Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Mark 13:31-32
Acts 1:7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;
It amazes me that Millennialism has a following, but it does. This is because people have been predicting the end of time since Jesus died: possibly even before he ever existed (if he existed). The results are that we are still here. That gets me to where the title of this post comes from-Douglas Adams’ The Hichhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy:
ARTHUR and FORD enter the pub and FORD goes straight up to the counter.
FORD: Six pints of bitter. And quickly please, the world’s about to end.
The BARTENDER looks at FORD a tad questioningly over his glasses, but FORD is staring out the window. The BARTENDER looks at ARTHUR instead, but ARTHUR shrugs helplessly and looks at FORD. The BARTENDER looks down at the glass he is polishing and simply begins preparing their drinks.
BARTENDER: Oh yes, sir? Nice weather for it. Going to the match this afternoon?
FORD stares at the BARTENDER.
FORD: Well, no.
BARTENDER: What’s that, forgone conclusion, you reckon? Arsenal without a chance?
FORD: No, no, it’s just that the world’s about to end.
BARTENDER: Oh, yes, sir, so you said.
The BARTENDER stares over his glasses at FORD as he prepares the drinks. FORD stares back. The BARTENDER looks back down.
BARTENDER: Lucky escape for Arsenal if it did.
FORD looks a bit confused. FORD frowns.
FORD: No, not really.
The BARTENDER takes a deep breath, then looks back up at FORD.
BARTENDER: Alright, then, six pints.
The BARTENDER places the drinks on the counter. ARTHUR, who has turned back, gives a weak smile. ARTHUR turns around and smiles weakly at the rest of the pub. People give him odd looks. A DRUNKARD looks at the beer on the table, then at ARTHUR and FORD. After a moment of staring, he smiles drunkenly.
FORD: Get off, they’re ours.
The DRUNKARD almost falls out of his chair. FORD turns back to the BARTENDER and gives a strained grin.
FORD: Here you are, keep the change.
The BARTENDER looks a bit surprised.
BARTENDER: What, from a fiver? Thank you, sir.
FORD: You’ve got ten minutes left to spend it
As with most Millenialists, the person predicting the world’s end this Saturday has been wrong before. Religious leaders, scientists, fiction writers, and others have made tens of thousands of predictions of apocalyptic scenarios that were supposed to have happened in our past. All have failed. I see no likelihood that predictions of such disasters in our future will occur.
What are some other notable Judgment Days that have come and gone?
1284: Pope Innocent III declared in 1213 that the world would end in 1284, 666 years after the founding of Islam. While of course it didn’t, the prediction was used as propaganda to help stir up support for Crusades against Islam.
Feb. 24, 1524: When in 1499 Johannes Stoeffler, a respected academic and adviser to royalty, predicted the world would end in a catastrophic flood on Feb. 24 of that year, people took note. As the day grew nigh, more than 100 publications were circulating around the Christian world talking about it. People abandoned their homes and took to the hills or to boats they stocked with supplies.
In London, an elevated fortress was constructed and stocked with two months of provisions. On the European mainland, a German count had a three-story luxury ark built for friends and family. Just like in the Noah myth, crowds gathered, many mocking him – then it started to rain.
The crowd went into a panic, and hundreds were killed in the stampede toward the ark and other boats. When the count refused to let anyone on his ark, he was dragged from the boat and stoned to death.
April 1843: William Miller, a fundamentalist American preacher, predicted the Second Coming for April 1843, with followers of Christ ascending to heaven on Oct. 23, 1844. His followers became known as the Millerites, and thousands of them made preparations as the time drew near.
Some dressed in white robes and climbed hills to be closer to heaven when the time came. When it didn’t happen, Miller changed the dates, saying he made a calculation error. After a couple of more misses, most stopped listening to him.
May 19, 1910: The End of the World was predicted when Haley’s Comet appeared (and on it’s numerous appearances throughout time). “YOU ARE NOW IN THE COMET’S TAIL, FEAR NOT,” screamed a headline across the front page of the The Times Newspaper of Hammond, Indiana printed on May 18, 1910. “If this is the last edition of THE TIMES we wish you a fond farewell,” the paper continued.
If you are reading this after May 21, congratulations. You have survived yet another doomsday prediction.
US preacher warns end of the world is nigh: 21 May, around 6pm, to be precise
Atheist’s dog-sitting is a rapturous business
Competing theories of eschatology, end times, and millennialism
TEOTWAWKI: “The-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it” prophecies
END OF THE WORLD PREDICTIONS: TOP 25
It’s the (Alleged) End of the World as We Know It
44 failed & 1 ambiguous end-of-the-world predictions that were to occur between 30 & 1920 CE