Harold Camping, who said the world would end May 21, has recently reiterated in a new message his belief that the world will come to an end and that believers will actually be raptured on Oct. 21. The California Bible teacher, however, has added a few minor adjustments to his end-of-the-world teachings, now claiming that unbelievers will "probably" not suffer pain in God's judgment.
The president of Family Radio, who captured the attention of many with his insistent prediction earlier this year that Jesus Christ would return on May 21 to signal a worldwide upheaval that would cause the deaths of millions of people, has changed his perspective and vision of the end of times.
On June 9, Camping suffered a stroke and he was hospitalized. On Sept. 20, Family Radio posted a "special announcement" on its website which said, "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."
An audio message from Camping was posted sometime afterward, in which the California broadcaster provided an update on his condition, and offered revelatory comments about Oct. 21, his latest promoted date for the end times.
Included in that message was an entirely new conceptualization of the last days, where Camping articulated an event in which "there would be no pain suffered by anyone because of their rebellion against God."
"We must believe that probably there will be no pain suffered by anyone because of their rebellion against God. This is very comforting to all of us, because we all have children, and have loved ones that are dear to us that we know are not saved, and yet we know that they'll quietly die. We can be more and more sure that they will quietly die and that will be the end of their story," Camping said.
As for believers, the radio host said, "I really am beginning to think as I restudied these matters that there's going to be no big display of any kind." This represents a complete departure from previous assertions in which Camping, 90, predicted cataclysmic earthquakes punctuating Christ's return.
Camping ended his audio message (read the full transcript) with the belief that "The end is going to come very, very quietly, probably within the next month. It will happen by Oct. 21."
Camping, a trained civil engineer who started the Family Radio network in 1958, has been wrong about the end of the world date twice before. In 1992, he predicted that the world would end in 1994 and even wrote a book, aptly titled, 1994?
Although Christians hold conflicting views about how the world will come to an end, the accepted theological view is that the Bible does not offer clues as to the exact day or date of Jesus Christ's return, as Camping continues to purport.