For two thousand years, people have predicted the end of the world; and for two thousand years, they have been wrong! The latest group to predict the end are the “blood moon” preachers.
Pastor John Hagee, author of the best-selling book, Four Blood Moons, believes “something dramatic [will] happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history in the Middle East and impact the whole world” based on four recent lunar eclipses.
Others are more extreme in interpreting the significance of four lunar eclipses producing a reddish glow (“blood moon”) occurring so close together. They believe the world will end in a massive meteor strike on the earth between September 22 to 28 of this year.
The blood moon preachers cite the Bible’s Acts 2:20:
Other Bible passages (Joel 2:3 and Revelation 6:12) also note that the sun will become dark and the moon blood red prior to Christ’s return. But one passage that is not mentioned is Matthew 24:26:
In fact, there have been hundreds of “The End is Near” prophecies over the last two thousand years.
Hilary of Poitiers announced the world would end in the year of 365. When it didn’t his student, Saint Martin of Tours, pushed the date out to 400. Other predictions followed of 500 (Hipplytus), 968 (German emperor Otto III) and Good Friday 992.
January 1, 1000 (Y1K)
Christians in Europe believed Christ would return on that date and gave their worldly goods to the church—which didn’t give them back, which probably led to the Reformation.
More predictions followed of 1147 (Gerard of Poehlde), 1176 (John of Toledo’s prediction based on alignment of the planets), 1205 (Joachim of Fiore), 1282 (Pope Innocent III computing 666 years since the founding of Islam) and 1496 (Mystics who believed Christ would return 1500 years after his birth).
October 3, 1533
After “a careful study of the Bible and mathematics,” German mathematician Michael Stifel predicted a date for the end of the world. Stifel gathered his small group of true believers atop a hill near Lochau. When the end did not occur, he was placed in protective custody from angry villagers who had sold their homes and farms in anticipation of the end.
Scottish mathematician John Napier published The Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of St. John. In it, he identified the Pope as the Antichrist and predicted the end of the world between 1688 and 1700.
October 13, 1736
British theologian and mathematician William Whitson predicted a great flood similar to Noah’s for October 13, 1736—obviously ignoring God’s promise not to destroy the earth by flood.
The announcement of Christ’s return was hatched in the English town of Leeds when a hen began laying eggs inscribed with the message “Christ is coming.” The hen’s owner had egg on his face when the hoax was eggs-posed.
March 21, 1843
More recently, William Miller predicted the world would end on October 22, 1844. Thousands of “Millerites” sold their property and possessions, quit their jobs and prepared themselves for the second coming. The failed prophecy was dubbed “The Great Disappointment.” Undeterred, Miller reset the date for October 22, 1844. Greater disappointment!
Ellen White, founder of the Seven Day Adventists movement, made many predictions of the timing of the end of the world during this time. All failed.
On or before February 15, 1891
Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church, announced at a meeting that Jesus would return within 56 years or February 15, 1891.
In 1881, an astronomer predicted that the tail of Halley’s Comet contained a lethal gas known as cyanogen. And since earth would pass through the comet’s tail in 1910, The New York Times reported that Earth would be sprayed with the deadly gas.
Using a complex formula based on the “days” of Daniel 4, the Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower Bible and Tract Society predicted Christ’s return in 1914. When the date passed, leaders claimed Christ had “invisibly” begun His rule.
December 17, 1919
Meteorologist Albert Porta predicted that the alignment of six planets would “generate a magnetic current that would cause the sun to explode and engulf the earth” on that date.
March 10, 1982
In 1974, astronomers John Gribben and Stephen Plagemann predicted the “Jupiter Effect” in which planets would align on the same side of the sun unleashing solar flares, radio interruptions, rainfall and temperature disturbances and massive earthquakes.
May 14, 1988
Hal Lindsey, in his best-selling book The Late, Great Planet Earth, predicted Rapture in 1988—one generation or 40 years after the creation of the state of Israel.
October 11, 1988
Edgar Whisenaut, a NASA scientist, sold over 4 million copies of 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Occur in 1988. His second book, 89 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Occur in 1989 didn’t sell as well.
1994. May 21, 2012, October 21, 2012
Harold Camping, of Family Radio, urged listeners to abandon the church and prepare for Christ’s return in 1994. That, obviously didn’t happen, so he revised the date to May 21, 2011, which he claimed is exactly 7,000 years since Noah’s flood. When the multi-million-dollar ad campaign failed to deliver, Camping confidently announced that Christ had indeed returned “spiritually” and would return “physically” on October 21, 2012. Critics claim this was his twelfth false prediction.
The UFO cult, Heaven’s Gate, believed an alien spacecraft was trailing the comet Hale-Bopp—due to pass by earth in 1997—and so 39 followers attempted to join the spacecraft by committing mass suicide on March 26, 1997.
French astrologist Nostradamus (1503-1566) alluded to Armageddon in his vague symbolic poetry when he wrote, “The year 1999, seventh month/From the sky will come great king of terror.”
January 1, 2000 (Y2K)
Alarmists claimed a dating glitch would cause computers around the world to crash causing widespread disaster.
September 10, 2008
Alarmists worried that when Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest high-energy particle accelerator, became operational, it would create a black hole of earth.
December 21, 2012
Since the Mayan calendar ended on this date, many believed this meant the world would end as well. Of course, the ancient Mayans couldn’t even predict their own demise when Spanish conquistadores and their allies conquered them in the 1600s!
Nope! Not one of those predictions came true! Here’s one that will:
If someone is predicting Christ’s return on a specific date, you can be sure they are wrong!
Three times within just ten verses, Jesus declares:
“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows” (Matthew 24:36).
“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42).
You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matthew 24:44).
I wonder if the Father sometimes says, “Rats! I was all set to send my Son back to earth May 21, 2011, and then Brother Harold ruined the surprise!”
All these so-called biblical “scholars” are boys crying wolf, so that the world scoffs—not only at their predictions—but the truth that Jesus himself has promised he will return to earth. So, here’s what we can know:
We are told to . . .
• pray for His soon return (Revelation 22:20)
• pray for workers to reap a great harvest of followers prior to His coming (Matthew 9:38)
• be found alert and praying when He does return (Ephesians 6:18)
“Lord, come quickly!”
Copyright © 2009, 2012, 2015 James N. Watkins. Graphic from John Hagee Ministries
• Should Christians get caught up in “rapture”?
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