(Photo: The Christian Post)
Ocean Grove, N.J. – Will Graham, the grandson of Billy Graham and oldest son of Franklin Graham, responded Saturday to Harold Camping's failed doomsday date.
Half an hour after 6:00 p.m. – the time of the predicted rapture – Graham was standing backstage at the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, N.J., chatting with reporters and getting ready to preach before thousands attending the second day of the Jersey Shore Will Graham Celebration.
"Harold couldn't be more right. The end of the world is coming," Graham told The Christian Post. "We just don't know the time of it. From his calculations, he was off. I don't think there is any man on earth who can ever really calculate to any degree when the return of Christ is going to be."
Camping, the 89-year-old Christian radio broadcaster behind the May 21 Judgment Day prediction, missed the mark when it came to the date, but that doesn't mean judgment is not biblical, said Graham.
"The Bible very much teaches there will be judgment. The Bible says that it is appointed for man will die once and after that the judgment. Everyone will be judged as Christians and non-Christians," said the 36-year-old evangelist, who works at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
"But as Christians, our judgment was really upon the cross. Our punishment was taken care of on the cross by Jesus. So when we get to heaven, we don't really have to fear God because Christ took all the wrath of God away from us. But for those who do not know Christ, for those who never asked Jesus to come into their lives to forgive their sin, they are going to have to experience the full wrath of God and that's going to be thrown into hell."
Added Graham, "Hell is very much real. It's just that heaven is real. They're both very much real. That's why tonight I'm going to try to tell people that, listen, you have to prepare."
Camping, president of the California-based Family Radio, had proclaimed through his radio stations and billboards that he believed the rapture would occur May 21, 2011, and that God would destroy the universe five months later. He made a similar prediction in the past.
Regardless of the heightened interest in Judgment Day from Camping's latest prediction, Graham indicated that his message always carries with it a sense of urgency.
"Whether Christ comes or judgment comes, we never really know when death might come so we should always be ready to stand before God," he said.