Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way upfront. If you've watched the news during the past six weeks, you might think we actually are living during the end of days. North Korea tested its sixth nuclear weapon on Sept. 4, 2017. The U.S. and Caribbean have been hit by not one — but three — catastrophic hurricanes since mid-August, and Mexico two major earthquakes in September.
That's a lot of destruction in just six weeks. And for doomsday predictor David Meade, they play right into his theory that "the world as we know it" is coming to an end on Saturday, Sept. 23., 2017.
Meade, who studied astronomy, has espoused that Planet X is headed toward Earth this fall. Though its existence has been debunked by NASA, millions of devotees still believe it's on a collision course toward our planet.
So why Sept. 23, 2017? Meade said he focuses on verses and numbers in the Bible — specifically the number 33. He told The Washington Post "Jesus lived for 33 years. The name Elohim, which is the name of God to the Jews, was mentioned 33 times [in the Bible]. It's a very biblically significant, numerologically significant number. I'm talking astronomy. I'm talking the Bible ... and merging the two." He also said Sept. 23 is 33 days after the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, which he thinks is an omen.
He also used the Book of Revelation, constellations and a lot of other writing to back up his theory. "I've previously mentioned that September is the 'sign month' and the actual events on Earth will likely begin about a month later, in October and particularly the last part of October," he told HowStuffWorks via email. "We're all watching for the Sept. 23 sign because we know it means the end of the 'Church Age.' That is a spiritual sign only. But it is huge."
So how should we plan for Sept. 23? "You know, St. Augustine was once asked what he would do if he knew Jesus was going to return in the next week (now that was centuries ago) – he responded he would 'plant another row of peas,'" Meade said. "He was a cool customer. We need to be cool customers, too."
This is certainly not the first time someone has predicted the end of the world. Here are five other recent predictions that turned out to be wrong.
Southern Baptist minister and Christian Broadcasting Network host Pat Robertson is no stranger to controversy. He even raised eyebrows among his followers when he claimed on a 1980 broadcast of "The 700 Club," "I guarantee you by the end of 1982, there is going to be a judgment on the world." When that never happened, he took another guess, writing in his 1990 book "The New Millennium" that the world would end on April 29, 2007. He was wrong — again.
May 5, 2000
For those unhappy that Y2K didn't take the world out, there was Richard Noone. His 1997 book "5/5/2000 Ice: The Ultimate Disaster" talked about how Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn would align with Earth for the first time in 6,000 years. He surmised their celestial positioning would melt the polar ice caps and drown Earth. The planets did align, but they didn't create havoc on Earth for anyone except Noone.
Sept. 10, 2008
In September 2008, scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland turned on the Large Hadron Collider. So why would this trigger fears of the world ending? Well, the $6 billion particle accelerator is the most powerful in the world, and it sends beams of protons careening around a 17-mile (27-kilometer) ring crashing into each other. Nobody knew what would happen when it was first turned on. Critics thought it could create a black hole, effectively destroying Earth. We now know that's not the case, and instead of ending the world, two scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider observed the Higgs boson, and won the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics for it.
Church of God minister Ronald Weinland claims to be "the last apostle in this final age of mankind's self-rule." He's written two books about the end times. But he's also done time for tax evasion. He was found guilty on five counts in 2012 for redirecting church funds to a Swiss bank account. He claimed he established the account in his name so the church could "continue to function during a third world war that would engulf the world in the final years of the end-time." Um, OK. His 2006 book "2008: God's Final Witness" claimed hundreds of millions would die, and by fall of 2008, "the United States will have collapsed as a world power, and no longer exist as an independent nation." When that didn't happen, Weinland says God revealed to him the words for his third book, which he wrote from prison. And it tells how God moved all end-time events forward by seven years. That would have been 2015.
May 21, 2011
May 21, 2011 was the second Judgment Day prediction date from the late radio preacher Harold Camping. (His first was Sept. 6, 1994.) But he was so sure of this May date, his Christian radio company, Family Radio, spent millions promoting it on billboards, posters and fliers all over the U.S. Camping was convinced the faithful would ascend to heaven, and those left on Earth would perish in five months of "fire, brimstone and plagues" that culminated with the end of the world on Oct. 21, 2011. After May 21 passed. Camping claimed Judgment Day in fact had occurred, and God had judged souls, adding that the end of the world would still come on Oct. 21, 2011. After that day also came and went, Camping admitted in a statement he was wrong.