I have a busy weekend ahead, announcing a football game tonight and a football game Saturday afternoon, both here.
It is possible that those might be the last two football games I announce, because of this apocalyptic news the Washington Post reports, which of course requires music first:
A few years ago, NASA senior space scientist David Morrison debunked an apocalyptic claim as a hoax.
No, there’s no such thing as a planet called Nibiru, he said. No, it’s not a brown dwarf surrounded by planets, as iterations of the claim suggest. No, it’s not on a collision course toward Earth. And yes, people should “get over it.”
But the claim has been getting renewed attention recently. Added to it is the precise date of the astronomical event leading to Earth’s destruction. And that, according to David Meade, is in six days — Sept. 23, 2017. Unsealed, an evangelical Christian publication, foretells the Rapture in a viral, four-minute YouTube video, complete with special effects and ominous doomsday soundtrack. It’s called “September 23, 2017: You Need to See This.”
Why Sept. 23, 2017?
Meade’s prediction is based largely on verses and numerical codes in the Bible. He has homed in one number: 33.
“Jesus lived for 33 years. The name Elohim, which is the name of God to the Jews, was mentioned 33 times [in the Bible],” Meade told The Washington Post. “It’s a very biblically significant, numerologically significant number. I’m talking astronomy. I’m talking the Bible … and merging the two.”
And Sept. 23 is 33 days since the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, which Meade believes is an omen.
He points to the Book of Revelation, which he said describes the image that will appear in the sky on that day, when Nibiru is supposed to rear its ugly head, eventually bringing fire, storms and other types of destruction.
The book describes a woman “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” who gives birth to a boy who will “rule all the nations with an iron scepter” while she is threatened by a red seven-headed dragon. The woman then grows the wings of an eagle and is swallowed up by the earth.
The belief, as previously described by Gary Ray, a writer for Unsealed, is that the constellation Virgo — representing the woman — will be clothed in sunlight, in a position that is over the moon and under nine stars and three planets. The planet Jupiter, which will have been inside Virgo — in her womb, in Ray’s interpretation — will move out of Virgo, as though she is giving birth.
To make clear, Meade said he’s not saying the world will end Saturday. Instead, he claims, the prophesies in the Book of Revelation will manifest that day, leading to a series of catastrophic events that will happen over the course of weeks.
“The world is not ending, but the world as we know it is ending,” he said, adding later: “A major part of the world will not be the same the beginning of October.”
Meade’s prediction has been dismissed as a hoax not only by NASA scientists, but also by people of faith.
Ed Stetzer, a professor and executive director of Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, first took issue with how Meade is described in some media articles.
“There’s no such thing as a Christian numerologist,” he told The Post. “You basically got a made-up expert in a made-up field talking about a made-up event.… It sort of justifies that there’s a special secret number codes in the Bible that nobody believes.”
Meade said he never referred to himself as a Christian numerologist. He’s a researcher, he said, and he studied astronomy at a university in Kentucky, though he declined to say which one, citing safety reasons. His website says he worked in forensic investigations and spent 10 years working for Fortune 1000 companies. He’s also written books. The most recent one is called “Planet X — The 2017 Arrival.”
Stetzer said that while numbers do have significance in the Bible, they shouldn’t be used to make sweeping predictions about planetary motions and the end of Earth.
“Whenever someone tells you they have found a secret number code in the Bible, end the conversation,” he wrote in an article published Friday in Christianity Today. “Everything else he or she says can be discounted.”
That is not to say that Christians don’t believe in the Bible’s prophesies, Stetzer said, but baseless theories that are repeated and trivialized embarrass people of faith.
“We do believe some odd things,” he said. “That Jesus is coming back, that he will set things right in the world, and no one knows the day or the hour.”
The doomsday date was initially predicted to be in May 2003, according to NASA. Then it was moved to Dec. 21, 2012, the date that the Mayan calendar, as some believed, marked the apocalypse.
Morrison, the NASA scientist, has given simple explanations debunking the claim that a massive planet is on course to destroy Earth. If Nibiru is, indeed, as close as conspiracy theorists believe to striking Earth, astronomers, and anyone really, would’ve already seen it.
“It would be bright. It would be easily visible to the naked eye. If it were up there, you could see it. All of us could see it. … If Nibiru were real and it were a planet with a substantial mass, then it would already be perturbing the orbits of Mars and Earth. We would see changes in those orbits due to this rogue object coming in to the inner solar system,” Morrison said in a video.
Doomsday believers also say that Nibiru is on a 3,600-year orbit. That means it had already come through the solar system in the past, which means we should be looking at an entirely different solar system today, Morrison said.
“Its gravity would’ve messed up the orbits of the inner planets, the Earth, Venus, Mars, probably would’ve stripped the moon away completely,” he said. “Instead, in the inner solar system, we see planets with stable orbits. We see the moon going around the Earth.”
And if Nibiru is not a planet and is, in fact, a brown dwarf, as some claims suggest — again, we would’ve already seen it.
“Everything I’ve said would be worse with a massive object like a brown dwarf,” Morrison said. “That would’ve been tracked by astronomers for a decade or more, and it would already have really affected planetary objects.”
Some call Nibiru “Planet X,” as Meade did in the title of his book. Morrison said that’s a name astronomers give to planets or possible objects that have not been found. For example, when space scientists were searching for a planet beyond Neptune, it was called Planet X. And once it was found, it became Pluto.
If Charlie Sykes can appear on Wisconsin Public Radio and the world hasn’t ended (and if you’re reading this you can assume the world indeed hasn’t ended), I doubt Meade (of whom I’ve written here previously) is correct, since Harold Camping (twice), the Mayans, James Hansen, the blood moon prophets, and the eBible Fellowship, among others, couldn’t get it right. (That includes me, since I claimed that a Chicago Cubs World Series win and Donald Trump’s getting elected president were surely signs of the end times.) I keep repeating Matthew 24:36 (and apparently some people need to actually read it), in which Jesus Christ says, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
The first time I recall a prediction of The End was in the late 1970s, when Pope Paul VI died and his successor, Pope John Paul I, died after just a month in office. That brought up St. Malachy’s Prophecy of the Popes, listed on always-accurate Wikipedia as …
… a series of 112 short, cryptic phrases in Latin which purport to predict the Roman Catholic popes (along with a few antipopes), beginning with Pope Celestine II. The alleged prophecies were first published by Benedictine monk Arnold Wion in 1595. Wion attributes the prophecies to Saint Malachy, a 12th-century Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland.
Given the very accurate description of popes up to around 1590 and lack of accuracy for the popes that follow, historians generally conclude that the alleged prophecies are a fabrication written shortly before they were published. Certain theologians in the Roman Catholic Church have dismissed them as forgery. The Catholic Church has no official stance on the prophecies, however.
The prophecies conclude with a pope identified as “Peter the Roman”, whose pontificate will allegedly precede the destruction of the city of Rome.
And what pope are we on according to Malachy? The last one!
112. Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations, and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills [i.e. Rome] will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The End. …
Popular speculation by proponents of the prophecy attach this prediction to Benedict XVI’s successor. Since Francis‘ election as Pope, proponents in internet forums have been striving to link him to the prophecy. Theories include a vague connection with Francis of Assisi, whose father was named Pietro (Peter).
Assuming Malachy was incorrect (or even if he isn’t), for those who want to plan for such things, A Brief History of the Apocalypse provides future dates of the end(s):
2017: The “Prophet Gabriel” supposedly told the Sword of God Brotherhood that the “dying time” will come in 2017, and only members of the cult will survive. Everyone else will “perish in hellfire.”
So maybe the end is after Saturday but before Dec. 31. Riiiiiiiight.
Sept. 28, 2020: George Madray predicts a Yom Kippur Parousia in 2020.
“Parousia” is a Greek word that apparently now means “second coming.” If correct, that means no one will ever get a chance to vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president again. And though Pope Francis is 80, he certainly could live three more years …
2022: James T. Harmon’s Rapture prediction #4.
… or five more years …
2023: Ian Gurney predicts in his book The Cassandra Prophecy — Armageddon Approaches that the “final date, Judgement Day, the end of mankind’s time on this planet, is less than twenty two years away” from 2001, which means that the world is set to end by 2023 at the very latest.
2025: In this post, Georgann Chenault, a frequent poster on Usenet, wrote “I think the rapture of the church will be before 2025.”
Nov. 13, 2026: According to an article published in Science magazine in 1960, this was the date that the world’s population would reach infinity, a result of the so-called “doomsday equation.”
2033: Believed by many to by the 2000th anniversary of the Crucifixion, this is a date just begging to be targeted by doomsayers whose prophecies for 2000 and 2001 will have failed.
2035: The Raëlians are working hard to establish an embassy in Jerusalem in anticipation of the 2035 arrival of aliens called “elohim”, who will usher in a New Age. However, their arrival is contingent on the completion of the embassy.
2037: In her book The Call to Glory, psychic Jeane Dixon wrote, “The years 2020-2037, approximately, hail the true Second Coming of Christ.” The Battle of Armageddon is to take place in 2020.
2040: Pyramidologist Max Toth predicts the physical reincarnation of Jesus Christ occurring in 2040. Like other pyramidologists, he used the dimensions of the Great Pyramid’s passageways to predict future events.
Futurist John Smart of Acceleration Watch (formerly Singularity Watch) estimates that a technological singularity will take place around the year 2040, when technological advancement reaches asymptotic levels. After this apocalyptic event, a new era of balance and compassion will begin.
ca. 4,500,000,000 AD: The sun will swell into a red giant star, swallowing Mercury, Venus, Earth, and perhaps Mars. This will be the true end of the world!
One of those predictions is bound to be right. Right?