The Rapture - introduction
Are you worried about the future of the world? As you look at events in the world today, do you feel anxious about how history is going to end? Do predictions about coming disasters scare you?
Eschatology is a popular but notoriously difficult area of theological study. The scriptures explain the end of the world with prophecies and symbolism that can be mind-numbing and confusing. None of us will ever know all the mysteries of the future, but you can know something. In this edition of the Misunderstood Series, the author guides us gently through the adventure of learning about the end times in an entertaining, evenhanded way.
If you are searching for an unbiased, uncomplicated overview of the end times, this book is for you. When finished reading it, you will go away better prepared to talk about what you know and what you believe about the end times.
Christian authorities believed the new millennium would be the Second Coming of Jesus. In anticipation of his return, many people disposed of their belongings, left their jobs, and abandoned their homes. When the date came and went with no apocalypse, folks who thought the end was near realized they had miscalculated Jesus' age and decided the world would actually end in 1033 A.D. This, as we know, also turned out be a vast miscalculation
Feb. 1st, 1524
London astrologers freaked everybody out when they interpreted the alignment of planets in the constellation Pisces (a fish) to mean the world would be wiped out in a massive flood. Tens of thousands of people sought refuge on higher ground and some people built arks. The Great Flood never came.
May 19th, 1780
On May 19, 1780, a heavy gloom fell over New England prompting a religious group known as the Shakers to believe Judgment Day had come. Though the unusual blackened sky, later called the "Dark Day," was most likely caused by a mix of smoke from forest fires and heavy fog, it sent the religious sect on a mission to spread their message of celibacy as the path to redemption.
March 21st, 1843 — March 21st, 1844
William Miller tricked thousands of followers, or Millerites, when he declared that the world would end between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. When the year rolled over and nothing happened, the date was moved to Oct. 22, 1844. After Jesus failed to arrive for the second time (known as the "Great Disappointment"), some Millerites left Miller's religion and went on to form the Seventh Day Adventists.
May 19, 1910
During the early 20th century, astronomers learned that comet tails contained a poisonous gas called cyanogen. The discovery sparked widespread panic in 1910 when people learned that Earth would pass through the long tail of Halley's Comet. Although scientists agreed that Earthlings were not in danger, newspapers, including the venerable New York Times played up superstitions, convincing the public that the end was near. Of course, there was nothing to worry about. The tail's noxious gas would never be able to get through Earth's atmosphere, and there was not enough gas to cause harm in the first place.
In 1876, Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses, predicted that Christ would return in 1914. Since that prophecy failed, the society has predicted at least seven other dates when Armageddon would occur. The world still hasn't ended and the group is now best known for distributing religious pamphlets door-to-door and refusing blood transfusions.
1936, 1943, 1972, and 1975
The founder of the Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong, told members of his church that the Rapture would take place in 1936, and that only they would saved. After the prophecy failed, he changed the date three more times.
March 10th, 1982
In 1974, astrophysicists John Gribbin and Stephen Plagemann published The Jupiter Effect, which claimed that on March 10, 1982, the planets would align on the same side of the Sun creating gravitational effects that would lead to catastrophic earthquakes. It goes without saying, the book was eventually followed by The Jupiter Effect Reconsidered.
Y2K (Jan. 1st, 2000)
Nobody was really sure what would happen on January 1, 2000, except that it necessitated stockpiling bottled water, D batteries, and guns. The fear was that computers would not understand the year "00," reading it as 1900 instead of 2000. Presumably, this would cause the technological universe to collapse. The millennium came. Everyone was fine. A few people were disappointed about spending their life-savings on a doomsday bunker.
May 21st, 2011
Harold Camping, president of the Family Radio Network, created a lot of hoopla last spring when he predicted that world would end in a series of rolling earthquakes known as "The Rapture." After May 21 came and went sans any signs of hell-fire and brimstone, Camping pushed The End back to October 21st. The 90-year-old preacher eventually decided to stop making predictions and resigned from his post shortly after the second failed doomsday forecast.
September 23rd, 2017
Author and conspiracy theorist David Meade predicted that Nibiru would become visible in the Earth's sky and that said planet would then "soon" destroy the Earth and Armageddon would take place during this date.
Wikipedia lists over 170 different religiously motivated predictions of the end of the world. To see the complete list of dates predicted for apocalyptic events - click here.