OAKLAND, Calif. – A California preacher who foretold of the world's end only to see the appointed day pass with no extraordinarily cataclysmic event has revised his apocalyptic prophecy, saying he was off by five months and the Earth actually will be obliterated on Oct. 21...As I have mentioned before, the Jehovah's witnesses made exactly the same prophetic mistake back in 1914 and suffered the same disappointment. They even came back with the same response: I was right, it was just spiritual instead of physical*. It's the last refuge of those who would slander God before they would publicly admit error. But it is really a nice touch that Camping's new date is so close - after two strikes, a lot of people would have wised up and pushed the day back a little more. On the other hand, he's 89; odds are climbing that his judgment day is the one at hand, and this will give everyone one more chance to pile on before he goes away for good.
Through chatting with a friend over what he acknowledged was a very difficult weekend, it dawned on him that instead of the biblical Rapture in which the faithful would be swept up to the heavens, May 21 had instead been a "spiritual" Judgment Day, which places the entire world under Christ's judgment, he said.
But I have noted one angle to the stories today: "Oh, his poor followers. They spent squillions and now they have nothing." While I'm sure they are being written from the 'bad Harold' perspective rather than out of genuine concern for the followers' financial well-being, let me be the first to say that compassion, at least for the money, is wholly unnecessary. They gave their money away, freely, and if they want more, they need to get a job**. That they gave it to a false prophet means they need to get wise and get a job. It's like the man who bets his house on a first five at the roulette wheel. Sorry you lost, next time don't be stupid. And get a job.
As Peter noted, "There shall be false teachers among you...And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." The atheist "rapture parties," the mocking of God, those are 'by reason' of the false prophets Peter mentions, men like Harold Camping.
But for those followers of Camping who gave your goods to spread his false message, now that you are undeceived***, you need to deal with your part in the evil that he did and, it appears, will continue to do. Once the false prophet is exposed, it is time to double down or repent. Harold Camping is doubling down. What are you going to do?
* I love the smell of bullshit in the morning. It smells like victory.
** When Jesus told the rich young ruler to give all he had to the poor, they both understood the latter would then be broke. It sort of goes with giving stuff away. Jesus did not consider that to be much of a problem.
*** Or at least have no excuse to remain deceived.