Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?

Posted on 01 July 2010

A number of months ago while scanning through the radio dial on a long ride home, I stumbled upon Family Radio and listened to an Open Forum program conducted by Harold Camping, the network’s President.  What caught my attention at that time was a dispute between Mr. Camping and a caller over Mr. Camping’s claims that the Rapture would occur on May 21, 2011 and that churches the world over had been under the control of Satan since May 21, 1988.

No stranger to the subject of eschatology (i.e., end times study), I had long been fascinated by end times prophecy and had read about perhaps the most famous failed prediction regarding the world’s end by William Miller – Baptist preacher and founder of the Seventh Day Adventist Church – who determined through Biblical analysis that the world would end sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844.

Intrigued by Mr. Camping’s claims on his radio program, I sought out the Family Radio website and perused some of the literature establishing a timeline for history as well as the purported Biblical evidence supporting his broadcast declarations.  Far from a Biblical scholar myself, I found the analytical approach and arguments presented to be both reasonable and plausible.  The Bible is very complex and seemingly contradictory; and so, I found the concept of harmonizing its meaning by internal comparison (comparing scripture with scripture) to be fascinating.

Later, I penned and published the article “Countdown to Judgment,” the response to which was overwhelming.  Several months passed and I was contacted by Tom Holt who concurs with Harold Camping’s conclusions.  His email became the source of yet another article “May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!” published on our site.

As the calendar advances toward that date, controversy continues to swirl about this entire subject.  Yet, I believe that regardless of Mr. Camping’s accuracy in date-setting, his prediction has had the beneficial effect of raising public consciousness and spurring thought regarding God, the Bible, and our own mortality.  Indicative of this level of public awareness is the fact that a simple Google search for “May 21, 2011,” an otherwise nondescript Saturday in May, produces more than 86 million results.

As in any controversy, however, there are countervailing claims and a good deal of name-calling (note the last minute of the second video below), even among people claiming to be Christians.  While I understand the sources of the enmity, I encourage everyone to have an opinion mind.  Is it possible that Harold Camping is absolutely correct in all of his assertions?  Might he be correct in some of his assertions or only one?  Is his approach to Biblical investigation and interpretation valid?  Of course, as to his prediction that May 21, 2011 is the date of Jesus’ return, most of us living today will have all the proof we need on that day in either eventuality.

And so, as always, I let my readers decide for themselves.  The two videos below present different points of view.  The first video is Harold Camping on an Open Forum program answering questions from a caller (presumably Christian).  The video has been edited and captioned by someone who mocks Mr. Camping and his views.  Presumably, this individual is either an atheist or agnostic.  The second video presents the anti-Camping thoughts of another Christian.  A note about this second video:  it may be some type of orchestrated response from a Christian church or churches, as I have seen at least one other video using much of the same language – virtually verbatim.  This, however, has no bearing upon the validity of its content.


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41 Responses to “Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?”

  1. ryan says:

    i see a typo

    2nd paragraph

    “between March 21, 1943 and March 21, 1844.”

    i think 1844 should be 1944?

  2. Author says:

    Thank you, Ryan. I have corrected the error. The correct years are 1843 and 1844.

  3. April says:

    There is a major flaw in the Camping timeline that remains Top Secret.

    Contrary to Harold Camping’s teaching on 2nd Pet. 3:8, Gen. 7:4, Noah & his family entered the ark on the 10th day of the 2nd month, seven days BEFORE the flood waters started on the 17th day of the second month.

    Harold Camping has not studied the different Hebrew words used in Gen. 7 for “same day” (v. 11) and “selfsame day” (v. 13). He has tied these verses together to falsely claim that the flood started on the same day Noah entered the ark. Verse 13 states that Noah and his family all entered the ark together on the selfsame day. It does not teach that the flood waters started on the same day Noah entered the ark.

    The spiritual meaning of the seven day warning given to Noah before the flood waters began relates to purification, consecration, dedication, sanctification. It is NOT a special time clue for the purpose of date predicting.

  4. Joel says:

    I thought the first video was very interesting. Despite the person’s mocking him usubg super-scripts, I thought Harold made his points very clearly — man HC has a forehead of pure brass!

  5. Kathryn says:

    Thank you very much for posting this great information! I am looking forward to seeing more posts about this!

  6. Roger says:

    I have studied all these claims of the dates in the Bible and the Judgments the Bibles speaks of and have found them to be perfectly accurate. So without a doubt there is a great amount of information coming forth from the Bible as it claims would in the ‘last days’.

    “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” (Habakkuk 2:3)

    Dan 12:9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
    Dan 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

    May God’s perfect will be done.

  7. RIZZ says:

    Time and time again the orator here says they talk about the flood all they want, or a thousand years is as a day, but he forgets that it’s GOD who talked about this.
    He says they don’t talk about Christ, but Christ is the reason may 21, 2011 is so great and terrible.

    Scoffer, another scoffer.

  8. Andzulis says:

    This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw. Thanks for posting this informative article.

  9. Duyq says:

    I truly loved this brilliant article. Please continue this awesome work. Regards, Duyq.

  10. MikeL says:

    The question of whether Camping is a false prophet has already been answered. Everything he has predicted in the past, including the end of the world in the 1980s turned out to be false. Ditto akk his pronouncmenets that all churches are apostate and you should only listen to, of course, Harold Camping for the truth. He’s a madman, a lfase prophet, but worse then any of this, he brings shame to the name of Christ be misleading thousands who believe in these false propehcies and then fall away from what COULD have been a true faith, when the prophesies of this fraud don’t come to pass. There is a reason why the Bible commanded that false prophets be put to death…and a reason why the Bible defined false prophets as anyone presuming to speak for God making even ONE prediction which turned out to be incorrect!

  11. bobby st says:

    first video with Mr Camping is very interesant and biblicaly true,but second video with this fat bold guy is just full of scoof and mocking statenments this man plays”bog guy”with half of his brain in heaven”he plays he knows everything but really knows nothing and is spiritualy blind

  12. mike says:

    The Bible states that if a so called prophet sets a date as from God and it does not come to pass then he is a false prophet and you should not listen to him. my question to this blogger and the other readers has Harold Camping ever set another date as the time for Christ’s return ? What will happen to the people who follow Harold Camping if his prediction does not come to pass and we are still here on the 22 nd ?

  13. bonnie says:

    Thank your for your carefully researched article. Finally someone with true fair and balanced reporting convictions. If you haven’t seen YouTube’s, Another Look At the Biblical Timeline of History part 1,2,3,4 and 5, you should. Also very, very informative and biblical.

  14. Steven says:

    Our Lord Jesus works in mysterious ways( usually not the way we expect).Mr. Camping may not be right about the date (time will tell) but you have to admitt he has 1,000s of souls studying the bible and asking for forgiveness and mercy. If he converts one lost soul, has he not been a good disciple? We should all ask ourselves, how many have we converted?

  15. 2011 Judgment Day? Signs of heaven are now appearing as it is written…”And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars” Luke 21

  16. Jasmine says:

    I’m am confused as to how he got the seven days because in Genesis 7 verse 4-5 God was talking to Noah about the flood. I understand the concept of 1 day is a 1000 years in the eyes of God. I just don’t get how this verse means 7000 years later. “Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”
    5 And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.

    NOTE: What i know is that, as children of God, we should always be prepared because Jesus is comming soon, it might be a minute from now, tomorrow, a month from now ect……. The point is we should live our life just the wsy Christ wants us. For instant, so you know Christ is coming on May 21st, you try to do good… Question: are you being good because you know chirst is coming on May 21st? Shouldn’t you always be on your best behavior (being christ like at all times)after all he knows all! Duh! that is not going to save you. God looks at the heart, not just the things you do. Its by his grace that we are saved. God be the glory!

  17. Jack S. Fogbound says:

    As I read the comments generated by Mr. Campings prediction I wonder what the results will be if he is wrong. The whole world is experiencing natural and unnatural disasters, wars and political unrest but evidently the good news has not reached the hallowed halls of government that is more concerved about balancing the budget than entering the kingdom of heaven. Like Lieutenant Dan in the movie Forrest Gump, he asks Forrest if he found Jesus yet, Gump replies, I din’t know we were looking for him, and Dan replies, well while we’re waitng get your ass down to the liquor store and get us another bottle of booze. Could Lt. Dan’s remarks be more true?

  18. skeeve says:

    It only takes 2 extremely easy tests to prove that Harold Camping is a false prophet:
    1) Simply wait until May 22nd, 2011. The proof will be obvious to everyone.
    2) You don’t have to wait until May 22nd, because the test for a true prophet was written 1000’s of years ago by Moses: \And if you say in your heart, \How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?\ – when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.\ — Deuteronomy 18:21-22.

    Camping has already failed test #2 with his book \1994?\. Further – his excuse for failing it fails as well, because the word of God is not something so difficult that it requires Camping’s 5 decades of study to understand. See 2 Peter 1:20-2:2.

    Many may doubt test #2 – but NO ONE will doubt test #1. May 21st will come and go – the question is, will Camping repent of his deceptions? Camping erroneously states \The Biblical evidence is too overwhelming and specific to be wrong [regarding May 21, 2011]\

    On the morning of May 22nd, everyone should realize that it is NOT the Bible that is wrong – but Harold Camping.

  19. Dave says:

    One thing I will say: I watch my neighbors partying and getting DRUNK, flopping all over the parking lot NAKED and STONED, some of these people are 60 besides!

    YEAH, it seems to be a GOOD time to toss a bowling ball at this blue piece of work!

  20. Dave says:

    Revelation 13:18

    Here is wisdom. He who has understanding, let him calculate the number of the beast,
    for it is the number of a man. His number is six hundred sixty-six.

    Now go through the alphabet and add a SIX to each letter in succession:


    COMPUTER = 666 [18+90+78+96+126+120+30+108 = 666]

    The internet has isolated us, caused a very unstable stock market, allowed women to
    become high priced prostitutes and “webcam whores”, damaged commercial real estate
    values and is an outright corporate LIE. It has also eliminated manual labor and
    manufacturing in the USA. It’s the precursor to…

    MARK OF BEAST = 666 [78+6+108+66+90+36+12+30+6+114+120 = 666]

    I believe people will be forced to accept some RFID chip or tracking device of some sort
    implanted in their bodies. Since people have children to feed, this may NOT be your “last
    judgment” decision, as I would never love a God who would burn a hungry 5 yr. old! I also
    understand that the anti-Christ has to be worshiped in conjunction with this. Because…

    CORPORATE = 666 [18+90+108+96+90+108+6+120+30 = 666]

    The corporations have us so addicted to their lies on TV, it’s pathetic! They know we would
    not likely be able to detox from the junk they sell us: Processed foods, alcohol, fancy cars
    for the sake of getting sex, cigarettes, cellphones, viagra, the list is ENDLESS! If an RFID
    chip can be placed in our bodies which would control all cash flow and monitor your
    spending habits… not only would they tell you what you need to buy but also that you
    MUST buy it! Kiss all freedom goodbye… not that there’s any now to begin with!

    NEW YORK = 666 [84+30+138+150+90+108+66 = 666]

    Most of the corporations are based in New York city, as is the stock market. At
    some point, the Lord will crash the market, this may be linked to petroleum and our
    dwindling supply plus the subprime banking meltdown. Keep in mind our money now is
    basically “petro dollars” and are backed by NO gold, silver or anything else of intrinsic
    value. I also believe this is why God recommends the purchase of “Gold tried in fire”
    in Revelation. But many believe it’s a symbol of faith brought on by voluntary suffering and
    personal sacrifice. Like through prayer and humility, or acknowledging we are powerless
    to save ourselves on all levels.

    The time frame in my mind is 2009, as it is the 80th anniversary of 1929 and people create
    their own “self fulfilling prophecies” based on their own fears! That’s how STUPID and
    self destructive we are, because…

    HUMANITY = 666 [48+126+78+6+84+54+120+150 = 666]

    Recall in the Old testament up to the time of Noah and the flood how disgusted God was
    with us. Oddly enough though, this does not indicate omnipotence. Why create something
    you know you’re going to resent later on? Rather a stupid decision. He made a mistake,

    TO LIVE IS = 666 [120+90+72+54+132+30+54+114 = 666]
    YOUR LIFE IS = 666 [150+90+126+108+72+54+36+30+54+114 = 666]

    From God’s point of view, our very existence is an addiction which must be supported.
    Each one begins by SIN (sex), only to end in death. This is His wrath none of us can
    escape, because…

    WRATH ‘O GOD = 666 [138+108+6+120+48+90+42+90+24 = 666]

    Gods wrath is upon us due to our disobedience. We are a sinful lot. Even I myself at
    times long for sex, cigs and bad food. But the Lord told me years ago that salvation
    was a “process”. We can either make it easier or more difficult on ourselves. Along
    the road of life, God has several things he wished us NOT to partake in:

    SORCERIES = 666 [114+90+108+18+30+108+54+30+114 = 666]

    WITCHCRAFT = 666 [138+54+120+18+48+18+108+6+36+120 = 666]

    NECROMANCY = 666 [84+30+18+108+90+78+6+84+18+150 = 666]

    These are generally manipulation for personal gain. Worse than that is it’s use to harm
    others. Even a secular person would agree with that. Since you deal with the unseen,
    you are subject to contact by demons and the results could be…

    INSANITY = 666 [54+84+114+6+84+54+120+150 = 666]

    Violent harmful people certainly will go to hell. They long for war and violence as a way
    of life! People who harm others like they did to Jesus are known as…

    CRUCIFIERS = 666 [18+108+126+18+54+36+54+30+108+114 = 666]

    They punish others through physical harm due to their own ignorance. FYI: they are also
    military “lifers” as I like to call them… who just can’t wait to get to Iraq! HELLO???

    God is a jealous God who demands our full attention and devotion. Life is short and only
    His divinity is worthwhile in the long run. However, other entities like to play God…

    MARIONISM = 666 [78+6+108+54+90+84+54+114+78 = 666]

    FATIMA MIRACLE = 666 [36+6+120+54+78+6+78+54+108+6+18+72+30 = 666]

    The worship of Jesus’s mother, which is in direct contradiction to commandment 1 & 2!
    As for the miracles at Fatima during World War 1, I believe these to be tricks of demons.
    The real Virgin Mary would not disobey God. There is one other false God…

    SANTA CLAUS = 666 [114+6+84+120+6+18+72+6+126+114 = 666]

    It’s okay to give your kids Christmas gifts. But it’s basically a LIE you told them, originally
    perpetuated by greedy marketers hundreds of years ago!

    NEW MEXICO = 666 [84+30+138+78+30+144+54+18+90 = 666]

    No water, vegetation, shade, etc. Basically, what HELL looks like. Stand in this desert
    all by yourself for awhile, yuck!

    So who is this evil 666 person?

    BENJAMIN CRIM = 666 [12+30+84+60+6+78+54+84+18+108+54+78 = 666]

    KISSINGER = 666 [66+54+114+114+54+84+42+30+108 = 666]

    These are 2 names which have been “given” to me, both are here now and both have an
    “we’ve got to thin the herd” mentality. This is due to dwindling supplies of natural
    resources, especially oil. Global warming, clean water, usable land and other tangibles
    may come into play here. They may be the “Apollyon” and “Abaddon” written about in
    Revelation before the real anti-Christ appears on the scene. Or maybe they just are
    2 anti-Christs. After reading about these people, I find them to be very…

    STUBBORN = 666 [114+120+126+12+12+90+108+84 = 666]

    Man cannot save himself, it was Christ’s destiny for us all. God destined Him to be our
    salvation and hope for after this…

    Jesus = 444 [60+30+114+126+114 = 444]

    He is the antidote for…

    Lucifer = 444 [72+126+18+54+36+30+108 = 444]

    …anti-Christ. He is the ultimate…

    Preacher = 444 [96+108+30+6+18+48+30+108 = 444]

    He is our…

    Messiah = 444 [78+30+114+114+54+6+48 = 444]

    Also known as…

    Joshua = 444 [60+90+114+48+126+6 = 444]

    Pronounced “Yah-Shoe-Ah”. Do you know Him? Well, let me get you started!

    1) He wears no tie or fancy suit.
    2) He drives no SUV or sports car.
    3) He doesn’t work in a cubicle for an evil corporation.
    4) He’s laid back and cool, very easy to talk to and a good listener.
    5) The best way to describe Him is a…

    Hippie = 444 [48+54+96+96+54+30 = 444]

    Many people believe that…

    Predestina = 666 [96+108+30+24+30+114+120+54+84+6 = 666]

    Providence = 666 [96+108+90+132+54+24+30+84+18+30 = 666]

    …they were saved before birth or God will see them through, but this
    would render our journey pointless. No, you must accept Christ as savior.
    By no other name under heaven can one see God. By no works you do can
    you attain salvation.

    Based on what has been revealed above, only a complete FOOL could not believe in
    God now. Therefore the choice is now yours. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you
    WILL be saved. Not can be, not might be but WILL be saved! It is His promise and His
    plan for each of us through faith and trust in Him!

    Serve HIM as best you can and skip the
    MONETARY (78+90+84+30+120+6+108+150 = 666) cares of this world.

  21. Dave says:

    One other anti-Christ: BERNIE LAZAR (666), checkout what he did with little kids! Ciao…

  22. Dave says:

    Here’s another good argument against Harry:

    1) People like me are “cleaning up” for an elevator ride. So nothing happens, we get discouraged or fall from belief and go back to our old ways. Not a good plan to even SPEAK of a time or date!
    2) Love & Fear cannot and will not coexist: So God wants to SCARE us into loving Him? NOT a good plan either!
    3) As a Christian, I “feared the Lord” for a period of time and it gave me such massive stomach problems and THREE WEEKS of absolutely NO sleep! Have any idea what that’s like? No, you don’t. During that time, all sorts of deceptive “spirits” had their opinions for me.

    I think the BEST way to pursue God and Jesus is to get out of the system entirely and that certainly INCLUDES the internet and this bullocks! I do however have a dad who died 3/17 and left some money for me so there is contact I need to maintain (MONETARY!) right now until things are settled. Just for a time, then I’ll be off to the woods again where hopefully my little guradian friend (which I prayed to Christ to be granted… although it was not exactly what I wanted) will hopefully speak to me again.

    Crazy? 50 years old and survived an airplane crash through power lines, I’m still around for some reason and it isn’t MY purposes!

  23. Bobby Atkins says:

    I have read my bible 3 times through already, Genesis 1:1 at the top of the page reads 4004 BC not 11,570 somthing it also says there will be 7 years of tribulation not 5 months, I know better than that!!

  24. dave says:

    Yup, that’s EXACTLY what it says… written by a guy they put on the island of Patmos, all by himself!

    Probably owned a Christian radio station.

  25. dave says:

    If it doesn’t happen, I can always move out to the woods and perform baptisms while living on grasshoppers on the ground and honeycomb pulled from hollow logs! Change my name to John… stuff like that!

  26. mary says:

    I do not agree with harold campings end time prophecy. Scripture indicates that the time of the end is not to be found or calculated. If anything we should have compassion for him. as for the video I found the on screen remarks childish and a testimony of the writers lack of maturity, not to mention an obvious lack of love, joy, peace and temperance.

  27. Daniel says:

    God is abundantly merciful, in that he gives us warnings, and we should beg the LORD for mercy regardless..

  28. Ed says:

    While I shared with Harold Camping’s views that we are truly living in the endtimes, I however disagreed with him setting the exact date for the second coming of Christ. And I don’t subscribe to his finding that all churches today are actually ruled by Satan.

    The words written in Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 are irrefutable. To be disputing these words would be tantamount to disputing the very God that we should fear.

    All Christians should stand up and fight the dangerous deception created by Harold Camping and Family Radio. I fear for the day that after May 21, 2011, the love of many for Christ, including those that loved Him, will indeed grow cold and indifferent. They will think that since the Bible had failed in its forecast, why worship God further.

    I am worried for this possibility. I want everybody to know that the Bible CAN NOT BE WRONG, and the mistakes usually lie on the people who attempted to interpret it.

    May God help all of us Christians especially to Mr. Camping and Family Radio, to be enlightened by the true spirit of His message for the end times, that rather than to be feared, Christians should welcome the second coming of Christ with great joy.

  29. boneheded says:

    You still remember Heavens Gate? Be careful what you believe. No one knows when the end will come. Only the people who are worried about it care about it. I plan to have a cookout Sunday…… you should too.

  30. Barabbas says:

    Quote from Original Article:
    “Intrigued by Mr. Camping’s claims on his radio program, I sought out the Family Radio website and perused some of the literature establishing a timeline for history as well as the purported Biblical evidence supporting his broadcast declarations. Far from a Biblical scholar myself, I found the analytical approach and arguments presented to be both reasonable and plausible. The Bible is very complex and seemingly contradictory; and so, I found the concept of harmonizing its meaning by internal comparison (comparing scripture with scripture) to be fascinating.”

    Harmonizing by internal comparison is an excellent approach, however Mr. Camping, for all his analytical approach, got off track with one KEY assumption very early on. While he’s not wrong with everything he says, his date-setting is rank heresy – but no one could ever convince him of this because his logic and reason since that time is mostly sound.

    When the Hubble Telescope was launched, millions of man-hours had been spend in design, research, engineering and assembly… And it was all done 100% right EXCEPT for ONE small mistake early on – A mistake that affected every correct step that came afterwards and resulted in a device which couldn’t see what it was looking at!

    Mr. Camping’s heresy is like that. He has been consistant for years, but one small error long ago makes him light-years off target today.

    It’s about three hours until Mr. Camping’s “J-Day”, and I would even put my Eternal Soul on the line and say that the sun will rise tomorrow just like it did yesterday, and just like it will the day after.

    Mr. Camping has devestated the Faith of millions, spoken presumptuously, and because of him the Name of God is blasphemed among the unbelievers. I can only pray that God will forgive him, and somehow use even this to reach the lost.

  31. Barabbas says:

    So, can we all put the issue to rest now and apply Deuteronomy 18:22 – “A prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”

    …or is there anyone out there who is still trying to re-calculate the numbers?

  32. Brittany says:

    Why bother trying to predict when the world is going to end. The bible tells us that no one knows when Jesus is coming back, so trying to figure it out is pointless. If you say a date and say, “Yes! This is when Judgment Day is!” It’s not going to be that day because by letting you be correct you’d be making God a liar. Stop worrying about the end of the world and do what you’re supposed to do, teach the Word and make disciples of all nations. When the world is supposed to end, it will end whether you predict it or not. (Oh, and obviously it didn’t end on the 21st of May.)

  33. Haroldtards says:

    Followers and believers in Harold Camping’s prophecy’s.

  34. Android Developers says:

    Thanks for sharing this information. I really like your way of expressing the opinions and sharing the information. I guess Harold Camping was wrong. LOL

  35. S.C. says:

    False prophet.

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