The Harold Camping Countdown: 6 Days Till Doomsday – What Happened on May 21st?

What really happened this past May 21st?” thrice-shamed “prophet” Harold Camping asked his followers a few days ago.

Was it finally time to admit that he was wrong to date-set the Return of Christ in the first place? No, Camping has much too much hubris to admit the obvious.   

Instead, he assures his followers:

“God accomplished exactly what He wanted to happen. That was to warn the whole world that on May 21 God’s salvation program would be finished on that day. For the next five months, except for the elect (the true believers), the whole world is under God’s final judgment. To accomplish this goal God withheld from the true believers the way in which two phrases were to be understood. Had He not done so, the world would never have been shaken in fear as it was.”

Except the world was never shaken in fear. It mercilessly ridiculed Harold Camping’s doomsday predictions, and especially so after Camping’s prophecies failed yet again! One wonders how exactly Camping’s “god” [not to be confused with the true God of the Bible Whose prophecies never fail] was supposed to use a non-event, a nebulous “spiritual return of Christ” [for so Camping has ammended his beliefs in the tradition of other “Christian” cults with a marked history of failed prophecy] to let his followers know that the door to salvation had officially closed. It makes no logical sense. Do you mean to say that God used something no one could see or even detect to signify something as important as the cut-off date for salvation?? 

He goes on to spout the following mumbo-jumbo to his pitiful followers:

“One phrase is “the completion of God’s salvation program.” The other is “God’s final judgment.” The completion of God’s salvation plan is concentrated in the word “rapture.” The phrase “God’s final judgment” is concentrated in the word “earthquake.”

What is Harold talking about? I mean it’s clear he means to use the word “phase” rather than “phrase,”  but where does he get the idea that the word rapture is connected to the completion of God’s salvation plan, while the word earthquake designates God’s final judgment? In a theology as subjective as Camping’s, I doubt even he could tell you where he picked up this idea. It certainly wasn’t what he was preaching prior to the shame of May 21st! The only conclusion we can come to is that Harold hopes his followers will continue to take his words with the same level of credulity they did before he failed them and Biblically demonstrated that he was a false prophet.

He continues:

“These two words, “earthquake” and “rapture,” have been extremely important in our teaching of Judgment Day – May 21. A critical understanding of these two words is the only change required to know why the unsaved are now living in a world that has not been horribly destroyed, and the elect have not been caught up to be with God.

This ought to be good. He’s going to explain why the rapture did not actually happen and why Doomsday didn’t come based on the words “rapture” and “earthquake.” I think I can probably explain it much better based on the words “false” and “prophet,” but let’s hear what Camping has to say for himself.

“We always look at the word “earthquake” to mean the earth, or ground, is quaking or shaking violently. However, in the Bible the word “earth” can include people as well as ground.

In Genesis 2:7 we read:

“And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground…” Thus the word “earthquake” can also be understood to teach that mankind shakes.” [emphasis in original]

And now he’s in Genesis, on my turf, completely butchering every hermeneutical rule in the book to try to explain away his failure. He’s doing that thing that compromise creationists often do to try to allow for long ages or microbes-to-man evolution. He’s saying that because a certain word can have a different meaning depending on the context that we should ignore the actual context of the passage and make it mean something God never intended. For example, Old Earthers will note that the Hebrew word “yom” can mean a 24-hour day or a longer period of time, depending on the context; therefore, they ignore the context of Genesis chapter 1 to claim that the days of the Creation Week could have been long ages when, nevermind that neither the context of the passage itself nor Exodus 20:11 allow such an interpretation, if we’re to be consistent.

Furthermore, the word rendered “earthquake” in the New Testament prophecy passages Camping claims to be such an expert on is the Greek word seismos. And here’s another problem for his lousy explanation of what went wrong: seismos simply means a “shaking or a commotion” [Strongs 4578]. While it most often refers to a shaking (as an earthquake) when used in the New Testament, this same word is also used to refer to the storm that Jesus stilled. Since the word rendered “earthquake” never specifically denotes a reference to the earth, Camping’s attempt to connect it to man being formed from the dust of the earth falls flat. Of course, if he were a better exegete, none of us would be warning the rest of the world about his false doctrine, eh? 

He nevertheless continues:

“Therefore we have learned from our experience of last May 21 what actually happened. All of mankind was shaken with fear. Indeed the earth (or mankind) did quake in a way it had never before been shaken. God had come spiritually to bring judgment upon the whole world.”

I cringe at what I have just read. If we take this madman at face value, he has just said that God judged the world spiritually with unnecessary fear, with baseless dread. For what happened on May 21st? Nothing. So even if the world had actually feared the coming of those LIES prophecied out of the mouth of Harold Camping – and they did not – does God now judge with empty threats?? No, because the only ones who feared the false prophecies of Harold Camping were the Christians he’d duped into believing he was a true oracle of God. The world mocked and some believers were deceived, that was what the false prophecy of the May 21st Doomsday accomplished before NOTHING – and by that I mean NOTHING – happened on the so-called day of judgment. 

Dare we see what Camping claims next?

“The second word, “rapture,” identifies with the idea of the completion of God’s salvation program. The catching up of all the elect meant that there was to be no more salvation activity to be done anywhere in the world by God. Each and every true believer had become eternally safe with God in Heaven. No more was there any aspect of God’s salvation program that remained to be done.”

Waitaminute! So NOTHING happened and by this Harold Camping divined that God had judged the world spiritually and that He had accomplished his salvation plan so that no one else could be saved after May 21, 2011?? Wow. He really got a lot of mileage out of that NOTHING, didn’t he? Last time I checked, nothing signifies… nothing. Unless of course you falsely prophesied that something would take place instead of nothing! Again, we have nought but Harold Camping’s word to take that all of the nothing that occurred on May 21st actually signified anything, spiritual or otherwise… and frankly, with his track record,  I wouldn’t trust this fellow to predict what time my dinner will be. He’s a proven false prophet who continues to make excusues for himself when he ought to admit his presumption and pride and beg for God’s forgiveness.

And where does he get the idea that rapture [a word that doesn’t appear in the Bible, by the way] means that God has completed his salvation list and that no one else may now be saved? This is hand-waving. He’s offered no explanation as to why we ought to rationally come to his conclusion. He simply states his new position [pretending that he hasn’t really changed anything at all, mind you] and hopes that we accept it because it came from him. I surely hope that Campingites aren’t this credulous.

Yet he’s not finished…

“But the same thing became true this past May 21, even though no one was raptured. No one who had not become saved by that date can ever become saved. God tells us in Revelation 22:10-12:

    “And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: For the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still. And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” [emphasis in original]

And I fell compelled to point out to Mr. Camping that the next few verses say:

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without aredogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, andthe bright and morning star.

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” [verses 14-19]

Note that verse 17 gives a clear invitation to salvation after the verses that Camping falsely claims back up his false doctrine that the end of salvation came on the non-event of May 21st.

Note further that those who make lies and love lies will not find eternal life, and that there is a definite warning against adding or taking away from God’s prophecy. Camping claims to speak for God as prophet of God, but he has now thrice spoken lies in the name of God. In fact, one of the very reasons that no one feared his false May 21st prophecy [except the followers he deceived] is because he’d already made a false prophecy back in 1994. 

Here’s what the Bible has to say about folks like Camping:

“How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. ” – Deuteronomy 18:21b-22

But Camping seems oblivious to these truths. Instead, he comes to the following conclusion, hoping that his followers will accept it credulously:

“Thus we have learned that except for a somewhat different understanding of the words “earthquake” and “rapture” or “catching up” no other past teachings of Judgment Day or the end of the world have been changed. The time line, the certainty of it, the proofs, and the signs are all precisely the same. No other past teachings have been changed or modified. Indeed, on May 21 Christ did come spiritually to put all of the unsaved throughout the world into judgment. But that universal judgment will not be physically seen until the last day of the five month judgment period, on October 21, 2011.”

Nothing changed except everything. Physical, awe-inspiring, apocalyptic Judgment and a supernatural removal of God’s followers from the physical Earth as prophecied by Harold Camping PRIOR to May 21st never materialized. Instead, he claims it was all spiritual. How do we know this? How do we verify this? Oh, we’re to take Camping’s word for it, I suppose.

“We have also learned that God is still teaching that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked and will not punish the wicked beyond what is called for in Deuteronomy 25. That is, there is a distinct limit to God’s wrath.”

I suppose he hopes we won’t read Deuteronomy 25. We did and the passage refers to judging between two men who have a controversy. It says to judge who is righteous and who is wicked and then IF the wicked man is worthy to be beaten that he is to be beaten with forty stripes, but no more. This commandment was given to men judging men. It says nothing of God’s judgment; rather it speaks of the fact that men can be cruel in their punishments so that a limit was imposed on the number of stripes a man could receive for his crime.

On the other hand, the Books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation are replete with specific judgments that shall fall upon mankind in the last days. No description of the future earthquake judgment as described in Ezekiel 28 and Revelation 6 can conceivably be interpreted as metaphor. It is quite obvious that the meaning is literal. The only reason Camping dares to consider a nonliteral interpretation now is because his arrogant date-setting made a liar and a false prophet out of him.

He continues:

“Thus we can be sure that the whole world, with the exception of those who are presently saved (the elect), are under the judgment of God, and will be annihilated together with the whole physical world on October 21, 2011, on the last day of the present five months period. On that day the true believers (the elect) will be raptured. We must remember that only God knows who His elect are that He saved prior to May 21.”

Unfortunately, he’s proven nothing and explained less, so we can only be sure that a few sentences ago he was claiming that rapture identifies with a completion to God’s salvation plan rather than a catching up of the saints to God. He then inexplicably admitted that no one was raptured on May 21st. Then he claimed that nothing he’d said had changed except for our understanding of the words earthquake and rapture [nevermind the admission that by our old understanding of rapture, no one was raptured on May 21st and thus the prophecy of a rapture would have been false] and now he’s claiming rapture signifies the original understanding of a removal of the saints on October 21st instead of May 21st. In other words, he’s talking out both sides of his mouth. 

Then he says something that I confess simply shocked me when I no longer thought I could be surprised by anything else that came out of Camping’s mouth:   

“You, too, without your knowledge may have become saved before that date. Anyone can continue to beseech God for mercy because salvation and the election program are entirely in God’s hands.”

People could have got saved without knowing it????? How is that even possible when salvation involves the concept of volition, that “whosoever will” or “whosoever believes” may be saved? Is God now saving people without their knowledge and presumably against their will? What strange heresy is Camping preaching now?

Let me conclude by answering Harold Camping’s original question of What happened on May 21st?

The answer is this: Harold Camping’s prophecies failed and by begging off that it was all an unverifiable supernatural event after all, he joined the notorious ranks of other cults begun by date-setting false prophets, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. And in his zeal to excuse his sin, he is creating damnable heresy and false doctrine to follow false prophecy.

Pray that his followers see the truth and abandon Camping’s teachings as fully as he has abandoned orthodoxy!

-Rev Tony Breeden

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