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Waiting for the Rapture
Waiting for the Rapture ... And Waiting ... And Waiting

by: Neil Marr

Isn't it time that doomsday prophets and their followers started to remember tomorrow?

The prophets of doom have always had one thing in common ... they never predict an end of the world a hundred years on.

Every failed prophet in history -- no matter how gloomy or delighted -- tells of impending 'rapture' within his own lifetime. And, of course, the prophet has a ticket to heaven while those who turn a deaf ear to his rants are doomed to be the main course at some infernal and eternal barbecue.

How bloody arrogant!

The great danger of today's apocalyptic thought is its utter abdication of responsibility for tomorrow's world.

Bush might be less inclined to send soldiers to their deaths if he wasn't so goddarn sure of a Christian heaven for them to go to. That's how petty the most powerful man in the world is. Suicide murderers are likewise assured of a free pass to their own bordello-in-the-sky paradise. Jewish militants righteously squat in foreign lands, confident that some Bronze Age book of make-believe gives them a divine right. Hey, God -- you promised, already!

It's all holy hogwash, of course; but monotheistic belief is the greatest man-made threat to existence that humanity has ever faced.

Meanwhile, as the monotheists gleefully attempt to exterminate each other in the name of divine love, those innocents not tainted by their fairy tales are caught in the cross-fire. And tomorrow's children may be exterminated before they are even conceived in an unforgivable but holy global abortion of all future generations. Where's the choice for life in that?

But as for the end of the world, well ... the end ain't nothin' new, folks. Religious loonies have been predicting it (and making excruciating excuses for when they are ALWAYS wrong) since history was first recorded.

Here's a list of just a few of the world's end deadlines that have been and gone (read them if you like -- otherwise just get an idea of their depressing number, tedious regularity and twisted logic whilst, quickly and sensibly, scrolling down through the paragraphs marked with an asterisk to my conclusion):

*2800 BCE - An Assyrian clay tablet declares, "Our earth is degenerate in these latter days, there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common."

*634 BCE - Many Romans believe Rome will be destroyed 120 years following its founding as foretold by twelve eagles that once appeared to Romulus, each believed to represent 10 years.

*6th Century BCE (actually written in 2nd Century BCE) - The Book of Daniel predicts the End of Time. He declares, "I kept looking in the night visions and behold, with the clouds of heaven, one like the Son of Man was coming" [7:13]. The author also mentions that many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. [12:2]

*Early 1st Century CE??? - Jesus declared, "This generation shall not pass away until all will be fulfilled." Early Christians believed the End would occur during their lifetime. Jesus also said, "Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." [Matthew 16:28]

*66-70 CE - The Essenes, a Jewish ascetic sect with apocalyptic beliefs, man have interpreted the Jewish revolt against the Romans as the final battle.

*70 CE - The founder of the 19th century Opeida sect, John Humphrey Noyes, claimed the Second Advent had already taken place with the fall of Jerusalem (naturally, with only believers seeing it).

*Late 1st Century CE - The Book of Revelation foretells an apocalypse followed by the creation of a new heavens and a new earth. The ecstatic Montanists held that Christ was to arrive during their generation and was to appear at Pepuza, in Phrygia (in modern Turkey), designated by the group as "New Jerusalem".

*247 CE - As Rome celebrates its thousandth anniversary, persecutions increase against Christians, making many of them believe the world was coming to an end.

*365 CE - The famous Christian saint, Hilary of Poitiers, believes the world would end this year.

*380 CE - A North African sect, the Donatists, asserted this year marked the End.

*Late 4th Century - St. Martin of Tours declared, "There is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born. Firmly established, already in his early years he will, after reaching maturity, achieve supreme power."

*500 CE - Julius Africanus (160-240) theorized that the world would end approximately 6000 years after the creation of the planet, hence the Second Coming would occur around 500 CE, The Christian apologist Irenaeus as well as Hippolytus also held to 500 CE as the date of the return of Jesus Christ.

*793 CE - The Spanish monk Beatus of Lieband prophesied the end of the world on Easter eve 793, causing the present crowd to panic. Everyone fasted throughout the night and were relieved to discover they were alive and well the next day.

*848 CE - The prophetess Thiota believed 848 was the final year.

*70 CE - Catharingian felt they had calculated the exact date of the end of the world, with Christ's arrival set for Friday, March 25 970, for coincidentally both the celebration of the Annunciation and Good Friday shared this very same date. Furthermore, they were confident that this day also marked Adam's creation, Isaac's sacrifice, the Red Sea's parting, both Jesus' conception and crucifixion. They figured how could the End of Days manage to miss such a well-established tradition?

*992 CE - Bernard of Thuringia believed the consummation of all things would occur in the year 992.

*1000 CE - Many Christians in late antiquity and during the early medieval period (including St Augustine) were sure that the year 1000 marked the end of the world. Panic gripped many in western Europe and some people even left their homes to wait for the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem.

*1033 CE - When Jesus did not arrive a thousand years after the date of his "calculated" birth, various Christian mystics asserted that the end would occur a thousand years after his Crucifixion. The entire early eleventh century was a period of constant rumors that the end was near (as recorded by the Burgundian monk Radulfus Glaber).

*1100 CE - Somehow the year 1100 became the next year believed to mark impending doom for all humanity.

*1184 CE - Rather than Christ, 1184 was the date set for the arrival of the Antichrist.

*1186 CE - John of Toledo foresaw the end of the world as encoded within the cosmos, noting that the planetary alignment occurring in Libra on September 23, 1186 would spell certain doom.

*1200 CE - Once again, the end predicted based on the neatness of the numbers matched in hundreds. One of the advocated of this date was Italian mystic Joahim of Fiore (1135-1202), but he also added the end could happen as late as 1260.

*1284 CE - It is recorded that Pope Innocent III expected the Second Coming to occur 666 years following the rise of Islam and so calculated the year 1284.

*1290 CE - Followers of Joachim of Fione decided their mystic really meant 1290 to mark the End.

*1306 CE - Establishing the idea that the beginning of the Millennium began with the advent of Roman emperor Constantine's reign in the year 306, Gerard of Poehide(in 1147) determined the release of Satan would occur about 1306.

*1335 CE - Not willing to give up on their teacher's calculations, the followers of Joachim of Fiore extended his predictions to 1335.

*1366 CE - French ascetic, Jean de Roquetailiade determined the Milennium would start between 1368 and 1370, with the Antichrist's arrival set for 1366.

*1367 CE - Militz of Mromeriz, a Czech archdeacon, asserted the End would occur around 1367.

*1378 CE - Once more, the followers of Joachim of Fiore (now called Joachites) came up with yet another date, this was set by Arnold of Vilanova, in his De Tempore Ativento Antichristia in his reinterpretation, the antichrist's reign would begin in 1378.

*1420 CE - The Taborites (directly related to the Hussites of Bohemia) predicted the finality of all things to occur in 1420 and calculated this event right down to the month, February. The main proponent of this belief was the Czech prophet Martinek Hausha.

*1500 CE - Enamored by the mystique of the double zeros, 1500 became the next target date of the end.

*1524 CE - According to certain English astrologers, the end of the world would begin in London on the first of February. The report is that 20,000 people fled their homes, expecting the first sign to be a giant flood. February 1st ended up being a relatively calm, rainless day. Because of the planetary alignment with Pisces, astrologer Johannes Stoeffler determined the End (again with a flood because Pisces was considered a water sign) would occur on Feruary 24th.

*1532 CE - Aviennese bishop by the name of Frederick Nausea believed the end was near when he heard about crosses dripped in blood manifesting beside a comet.

*1533 CE - During this period in general, a group called the Anabaptists began to predict the end of the world on various dates. The End occurring in the year 1533 was advanced by their prophet Melchior Hoffman, who thought Christ would first come to Strasbourg. According to his theology only 144,000 people would be saved, with everyone else burned by fire.

*1534 CE - Another Anabaptist, Jan Matthys, calculated the End on Easter Day, April 5, 1534. Only those at Munster would survive the impending destruction.

*1583 CE - At exactly noontime on April 28th 1583, with the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, Christ was supposed to come again, at least that's what astrologer Richard Harvey thought.

*1600 CE - It is recorded that Martin Luther believed the world would end before 1600.

*1603 CE - Tomasso Campanella, a Dominican monk, had this hot notion that the sun would collide with the Earth this year.

*1648 CE - A rabbi from Smyrna, Turkey, by the name of Sabbatai Zevi calculated using the Kabbalah that the Messiah would appear this year and that his Messiah was indeed him!

*1666 CE - The Great Fire of London this year only encouraged Christians and Jews alike to believe the End was at hand; in a rare display of ecumenical apocaplyptism. Jews believed the Messiah was to appear and Christians expected the second coming of Christ. Christians simply figured that the first 1000 years represented the millennium and that if they added the number of the Beast, 666 to this number, they would reach the time of the Apocalypse.

*1694 CE - The German prophet Johann Jacob Zimmerman believed Jesus would return this year in the New World, after intensive biblical as well as astrological studies. He gathered pilgrims to accompany him to America, known as the Woman of the Wilderness, but died before they could leave. Johannes Kelpius took Zimmerman's place and led everyone to the Americas, but Jesus never appeared.

*1697 CE - Famous witch hunter Cotton Mather believed the End out occur this year.

*1733 CE - Long before, Sir Isaac Newton predicted the End for this year.

*1736 CE - William Whiston of Cambridge said the Apocalypse would happen on October 13, 1736, destroying the Sodom of what was London of his day.

*1757 CE - Emanuel Swedenborg in a mystical vision, was told 1757 was the big year!

*1763 CE - George Bell, a follower of John Wesley, prophesied that this year marked the End.

*1792 CE - The Shaker's designated apocalyptic year.

*1805 CE - Presbyterian minister Christopher Love, in the 17th century foresaw this as the final year.

*1814 CE - Joanna Southcott, the 64 year old virgin prophetess, believed October 19th would mark the day of the re-birth of Christ and that she was chosen to hold the new baby Jesus. Furthermore, Jesus was to be born on Christmas Day. While she did look pregnant, she wasn't and actually died of dropsy on Christmas Day.

*1834 CE - First date set by William Miller for the End.

*1836 CE - Second date set by William Miller.

*1843 CE - Third date set by William Miller.

*1844 CE - Fourth year set by Miller, and set for March 21st, but after no arrival, re-set for October 22nd.

*1856 - The Crimean War was believed by many to be the Battle of Armageddon predicted in the book of Revelation.

*1874 CE - Charles Taze Russell, founder of the group that eventually became the Witnesses of Jehovah, proclaimed that Christ had indeed returned this year! But only spiritually speaking.

*1881 CE - The End of the World according to some Jehovah Witnesses.

*1891 CE - Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, estimated in 1825 that the Second Coming would occur in about 56 years which brings it to this year.

*1896 CE - Michael Boxter, in his book, The End of This Age About the End of This Century, set the Rapture for this year, with 144,000 real Christians worth of this journey.

*1900 CE - The Brothers and Sisters of the Red Death, a Russian cult, believed this year was the End of the World, specifically on November 13th. In this belief, over 100 committed suicide.

*1908 CE - a grocery store owner in Pennsylvania by the name of Lee T. Spangler believed the fires of Hell would consume the earth this year.

*1910 CE - Many believed Halley's Comet was the sign of the End of the World. Some even claimed that the comet was poisonous and took "comet pills" to protect themselves.

*1914 CE - Some Jehovah Witnesses saw World War I as the Battle of Armageddon.

*1919 CE - Meteorologist Albert Porta believed the conjunction of six planets would trigger a magnetic tug that would destroy the earth on December 17, 1919.

*1925 CE - The angel Gabriel appeared before Margaret Rowan and told her the world would end on Friday the Thirteenth. Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, believed the Rapture was a scheduled to occur this year.

*1939 CE - World War II was seen as the beginning of the End of the World.

*1953 CE - Agnes Carlson, founder of the Canadian Sons of Light, predicted this year as the End.

*1954 CE - Dorothy Martin, leader of the Brotherhood of the Seven Rays, predicted a giant flood would destroy the Earth on exactly December 21, 1954.

*1959 CE - The Founder of the Davidians, Victor Houteff, believed the End was near, but after his death, his wife Frances established the date as April 22, 1959. Many gathered on Mount Carmel near Waco, Texas, but nothing happened.

*1966 CE - The Nation of Islam believed sometime between 1965 and 1966, the apocalypse would happen destroying the United States.

*1967 CE - According to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Kingdom of Heaven was to be established this year.

*1970 CE - In his book "The Late Great Earth", Hal Lindsey said that the End of the World was taking place now.

*1973 CE - The guru of the Children of God, David Berg, believed the United States would be destroyed by a comet this year.

*1981 CE - Chuck Smith of Cavalry Chapel of TV fame predicted the world would end in this year.

*1988 CE - In his book, "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988", Edgar Whisenam argued that Jesus would return on Rosh Hoshana, between September 11 and 13.

*1989 CE - Since Jesus did not return in 1988, Whisenam revised his figures, because of a anomaly in the Gregorian calendar, to this year.

*1990 CE - Whisenam next predicted this year as the End.

*1991 CE - Whisenam tried again, predicting this year as the End.

*1992 CE - In a fourth try, Whisenam predicted this year.

*1993 CE - Figuring that the odds were with him, Whisenam predicted this year.

*1994 CE - In his last try, Whisenam predicted this year and when this year came and went, quit trying. His book sales had tanked by then!

Heaven's Gate and the Year 2000 rash of doomsday heralds has not been mentioned here, along with several other recent cults.

So there you go. This shows the success level of a just a very few recorded doomsday prophets ... millions of others didn't even make the cut.

Don't cheat future generations by letting the wishful thinking of superstition-riddled cowards persuade the world that it's all for nothing because there will be no future generations.

This issue is to me the most seriously pressing problem with monotheism in general and Christianity in particular. It is a willful abdication of responsibility to wish for the end of the world and personal divine salvation within your own lifetime.

It is also dangerous, supreme arrogance and, of course, utter foolishness.
Live your life, not like every day may be your last, but like every day is your first.
And give tomorrow a chance.


About the Author

Neil Marr is a well known author, journalist and book editor. An ex-patriot Scot, he lives in the South of France and is Editor in Chief of the UK-based BeWrite Books independent publishing house.
catman on 09/04/2008 17:18

Excellent compilation, neilmarr. I could hardly agree more.
(Did you mean 'ex-patriot' or 'expatriate'?)

neilmarr on 09/07/2008 06:51

***(Did you mean 'ex-patriot' or 'expatriate'?)***

Aha, you noticed, Cat. I used to be a fierce Scots Nat (paid-up member of the Scottish Nationalist Party) and even campaigned for devolution back in the late seventies when I moved back to Scotland for that very purpose. Then, I slowly came to realise my mistake. I'm an ex-patriot. That I'm also ex-patriate, though, for twenty-odd years may have played its part in my loss of Scottishess and development of a more pan-European attitude and citizen-of-the-world outlook. Patriotism right now seems petty and not a little silly. Neil

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