6 Times the World Was Supposed to End in the Past Decade
According members of the eBible Fellowship, a Pennsylvania-based online religious sect, the world will end on October 7, 2015 (that's today, for those who don't have a calendar handy). This prediction is tied in part to last month's super blood moon, which, they say, started a chain of events that would culminate in the apocalypse.
The Guardian reports that Chris McCann, the eBible Fellowship's leader, insists that the world will be "annihilated" today, though he's leaving some wiggle room. "There’s a strong likelihood that this will happen,” he said, “which means there’s an unlikely possibility that it will not.” This is prudent given the resounding 100 percent failure rate of past doomsday predictors. Here are six examples of supposed ends of the world, all of which were forecasted to occur sometime over last 10 years.
1. SEPTEMBER 12, 2006
Yisrayl Hawkins, leader of the Texas-based religious sect The House of Yahweh, told his followers to prepare for the end of the world on September 12, 2006. Nuclear war would wipe out the majority of humanity, he said, but the members of his church would survive. This info was all explained in his newsletter (archived titles include “If You Don't Believe Me Now, You Will Believe Me Soon!…” and “Amazing Prophecies Showing The Exact Date When Nuclear War Will Start And Where").
Did the world end?: No. Hawkins amended his math to push the date further into the future, and, as recently as this month, he released a newsletter assuring for this generation nuclear wars and “the worst trouble ever.” [PDF]
2. APRIL 29, 2007
In his conspiracy-laden 1990 book The New Millennium, university CEO/TV mogul/Southern Baptist minister Pat Robertson insisted that the world would come to an end on April 29, 2007. His reasoning was that this date marked 40 years after the Six-Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem, fulfilling a biblical prophesy.
Did the world end?: No, making Robertson 0-2 in his apocalyptic predictions; in 1980 he guaranteed that the world would end by the end of 1982 (it didn’t, in case you were curious).
3. MAY 21, 2011 AND OCTOBER 21, 2011
Using biblical mathematics of his own invention, evangelical radio host Harold Camping calculated that the rapture would occur on May 21, 2011, and the apocalypse world would follow five months later in October. The following, from a profile in SF Gate, explains his reasoning:
The number 5…equals "atonement." Ten is "completeness." Seventeen means "heaven."
Camping patiently explained how he reached his conclusion for May 21, 2011.
"Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.," he began. "Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that's 1,978 years."
Camping then multiplied 1,978 by 365.2422 days - the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year.
Next, Camping noted that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500.
Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500.
Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared.
Camping heavily publicized this prophesy via his radio program, insisting that earthquakes and other natural disasters would wreak havoc, leaving the world ravaged as true believers ascended to heaven. After getting the word out, all he had to do was wait.
Did the World End?: No. Camping locked himself in his California home during the predicted date. After it came and went, he emerged, bewildered, to talk to gathered members of the press. "It has been a really tough weekend," he said. He would have to recalculate and get back to them.
4. JUNE 30, 2012
Jose De Jesus Miranda, leader of a Miami-based religious sect, said he was visited by and became Jesus Christ in 1973. (He later insisted he was also the Apostle Paul and both Jesus and the Anti-Christ, all at once.) Miranda had a multi-national following, and in 2012 he told these believers that the end of the world would happen that June.
He erected billboards in Toronto, advertising this prediction along with the “number of wisdom,” 666, which some of his followers tattooed on their bodies. Like Camping, he preached a math that pointed to the reckoning: “The Earth's rotation has accelerated to a speed of 66,666 mph," "Jose Luis De Jesus (Latitude 66.6°) curiously turns 66 [in 2012],” etc.
Miranda claimed that a reversal of the Earth’s poles would cause the “tectonic plates to heat up,” which would lead to natural disasters. In addition, all the world’s economies would fail. He told his followers that at the time of this apocalyptic “transformation,” they would be able to “fly and walk through walls.”
Did the world end?: No.
5. DECEMBER 21, 2012
Sparked by vague references in ancient texts and the conclusion of the 5,126-year-long Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, December 21, 2012 became a popular date to highlight as the end of the world.
Readings of ancient Mayan texts originally made in the 1950s and ‘60s by astrologers and anthropologists hinted at predictions of a significant event or “Armageddon” in 2012. As that date neared, cultural interest in the mysterious prophesies grew, helped largely by the Internet. Other upcoming events were interpreted as "signs" working in chorus with the Mayan prediction—these included the sun reaching its solar maximum and the distant star Betelgeuse appearing primed to go supernova.
Various cults around the world tied their end of days prophesies to this date, making it a very popular RSVP.
Did the World End?: No, and the movie about it didn’t even warrant a sequel.
6. FALL OF 2015
Between October 8, 2014 and September 27, 2015, there were four consecutive total lunar eclipses. In astronomy, this is called a “tetrad,” and it is a somewhat normal occurrence—there have been five since 1949. Some people, however, claimed otherwise, and insisted the eclipses portended the second coming.
Because these red “blood moons” would occur during Jewish holidays, a few outspoken religious authors tied them to their interpretations of Bible passages (“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible [or “notable,” as recorded in the New Testament] day of the Lord”).
Three books published before the tetrad garnered some attention: Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs by Mark Biltz, who thought the eclipses signaled the end of times; Blood Moons Rising: Bible Prophecy, Israel, and the Four Blood Moons by Mark Hitchcock; and Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change by San Antonio megachurch pastor John Hagee. Hagee’s book used some of Blitz’s reasoning to predict the eponymous “change,” and it climbed to number 4 on the New York Times best-seller list (category: advice/how to).
Did the World End?: No, but the eclipses sure were pretty.
All photos via Getty Images.