One day to go! Harold Camping is counting down to rapture

 I bumped into Harold Camping when I came across his book ‘1994?’ He predicts Christ will return this Saturday, May 21, 2011 Photo: Associated Press

In truth, the ideas and images in men’s minds are the invisible powers that constantly govern them. - John Locke, English philosopher, physician

The American evangelicals whose frenzied scriptural arithmetic points to the Second Coming of Christ 2,000 years after his birth are engaged in an activity which has been threatening the stability of the Christian Church since the second century; they are trying to align God’s calendar with man’s. - Damian Thompson, author, ‘The End of Time’

MIDDLE EAST, INDIA, May 19, 2011 —I bumped into Harold Camping when I came across his book ‘1994?’

Since he put a question mark at the end of the title, I didn’t write him off completely, because much of what he talks and writes about is certainly found in the Bible.

The biblical Garden of Eden

The biblical Garden of Eden

The trouble is we know Satan also tactically attributed much of what the deceiver told Eve in the Garden of Eden to God. 

Genesis records the first temptation that mankind ever faced and it was over what God had actually said.

Satan confused Eve and manipulated her into disobeying the instructions God had clearly given to Adam. Genesis 3:1-2 records the seduction: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

Did God say not to touch the tree? Genesis 2: 16 clearly records what God had commanded Adam:  “And the LORD God commanded the man, You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Satan used Eve’s tendency to embellish God’s command, and convinced her she need not take his instructions literally about a death penalty for simply eating a fruit! He lured Eve away from obedience, told her little lie, and sold her on the big one many of us continue to fall for: That we can find happiness and fulfillment apart from God – in the enticing forbidden fruit easily available all around us.

What God said in Genesis was pretty clear, just like what Jesus says in Mathew 24: 36 is quite clear: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

I see Jesus indicating that the end remains a secret only his Father knows, especially when he emphasizes even the hour as being hidden from us.

In fact 1 Thess 5: 2 says, “for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”

But Camping figures it’s okay to work out the year and the month, and goes on and tells us a month, a day and an hour - he says Jesus’ return will probably happen with a massive earthquake around 6:00 p.m. on May 21, 2011, in whichever part of the world you are!

America is full of ‘experts’ in every field you can think of, and at the age of 89, Camping cannot be denied his expertise in the Bible, which he claims he has researched for most of his life.

He is basically telling people they cannot take the plain meaning of what is said in the Bible to understand the scriptures, but with his God-given key, he can, while everyone else has misinterpreted when the end times will happen.

Harold Camping (Image: Associated Press)

Harold Camping (Image: Associated Press)

Referring to the Apostle Paul’s letters, II Peter 3:15-16 warns us that scripture contains some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.  

2 Peter 3:8 is the foundational verse some scholars accuse Camping of using very selectively. “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

Camping believes this is a literal mathematical formula that 1 day = 1,000 years. However, a website,  says Camping is very choosy about his math, not applying it consistently to the other passages he uses to prove his prediction.

In John 2:18 - 21 The Jews asked Jesus:  What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But— the temple he spoke of was his body.

According to, if we are to understand that 1 day = 1,000 years, then we should deduce that Christ would be raised up again 3,000 years after his body was destroyed, or roughly the year 3033 AD.

Going by Camping’s logic, one could also interpret a whole lot of stuff in the Bible differently.

For instance, Psalm 90: 10 allocates mankind a lifespan of “threescore years and ten.” By Camping’s calculation, that should allow you and me to live much longer than any reasonable insurance policy would be willing to cover.

But, what really troubles me about Camping, is why is he not ready to declare he will refund the money he has collected from people if May 22 comes along? Apparently, there are people who have given him their life savings. A persistent caller on his show asked him point blank if he will return the money sent to him by people should the sun shine on May 22.

Camping refused to give a straight answer ,saying when it’s all going to end there was no point in discussing that issue. Does this suggest that maybe he has an exit plan?

Media reports indicate that his Oakland ministry-based Family Radio has raised more than $100 million over the past seven years, according to tax returns. It owns 66 radio stations across the globe, and was worth more than $72 million in 2009.

If May 22 shows up, Camping can still go to work, possibly with his considerable funding intact!

In a very different sense, it is a somewhat similar situation for me with No 2 Religion, Yes 2 Faith – I’ve taken a stand on Christianity - but am I one hundred percent sure I am right?

Save the date - May 21, 2011 (Image: Associated Press)

Save the date - May 21, 2011 (Image: Associated Press)

No, I’m not; I have some concerns about my position, and my mind is still open.

But, I have no doubts about Christ, and so far, no one has been able to convince me that he founded the religion that uses his name. I am hoping someone has better answers than mine.

I am only sure of one thing – Christ is real. As real as my family, my work, my love of the monsoon rains, and that unbelievable pepperoni pizza my wife and I had in Naples on our Mediterranean cruise.

I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call Camping a false prophet; at 89, this old man seems to have studied the Bible carefully; more likely he is a stubborn old chap who is just drawing the wrong conclusions from his research.

We will uphold Harold Camping in our Tuesday Bible study group if he has the integrity one expects of him. I really don’t want him to be the laughing stock of the world on May 22, 2011.

It is the name of Christ that people will mock; maybe he should have thought about that a little more.

I think there are simple reasons why the world will not end on May 21, 2011. God kept things simple. He doesn’t only use brilliant theologians to communicate to us. To start with, he used mostly fishermen, and stated things very plainly on certain issues. Some deep subjects may need considerable reflection, but I don’t think the exact timing of the end of the world is one of them.

Still, I hope Harold Camping is right about May 21, 2011.

For it could happen any day, and I sure could think of a few things to do with my resurrected body. I also have some notions about what a paradise for writers would be like!

The thief in the night chapter in the Bible contains a portion of scripture that could work in Harold’s favor: 1 Thess 5: 4-6 seems to indicate some people will be in the know.

“But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.”

And if that applies to Harold Camping, I’m not complaining!

Frank Raj belongs to an extended Indian-American family; he is based in India and the Middle East where he has lived for over three decades. He is the founding editor and publisher of ‘The International Indian’, ( the oldest magazine of Gulf-Indian society and history since 1992. Frank is listed in Arabian Business magazine’s 100 most influential Indians in the Gulf and is co-author of the upcoming publication ‘Universal Book of the Scriptures,’ and author of ‘Desh Aur Diaspora.’ He blogs at

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Read more of Frank’s work in No 2 Religion, Yes 2 Faith in the Communities at the Washington Times.


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Frank Raj

Middle East and India based Frank Raj is the founding editor and publisher of ‘The International Indian’, the oldest magazine of Gulf-Indian society and history since 1992. He is listed in Arabian Business magazine’s 100 most influential Indians in the Gulf and is co-author of the upcoming publication ‘Universal Book of the Scriptures.’ He blogs at


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