Harold Camping, the preacher who predicted the end of the world, dies aged 92

 

Harold Camping, the California preacher who staked his credibility, along with tens of millions of dollars of his fortune, on predictions that the world would end on several separate occasions only to give up such premonitions when they all failed has died. He was 92.

A spokeswoman for Family Radio, the network which broadcast the bulk of his preaching, confirmed that Mr Camping had died at his home on Sunday after sustaining a fall last month. The preacher, whose brand of Biblical literalism built up a $120m (£74m) empire including 160 radio stations in 49 countries, first predicted Christ’s return to Earth in 1994. It was the first of what became an increasing elaborate series of predictions that saw Mr Camping became an increasingly polarising figure.

But it was the conviction with which he announced the impending apocalypse that was forecast for May 21 2011 that catapulted him to international fame. It spurred hundreds of hours of rolling news coverage; while supporters and opponents turned out in force to watch or ridicule the apocalypse he claimed to have divined from mathematical clues hidden in the Bible.

Days after the apocalypse conspicuously failed to materialize, Camping emerged from a brief seclusion to say he had merely miscalculated, and he pronounced a new Judgment date for October 21. When that day also passed uneventfully he went to ground before emerging earlier this year to apologise. He said he regretted his pronouncements and said he would retire.

In an interview with The Independent in 2011, Mr Camping said: “In the Bible, the Lord says to 'occupy until I come’. So my business is to carry on saving souls as long as I can. The end is now getting real close, and we'll find out whether we're going to be eternally dead, or eternally alive. That's pretty awesome, when you start to think about it!”

An official statement released on Family Radio today said: “Yesterday, Sunday, December 15th, at around 5:30 p.m., Harold Camping passed on to glory and is now rejoicing with his beloved Savior!

“We are so grateful to God for Brother Camping’s dedication to Family Radio and for his lifetime of service to God. We are thankful to know that Family Radio is God’s ministry, and will continue to be in God’s care and keeping.” Mr Camping is survived by a 71-year-old wife, the statement added.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Officer

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen at th...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - London - £40,000 + Bonus

£36000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...