Bible Open

Armageddon and All That Jazz

by Mark Owen

NOTE: This list was originally compiled in 1991, revised in 1993; there have been some further dates predicted since then!

Just a few of the dates proposed for the End of the World:

Year C.E. ('Common Era' as the Christ-god is not my Lord as in 'Anno Domini')

50-100 Jesus supposedly said, 'This generation shall not pass away until all be fulfilled.' In the minds of the first Christians the statement clearly meant that the End would come in their time.

70 John Humphrey Noyes, one of the founders, in the 19th century, of the Oneida sect, taught that the Second Advent had already taken place in this year, which marked the fall of Jerusalem.

1000 St Augustine, among others, felt this was a good date for the End. The fact that the year zero had been arbitrarily set by a Scythian monk, Dionysius the Less, in the 6th century, did not seem to matter. That there was little support from the Biblical texts for this year did not prevent vast numbers of people abandoning their homes and trekking to Jerusalem to await the end.

1100 When the year 1000 passed and no Christ re-appeared, this date was proposed. For what reason I know not, but it is as good a date as any, I expect.

1200 When the year 1100 passed and no Christ re-appeared, this date was proposed. Again, for what reason I know not.

1500 As Papal power grew and dissenters arose many dates were suggested for the End. 1500 was but one of several.

1535 THE fateful year, when John of Leyden and a band of faithful followers occupied Munster as the New Jerusalem, to await the return of Christ. They enjoyed a little orgiastic pleasure while they tarried.

1660 Joseph Mede said this was THE End.

1666 In a rare display of unity Jews and Christians both believed this was the date of the End. The Jews looked to the first coming of the Messiah, the Christians expected the second coming! The date had been calculated from the Book of Revelation. Panic and excitement reigned yet again.

1688 John Napier, Scottish mathematician and author of A Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of St John, calculated that the end would come before this year.

1689 Another year given out by someone or other.

1700 Napier later changed his mind and proposed a new date - 1700. As he was already dead when 1688 came and went he was not to suffer disappointment over his two erroneous choices.

1730 Yet another year announced by someone. No doubt established by 'careful study' of the Scriptures, mind you!

1733 None other than the great Sir Isaac Newton now entered the lists, prognosticating on the End, giving this year as his choice. Fortunately he, too, was dead and buried before he had a chance to be disappointed.

1736 William Whiston of Cambridge announced on October 13 that Beginning of the End was nigh and would start with the destruction of the sodom of London. Panic-stricken Londoners headed for high places to escape floods predicted. None came. Whiston later announced a new date (see further).

1757 Emanuel Swedenborg, who conversed frequently with angels (or so he assured us), was certain this was the date. Being both a renowned scientist and having contact with the heavenly sphere one would have thought he would know, but alas, he failed the world on this score.

1763 George Bell, one of the over-enthusiastic followers of John Wesley, caused a panic among the 'lower classes' by prophesying the world would end in this year, on February 28 precisely.

1814 Predicted by Joanna Southcott, the prophetess, as the date of the rebirth of Christ (October 19), Joanna being the chosen vessel to bear the babe. She was not pregnant, but had dropsy; she died soon afterwards.

1819 Joanna Southcott's followers found a replacement for the expected babe in this year. But the world at large seems to have been unaware of the discovery.

1834 William Miller (whose group was to form the Seventh-Day Adventist Church) was sure this was the date of the End. Until, that is, he changed his mind.

1836 Others, after 'careful study' of the Bible, disagreed with Miller and thought this was the year. Johann Albrech was among their number. Note that, as we get nearer our own day, the dates increase in frequency!

1843 Miller's re-calculated date, in the month of April. This was to prove one of the biggest events in the End-Time calendar. When April came and went Miller set to work on a new date.

1844 Miller's brave new choice - on March 21. The Millerites waited in droves on high vantage points in special ascension robes for the expected End. Hysteria reigned. People sold up farms and homes. But still the End did not come.

1864 Edward Irving, one given to strange outbursts in tongues, announced this as the date. His prediction was as spurious as his signs.

1866 Back in 1734, after Newtown's prediction failed, William Whiston,theologian and mathematician, who succeeded Newton at Cambridge, announced this year as THE ONE. He had support from a Dr John Cummings

1874 Charles Taze Russell, founder of the group later known as the Witnesses of Jehovah, said that Christ had returned invisibly in this year. Nice touch as there was no way of proving it!

1881 Mother Shipton's predicted date.

1914 Russell next proposed that 1914 would be actual End. When the Great War started it must have looked like the End, but it wasn't. Russell died disappointed in 1916.

1916-80? Judge Rutherford, now heading the Witnesses of Jehovah, told everyone: 'Thousands now living will not die,' for they would instead be alive to see the End. Rutherford and many thousands did die without seeing it.

1919 Professor Porta of Michigan University predicted the End for December 17 of this year.

1920 A prophet in Latvia preached this year as being the End. His followers believed with such fervour that they dug graves and waited beside them for the End. How long they waited, I know not; some may still be there.

1925 The Americans were back in the prediction business and this year saw scenes reminiscent of those in 1844 involving the Millerites, when a Mrs Margaret Rowen, a Californian, and her Brides of the Lamb prepared themselves for the End; they, too, took to the heights.

1975 The Witnesses of Jehovah, ever given to predicting doom, came up with yet another date.

1984 The Witnesses of Jehovah never give up! They were at it again, causing something of a furore by assuring everyone this was the final End. Witnesses sold up homes and businesses to wait; by now a very familiar story.

1988 Edgar Whisenant made himself a nice packet of money with a book assuring everyone THIS was the year. He had 88 reasons for his assurance. And 4 million reasons for being happy, for that is how many copies his book were sold to a gullible public.

1989 Surprise, surprise. Mr Whisenant found he had made a mistake so he issued a new book. 1989 was the year. More lovely book sales and still more nave people keeping Mr Whisenant in luxury.

1990 Coming thick and fast now. Mrs Elizabeth Clare Prophet told Americans that this was THE year. Her followers went underground; for all I know some of them might still be there.

1991 The Gulf War breaks out and all the religious ravers get on their phones to the radio stations telling us that this is Armageddon, this is it, this is THE END.

1992 The Australian Mission for the Coming Days in 1991 was predicting that Jesus would come on October 29, 1992, at 1 am Sydney time precisely ('2 am in case of Daylight Saving' ).

1999 Followers of Nostradamus claim that, according to the French seer, the End of the world is due in July 1999.

2398 Shaoshyant, the Zoroastrian Saviour, is due to return in this year. Thus, Christ is fast running out of time to do so! If he doesn't put in an appearance soon we'll all have to become Zoroastrians.


See Western Thought influenced by Zoroastrianism by Stephen Van Eck