Harold Egbert Camping (born July 19, 1921) is an American Christian radio broadcaster and president of Family Radio, a California-based radio station that spans more than 150 markets in the United States. He previously warned his listeners, using Bible-based numerology to predict dates for the end of the world, and that the Rapture would occur in September 1994. His most recent end times prediction stated it would occur on May 21, 2011, and that God would subsequently destroy the Earth five months later on October 21. As a born again Christian, the fact that I am writing this today indicates he is zero for two in his apocalyptic predictions.
Late night comedians, members of other religions, and atheists around the world have used Camping as proof the Christians are nuts. My response to that is, he does not speak for the vast majority of us, and many well known church leaders publicly labeled him as a false prophet prior to the non-event of yesterday. Camping and his followers spent a huge amount of their money spreading the word of the world's pending doom. Today, they are broke and humiliated.
What a waste, or was it? For the first time in a very long time, unbelievers approached Christians to inquire about what the Bible has to say about Christ's return. This provided a rare opportunity for believers to discuss Jesus with them. Just by asking about Christ's return, they were admitting some faith He had been here before. While it is true that Camping was not only wrong, but is a poor student of God's Word, it gave born again believers the opening to share the Gospel, including Mark 13:32, which says, "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father."
The Apocalypse (Greek: ἀποκάλυψις apokálypsis; "lifting of the veil" or "revelation") is a disclosure of something hidden. In this case, it is describing the end of the world as revealed to the Apostle John by Jesus Christ in his heavenly vision (Rev. 1:1, 9-19; 4:1-2). John's vision included a discussion of the churches of his day (Ch. 2-3), the Rapture symbolized in John's being taken up into heaven (4:1), the Tribulation (Ch. 6-18), Christ's Second Coming (Ch. 19), the Millennial Kingdom (20:1-7), the Great White Throne Judgment (20:11-15), and Eternity (Ch. 21-22).
Our opportunity to answer those laughing at Camping and his followers will not last long. Christians need to "...be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Pet. 3:15). While Camping was clearly wrong to set a date, he was absolutely correct in saying Jesus Christ could return for His Church very soon; there is no event prophesied in the Bible which has to happen prior to His Second Coming. It could happen this very day. Are you ready?