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OH RAPTURE!One of the major problems America faces is a large population of religious fundamentalists who have become as fanatical in their own way as any Middle Eastern Ayatollah. At present, they are caught up in their own version of the myth of the end of the world, and hope that by working to bring it about, they'll get to sit at the right hand of their diety and to hell with everyone else. No doubt fistfights will break out over who gets to sit closest, but that is a subject for another article.
So fervent is the belief of the mythoholics that they are ready and willing to sacrifice money, children, civil rights, freedom, even life itself (so long as it is someone else's) to bring about the final rapture and end of the world. Never mind that the story of the Rapture appears nowhere in the Bible, but was the invention of a Civil War veteran, Cyrus Scofield. Never mind that the present-day charlatan selling this belief might be a child molester and makes money off of these fables; the seekers (and there is one born every minute) do so want to believe!
So, I thought it might be appropriate to list some of the many other times in history that religious fanatics of all kinds have decided the world was about to end, what they did about it, and what really happened to those who followed them when the world did not end as scheduled.
AD 30 Jesus. According to Matthew 16:28, Jesus himself predicted his second coming and the end of the world within the lifetime of his contemporaries.
AD 156 A man named Montanus declared himself to be the "Spirit of Truth," the personification of the Holy Spirit, mentioned in the Gospel of John, who was to reveal all truth. Montanus quickly gathered followers, including a pair of far-seeing "prophetesses", who claimed to have visions and ecstatic experiences supposedly from God. They began to spread what they called "The Third Testament, a series of revelatory messages which foretold of the soon-coming Kingdom of God and "The New Jerusalem," which was about to descend from heaven to land in Montanus' city of Pepuza, in Phrygia (modern-day Turkey), where it would be home for all "true" believers. The word was spread, and all were urged to come to Phrygia to await the Second Coming. The movement divided Christians into two camps, even after the New Jerusalem didn't appear. Whole communities were fragmented, and continuous discord resulted. Finally, in AD 431, the Council of Ephesus condemned Chiliasm, or belief in the Millennium, as a dangerous superstition, and Montanus was declared to be a heretic. Despite the failure of the prediction, the cult survived several centuries until it was ordered exterminated by Pope Leo I. --SSA pg 54
AD 247, Christian prophets declare that the persecutions by the Romans are a sign of the impending return of Jesus.
AD 300 Lactantius Firmianus (AD c260 - AD c340), called the "Christian Cicero", from his Divinae Institutiones: "The fall and ruin of the world will soon take place, but it seems that nothing of the kind is to be feared as the city of Rome stands intact." Rome would fall in AD 410. --TEOTW pg 27
AD 365, Hilary of Poitiers predicted the world would end in 365.
AD 380, The Donatists, a North African Christian sect, predicted the world would end in 380.
AD 387 St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, identified the Goths with Ezekial's Gog. The Goths had just destroyed the Imperial army at Adrianople, prompting Ambrose to say, "...the end of the world is coming upon us." --TEOTW pg 27
AD 300 St. Martin, Bishop of Tours: "Non est dubium, quin antichristus...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." --TEOTW pg 27
AD 410 When Rome was sacked, some proclaimed, (as reported by St. Augustine of Hippo) "Behold, from Adam all the years have passed, and behold, the 6,000 years are completed." This alludes to the Great Week theory, held by many millennialists, that the God-alloted time of man on earth was 6,000 years, to be followed by a thousand years of peace under the earthly reign of Christ. --TIME pg 30
AD 500 At the mid-fifth century, Vandal invasions recalled calculations that the world would end in the year 500, 6000 years after Creation, and spurred new calculations to show that the name of the Vandal king Genseric represented 666: the number of the Beast. --Apoc pg 34
AD 500 Hippolytus of Rome, a third-century theologian supported the oft-accepted (for the day) view of the end of the world occuring sometime around the year AD 500. He used a mass of scriptural evidence, including the dimensions of the ark of the covenant. --TIME pg 31
AD 500 Roman theologian Sextus Julius Africanus (ca. 160-240) predicted the second coming of Jesus in the year 500.
AD 500 The theologian Irenaeus predicted the second coming of Jesus in the year 500.
AD 590 Bishop Gregory of Tours, who died in AD 594, calculated the Time of the End for sometime between 799 and 806. --Apoc pg 48
AD 793 Elipand, bishop of Toledo, accused Beatus, abbot of Liebana, of having prophesied the end of the world. Beatus made the prediction on Easter Eve, predicting the end of the world that very night, sparking a riot. --Apoc 49-50
AD 800 Sextus Julius Africanus predicted the second coming of Jesus in the year 800.
AD 800 Beatus of Liébana, not having learned anything from the riot he started in 793, wrote in his Commentary on the Apocalypse that the world would end in the year 800 at the latest.
AD 806 Bishop Gregory of Tours predicted the world would end between 799 and 806.
Ad 848 The Christian prophetess Thiota predicted the world would end in 848.
AD 900 Adso of Montier-en-lDer, a celbrated 10th-century apocalyptic writer, a Frankish emperor of Rome who was 'the last and greates of rulers' would, after governing his empire, go to Jerusalem and put off his sceptre and crown at the Mount of Olives; this would be the end and consummation of the Christian empire and the beginning of the reign of Antichrist. --TIME pg 53
AD 970 Lotharingian computists foresaw the End on Friday, March 25, 970, when the Annunciation and Good Friday fell on the same day. They believed that it was on this day that Adam was created, Isaac was sacrificed, the Red Sea was parted, Jesus was conceived, and Jesus was crucified.
AD 992 A rumour that the end would come when the feast of the Annunciation coincided with Good Friday. This happened in 992, when Easter fell on March 22, and eager calculators established that the world would end before three years had passed. --Apoc pg 50-51
AD 1000 Christian authority all over the known world predicted the second coming in the year 1000.
AD 1033 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. The writings of the Burgundian monk Radulfus Glaber described a rash of mass hysterias during the period from 1000-1033.
AD 1033 The roads to Jerusalem fill up with an unprecedented number of pilgrims. Asked why this is happening, the 'more truthful of that time...cautiously responded that it presaged nothing else but the coming of the Lost One, the Antichrist, who, according to divine authority, stands ready to come at the end of the age." --TIME pg 47
AD 1139 Saint Malachy produced a list of 112 future popes, beginning with Celestine II, and ending with the pope after Benedict XVI. Malachy predicted that the final pope would usher in Armageddon.
AD 1100 Guibert of Nagent (1064-1125) informed would-be crusaders that they should seize Jerusalem as a necessary prelude to its eventual capture by Antichrist. "The end of the world is already near!," he explained. --TIME pg 61-62
AD 1184 Various Christian prophets predicted the end of the world in the year 1184. Nobody seems to remember just why.
AD 1186 Certain prophecies, during the time of the Third Crusade, began circulating in 1184, telling of a "new world order." These were believed to have been written by astrologers in Spain, and one of them, the "Letter of Toledo," appearing in 1186, urged everyone to flee to caves and other remote places, because the world was soon to be devastated by terrible storms, famine, earthquakes, and more. Only a few true belivers would be spared. --SSA pg 55
AD 1260 The year, according to Joachim of Flores'(c1145-1202) prophecies, when the world was supposed to pass throught the reign of Antichrist and enter the Age of the Holy Spirit. Joachim was an Italian mystic theologian who wrote, in his Expositio in Apocalypsia, that history was to be divided into three ages: The Age of the Law (the Father), The Age of the Gospel (the Son), and the final Age of the Spirit. He had indicated at the end of the 12th Century that the Antichrist was already born in Rome. --DOOM pg 87, TEOTW pg 125
AD 1260 A Dominican monk named Brother Arnold gained a following when he wrote that the end was about to take place. According to his scenario, he would call upon Christ, in the name of the poor, to judge the Church leaders, including the Pope. Christ would then appear in judgement, revealing the Pope to be the heralded Antichrist. --SSA pg 56
AD 1297 Writing in 1297, the friar Petrus Olivi predicted Antichrist's coming between 1300 and 1340, after which the world would enter the Age of the Holy Spirit, which itself would end around the year 2000 with Gog and the Last Judgement. --Apoc pg 54
AD 1284 Pope Innocent III predicted the end of the world in the year 1284, 666 years after the founding of Islam.
Ad 1290 When Joachim of Fiore's predicted end of the world had not happened by 1260, members of his order (the Joachites) simply re-scheduled the end another 30 years later to 1290.
AD 1300 A Frenchman, Jean de Roquetaillade, published a guide to the tribulation. Imprisoned for most of his adult life, he predicted Antichrist in 1366, to be followed in 1369 or 1370 by a millennial Sabbath. Jerusalem, under a Jewish king, would become the center of the world. --Apoc pg 55
AD 1300 Many Germans were living in fearful expectation of the return of the Emperor Frederick II, who had been considered a century earlier as the Antichrist, the terrible ruler who was to chastise the Church before the return of Christ.
AD 1306 Gerard of Poehlde, believing that Christ's Millennium actually began
when the emperor Constantine came to power,
predicts the end of the world 1000 years after the start of Constantine's reign, in 1306.
AD 1307 fra Dolcino founds a society, the Apostolic Bretheren, in 1260. He preached that authority had passed from the Roman Church to themselves. The Pope and clergy would soon be exterminated by the forces of the Last Empoeror in a tremendous battle leading to the age of the spirit. Dolcino and his followers perished in a battle at Monte Rebello in 1307. --TIME pg 68
AD 1335 The Joachites again re-scheduled the end of the world, this time to the year 1335.
AD 1348 Agnolo di Tura, called "the Fat," writing during the time of the Black Death: "And I...buried my five children with my own hands, and so did many others likewise...And nobody wept no matter what his loss because almost everyone expected death... People said and believed, 'This is the end of the world.'" --TEOTW pg 115
AD 1349 The group known as the Flagellants claimed that their movement must last thirty-three and a half years, culminating in the Second Coming. They persuaded many people that their assertions were true. One chronicle states: "Many persons, and even young children, were soon bidding farewell to the world, some with prayers, others with praises on their lips." --TEOTW 125-129
AD 1366 Jean de Roquetaillade, a French ascetic, predicted the Antichrist was to come in 1366, with the end of the world a few years after that.
AD 1367 Czech archdeacon Militz of Kromeriz claimed the Antichrist was alive and well and would show up no later than 1367, bringing the end of the world with him.
AD 1378 The Joachites again re-scheduled the end of the world, this time to the year 1378.
AD 1420 Martinek Hauska, near Prague, led a following of priests to announce the soon Second Coming of Christ. They warned everyone to flee to the mountains because between February 1 and February 14, 1420, god was to destroy every town with Holy Fire, thus beginning the Millennium. Hauska's band then went on a rampage to "purify the earth", ridding the world of, in their eyes, false clergymen in the Church. They occupied an abandoned fortress which was named Tabor, and defied the religious powers of the day, ultimately succumbing to the Bohemians in 1452 --SSA pg 56, TIME pg 75-77
AD 1476 Hans Bohm was burnt at the stake for heresy, after proclaiming the village of Nikleshausen the center of imminent world salvation. --Apoc pg 151
AD 1490 Girolamo Savonarola, a Dominican visionary, attracted large crowds with his prophecies of Antichrist. He began preaching that his city of Florence would soon be "The reformation of all Italy..." and that its people would take on the mantle of God's elect, saved from destruction to play a glorious new role. This would only be accomplished, however, if Florence submitted peacefully to the invading Charles VIII of France. They did so, and for a short time became what has been called a 'proto-Messianic republic.' But when the corrupt Pope Alexander VI regained Florence, Savanarola was publicly executed in May, 1498. --TIME pg 79-81
AD 1496 Several 15th Century prophets predict the end of the world for the year 1496.
AD 1499 A respected German scholar and priest, Johannes Stoeffler, predicted in 1499 that the world would be flooded again in 1524 because all six of the planets known then would be in conjunction in the constellation of Pisces. This was generally rejected because such would violate God's covenant with Noah. The uneasiness, though, did not pass, and in 1523, printing presses in Germany churned out 51 pamphlets which added fuel to the speculative fire. English astrologers set the date for February 1, 1524. People sold their waterfront property even if they lost profit and an elevated fortress was built at the Priory Church of St. Bartholomew the Great with two months worth of necessities. Boat builders became filthy rich as families commissioned arks to be built to protect themselves when the flood arrived. In all, 20,000 Londoners abandoned their homes in the hysteria.
AD 1500 Martin Luther, Protestant reformer, stated: "I persuade myself verily, that the day of judgement will not be absent full three hundred years. God will not, cannot, suffer this world much longer... the great day is drawing near in which the kingdom of abominations shall be overthrown."
AD 1500 The Italian artist Botticelli captioned his painting, "The Mystical Nativity" with a message warning that the end of the world would occur within three years, based on the predictions of Girolamo Savonarola. At first, he was seen as a prophet for having predicted the Italian War of 1494-1498 and talked the French king out of invading the city. Savonarola was a pimp like that. He sought to purge Florence of its artistic vanity and wealth by making its residents burn their luxuries and paintings. Savonarola was eventually executed, but Botticelli's inscription predicts an apocalypse in the 16th century and has been the key to reading The Mystical Nativity not only as a scene of salvation and goodness but one that foreshadows the second coming of Christ and has dark imagery such as demons fleeing to the Underworld.
AD 1526 Anabaptists in St. Gallen, Switzerland, excited by various leaders and events, began running through the streets and shouting that the Last Day would arrive in exactly one week. Many were baptized, stopped work, abandoned their homes and set off into the hills, singing and praying in expectant furvor. After a week had passed with no sign of their returning Lord, they returned to their homes. --TEOTW pg 145-153
AD 1520 Nicholas Storch was a former weaver who was a self-proclaimed expert on the Bible. He began warning groups of workers that all of Christendom was about to be annihilated by the Turks. Not only did he quote from the Scriptures, but insisted that God spoke to him directly through dreams and visions. Ultimately rejected by reformer Martin Luther, Storch vanishes from history at the end of 1522. --TEOTW pg 155
AD 1520 Thomas Muntzer, another self-appointed prophet in Germany, who made bold predictions based upon the book of Daniel, and called for the overthrow by the peasantry of those in power. "The time of the harvest is at hand," he declared. "...I have sharpened my sickle." Muntzer proclaimed that is was the Last Days, and whoever resisted his preaching would be, "..slain by the Turks when they come next year." He was executed in 1525, after leading a peasant army in rebellion. TEOTW pg 153-158
AD 1520 Melchior Hoffman (c1498-1543/4) was one of the most influential of the self-appointed prophets. A Swabian furrier by trade, Hoffman had converted to Lutheranism in 1522 and became a wandering preacher. In 1526 Hoffman published a detailed pamphlet on the twelfth chapter of Daniel which proclaimed that the world would end in seven years, at Easter fo 1533. The seven year period was to be divided into two parts. The first part would see the appearance of Elijah and Enoch, who would overthrow the Pope. They would, however, be martyred and all the saints would then be persecuted. After forty-two months of tribulation, Christ would appear. Hoffman referred to himself as Elijah, and embarked on the fulfillment of his vision. He was imprisoned for his views, however, in Strasburg, later dying in the 1540s. --TEOTW pg 160-162
AD 1524 Prophets in England predicted a flood on February 1, 1524 (Julian) to strike at London. 20,000 people abandoned their homes in fear. Yet another prophet, citing an alignment of planets in the constellation Pisces, set the date for the flood for February 20th. Both days turned out to be sunny with not even a drop of rain.
AD 1525 Anabaptist Thomas Müntzer, thinking that he was living at the "end of all ages," in 1525, incited a spectacularly unsuccessful revolt of the peasantry.
AD 1527 A German bookbinder named Hans Nut said that he was a prophet of God sent by Christ to herald the Second Coming. This would occur exactly three and a half years after the start of the Peasant's War, in 1527. The Lord's arrival would be followed, according to Nut, by a thousand years of free food, love, and free sex. He amassed some followers, but was killed during an attempted prison escape in 1527. --SSA pg 56
AD 1528 Hans Romer insisted that Christ was coming within the year, so he organized his own rebellion to attack the city of Erfurt on New Year's Day of 1528. He was betrayed, however, and arrested. --TEOTW 159
AD 1528 Prophets in England, having failed in their February 20th, 1524 prediction for a massive flood, reschedule the prediction to 1528.
AD 1528 Reformer Hans Hut predicted the end would occur on Pentecost (May 27, Julian calendar) 1528.
AD 1532 Bishop Frederick Nausea (yes, that is his name), predicted that the world would end in 1532 after hearing a single report of bloody crosses appearing in the sky alongside a comet.
AD 1533 Anabaptist prophet Melchior Hoffman predicted the end of the world in 1533. he also predicted that Jesus would reappear in Strasbourg, to save 144,000 people from the world's end.
AD 1533 Mathematician Michael Stifel, a devout Christian, calculated that the Day of Judgement would begin at exactly 8:00am on October 19, 1533.
AD 1534 A message out of the besieged city of Munster, where fanatic Anabaptists, originally led by one Jan Matthys, self-proclaimed Enoch, second witness (after Hoffman's Elijah) to the coming end of all things, read: "God has made known to us that all should get ready to go to the New Jerusalem (Munster), the city of saints, because he is going to punish the world...flee out of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul...for this is the time of the Lord's vengeance." Matthys had also fancied himself a second Gideon, leading 30 followers out in an attack on the city's besiegers. He and his band of thirty were annhilated. The movement's new leader, Jan Beukels, or Bockholdt, known to history as John of Leyden, had declared himself King of the World, a position he would hold until Christ's return. Berhardt Rothmann published two pamphlets proclaiming the triumph of the saints at Munster, but the Catholic bishop whose town was held, eventually retook it, executing most of the rebels. --SSA pg 57, TEOTW pg 163-175
AD 1532 Michael Stiefel, mathematician and follower of Luther, published Apocalypse on the Apocalypse: A Little Book of Arithmetic about the Antichristwhich computed the Day of Judgement for 8AM on October 9, 1533. when nothing happened on that day, the local peasants siezed the minister and tookhim to nearby Wittenburg, where some sued him for damages. Stiefel survived this misadventure and, twenty years later, published a "recalculation." --Apoc pg 91-92
AD 1537 French astrologer Pierre Turrel, a devout Christian, wanting to avoid the Jaochites' embarrassment, hedges his bets and predicts the end of the world in 1537, 1544, 1801 or 1814.
AD 1555 French theologian Pierre d'Ailly predicted the end of the world in 1555. Christopher Columbus' own apocolyptic views were based on this prediction.
AD 1556 Rumors of the end of the world swept through the churches of Switzerland on Magdalene's Day in 1556, source unknown.
AD 1583 Several astrologers and clergy cite a conjunction of Jupiter with Saturn as a sign that the second coming of Jesus will occur in London at noon on Apr 28, 1583.
AD 1584 Above prophecy is revised one year later.
AD 1588 Philip Melanchthon, ally of Martin Luther, claimed that a divine numerical cycle, chiefly utilizing the numbers 7 and 10, would culminate in 1588, which was 10x7, years from Luther's 1518 defiance of the Pope. It was then that the seventh seal would be opened, Antichrist be would be overthrown, and the Last Judgement would occur. --The Armada pg 175
AD 1588 The sage Johann Müller (aka Regiomontanus) predicts the second comiong of Christ in 1588.
AD 1594 John Napier, mathemetician extraordinaire, published A Plaine Discoverie of the Whole Revelation of St. John, in which he predicted the Last Judgement either for 1688, according to Revelation, or 1700, according to Daniel. --Apoc pg 92
AD 1600 The Fifth Monarchy Men, an extreme Puritan sect in England, believed that the time of the monarchy which would succeed the Biblical Assyrian, Persian, Greek, and Roman monarchies was at hand. During this time Christ would appear to reign on earth with his saints for 1000 years. After the fall of the Commonwealth, the sect first supported Oliver Cromwell, but later were at odds with the Lord Protector. Their extreme violence led to the arrest of their leaders. Despite attempted uprisings, the movement eventually died out. --Brit 1957, vol 9, pg 227
AD 1600 Martin Luther had predicted that the world would end no later than the year 1600.
AD 1603 Dominican monk Tomasso Campanella wrote that the sun would collide with the Earth in 1603.
AD 1623 Eustachius Poyssel used numerology to pinpoint 1623 as the year of the end of the world.
AD 1624 The same astrologers who failed in predicting a great flood in 1524, finally moved their predictions safely beyond their own deaths, to 1624.
AD 1648 Sabbatai Zevi, a rabbi from Smyrna, Turkey, predicted that the Messiah would come in 1648. When 1648 arrived, Zevi announced thet he was the Messiah.
AD 1651 The date selected for the end of the world by fifteenth century "prophet" Johann Hilten. --TIME pg 89
AD 1654 In 1578, physician Helisaeus Roeslin of Alsace, basing his prediction on a nova that occurred in 1572, predicted the world ending in 1654 in a blaze of fire.
AD 1656 The date the world would end, according to predictions put forth by Christopher Columbus in his "Book of Prophecies". Columbus held that his explorations were fulfillment of prophecy. he was to have led a Christian army in a great final crusade that would eventually convert the entire world to Christendom. The date weas chosen because supposedly 1656 years passed between the time of the creation and Noah's flood. --99R pg 13
AD 1657 The Fifth Monarchy Men, a group of radical Christians intending to force the British Parliament to base all laws on the Bible (much like Christians are trying to do to the United States) predicted the world would end in 1657.
AD 1660 Joseph Mede, whose writings influenced James Ussher and Isaac Newton, claimed that the Antichrist appeared way back in 456, and the end of the world would come in 1660.
AD 1666 During a period of strife, English clergy announce that the year 1666 will bring the end of the world, a prediction thought to be coming true when a great fire strikes London.
AD 1666 Few believe Rabi Sabbatai Zevi is the Messiah, so he changes his prediction for the appearence of the Messiah to 1666. He is arrested for disturbing the peace with his prophecies, and when given the choice between execution and conversion to Islam, eagerly converts.
AD 1673 Deacon William Aspinwall, a leader of the Fifth Monarchy movement, predicts the end of the world for 1673.
AD 1680 The supposed founder of Rosicrucianism, Christian Knorr von Rosenroth, told in his Proper Exposition of the Aspects of the Book of Revelation of the fall of the idolatrous Roman church and the establishement of Christ's Millennium in 1860. --Apoc pg 122
AD 1686 Frenchman Pierre Jurieu published his work L'Accomplissement des propheties, in which he predicted the end of the persecution of the Protestant Huguenots, and the fall of Babylon (the Roman Catholic Church, according to Jurieu) for 1689.
AD 1688 John Napier, the mathematician who discovered logarithms, applies his new mathematics to the Book of Revelations and predicts the end of the world for 1688.
AD 1689 Pierre Jurieu, a Camisard prophet, predicted that Judgement Day would occur in 1689. The Camisards were Huguenots of the Languedoc region of southern France.
AD 1694 Anglican rector John Mason and German theologian Johann Alsted both predict the end of the world for 1694. Another German prophet Johann Jacob Zimmerman, predicted that Jesus would reappear in America and organized an expedition of Christians to sail across the Atlantic and welcome their savior when he reappeared. Although Zimmerman himself died on the day of departure, his followers completed the journey and remained encamped in the wilderness of North America until it became obvious that Jesus had stood them up.
AD 1697 Anglican rector Thomas Beverly predicts the end of the world for 1697.
AD 1697 Notorious witch chaser Cotton Mather predicts the end of the world for 1697.
AD 1697 Napier tries again, predicts the end of the world for 1697.
AD 1697 Henry Archer, a Fifth Monarchy Manpredicts the end of the world for 1697.
AD 1700 The Camisards were a radical movement of French peasantry that engaged in organised military resistance to the renunciation of the Edict of Nantes. They were supposedly accompanied by miracles, such as lights in the sky which guided them, and resistance to wounding. They also purportedly spoke in tongues and prophesied in ecstatic trances, foretelling the soon destruction of the Roman Catholic Church, the supposed Satan and Babylon. Due to pressures they fled to England where they became known as the "French Prophets," forcasting doom and a new world ahead. They gained large numbers of followers, and much attention. Their prophecies failed to materialize, however, and their numbers soon dwindled. Their movement influenced many later groups, though, including the Shakers. --SSA pg 57
AD 1701 The prophetic writer Mory Cary, writing in 1647, expected the conversion of theJews in 1656 and the Millennium in 1701, and thought that there would be a prophetic outpouring before then. "Not only men, but women shall prophesy...Not only superiors but inferiors; not only those that have university learning but those that have it not, even servants and handmaids." --TIME pg 90
AD 1700 Immanuel Swedenborg, though never claiming the desire to found a sect, said that dreams, visions, and direct communications from God had led him to believe he had been given a new, divine, interpretation of Scripture. Swedenborg claimed to have witnessed the Second Advent, which was manifested in the inauguration of his "New Church." --HOD pg 236-238, Brit 1957, vol 21
AD 1755 A sea captain witnessing the disaster of the Lisbon quake wrote: "...if one went through the broad places of squares, nothing to be met with but people wringing their hands, and crying 'the world is at an end.'" --TEOTW pg 179-189
AD 1700 Jonathan Edwards, premier evangelist, was fascinated by the Apocalypse, noted all signs of the times, and calculated and recalculated its coming. He concluded that Antichrist's rule would end when the papacy ended in 1866, and that old serpent, the Devil, would finally be vanquished in the year 2000, when the Millennium would begin. --Apoc pg 171
AD 1700 Sir Isaac Newton, the great scientist, was himself not immune to misprophecy. He developed a carefully constructed grand scenario which predicted that the Jews would return to reclaim Jerusalem in 1899, and that the second coming of Christ would occur precisely forty-nine years later.
AD 1785 Jean-Baptiste Ruere, a professed descendant of King David, claimed that heavenly sources assured him he was destined to rule as king in Jerusalem, and likewise foretold of revolution, kingdoms overthrown, the Jews returning to the Holy Land, and Jesus returning to launch the Third Age. --Apoc pg 107
AD 1789 The forecast year for the end of the world, or at least of Christendom, by Cardinal Pierre d-Ailly, Canon Roussart, Dijon Academy rector Pierre Turel, and the Londoner Peter Pearson. --Apoc pg 109
AD 1799 Esther Thrale Piozzi recorded how many found the First Consul of France, Napoleon Buonaparte to be "the Devil Incarnate," the Appolyon mentioned in Scripture. The name of Antichrist had become clear, and it was (in the Corsican dialect) N'Apollione, the Destroyer "coming forwards followed by a cloud of locusts from ye bottomless Pit." --Apoc pg 114-115
AD 1800 Mother Ann Lee, leader of the "Shaker" movement, claimed that in her the female principle of Christ was manifested, and the promise of the Second Coming fulfilled. Christ's kingdom on earth, according to Lee, began with the establishment of the Shaker Church.
AD 1800 The Rev Edward Bishop Elliot, fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, provided a massive work in four volumes, wherein he stated that the French Revolution had been the "pouring out of the 1st vial (of Revelation)" There was to be a short time, he warned, before the end of all things. --TSOR pg 11
AD 1814 Joanna Southcott, a British virgin over 60 years old from Devon, England declared that she was the woman in Revelation (12:1-6) and that she would give birth to the second Jesus on Christmas day, signaling the end times. In a way she was correct, as, still unpregnant, she died on that day.
AD 1820 In England, Edward Irving preached on the imminent appearance of Christ as witnessed by the apparent revival of "apostolic gifts", and Irving's own intense study of prophetical books, especially Revelation.
AD 1832 Mormon founder Joseph Smith prophesied under "divine revelation" the gathering of the saints and the coming of the New Jerusalem, the temple of which would be built in Missouri and "reared in this generation." Smith added "Pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land, to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country....there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things which I have spoken, fulfilled." --99R pg 120
AD 1840 Dr. John Cumming, eloquent preacher of apocalypse, drew audiences of many thousands to his lectures. Cumming, while preparing for the publications of these lectures, warned that the seventh and final vial of God's wrath was now being poured out. "We are about to enter on the Last Woe...and to hear the nearly-spent reverberations of the Last Trumpet." --TSOR pg 84
AD 1843 People stared in wonder and unneasiness at the parahelia, a great halo that circled the sun. They also looked with fear at the night sky where a giant comet with a fiery tail rushed through the darkness. Some said that the comet was racing toward mankind, bringing "the end of the world." --Thief pg 1
AD 1844 William Miller, a Massachussetts farmer, after a years-long study of the Bible, chiefly Revelation and Daniel, concurred that the Second Coming of Christ would take place between 21 March, 1843, and 21 March, 1844. When this time passed, Miller and his followers set up new dates, again with failure. Eventually the movement collapsed, but gave birth to Seventh Day Adventism, while also influencing the formation of several others, including the Jehovah's Witnesses. --SSA pg 58, TSOR pg 16, Doom pg 92-111
AD 1847Joseph Wolff, a converted Jew living in Palestine, predicted the Advent for 1847. --Thief pg 1
AD 1850 Chinese schoolteacher Hung Hsiu-ch'uan, failing a government job examination for the thrid time, suffered an emotional collapse during which he professed to have had visions of an old man in a golden beard, as well as a younger man. These two told Hung that the world was overrun by demons and that he, Hung, was to be the intrument in their eradication. Later, after returning to his home village, Hung reread a Chines Christian missionary's book and discovered the meaning for the vision which he had experienced. The old man had been God, and the younger man, Jesus. Hung further understood that he was the second Son of God, sent to save China. Eventually his charisma and teachings began to gather a following and he became the leader of a group known as the Pai Shang-ti Hui (God Worshipper's Society). By 1850 the movement had grown into open rebellion. In 1851 Hung proclaimed the new dynasty the T'ai-p'ing T'ien-kun (Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace), and assumed the title of Heavenly King. His ragtag group of thousands grew into a disciplined army of over a million. Full scale war erupted across the Chinese countryside. Chinese imperial troups were defeated in pitched battle on more than one occassion. Hung captured the city of Nanking, making it his capital. Eventually he fell ill, and committed suicide in 1864. Chinese forces lay seige to Nanking, and in taking it inflicted a terrible slaughter of over 100,000 people. The rebellion gradually faded across China. As many as 20,000,000 people died as a result of this, the T'ai-p'ing Rebellion, and Hung Hsiu-ch'uan's misprophetic delusions. --Brit 1977, vol 8
AD 1858 The Rev Richard Shimeall of New York identified Napolean III as the Beast of the Apocalypse. --TSOR pg 78
AD 1870 Cyrus Read Teed, a former corporal in the Union medical corps, said that he was the "seventh messenger of God", and adopted "Koresh" as his new surname. Teed claimed that an angel had visited him, giving him new spiritual awareness. He was now the reincarnated Messiah, and it was his job to gather the 144,000 faithful to await the Last Judgement. Teed's legacy would bear bitter fruit in the 1990s, with the rise of another Koresh, David, who would lead his followers into an apocalyptic death near Waco, Texas.
AD 1874 Charles Taze Russell, founder of what would become the Jehovah's Witnesses, first announced that the Last Days had definitely begun in 1874, then that the end would come in 1914. Succeeding Witnesses placed the date in 1925, 1936, 1953, 1973... --99R pg 20
AD 1881 A prophecy in rhyme by Mother Shipton: "The world to an end shall come,/in Eighteen hundred and eighty one." Purportedly written by a 15th century witch, it was actually penned by Charles Hindley of Brighton, who profitted greatly from the double false prediction. --TSOR pg 99
AD 1890 A native American known as Wovoka claimed to have received a certain divine revelation. Christ had returned to earth, given his followers a new spiritual magic, the "Ghost Dance", which they were to engage in until Christ came again to "take them up into the air," eventually to be set down among the ghosts of their ancestors on the new earth, where only Indians would live. The movement spread quickly among the various tribes on and off the reservations, especially among the Sioux. --Bury pg 431-435
AD 1897 Brazil -- Antonio Conselheiro (The Counsellor), a sixty-year old, half crazy ascetic, became spiritual leader of Canudos, a "New Jerusalem" of tumbledown shacks in the remote state of Bahia. The residents were largely peasants who fled the decline of the northeast coffee and sugar economies. They practiced a mixture of Catholicism, Indian rites, and witchcraft. conselheiro had seen the overthrow of the Emperor Pedro II as an act of disobedience to God, and a shattering of the patriarchal order so wicked that it must foreshadow the apocalypse. After several violent encounters with local police and government soldiers, in which the Canudos zealots inflicted severe defeats on their foes, an army of 10,000 men surrounded Canudos, and on October 5, 1897 took by force the last smoking huts. The defenders had died by enemy bullets and by fire, the latter set by their own hands.
AD 1900 Paris priest Pierre Lacheze published several apocalyptic works, and predicted the restoration of the Jerusalem temple for 1892 and Doomsday in 1900. --Apoc pg 136
AD 1900 Philosopher Vladimir Solovyev, eminent Russian theologian, foretold in his work, War, Progress, and the End of History, of a war with the Japanese in which the Japanese would win, conquering much of the world, but eventually being driven back by the Europeans. Then there would arise a brilliant writer and thinker who would unite the world and decree everlasting peace, ultimately summoning all religious leaders of the world, promising them everything they wanted if they would bow down and accept his sovereignty. The Jews would accept him as the Messiah, until they learn that he is not a Jew. Then would begin the revolt that would lead to the final battle north of Jerusalem, as well as the eruption of a volcano from the bottom of the Dead Sea. Said Solovyev: "The approaching end of the world strikes me like some obvious but quite subtle scent -- just as a traveller nearing the sea feels the sea breeze before he sees the sea." --TEOTW pg 221-227
AD 1901 In 1889, the Rev. Michael Baxter, editor of the London Christian Herald, announced in a book called The End of This Age about the End of This Century that 1896 would witness the Rapture of 144,000 devout Christians, and that the world would end in 1901. --TIME pg 120-121
AD 1901 Sergei Nilus, Russian magistrate, in a book titled The Great in the Small, prophesied "the coming of the Antichrist and the rule of Satan on earth." He later stated in 1905, "The king born of the blood of Zion -- the Antichrist is near to the throne of universal power." --TEOTW pg 234-237
AD 1906 H.G.Wells shows that apocalyptic fever was prevalent in his day: "Like most people of my generation...I was launched into life with Millennial expectations...it might be in my lifetime or a little after it, there would be trumpets and shoutings and celestial phenomena, a battle of Armageddon and the judgement." --TSOR pg 177
AD 1908 When a terrible explosion rocked Siberia, a newspaper correspondent present reported..."All the inhabitants of the village ran out into the streets in panic. The old women wept. Everyone thought the end of the world was approaching." --TEOTW pg 274
AD 1910 In Pittsburgh, a clergyman announced that the arrival of Haley's Comet would herald Armageddon and the Second Coming.
AD 1918 Clarence Larkin, in his book Dispensational Truth, writes, "...at no time in the history of the Christian Church have the conditions neccessary to the Lord's return been so completely fulfilled as at the present time, therefore his coming is imminent, and will not probably be long delayed...If the Millennium is to be ushered in in AD 2000, then the "Rapture" must take place at least 7 years before that...It may have been 4075 years, instead of 4004 (as generally given) from Adam to Christ. In that case we are living in the year 5993 from the creation of Adam, or on the eve of the Rapture." --Disp
AD 1940 William Marrion Branham, a pentecostal faith healer declared himself to be God's end-time prophet, and urged all Christians to come out of their corrupt denominations before the Lord's return. --99R pg 115-116
AD 1945 A Protestant minister in Hiroshima upon the dropping of the first atomic bomb: "The feeling I had was that everyone was dead. The whole city was destroyed...I thought all of my family must be dead -- it doesnt matter if I die...I thought that this was the end of Hiroshima, of Japan, of humankind...This was God's judgement on man." --TEOTW pg 337
AD 1973 The "Children of God" cult claimed that its leader, David Berg, was "God's end-time prophet to the world." They fled America in 1973 due to Berg's prediction that Comet Kohoutek would destroy the country. --99R pg 117
AD 1976 Prophecy teacher Doug Clark announced that President Jimmy Carter would be "the president who will meet Mr. 666 (the Antichrist) SOON!" A flier announcing Clark's new book that year claimed, "The Death of the United States and the Birth of One World Government under President Carter." --SSA pg 24 (Personal note: I was working at a TV station in Orange County California whose manager believed the Clark prediction, and transformed the station's output into 24 hour a day warnings of the end of the Earth, even to the point of abandoning the commercials rotation. The Earth did not end but the TV station went out of business. )
AD 1980 North Carolina prophecy teacher Colin Deal has set dates for the return of Christ for 1982 or 1983, 1988, 1989, and in a March 17, 1989 radio broadcast, "about eleven years away." If at first you don't succeed... --SSA pg 38
AD 1980 Prophecy promoter Charles Taylor predicted a 1988 rapture: "This new book (Watch 1988 - The Year of Climax) is being written with the expectation that it will be the last book I will ever write ...with the millennial reign of Christ due to begin in 1995, the rapture must surely occcur in 1988 to coordinate with many other prophecies!" Not surprisingly, Taylor also made similar predictions for 1975, 1976, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, and, of course, 1989. --SSA pg 134-142
AD 1981 May 25. About fifty members of a group called the Assembly of Yahweh gathered at Coney Island, NY, in white robes, awaiting their "Rapture" from a world about to be destroyed between 3PM and sundown. A small crowd of onlookers watched and waited for something to happen. The members chanted prayers to the beat of bongo drums until sunset. The end did not come.
AD 1982 Full-page advertisements in many major newspapers for the weekend of April 24-25, 1982, announced: "The Christ is Now Here!" and predicted that he was to make himself known "within the next two months." That date passed, but the Tara Centers that placed the ad said that the dalay was only because the "consciousness of the human race was not quite right..." --99R pg 154-155
AD 1980 Psychic Jeanne Dixon predicted a world holocaust for the 1980s, and the rise of a powerful world leader, born in the Middle-East in 1962. --99R pg 120-122
AD 1982 Televangelist Pat Robertson Says God Told Him World Would End in 1982. It didn't.
AD 1988 Edgar C. Whisenant, in his book 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988, gave a three day period in September for the saints to be "caught up with the Lord." When this failed, he issued another book claiming that he was a year off, and urging everyone to be ready in 1989. --SSA pg 28-33, DOOM pg 134
AD 1991 Reginald Dunlop, end-times author, stated that "The Antichrist would be revealed" around the year 1989 or 1990, perhaps sooner." The Rapture he predicted for 1991. Says dunlop, God verified this "through many prayers...I am MORE than positive that this is THE YEAR that the Rapture will occur." --SSA pg 36
AD 1990 Southwest Radio Church's David Webber and Hoah Hutching's book, "Prophecy in Stone" contained a chart which set dates for the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in 1974-1978, and the Great Tribulation for sometime between 1981 and 1992. A later book, "New Light on the Great Pyramid," had another chart which revised these figures, tentatively setting dates of 1988, 1992, and 1996, for the Tribulation, the abomination of desolation, and Christ's return, respectively. --SSA pg 37
AD 1990 Elizabeth Clare Prophet predicted the end of the world by nuclear war in 1990. Her church has since seen a decline in membership.
AD 1992 "Rapture, October 28, 1992, Jesus is coming in the Air." Full page add in the October 20, 1991, issue of USA Today, placed by followers of the Hyoo-go (Rapture) movement, a loose collection of Korean "end-times" sects. When the prophesied events failed to pass, much turmoil broke out among the sects. Some believers were distraught, while others tried to attack their doomsday preachers with knives. The founder of one church was later charged with swindling four million dollars from his parishoners. --99R pg 11, 168-169
AD 1992 Rockin' Rollen Stewart, aka the "Rainbow Man", was sure that the Rapture would occur on September 28, 1992. It didn't. He was then arrested and thrown in jail for threatening to shoot down airplanes taking off from LAX.
AD 1993 David Koresh, self-proclaimed little lamb of Isaiah 16, and the Second Coming of Christ, dies in a fiery conflagration with some 80 of his followers. These members of the Branch Dividians, an offshoot of the Seventh-Day Adventists had faced a botched ATF raid on their compound near Waco, Texas, and a subsequent 51-day siege by the FBI. A devastating fire broke out when the FBI attempted to fire gas into the group's buildings. --99R pg 122-124
AD 1994 Arab Christian prophet Om Saleem claimed that the antichrist was born November 23, 1933, that his unveiling would come in 1993 and the rapture in 1994. --99R pg 149
AD 1994 Harold Camping, a radio evangelist, wrote a book entitled "1994?" In it, Camping says, "if this study is accurate, and I believe with all my heart that it is, there will be no extensions of time. There will be no time for second guessing. When September 6, 1994, arrives, no one else can be saved, the end has come." Thousands believed Camping's distorted biblical teachings, but again, the end did not come as Camping had wished. --99R pg 12, 48-50
AD 1997 Mary Stewart Relfe wrote in 1983 that she had been praying to " know the year" of the Lord's coming, and that subsequently she received detailed "divine revelations" from God. She released a chart showing World War III beginning in 1989, the Great Tribulation starting in 1990, and that Jesus Christ will come back in 1997, just after Armaggeddon." --SSA pg 35
AD 1997 On March 25, 1997, followers of Marshall Applewhite who were members of the Heaven’s Gate cult committed mass murder-suicide in Southern California. The cult members died in shifts, with some members “helping” others take a lethal mixture of Phenobarbital and vodka before drinking it themselves. Members believed that comet Hale-Bopp was the sign that they were supposed to shed their earthly bodies (“containers”) and join a spacecraft waiting behind the comet that would take them to a higher plane of existence. The claim that there was an alien spaceship inside the comet was based on a CCD glitch by amateur astronomer Chuck Shramek.
AD 1998 Larry Wilson, a former Seventh-day Adventist pastor, predicted four massive global earthquakes beginning around 1994 and ending in 1998 with the Second Coming. --99R pg 77
AD 1998 Former atheist turned Buddhist, Taoist and UFOist, Hon-Ming Chen, predicted God would appear on Cable TV in North America at midnight on March 31, 1998, regardless of whether you subscribed to cable or not. After announcing his return, he would land on Earth in his spacecraft.
AD 2000 Richard Noone Predicts Ice Age To Start 5/5/2000 based on planetary alignments.
AD 2006 Presidential (2012) candidate Michelle Bachmann predicts world will end in 2006.
AD 2008 Doomsday cultists fear the Large Hadron Collider wil create an Earth-swallowing black Hole when it is switched on September 10, 2008. Fortunately for Earth, the LHC breaks down.
AD 2011 Harold Camping (See 1994 above) again predicts the Rapture, this time on May 21, 2011. May 22, the Christians are still on Earth, while Harold heads for the hills.
AD 2012 Mayan mythology predicts the end of the world on December 21. Despite hundreds of TV shows "documenting" this prophecy, the world did not end.
The fact is that there is ALWAYS some con-artist in a robe, waving around portents, signs, and holy writ, claiming that the world is coming to an end and offering to tell you what to do about it for only $19.95 (plus if you act now they'll throw in a free glow-in-the-dark plastic Jesus statue).
Now, if you really want to believe in these predictions, that's fine. This is a land of religious freedom and you are free to go hide in a cave and pull a rock in on top of you while you wait out the end of the world. And if you really want to,. you are free to turn over all your worldly goods to the guys in the funny robes and follow them off the edge of a cliff. But what you are NOT free to do is set fire to the planet the rest of us live on because you think this is going to win you an inside track to wings and a harp. That's selfish and rude.
Throughout history, every single idiot who bought into a prediction of the end of the world was made a total fool of. In worst cases, entire lives and even entire towns were wrecked by these con-artists. And the worst con-artists right now are those trying to get you to support wars in the Mideast on promises that it will bring about The Rapture and open up those pearly gates wide for you.