Paradise postponed: World will now end on OCTOBER 21 says preacher who was surprised we all survived Saturday

Harold Camping, 89, takes to radio to claim that God did not want us to suffer for five months - instead he will make everything happen at once

By Daily Mail, UK/May 24, 2011

The preacher who predicted the end of the world has taken to the airwaves to reveal why we are all still here.

Harold Camping, 89, who became a figure of national ridicule after his warning of the apocalypse, said last night he was 'astounded' when May 21 came and went without the Rapture.

But he is already examining new theories... including the possibility that God did not want mankind to suffer for five months, and so will end the world all at once on October 21 instead.

He also claimed that God did visit Earth on May 21 - but that he did so 'spiritually'.

Speaking on Family Radio tonight, he said: 'Last weekend became a very interesting weekend because May 21 came and has gone and all the dire predictions that have been talked about did not come to pass.

'I can tell you when May 21 came and went it was a very difficult time for me - a very difficult time. I was truly wondering what is going on. In my mind I went back through all of the promises God had made. What in the world was happening? I really was praying and praying: “Lord, what happened” because all through this I'd been astounded how God opened door after door.

'It was marvellous how everything was going until May 21 came. I stayed away from home for one night because the pressure from that phone ringing and people knocking on my door for an interview was more than I could stand. So my wife and I went to a motel and spent the night there.'

He continued: 'We were convinced that on May 21 God would return here in a very physical way by bringing a great earthquake and ushering in the final five months of the day of judgement and the fact is when we look at it spiritually, we find he did come.

'We've already been talking about the end of the world being October 21 2011 but we have not emphasised that because the beginning of it was the fact that we'd see all these things happening (over the five months).'

He explained by saying he'd received a letter from a 'listener' who offered a very interesting theory he wanted to read.

He quoted: 'The great earthquake and rapture and the universe melting in fervent heat will be happening on the last day - October 21 2011.'

'It's all going to happen on the last day.

'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 because everything will be levelled and destroyed after that earthquake and there will be no food or water to keep everyone alive.

Camping continued: 'The Bible tells us that Christ has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. God is a very compassionate God and while the law of God demands that there has to be punishment it does not mean God is going to punish, and punish, and punish, and punish.'

He went on to explain that the first part of the end of the world began on May 21 1988 - and at that that time 'God brought his judgement on all the church congregations'.

'In May 21 1988 Christ left the churches and installed Satan there - so God actually enlisted Satan who was the enemy in the churches,' he said.

'Everything in God's plan fits a very structured way - it's all very structured. On September 7 1994 when I said there was a high likelihood it was judgement day, it was true - there was judgement. It was salvation in a wonderful day. Since May 21 1988 virtually no-one could be saved in the entire world.

'On September 7 God brought even more judgement on the churches because in the world where God's judgement had begun, God lifted that judgement and allowed people to be saved outside of the churches - leaving the churches under the judgement.

'On May 21 2011 at that time again judgement and salvation is in view. The fact is on May 21 1988 judgement came upon the churches. On September 7 1994 the judgement continued on the churches, but in the world God lifted that and salvation began again outside the churches.

'On May 21 2011 we didn't feel or see any difference in the world but we know from the Bible that God brought judgement day to bear on the whole world - and it will continue right up until October 21 2011 when the whole world will be destroyed.

'We're not going to be passing any more tracts or put up any more billboards or advertising in any way about judgement day - that's all done. The world has been warned - we did our little share and boy, did the media pick it up. Now the world has been told that it's under judgement.

'The finish five months from now - we're not changing the date, we're just learning we have to look at this more spiritually. The Bible clearly teaches on October 21 that the world will be destroyed, but it will be very quick. When you study the Bible, you're always learning. We had all of our dates correct.

'But God had not opened our eyes yet to the fact that May 21 was a spiritual coming - not a physical coming. Our task is done. We didn't understand the spiritual meaning of May 21.'

Some listeners of Family Radio have quit their jobs and sold their possessions - but Camping said the radio station never told people to do that.

The hour of the apocalypse came quietly and went the same way - leaving those who believed that Saturday would mark the world's end baffled.

Believers had spent months warning the world of the pending cataclysm. Some had given away earthly belongings. Others took long journeys to be with loved ones. And there were those who drained their savings accounts.

But as 6pm came and went around the world and nothing happened, they were forced to confront reality.

'I don't understand why nothing has happened,' baffled believer Robert Fitzpatrick said as he gazed at his watch in New York's Times Square just after 6pm

'I did what I had to do. I did what the Bible said.'

The 60-year-old retired transport worker bought $140,000 worth of advertising to help spread Camping's message of doom.

But last night he faced jeers from the Times Square crowd.

'How can you still stand there? How can you still do that?' one crowd member asked.

'I obviously haven't understood it properly, because we're still here,' Mr Fitzpatrick admitted.

He was not the only one.

All were responding to the May 21 doomsday message by Harold Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer who has built a multi-million-dollar Christian media empire that publicises his apocalyptic prediction.

Camping, who lives a few miles from his radio station, was not home late morning Saturday.

Late in the evening the Associated Press tried once more to reach him, but no one answered his front door. He has not yet been heard from today

Camping, a civil engineer who once ran his own construction business, had planned to spend the day with his wife in Alameda, in northern California, and watch doomsday unfold on television.

'I'll probably try to be very near a TV or a radio or something,' he said.

'I'll be interested in what's happening on the other side of the world as this begins.'

'I had some scepticism but I was trying to push the scepticism away because I believe in God,' said Keith Bauer.

He hopped in his minivan in Maryland and drove his family 3,000 miles to California for the Rapture.

He started his day in the bright morning sun outside Camping's gated Oakland headquarters of Family Radio International.

'I was hoping for it because I think heaven would be a lot better than this earth,' said Mr Bauer, a tractor-trailer driver.

He began the voyage west last week, figuring that if he 'worked last week, I wouldn't have gotten paid anyway, if the Rapture did happen.'

According to Camping, the destruction was likely to have begun its worldwide march as it became 6 pm in the various time zones.

He had been projecting the apocalyptic prediction for years far and wide via broadcasts and websites.

Many followers said the delay was a further test from God to persevere in their faith.

'When you say something and it doesn't happen, your pride is what's hurt,' said Family Radio's special projects coordinator Michael Garcia, who spent Saturday morning praying and drinking two last cups of coffee with his wife at home in Alameda.

'But who needs pride? God said he resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.'

One of Camping's followers who must be truly disappointed is Michael Garcia.

After spending months travelling the country to put up Judgement Day billboards and hand out Bible tracts, he planned to spend Friday evening with his family at home in Alameda, near the Christian media empire's Oakland headquarters.

'We know the end will begin in New Zealand and will follow the sun and roll on from there,' said Garcia, a 39-year-old father of six. 'That's why God raised up all the technology and the satellites so everyone can see it happen at the same time.'

The Internet was alive with discussion, humorous or not, about the end of the world and its apparent failure to occur on cue.

Many tweets declared Camping's prediction a dud or shared, tongue-in-cheek, their relief at not having to do weekend chores or take a shower.

The top trends on Twitter at midday included, at number one, 'endofworldconfessions', followed by 'myraptureplaylist'.

About a dozen people in a partying mood were also outside Family Radio International, creating a carnival-like atmosphere as they strolled in a variety costumes that portrayed monks, Jesus Christ and other figures.

'Am I relieved? Yeah. I've got a lot going on,' Peter Erwin, a student from Oakland, said, with a hint of sarcasm. 'Trying to get specific about the end of the world is crazy.'

Revelers counted down the seconds before the anticipated hour, and people began dancing to music as the clock struck 6 pm.

Some released shoe-shaped helium balloons into the sky in an apparent reference to the Rapture.

Camping has preached that some 200 million people would be saved, and that those left behind would die in a series of scourges visiting Earth until the globe is consumed by a fireball on October 21.

Family Radio International's message has been broadcast in 61 languages. He has said that his earlier apocalyptic prediction in 1994 didn't come true because of a mathematical error.

'I'm not embarrassed about it. It was just the fact that it was premature,' he told The Associated Press last month. But this time, he said, 'there is ... no possibility that it will not happen'.

As Saturday drew nearer, followers reported that donations grew, allowing Family Radio to spend millions on more than 5,000 billboards and 20 RVs plastered with the doomsday message.

In 2009, the nonprofit reported in IRS filings that it received $18.3million in donations, and had assets of more than $104million, including $34million in stocks or other publicly traded securities.

Marie Exley, who helped put up apocalypse-themed billboards in Israel, Jordan and Lebanon, said the money allowed the nonprofit to reach as many souls as possible.

She said she and her husband, mother and brother read the Bible and stayed close to the television news on Friday night awaiting word of an earthquake in the southern hemisphere.

When that did not happen, she said fellow believers began reaching out to reassure one another of their faith.

She said she and her husband, mother and brother read the Bible and stayed close to the television news on Friday night awaiting word of an earthquake in the southern hemisphere. When that did not happen, she said fellow believers began reaching out to reassure one another of their faith.

She said: 'Some people were saying it was going to be an earthquake at that specific time in New Zealand and be a rolling judgement, but God is keeping us in our place and saying you may know the day but you don't know the hour. The day is not over, it's just the morning, and we have to endure until the end.'

As 6pm approached in California, some 100 people gathered outside Family Radio International headquarters in Oakland, although it appeared none of the believers of the prophecy were among them.

Camping's radio stations, TV channels, satellite broadcasts and website are controlled from a modest building sandwiched between an auto shop and a palm reader's business.

After the 6pm deadline, the airwaves of the Christian Family radio were silent and has been airing recorded church music, devotionals and life advice unrelated to the apocalypse throughout today.

The station's website typically allows you to listen live, but the feature has been having problems today, likely due to server overload.

Christian leaders from across the spectrum widely dismissed the prophecy, and members of a local church concerned followers could slip into a deep depression come Sunday were part of the crowd outside Family Radio International.

They held signs declaring Camping a false prophet as motorists drove by.

His prediction has been dismissed as 'flat-out wrong' by one leading Christian author, who has accused Camping of abusing the current climate of fear rendered by natural disasters to make money.

'Nobody knows the exact day when these things are going to happen,' Steve Wohlberg, who has written more than two dozen books about the End of Days, told the New York Daily News.

'They're looking at all of these disasters and everything that's going on in the planet, and this is creating a climate of deep interest in Biblical prophecy.

'In my mind, Harold Camping has quite an account to render with God when judgment day comes.'


As the 6pm deadline passed without Armageddon being unleashed, a tidal wave of doomsday jokes and pictures flooded the internet.

Around the world, web surfers posted surreal pictures of clothes looking as though their previous human occupant had miraculously vanished.

One creative soul even offered their own view on how the Rapture was in fact prevented, showing wrestler 'Macho Man' Randy Savage, who died on Friday, elbow-dropping Jesus in heaven in order to prevent the end of the world.

'It's like getting slapped in the face': Man was 'mocked and scoffed' for car sign

When the Rapture didn't arrive on Saturday, crestfallen followers began turning their attention to more earthly concerns.

Jeff Hopkins had thought the petrol money he spent driving back and forth from Long Island to New York City would be worth it, as long as people could see the ominous sign atop his car warning that the End of the World was nigh.

'I've been mocked and scoffed and cursed at and I've been through a lot with this lighted sign on top of my car,' said Mr Hopkins, 52, a former television producer who lives in Great River, New York.

'I was doing what I've been instructed to do through the Bible, but now I've been stymied. It's like getting slapped in the face.'

The no-pocalypse: What actually happened

Although the earthquake that was supposed to signal the end of the world failed to appear, the planet wasn't without its normal and sometimes devastating disturbances on Saturday. Among them:

Camping's final address not broadcast after servers fail

The U.S. preacher who predicted the world would end on Saturday was unable to broadcast his 'final' address - reportedly because of an overloaded computer server.

Harold Camping was expected to deliver his last words to followers as the 6pm Doomsday deadline approached in America.

But it is claimed so many people tried to tune in to the 89-year-old's remarks that the computer servers used to broadcast his Christian Family Radio online crashed.

Instead devotionals and life advice unrelated to the apocalypse were broadcast as his prediction passed without incident.

There was no sign at the weekend of the former engineer, who raised a false alarm about the apocalypse for the second time.

The Oakland, California, base of his network was closed, with a sign in the door that read: 'This Office is Closed. Sorry we missed you!'

Camping had claimed in 1994 that the world would come to an end but when it didn't, he dismissed his mistake as a mathematical miscalculation. He claimed his latest prediction was based on calculations from Bible verses.

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