SAN FRANCISCO – A California ministry has again predicted the end of the world is at hand.
The Oakland-based Family Radio International that stirred a global frenzy when it predicted the rapture would take 200 million Christians to heaven on May 21, now says the cataclysmic event will destroy the globe on Friday.
But the world on Friday was undergoing its usual give and take with no signs of such an event.
This time, the ministry and its 90-year-old leader, Harold Camping, have avoided the media and perhaps a repeat of the international mockery that followed when believers awoke on May 22 to find themselves still on Earth.
"I'm sorry to disappoint you, but we at Family Radio have been directed to not talk to the media or the press," Camping's daughter Susan Espinoza wrote in response to an email request about Friday's doomsday scenario.
Calls to the ministry in Oakland Thursday went to voicemail and were unreturned. Several followers who were contacted also declined comment.
Camping, who suffered a mild stroke three weeks after his prediction failed to materialize in May, still spreads the word through his Family Radio International website. God's judgment and salvation were completed on May 21, Camping says in a message explaining the mix-up in his biblical math.
"Thus we can be sure that the whole world, with the exception of those who are presently saved (the elect), are under the judgment of God, and will be annihilated together with the whole physical world on Oct. 21," he says on the website.
Followers were crestfallen in May when the rapture did not occur, particularly those who had quit their jobs or donated some of their retirement savings or college funds for the more than 5,000 billboards and 20 RVs plastered with the Judgment Day message.
Camping, a retired civil engineer, also prophesied the Apocalypse would come in 1994, but said later that didn't happen because of a mathematical error.