One of the many ways people throughout history have chosen to enjoy their time on earth is trying to figure out when and how it will end. Some of these accounts are infuriatingly vague, and some are pretty explicit, giving the date and time that New York will be destroyed or that Jesus will show up on TV (but never a channel guide).
If you’re someone who is anxiously waiting for the end of the world (and maybe needs a hug), don’t be sad that none of these have happened. Arguably the coolest end of the world prediction is Ragnarök, from Norse mythology meaning, “The doom of the gods,” and there’s no set date for that. So while we sit and wait for the final battle between the Odin, Loki, Thor, and the Frost Giants, here’s a list of 25 Times The World Was Predicted To End But Didn’t.
Dec. 31, 1988
Hal Lindsey is a current evangelical pastor who keeps predicting the date of the rapture of Christians, the second coming of Christ, and the end of days, despite Christ himself saying he wasn’t telling anyone (Matthew 24:36, for the curious). In his book, “The Late Great Planet Earth,” published in 1970, Lindsey claimed that current events were leading up to the world ending on Dec. 31, 1988. That book – which by the way was made into a movie – spawned a trilogy of books on questionably fear mongering theology, including Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth and The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon. These days Lindsey is mostly keeping to vague “surely we are in the last days!” rhetoric.
It might seem as if Western culture and weird offshoots of Christianity in particular have the market on doomsday cornered, but let us look to our friends in the Eastern World. Aum Shinrikyo is a Doomsday cult from Japan founded in 1984. Aside from carrying out some chemical weapon based terrorism in Tokyo in the 90’s, this cult also predicted the world would end via nuclear war in late 2003. In 2007 they disbanded into two smaller groups.
While these predictions turned out to be false, there have been some predictions that were spot on. Check out 25 Incredible Predictions That Actually Came True.
December 2012; September 2016
No doomsday list would be complete without the Mayan Prophecy, though it’s pretty murky as to whether it meant the end of the world, or the end of an age and the beginning of a new, enlightened age. The original assumed end of all things date was December of 2012. However, when that didn’t happen, it was explained that due to differences between the Gregorian and Mayan Haab calendars, the date of doom was ACTUALLY June 3rd 2016. As of September 2016 in the US, we are neither completely destroyed nor enlightened.
April 23rd, 1843
In the mid 1800’s, a farmer in New England named William Miller announced that he had studied the Bible and figured out when God was going to destroy the world, and that date was April 23rd, 1843. Much like with Harold Camping, many of his followers sold or gave away their possessions and just hung out awkwardly all day waiting for awful things to happen, kind of like waiting for a sneeze, and then were oddly disappointed when awful things didn’t happen. Some of his followers did however go on to form the Seventh Day Adventists.
July 29th, 2016
The most recent “please enjoy by” date for earth that has now passed was July 29th, 2016. A fringe group of Christians calling themselves The End Times Prophecies released a video saying the magnetic poles of the Earth would suddenly flip (not Christ coming this time!), and that it would “make the stars race across the sky” and create a vacuum that would pull the atmosphere to the ground. Thankfully we have NASA and science to explain that Pole Reversal happens all the time (on a geological clock), and it takes hundreds of years. In other words, yes the poles are reversing, and it’s okay.