Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In the News: Foolish Predictions

Image As everyone knows, the ancient Mayan calendar ended on December 21, 2012, and the world did not end. Now, the Mayans were not predicting the end of the world, but that didn’t preclude a lot of foolish people predicting its demise, based on the calendar.

In fact, such foolishness has a long history. I recently came across an internet article which recounted 11 different predictions of earthly destruction (at the least), none of which came true. Here is a concise listing, with a couple of points at the end:

  • Prophet Hen of Leeds, 1806. A chicken in Leeds, England was supposedly laying eggs which contained the inscription, “Christ is coming.” It was a hoax.
  • The Millerites, April 23, 1843. William Miller predicted the end of the world, based on his “literal” interpretation of the Bible. (Note: The Seventh Day Adventists grew out of this group).
  • Mormon Prediction 1891. Joseph Smith told Mormon church leaders in February 1835 that God had spoke to him, and told him that Jesus would return within 56 years, and the end times would begin.
  • Halley’s Comet, 1910. Speculation ran rampant that as the earth passed through the tail of the comet in 1910, all life would be poisoned by the toxic gases contained in the tail.
  • Pat Robertson, 1982. The televangelist told his audience that he knew when the world would end. He said, “I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world.”
  • Heaven’s Gate, 1997. When the comet Hale-Bopp came on the scene in 1997, a UFO cult based in San Diego reacted to rumors that an alien spacecraft was traveling in the tail of the comet by claiming the world was going to end soon. 39 of the cult’s members committed suicide on March 26, 1997.
  • Nostradamus, 1999. One of the quatrains predicted 1999 to be a year when, “From the sky will come great king of terror.” Many believed the prediction to indicate the end of the world.
  • Y2K, January 1, 2000. The computer bug (many computers on that date would not be able to tell the date from January 1, 1990) caused predictions ranging from electrical blackouts to nuclear holocaust. Gun sales spiked, and survivalists prepared to live in bunkers.
  • 5/5/2000 Ice. Richard Noone authored a book predicting that the thickness of the arctic ice combined with an alignment of planets would lead to catastrophic destruction.
  • God’s Church Ministry, 2008. Ronald Weinland led the group, and wrote a book contending that by the fall of 2008, the United States would cease to exist, millions would have died and the world would be plunged into the worst times of human history.
  • Harold Camping, 2011. Camping predicted the destruction of the world on May 21, 2011, and when it didn’t happen, revised his theology and date to October 21.

Unfortunately, those who believe in the coming judgment of God on the world (cf. 2 Peter 3:8-10) are lumped in with these foolish prognosticators, by a world of scoffers. There is a great deal of difference between believing a steadfast and clear promise of God, and being taken in by hoaxes, silly theories and interpretations of the Bible that have no merit.

The Bible clearly establishes two things: 1) We don’t know when the world will end (cf. 2 Peter 3:10), just that it will; and, 2) the way to prepare is not to try to predict its demise, but rather to live “lives of holiness and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11, ESV). You wonder why in the last 2000 years people haven’t figured it out.