389 B.C.; the first century A.D.; 1975; the year 2000.
What do all these dates have in common? They were all when the end of the world was predicted. A more recent calamity date is the upcoming Dec. 21, 2012, the end of the so-called Mayan calendar.
398 B.C. was supposed to be 150 years after the founding of Rome, when, according to prophesy, Rome would collapse (it continued for roughly 1,000 years). The first century A.D. was about a generation after the death of Christ, when many of his original followers, including Paul the Apostle, thought he would return. He did not.
1975 was when the Jehovah’s Witnesses said would be exactly 6,000 years since the creation of the world and would be a great time for Christ to return. Six thousand years seems to be a very common theme among Christian doomsday-ers and there are dozens of different calculations made by hundreds of otherwise smart people that whatever date this falls on is the end of the world.
The year 2000 had dozens if not hundreds of people saying the end of the world was coming, including most people in the press (remember Y2K?). It was a good, round number, so it’s as good a time as any, right?
There is a common theme with all of these dates (and many, many more). They were all supposed to be the end of the world, and they were all flat out wrong.
On Sept. 6, 1994, the head of the prolific Family Radio, Harold Camping, predicted the world would end. When it failed to occur, he revised the date to Sept. 29 of that year and then again to Oct. 2. Then to March 31, 1995. Camping was quiet for a few years until last year, when he predicted May 21. Then again Oct. 21. His followers did like so many others who at one point or another were convinced the world was ending and made preparations, including selling all their belongings and preparing to die.
The most recent prediction, which was apparently started by online rumors and conspiracy theorists, is that Dec. 21, 2012 will be our end-of-days. Ignoring the fact even the Mayans said it wouldn’t be, people are convinced Dec. 21 is it.
I don’t know about you, but I won’t be selling all my belongings and waiting for the end to come. It’ll come about regardless of my owning property or not. It’s not waiting for a prediction. As Matthew 24:36 states, “of that day and hour knoweth no man.” I’d say that’s about as simple a phrase as any – stop trying to beat the game and guess the end of the world. Why not live your days as best you can? That seems a better plan than sitting down and awaiting some finale.
I know what I’ll be doing Dec. 21. I will be enjoying life along with friends and family.