The end is still near, radio preacher Harold Camping said in a broadcast Monday night, but the world will be around until Oct. 21.
Camping, the 89-year-old East Bay preacher who gained international fame with his prediction that the rapture would come at 6 p.m. Saturday, said that he misinterpreted the Bible and that May 21 was not really the end of the world but the spiritual beginning of the physical end.
"Were not changing a date at all; we're just learning that we have to be a little more spiritual about this," he said in a rambling 90-minute radio broadcast that was part sermon, part press conference. "But on Oct. 21, the world will be destroyed. It won't be five months of destruction. It will come at once."
“I can tell you very candidly that when May 21 came and went it was a very difficult time for me, a very difficult time,” said Mr. Camping, 89, a former civil engineer. “I was truly wondering what is going on. In my mind, I went back through all of the promises God has made, all of the proofs, all of the signs and everything was fitting perfectly, so what in the world happened? I really was praying and praying and praying, oh Lord, what happened?”
What he decided, apparently, was that May 21 had been “an invisible judgment day,” of the spiritual variety, rather than his original vision of earthquakes and other disasters leading to five months of hell on earth, culminating in a spectacular doomsday on Oct. 21 — something he had repeatedly guaranteed. On Monday, however, Mr. Camping seemed satisfied with his new interpretation, which apparently spared humankind its months of torture for a single day of destruction.