Pastor Harold Camping’s prediction about the world ending at 6PM EST on May 21, 2011, seems to be the latest installment in a string of failed Doom’s Day prophecies stretching back as far as the middle of the First Century AD. The Jewish separatist religious sect called the Essenes might have believed the countdown to the final apocalyptic battle between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness occurred when the Roman legion under the command of Titus destroyed the Jewish Temple in 70 AD.
There have been many others, such as in the following from a GOOGLE search:
The Montanists believed that Christ would come again within their lifetimes and establish a new Jerusalem at Pepuza, in the land of Phrygia. Montanism was perhaps the first bona fide Christian doomsday cult.
Rome celebrated its thousandth anniversary this year. At the same time, the Roman government dramatically increased its persecution of Christians, so much so that many Christians believed that the End had arrived.
Hilary of Poitiers predicted the world would end in 365.
The Donatists, a North African Christian sect headed by Tyconius, looked forward to the world ending in 380.
Late 4th Century
St. Martin of Tours (ca. 316-397) wrote, "There is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born. Firmly established already in his early years, he will, after reaching maturity, achieve supreme power."
Roman theologian Sextus Julius Africanus (ca. 160-240) claimed that the End would occur 6000 years after the Creation. He assumed that there were 5531 years between the Creation and the Resurrection, and thus expected the Second Coming to take place no later than 500 AD. (Kyle p.37, McIver #21)
Hippolytus (died ca. 236), believing that Christ would return 6000 years after the Creation, anticipated the Parousia in 500 AD. (Abanes p.283)
The theologian Irenaeus, influenced by Hippolytus's writings, also saw 500 as
the year of the Second Coming. (Abanes p.283, McIver #15)
Apr 6, 793
Elipandus, bishop of Toledo, described a brief bout of end-time panic that happened on Easter Eve, 793. According to Elipandus, the Spanish monk Beatus of Liébana prophesied the end of the world that day in the presence a crowd of people.
Mar 25, 970
Lotharingian computists foresaw the End on Friday, March 25, 970
Sep 23, 1186
John of Toledo, after calculating that a planetary alignment would occur in Libra on September 23, 1186 (Julian calendar), circulated a letter (known as the "Letter of Toledo") warning that the world was to going to be destroyed on this date, and that only a few people would survive.
Feb 14, 1420
Czech Doomsday prophet Martinek Hausha (Martin Huska) of the radical Taborite movement warned that the world would end in February 1420, February 14 at the latest. The Taborites were an offshoot of the Hussite movement of Bohemia.
Feb 1, 1524
The End would occur by a flood starting in London on February 1 (Julian), according to calculations some London astrologers made the previous June. Around 20,000 people abandoned their homes, and a clergyman stockpiled food and water in a fortress he built. As it happened, it didn't even rain in London on that date.
Feb 20, 1524
A planetary alignment in Pisces was seen as a sign of the Millennium by astrologer Johannes Stoeffler. The world was to be destroyed by a flood on this date (Julian), Pisces being a water sign.
May 27, 1528
Reformer Hans Hut predicted the end would occur on Pentecost.
Oct 19, 1533
Mathematician Michael Stifel calculated that the Day of Judgement would begin at 8:00am on this day.
Apr 5, 1534
Jan Matthys predicted that the Apocalypse would take place on Easter Day (April 5, Julian calendar).
Jul 22, 1556
In 1556, a rumor was circulating that the world would end on Magdalene's Day, as recorded by Swiss medical student Felix Platter.
Apr 28, 1583
The Second Coming of Christ would take place at noon, according to astrologer Richard Harvey. This was the date of a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, and numerous astrologers in London predicted the world would end then.
The Millerites [William Miller], a North American religious group [Seventh day Adventists], predicted that the Second Coming would take place in 1833, but when nothing happened they rescheduled the event for 1844.
Back in 1844 a preacher named Samuel Snow, based on a prophecy in the Book of Daniel, predicted the world would end on October 22.
In Chicago, a housewife named Dorothy Martin, said she came in contact with beings from the planet Clarion who told her the world would be destroyed on Dec. 21, 1954 by flood and that the faithful would be rescued at midnight by flying saucers. But there was no flood. No saucers.
Since 1970, Hal Lindsay, the Christian Science Monitor reports, has been predicting the end of the world. His book that year was titled “The Late, Great Planet Earth.” He wrote another book 26 years later titled “Planet Earth 2000 A.D.: Will Mankind Survive?” He said Christians should not make any plans after 2000.
Pat Robertson, the famed evangelist, said in 1980: “I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world.”
COMMENTARY: Of course, one cannot forget the panic or anxiety regarding Y2K [the year 2000] and now we have, May 21, 2011. Some people might have thought that September 11, 2001  as the Beginning of the End, but as it turns out it is rather a new normal for American national identity which seems to be a gradual erosion of First Amendment Rights and Privacy issues for the sake of National Security. Interestingly, Pastor Camping made an earlier prediction about the End Time or Rapture but it failed to come to pass, also. Camping uses what he says are the holy numbers 5, 10, and 17 to arrive at a countdown of 722, 500 days starting from 33 AD on April 1st [April Fool’s Day??]. The thing is, none of these secret numbers that he has supplied are considered sacred or special as mentioned in the Biblical canon like the numbers 7, 12, 4, or possibly even 3. Consider the words of Jesus in which He says:
Matthew 24: 11, 36 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
Jeremiah 23: 18 Thus says the LORD of Hosts: Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the LORD.
Deuteronomy 18: 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; that prophet has spoken it presumptuously [falsely]; you shall not be afraid of him [give heed to him].
Robert Randle 776 Commerce St. #B-11 Tacoma, WA 98402 May 21, 2011 firstname.lastname@example.org
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