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Predicting the End of Days
Hundreds of doomsday predictions have come and gone without incident. Perhaps the only reason we pay attention to them at all is because we feel powerless to control our future.
Edgar Cayce, Nostradamus, Mayans and many others have all foretold end time disaster. Countless end of the world dates have been predicted since 30AD and even more as far ahead as 2047. Massive natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the like have often been mainstays of doomsday lore.
Most doomsday prophets seem to come from the religious community, though the secular crowd has predicted their share as well. Their one common denominator has been not one has been fulfilled.Be it a new millennium, Armageddon, Antichrist, nuclear holocaust, polar shifts, planetary alignment or a comet, doomsday prophets have always seemed to be able to capitalize on them.
The 16th century seer Nostradamus was one such person. His prophecies have led to numerous doomsday predictions. For example in the74th quatrain, he predicted the rise of the Antichrist in July 1999, followed by wars that would decimate the earth.
There have been countless examples of people proclaiming the imminent return of Jesus Christ. But, perhaps the strangest prophet of all was a hen in the English town of Leeds in 1806. It was said a hen began laying eggs on which the phrase "Christ is coming" was written. As the news spread, many became convinced doomsday was at hand…until a suspicious local discovered someone had hatched a hoax. The perpetrator had used a corrosive ink to etch the phrase on an egg, and reinserted it back into the hen.
In February 1835 Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, informed his church leaders he had recently spoken to God and was told Jesus would return within the next 56 years, after which the end times would promptly begin.
In May 1980, televangelist and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson startled many when he informed his "700 Club" TV audience "I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world.” Of course, this was contrary to what Matthew writes at 24:36 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven..."
A New England farmer named William Miller concluded the time of world destruction could be determined by strict literal interpretation of scripture. According to Miller the world would end sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. It was decided April 21st was the correct day. Thousands of followers sold or simply gave away their possessions. April 23rd arrived without Jesus. The group eventually disbanded, some went on to form what are now the Seventh Day Adventists.
When comet Hale-Bopp appeared in 1997, it was rumored an alien spacecraft was following the comet. Naturally, NASA and the astronomical community were presumed to be conducting a massive cover up. However, the rumor persisted and the story was aired on Art Bell's paranormal radio talk show "Coast to Coast AM." This prompted a San Diego UFO cult named Heaven’s Gate to conclude the world would end soon. And it did for 39 of the cult members, who committed suicide on March 26, 1997.
And who can forget the Y2K panic of Jan. 1, 2000? In the early 1970’s, someone “suddenly realized” computers might not be able to recognize the difference between the year 2000 and 1900.
Of course, no one really knew what would happen but catastrophic predictions ranging from vast blackouts to nuclear holocaust proliferated. Fortunes were made by computer gurus hawking software designed to reprogram computers to operate on Y2K dates. Gun sales soared and survivalists prepared for action. But the new millennium slid in with only a whisper and once again doomsayers were disappointed the world had not collapsed into oblivion.
And in case the Y2K thing failed to do us in, global catastrophe was guaranteed by Richard Noone in his 1997 book "5/5/2000 Ice: the Ultimate Disaster." Did anyone ever check to make sure that was his real last name?
According to Noone, the Antarctic ice mass would be three miles thick by May 5, 2000. On that date the planets would also be aligned in the heavens. Somehow that was supposed to mean global icy death
In his book "2008: God's Final Witness," God's Church minister Ronald Weinland, claimed hundreds of millions would die and by the end of 2006, "there will be a maximum time of two years remaining before the world will be plunged into the worst time of all human history. By the fall of 2008, the United States will have collapsed as a world power, and no longer exist as an independent nation."
Obviously, all of these predictions and countless others failed. But many still attempt putting a precise date on Judgment Day.This might seem harmless in itself had not numerous D-day cults made it a destructive obsession such as the aforementioned suicidal Heaven's Gate, whose members committed suicide in 1997.
As of this writing, the latest prediction focuses on the year 2012. If after this year people are still reading it, then once again we’ve been duped!