The man behind the May 21 Judgment Day prediction, Harold Camping, has again attempted to explain his way out of the "guaranteed" date.
He offered this argument during a live broadcast Monday night: "The great earthquake didn't happen on May 21 because no one will be able to survive it for more than a few days or let alone five months to suffer God's wrath."
Camping, 89, had trumpeted his claims that beginning on May 21, indescribable earthquakes and other "horrible" events would occur and continue for five months. While a small percentage of the population is raptured, those left behind would suffer the destructive events until Oct. 21, he had declared loudly.
But when Saturday came and he was still on earth and apocalyptic disasters didn't show up, he began to search for new answers.
And now, he believes he's got it – again.
Speaking from the Family Radio headquarters in Oakland, Calif., he said God is a merciful, loving and compassionate God who would not let anyone suffer hell on earth just as He won't let anyone suffer an eternal hell.
"So as we can see that there is no eternity in hell as God is a loving and compassionate and merciful God, so if we have no eternal hell doctrine then we should also expect ... no hell on earth for five months ... because it's not in God's holy and perfect [nature] to have any long-term suffering for anyone," he contended.
Expressing some pride in his newfound revelation, he stated, "I want to echo that. That's a very excellent statement because the Bible tells us that Christ has no pleasure in the death of the wicked."
Camping continued, "While the law of God demands that there has to be punishment, it does not mean that God is going to punish and punish and punish and punish."
Rejecting the traditional Christian teaching of the existence of an eternal hell, he criticized churches for using that doctrine to draw more people under their roofs.
He had used that language about an eternal hell himself, but he said he learned over the years that as the Bible states "the wages of sin is death," once you're dead, you're dead.
"You have no more conscious existence. None," he maintained.
With that understanding, Camping concluded that the rapture and massive destruction will occur not over the course of five months, as he had originally predicted, but all on the last day – Oct. 21.
"It's all going to be compressed on the last day," he contended newly. And while a physical Judgment Day did not occur on May 21, he said a spiritual one came on Saturday and that the world is currently under judgment.
Answering questions about his continuous changes in biblical interpretation, he explained that the Bible is "very complex."
"You'll find that you'll read verse after verse and wonder 'what is God talking about?'" Camping stated. "Yet this is the way we have to search out the Bible. It's very slow. It's very tedious. And we don't always hit the nail on the head the first time."
Notably, when a reporter asked him if he was confirming that humans are not capable of completely understanding the Bible, Camping answered, "You are correct."
He commented that he doesn't hesitate when it comes to admitting mistakes and further noted that he has never touted himself as infallible.
With that said, he refused to take responsibility for those who believed in his May 21 prediction and chose to take such drastic steps as quitting their jobs and using up their savings account to help support his doomsday ad campaign. Camping even played down the situation, saying that there likely aren't many who made such changes and noting that what happend to them "isn't nearly as grievous" as what happened during the recession.
"People cope," he commented, adding that he is not in the business of giving out financial advice.