So, the world began to end on Saturday, the 23rd of September 2017; according to David Meade, that is, whose site asserts “his data and sources are the most high-value information on the Internet.”
Granted, we live in tumultuous times and there’s no denying it. And it doesn’t take a doomsday prophecy to arrive at such a conclusion. From melting ice caps to earthquakes to floods to tsunamis to hurricanes to even the threat of nuclear war, the times have grown dire indeed. Still, what does this all mean for Meade’s rather definite claim on this beginning of the end of the world? Will the 23rd of September 2017, indeed, mark the start of catastrophic events that eventually lead to the end of the world?
Surrounding Meade’s claim is the infamous Planet X, the number 33, and—arguably, the heart of it all—the book of Revelation.
Concerning the book of Revelation, the website Unsealed stated the claim as follows:
“On September 23rd a unique astronomical alignment of the Sun, Moon, constellation Virgo, constellation Leo, and planets Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, and Venus, is going to fulfil this passage from the book of Revelation:
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.—Revelation 12:1-2”
Interestingly, several YouTube videos (like this intriguing one) have illustrated how the astral events will supposedly tie in with Revelation right on schedule.
Also, speaking to the Washington Post, Meade says “Jesus lived for 33 years. The name Elohim, which is the name of God to the Jews, was mentioned 33 times [in the Bible]. It’s a very biblically significant, numerologically significant number. I’m talking astronomy. I’m talking the Bible… and merging the two.”
Numerology is, essentially, the study of hidden meaning or “relationship between a number and one or more coinciding events.”
And since September 23 is, surreptitiously, 33 days since the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, then, by Meade’s reckoning, voila! Meade believes this to be a compounding numerological evidence that the stellar events and its inference from Revelation will indeed take place on September 23.
Then enters Planet X, the legendary Nibiru, announced by the appearance of the astronomical signs of Revelation. Nibiru has been a hot topic for conspiracy theorists perhaps since Zecharia Sitchin’s Ancient Astronaut works. This unknown planet has been purported to be on course for a cataclysmic encounter with the earth in our age. Meade believes Nibiru will finally show its hostile face following the signs of September 23 and herald “the greatest catastrophic infliction of loss of life upon mankind, since Noah’s Ark.”
However, from scientists to people of faith, not everyone is on board. NASA senior space scientist at the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, David Morrison, famously created a video to debunk the Planet X claims. Writing for Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer, a professor and executive director of Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, take issue with the reports of world’s end and says: “Whenever someone tells you they have found a secret number code in the Bible, end the conversation. Everything else he or she says can be discounted.” Even the somewhat literal interpretation of events in the book of Revelation is not widely held.
So, what say you?
Looming tall in the backdrop of this news is the fact that this is not even news. At least, not in recent memory. Remember Harold Camping? Left to his enthusiasm and his $100 million dollar ‘end of the world’ campaign (I recall his billboards were even here in Ghana) the world should have ended on May 21, 2011; on another Saturday. After surviving that (yes, we’re still alive), we didn’t even have to wait long for yet another world-spanning doomsday prophecy—this one was based on a Mayan calendar—just the following year which, evidently, inspired the movie 2012. We outlived that too.
These kind of predictions are mostly from eager Bible believers and, what is more, history is littered with many notable examples.
One landmark example was on October 22, 1844, from which event emerged the Seventh-Day Adventists. It was a day of great anticipation for many people in the United States. Their church leader, William Miller, had predicted that Jesus Christ would return on October 22, 1844. The Millerites, as they were nicknamed, waited in their meeting places until night came. Then came the next day, but Jesus had not come. The world had not ended. Completely disillusioned, many of his followers discredited him and thereafter recalled that day as the ‘Great Disappointment.’
A similar disappointment also marks a sweet spot in the history of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and, interestingly, they do not shy away from admitting that they as well “have had wrong expectations about when the end would come.”
At the very least, this eagerness to discern a transcendent timetable of future events is a testament to our fascination with doomsday. Yet, like excited students prone to error, have we learnt from past errors?
As things now stand, an unknown planet, a curious number, and an astral queen have joined forces to inspire one of the intriguing end-of-the-world predictions of our time.
Still, what should we expect? In any case, should mistaken expectations about our world’s end mean it will never come?
Come what may, September 23, should give us reason to ponder over this, and beyond.