“Tell us,” (the disciples) said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (verse 3)
Harold Egbert Camping (July 19, 1921 – December 15, 2013) was an American Christian radio broadcaster, author and evangelist. Beginning in 1958, he served as president of Family Radio, a California-based radio station group that broadcasts to more than 150 markets in the United States. In October 2011, he retired from active broadcasting following a stroke, but still maintained a role at Family Radio until his death. Camping is notable for issuing multiple failed predictions of dates for the End Times, which temporarily gained him a global following and millions of dollars of donations.
Camping predicted that Jesus Christ would return to Earth on May 21, 2011, whereupon the saved would be taken up to heaven in the rapture, and that there would follow five months of fire, brimstone and plagues on Earth, with millions of people dying each day, culminating on October 21, 2011, with the final destruction of the world. He had previously predicted that Judgment Day would occur on or about September 6, 1994.
After May 21 passed without the predicted incidents, Camping said he believed that a “spiritual” judgment had occurred on that date, and that the physical Rapture would occur on October 21, 2011, simultaneously with the final destruction of the universe by God. After October 21, 2011 passed without the predicted apocalypse, the mainstream media labeled Camping a “false prophet” and commented that his ministry would collapse after the “failed ‘Doomsday’ prediction”.
Camping later admitted in a private interview that he no longer believed that anybody could know the time of the Rapture or the end of the world, in stark contrast to his previously staunch position on the subject. In March 2012, he stated that his attempt to predict a date was “sinful”, and that his critics had been right in emphasizing the words ofMatthew 24:36: “of that day and hour knoweth no man”. He added that he was now searching the Bible “even more fervently…not to find dates, but to be more faithful in [his] understanding.” (Adapted from Wikipedia)