The End is Nigh?

Predictions that the world is about to end, especially based on interpretations of passages in the Book of Revelations, have been going on for centuries. Although many may be convinced that the world will end or Jesus will return in their lifetime, it never happens.

Some failed predictions:

  • 500: There was wide-spread panic in this first year with a round number. The antipope Hippolytus and an earlier Christian academic Sextus Julius Africanus had predicted Armageddon at about this year.
  • 968: An eclipse was interpreted as a prelude to the end of the world by the army of the German emperor Otto III.
  • Jan 1, 1000: Christians in Europe had predicted the end of the world on this date and waged war against pagan countries in Northern Europe to convert them to Christianity before Christ returned. Meanwhile, some gave their possessions to the Church in anticipation of the end. When Jesus did not appear, the church did not return the gifts and serious criticism followed.
  • 1186: John of Toledo predicted the end of the world based on the alignment of many planets.
  • 1284: Pope Innocent III computed this date by adding 666 years onto the date the Islam was founded.
  • 1533: Melchior Hoffman predicted that Jesus' return would happen in 1533 and that the New Jerusalem would be established in Strasbourg, Germany. He was arrested and died in a Strasbourg jail.
  • 1669: The Old Believers in Russia believed that the end of the world would occur in this year. 20 thousand burned themselves to death from 1669 to 1690 to protect themselves from the Antichrist.
  • March 21, 1843: William Miller, founder of the Millerite movement, predicted that Jesus would come on this date. When Jesus did not return, Miller predicted Oct. 22, 1844, an event now referred to as "The Great Disappointment" because many sold their property and possessions, quit their jobs and prepared themselves for the second coming.
  • 1914: This year was one of the more important estimates of the start of the war of Armageddon by the Jehovah's Witnesses (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society). They computed 1914 from a prophecy in the book of Daniel, Chapter 4.
  • 1919: Meteorologist Albert Porta predicted that the conjunction of 6 planets would generate a magnetic current that would cause the sun to explode and engulf the earth on December 17, 1919.
  • 1936: Herbert W Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, predicted that the Day of the Lord would happen sometime in 1936. When that prediction failed, his new estimate was1975.

For more predictions and information on predictions, see the Religious Tolerance website.