Although Family Radio founder Harold Camping has not made a statement about his failed prophecy of an Oct. 21 doomsday, much to the disappointment of the media and the public, the station did comment on the non-event Saturday, encouraging listeners not to lose hope and to keep supporting the radio network through donations.
Camping has previously predicted that the end of the world would happen on May 21, causing many of his followers to spend all their savings on an advertising campaign reportedly costing several million dollars. When the end did not come in May, Camping announced the date to be that of a "spiritual" judgment and that God's judgment would conclude on Oct. 21.
Yet, Oct. 21 has passed and the world did not end, causing many to mock Camping and Family Radio. The Bible interpreter has refused to speak to the press.
However, on Saturday morning the station broadcasted a statement referring to the failed doomsday. A host (not Camping) said that although many may feel disappointed, Christians are not to lose hope and to be ready for the Lord once he finally does come.
"I know that many of us are deeply disappointed that Christ did not come. And I said something like this back in May," the host said. "But please try to keep in mind that all of us who are believers, all of us who are Christians, are to live in such a way that we are to pray with the apostle John: 'Come quickly Lord Jesus.' "
The statement was aired several times during the day.
"Thy command is still to occupy until he comes," it encouraged. "We are still to go teach and tell. We are to share his word by reading it, teaching it, and singing it. We still have a unique tool and that tool is radio on which we can bring comfort and encouragement. Every day we, who are Christians live in attention. We are to live so that we are ready for the return of Christ, and even pray for it. But we also rejoice in every new day, that we've been given another day to occupy and serve our Lord."
There was no direct mention of Camping making a mistake in his calculations. However, the address ended with a suggestion that Family Radio might be undergoing some financial trouble soon.
"I trust that you too will pray for us often that we can minister in many ways," the host said. "That God will provide wisdom to those of leadership and that we continue to minister to you, and to teach God's word daily. Please pray for us and pray about continuing to support this totally listener-sponsored Christian radio network. We have a great need for daily operating funds. Without your generous support at this time we might be forced to face some very important decisions. I trust those of you who enjoy some of our programming daily will be able to share generously in the months ahead."
The statement mentioned that the radio network does have "a large operating budget," coming from some 60 operating stations, as well as "other opportunities." But these funds are limited.
The statement also tried to cheer up disappointed believers by reminding them that the Christians of the early church were also disappointed that Christ did not return during their lifetime.
"Why had Christ not returned in the first century as they had hoped?" the host explained. "Out of his gracious patience, he waited, in order to allow the people of that and additional generations to come into the hearing of the gospel, repent and come to faith, as God drew them to himself."
Many now wonder if Camping will ever again venture to try to predict the date of the end of the world from the Bible. His prediction also failed back in 1994; however, Camping never acknowledged it by saying that he was wrong. The first two times he simply rephrased his predictions after the fact, insisting that spiritual judgments had occurred each time.
Most experts believe that Camping has completely lost the confidence of much of the public, except for perhaps a few of his closest and most faithful followers.