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Harold Camping's failed prediction of the rapture

Part 6: Harold Camping's third set of predictions in
what might be an open-ended series of prophecies.

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Camping's story as of 2011-MAY-23 :

During his 90 minute talk on Monday, MAY-23 -- two days after his Rapture prediction failed -- Camping maintained the position that all of his past predictions came true, and that his end of the world prophecy for 2011-OCT-21  will also materialize:

  • Concerning 1988-MAY-21: He had predicted that God would bring Judgment on churches: He said that this actually happened:
    "It was that time that God brought judgment on all of the church congregations. On May 21, that was a day before Pentecost in 1988, when God begin to bring judgment on the church age. The Bible is dripping with all kinds of information that indicates that God was so upset with the churches that they have developed their own rules of what the nature of salvation is and the authority of God.

    "There is no church that believes in the Bible in the original language [as] came from the lips of God. No church does."

    "At that point, Christ left the church and installed Satan there. To make the judgment more severe, God actually enlisted Satan, who is the enemy of God to rule in the churches. So it was a terrible, terrible year." 1

  • Concerning 1994-SEP-21: He has predicted that a judgment day was likely. He said:

    "On Sept. 7, 1994, when I said there was a high likelihood there was a judgment day, it was true. There was judgment in a terrible way and there was salvation in a wonderful way...The salvation came because May 21, 1988 to Sept 7, 1994, no one could be saved in the world."

    "On Sept. 7, God brought even more judgment on the churches because in the world, where judgment had begun, God lifted that judgment and began to allow people to become saved outside of churches, leaving the churches under judgment. It was a horrible day for the churches. They continued under the judgment of God. It was a wonderful day for the world because people could become saved. God has begun to bring in a special in-gathering.

    "When God brought judgment upon the churches on May 21, 1988, He also brought judgment on the world. But as I indicated on Sept. 7, 1994, he lifted that judgment [by allowing people to be saved outside of churches]."

    Camping's apparently believes that if a Christian thinks that she/he was saved between 1988-MAY-21 and 1994-SEP-07, then they have deluded themselves. They may still be unsaved.

  • Concerning 2011-MAY-21: Although the predicted rapture did not happen, an invisible judgment did come on the world: He said:

    "... on [2011-]May 21, that weekend, this is when the spiritual aspect of it really comes through, God again brought judgment on the world."

    "From May 7, 1994 to May 21, 2011, the world was not under judgment. It was still an opportunity to be saved out there."

    Another implication of Camping's belief seems to be that after 2011-MAY-21, because of God's judgment, nobody who is not saved on Earth can be saved now or in the future. He believes, alone among Christian leaders, that everyone's fate is now sealed. This is a potentially devastating teaching. We originally suspected that dozens of people around the would would buy into this mistaken belief, feel trapped, and commit suicide in order to avoid living through the devastation of OCT-21. We predicted that Camping will have a lot of blood on his hands. Two people who apparently believed Camping's prophecies are reported to have died:

    • Nastya Zachinova, 14, from the Republic of Mari El in Central Russia, allegedly believed that Camping's MAY-21 predictions would come to pass. She believed that she would be among those left behind. She wrote in her diary: "We are not righteous people, only they will go to heaven, the others will stay here on Earth to go through terrible sufferings. ... I donít want to die like the others. Thatís why Iíll die now." She hanged herself. Her mother Lyudmila said that "She took this date too close to heart." 2

    • Victor Frasno, 25, was described by investigators as having been very religious. He allegedly became hysterical during the late evening of MAY-20. Even though he couldn't swim, he jumped into a huge reservoir in Contra Loma Regional Park in Antioch, CA, saying that he had to "get to God" on the other side of the reservoir. He drowned trying. 3

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  • Concerning 2011-OCT-21: He predicted that he rapture will happen and the world will be destroyed. He said:

    "Five months from now from May 21, as we learn from the Bible, is Oct. 21. We are not changing the dates at all. We are just learning that we have to look at all this a little more spiritual[ly]. But it won't be spiritual on Oct. 21 because the Bible clearly teaches that then the world will be destroyed altogether. But it will be very quick. It won't be a five-month difficulty as we have learned."

    "We had all of the dates correct. We didn't change anything at all. All the proofs, all the signs are correct. The only thing is that God has not opened our eyes yet that May 21 was the spiritual coming where as we had thought it was a physical coming but he has come in a sense that he now has the world under judgment."

    "There is only one kind of people that will ascend into heaven and that has nothing to do with any religion. They could be a Hindu. They could be a Muslim, or whatever. If God has saved them then they will be caught up."

    During his Open Forum program on MAY-20, he said that:

    "On the last day, [2011-OCT-21] all the unsaved are going to come under the curse of God. They are going to be thrown out of the grave if there are still a corpse there or bones. If they are in the grave, they will be shamed in the eyes of God. If they die on that day, they're not going to be buried. They're going to be shamed in the eyes of God." 4 

    In his book "The End of the Church Age ... and After," he writes:

    "The rapture of the believers will occur at the end of time. The rapture will take place at the same time that our Lord comes to judge the world. It will come right at the time that the world is beginning to collapse and when God prepares to destroy the world by fire." 5

Camping seems to have boxed himself into a corner with his predictions. When 2011-OCT-21 comes and passes uneventfully with no rapture, no burning up of the Earth, and no massive religiously-motivated genocide of every human left on Earth, he would seem to have no option but to admit that he was wrong. However, Camping is a creative person. He might find some wiggle room somewhere in his predictions that will explain the failure of his predictions of the rapture and end of the world on OCT-21.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Elena Garcia, "Harold Camping Defends Predictions, Insists Upon Timeline for October 21 Rapture," Christian Post, 2011-MAY-26, at:
  2. Elena Garcia, "Fearful Teen Commits Suicide Due to Harold Camping's Judgment Day Forecast," Christian Post, 2011-MAY-26, at:
  3. Daniel Blake, "Investigators Suspect Harold Camping's End of the World Prediction to Blame for Fla. Man's Death," The Christian Post, 2011-MAY-26, at:
  4. Elena Garcia, "Harold Camping: Dead Bodies Will Surface from Graves on Oct. 21 Doomsday," The Christian Post, 2011-MAY-31, at:
  5. H. Camping, "The End of the Church Age ... and After," Page 329 & 330. Online at:
  6. "Harold Camping: get ready for real rapture October 21, probably,"  Christianity Today, Australia, 2011-OCT-05, at:
  7. "End of the World Two Days Away, Says Harold Camping," International Business times, 2011-OCT-19, at:

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Copyright © 1997 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2011-OCT-20 (End of the world minus 1 day, and all is well. I don't plan to pack anytime soon)
Author: B.A. Robinson

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