|A Camping billboard: "The Bible Guarantees It"|
Camping, lest we forget, predicted the End of World not once, but twice in 2011. Predicted it with unassailable certainty on billboards from Oakland to Auckland.
You and I are living proof that he got it terribly, horribly wrong.
First of all, note this: in the last days there will come scoffers who live self-indulgent lives; they will mock you and say: 'What has happened to his promised coming? Our fathers have been laid to rest, but still everything goes on exactly as it always has done since the world began.' (2 Peter 3:3-4)
You can bet Camping had that verse well memorised. But alas, it's the scoffers who keep getting it right!
Eschatology is a minefield for the uninformed. You can't just add up numbers in various passages of Daniel and Revelation, regardless of what Uriah Smith thought. The track record of ten thousand 'prophets' has been a massive fail, with not a single exception. Hal Lindsey, Herbert Armstrong, Judge Rutherford, William Miller and a numberless legion of lesser lights.
Did Camping go to his grave a broken man? Perhaps, or perhaps not. But he was surely a disappointed one, with all his meticulously crafted chronologies shattered. How many of his followers now rue the day they first heard his message?
Whether he can be accused of being among those he himself would have accused as having "self-indulgent lives", as in the passage above, I don't know. Self-indulgent lies might be more to the point.
Thank God for the scoffers.