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Will Christianity And Religion Contribute to The End Of The World?

Last Updated on June 2, 2020 by

THE LAST LAUGH?

by Dick Teresi and Judith Hooper (from OMNI 1/90)

Subtitle: The end of the world is at hand, again. Will we survive
another wave of woeful prophecies?

“THE LAST LAUGH?

by Dick Teresi and Judith Hooper (from OMNI 1/90)

Subtitle: The end of the world is at hand, again. Will we survive
another wave of woeful prophecies?

“Apocalyptic thinking is in the air,” University of Connecticut
psychologist Kenneth Ring says. “As we approach that subjective date,
2000, images stored in the collective unconscious begin to populate
our dreams and visions.” And nightmares, of course.
There are, we found, a lot of people who think that the world
will end soon — around the year 2000, as a matter of fact. Religious
fundamentalists find that cryptic verses in the Bible’s apocalyptic
texts actually refer to a nuclear Armageddon within the next few
years. At the same time an astonishing number of people claim to be
in contact with UFOs, and the message they are getting from the “space
brothers” is that time is running out for our planet. The Hopi
prophecies are in vogue, and they tell us that our world is currently
teetering on the brink. The Mayan/Aztec calendar points to the year
2012 as the end of this age, an age that began more than 5,000 years
ago.
Of course, people thought the world was going to end in A.D. 33,
too. And in 999. And in 1013, and in 1844. And in 1914. One of
the characteristics of millennial thinking is that the end is always
near. There is something different about 2000, however. “Since 1945
it began to be technologically feasible to end life on this planet,”
muses Michael Grosso. a philosophy professor at Jersey City State
College, who contemplates starting a newsletter called _Millennium
Watch_. “The prophetic symbols percolating in the collective
unconscious of the West are now assuming an objective content they
never had before.” Now the lamentations of the early prophets are
infused with the reality of H-bombs, chlorofluorocarbons, chemical
weapons plants, oil spills, holy wars, and mutual assured destruction.
“Many people feel that the world is now so hopelessly sinful, or just
plain messed up, that there is no possibility that it can survive,”
notes Daniel Cohen, author of _Waiting for the Apocalypse_.
We must admit that while researching this article we sometimes
fell into an apocalyptic malaise ourselves. Badly printed religious
tracts began to assume a weird kind of logic, and we began noticing
eerie coincidences between Ezekiel and the UFO people, the Hopi and
Edgar Cayce, Nostradamus, Our Lady of Fatima, the Mayan calendar
stone, Jerry Falwell, and the National Academy of Sciences, all of who
agree we’re in perilous times.

HOW THE WORLD WILL END: WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO
===============================================

Sixteenth-century French prophet Nostradamus foresaw 1999-2000 as
a time of tremendous upheaval, wars, even (possibly) nuclear
annihilation. Edgar Cayce, the famous “sleeping prophet” of Virginia
Beach, Virginia, saw 1998 as the beginning of a New Age — right after
a catastrophic shift of Earth’s axis. Jeane Dixon forsees an evil
and charismatic Antichrist leading the youth of the world astray in
this decade. New Age millennialists focus on the year 2000 as a
collective turning point for humanity, a shift into a more ethereal
kind of consciousness. There are even a few messiahs around, notably
an avatar of “Maitreya the christ” who lives incognito as a Pakistani
in London.
One can’t help noticing that an awful lot of people are looking
forward to the end of the world. Religious fundamentalists expect to
be supernaturally “raptured out” of the coming cataclysm; New Age
millennialists try to “heal the planet” with love and good vibrations.
Bob Nelson, also known as Mobius Rex, a California radio talk-show
host and author of _Prophecy_, a compendium of doomsday predictions
across the ages, expects that “less than one third of the world’s
population will be around by 2020.” He adds, “It might be best for
this planet and humanity if this civilization collapses as quickly as
possible.”
Perhaps the world really is going to end. Or perhaps the ancient
vocabulary of apocalypse is simply the handiest way to express the
anxieties provoked by extraordinarily rapid cultural change.
“Beholding the world coming to its end amid storm, earthquake, flood,
and fire [is] a typical experience of a prophet whose psyche is
registering the emotional impact of the end of an era,” says John
Perry, author of _The Heart of History_. At any rate, something is
going on “in the collective,” as they say in California.

HOW THE WORLD WILL END: TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS
================================================

In the minds of many apocalyptic seers, there’s no doubt the
world will end in the year 2000 or thereabouts. The only debate is
over the method of destruction. There are many “scientific”
scenarios. Here’s how they stack up in credibility — or lack of
same.

———-
Pole Shift
———-

SCENARIO: The earth hurtles through space at 67,000 miles an
hour. Think of it. What if you drove your Ford Fairlane that fast
down an interstate? And what if you piled too much luggage on your
roof rack? Why, you’d topple ace over teacups when you hit the first
good curve. That’s essentially what pole shift doomsayers predict.
Namely, too much ice is piling up on ;the polar ice caps. This will
cause the earth to topple and the poles to shift, maybe in a matter of
hours, maybe so much as to switch places. As you can imagine, this
would be very, very bad: enormous tidal waves, electrical storms
with hurricane winds, tremendous earthquakes and lava flows; even
poisonous gases. Not to mention the resultant damage from millions of
back issues of National Geographic tumbling over in attics all across
North America.
WHO SAYS? Many psychics have staked their reputations on this
ending: Edgar Cayce, Immanuel Velikovsky, and Nostradamus, among
others. Plus hints of a pole shift can supposedly be found in the
Bible and Native American prophecies, according to John White, author
of _Pole Shift_. One of the modern “researchers” White cites as
supporting this theory is one Emil Sepic. Mr. Sepic’s credentials?
“I think I went to second grade in school and after that I don’t
remember….”
SERIOUSLY, NOW: Some scientists do think a pole shift is at
least an outside possibility. “It’s a consideration,” says Donald
Trucotte, chairman of the department of geological sciences at Cornell
University. “Pole shift is a well-established principle. It’s the
same concept as continental drift. Continents shift around the earth,
so it’s possible that poles might shift toward the equator.” Not too
many scientists, however, believe the poles will actually change
places. But even if this “true polar wander,” as geologists call it,
does occur, you don’t have to worry about tying your house down yet.
The poles would move at about the same speed the continents drift now,
which really isn’t fast enough to knock you off your feet. “It’s not
going to happen overnight,” says Turcotte. “Even a million years
would be rapid in terms of geologic time.

—–
Flood
—–
SCENARIO: Remember Noah? The doomsayers say we’d better start
building arks again because we’re all going to get very wet thanks
to some wicked tsunamis. If you’re ordering your Chris Craft now,
make sure that there’s plenty of room for your new Akita puppy and a
mate so that we can repopulate the earth with various species after
everything dries out.
WHO SAYS? Edgar Cayce predicted a California with coastal
cities submerged, with the Carolinas and Georgia sinking into the
Atlantic.
SERIOUSLY, NOW: Actually, there’s a basis for this one. Except
that the flooding won’t be the result of earthquakes, as Cayce
predicted, but of a more recent phenomenon, the greenhouse effect.
The burning of fossil fuels causes an increase in carbon dioxide,
which in effect turns the atmosphere into a greenhouse. The CO2
absorbs infrared rays and prevents them from radiating back into
space, and we all end up like hothouse tomatoes. A little side
effect is that the polar ice caps will melt as the temperature soars
upward by as much as 9 degrees Centigrade during the next century.
Ocean levels could rise seven feet, submerging the Nile Delta, the
Louisiana Delta, and the New Jersey wetlands. In other words, another
global flood, a la Noah. However, James E. Hansen, head of a
greenhouse effect study at the NASA?Goddard Institute for Space
Studies, says the atmosphere is too complex to predict exactly what
will happen. At the present time there’s no computer model capable of
handling all the variables. Interestingly, while the greenhouse
effect is one of the most serious — and bona fide — dangers facing
the earth in this century and the next, it was predicted by none of
the great seers over the past thousand years.

————-
The Big Chill
————-
SCENARIO: Those pesky glaciers, which gave us the Great Lakes
and terrible weather, will come again. But this time, even if we
don’t freeze to death, the new ice age will at the very least reduce
the acreage available for farming and we’ll all starve.
WHO SAYS? Ice age aficionados include California doomsday
connoisseur and talk-show host Mobius Rex and New Age seer/UFO
contactee Earlyne Chaney. Get this: Chaney believes the ice age will
be an offshoot of the greenhouse effect. You probably thought that
the greenhouse effect meant everything would heat up. Well, so did
we, but Chaneian logic goes something like this: Carbon dioxide will
keep the heat from escaping. The heat will then vaporize the oceans,
and the resultant excess moisture will be carried to the poles, where
it will freeze, and the glaciers will grow bigger. Got that? This
will all happen, says Chaney, between now and 1999. However, there’s
hope. Many will die, but some will be rescued by the White Light Star
Ship.
SERIOUSLY, NOW: Actually, there is some evidence for a new ice
age, No less an authority than physicist George Gamow predicted the
return of the glaciers: “We must expect the ice that retreated some
ten thousand years ago to come back again.” Don’t get out your summer
snowshoes just yet. Chaney’s 1999 deadline may be a bit off. Gamow
set the date for this new ice age some 20,000 years from now.

——————————
Big, Scary Things From The Sky
——————————
SCENARIO: A comet or asteroid collides with Earth, and we’re all
killed or at least seriously shook up. In 1954, for example, a
meteorite crashed through the roof of a house in Sylacauga, Alabama,
bounced off a radio, and hit a woman on the hip. The next time it
will be even worse, warn the doomsayers.
WHO SAY? Jeane Dixon prophesied that a comet would crash into
the earth around 1985 (whoops), causing massive tidal waves and
flooding. Nostradamus also seemed to be referring to an
extraterrestrial object when he predicted that “a great spherical
mountain of seven stades [about a mile in diameter] will roll end over
end, sinking great nations.” Comet disaster was also predicted by
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). (Hildegard was a kind of upscale
twelfth-century Jeane Dixon. Adviser to three popes and two emperors,
she had a pretty good track record, predicting the coming of
Protestantism and the fall of the Holy Roman Empire.)
SERIOUSLY, NOW: Ordinarily, we’d pooh-pooh such alarmism.
Unfortunately, this past March a large asteroid passed within half a
million miles of Earth, or twice the distance between our planet and
the moon. This particular asteroid, a quarter to half a mile or more
in diameter and zipping along at 46,000 miles per hour, would have hit
Earth with an impact that would have obliterated New York City or Los
Angeles. It would have carved out a crater half a mile deep and five
miles wide. A water impact, according to NASA’s Bevan French, would
have created waves several hundred meters high that could have swept
over coastal areas.
But how about death by comet, which the seers seem to favor over
asteroids or meteorites? Again, this is possible. The comet that
exploded over the Siberian forest in 1908 (the so-called Tunguska
Event) was estimated by Russian scientists to have been several miles
in diameter and to have weighed close to a million tons. But a really
big comet could be a hundred miles in diameter and would do some real
damage.
What is the chance of any of this happening by the 2000 or
thereabouts? Here the scientists differ with the doomsayers. The
mathematical likelihood of a collision between Earth and a comet is
about once ever 100 million years. We can’t, however, be quite so
blase about the asteroid that just missed us. Scientists report that
this collection of rock and dust orbits the sun once a year and
regularly buzzes our planet. “Sooner or later,” say Henry Holt,
scientist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff,
Arizona, who discovered the asteroid, “it should collide with the
earth or the moon.”

———-
Earthquake
———-
SCENARIO: The earth will shake and split asunder. Buildings
will topple. Charlton Heston will grit his teeth, just like in the
movie. Coastal cities will slide into the oceans and be seen no more.
WHO SAY? Just about everybody who is anybody in apocalyptic
thinking seems to agree on this one. Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce both
predicted widespread earthquakes around the year 2000. Hildegard of
Bingen prophesied quakes, and psychic archaeologist Jeffrey Goodman
predicted that the U.S. coastline would end up in Nebraska and Kansas
by the year 2000. The Book of Revelation describes a terminal
earthquake, and even Isaiah got into the act: “The earth will reel
like a drunkard and it will sway like a hut … until it falls, never
to rise again.”
SERIOUSLY, NOW: Yeah, sure. Cities falling into the ocean?
This will come as a shock to most doomsayers, but continents are not
like rafts floating on the water. They are quite solid, with
continental shelves sloping downward under the water, where they meet
the ocean floor. These things are well built and firmly attached to
the planet. Who do you think the contractor was, Morton Thiokol?
Seriously, how are you going to knock big slices of a continent into
the sea? The strongest quake ever recorded, in Chile in 1960, killed
an estimated 3,000 people and dropped some 5,000 square miles of
Chilean territory about six feet. Even so, large chunks of the
country did not go slip-sliding away into the ocean.

———–
Nuclear War
———–
SCENARIO: You know how this one goes. George Bush dies in a
electric guitar accident, and newly sworn in President Quayle says,
“Hey, Marilyn! What happens if I push this big red button over
here?….” There’s an exchange of missiles and lots of people get
blown up. Others die of radiation. But enough survivors climb from
the wreckage to rebuild civilization, once they’ve wrested control
back from the mutant apes ruling the planet, that is.
WHO SAYS? The Hopi, Mayans, Nostradamus, the Seeress of Prague,
and the Fatima prophecy all vaguely agree. The Hopi said that “gourds
of ashes” will fall from the sky, causing a disease for which there is
no cure. Nostradamus predicted a horror “enclosed in containers.
Launched from a fleet of ships, in a single night it transforms a city
to dust and vapor….” The seventeenth-century Seeress of Prague, who
predicted Queen Victoria and Hitler, described a war in which men
“will sow a Mushroom, whose Seed will fall from the Sky to
Earth….Life is wiped out.” The 1917 Fatima prophecy predicts a
great war in the second half of the twentieth century in which “fire
and smoke will fall from heaven, and waters of the oceans will become
vapors….Millions and millions of men will perish…and those who
survive will envy the dead.”
SERIOUSLY NOW: It’s hard to argue with this one. Nuclear
holocaust is going to be a bummer. Our only hope is to count on the
corruption of the defense industry and the ineptitude of the military:
Maybe none of the missiles or warheads will actually work.
The big scientific news of the decade, however, is the nuclear
winter theory, which holds that where there’s fire, there’s smoke, and
it’s the smoke that will really get us. According to Mark Harwell,
director of Cornell University’s Global Environment Program and one of
the architects of the nuclear winter theory, just 100 warheads
exploding in major cities in the Northern Hemisphere could generate
enough smoke to create a “reverse greenhouse effect.” The smoke will
travel to the stratosphere and cut off sunlight. The earth will grow
cold, as much as 15 degrees Centigrade colder, and our major grain
crops will die. In other words, we’re more likely to starve than
burn. “Most people point to Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the models for
the aftermath of a nuclear war,” says Harwell. “But the entire world
will be a lot more like Ethiopia and the Sudan.” Previously, the
potential body count of nuclear war was estimated to be “only” in the
tens of millions in the United States and a few hundred million
globally. That would still leave four and a half billion humans on
the planet, but Harwell says the long-lasting effects could eventually
kill another 4 billion. What to do? Move to New Zealand. It’s way
the hell south and there are 30 sheep per capita, says Harwell. You
can survive on lamb chops until the smoke clears out of the
stratosphere.

How The World Will End: Fundamentalist-Style
============================================
“And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew
tongue Armageddon. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into
the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven,
from the throne, saying, It is done.
“And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there
was a great earthquake….”
–Revelation 16: 16-18

The final shoot-’em-up described in the Book of Revelation has
long been the preeminent model of the end of the world, inspiring
hosts of medieval commentaries in lavishly illustrated manuscripts.
Nowadays, thanks to a chorus of Protestant fundamentalists, the “seven
vial judgments” of Revelation (giant hailstones, earthquakes,
careening heavens, and so forth) are being interpreted in the light of
a thermonuclear war.
According to Hal Lindsey, a former Campus Crusade for Christ staff
member and author of the best-selling _The Late Great Planet Earth_,
Armageddon geopolitics involves an Antichrist who heads a “ten-nation
confederacy” (probably a strengthened Common Market), achieves world
domination, goes to Jerusalem, and proclaims himself God incarnate.
Armageddon will start when a multinational army led by “Gog of Magog”
swoops down on Israel from the “uttermost parts of the north,” i.e.,
the Soviet Union. (One of Lindsey’s chapters is titled “Russia is a
Gog.”) There will be a “nuclear exchange” in the Middle East, then a
Chinese army of 200 million will march in. The “seven vial judgments”
will be released just before the return of Jesus Christ. All the
armies of the world will fight it out in Armageddon, wiping out most
of the earth’s population in the process. Then comes a Utopian
thousand-year-long kingdom ruled by Jesus Christ himself.
This doomsdayism might be a mere cult curiousity if it were
confined to a few biblical literalists in San Bernardino. But _The
Late Great Planet Earth_ influenced millions. And at several press
conferences, the former leader of the free world, Ronald Reagan, let
slip his belief in a nuclear Armageddon based on prophecies in
Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel, and the other prophetic texts of the
Bible. The times they are apocalyptic.

How The World Will End: From The Bible
======================================
According to the Bible, the last days will be just like an
episode of Dallas:
“In the last days…men will be lovers of self, lovers of money,
boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient of parents, ungrateful,
unholy, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control,
brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of
pleasure rather than lovers of God ….” — II Timothy 3
Just like the seven o’clock news:
“And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived; for many shall
come in my name, saying, I am Christ: and the time draweth near; go ye
not therefore after them;
“But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not
terrified…..
“Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and
kingdom against kingdom.
“And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines,
and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be
from heaven….
“….when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the
kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” — Luke 21
Just like the United Nations General Assembly:
“For nation will make war upon nation, kingdom upon kingdom;
there will be famines and earthquakes in many places….Many false
prophets will rise, and will mislead many; and as lawlessness spreads,
men’s love for one another will grow cold.” — Matthew 24
Just like a conference of transpersonal therapists:
“And it shall come to pass in the last days…I will pour out of
my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall
prophesy, and your old men shall dream dreams….” — Acts2
But take heart, secular humanists. Most of the biblical passages
that supposedly presage World War III really concern ancient politics,
according to mainstream theologians. To fundamentalists the “king of
the north” is a Soviet leader who will help launch Armageddon. But in
Daniel, Chapter 11, the “king of the north” clearly refers to one of
the Seleucid rulers of the Hellenistic Empire, according to Catholic
University biblical scholar Joseph Jensen, O.S.B. The “beast” of
Revelation, says Father Jensen, represents the Roman Empire, and its
notorious ten horns “are not a ten-nation confederacy but probably
represent contemporary governors in the Roman Empire….”
As for the Antichrist, “a widely held understanding of the
‘number of the beast,’ 666, is that is represents the numerical value
of the Hebrew letters that spell Neron Caesar (i.e., Nero).”

How The World Will End: From Religious Visionaries
==================================================
Apparitions of the Virgin Mary have been filling our skies.
“Marian visions have been increasing since the nineteenth century,”
says Michael Grosso, an expert in the visions. “It’s a very
confounding phenomenon connected with millennialism — and with UFOs.”
While the typical UFO contactees are a middle-aged couple with a
penchant for writing newsletters who hail from a sparsely populated
Western state, the average BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) contactee is an
innocent child from a Catholic area. Both types of apparitions
typically involve puzzling supernatural events and grim prophecies.
In 1917 “a beautiful lady from Heaven” appeared to three children
in a field near the village of Fatima, Portugal, while other observers
saw baffling flying-saucerlike phenomena. “There were apparitions
over a period of six months,” says Grosso. “And during this time
crowds of witnesses were seeing globes of light in the sky, hearing
rocketlike sounds, and so forth. There were also UFOlike effects
during the recent Medjugorje [Yugoslavia] apparition. The most
spectacular case was the Marian apparition outside Cairo in 1961,
when thousands of people of all religious persuasions witnessed
extremely dazzling apparitions of a goddess figure.” There have also
been recent Marian visions closer to home: Since 1970 more than 280
such messages and apparitions have appeared to Long Islander Veronica
Leucken.
Grosso thinks that Marian apparitions, like UFO sightings, could
be a case of “collective psychokinesis” brought about by millennial
anxiety. The destructive potential facing our planet, from nuclear
war to AIDS, is inciting a global pattern of psychic phenomena —
including more visions of Mary.”
Our Lady of Fatima left behind a three-part prophecy, the first
two parts of which were a vision of Hell and of World War II. The
Papacy has kept most of the third part under wraps, although it was
scheduled to be unveiled in 1960. But in 1963 the German journal News
Europe published the alleged text, which contains many of the familiar
ingredients of apocalypse:
“A great war will break out in the second half of the twentieth
century. Fire and smoke will fall from heaven, and waters of the
oceans will become vapors….Millions and millions of men will
perish…and those who survive will envy the dead. The unexpected
will follow in every part of the world, anxiety, pain, and misery in
every country.” Et cetera.

How The World Will End: From New Age Millennialists
===================================================
New Age millennialism has a rather different flavor from the
biblical Last Judgment variety. For one thing, the big event is not
necessarily Armageddon, though there may be some rough sledding ahead
for planet Earth.
The apocalypse is more often interpreted according to its
secondary meaning (“a disclosure regarded as prophetic; revelation”)
— that is, as a collective coming of age, a gigantic planetary Bar
Mitzvah. Take, for example, the following prophecies:
The world will end in A.D. 2012, according to the Mayan calendar
stone, as interpreted by Jose Arguelles, New Age eschatologist, art
historian, and author of _The Mayan Factor_. But don’t worry: There’s
a new world coming.
The Mayan calendar, or Tzolkin, describes a 5,200-year Great
Cycle beginning in 3113 B.C. and ending in A.D. 2012, Arguelles
claims. This cycle, in turn, is embedded in a longer, 26,000-year
cycle, composed of five Great Cycles, which also ends in 2012.
(Meaningful-coincidence buffs may note that this long cycle, which
Arguelles equates with the life span of Homo Sapiens, corresponds to
the 26,000 years of Plato’s “Great Year” and of the astrological
precession of the zodiac.) “What we are experiencing,” he concludes,
“is the climax of our particular species and evolutionary stage — the
very last twenty-six years of a cycle some twenty-six thousand years
in length!”
Hoping for a heavenly kingdom sans Armageddon, Arguelles
masterminded the harmonic convergence, on August 16-17, 1987 — the
very date that Aztec prophecies identified as the end of the nine
cycles of hell that began in 1519 — when thousands of people took to
the mountaintops and the deserts to, well, be apocalyptic.
In 2012, according to Arguelles’s interpretation, will begin a
paradisiacal Solar Age, a postindustrial Utopia.
“Everyone will be a channel — a medium — and what we understand
today to be psychic impressions or channeling will be but child’s play
compared to our actual potential.” We’ll live harmoniously in
posttechnological New Age villages — equipped with “solar temples,”
lush gardens, synesthetic pleasure domes, and “houses of energy and
information” — and hobnob with UFO’ (“E.T.’s, UFOs, the ‘space
brothers’ — these are not alien entities but emanations of being
itself”) and the returned Mayan masters. If we’re around, that is.
Uh-oh. There’s that date again. A.D. 2012. That’s when Terence
McKenna’s prophetic software goes hyperdimensional. McKenna is a
scholarly Berkeley-educated visionary who may be unique among New Age
prophets in avoiding such New Age cliches as “cleansing the planet”
and “increasing the vibrational frequency.” His compellingly literate
“raves,” as he calls his monologues, have make him a star of
underground radio and the human-potential circuit. He also operates
Botanical Dimensions, a sanctuary for rare plant life in Captain Cook,
Hawaii. He peers at the future through a computer program called
Timewave Zero, based on the ancient I Ching oracle system, which
McKenna believes is the “smashed-up remains” of an ancient lunar
calendar.
“I noticed there was something in history that science had
missed,” he explains. “I named it Novelty waves. It has been
increasing since the universe began.” McKenna’s software uses fractal
mathematics to map this “Novelty” as it becomes denser and denser,
until — in 2012 — “all cycles come to zero, a dimension emerges that
goes off the graph. We are caught in a temporal maelstrom, spinning
around the presence of some transdimensional object.”
The I Ching’s system of 64 hexagrams describes a nested set of
timekeeping cycles, he maintains. For example: Life began on Earth
about 1.3 billion years ago. Divide 1.3 billion by 64 and you have a
cycle within a cycle that started 18 million years ago, at the height
of the Age of Mammals. Divide by 64 again and we come to 4,300 years
ago — around 2300 B.C., historical time. Then things get really
postmodern.
“The last cycle began with Hiroshima, August 5, 1945,” according
to McKenna. “This sixty-seven-year, one-hundred-four-day cycle at or
near the end of the larger, forty-three-hundred-year cycle will
terminate on December 21, 2012. This comes precisely at the end of
the Mayan calendar. For some reason ancient people had a fixation on
this winter solstice 2012.”
The fact that McKenna’s apocalypse coincides with the one Jose
Arguelles has gleaned from the Mayan calendar does not mean that
McKenna is a harmonic convergence groupie. McKenna says it was he who
first brought A.D. 2012 to Arguelles’s attention.
“I never thought that when I came up with the date 2012, I’d have
to elbow my way through a crowd,” McKenna says. “Now people say, ‘Oh,
you’re a Jose-ite.’ But there is something about this 2012 date. The
Mayans were obsessed with it. We shouldn’t underestimate the power of
mass psychology.”

How The World Will End: From Doom’s Mr. Big, Nostradamus
========================================================
“In the year 1999, and seven months from the sky will come the
great king of Terror.
He will bring back to life the great king of the Mongols.
Before and after War reigns happily unrestrained.”

Take the famous king of Terror prophecy above by Nostradamus, the
sixteenth-century French seer. What does it mean? Beats us. In her
newest book, _Final Prophecies of Nostradamus_ (1989), Nostradamus
exegete Erika Cheetham proposed, “In this gloomy prediction of the
coming of the Third Antichrist [the first two — we think but aren’t
sure — were Napoleon and Hitler] in July 1999, Nostradamus seems to
foresee the coming of the Millennium….”
Other Nostradamusologists think the king of Terror may be a
nuclear warhead or something ominous from outer space. Anyway,
consider spending the month of July 1999 vacationing under the North
Pole or at the very least avoiding Mongolian cuisine.

How The World Will End: And How To Be Personally Saved From Doom
================================================================
Ever wonder why all those people are smiling as they hand you
poorly illustrated tracts called _End of the Word; World War Three_?
It’s because your world is going to end, not theirs.
Christian fundamentalists have a golden-parachute clause known as
the rapture. The rapture, based largely on two passages in 1
Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians, means that the Lord will personally
swoop down and whisk all good Christians into Heaven before the end —
indeed, most fundamentalists believe, before the seven-year
“tribulation” preceding Armageddon. (These pretribulationists often
get into Scripture-quoting wars with the posttribulationists, who
think true Christians will have to stick it out right up to Armageddon
with the rest of us.)
When will the rapture happen? “We don’t know,” says Lindsey.
“No one knows. But God knows.” But most people who are into doomsday
arithmetic believe they’ll be raptured right out of their Ford
Fairlanes any day now. (Hence the ever-popular bumper sticker, IN
CASE OF RAPTURE THIS VEHICLE WILL BE UNMANNED.)
If you want the exact time, ask Edgar Whisenant, a former NASA
engineer from Little Rock, Arkansas, who spent 14 years studying 886
biblical prophecies. “1988 is the Rapture of the church….
Fifty-seven people will either die or be raptured within the next
seven years,” he proclaimed in a widely circulated booklet, _88
Reasons Why the People Rapture Will Be In 1988_, that targeted
September 11 to 13, 1988 as the date. Some people were so impressed
they went out and ran up huge bills on their Visa cards, but, of
course, everybody woke up in the same vale of tears on the morning of
September 14.
There’s a variation on fundamentalist rapture — and it comes
from outer space. Soltec, a space being channeled by an Arizona-based
psychic who goes by the name KaRene, announced last New Year’s Eve:
“Should you have a cycle closing out because of nuclear devices, don’t
you think for one moment that your air would not be filled with craft
of all sizes….All of us…and I speak for every member of the
substation platform…are all working on the Exodus Plan.”
The Exodus Plan, or World Evacuation Project, is to New Age “star
people” — that is, UFO contactees and would-be contactees — what the
rapture is to fundamentalist Christians. The extraterrestrials who
have been communicating with Earthlings in recent years warn that
Armageddon, or something like it, is near, and when it comes, the
space brothers will arrive in their ships and save the believers.
“Some will be put to sleep to lessen the trauma,” explains one
Commander Jycondria, assistant to Ashtar. “Some will remain on the
ships….Some will be escorted to their planets where acclimation is
possible, while others may be transferred to the tremendous citylike
ships. Destination depends upon the individual survivor, his life
patterns and spiritual evolvement….

“How The World Will End: Will Tomorrow Ever Come?
================================================
While we’re all sitting around getting ready for rapture, let’s
not forget that the end is near not for the first time. George
Santayana once said that those who do not know history are doomed to
repeat it. When it comes to apocalyptic doom, those who don’t know
their history may actually have to not repeat it. Before making any
radical preparations for the Big Nothing, reflect upon the following
remembrances of ends past:

A.D. 1033
Judgment Day
Various European Prophets
Shortly before 1033 a great famine struck Europe, inspiring fears
of an imminent doomsday. “It was believed that the order of the
seasons and the laws of the elements…were now fallen again into the
eternal chaos, and the end of the human race was feared,” according to
commentator Rudolph the Bald. As soon as the crops recovered, these
anxieties subsided — for a while.

April 3, 1843
Judgment Day
William Miller
One of the most influential doomsayers of recent history was
William Miller, a fundamentalist Protestant and biblical literalist
from New Your State. Hundreds of Millerites gathered on the New
England hilltops to await the coming of the Lord in 1843 — a date
based on a passage in Daniel 8:13-1 about “2,300 mornings and
evenings” since the desolation of Jerusalem. (Assuming the desolation
happened in 457 B.C., 2,300 years later would be 1843.) When nothing
happened, the Millerites fastened their hopes on March 21, 1844, then
on October 22, 1844. Despite the Savior’s no-show, the Millerites
evolved into the Seventh-Day Adventists.

1910
Life On Earth Destroyed By Comet
Newspapers
After some scientists predicted that Earth would pass through the
tail of Halley’s Comet, headlines proclaimed the news that poisonous
gases in the comet would asphyxiate all life on Earth.

February 1962
End Of The World
Hindu Astrologers
In February 1962 there occurred an ominous alignment of eight
planets in Capricorn, prompting Indian astrologers to predict the
final curtain and millions of Hindus to panic. The fateful year 1962
— with its astrological peculiarities — also figures in psychic
Jeane Dixon’s prophecies as the year of the birth of the Antichrist.

Mid-1980’s
Comet Strikes Earth
Jeane Dixon
“Earthquakes and tidal waves will befall us as a result of the
tremendous impact of this heavenly body in one of our great oceans.
It may well become known as one of the worst disasters of the
twentieth century.” — Dixon, _My Life and Prophecies_

1988
Judgment Day
Fundamentalist Prophets
Several fundamentalist Protestant doomsayers have gravitated to
the year 1988 for various arcane reasons — such as the fact that it
was 40 years (one biblical “generation”) after the founding of the
modern state of Israel.

Last, but certainly not least, there’s the Big One: the
Apocalypse A.D. 1000.
You’ve probably heard that in A.D. 999 people sold all their
possessions and headed for Rome to await the coming of the Lord.
Cathedrals were left unfinished, and work came to a halt as the end of
the world neared. Every thunderstorm, every shooting star, caused
panic. In Aquitaine the sky was said to rain blood; in England a
meteor caused stark terror; strange omens were reported in Rome. It
was millennium madness.
This story had been repeated so often that it’s part of the
collective unconscious, prompting odd expectations for New Year’s Eve
1999: sackcloth and ashes in Times Square? Donald Trump tearing down
his glittering condos? Just yesterday we picked up a copy of
Psychology Today and read an excerpt from Richard Erdoe’s
just-published _A.D. 1000: Living on the Brink of Apocalypse_, which
restates the end-of-the-world scene popularized in the nineteenth
century by Charles Mackay’s _Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the
Madness of Crowds_. The only thing is, it never happened. At least
not that way.
“It’s a legend,” says Father George Dennis, a historian at
Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. The Italian author
Umberto Eco agrees: “On that famous night [December 31, 999], nothing
happened,” he wrote in a recent article. “Oddly enough, the
uneasiness did exist, but before and after.” The year 1000 — the
Latin M to medieval man — would have held no particular numerical
significance, and millennial thinking more often revolved around the
dates of empires, according to Father Dennis. Besides, the end of the
world has been foretold so many times before. “There is simply no
contemporary evidence that such a panic took place,” concludes author
Daniel Cohen in his book _Waiting for the Apocalypse_.
In conclusion, then, the one thing about the coming of the
apocalypse seems to be that it’s forever coming. Since the beginning
of history, the first thing we started thinking about was the end of
history. Maybe that’s what makes the apocalypse so human; it’s always
on the verge of being, just as humans themselves are always on the
verge: of the present, the past, and the future. Anyway, have a nice
day.
, of course.
There are, we found, a lot of people who think that the world
will end soon — around the year 2000, as a matter of fact. Religious
fundamentalists find that cryptic verses in the Bible’s apocalyptic
texts actually refer to a nuclear Armageddon within the next few
years. At the same time an astonishing number of people claim to be
in contact with UFOs, and the message they are getting from the “space
brothers” is that time is running out for our planet. The Hopi
prophecies are in vogue, and they tell us that our world is currently
teetering on the brink. The Mayan/Aztec calendar points to the year
2012 as the end of this age, an age that began more than 5,000 years
ago.
Of course, people thought the world was going to end in A.D. 33,
too. And in 999. And in 1013, and in 1844. And in 1914. One of
the characteristics of millennial thinking is that the end is always
near. There is something different about 2000, however. “Since 1945
it began to be technologically feasible to end life on this planet,”
muses Michael Grosso. a philosophy professor at Jersey City State
College, who contemplates starting a newsletter called _Millennium
Watch_. “The prophetic symbols percolating in the collective
unconscious of the West are now assuming an objective content they
never had before.” Now the lamentations of the early prophets are
infused with the reality of H-bombs, chlorofluorocarbons, chemical
weapons plants, oil spills, holy wars, and mutual assured destruction.
“Many people feel that the world is now so hopelessly sinful, or just
plain messed up, that there is no possibility that it can survive,”
notes Daniel Cohen, author of _Waiting for the Apocalypse_.
We must admit that while researching this article we sometimes
fell into an apocalyptic malaise ourselves. Badly printed religious
tracts began to assume a weird kind of logic, and we began noticing
eerie coincidences between Ezekiel and the UFO people, the Hopi and
Edgar Cayce, Nostradamus, Our Lady of Fatima, the Mayan calendar
stone, Jerry Falwell, and the National Academy of Sciences, all of who
agree we’re in perilous times.

HOW THE WORLD WILL END: WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO
===============================================

Sixteenth-century French prophet Nostradamus foresaw 1999-2000 as
a time of tremendous upheaval, wars, even (possibly) nuclear
annihilation. Edgar Cayce, the famous “sleeping prophet” of Virginia
Beach, Virginia, saw 1998 as the beginning of a New Age — right after
a catastrophic shift of Earth’s axis. Jeane Dixon forsees an evil
and charismatic Antichrist leading the youth of the world astray in
this decade. New Age millennialists focus on the year 2000 as a
collective turning point for humanity, a shift into a more ethereal
kind of consciousness. There are even a few messiahs around, notably
an avatar of “Maitreya the christ” who lives incognito as a Pakistani
in London.
One can’t help noticing that an awful lot of people are looking
forward to the end of the world. Religious fundamentalists expect to
be supernaturally “raptured out” of the coming cataclysm; New Age
millennialists try to “heal the planet” with love and good vibrations.
Bob Nelson, also known as Mobius Rex, a California radio talk-show
host and author of _Prophecy_, a compendium of doomsday predictions
across the ages, expects that “less than one third of the world’s
population will be around by 2020.” He adds, “It might be best for
this planet and humanity if this civilization collapses as quickly as
possible.”
Perhaps the world really is going to end. Or perhaps the ancient
vocabulary of apocalypse is simply the handiest way to express the
anxieties provoked by extraordinarily rapid cultural change.
“Beholding the world coming to its end amid storm, earthquake, flood,
and fire [is] a typical experience of a prophet whose psyche is
registering the emotional impact of the end of an era,” says John
Perry, author of _The Heart of History_. At any rate, something is
going on “in the collective,” as they say in California.

HOW THE WORLD WILL END: TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS
================================================

In the minds of many apocalyptic seers, there’s no doubt the
world will end in the year 2000 or thereabouts. The only debate is
over the method of destruction. There are many “scientific”
scenarios. Here’s how they stack up in credibility — or lack of
same.

———-
Pole Shift
———-

SCENARIO: The earth hurtles through space at 67,000 miles an
hour. Think of it. What if you drove your Ford Fairlane that fast
down an interstate? And what if you piled too much luggage on your
roof rack? Why, you’d topple ace over teacups when you hit the first
good curve. That’s essentially what pole shift doomsayers predict.
Namely, too much ice is piling up on ;the polar ice caps. This will
cause the earth to topple and the poles to shift, maybe in a matter of
hours, maybe so much as to switch places. As you can imagine, this
would be very, very bad: enormous tidal waves, electrical storms
with hurricane winds, tremendous earthquakes and lava flows; even
poisonous gases. Not to mention the resultant damage from millions of
back issues of National Geographic tumbling over in attics all across
North America.
WHO SAYS? Many psychics have staked their reputations on this
ending: Edgar Cayce, Immanuel Velikovsky, and Nostradamus, among
others. Plus hints of a pole shift can supposedly be found in the
Bible and Native American prophecies, according to John White, author
of _Pole Shift_. One of the modern “researchers” White cites as
supporting this theory is one Emil Sepic. Mr. Sepic’s credentials?
“I think I went to second grade in school and after that I don’t
remember….”
SERIOUSLY, NOW: Some scientists do think a pole shift is at
least an outside possibility. “It’s a consideration,” says Donald
Trucotte, chairman of the department of geological sciences at Cornell
University. “Pole shift is a well-established principle. It’s the
same concept as continental drift. Continents shift around the earth,
so it’s possible that poles might shift toward the equator.” Not too
many scientists, however, believe the poles will actually change
places. But even if this “true polar wander,” as geologists call it,
does occur, you don’t have to worry about tying your house down yet.
The poles would move at about the same speed the continents drift now,
which really isn’t fast enough to knock you off your feet. “It’s not
going to happen overnight,” says Turcotte. “Even a million years
would be rapid in terms of geologic time.

—–
Flood
—–
SCENARIO: Remember Noah? The doomsayers say we’d better start
building arks again because we’re all going to get very wet thanks
to some wicked tsunamis. If you’re ordering your Chris Craft now,
make sure that there’s plenty of room for your new Akita puppy and a
mate so that we can repopulate the earth with various species after
everything dries out.
WHO SAYS? Edgar Cayce predicted a California with coastal
cities submerged, with the Carolinas and Georgia sinking into the
Atlantic.
SERIOUSLY, NOW: Actually, there’s a basis for this one. Except
that the flooding won’t be the result of earthquakes, as Cayce
predicted, but of a more recent phenomenon, the greenhouse effect.
The burning of fossil fuels causes an increase in carbon dioxide,
which in effect turns the atmosphere into a greenhouse. The CO2
absorbs infrared rays and prevents them from radiating back into
space, and we all end up like hothouse tomatoes. A little side
effect is that the polar ice caps will melt as the temperature soars
upward by as much as 9 degrees Centigrade during the next century.
Ocean levels could rise seven feet, submerging the Nile Delta, the
Louisiana Delta, and the New Jersey wetlands. In other words, another
global flood, a la Noah. However, James E. Hansen, head of a
greenhouse effect study at the NASA?Goddard Institute for Space
Studies, says the atmosphere is too complex to predict exactly what
will happen. At the present time there’s no computer model capable of
handling all the variables. Interestingly, while the greenhouse
effect is one of the most serious — and bona fide — dangers facing
the earth in this century and the next, it was predicted by none of
the great seers over the past thousand years.

————-
The Big Chill
————-
SCENARIO: Those pesky glaciers, which gave us the Great Lakes
and terrible weather, will come again. But this time, even if we
don’t freeze to death, the new ice age will at the very least reduce
the acreage available for farming and we’ll all starve.
WHO SAYS? Ice age aficionados include California doomsday
connoisseur and talk-show host Mobius Rex and New Age seer/UFO
contactee Earlyne Chaney. Get this: Chaney believes the ice age will
be an offshoot of the greenhouse effect. You probably thought that
the greenhouse effect meant everything would heat up. Well, so did
we, but Chaneian logic goes something like this: Carbon dioxide will
keep the heat from escaping. The heat will then vaporize the oceans,
and the resultant excess moisture will be carried to the poles, where
it will freeze, and the glaciers will grow bigger. Got that? This
will all happen, says Chaney, between now and 1999. However, there’s
hope. Many will die, but some will be rescued by the White Light Star
Ship.
SERIOUSLY, NOW: Actually, there is some evidence for a new ice
age, No less an authority than physicist George Gamow predicted the
return of the glaciers: “We must expect the ice that retreated some
ten thousand years ago to come back again.” Don’t get out your summer
snowshoes just yet. Chaney’s 1999 deadline may be a bit off. Gamow
set the date for this new ice age some 20,000 years from now.

——————————
Big, Scary Things From The Sky
——————————
SCENARIO: A comet or asteroid collides with Earth, and we’re all
killed or at least seriously shook up. In 1954, for example, a
meteorite crashed through the roof of a house in Sylacauga, Alabama,
bounced off a radio, and hit a woman on the hip. The next time it
will be even worse, warn the doomsayers.
WHO SAY? Jeane Dixon prophesied that a comet would crash into
the earth around 1985 (whoops), causing massive tidal waves and
flooding. Nostradamus also seemed to be referring to an
extraterrestrial object when he predicted that “a great spherical
mountain of seven stades [about a mile in diameter] will roll end over
end, sinking great nations.” Comet disaster was also predicted by
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). (Hildegard was a kind of upscale
twelfth-century Jeane Dixon. Adviser to three popes and two emperors,
she had a pretty good track record, predicting the coming of
Protestantism and the fall of the Holy Roman Empire.)
SERIOUSLY, NOW: Ordinarily, we’d pooh-pooh such alarmism.
Unfortunately, this past March a large asteroid passed within half a
million miles of Earth, or twice the distance between our planet and
the moon. This particular asteroid, a quarter to half a mile or more
in diameter and zipping along at 46,000 miles per hour, would have hit
Earth with an impact that would have obliterated New York City or Los
Angeles. It would have carved out a crater half a mile deep and five
miles wide. A water impact, according to NASA’s Bevan French, would
have created waves several hundred meters high that could have swept
over coastal areas.
But how about death by comet, which the seers seem to favor over
asteroids or meteorites? Again, this is possible. The comet that
exploded over the Siberian forest in 1908 (the so-called Tunguska
Event) was estimated by Russian scientists to have been several miles
in diameter and to have weighed close to a million tons. But a really
big comet could be a hundred miles in diameter and would do some real
damage.
What is the chance of any of this happening by the 2000 or
thereabouts? Here the scientists differ with the doomsayers. The
mathematical likelihood of a collision between Earth and a comet is
about once ever 100 million years. We can’t, however, be quite so
blase about the asteroid that just missed us. Scientists report that
this collection of rock and dust orbits the sun once a year and
regularly buzzes our planet. “Sooner or later,” say Henry Holt,
scientist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff,
Arizona, who discovered the asteroid, “it should collide with the
earth or the moon.”

———-
Earthquake
———-
SCENARIO: The earth will shake and split asunder. Buildings
will topple. Charlton Heston will grit his teeth, just like in the
movie. Coastal cities will slide into the oceans and be seen no more.
WHO SAY? Just about everybody who is anybody in apocalyptic
thinking seems to agree on this one. Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce both
predicted widespread earthquakes around the year 2000. Hildegard of
Bingen prophesied quakes, and psychic archaeologist Jeffrey Goodman
predicted that the U.S. coastline would end up in Nebraska and Kansas
by the year 2000. The Book of Revelation describes a terminal
earthquake, and even Isaiah got into the act: “The earth will reel
like a drunkard and it will sway like a hut … until it falls, never
to rise again.”
SERIOUSLY, NOW: Yeah, sure. Cities falling into the ocean?
This will come as a shock to most doomsayers, but continents are not
like rafts floating on the water. They are quite solid, with
continental shelves sloping downward under the water, where they meet
the ocean floor. These things are well built and firmly attached to
the planet. Who do you think the contractor was, Morton Thiokol?
Seriously, how are you going to knock big slices of a continent into
the sea? The strongest quake ever recorded, in Chile in 1960, killed
an estimated 3,000 people and dropped some 5,000 square miles of
Chilean territory about six feet. Even so, large chunks of the
country did not go slip-sliding away into the ocean.

———–
Nuclear War
———–
SCENARIO: You know how this one goes. George Bush dies in a
electric guitar accident, and newly sworn in President Quayle says,
“Hey, Marilyn! What happens if I push this big red button over
here?….” There’s an exchange of missiles and lots of people get
blown up. Others die of radiation. But enough survivors climb from
the wreckage to rebuild civilization, once they’ve wrested control
back from the mutant apes ruling the planet, that is.
WHO SAYS? The Hopi, Mayans, Nostradamus, the Seeress of Prague,
and the Fatima prophecy all vaguely agree. The Hopi said that “gourds
of ashes” will fall from the sky, causing a disease for which there is
no cure. Nostradamus predicted a horror “enclosed in containers.
Launched from a fleet of ships, in a single night it transforms a city
to dust and vapor….” The seventeenth-century Seeress of Prague, who
predicted Queen Victoria and Hitler, described a war in which men
“will sow a Mushroom, whose Seed will fall from the Sky to
Earth….Life is wiped out.” The 1917 Fatima prophecy predicts a
great war in the second half of the twentieth century in which “fire
and smoke will fall from heaven, and waters of the oceans will become
vapors….Millions and millions of men will perish…and those who
survive will envy the dead.”
SERIOUSLY NOW: It’s hard to argue with this one. Nuclear
holocaust is going to be a bummer. Our only hope is to count on the
corruption of the defense industry and the ineptitude of the military:
Maybe none of the missiles or warheads will actually work.
The big scientific news of the decade, however, is the nuclear
winter theory, which holds that where there’s fire, there’s smoke, and
it’s the smoke that will really get us. According to Mark Harwell,
director of Cornell University’s Global Environment Program and one of
the architects of the nuclear winter theory, just 100 warheads
exploding in major cities in the Northern Hemisphere could generate
enough smoke to create a “reverse greenhouse effect.” The smoke will
travel to the stratosphere and cut off sunlight. The earth will grow
cold, as much as 15 degrees Centigrade colder, and our major grain
crops will die. In other words, we’re more likely to starve than
burn. “Most people point to Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the models for
the aftermath of a nuclear war,” says Harwell. “But the entire world
will be a lot more like Ethiopia and the Sudan.” Previously, the
potential body count of nuclear war was estimated to be “only” in the
tens of millions in the United States and a few hundred million
globally. That would still leave four and a half billion humans on
the planet, but Harwell says the long-lasting effects could eventually
kill another 4 billion. What to do? Move to New Zealand. It’s way
the hell south and there are 30 sheep per capita, says Harwell. You
can survive on lamb chops until the smoke clears out of the
stratosphere.

How The World Will End: Fundamentalist-Style
============================================
“And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew
tongue Armageddon. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into
the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven,
from the throne, saying, It is done.
“And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there
was a great earthquake….”
–Revelation 16: 16-18

The final shoot-’em-up described in the Book of Revelation has
long been the preeminent model of the end of the world, inspiring
hosts of medieval commentaries in lavishly illustrated manuscripts.
Nowadays, thanks to a chorus of Protestant fundamentalists, the “seven
vial judgments” of Revelation (giant hailstones, earthquakes,
careening heavens, and so forth) are being interpreted in the light of
a thermonuclear war.
According to Hal Lindsey, a former Campus Crusade for Christ staff
member and author of the best-selling _The Late Great Planet Earth_,
Armageddon geopolitics involves an Antichrist who heads a “ten-nation
confederacy” (probably a strengthened Common Market), achieves world
domination, goes to Jerusalem, and proclaims himself God incarnate.
Armageddon will start when a multinational army led by “Gog of Magog”
swoops down on Israel from the “uttermost parts of the north,” i.e.,
the Soviet Union. (One of Lindsey’s chapters is titled “Russia is a
Gog.”) There will be a “nuclear exchange” in the Middle East, then a
Chinese army of 200 million will march in. The “seven vial judgments”
will be released just before the return of Jesus Christ. All the
armies of the world will fight it out in Armageddon, wiping out most
of the earth’s population in the process. Then comes a Utopian
thousand-year-long kingdom ruled by Jesus Christ himself.
This doomsdayism might be a mere cult curiousity if it were
confined to a few biblical literalists in San Bernardino. But _The
Late Great Planet Earth_ influenced millions. And at several press
conferences, the former leader of the free world, Ronald Reagan, let
slip his belief in a nuclear Armageddon based on prophecies in
Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel, and the other prophetic texts of the
Bible. The times they are apocalyptic.

How The World Will End: From The Bible
======================================
According to the Bible, the last days will be just like an
episode of Dallas:
“In the last days…men will be lovers of self, lovers of money,
boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient of parents, ungrateful,
unholy, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control,
brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of
pleasure rather than lovers of God ….” — II Timothy 3
Just like the seven o’clock news:
“And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived; for many shall
come in my name, saying, I am Christ: and the time draweth near; go ye
not therefore after them;
“But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not
terrified…..
“Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and
kingdom against kingdom.
“And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines,
and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be
from heaven….
“….when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the
kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” — Luke 21
Just like the United Nations General Assembly:
“For nation will make war upon nation, kingdom upon kingdom;
there will be famines and earthquakes in many places….Many false
prophets will rise, and will mislead many; and as lawlessness spreads,
men’s love for one another will grow cold.” — Matthew 24
Just like a conference of transpersonal therapists:
“And it shall come to pass in the last days…I will pour out of
my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall
prophesy, and your old men shall dream dreams….” — Acts2
But take heart, secular humanists. Most of the biblical passages
that supposedly presage World War III really concern ancient politics,
according to mainstream theologians. To fundamentalists the “king of
the north” is a Soviet leader who will help launch Armageddon. But in
Daniel, Chapter 11, the “king of the north” clearly refers to one of
the Seleucid rulers of the Hellenistic Empire, according to Catholic
University biblical scholar Joseph Jensen, O.S.B. The “beast” of
Revelation, says Father Jensen, represents the Roman Empire, and its
notorious ten horns “are not a ten-nation confederacy but probably
represent contemporary governors in the Roman Empire….”
As for the Antichrist, “a widely held understanding of the
‘number of the beast,’ 666, is that is represents the numerical value
of the Hebrew letters that spell Neron Caesar (i.e., Nero).”

How The World Will End: From Religious Visionaries
==================================================
Apparitions of the Virgin Mary have been filling our skies.
“Marian visions have been increasing since the nineteenth century,”
says Michael Grosso, an expert in the visions. “It’s a very
confounding phenomenon connected with millennialism — and with UFOs.”
While the typical UFO contactees are a middle-aged couple with a
penchant for writing newsletters who hail from a sparsely populated
Western state, the average BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) contactee is an
innocent child from a Catholic area. Both types of apparitions
typically involve puzzling supernatural events and grim prophecies.
In 1917 “a beautiful lady from Heaven” appeared to three children
in a field near the village of Fatima, Portugal, while other observers
saw baffling flying-saucerlike phenomena. “There were apparitions
over a period of six months,” says Grosso. “And during this time
crowds of witnesses were seeing globes of light in the sky, hearing
rocketlike sounds, and so forth. There were also UFOlike effects
during the recent Medjugorje [Yugoslavia] apparition. The most
spectacular case was the Marian apparition outside Cairo in 1961,
when thousands of people of all religious persuasions witnessed
extremely dazzling apparitions of a goddess figure.” There have also
been recent Marian visions closer to home: Since 1970 more than 280
such messages and apparitions have appeared to Long Islander Veronica
Leucken.
Grosso thinks that Marian apparitions, like UFO sightings, could
be a case of “collective psychokinesis” brought about by millennial
anxiety. The destructive potential facing our planet, from nuclear
war to AIDS, is inciting a global pattern of psychic phenomena —
including more visions of Mary.”
Our Lady of Fatima left behind a three-part prophecy, the first
two parts of which were a vision of Hell and of World War II. The
Papacy has kept most of the third part under wraps, although it was
scheduled to be unveiled in 1960. But in 1963 the German journal News
Europe published the alleged text, which contains many of the familiar
ingredients of apocalypse:
“A great war will break out in the second half of the twentieth
century. Fire and smoke will fall from heaven, and waters of the
oceans will become vapors….Millions and millions of men will
perish…and those who survive will envy the dead. The unexpected
will follow in every part of the world, anxiety, pain, and misery in
every country.” Et cetera.

How The World Will End: From New Age Millennialists
===================================================
New Age millennialism has a rather different flavor from the
biblical Last Judgment variety. For one thing, the big event is not
necessarily Armageddon, though there may be some rough sledding ahead
for planet Earth.
The apocalypse is more often interpreted according to its
secondary meaning (“a disclosure regarded as prophetic; revelation”)
— that is, as a collective coming of age, a gigantic planetary Bar
Mitzvah. Take, for example, the following prophecies:
The world will end in A.D. 2012, according to the Mayan calendar
stone, as interpreted by Jose Arguelles, New Age eschatologist, art
historian, and author of _The Mayan Factor_. But don’t worry: There’s
a new world coming.
The Mayan calendar, or Tzolkin, describes a 5,200-year Great
Cycle beginning in 3113 B.C. and ending in A.D. 2012, Arguelles
claims. This cycle, in turn, is embedded in a longer, 26,000-year
cycle, composed of five Great Cycles, which also ends in 2012.
(Meaningful-coincidence buffs may note that this long cycle, which
Arguelles equates with the life span of Homo Sapiens, corresponds to
the 26,000 years of Plato’s “Great Year” and of the astrological
precession of the zodiac.) “What we are experiencing,” he concludes,
“is the climax of our particular species and evolutionary stage — the
very last twenty-six years of a cycle some twenty-six thousand years
in length!”
Hoping for a heavenly kingdom sans Armageddon, Arguelles
masterminded the harmonic convergence, on August 16-17, 1987 — the
very date that Aztec prophecies identified as the end of the nine
cycles of hell that began in 1519 — when thousands of people took to
the mountaintops and the deserts to, well, be apocalyptic.
In 2012, according to Arguelles’s interpretation, will begin a
paradisiacal Solar Age, a postindustrial Utopia.
“Everyone will be a channel — a medium — and what we understand
today to be psychic impressions or channeling will be but child’s play
compared to our actual potential.” We’ll live harmoniously in
posttechnological New Age villages — equipped with “solar temples,”
lush gardens, synesthetic pleasure domes, and “houses of energy and
information” — and hobnob with UFO’ (“E.T.’s, UFOs, the ‘space
brothers’ — these are not alien entities but emanations of being
itself”) and the returned Mayan masters. If we’re around, that is.
Uh-oh. There’s that date again. A.D. 2012. That’s when Terence
McKenna’s prophetic software goes hyperdimensional. McKenna is a
scholarly Berkeley-educated visionary who may be unique among New Age
prophets in avoiding such New Age cliches as “cleansing the planet”
and “increasing the vibrational frequency.” His compellingly literate
“raves,” as he calls his monologues, have make him a star of
underground radio and the human-potential circuit. He also operates
Botanical Dimensions, a sanctuary for rare plant life in Captain Cook,
Hawaii. He peers at the future through a computer program called
Timewave Zero, based on the ancient I Ching oracle system, which
McKenna believes is the “smashed-up remains” of an ancient lunar
calendar.
“I noticed there was something in history that science had
missed,” he explains. “I named it Novelty waves. It has been
increasing since the universe began.” McKenna’s software uses fractal
mathematics to map this “Novelty” as it becomes denser and denser,
until — in 2012 — “all cycles come to zero, a dimension emerges that
goes off the graph. We are caught in a temporal maelstrom, spinning
around the presence of some transdimensional object.”
The I Ching’s system of 64 hexagrams describes a nested set of
timekeeping cycles, he maintains. For example: Life began on Earth
about 1.3 billion years ago. Divide 1.3 billion by 64 and you have a
cycle within a cycle that started 18 million years ago, at the height
of the Age of Mammals. Divide by 64 again and we come to 4,300 years
ago — around 2300 B.C., historical time. Then things get really
postmodern.
“The last cycle began with Hiroshima, August 5, 1945,” according
to McKenna. “This sixty-seven-year, one-hundred-four-day cycle at or
near the end of the larger, forty-three-hundred-year cycle will
terminate on December 21, 2012. This comes precisely at the end of
the Mayan calendar. For some reason ancient people had a fixation on
this winter solstice 2012.”
The fact that McKenna’s apocalypse coincides with the one Jose
Arguelles has gleaned from the Mayan calendar does not mean that
McKenna is a harmonic convergence groupie. McKenna says it was he who
first brought A.D. 2012 to Arguelles’s attention.
“I never thought that when I came up with the date 2012, I’d have
to elbow my way through a crowd,” McKenna says. “Now people say, ‘Oh,
you’re a Jose-ite.’ But there is something about this 2012 date. The
Mayans were obsessed with it. We shouldn’t underestimate the power of
mass psychology.”

How The World Will End: From Doom’s Mr. Big, Nostradamus
========================================================
“In the year 1999, and seven months from the sky will come the
great king of Terror.
He will bring back to life the great king of the Mongols.
Before and after War reigns happily unrestrained.”

Take the famous king of Terror prophecy above by Nostradamus, the
sixteenth-century French seer. What does it mean? Beats us. In her
newest book, _Final Prophecies of Nostradamus_ (1989), Nostradamus
exegete Erika Cheetham proposed, “In this gloomy prediction of the
coming of the Third Antichrist [the first two — we think but aren’t
sure — were Napoleon and Hitler] in July 1999, Nostradamus seems to
foresee the coming of the Millennium….”
Other Nostradamusologists think the king of Terror may be a
nuclear warhead or something ominous from outer space. Anyway,
consider spending the month of July 1999 vacationing under the North
Pole or at the very least avoiding Mongolian cuisine.

How The World Will End: And How To Be Personally Saved From Doom
================================================================
Ever wonder why all those people are smiling as they hand you
poorly illustrated tracts called _End of the Word; World War Three_?
It’s because your world is going to end, not theirs.
Christian fundamentalists have a golden-parachute clause known as
the rapture. The rapture, based largely on two passages in 1
Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians, means that the Lord will personally
swoop down and whisk all good Christians into Heaven before the end —
indeed, most fundamentalists believe, before the seven-year
“tribulation” preceding Armageddon. (These pretribulationists often
get into Scripture-quoting wars with the posttribulationists, who
think true Christians will have to stick it out right up to Armageddon
with the rest of us.)
When will the rapture happen? “We don’t know,” says Lindsey.
“No one knows. But God knows.” But most people who are into doomsday
arithmetic believe they’ll be raptured right out of their Ford
Fairlanes any day now. (Hence the ever-popular bumper sticker, IN
CASE OF RAPTURE THIS VEHICLE WILL BE UNMANNED.)
If you want the exact time, ask Edgar Whisenant, a former NASA
engineer from Little Rock, Arkansas, who spent 14 years studying 886
biblical prophecies. “1988 is the Rapture of the church….
Fifty-seven people will either die or be raptured within the next
seven years,” he proclaimed in a widely circulated booklet, _88
Reasons Why the People Rapture Will Be In 1988_, that targeted
September 11 to 13, 1988 as the date. Some people were so impressed
they went out and ran up huge bills on their Visa cards, but, of
course, everybody woke up in the same vale of tears on the morning of
September 14.
There’s a variation on fundamentalist rapture — and it comes
from outer space. Soltec, a space being channeled by an Arizona-based
psychic who goes by the name KaRene, announced last New Year’s Eve:
“Should you have a cycle closing out because of nuclear devices, don’t
you think for one moment that your air would not be filled with craft
of all sizes….All of us…and I speak for every member of the
substation platform…are all working on the Exodus Plan.”
The Exodus Plan, or World Evacuation Project, is to New Age “star
people” — that is, UFO contactees and would-be contactees — what the
rapture is to fundamentalist Christians. The extraterrestrials who
have been communicating with Earthlings in recent years warn that
Armageddon, or something like it, is near, and when it comes, the
space brothers will arrive in their ships and save the believers.
“Some will be put to sleep to lessen the trauma,” explains one
Commander Jycondria, assistant to Ashtar. “Some will remain on the
ships….Some will be escorted to their planets where acclimation is
possible, while others may be transferred to the tremendous citylike
ships. Destination depends upon the individual survivor, his life
patterns and spiritual evolvement….

“How The World Will End: Will Tomorrow Ever Come?
================================================
While we’re all sitting around getting ready for rapture, let’s
not forget that the end is near not for the first time. George
Santayana once said that those who do not know history are doomed to
repeat it. When it comes to apocalyptic doom, those who don’t know
their history may actually have to not repeat it. Before making any
radical preparations for the Big Nothing, reflect upon the following
remembrances of ends past:

A.D. 1033
Judgment Day
Various European Prophets
Shortly before 1033 a great famine struck Europe, inspiring fears
of an imminent doomsday. “It was believed that the order of the
seasons and the laws of the elements…were now fallen again into the
eternal chaos, and the end of the human race was feared,” according to
commentator Rudolph the Bald. As soon as the crops recovered, these
anxieties subsided — for a while.

April 3, 1843
Judgment Day
William Miller
One of the most influential doomsayers of recent history was
William Miller, a fundamentalist Protestant and biblical literalist
from New Your State. Hundreds of Millerites gathered on the New
England hilltops to await the coming of the Lord in 1843 — a date
based on a passage in Daniel 8:13-1 about “2,300 mornings and
evenings” since the desolation of Jerusalem. (Assuming the desolation
happened in 457 B.C., 2,300 years later would be 1843.) When nothing
happened, the Millerites fastened their hopes on March 21, 1844, then
on October 22, 1844. Despite the Savior’s no-show, the Millerites
evolved into the Seventh-Day Adventists.

1910
Life On Earth Destroyed By Comet
Newspapers
After some scientists predicted that Earth would pass through the
tail of Halley’s Comet, headlines proclaimed the news that poisonous
gases in the comet would asphyxiate all life on Earth.

February 1962
End Of The World
Hindu Astrologers
In February 1962 there occurred an ominous alignment of eight
planets in Capricorn, prompting Indian astrologers to predict the
final curtain and millions of Hindus to panic. The fateful year 1962
— with its astrological peculiarities — also figures in psychic
Jeane Dixon’s prophecies as the year of the birth of the Antichrist.

Mid-1980’s
Comet Strikes Earth
Jeane Dixon
“Earthquakes and tidal waves will befall us as a result of the
tremendous impact of this heavenly body in one of our great oceans.
It may well become known as one of the worst disasters of the
twentieth century.” — Dixon, _My Life and Prophecies_

1988
Judgment Day
Fundamentalist Prophets
Several fundamentalist Protestant doomsayers have gravitated to
the year 1988 for various arcane reasons — such as the fact that it
was 40 years (one biblical “generation”) after the founding of the
modern state of Israel.

Last, but certainly not least, there’s the Big One: the
Apocalypse A.D. 1000.
You’ve probably heard that in A.D. 999 people sold all their
possessions and headed for Rome to await the coming of the Lord.
Cathedrals were left unfinished, and work came to a halt as the end of
the world neared. Every thunderstorm, every shooting star, caused
panic. In Aquitaine the sky was said to rain blood; in England a
meteor caused stark terror; strange omens were reported in Rome. It
was millennium madness.
This story had been repeated so often that it’s part of the
collective unconscious, prompting odd expectations for New Year’s Eve
1999: sackcloth and ashes in Times Square? Donald Trump tearing down
his glittering condos? Just yesterday we picked up a copy of
Psychology Today and read an excerpt from Richard Erdoe’s
just-published _A.D. 1000: Living on the Brink of Apocalypse_, which
restates the end-of-the-world scene popularized in the nineteenth
century by Charles Mackay’s _Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the
Madness of Crowds_. The only thing is, it never happened. At least
not that way.
“It’s a legend,” says Father George Dennis, a historian at
Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. The Italian author
Umberto Eco agrees: “On that famous night [December 31, 999], nothing
happened,” he wrote in a recent article. “Oddly enough, the
uneasiness did exist, but before and after.” The year 1000 — the
Latin M to medieval man — would have held no particular numerical
significance, and millennial thinking more often revolved around the
dates of empires, according to Father Dennis. Besides, the end of the
world has been foretold so many times before. “There is simply no
contemporary evidence that such a panic took place,” concludes author
Daniel Cohen in his book _Waiting for the Apocalypse_.
In conclusion, then, the one thing about the coming of the
apocalypse seems to be that it’s forever coming. Since the beginning
of history, the first thing we started thinking about was the end of
history. Maybe that’s what makes the apocalypse so human; it’s always
on the verge of being, just as humans themselves are always on the
verge: of the present, the past, and the future. Anyway, have a nice
day.