The End Of The World
By James Donahue
Folks who are convinced
that we are living in the “last days” may be surprised to know that people have believed the end was upon them
for at least the last four thousand years. It seems that little has changed in all of that time.
Bible scholars will know
that Jesus told about the end of times when with his disciples, and the writer of the Book of the Revelation also gave a graphic
description of just how it would happen. But few realize that the Assyrians also were making similar harsh predictions as
early as 2,800 BC.
Author Isaac Asimov wrote
in his Book of Facts that an Assyrian clay tablet was found that contained the following message: “Our earth is degenerate
in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common.”
That sounds quite familiar
Roman mythology included
a myth that 12 eagles revealed to Romulus, one of the twins credited with the founding of Rome,
that the city would be destroyed in the 120th year after its founding. Some Romans believed that each eagle represented
10 years. Since the Roman calendar began counting at the founding of Rome,
they predicted that the city would fall in the year 634 B.C. When that didn’t happen, a new theory was developed that
calculated the mystical number by the number of days in a year. This set the date of the fall of Rome at 365 B.C. Of course, Rome still stands today, even
though the old Roman Empire has been gone for a very long time.
The first Christian doomsday
cult was probably the Montanists, a group founded in 156 AD by the prophet Montanus and two of his followers, Priscilla and
Maximilla. They taught that Jesus would come again within their lifetimes and establish a new Jerusalem at Pepuza. Of course
the return of Jesus didn’t happen and the cult eventually dissolved.
Since Montanus, the doomsday
groups have cropped up regularly. The list is almost endless. The early ones included Hilary of Poitiers who predicted the
end of the world in 365, the Donatists of North Africa who predicted the end in 380, and St. Martin of Tours who, in the mid
300s wrote that he believed the antichrist was already in the world.
Roman theologian Sextus
Julius Africanus predicted that the end would happen 6000 years after the Creation and calculated that the Second Coming would
have to occur no later than 500 A.C. He had many followers. All of them were wrong.
A panic event occurred
on April 6, 793. It appears that Beatus of Liebana, a Spanish monk, prophesied the end of the world on that day while in a
crowd. The people spread the word, saying that the world would end that night. There was panic in the streets. Many people
fasted and prayed through the night. When dawn came, and they were still there, the panic was over. The event was described
by historian Elipandus, bishop of Toledo.
After that the prophets
seemed to pop out of the woodwork like termites. Bishop Gregory of Tours
said the end would come between 799 and 806. The Prophet Thiota said it would happen in the year 848. Lotharingian Computists
predicted the end on Friday, March 25, 790 when the Annunciation and Good Friday fell on the same day. Bernard of Thuringia
predicted that the world would end in 992.
And just as it happened
in the days preceding the beginning of 2000, there was apocalyptic paranoia centered around the year 1,000. It is said that
a “panic terror” gripped Europe in the months before this date. It didn’t
happen then and it didn’t happen at 2000.
As everybody knows, the
soothsayers have been busy in all of the years since 1000. People have followed such “prophets,” sometimes selling
all of their belongings and following their leaders into the mountains to await the second coming of Jesus. And every time
they did it, they made fools of themselves.
Will it ever happen?
When he predicted his return, Jesus reportedly said no man will know the hour or the time of his return. Thus how can any
prophet dare to say he or she knows when to expect such an event?
Our own appraisal of
the situation is that the whole story has been a hoax ever since King Etana of Kish, the first
recorded king of Mesopotamia, and his wife, Semiramis declared themselves gods. The king
was said to have been resurrected as a child of Semiramis known as the god-man Marduk.
Marduk, the Persian sun-god
Mithra, the Egyptian god-man Horus, and even contemporary self-proclaimed gods such as Benjamin Purnell of the House of David,
all said they would return after death. To date, none of them have been seen again.
Will there be an end
to the world as we know it? It certainly can happen, especially if we continue to procreate recklessly, continue to pollute
and fail to care for the garden that sustains us. We are running out of important resources like food, potable water and lumber
And yes, there is a limit
to the life of the sun from which the energy, heat and life on this planet is made possible. Once the sun begins to burn out,
it will become a red dwarf, expand its size, and consume most of the planets revolving around it, including Earth. That will
be the day the world ends.
If we fail to care for
her, our living Mother Earth will stop providing life as we know it long before this, however.
The Jesus factor should
not be taken seriously by anyone.