The End-of-the-World as We Know It?
Failed end-of-the-world predictions have been a part of our history for centuries. With the upcoming Mayan apocalypse prediction on the horizon I thought it would be interesting to detail some of the top failed apocalypse predictions of the past.
Calculations in Ancient Rome (634 B.C. – 247 A.D.)
In year 634 B.C., the Romans expected their town to be crushed to the ground in the year 120. Why the number 120? It was believed that 12 eagles revealed a magical number to Romulus, and every eagle was worth ten years according to their mystics. When nothing happened, the apocolypse was again announced for year 365, because that is the number of days in a year. Again, nothing happened. The timeline of the destruction of the city was reassessed several times after that as well. The ironic part of the story is that he true end of the empire in 426 A.D. was never predicted.
The Great Flood in London (1524)
London astrologers have calculated, seven months before the 1st of February, 1524 that the city would be destroyed by a great flood. Around 20,000 people fled their homes and took to their boats waiting for the Thames to flood. The ironic result was that the 1st of February was a dry day that year. Not a single raindrop. Astrologers admitted that they had miscalculated and that the true apocalypse would happen on Feb 1, 1624 which again, never came to pass.
Messiah Saves Himself (1666)
Rabi Sabbatai Zevi from Smirnia (present day Turkey) predicted to the world that the Messiah would appear in year 1666 and this Messiah would be embodied in Zevi himself. Although he had a few unfulfilled prophecies behind him, Zevi had gathered some followers. Zevi was arrested for causing disorder and given the right to choose between converting to Islam or death. Of course, he chose Islam which proved to be very practical but not so Messianic.
The Second Coming of Christ (1814)
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joanna_SouthcottProphetess Joanna Southcott announced that she was pregnant with baby Jesus that she would give birth to him on Christmas in 1814. The second coming of Christ was to be considered the beginning of the end. Witnesses said that she really is pregnant, although she was 64 years old and she swore to be a virgin! At Christmas, she did not give birth, but rather passed away. Autopsy proved that she was not pregnant.
The invisible apocalypse (1994)
Pastor John Hinkle said that the Lord had spoken to him and said that on June 9th in 1994 he would purge the world from all evil. Of course, nothing happened that day. With some ingenious backtracking, Hinkle modified his prediction saying that the apocalypse IS happening but on another plane that is invisible to us.
Suicidal Journey to the Stars (1997)
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven%27s_Gate_(religious_group)In March 1997, our Solar system was visited by comet Hale-Bopp, carrying an apocalyptic prophecy within. One amateur astronomer amateur declared that he saw an object similar to Saturn trailing the comet. A cult called Heaven's Gate had heard the information and declared that the object was an intergalactic space ship of a super-intelligent alien race that will embrace every soul that leaves this world between 24th and 26th of May in 1997. 38 members of the cult committed suicide during that period, and all had bags packed for the road besides them.
God’s Plan to Destroy Computers (2000)
We all remember the famous Y2K prediction. There was a lot of paranoia about the world as we know it coming to an end but as we all know, nothing happened. The millennium bug popularly called Y2K was predicted to wipe all information from older computers and their networks because those computers just couldn't handle the new date! Some people even thought that the millennium bug was a part of God’s plan to end the world.
And the Predictions Continue...
Now we face the end-of-the-world as predicted by the Mayan calendar. Many people are preparing for the end. Given the failure of every single prediction in the past, how much credit can we truly give such a prediction?