Predicting the end
Today is Saturday, November 24, 2012 and according to our friendly neighborhood Mayans the countdown to the end of the world has reached inside the final month. In 28 days, the zero hour will be at hand and we will find out who has been correct this whole time, the doomsayers or the rest of us who believe that on Saturday, December 22, 2012 we will wake up to the same old, same old and the Mayan calendar doomsday prediction will end up on the rubbish pile of other famous doomsday predictions.
Since I have been old enough to read, I thought there were at least three or four other deadlines that were supposed to signal the end of the world. I remember Hal Lindsey's 1988 prediction, the millennium predictions, the Harold Camping double header a few years back and of course the upcoming Mayan tribulation. With the exception of the latter, the others have come and gone without incident, but upon investigation I discovered FORTY EIGHT predictions of dates for the end of the world and close to 60 seers many of whom have shared prediction dates.
It is quite a who's who of doomsayers including Jean Dixon, Edgar Cayce, Isaac Newton, Sun Myung Moon, Louis Farrakhan, Charles Manson and the frequent flyers namely the Jehovah's Witnesses, Lindsey, Camping, Nostradamus and a preacher named Lester Sumrall. Camping predicted the end four times since 1994. Lindsey predicted Armageddon throughout the eighties and then again in 2000 while Sumrall predicted 1985 and in 2000 with a pair of books.
Entire shelves could be filled with quatrains and analyses of Nostradamus' famed predictions. In this seer's volumes of work, analysts found two dates in which the world would end. The first was an assumption based on his prophecy that a "King of Terror" would descend from the sky in the seventh month of 1999. July came and went without an incident that could be attributed to this prophecy. His second prediction is actually still in the future. It is not so much a prediction as an inference. Based on study, scholars believe the last of Nostradamus' predictions occurs in 3797 which indicates to the pessimists that he may believe the world would end at this point.
Preacher Lester Sumrall was the founder of Christian television. He passed away in 1996 but during his life wrote a pair of books predicting the end to occur in 1985 and then again in 2000. Neither book was correct, but Sumrall never lived to see the second date come to pass.
The Jehovah's Witnesses group of predictions were actually spin-offs from the Bible Student Movement who themselves predicted a whopping nine end time events from 1874 to 1925. While the first four were simple end time predictions, the later predictions which took place during World War I implied the end times would be the culmination of the war. When that failed to occur, they shifted gears and claimed throughout the 1920s there would be worldwide collapse and anarchy which would destroy civilization as we know it. Their last prediction which continued to uphold this belief was in 1925.
Jehovah Witnesses formed from one of the Bible Student Movement groups in 1931 and they subsequently began predicting the end of the world since 1941. To date, they have three predictions to their credit although they settled on three dates one in 1941, another in 1975 and the final one before 2000.
Not to be outshone by frequent predictors, eighties televangelists jumped on the bandwagon in full force. Minister Pat Robertson first stuck his neck out and predicted the end in the early 1980s. His prediction may have boosted ratings, but they were quite inaccurate. HIs second prediction was 27 years later in 2007. That year he believed April 29th was the end date. Neither came to pass and fortunately for Robertson, Jerry Falwell's January 1, 2000 prediction did not occur either. Perhaps in Falwell's case the cosmic computer had a millennium bug. For those who don't remember, the millennium bug was that anomaly that information professionals believed could cripple the real world in when the date switched to 2000. It never happened due to excellent foresight and a great deal of overhyping the news.
Several natural phenomena also created Armageddon paranoia including nearby asteroids, comets and event the planet Nibiru. Nibiru is the home of the Annunaki, a race of beings that allegedly populated the Earth with us acting as slave labor and gold miners to help them thrive at our expense. Many claim this planet is entering our solar system proper again and heading for us. A flight of fancy I believe.
Unfortunately some didn't just predict the future, they led their followers into it. The first was the horrendous Guyana suicide of the Reverend Jim Jones' followers in 1977. The second was the Heaven's Gate cult in 1997 in which 38 followers of Marshall Applewhite killed themselves to "release their souls" for flight to the mother ship hiding behind the Hale-Bopp comet.
In the end when the final days come and if we are still remain, I think we will find out all of these prophets are wrong. The world one day will flash out perhaps due to a cataclysmic sequence of major earthquakes.
Just as likely, someone might get to see it, but it is unlikely it is due to some prophetic position. In fact, the end is known. One day thousands of years from now, the world if it is still technologically savvy, the sun will conclude the cycle started so many billions of years ago incinerating the entire inner solar system in a nova that will bring life to the end of the road.
Fortunately it will be after the Mayan calendar which for all I know simply starts over. What do you think?
Til next time…