Other apocalypse theorists have done much better with riling up their believers with Biblical predictions for the end of the world. In 1994, Harold Camping predicted that the Rapture would occur on September 21. The Christian radio broadcaster and the Family Radio network spent $100 million of listener-donated dollars convincing believers that the big day was nigh.
Not only did they believe, they gave away their money, quit their jobs, sold their houses, and made life-altering decisions based on his prophecy. When the day came and went, he crunched the numbers again, collected and spent another $100 million dollars on an advertising campaign that included 3,000 billboards, and announced that the world would end on May 21, 2011. Again, true believers gave up everything they had worked for in life. “It was probably one of the saddest things that I’d ever read, the idea that there’s kids out there whose parents spent their college savings funds, who sold their homes,” one woman told the BBC.
The end of the world is predicted all the time, actually. The Mayan calendar predicted it would happen on December 21, 2012. In 2013, on August 23, the Rasputin prophecy was supposed to come true. In April 2014, the Blood Moon prophecy scheduled the end. The viral End Time Prophecies on Youtube told people to get ready for July 29, 2016. Conspiracy theorist David Meade said September 23, 2017, was the last day to wrap up your bucket list. Then he updated it to April 23, 2018, but retracted it, saying that prediction was fake news. Now he says that the big day will be sometime before December 2018, but it won’t really be the end, just the Rapture, followed by seven years of “tribulation,” followed by 1,000 years of “peace and prosperity,” and then the world will be destroyed.
“So the world isn’t ending anytime soon – in our lifetimes, anyway!” Meade said.
But even conspiracy theorists who rely on the Bible for evidence need to concede that, according to that book, no one knows when that day will come. In Mark 13:32, Jesus says, “Concerning that day or the hour, nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the son, but the Father.”
Then again, the Bible can be vague, contradictory, outdated, and stretched and flexed to explain or justify just about anything. If the end of the world is coming, perhaps we ought to look to science rather than literature.