of his money on building an extra house just in case it doesn’t happen?”
But there are many Christians who have serious doubts about the May 21 prediction, and some have offered to purchase all of Camping’s property.
A letter to Camping from Sol David Cuddeback of Eugene, Ore., offered to take possession of everything Camping owns for a total of $1 on May 22:
Sol David Cuddeback
“According to your ‘prophecy,’ you and all the other believers will have departed the Earth the day before, so you will have no need for your possessions any longer,” Cuddeback wrote.
“I am dead serious. I want your home(s), car(s), cash, investments, other real estate, contracts, accounts payable, securities, any position of leadership that you occupy, and any interest in any form of business (sole proprietor, non-profit, corporation). If you refuse, then I must take that to mean that you don’t really believe your own words to be true, which would make you a false prophet.”
Cuddeback says he hasn’t heard any reply back from Camping.
“Mostly, I am intensely angry with him because his stupid, self-serving heresy may cause some who are weak or new in the faith to become disillusioned and fall away, after his ‘prophecy’ fails to come to pass,” he told WND. “It is written that Jesus, when speaking of ‘religious teachers,’ said that it would be better if that teacher had a millstone tied around his neck and tossed into the sea if the teacher caused a ‘little one’ in the faith to stumble because of false teaching. Serious business, taking the position of ‘speaking for God.'”
A more substantive offer of $1 million for Camping’s network of dozens of radio stations was made by Christians who run abibleanswer.org.
“We made the offer in hopes of turning some from mortgaging their houses and quitting their jobs,” spokesman Richard Myers told WND. “Many have supported this man and his false prophecies at great expense. No doubt some will kill themselves when Jesus does not rapture them on May 21.”
Myers’ group points out on its website:
“Jesus is coming soon, but He is not coming on May 21. There are prophecies that have not been fulfilled. They are in the process of fulfillment, but will not be done by May 21. And, no man knoweth the day nor the hour when Jesus will return. The Bible is very clear in this matter and Harold Camping is acting contrary to Bible truth. This is not the first time he has made a false prophecy concerning the time of Jesus’ return. In 1994 he did the same and was proved to be a false prophet. … If Harold Camping does not sell Family Radio, why should you sell your home? If Harold Camping wants to retain his possessions, then you ought to do the same.”
Camping has not responded to WND’s requests for comment.
The idea of people changing their financial situation in advance of Jesus’ return was even discussed on ABC’s “The View” program, as co-host Sherri Shepherd explained how she thought the world was ending in 1975, according to a prediction by Jehovah’s Witnesses, with many people selling their homes.
Young ladies adorned in T-shirts proclaiming the return of Jesus to Earth on May 21, 2011.(courtesy Family Radio)
Shepherd said: “It’s not a good thing because I didn’t pay a lot of my bills and I got into a lot of debt because I thought – I would write a check and I’d go, ‘Well, the world’s going to end. I don’t need money in the bank.’ And you know what? The world never ended and I had to pay these creditors off. It took a long time.”
Her fellow hosts on the show turned the issue into a joking matter, with Joy Behar saying, “So maybe the rumor’s put out by real-estate agents. You ever think of that?”
“You’re onto something,” responded Elisabeth Hasselbeck. “Maybe this is the new stimulus package because maybe this will actually boost our economy.”
In 2009, a caller to one of Camping’s open forums on the radio confronted the host on the financial issues, asking, “There’s quite a few people, older people and people like that, that have been taking their life savings out and sending it to your radio station. I was wondering if, on May 22nd, do they get a refund?”
“Well, the fact is, we don’t ask anybody why they are giving,” Camping answered. “We are not telling anybody what they are to give. Let each one make their own decisions on those matters.”
He continued: “May 22nd will be the second day of Judgment Day. We don’t know what’s gonna happen to Family Radio on that first day or to the banks or anybody else. We have no idea at all, but it’s gonna be horrible. It’s gonna be a horror story that we absolutely cannot conceive of. Millions of people will die on that day and every day thereafter. … It is going to happen! This is what the Bible teaches.”
When asked last week by New York Magazine if he plans to donate his money to charity before May 21, Camping echoed his theme, saying, “What’s the point? In other words, Judgment Day is the end of the world. That means that the whole world is in judgment, it will not be business as usual at all. At all. Nothing that goes on is important any longer, either if you’re a true believer and you’re caught up to be with Christ, of which there are many people that this will happen to, but on the other hand, there will be almost 7 billion people who will be in a tremendous, terrible situation undoubtedly. With those kind of earthquakes millions will die and the Bible teaches that they will not be buried, in fact there’ll be no one to bury them it’ll be so awful. It will not be business as usual at all. This world will be in chaos. It will be in awful suffering.”
While most Christians do expect Jesus to return to Earth at some point, the idea of “the Rapture” – that is to say Jesus whisking away the faithful to heaven to avoid their experiencing any end-time tribulation – is certainly not accepted by all believers.
Not only is the word “rapture” not found in the Bible, some Christian teachers reject the notion outright.
But there are those who standy by it, including Chuck Missler.
“Clearly, the idea of the Rapture can be considered the most preposterous belief in biblical Christianity,” says an advertisement for a Missler DVD on the subject.
Regarding the setting of dates for the return of Jesus, Missler wrote in a 1995 article, “There seems to be a strange virus in the air that frequently converts a colorful possibility into a consuming obsession for specific dates. …
“The Bible teaches that Christ can come at any moment. (This is called the doctrine of imminence.) Any valid date setting would tend to destroy the doctrine of imminence, and would also have a deleterious effect on our Christian walk. We are to live in the expectation of His any-moment appearance for us.”
Many devout Christians adhere to belief in a rapture, and some, such as Todd Strandberg of RaptureReady.com, have chronicled dates that have been set by believers since the first century.
Just one of many false alarms was in 1988, when the book, “88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988,” came out.
“By the time the predicted dates, September 11-13, rolled around, whole churches were caught up in the excitement the book generated,” Strandberg writes. “I personally had friends who were measuring themselves for wings. In the dorm where we lived, my friends were also openly confronting all of the unsaved. It became my job to defuse situations. … Finally, the days of destiny dawned and then set. No Jesus.”
Last June, WND asked Hal Lindsey,
author of the best-selling book “The Late Great Planet Earth,” if he
thought we’re now in the “end time” spoken of in the Bible before the
return of Jesus to Earth.
“I think the prophecies are written
that they encourage us to look for Christ’s return,” he said. “It’s
written so that it’s imminent, that it could come at any time.”
is not an ordinary time,” Lindsey continued. “I certainly thought that
He would come sooner … but the scenario and pattern about what Bible
prophecy has predicted is here. I’ve never said I know when He’s going
to come, but I believe we’re in the general time.”
For those curious as to how Camping arrives at May, 21, 2011, as the final day, he summarizes it on his website, alleging that the flood of Noah took place in the year 4990 B.C., and 2011 is precisely 7,000 years after that:
In 2 Peter 3:8 … Holy God reminds us that one day is as 1,000 years. Therefore, with the correct understanding that the seven days referred to in Genesis 7:4 can be understood as 7,000 years, we learn that when God told Noah there were seven days to escape worldwide destruction, He was also telling the world there would be exactly 7,000 years (one day is as 1,000 years) to escape the wrath of God that would come when He destroys the world on Judgment Day. Because Holy Infinite God is all-knowing, He knows the end from the beginning. He knew how sinful the world would become.
Seven thousand years after 4990 B.C. (the year of the Flood) is the year 2011 A.D. (our calendar).
4990 + 2011 – 1 = 7,000
[One year must be subtracted in going from an Old Testament B.C. calendar date to a New Testament A.D. calendar date because the calendar does not have a year zero.]
Thus Holy God is showing us by the words of 2 Peter 3:8 that He wants us to know that exactly 7,000 years after He destroyed the world with water in Noah’s day, He plans to destroy the entire world forever. Because the year 2011 A.D. is exactly 7,000 years after 4990 B.C. when the flood began, the Bible has given us absolute proof that the year 2011 is the end of the world during the Day of Judgment, which will come on the last day of the Day of Judgment.
Amazingly, May 21, 2011, is the 17th day of the 2nd month of the biblical calendar of our day. Remember, the flood waters also began on the 17th day of the 2nd month, in the year 4990 B.C.
Camping’s date of 4990 B.C. for the flood of Noah is not a time with which others have agreed. In the 17th century, theologian James Ussher who wrote “Annals of the World” placed the flood date at 2349 B.C. – that is, 2,641 years later than Camping. Ussher also believed the flood occurred in the autumn, instead of the spring as Camping has it.
New York Magazine inquired if it could speak with Camping on May 22 just in case Jesus does not return May 21, but Camping said, “I can’t even think about that question because you’re thinking that maybe, maybe Judgment Day will not happen. But it will happen, and I believe the Bible implicitly.”