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Home >> 2012 >> 2012 Articles

End of the World Prophecies That Failed
Failed Prophecies for End of the World The end of the world isn’t what it used to be, if you look at some of the doomsday prophecies that have failed in the past.

"The Earth is degenerating today. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer obey their parents, every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching." --Allegedly from an Assyrian tablet, 2800 BCE.

Throughout history, there has been one constant, in all civilizations, in all nations, in any time and any place, the anticipation of its end, often through cataclysmic and disastrous events. With history as our guide, we can look back and realize that they were usually ultimately right, everything comes to an end, although, with few exceptions, it’s rarely very sensational. In most cases, with more of a whimper than a bang, not the flicking of a switch, so beautifully and fatalistically fantasized in the cold war of the 80’s when Global Thermal Nuclear War was imminent and all the great nations of the world would at any moment be razed in Mutually Assured Destruction.

For many centuries, people have been predicting the year, the month and sometimes the day, when a violent and sudden end would terminate all life on earth. From the Christian perspective, the end of the world has always been a good thing, with Christ’s return bringing the Rapture when the saved would fly up to heaven with Jesus and live happily ever after. As early as 30 CE the New Testament, when interpreted literally, appears to record many predictions by Jesus Christ himself that God's Kingdom would arrive within a very short period. Many of them are still waiting.

500 CE was the first year with a nice round number panic, when the antipope Hippolytus and an earlier Christian academic Sextus Julius Africanus had predicted Armageddon for that year. This would re-occur with many other nice round numbers in subsequent years.

January, 1st 1000 was a date many Christians in Europe had set for the end of the world, and as the date approached, Christian armies waged war against the Pagan countries in Northern Europe with the intention of converting them all to Christianity before Christ returned in the year 1000. When the world did not end in 1000, the same Christian authorities claimed they had forgotten to add in the length of Jesus' life and revised the prediction to 1033 resulting in a rash of mass hysterias during the period from 1000-1033.

In 1669, in Russia, The Old Believers believing that the end of the world was about to occur 20 thousand burned themselves to death between 1669 and 1690 to protect themselves from the Antichrist.

Charles Wesley, one of the founders of the Methodist church, believed that the world was going to end in 1794. This view concurred with that of the Shakers who also predicted that year as the end.

Between the years of 1831 and 1841, William Miller, a Baptist minister, and founder of The Millerite religious movement, which later became the Seventh Day Adventist Church, predicted the return of Jesus and the end of the world based on prophecies in the Book of Daniel, “My principles in brief, are, that Jesus Christ will come again to this earth, cleanse, purify, and take possession of the same, with all the saints, sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844.” There were many recalculations and rescheduling which all came and went, but the Millerites kept their faith believing that the prediction was correct, but that it referred to an event not on earth but in Heaven. They continue to believe that to this day.

As Halley's comet approached the sun in 1910, it was science and not religion that caused apocalyptic panic. Astronomers announced that Earth would actually pass through the tail of the comet sparking panic that the poisonous gas of the comet’s tail that would end life on Earth, entrepreneurs took advantage of the hysteria and sold "comet pills," which were said to counter the effects of the poisonous gas.

1914 was heralded as "battle of the Great Day of God Almighty" (Armageddon) by the Jehovah's Witnesses, this date also based on the book of Daniel. When 1914 passed, many JW’s, having given their possessions away in preparation for the end, committed suicide in disappointment and the survivors changed their prediction. 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, and 1994, were other dates derived from a reinterpretation of the Scriptures. The1975 choice was the 6,000th anniversary of Adam's creation based on “reliable Bible chronology” indicating “Adam was created in the year 4026 BCE, at the end of the sixth day of creation." The current JW estimate is that the end of the world as we know it will happen precisely 6000 years after the creation of Eve. There is no way of knowing when this happened.

Respected meteorologist Albert Porta predicted that on December 17, 1919, a conjunction of six planets would “cause a magnetic current that would pierce the sun, cause great explosions of flaming gas and eventually engulf the Earth.” This prediction led to some mob violence and a few suicides. It also caused Albert to lose his job.

When amateur astronomer, Chuck Shramek “observed” a companion object following the comet Hale-Bopp in 1997 many “end of the world” interpretations ensued, and spread quickly via the Internet. The Heaven’s Gate believed the companion object was a spaceship coming to pick them up, and committed suicide in order to board.

Rulon Jeffs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in 1993, allegedly told high school graduates to not attend college because the world would end before they could finish.

Even as recently as the eve of the year 2000, we were all ready for civilizations collapse due to the Y2K “millennium bug,” Jack Van Impe was a great proponent of this, stating: “We will see the start of the Great Tribulation. Political chaos, natural disasters, nuclear war and the worldwide rise of Islam will usher in mankind's final hour.” The year 2000, considered very special by some, simply because it contained three zeros, came and went without incident, there were the usual number of earthquakes, civil disturbances, tornados, people of different religions trying to exterminate each other but nothing of a cosmic or even world-wide scale, though, the fireworks were nice.

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By Stephanie, Monday, January 31, 2011 10:26:32 AM
I believe Sylvia Browne when she says the world will end in 100 years or so. Maybe less, maybe more. Perhaps 2012 is just another incident, and we're wrong again. Its nothing new. If it IS the end, then I'll be one to admit I was wrong, but for now, I'll hold to my beliefs.
By Sheryl, Friday, September 17, 2010 11:58:50 PM
I read Sylvia Browne's book "End of Days". I'd recommend it to anyone who's interested in thes subject. Really a good one. It makes sense. Seems like mankind has predicted the end of the world several times with no incident, since the beginning of time. Besides, the world "as we know it" is going to end. The planet's not going to blow up.
By Lynette, Friday, September 17, 2010 02:54:36 PM
Looks like Jack Van Impe was right.
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