NEW YORK — Five months after a media frenzy over a US preacher’s “end of the world” prophesy, his faithful were awaiting Judgment Day again Friday based on his “recalculated” prediction.
Harold Camping, the evangelist of Family Radio based in Oakland, California, caused a global stir earlier this year when he predicted doomsday would occur on May 21 — a day which came and went.
Undeterred, Camping has claimed a new analysis based on the Bible’s Book of Genesis showed the real event would in fact be on October 21.
“We are living in a most unusual time. On May 21, of 2011, mankind entered into the Day of Judgment. This ‘day’ will last for 5 months (153 days) until October 21, 2011,” he said in a message to followers.
“The Bible declares that it was God’s plan to save 200 million people out of all those that would ever live upon the earth.”
Camping bases his prediction on a message from God to Noah in the year 4990 BC, claiming that the destruction in “seven days” really translates to 7,000 years.
“God shut the door to the sheepfold after finding the last lost sheep,” he says in his latest message.
“Another way of saying the same thing is that God shut the door (Christ) to heaven on May 21 the beginning of Judgment Day! Once the door shut it cannot ever open again for a sinner to become saved and enter in.”
For believers, this means that the time to repent is over — those who have not done it already are lost souls, according to Camping’s prediction.
“Sadly, as we have earnestly studied the Bible over these five months we have found verse after verse that supports and strengthens the conclusion that the Lord is no longer saving sinners. He has finished that glorious work,” the preacher contends.
The latest prediction was greeted in a more low-key manner than in May, when people around the world went into hiding or scrambled to repent, while others staged parties and snapped up T-shirts and souvenirs.
Camping and his followers were not picking up the phone, and steering clear of new media appearances.
Camping’s original prophecy said the end will be signaled in each region by powerful earthquakes, after which the good will be whisked up to heaven and the not-so-good will suffer through hell on earth until God pulls the plug on the planet once and for all.
It was not immediately clear how many people around the world were girding for the Apocalypse this time around.
But in Cuba, a group that has spent two months holed up, waiting for God to unleash his divine fury on “sinful Cuba,” seemed to be anticipating no immediate cataclysm.
“We have not predicted a cataclysm would occur, because God has not pronounced it,” William Herrera, son of pastor Bruno Herrera, told AFP from inside the church.
“However he has told us that plagues and maladies will strike Cuba and that has begun.”
Herrera maintained his group was not buying into the end-of-the-world prophesies offered by other evangelists.