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2012: The End of the World As We Know It?

By James Watkins
Contributing Writer

CBN.comAs you've probably heard, the world as we know it will be ending on December 21, 2012. That's when the Mayan calendar ends — and the world with it — so says the new motion picture 2012 and the usual conspiracy theorists.

According to, expect everything from super volcanoes, destructive sun spots, and the arrival of "Planet X" into our galaxy causing all kinds of astronomical disasters to the government requiring ID chip implants and the Catholic church admitting that, and I quote, "they have been misleading the church for hundreds of years."

The calendar in my office ends December 31, 2009, but I'm not worried since people have been predicting the end of the world since Noah! And except for that watery end, everyone else has been wrong in their gloom and doom.
For instance . . .

365 A.D.
Hilary of Poitiers announced the world would end in the year of 365. When it didn't his student, Saint Martin of Tours, pushed the date out to 400. Other predictions followed of 500 (Hipplytus), 968 (German emperor Otto III) and Good Friday 992.

January 1, 1000 (Y1K)
Christians in Europe believed Christ would return on that date and gave their worldly goods to the church, which didn't give them back, which probably led to the Reformation.

More predictions followed of 1147 (Gerard of Poehlde), 1176 (John of Toledo's prediction based on alignment of the planets), 1205 (Joachim of Fiore), 1282 (Pope Innocent III computing 666 years since the founding of Islam) and 1496 (Mystics who believed Christ would return 1,500 years after his birth).

October 3, 1533
After "a careful study of the Bible and mathematics," German mathematician Michael Stifel predicted a date for the end of the world. Stifel gathered his small group of true believers atop a hill near Lochau. When the end did not occur, he was placed in protective custody from angry villagers who had sold their homes and farms in anticipation of the end.

Scottish mathematician John Napier published The Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of St. John. In it, he identified the Pope as the Antichrist and predicted the end of the world between 1688 and 1700.

October 13, 1736
British theologian and mathematician William Whitson predicted a great flood similar to Noah's for October 13, 1736—obviously ignoring God's promise not to destroy the earth by flood.

March 21, 1843
More recently, William Miller predicted the world would end around March 21, 1843. Thousands of "Millerites" sold their property and possessions, quit their jobs and prepared themselves for the second coming. The failed prophecy was dubbed "The Great Disappointment." Undeterred, Miller reset the date for October 22, 1844. More disappointment!

Ellen White, founder of the Seven Day Adventists movement, made many predictions of the timing of the end of the world during this time. All failed.

On or before February 15, 1891
Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church, announced at a meeting that Jesus would return within 56 years or February 15, 1891.

Using a complex formula based on the "days" of Daniel 4, the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower Bible and Tract Society) predicted Christ's return in 1914. When the date passed, leaders claimed Christ had "invisibly" begun His rule.

December 17, 1919
Meteorologist Albert Porta predicted that the alignment of six planets would "generate a magnetic current that would cause the Sun to explode and engulf the Earth" on that date.

March 10, 1982
In 1974, astronomers John Gribben and Stephen Plagemann predicted the "Jupiter Effect" in which planets would align on the same side of the sun unleashing solar flares, radio interruptions, rainfall, temperature disturbances, and massive earthquakes.

May 14, 1988
Hal Lindsey, in his best-selling book The Late, Great Planet Earth, predicted Rapture in 1988—one generation or 40 years after the creation of the state of Israel.

October 11, 1988
Edgar Whisenaut, a NASA scientist, sold over 4 million copies of 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Occur in 1988. His second book, 89 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Occur in 1989 didn't sell as well.

January 1, 2000 (Y2K)
Alarmists claimed a dating glitch would cause computers around the world to crash causing widespread disaster.

September 10, 2008
Alarmists worried that when Switzerland's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest high-energy particle accelerator, became operational, it would create a black hole of earth. It was shut down nine days later due to problems with its superconducting magnets. It's scheduled to go back online later this month.

So, am I worried that we have just over three years of life as we know it on this planet? Nope, here's why. Jesus teaches:

". . . no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows (Matthew 24:36).

You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected (Matthew 24:44).

So if Jesus Himself doesn't know when the world will end, why should I believe the Mayans. After all, they had no clue their world was ending when the Spanish conquerors showed up.

I'm just going to do my part to save the planet my re-using, reducing, and recycling, keep my weather radio plugged in, and do my best to live out Jesus' teachings.

Do you need hope for the future? Find peace with God

More on 2012 and the End of the World

Related ChurchWatch Blog: 2012: The End of the World?

Bring it On: End Times Questions

Send your e-mail prayer request

More Perspectives on Spiritual Life

More from Spiritual Life

© 2009 James N. Watkins

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