I hadn't heard of Harold Camping before last week. I had heard about the May 21st rapture prophecy, but wasn't sure whether it had a Christian origin. I'm currently not sure whether the December 21st, 2012 (based on when the Mayan calendar carver ran out of room, became tired, or thought his descendants could just deal with it then) is of Christian origin either—I originally heard it on the History Channel a few years ago. (It was around the same time they started airing that whole "Bible Code" thing, and around the time when I stopped watching the History Channel.)
This is apparently Harold camping's fourth prophecy. His history of end-times prophecies includes one in 1988, one in 1994, the one that just passed on May 21, 2011. Now, he is saying that he was off by a few months—the end will come on October 21st.
His last statement elevates him from being a nutty cult leader we can probably ignore to being, quite literally, a false prophet. Assuming he reads the New Testament, he's not following it:
Matthew 24:22-28 (if you're interested, read all of Matthew 24).
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.Matthew 24:36-44
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.There are also some powerful passages in the Old Testament about the triumphant second coming of Christ that definitely reject the idea that it will be "invisible." But do I even need to go on?
More than one person so far has called me a hypocrite for criticizing those "in my own faith" (it must sound different coming from a Christian than from a non-Christian...I guess I'm not allowed to agree with non-Christians at all). But I wanted to make it clear that since Harold Camping is not leading a Christian movement, Christians should not be the butt of the jokes being told.
Even MSNBC reports this:
Am I giving him too much power? How much power are others giving him?