humphreys wrote:Apparently, this is not the only time it was predicted that Christ's return was imminent.
Here's a partial list:
Theudas declared himself the Messiah, taking 400 people with him into the desert. T beheaded by Roman soldiers. Josephus records this.
Even before all the books of the Bible were written, there was talk that Christ's return had already taken place. The Thessalonians panicked on Paul, when they heard a rumor that the day of the Lord was at hand, and they had missed the rapture.
Ben Zakkai died about 80, and expected the Messiah about the time of his death
Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus (1-2 Cent) thought the days of the Messiah would last 40 years. Before Bar Kochba the Mess. age was short; longer afterward
Rabbi Jose, the Galilean, a contemporary of Hyrcanus and Azariah, thought the Messiah would come in three generations (60 years), after the destruction; namely 130 (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
Return of Christ; Tichonus a writer of the 4th Cent (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
Hippolytus "calculated that 5,500 years separated Adam and Christ and that the life of the world was 6,000 six full 'days' of years until the seventh the day of rest." His calculations in 234 indicted there were still two centuries left. (from A History of the End of the World, Rubinsky and Wiseman, 1982)
Rabbi Dosa (2-3rd Century) said the Messiah would come at the end of 400 years. This was based (?) on Gen. 15:13 (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
Messiah comes; Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi (135-220) believed Messiah would come 365 years after Temple destroyed in 70 (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
Messiah would come; Rabbi Hanina (3rd C), though Messiah would come 400 years after Temple Destruction. (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
A Roman priest and theologian in the second and third centuries, predicted Christ would return in A.D. 500, based on the dimensions of Noah's ark.
Return of Christ; Hyppolytus (170-236) and Lactantius (250-330) said 500 would be the time for the second coming of Christ (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
Acrostic on the end of the world, predecessor of Celano's "Dies irae," found in a ms. from Aniane (second half of the tenth century, ed. Paulin Blanc,"Nouvelle Prose sur le Dernier Jour, Composée avec chant noté, vers l'An Mille..." Mémoires de la Société Archéologique de Montpellier, 2 (1850), 451-509, second copy located by Michel Huglo: BN lat. 1928 f.178, Fécamp c.1040).
"Treatise on the Antichrist" by Adso of Montier-en-Der, c.950, a response to a variety of crises at mid-century that provoked widespread apocalyptic disquiet, and rapidly become a central text in the European eschatological literature (ed. by Verhelst, CCSL, Cont. med. aeui 40; study in the context of 1000, by Verhelst, "Adso van Montier-en-Der en de angst voor het jaar Duizend," Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 90 (1977), 1-10); and C. Carozzi, La fin des temps: Terreurs et prophéties au Moyen Age (Paris: Stock, 1982), pp.186-94. See below # .
Letter on the Hungarians that speaks of widespread apocalyptic reactions among the population, Ac primum dicendum opinionem quae innumeros tam in vestra quam in nostra regione persuasit frivolam esse et nihil veri in se habere, qua putatur Deo odibilis gens Hungrorum esse Gog et Magog ceteraeque gentes quae cum eis describuntur... Dicunt enim nunc esse novissimum saeculi tempus finemque imminere mundi, et idcirco Gog et Magog esse Hungros, qui numquam antea auditi sunt, sed modo, in novissimo temporum apparuerunt. R.B.C. Huygens, "Un témoin" [n.11], p.231, lines 94-106; letter from the bishop of Auxerre to the bishop of Verdun (commentary by Huygens, p.236f). Dated variously early tenth century, or, according to Huygens, to second half of the tenth ("Un témoin de la crainte de l'an 1000: La lettre sur les Hongrois," Latomus, 15 (1956), 224-38); considered the background of Adso's treatise (see below #3).
In A.D. 950 Adso of Montier-en-Der wrote a "Treatise on the Antichrist" which was a response to a number of mid-century crises that had provoked widespread alarm and fear of an end-time apocalypse.(5) Five years later, Abbo of Fleury heard a preacher in Paris who announced that the Antichrist would be unleashed in the year 1000 and that the Last Judgment would soon follow.(6) At about the same time a panic occurred in the German army of Emperor Otto I because of a solar eclipse that the soldiers mistook as a sign of the end of the world.(7) And when the last Carolingian dynasty fell with the death of King Louis V in 987, many saw this event as a precursor to the arrival of the Antichrist. King Otto II of Germany had Charlemagne's body exhumed on Pentecost in the year 1000 supposedly in order to forestall the apocalypse. Both Halley's comet in A.D. 989 and a super nova in A.D. 1006 were interpreted as signs of the end. About the same time, the Moslem caliph, Al Hakim, destroyed the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem prompting apocalyptic fear in the west as well as violent anti-Jewish outbursts.(8)
"Dum saeculum transit finis mundi appropinquat..." [As the saeculum (century?) passes, the end of the world approaches.] Cartulaire de Saint-Jouin-de-Marnes, pp.1, 11, 17.
Abbo hears a preacher in Paris announcing the unleashing of Antichrist for 1000 AD and the Last Judgment for shortly thereafter (see below # 7, 17).
Panic in Otto's army at an eclipse the soldiers took to portend the end of the world (Gesta episcoporum Leodensium, MGH SS IX, p.202)
Annalists note in the margin of Easter tables: mille anni a nativitate Christi, based on a "misreading" of the base year in the Easter Tables as Anno passionis. Three years earlier unusual events with apocalyptic tonality (fire from heaven, release of demons) occur. (Annales de Saint Florent de Saumur, et de Vendôme, Halphen Recueil d'annales angevines, p.58 n.2, 116 n.6.) Note that, in typical capstone style, Halphen does not include the note, with its millennial consciousness in the text of his edition, nor even in a footnote to that year, but appended to a footnote for another year, and explained away as a mistake.
969 and/or 980:
widespread apocalyptic expectation in Lotharingia at the coincidence of the Annunciation and the Crucifixion agaist which Abbo writes a letter.
Igneae acies visae sunt in caelo per totam noctem 5 Kalendas Novembris. Hoc anno complentur mille anni a nativitate Christi, secundum veritatem evangelii, qui secundum cyclum Dionisii anno abhinc 21 finiuntur; sicque in anno domincae passionis veritati evangelicae contraitur. Sigebert of Gembloux, Chronicon universale c.1114, PL 160 c.194 (here using Abbo's correction of the date AD; see next item).
Abbo redates the year 1000 four years into the past (true AD 1000 = Dionysus' 979) using the apocalyptic beliefs above (#7, see also #17) as the basis of his calculations.
The last Carolingian dynasty (the final hindrance to the arrival of Antichrist according to Adso) falls; the capture of the last potential ruler occurs under most dastardly cirumstances. Southern charters begin to date AD, with Christ reigning, a traditional interregnal formula with apocalyptic antecedants (Kantarowicz, The King's Two Bodies, p. ).
Halley's Comet appears, cited in Annales divionenses, MGH SS V, p. ; and Annales Quedlinburgenses MGH SS III, p.68; Thietmar of Mersebourg, Chronicon IV, 10; (also Glaber III, 3? acc. to France, p.110-11, and n.4, but see below under 1006, #29); P. Moore and J. Mason, The Return of Halley's Comet (Cambridge, 1984), p.46)
First wave of peace councils in the South (see below).
mention of apocalyptic beliefs leading to violent seizure of church property at St. Hilaire.
Preaching of Aelfric and Wulfistan, filled with images of Last Judgment, explicity linked at points to the year 1000 and the unleashing of Antichrist (Gatch, Milton McC., Preaching and Theology in Anglo-Saxon England: Aelfric and Wulfstan (Toronto, U. Press, 1977).
Coincidence of Crucifixion and Annunciation; Nouaillé begins its charters for the next decade with "Appropinquante finem mundi..."; Adso, an old man, leaves on a one-way pilgrimage to Jerusalem; German chronicles report light from north at dawn like the sun, rumor among many that 3 suns, 3 moons and stars were fighting, indicating heavy mortality and famine (Thietmar IV, 19; An. Quedl. ad an. 993, MGH SS III, 69; Annales Augustani, ibid. p.124).
Outbreaks of sacer ignis throughout France, associated in Limoges with the Peace of God.
various signs (including a monstrous child), famines, plagues and mortality in Saxony, referred to as the biblical "tria iudicia pessima" (Annales Quedlinburgenses, MGH SS, III p.94; also Thietmar IV, 17; Annales Augustani, MGH SS III, 124).
De fine quoque mundi coram populo sermonem in Ecclesia Parisiorum adolescentulus audivi, quod statim finito mille annorum numero Antichristus adveniret, et non longo post tempore universale iudicium succederet: cui praedicationi ex Evangeliis ac Apocalypsi et libro Danielis, qua potui virtute, resistiti. Denique et errorem qui de fine mundi inolevit abbas meus beatae memoriae Richardus sagaci animo propulit, post quam litteras a Lothariensibus accepit, quibus me respondere iussit; Nam fama pene totum mundum impleverat, quod, quando Annuntiatio Dominica in Parasceve contigisset absque ullo scrupulo finis saeculi esset. De initio etiam Adventus qui ante Nativitatem Domini per singulos annos agitur, aliquando error gravissimus extitit, aliis inchoantibus post v. Kalendas Decembris aliis ante, cum numquam plus quatuor ebdomadas, saltem unam diem Adventus habeat; cumque de huiusmodi diversitate soleant contempiones in Ecclesia crescere, concilio determinandum est, ut omnes qui in ea viviumus unum sapiamuis quod vestra industria CONCEDAT qui nos unanimes VULT HABERE IN DOMO SUA." Abbo of Fleury, Apologeticus ad hugonem et rodbertum reges francorum, London, BM 10972, f.22v; PL 139 c.471-2; dated before 996 by Vidier (p.105- 7); 994-5 by Mostert (p.48-51). Concerning the end of the world, as a youth (adolescentulus) I heard a sermon in a [the?] church in Paris that as soon as the number of a thousand years should come, the Antichrist would come, and not long thereafter, the Last Judgment would follow; which preaching I resisted with all my strength from the Evangels and the Apocalypse and the book of Daniel.
Otto III engages in elaborate program of renovatio imperii romani that, from the apocalyptic scenario, would reaffirm the existence of the "barrier" to Antichrist, particulary important given the demise of the last of the Carolingians in the previous decade (see above # 3, 9). In this he recapitulated many of Charlemagne's responses to the coming of the year 6000 (see below # 14, 17).
"Iste fuit Girbertus, tempore cuius inpletus est annus millesimus ab incarnatione Domini." Annales Pragenses ad an. 999, MGH SS III, 120.
This year goes down as one of the most pronounced states of hysteria over the return of Christ. All members of society seemed affected by the prediction that Jesus was coming back on Jan 1, 1000 AD. There really weren't any of the events required by the Bible transpiring at that time. The magical number 1000 was primarily the sole reason for the expectation. During December 999 AD, everyone was on their best behavior; worldly goods were sold and given to the poor, swarms of pilgrims headed east to meet the Lord at Jerusalem, buildings went unrepaired, crops were left unplanted, and criminals were set free from jails. The year 999 AD turned into 1000 AD and nothing happened.
Annales Elnonenses, ad an. 1000; MGH SS V, p.12; contemporary hand; noted in mid-11th century by the Annales Laubienses and Leodinienses, MGH SS 5, 18. Anno dominicae incarnationis 1000, ind. 13. epacta 12. concurrente 1. termino pascali 9. Kal. Apr. 4 Kal Apr. feria 6, celebrantibvus christicolis sacrosanctae passionis ac redemtionis illius misterium, terraemotus magnus factus est, non ita ut pepe accidere solet, vento in benas terrae condito, ubi concava terrarum viscera his motibus subiacent veluti venti capacia; sed generali et vasto tremore totius obrbis magnitudo passim contremuit, ut cunctis fieret manifestum, quod ore veritatis fuerat ante promissum. His namque et aliis signis quae praenuntiata fuerunt opere completis, hinc iam fit nostra spes certior omni visu, de his quae restant ordine complendis.
Otto returns to Aachen where he exumes Charlemagne's body on Pentecost of the year 1000.
Gerbert/Sylvester and Otto III carry out an unusual procession on August 15, 1000: "In assumptione sancte Mariae nocte quando tabula portatur" (Bamberger manuscript from 1067 published in Giesebrecht, Geschichte der Deutchen Kaiserzeit II, Documents; also see Lausser, Gerbert, p.325; Molinier II, Mabillon II, 226, 334; Histoire littéraire XIII, 600;
Outbreak of heresies in France, Italy, south-west Mediterranean that Glaber interprets as the unleashing of Satan according to Revelations (Historiarum, II, 22-23; ed. France, p.88-93).
All the references, still poorly known, from computist texts that privilege the year 1000, which, coming in the middle of a 19 year cycle (988 1006) should neither begin nor end any Easter table: cf. Vat.reg.lat.1127 f.10v, from 920 to "MILLE"; St. Gall 902, 817-999; St. Gall 387, 1001-1129.
"Tertio Ottone imperante. Millesimus annus supercrescens statute computationis numerum, secundum illud quod legitur scriptum: Millesimus exsuperat et transcendit omnia annus." Annales Hildesheimenses III, Préface (MGH SS III, ), written c.1040.
"Interea millesimus ab incarnatione Domini annus feliciter impletus est et hic est annus archiepiscopi 12." Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum (II, xl; MGH SS 7.320) late eleventh century.3
"Data mense augusto, regnante Rotberto rege, anni ab Incarnatione Domni nostri Jesu Christi usque in presentem diem mille et I." (Charter of Saint- Hilaire of Poitiers, ed. Redet, #67, p.76).
references to 1000 taken from Sigebert in later medieval chroniclers: see the collection in Bouquet, Historiens des Gaules de de la France, 10.xcix, 28de, 28de,197b, 205b, 217c, 271c, 282a, 290b, 291a, 299c, 319b.
Five reasons why 1000AD was not a significant date:
People did not even know the date -- peasants had no notion of chronological time, elites used a variety of systems and even those using AD disagreed.
There are no theological reasons for 1000 to have eschatological significance.
There is almost no surviving evidence of any apocalyptic terrors from the period.
The little that survives is not directly related to 1000, but to dates such as 968, 1010 and 1033.
Therefore we should not be surprised to find 1000 was a "year like any other" in which the normal train of medieval life -- wars, councils, ploughing, and praying -- went on in uninterrupted flow.
The utter absence of documentation attesting to apocalyptic beliefs and movements is, in this view, decisive proof. How can one possibly argue that a whole generation is obsessed with something about which they do not talk? by Richard Landes
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December: aparuit in aere portentum mirabile, species uidelict seu ipsa moles immensi draconis a septemtrionali plaga egrediens cum nimia coruscatione petebat austrum. Quod prodigium pene homines uniuersos qui uidere infra Gallias terruit. (Glaber, Historiarum 2.8.15; France p. 78, with further references in Chronicon sci petri vivi, p.107 n.7; Hugh of Flavigny, p.368; cf. St. Arnulf (Geary, Phantoms); ipse vero anno antequam moreretur, multa prodigia in caelo visa sunt. nam quadam die 19 kal. ian., circa horam 9 quasi quedam facula ardens viso celo cum longo tractu instar fulguris terris delabitur, tanto sane splendore ut non modo qui foras in agris, verumetiam in tectis erupto per quaeque patentia lumine, occuli ferirentur. ipsa vero caeli fissura dum elementis in se invicem propinquantibus sensim evanesceret, interim, mirabile dictu, quasi in similitudine serpentis, crescente quidem capite cum cerruleis pedibus visa est figurare. et hoc non sine grande admiratione multis spectantibus paulo post his parvit... ipso etiam anno cometae apperuerunt. imperator contra romanos... obiit." Gesta episcoporum Cameracensium 1.114; MGH SS 7.451.
According to Glaber Europe covers self in white mantle of Churches (Historiarum III, 4; ed. France, p.114-17)
Annales de Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, [= 1000 + 3,5 years of Antichrist] (BN lat. 5543, f.22; ed. MGH SS II, p.255; PL 139 col.583, cf. Augustin, De civ. Dei, XX, 13. See also Miracula s. Benedicti, III, 9; ed. de Certain, p.150-53. Note that this text is evidence of how little impact Abbo's efforts to correct Dionysus Exiguus (above #10) was: even his own disciples ignored his proposed calculations.
Post salutiferum intemerate virginis partum millenarii numeri linea consummata et in quinto cardinalis ordinis loco et in eiusdem quarte ebdomade inicio clarum mane illuxit seculo (Thietmar de Meersebourg, Chronicon VI, 1; ed. Holtzmann and Trillmich, p.243 and n.7). cf: "Nempe haec assidue. Iam clarum mane fenestras intrat et augustus extendit lumine rimas." (A Persius Flaccus, Satires III, 1)
Terrible famine throughout Europe, associated with apocalyptic portents in several texts: Annales Sangallienses by Hepidannus "Ecce fames qua per secla non saevior ulla" (MGH SS 1.81); Annales Leodinienses and Laubienses, MGH SS IV, p.18; Annales Quedlinbourgenses ad an. 1009 MGH SS 3.80; Annales Hildesheimenses, ad an.1006); Glaber, Quinque libri, 2.9 (5 years ca. 1001-1006); Hugh of Flavigny (based on Glaber); Chronicon Turonensis ad an. 1006; Sigebert of Gembloux ad an. 1006);
May: New star sighted in heavens (Super Nova of 1006), at same time a chapelain of the Emperor converts to Judaism (Albert of Metz, De diversitate temporum, I, 6-7; II, 22-3 ed. MGH SS IV, p.704, 720-3; Annales Leodinienses and Laubienses, MGH SS IV, p.18; Annales Mosomagenses, MGH SS 3.161; Annales Beneventani, ibid., p.177; probably Radulphus Glaber Quinque libri 3.3.9; Chronicon Venetum, MGH SS 7.36). B. Goldstein, "The Supernova of A.D. 1006," The Astronomical Journal 70 (1965): 105-111.
Destruction in Jerusalem of Holy Sepulchre by the chiliastic Moslem caliph Al Hakim, apocalyptic reaction in West including violent anti- Jewish outbursts (Glaber, Ademar, Annales Lemovicenses, ad an. 1010; Annales Beneventani, ad an. 1010, MGH SS III, p.177;
Rain of blood; sun turns red and fails to shine for three days; plague and death follow (Annales Quedlinbourgenses ad an. 1009 MGH SS 3.80).4
Brythfird commentaries note that the 1000 years of the Apocalypse are completed according to human calculations, therefore supporting Augustine's allegorical reading
apocalyptic vision of monk at St-Vaast recorded by Richard of Saint-Vanne (Hugh of Fleury, MGH SS 8.***)
Various prodigies and natural disasters provoke the expulsion of the Jews from Mainz and lead some to believe that the world was "returning to its original chaos." (Annales Quedlinburgenses, MGH SS, III p.82-3.
Pre-dawn panic and trampling at St. Martial followed by outbreak of heresy throughout the south, seen as agents of Antichrist by Ademar of Chabannes (Historia 3.**, ; see below II-8).first third eleventh century: Heribert the monk reports a heresy from the Perigord, apocalyptic tone to the letter (see Head and Landes, Peace of God, pp. 347-50)
Burning of heretics at Orléans, described in several texts in apocalyptic tones (John of Ripoll, Ademar of Chabannes, Radulphus Glaber; cf. I Corinthians)
Letter from heaven calling for Peace Councils circulates throughtout Northern France (Gesta episcoporum cameracensium, II, 52; MGH SS V, p. .)
Radulphus Glaber begins a world history that, under the guidance of William of Volpiano, explicitly makes the year 1000 the focal point: "Ipsius namque imperio maxima iam ex parte eventuum ac prodigiorum, quae circa et infra Incarnati Salvatoris annum contigere millesimum, descripseram." (Vita Willelmi Divionensis of Radulphus Glaber, 28; ed., PL 142, col. 718; Niethard Bulst, Deutsches Archiv, 30 (1974), p.485; France, p.294-7).
Adémar de Chabannes begins a world history whose major theme from 1010 on is apocalyptic signs and prodigies (Historia 3.46-7, 49, 52, 56, 59, 62; see Landes, Relics, chap. 6).
Large collective pilgrimage to Jerusalem led by Richard of St. Vaast.
Rain of Blood (classic apocalyptic sign) on the Aquitanian shore provokes letters from William V to Robert, Robert to Gauzlin of Bourges and Fulbert of Chartres on their opinion (correspondance of latter two in Bautier Vita Gauzlini, p.159-67; see treatment in Fried, "Endzeiterwartung," pp.385-87)
Ademar of Chabannes produces some 500 folios of historical fiction in which apocalyptic themes play a major role.
terrible famine throughout France (Glaber, Ademar, et al.)
Mention of heresies throughout Christendom (Italy, Gaul, Greece, Hungary) by Gerard, bishop of Csanád (Deliberatio supra hymnum trium puerorum, IV, ll.447-75 (associated in his commentary with Revelation 19:17- 21 (ll. 489ff); ed. G. Silagi, CCSL Cont. med. aeui, 49, pp.50-1; cf. also VI, ll.704ff, where similar anti-ecclesiastical phenomena are associated with Revelation 20:7; ed. p.96f).
wave of peace councils throughout France, starting in Aquitaine (documents from Vich, Poitiers, Limoges, Burgundy, Arras?), associated with millennium of Passion by Glaber IV, 4.
This year was sighted as the beginning of the millennium because it marked 1000 years since Christ's crucifixion.
Deacon of Orleans leaves for Jerusalem on pilgrimage out of apocalyptic expectations.
prodigies, eclipse, ignis ardentium, massive earthquake etc. leads to penitential procession in Jouarre-Rebais, dated millennium of the Passion, Miracles de Saint-Ayeul (Miracula sancti agili abbatis, 1, 3; AA SS Août VI, p.588);
Mass pilgrimage to Jerusalem noted in Ademar and Glaber (who associates it with apocalyptic expectation)
Sigebert of Gembloux, Chronicon universale c.1114, PL 160.198; MGH SS 6.353-4 Anno Jesu Christi millesimo secundum supputationem Dionisii multa prodigia visa sunt. Terraemotus factus est permaximus; cometes apparuit; 19 Kalendas Januarii circa horam 9 fisso caelo quasi facula ardens cum longo tractu instar fulguris illabitur terris, tanto splendore, ut non modo qui in agris erant, sed etiam in tectis, irrupto lumine ferirentur. Qua caeli fissura sensim evanescente, interim visa est figura quasi serpentis, capite quidem crescente, cum ceruleis pedibus.
The Calabrian monk, Joachim of Fiore (ca. A.D. 1135 1202) stands out as a key figure in medieval apocalypticism. On Easter Sunday in 1183 he was inspired to write his massive Exposition on Revelation. Later near the end of his life, he summarized his prophetic knowledge in the Book of Figures. His writings influenced a wide range of medieval events. The Franciscan order was founded on the basis that they would be the spiritual elite described in Joachim's "Age of the Spirit," a future time when God would send revelation directly to believers. Using Joachim's hints, writers concluded that the "Age of Grace" would end and the "Age of the Spirit" would begin in A.D. 1260. This prophecy, mixed with German social unrest, created a myth surrounding Frederick II. Having ruled from 1220 to 1250, many believed that Frederick was the "Emperor of the Last Days" who would usher in the new Millennium.The myth gained force when Frederick seized Jerusalem in 1229. When he died in 1250, a new myth started that Frederick would return from the dead. Two pseudo-Fredericks were burned at the stake by his successor to the throne. The Book of a Hundred Chapters stated that the returned Frederick would lead a fight against corruption in the state and the church, and that he will instruct his followers to "Go on hitting them" (referring to the Pope and his students) and to "Kill every one of them!" (Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press, Harvard University, 1992, p. 53-55)
The "Letter of Toledo" warned everyone to hide in the caves and mountains. The world would be destroyed and only a few would be spared.
The Taborites, founded in A.D. 1415, also looked back to Joachim for their prophetic beliefs. They believed that once their persecutors were defeated, Christ would return and rule the world from Mount Tabor, a mountain they had renamed south of Prague. Their communal activities eventually turned bloody, prompted by tracts with lines like, "Accursed be the man who withholds his sword from shedding the blood of the enemies of Christ." (Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press, Harvard University, 1992, p. 53-55) After a crushing defeat at the hands of the German army, the group quickly disbanded. Although all of these prophecies were misguided, it would be a mistake to doubt the sincerity of the individuals. However, the events surrounding the end of the first millennium should temper our desire to make predictions about the coming new millennium. Next, we will look at more recent predictions that have been just as wrong.
The Taborites of Czechoslovakia predicted every city would be annihilated by fire. Only five mountain strongholds would be saved.
Muntzer, a leader of German peasants, announced that the return of Christ was near. After he and his men destroyed the high and mighty, the Lord would return. This belief led to an uneven battle with government troops where he was strategically out-numbered. Muntzer claimed to have a vision from God where the Lord promised that He would catch the cannon balls of the enemy in the sleeves of His cloak. The vision turned out to be false when Muntzer and his followers were mowed down by cannon fire.
Beginning of the Millennium, Anabaptists (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
Christ's Coming and Judgment at 8:00 AM October 19, 1533; Michael Stiefel (1486-1567) Acq. with Martin Luther, and taken into Luther's home when he had not given away all possessions. (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
End of the world, preceded by 3-1/2 years of apocalyptic tribulation. (Melchoir Hoffman, from S German Imperial Free City of Schwabish Hall.) Associated with Srousbourg Anabaptists, some called Melchoirites Emphasized "inner" word to "outer" written word (Gary K. Waite "David Joris and Dutch Anabaptism 1524-1543" Wilfrid Laurier University Press (Waterloo, Ontario), 1990.)
A repeat of the Muntzer affair occurred a few years late. This time Jan Matthys took over the city of Munster. The City was to be the only one spared destruction. The inhabitants of Munster, chased out by Matthys and his men, regrouped and lay siege to the city. Within a year everyone in the city was dead.
Easter: April 5, 1534 Return of Christ; Jan Mattijs, a "prophet" replacing Melchoir Hoffman (see 1533) who was imprisoned. Claimed Munster, not Strasbourg was the New Jerusalem; later Amsterdam. (Gary K. Waite "David Joris and Dutch Anabaptism 1524-1543" Wilfrid Laurier University Press (Waterloo, Ontario), 1990.)
Benedictus Aretius of Berne (1505-1547) calculated that 1260 years added to the year Constantine made Christianity the official religion (312+1260=1572) should be the year. (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
Soon after 1621; Sir Henry Finch; (Book: The World's Great Restauration or The Calling of the Jews) Peter Toon noted that 80 books were published in England by 1649
The Fifth Monarchy Men looked for Jesus to establish a theocracy. They took up arms and tried to seize England by force. The movement died when the British monarchy was restored in 1660.
Conversion and Return of the Jews; Mary Cary; mentioned in Armageddon Now! by Dwight Wilson
End of the World; Christopher Columbus; Book: Book of Prophecies (99 Reasons Why No One Knows When Christ Will Return, by B J Oropeza, Foreward by Hank Hanegraaff, IVP publishing, 1994)
To the citizens of London, 1666 was not a banner year. A bubonic plague outbreak killed 100,000 and the Great Fire of London struck the same year. The world seemed at an end to most Londoners. The fact that the year ended with the Beast's number (666), didn't help matters either.
generated much discussion as it was 1000 + 666 (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
Christ's coming; Isaac Newton, a note in his research on the Law of Gravity (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
Coming of Christ; William Whiston, who succeeded Newton as the Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge; also trans. Josephus removed from his professorship (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
Mary Bateman, who specialized in fortune telling, had a magic chicken that laid eggs with end time messages on them. One message said that Christ was coming. The uproar she created ended when she was caught forcing an egg into the hen's oviduct by an unannounced visitor. Mary later was hanged for poisoning a wealthy client.
Spiritualist Joanna Southcott made the startling claim that she, by virgin birth, would produce the second Jesus Christ. Her abdomen began to swell and so did the crowds of people around her. The time for the birth came and passed - she died soon after. An autopsy revealed it had been a false pregnancy.
John Wesley wrote that "the time, times and half a time" of Revelation 12:14 were 10581836, "when Christ should come" (apud A. M. Morris, The Prophecies Unveiled, p. 361)
Millenium begins; John Wesley, founder of Methodism; see 1836, J A Bengel (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
Millennium begins; Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687-1752) divided 666 by 42 (months) and came outh that each month = 15-6/7 years. Came up with date using this formula (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
William Miller was the founder of an end-times movement that was so prominent it received its own name-- Millerism. From his studies of the Bible, Miller determined that the second coming would happen sometime between 1843-1844. A spectacular meteor shower in 1833 gave the movement a good push forward. The build up of anticipation continued until March 21, 1844, when Miller's one year time table ran out. Some followers set another date of Oct 22, 1844. This too failed, collapsing the movement. One follower described the days after the failed predictions, "The world made merry over the old Prophet's predicament. The taunts and jeers of the 'scoffers' were well-nigh unbearable."
Rev Thomas Parker, a Massachusetts Minister, looked for the millennium to start about 1859.
invisible return of Christ; Original position of the Watchtower. Then Charles Taze Russell predicted the Rapture in 1910, followed by End of the World in 1914--later interpreted as invisible return of Christ. (99 Reasons Why No One Knows When Christ Will Return, by B J Oropeza, Foreward by Hank Hanegraaff, IVP publishing, 1994)
Someone called Mother Shipton 400 years earlier claimed the world would end in 1881. A controversy hangs over the Shipton writings, as to whether or not publishers doctored the text. If the date was wrong, should it matter anyway?
The revisit of Haley's comet was, for many, an indication of the Lord's second coming. The earth actually passed through the gaseous tail of the comet. One enterprising man sold comet pills to people for protection against the effects of the toxic gases.
was one of the more important estimates of the start of the war of Armageddon by the Jehovah's Witnesses (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society). They computed 1914 from prophecy in the book of Daniel, Chapter 4. The writings referred to "seven times". The WTS interpreted each "time" as equal to 360 days, giving a total of 2520 days. This was further interpreted as representing 2520 years, measured from the starting date of 607 BCE. This gave 1914 as the target date.
Charles Russell, after being exposed to the teachings of William Miller, founded his own organization - the Jehovah's Witnesses. In 1914 Russell predicted the return of Jesus Christ.
1914, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994
Jw's: Here are other dates that the Watchtower Society predicted. 1975 looked likely as it was computed as the 6000th anniversary of the creation of Adam in the Garden of Eden in 4026 BCE. They interpreted Psalms 90:10 as defining the length of a generation to be 80 years. Since 1914 plus 80 equals 1994, they predicted Armageddon would occur around that year. The latest estimate was 6000 years after the creation of Eve, for which no date can be determined with any accuracy.
End of World; Charles T. Russel, Jehovah's Witnesses; later explained that Michael (ie Jesus) had defeated Satan in heaven
; Jesus invisible and quiet return to the Earth. (Jehovah's Witnesses, Book: This Means Everlasting Life, page 221) "So A.D. 1914 marks the time of Christ's invisible return in spirit." Explained after they said he would return in 1914
Nov. 1917, rebirth of God's people Israel and awakening of Russia
In 1918, new math didn't help the Jehovah's Witnesses from striking out again.
NO DATE ON BOOKLET early this century, periods after names and sections. Franklin Ferguson of New Zealand Booklet: The Lord is Coming (23rd Ed.) "Our Lord's long-promised Return appears to be at hand....We are not warranted in giving a date...we find the startling truth that everything predicted is now abundantly evident." (inside cover)
The Witnesses had no better luck in 1925. They already possessed the title of most wrong predictions. They would expand upon it in the years to come.
David Davidson wrote a book titled "The Great Pyramid, Its Divine Message". In it, he predicted that the world would end in 1953-AUG.
The Watchtower magazine, quoted (1) a pastor from California, Mihran Ask, as saying in 1957-JAN that "Sometime between April 16 and 23, 1957, Armageddon will sweep the world! Millions of persons will perish in its flames and the land will be scorched.'
Piazzi Smyth, a past astronomer royal of Scotland, wrote a book circa 1860 titled "Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid." It was responsible for spreading the belief in pyramidology throughout the world. This is the belief that secrets are hidden in the dimensions of the great pyramids. He concluded from his research that the millennium would start before the end of 1960.
When the city of Jerusalem was reclaimed by the Jews in 1967, prophecy watchers declared that the "Time of the Gentiles" had come to an end.
This 1970's tract says: "very likely going to happen in the very near future" Ron Reese
The late Moses David (formerly David Berg) was the founder of the Christian religious group, The Children of God. He predicted that a comet would hit the earth, probably in the mid 1970's and destroy all life in the United States.
The True Light Church of Christ made its claim to fame by incorrectly forecasting the return of Jesus. A number of church members had quit their livelihoods ahead of the promised advent.
A comet that turned out to be a visual disappointment, nonetheless, compelled one preacher to announce that it would be a sign of the Lord's return.
The Jehovah's Witnesses were back at it in 1975. The failure of the forecast did not affect the growth of the movement. The Watchtower magazine, a major Witness periodical, has over 13 million subscribers.
Armageddon, 1975; Jehovah's Witnesses; (Various publication, cited in Newsweek Oct. 15, 1984)
We all remember the killer bee scare of the late 70's. One prophecy prognosticator linked the bees to Rev 9:3-12. After twenty years of progression and the bees are still in Texas, I'm beginning to think of them as the killer snails.
Sept. 10, 1979; Walter M. Simmons; (Booklet: The Day of the Lord, 1978, The final warning sign: June 28, 1967) "Therefore, adding the 12 years, 75 days to the June 28, 1967 date ends on September 10, 1979." (p. 24).
Lindsey boldly declared that "The Rapture" would occur before Dec. 31, 1981, based on Christian prophesy, astronomy and a dash of ecological fatalism. He pegged the date to Jesus' promised to return to Earth a generation after Israel's rebirth. He also made references to the "Jupiter Effect," a planetary alignment that occurs every 179 years, that would supposedly lead to earthquakes and nuclear plant meltdowns.
Rapture June 28, 1981; Bill Maupin & The Lighthouse Gospel Tract Foundation, Tucson. Figured a miscalculation; changed to Aug. 7, 1981; Return of Christ to occur May 14, 1988; based on Founding State of Israel, May 15, 1948 (Gary DeMar, The Debate Over Christian Reconstruction, Ft. Worth: Dominion Press, 1988.)
It was all going to end in 1982, when the planets lined up and created magnetic forces that would bring Armageddon to the earth.
"Scientists are forecasting that soon our solar system will experience some unique and sobering events. This forecast concerning 1982 comes from the scientific investigations of astronomers and is in no way related to astrology and fortune telling. The news is quoted from the September 16, 1974 edition of "Newsweek" magazine, science section. These are the conclusions of John Gribbin, science editor of "Nature" magazine, and of Stephen Plagemann of NASA's Goddard Space Center in Maryland. These reputable scientists are pointing out that in the latter part of 1982 there will take place an event unique in our solar system. At that time all nine planets will be on the same side of the sun. That happens once every 179 years, but in 1982 the nine planets will not only be on the same side of the sun, but in perfect alignment. "Newsweek" referred to this situation as "An Apocalyptic Prediction:' In the book that these men have co-authored, "The Jupiter Effect", they point out that, just as the moon affects earth tides by its gravitational pull, so do the planets affect each other, and particularly Jupiter, because of its great size. This has been linked to the earthquake frequency on our planet earth. What will happen when all the planets come into one line and exert a united gravitational pull on our earth? These scientists speak of eight probable effects: 1) A disturbed magnetic activity in the sun, producing huge firestorms; 2) That the ionosphere of earth will be changed; 3) That radio and television communications will be disrupted; 4) That there will be weird lighting effects from aurora borealis; 5) There will be vast changes in wind patterns; 6) Rainfall and temperature patterns will change; 7) Earth's rotation, and the length of the days may change; 8) Many earthquakes will occur. "There will be many earthquakes, large and small... and one region where one of the greatest fault systems lies today, under great strain, long overdue for a giant leap forward, and just waiting for the necessary kick, is California." This is the frightening, apocalyptic vision of the scientists as quoted in "Newsweek." (Evangelical Tract Distributors, Edmonton, Alta., Canada)"
more to come...
You'd think that after 2,000 years and hundreds of failed predictions, these idiots would finally come to their senses and keep their traps shut. But nope...every Joe Shmoe wants to be a "prophet" -- because one of these days somebody might just get lucky and hit the jackpot, and become famous in the history books.