American Christian broadcaster Harold Camping's Oct. 21 end of the world prophecy has attracted global attention, with an especially large following in South Africa.
Camping has previously predicted three doomsdays, the most recent one being May 21. As a result of Camping's prophecy, followers sold many of their material possessions and quit their jobs in preparation for judgment.
When May 21 arrived and the world did not end, Camping created public controversy. Many followers were left with depleted savings accounts.
His prophecy went global, affecting 80 followers in South Africa.
After the false May 21 prediction, South African Johannes Coetzee apologized to his 80 followers for leading them under the message of Camping.
“We are spiritual prostitutes. We sinned by confusing people. We are begging God for forgiveness,” Coetzee said at a press conference.
“It is obvious that we misinterpreted the information in the Bible,” he added.
Coetzee spent the majority of his savings the weekend before the Rapture, when he stayed at the five-star Orion Devonshire Hotel in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
Coetzee is still convinced that Camping’s Oct. 21 is correct, and that the world will be destroyed by “sulphur and fire.”
Skeptics questioned Camping’s commitment to his words, especially because he did not sell any of his possessions in preparation for the Second Coming.
“Wasn’t he as invested as his followers were?” asked The International Business Times of San Francisco.
“Did Camping take everyone along for a ride?” added the online newspaper.
The newspaper also questioned why Harold Camping’s “Family Radio” Minnesota office filed for an extended tax filing date of Nov. 15 when the world was predicted to end in May?
Camping now argues that May 21 was God’s spiritual judgment and that Oct. 21 will mark the physical end of the world.
"God brought Judgment Day to the whole world. The whole world is on Judgment Day. It will continue to Oct. 21, 2011 and at that time the whole world will be destroyed," Camping said in a public address after the May 21 disappointment.
Although officially announcing his prediction, he is not publicly pushing his claim as much as he did back in May.
“Family Radio,” Camping’s $70 million national radio show, told The Christian Post that they are not commenting on the predicted Rapture date.
Critics remain skeptical of Camping, especially because he did not take responsibility for those who sold their possessions and savings based on his prediction.
“I don't have any responsibility. I don't have any responsibility of anybody's life. I'm only teaching the Bible. I'm simply saying, ‘This is what the Bible says,'" he announced.
"We at Family Radio never tell anyone what [to] do with their possessions. That's totally between them and God," he added.
Camping originally predicted the end of the world will include a Rapture of 200 million and natural disasters for multiple days, including fires, earthquakes, and plagues, before God destroys the world.
He has now changed his tune, predicting that the Oct. 21 Rapture will be quick and there will be “no pain” for non-believers.