Last Monday, 86 year-old “humble Bible teacher” and millionaire failed Doomsday prophet Harold Camping emerged to say he wasn’t wrong, after all.
His cognitive dissonance lasted precisely one day (Sunday) — a “very difficult time,” he admitted, when he “was wondering, ‘What is going on?’”
Not, apparently, a mistake, blunder, faux pas, outrageous misreading of Scripture or insulting and irresponsible display of arrogance. No, “what is going on,” he concluded, was that “God brought Judgment Day to bear” — it’s just “we didn’t see any difference.”
Say what? What about all those earth-shattering catastrophes he’d predicted as recently at last Friday? A kind of technicality.
Camping dug into his Bible on Sunday and found a text that let him off the hook, for now.
Revelation 9:4 continues a sci-fi vision where “locusts” are said to appear out of a smoke cloud and:
“… they were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”
And in 9:5, we are told these locusts “were not given power to kill them [people without the seal], but only to torture them for five months.” During which time we — the unelect — will suffer “agony” like the “sting of a scorpion.”
Now, this passage certainly contains the key phrase “five months.” No doubt. Camping takes his literally. But what about the rest?
No “locusts” I can see — so they’re symbolic. Of what? Unclear. Although recent bad weather was taken to be a sign of impending Rapture pre-5/21, this passage would seem to preclude it. But near my house in Northeast Minneapolis last week, a tornado most definitely DID “harm the grass” and a whole bunch of “plant[s]” and “tree[s],” in direct defiance of Scripture.
So the locusts are unruly. What about the “agony” of the unelect. Notice any more pain than usual, sinners?
And then there’s that crucial “five months.” Camping’s original Rapture date required interpreting Noah’s “seven days” of warning as 7,000 years. So those “five months” should be equivalent to at least 150,000 years, right?
Perhaps October 21st won’t be so bad after all.