Now that it’s October, my thoughts have turned to the pronouncements by Family Radio that the end of the world will take place on October 21.
As we reported, the worldwide Christian radio network spent a fortune advertising the May 21, 2011 “Judgment Day,” and its founder Harold Camping had to back pedal after the predicted rolling earthquakes and rapture didn’t pan out. Although Camping had included an end of world prediction of October 21, 2011 in his original discussions about May 21; he was forced to reconsider his biblical interpretation of the rapture and after May 21 described the events of that day as “spiritual,” rather than physical.
On June 9, Camping suffered a stroke and has been off the Family Radio airwaves ever since. His popular call-in talk show, Open Forum, which in the months leading up to May 21 was the main source for his teachings about Judgment Day, has been on hiatus and replacement programming has been airing in its place. Since that time, Family Radio listeners have only been able to hear archival recordings from Camping.
In the past few months, however, Camping has recorded two messages for Family Radio listeners. In his first brief message (most likely from August), he was upbeat and said, “I have had so many blessings in my own life…I really am so grateful for this opportunity to say hello to everybody.” By September 20, Family Radio had posted a “special announcement” on their website, stating that, “By God’s mercy Mr. Camping has been able to return home, where he is continuing his recuperation in the care of his dear wife. They are very appreciative of all the expressions of love and concern that they have received from Family Radio listeners.”
Following that announcement, a second audio message from Camping was posted on September 23, providing an update about his recuperation and delving further into his teachings about October 21. In the 6-minute message Camping says,
“I have been able to leave the hospital…and that has been very very comforting…There is progress being made…I still have a long way to go…I am particularly grateful when I hear about your prayers and your concerns…I do believe that we’re getting very near the very end…We’ve learned that there’s a lot of things that we didn’t have quite right and that’s god’s good provision…
We would have not been able…to bring about the tremendous event that occurred on May 21 of this year, which probably be finished out on October 21 that’s coming very shortly. That looks like it will be at this point it looks like it will be the final end of everything. It also looks like that as god is developing the details for us we are learning from the Bible god’s details of the end, we find that god ….he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked….
Probably there will be no pain suffered by anyone because of their rebellion against god. This is very comforting to all of us…They’ll quietly die…the true believers will quietly receive the new heaven and the new earth. I really am beginning to think as I restudied these matters that there’s going to be no big display of any kind. The end is going to come very very quietly probably within the next month. It will happen that is by October 21…
Maybe god will keep me till the end also so that together we can go to be with him forever more and I am very convinced that all of the elect will definitely end up with the lord Jesus Christ in a very very few weeks. Thank you so much for allowing me to speak to you. I am so grateful and I wish that I were well, but on the other hand, I know my work has been done and I can wait on the lord knowing that he will complete it through others as he is so doing right now. Goodbye and may god bless each one of you.”
It’s interesting that in this message Camping allows for some degree of uncertainty about October 21, by using the word “probably” when he speaks about the end of the world. At the same time, it’s also a more somber message than his August announcement. Instead of saying “hello” to listeners, he seems to be saying “goodbye,” acknowledging his own mortality.