End Times News Update
Sign: False Prophets (Camping gets it wrong…again)
Scripture: Matthew 24:1
News Source: My Way News
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Apocalypse believers await end, skeptics carry on

May 21, 9:42 PM (ET)
By GARANCE BURKE

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – They spent months warning the world of the
apocalypse, some giving away earthly belongings or draining their
savings accounts. And so they waited, vigilantly, on Saturday for the
appointed hour to arrive.

When 6 p.m. came and went across the continental U.S. and various
spots around the globe, and no extraordinary cataclysm occurred, some
believers expressed confusion, while others reassured each of their
faith. Still, some others took it in stride.

“I had some skepticism but I was trying to push the skepticism away
because I believe in God,” said Keith Bauer – who hopped in his
minivan in Maryland and drove his family 3,000 miles to California for
the Rapture.

He started his day in the bright morning sun outside the gated Oakland
headquarters of Family Radio International, whose founder, Harold
Camping, has been broadcasting the apocalyptic prediction for years.
“I was hoping for it because I think heaven would be a lot better than
this earth.”

But he added, “It’s God who leads you, not Harold Camping.”

Bauer, a tractor-trailer driver, began the voyage west last week,
figuring that if he “worked last week, I wouldn’t have gotten paid
anyway, if the Rapture did happen.” After seeing the nonprofit
ministry’s base of operations, Bauer planned to take a day trip to the
Pacific Ocean, and then start the cross-country drive back home Sunday
with his wife, young son and another family relative.

The May 21 doomsday message was sent far and wide via broadcasts and
websites by Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer who has
built a multi-million-dollar Christian media empire that publicizes
his apocalyptic prediction. According to Camping, the destruction was
likely to have begun its worldwide march as it became 6 p.m. in the
various time zones, although some believers said Saturday the exact
timing was never written in stone.

In New York’s Times Square, Robert Fitzpatrick, of Staten Island, said
he was surprised when 6 p.m. simply came and went. He had spent his
own money to put up advertising about the end of the world.

“I can’t tell you what I feel right now,” he said, surrounded by
tourists. “I don’t understand it. I don’t know. I don’t understand
what happened.

“Obviously, I haven’t understood it correctly because we’re still
here,” he said.

Many followers said the delay was a further test from God to persevere
in their faith.

“It’s still May 21 and God’s going to bring it,” said Family Radio’s
special projects coordinator Michael Garcia, who spent Saturday
morning praying and drinking two last cups of coffee with his wife at
home in Alameda. “When you say something and it doesn’t happen, your
pride is what’s hurt. But who needs pride? God said he resists the
proud and gives grace to the humble.”

At Chicago’s Millennium Park, hours before 6 p.m. arrived locally,
people continued to take photographs of the famed Cloud Gate as they
do every other Saturday – and poked fun at the Judgment Day prophecy.

“I guess the whole school thing was a waste of time,” said Sarah
Eaton, a 19-year-old college student visiting the city from St. Paul,
Minn.

The Internet also was alive with discussion, humorous or not, about
the end of the world and its apparent failure to occur on cue. Many
tweets declared Camping’s prediction a dud or shared, tongue-in-cheek,
their relief at not having to do weekend chores or take a shower.

The top trends on Twitter at midday included, at No. 1,
“endofworldconfessions,” followed by “myraptureplaylist.”

Camping’s radio stations, TV channels, satellite broadcasts and
website are controlled from a modest building sandwiched between an
auto shop and a palm reader’s business. Family Radio International’s
message has been broadcast in 61 languages. He has said that his
earlier apocalyptic prediction in 1994 didn’t come true because of a
mathematical error.

“I’m not embarrassed about it. It was just the fact that it was
premature,” he told The Associated Press last month. But this time, he
said, “there is … no possibility that it will not happen.”

Camping has preached that some 200 million people would be saved, and
that those left behind would die in a series of scourges visiting
Earth until the globe is consumed by a fireball on Oct. 21.

Christian leaders from across the spectrum widely dismissed the
prophecy. One local church was concerned that Camping’s followers
could slip into a deep depression come Sunday.

Pastor Jacob Denys of Milpitas-based Calvary Bible Church planned to
wait outside the nonprofit’s headquarters on Saturday afternoon,
hoping to counsel believers who may be disillusioned if the Rapture
does not occur.

“The cold, hard reality is going to hit them that they did this, and
it was false and they basically emptied out everything to follow a
false teacher,” he said. “We’re not all about doom and gloom. Our
message is a message of salvation and of hope.”

As the day drew nearer, followers reported that donations grew,
allowing Family Radio to spend millions on more than 5,000 billboards
and 20 RVs plastered with the doomsday message. In 2009, the nonprofit
reported in IRS filings that it received $18.3 million in donations,
and had assets of more than $104 million, including $34 million in
stocks or other publicly traded securities.

Marie Exley, who helped put up apocalypse-themed billboards in Israel,
Jordan and Lebanon, said the money allowed the nonprofit to reach as
many souls as possible.

She said she and her husband, mother and brother read the Bible and
stayed close to the television news on Friday night awaiting word of
an earthquake in the southern hemisphere. When that did not happen,
she said fellow believers began reaching out to reassure one another
of their faith.

“Some people were saying it was going to be an earthquake at that
specific time in New Zealand and be a rolling judgment, but God is
keeping us in our place and saying you may know the day but you don’t
know the hour,” she said Saturday, speaking from Bozeman, Mont. “The
day is not over, it’s just the morning, and we have to endure until
the end.”

On Sunday, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck near a group of South
Pacific islands about 600 miles off New Zealand, but there were no
reports of damage or risk of tsunami. The temblor struck under the
Kermadec Islands, which has no permanent population.

New Zealand, shaken by a series of quakes and aftershocks since a Feb.
22 temblor devastated the city of Christchurch and killed 181 people,
sits in an area where two tectonic plates collide. More than 14,000
earthquakes are recorded in New Zealand each year.

Camping, who lives few miles from his radio station, was not home late
morning Saturday.

But Sheila Doan, 65, Camping’s next-door-neighbor of 40 years, was
outside gardening. She said the worldwide spotlight on his May 21
forecast has attracted far more attention than Camping’s 1994
prediction.

Doan said she is a Christian and while she respects her neighbor, she
doesn’t share his views.

“I wouldn’t consider Mr. Camping a close friend and wouldn’t have him
over for dinner or anything, but if he needs anything, we are there
for him,” Doan said.

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