Doomsday Prophecies

By Kersley Fitzgerald

There is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born. Firmly established already in his early years, he will, after reaching maturity, achieve supreme power. ~375-400 AD; Martin of Tours
  • Hippolytus of Rome, Sextus Julius Africanus, and Irenaeus all predicted Jesus would return in 500 AD. At least one of these scholars based his prophecy on the dimensions of Noah's Ark.
  • Many Christians, including Pope Sylvester II, believed the Millennial Kingdom would end, reasonably enough, on 1000; when that didn't happen, they changed it to 1033, one thousand years after Jesus' crucifixion.
  • Joachim of Fiore and his followers started with 1260, pushed it back to 1290, and finally settled on 1335.
  • Botticelli, known for that painting of a naked Venus in a clam shell, insisted the Millennium would begin in 1504 because he certainly was living in the Tribulation.
  • Martin Luther claimed the end of the world would occur by the year 1600, while Chris Columbus claimed 1656. And then 1658.
  • The Puritan pastor Cotton Mathor said 1697. And then 1716. And then 1736.
  • The mathematician Bernoulli predicted a comet would come crashing down in April of 1719.
  • The entire state legislature of Connecticut declared the end of the world in May of 1780 after seeing the daytime sky go dark — most likely because of a forest fire or fog.
  • Mary Bateman's hen's eggs claimed 1806, although it was later discovered Mary had written the phrase "Christ is coming" on the eggs and then stuffed them back inside her poor chicken.
  • Continuing the avian theme, John Wesley insisted Revelation 12:14 ("But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.") meant 1836.
  • The founding members of the Catholic Apostolic Church, apparently believing the world couldn't go on without them, predicted the world's end upon the death of the last surviving member, which occured in 1901.
  • The Jehovah's Witnesses claimed 1941. And then 1975.
  • Astrologist Jeane Dixon said a planetary alignment in February 1962 was the defining doomsday harbinger.
  • Cult leader Jim Jones claimed a nuclear holocaust would start in 1967, while Charles Manson based his 1969 apocalyptic race war on a Beatles' album. Marshall Applewhite of Heaven's Gate said 1997. Both Jones and Applewhite led their followers into mass-suicide to prepare.
  • Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel claimed 1981; Pat Robertson said 1982; Louis Farrakhan said 1991.
  • My uncle had currency for the one-world government that claimed it would be legal tender in 1984.
  • Poor Harold Camping had six dates in 1994, 1995, and 2011.
  • Nostradamus led a long line of prognosticators who insisted upon 1999. Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye, and Jerry Jenkins waited until New Year's Day of 2000. Isaac Newton also claimed 2000, while Pat Robertson said 2007.
  • Of course, we all remember the hullabaloo surrounding December 2012 and the Mayan calendar.
  • The Russian royal string-puller Rasputin said August 2013.
  • And now we can add John Hagee's April 2014-September 2015, Blood Moon Prophecy.
That puts the Wikipedia failed doomsday prophecy list at 153. Astrology. Date-counting. Coincidences of holidays. Gut feelings. There is no method yet unused to predict the second coming of Christ. From theologians to chicken abusers, physicists to psychics — to my dear uncle — there are few more ecumenical hobbies than predicting the end of the world. But all 153 have one thing very much in common:

None of them came true.

Coming up, Harold Camping's followers will try again this October, Jeane Dixon has another go in 2020, and Muslims get in on the action, putting their bets on 2120 or maybe 2129. Or 2280. There's even a prediction based on cricket — the game, not the insect — set for 2200.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let's review what we know:

1. We don't know when something will happen.
2. God does.

What we do have is 153 failed predictions, uncountable future predictions, and one verse to rule them all:
But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. Matthew 24:36
Botticelli, poor Harold Camping, John Hagee, and my uncle are supposed to know when Jesus will return when even He doesn't? This doesn't make sense to me.

Last night, we pulled out the lawn chairs and sat in the yard under blankets and watched the earth's shadow cover the moon. A "supermoon" — a full moon close to the earth. A full eclipse. Actually mostly visible through the haze of clouds and forest fire smoke. We sat and watched until the moon was almost covered. And we awed that God was creative enough to make some moons round and some potato-shaped and that sometimes they were veiled in the shadow of their planet and sometimes they reflected sunlight like a beacon. And then we went inside because it was chilly. And we went to bed, knowing that Jesus will return — probably not that night, but definitely in God's timing.

Image Credit: Jean Edmonds; By Permission

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Controversial-Issues  | Current-Issues  | End-Times  | False-Teaching

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Published 9-28-15