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TEOTWAWKI: The-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it prophecies


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For millennia, people have been predicting the year, the month and sometimes the day when:

bullet A violent and sudden disaster will terminate all life on earth;

bullet Hundreds of millions of Christians will rise through the air to meet Jesus in the sky as the rapture occurrs;

bullet Major social and political upheavals will be experienced around the world;

bullet The war of Armageddon will take place in the Middle East;

bullet God will pour horrendous wrath on most of humanity; and/or

bullet Christ will return in what is referred to as the second coming, accompanied by a group of avenging angels who will commit the largest genocide in human history: over 2 billion people are to be assassinated.

The prophets have almost always predicted that some major events would happen in their own immediate future. Both Jesus and Paul told their followers unabiguously that "the end" would happen sometime in the first century CE. They were both wrong. Thousands have predicted major events ever since.

All of these predictions share one attribute: none has ever come true.

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A turn of the century prediction that didn't pan out:

The Millennium, when the year 2000 approached:

  • This was a year that some people considered very special, simply because it contained three zeros.

  • Others believed that the universe was created circa 4000 BCE, and thus would have its 6,000th anniversary about the time of the millennium. That would be 1,000 years for each of the six days of creation -- perhaps a suitable time two wrap things up.

  • Finally, many people worried about the Y2K bug. This was a limitation found in many computer programs at the time. They represented the year as two digits; e.g. 1999 became "99." In the year 2000, many programs would register the year as 1900.

Many expected that major events of cosmic proportion would happen: airplanes crashing; economies collapsing; life support systems failing, massive data loss, etc. 3 But no overwhelmingly serious events actually came to pass. There were the usual number of major earthquakes, civil disturbances, tornados, people of different religions trying to exterminate each other -- but nothing of a cosmic or even world-wide nature occurred.

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A charming, skeptical, and imaginative website dealing with "The End:"

Loren Madsen has created a website at dealing with TEOTWAWKI (The end of the world as we know it).

It includes both prophecies from religious figures, academics, etc. and is graphic intensive. It is well worth visiting; a lot of fun.

Other predictions in the future that did not pan out either:

  • The year 2012: The latest hype has been over the Mayan calendar and predictions of events on and after the winter solstice on 2012-DEC-21. All kinds of prophecies have been created including: the end of the world, an extermination of all human life on Earth, a major evolution by humans onto a kinder and more spiritual level. A lot of authors and book publishers have made major profits on their predictions.

    With freedom of speech and writing come serious responsibilities. We suggest that anyone predicting an apocalyptic event in our future should consider very seriously the possibility that some of their readers may actually believe the prophecies and expect them to come to pass. A minority will become very fearful of the future. Some might become so alarmed that they will commit suicide to avoid it.

  • Still more end events were predicted for other precise dates:

    • Many people in North America devoutly believe that apocalyptic events will happen sometime during their lifetime.

    • Others expect that they will happen at some time in the far future. They note that such events have not happened in the approximately 19 centuries since the Bible was completed, and so they don't expect them in this century.

    • Many people disagree, and do not expect any more that the usual complement of natural disasters in the future, until, of course, the next big asteroid finally hits, or the sun becomes a red giant about 4.5 billion years in the future and increases its size until it envelopes -- or nearly envelopes -- the Earth.

Pushback by fundamentalist/evangelical Christian group:

American Vision is a Christian Reconstructionist group -- part of a political movement to convert the United States -- and eventually the entire earth -- into a biblically-based theocracy. They are alarmed at the rise of "... the current evangelical [Christian] obsession with speculative prophecy..." They give as examples:

  • Edgar C Whisenant's book: "88 reasons Why The Rapture Will Be in 1988: The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hash-Ana) September, 11-12-13." It sold millions of copies as the fall of 1988 approached. The book is now out of print and a collectors' item.

  • Harold Camping’s predicted that the 'rapture' would will occurr on 2011-MAY-21 and the world itself would end five months later was widely accepted..

  • The predictions by various religious and secular writers that human civilization and/or the entire world will be destroyed on 2012-DEC-21. This belief was based on the rollover of the Maya Calendar prophecy.

American Vision writes:

"It’s easy for Christian prophecy writers to take pot shots at New Age eccentrics, advocates of the end of the world in 2012, secular prognosticators, and environmental doomsayers, but there aren’t many who are willing to evaluate the evangelical prediction market, and it’s a big market. They have their own prediction problems, and they need to be held accountable."

"The credibility of the Bible and the gospel message are at stake."

They sponsored "American Vision’s 2011 National Prophecy Conference." It was scheduled to begin on 2011-JUN-1, less than two weeks after Camping's rapture prophecy. The conference theme was "How to avoid end-time paralysis." 5 Presumably, the conference would have been cancelled if Camping's prophecy proved to be correct.

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References used:

  1. Quotation found on the website of the "Ancient of Days UFO Conference" in Roswell, NM for 2003-JUL-4. We are uncertain of its validity. Original source is unknown.
  2. Quotation found on the "Blessed Hope Ministries" website at: Original source is unknown.
  3. S.J. Gould, "Questioning the Millennium: A Rationalist's Guide to a Precisely Arbitrary Countdown.", Harmony Books, (1997) You can read a review and perhaps buy this book from online bookstore
  4. Serendipity, "New Age Truth," at: Well worth reading!
  5. "National Prophecy Conference," American Vision, at:

Copyright 1996 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published 1996-MAR-03
Last update: 2016-OCT-25

Author:  B.A. Robinson

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