I don't think they understand the real reason why only God could know the day and hour, if they did they wouldn't try to work it out with mathematics.
Pray pray pray, it's what they need right now!
And Amen again!
I've been praying for them, and reaching out to them on other boards, inviting them to email me. They've been very active the past couple of months, advertising May 21st, so they've been easy to find.
I guess what really struck me when I looked into some of Camping's publications were the similarities between his group and the Watchtower org.
Similar DOCTRINES (just a few of them):
1) The Trinity is a lie.
2) There is no such thing as eternal hell. (Camping is an annihilationist)
3) Jesus is actually Michael the archangel.
4) All of the churches in the world are apostate (they have fallen away from the truth).
5) He is restoring true Christianity.
6) The Holy Spirit is no longer working in the church.
Many of Camping's followers sold their homes and businesses, or dipped into their savings and retirement accounts and traveled around the country in RV's and vans that look like moving billboards, with messages that read:
“Have you heard the awesome news? – The end of the world is almost here! It begins May 21st, 2010 – The Bible guarantees it”
They also purchased billboard advertising in various places, as well as ads in magazines, and many have observed his followers standing around in crowded downtown (metro) areas wearing signs around their necks advertising the end of the world.
IDK if Russell's followers ever did anything similar to this at the time of his predictions. But I do know that the Watchtower Society, under Rutherford, did conduct a similar campaign between 1918 and the early '20s--"Millions Now Living Will Never Die." The kick-off talk for this campaign was broadcast over the Watchtower-owned radio station, WBBR. JW's also drove around in cars draped with campaign signs, and they marched around in major cities wearing placards to announce this.
Also, Camping's method of Bible interpretation is very similar to Russell's (on down the line). He employs numerology, assigning his own definitions to various numbers found in the Bible. Then he applies allegorical or metaphorical meanings to passages that give no indication they should be taken any other way than literally to lend support to his definitions. Finally, he applies a literal meaning to the first half of 2 Peter 3:8, connecting this verse to the numbers he's picked out and multiplying them. The main difference I see is that Camping starts at the time of the flood rather than the creation of Adam, and it doesn't appear that the Great Pyramid figured into any of Camping's calculations.
Similar MIND CONTROL tactics (fear and intimidation):
Camping's followers all left any churches they may have previously been associated with because he told them that anyone who is still an active member of any other church will be destroyed by God on Judgment Day, since the churches are all run by Satan.
Also, they all participated to some degree in the worldwide "warning work" to get the "good news" out that people could be raptured on May 21st and then enjoy the paradise like conditions that God will bring about after he destroys the world on October 21st if they will cry out to "Jehovah," leave their churches and join them.
So, naturally, I wondered what his excuse would be. Others have suggested dates before (not announcing them to the whole world or attributing them to God), just saying they believe Christ's return could happen by a certain year. When the year passed, they just said, "Well, I was wrong."
So I wondered if Camping might say he's just an imperfect person with wrong understanding of the Bible chronology; or if he might deny mentioning a specific date, but blame his overeager followers for speculating; or if he would say that Jesus did come, only invisibly, and appointed him as the FDS to serve meat in due season to the household of faith; OR if he might say that Jesus did come in that he became present as ruler of the earth by turning his attention to the earth from heaven?
Did I miss any? So, according to the link ablebodiedman provided, Camping actually said that May 21st was "an invisible judgment day," that he came to understand it as "a spiritual, rather than physical event," and that "Christ's May 21 arrival was a 'spiritual coming' ushering in the last five months before the final judgment and destruction."
He's definitely following the Watchtower program to a "T" ! We should be able to use this somehow to reach our JW loved ones. They won't look critically at the mother organization, but if we ask gentle, Camping-related questions, perhaps we could help create some cognitive dissonance?