Revisiting Harold Camping’s End Of The World

Wild eschatological interpretations and predictions of Christ’s return have always been a problem since Christ’s first coming, and I fully expect another great prediction of the end of the world will soon be upon us to the disillusionment of many. We seem ripe for another big prediction.

With these things in mind, I provide a brief history of the rise and fall of Harold Camping with the goal that the church would not get caught up in our turbulent times with predictions of Christ’s return and irresponsible eschatologies that have the consequence of taking believers away from their purpose on this earth. As Jesus said, “No man knows the day nor the hour.”

The present generation always needs a fresh reminder, in the face of eschatological confusion, of the mission to which we have been called, namely, “that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness,” and then, at a time only known by the Lord, “the end will come.” Hopefully, knowing the history of Harold Camping will keep us from the doom of repeating this sad error.

…The problems began, however, sometime before 1988 when Camping began to advance the idea that one could know from the Bible when Christ would return. When challenged that “no man knows the day nor the hour”, Camping was known for responding, “yes, but we can know the month and the year.” In 1992 Camping self-published his controversial book “1994?”, in which he suggested the possibility that Christ would return sometime between September 15th and 27th of that year, dates corresponding to the Feast of Tabernacles. Camping would soon, unashamedly, predict September 6, 1994 as the date of Christ’s return.

When Camping’s first prediction failed, claiming miscalculation, he then began to reinvent his scheme with the idea that God ended the church age. “Sometime earlier” wrote Camping, “God was finished using the churches to represent the kingdom of God.” In his book “We Are Almost There!” Camping chose the date of May 21, 1988 for the end of the church age. In an obscure time scheme combined with strange mathematical formulas, Camping was able to convince his followers of this date as the end of the church age. The common answer heard over the “Open Forum,” his daily radio program, was that around thirty-five years ago God began to open the true believer’s understanding to know the entire timeline of history—a justification based on an obscure interpretation of Eccles. 8:5, and other detailed and often confusing studies in numerology. Read More»

Chris Gordon | “The Forgotten Story of Harold Camping” | April 5, 2022


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  1. Before Camping (or maybe simultaneously) was an end of the world prophet, he was a hyper-Calvinist, telling his callers to wait on the Lord for mystical evidences of their election. When you place yourself on the right side of election and above/beyond those you deem outside…. Well, eventually it goes to your head. And so he went.

  2. Camping was an example of why civil engineers (his original training) should stick to civil engineering.

  3. Luther may as well been speaking to Camping when he states (Against the Heavenly Prophets),
    “But should you ask how one gains access to this same lofty spirit they do not refer you to the outward Gospel but to some imaginary realm, saying: Remain in self-abstraction where I am now and you will have the same experience. A heavenly voice will come, and God Himself will speak to you…With all his mouthing of the words, ‘Spirit, Spirit, Spirit,’ he tears down the bridge, the path, the way, the ladder, and all the means by which the Spirit might come to you.”

    Beware of false prophets and their hidden knowledge.

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