Controversial radio evangelist Harold Camping has died. He was 92.
If Camping’s name sounds familiar, it’s probably because he piqued
fear interest all over the world in 2011 when he predicted that the Biblical apocalypse was upon us. Using his own numerological study of the Bible (his background was in civil engineering, not Biblical scholarship) he predicted that the rapture would take place on May 21, followed by total world annihilation on October 21.
After May 21 came and went, Camping revised his prediction. He said that May 21 marked a “spiritual” day of judgment, and that the rapture would occur on October 21 simultaneous with the complete destruction of the world.
Of course, that date came and went as well. He later admitted that no one could predict the end of the world and that he had given up trying. This closed many decades of such attempts. Camping first predicted back in 1994 that Jesus Christ’s return was imminent.
The aftermath of the failed 2011 predictions significantly increased Harold Camping’s public profile, especially regarding the rumored $100 million or so his Family Radio ministry spent on billboards advertising the end of the world.
Though Camping insisted that the sale of Family Radio assets paid for the massive campaign, several stories began to spread alleging that many of his listeners had abandoned their jobs and donated their retirement and savings to Family Radio to help spread the word.
Regarding those donations, Camping quipped that since the actual end of the world had not happened, there was no reason to return money to his donors.
Camping was worth about $30 million in 2011, down from $135 million in 2007.
He died on December 15, 2013, as a result of complications from falling in his home two weeks earlier. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, according to the statement issued by Family Radio.
What do you think of Harold Camping? Misguided? Misunderstood? False prophet? Cult leader? Let us know in the comments or feel free to discuss the issue with me on Twitter.