If you’re reading this article, that means the world did not, in fact, end last Saturday – as one man predicted. Every few years, we have some wide-eyed, sensationalistic self-proclaimed Bible expert and “Christian” conspiracy theorist who boldly predicts apocalypse now. (Remember the deep-voiced Harold Camping of the Family Radio Network?) Apparently, September 23, was the most recent, in a long line of bogus predictions about the end. (By the way, I am writing this article at 9:23am on Monday, Sept 18. You do the math.)
Fox News and other media outlets reported on this end-of-the-world prediction in a story that ran on Sept 15. To be blunt, the article was absurd – theologically, scientifically, and rationally. In fact, I have printed portions of the Fox News story below, word-for-word. (The article is in italics.) It begins:
A Christian numerologist claims that the world will end next Saturday (Sept 23) when a planet will, supposedly, collide with Earth. According to Christian numerologist David Meade, verses in Luke 21:25 to 26 are the sign that recent events, such as the recent solar eclipse and Hurricane Harvey, are signs of the apocalypse.
It would be easier for me to list the words that I don’t have a problem with in those sentences, than the ones I do. First off, such Christian numerology is total hogwash. I would use a stronger word, but my kids are reading this article. Yes, in the Bible some numbers are significant (especially in the Old Testament), but they are not significant in the mysterious, hidden, Bible-code kind of way. Meade’s book and other such works, as one (actual) Bible scholar put it, “do not belong on the shelves of serious Bible students; they belong on the magazine rack next to the TV tabloids.”
Second, David Meade made this exact same prediction previously, got it wrong, and then re-worked his algorithms to now get the correct date. (Imagine that?) Were Meade alive in the Old Testament, he would, upon his first failed prediction, been drug out back and stoned. (See Deut 18:20.) God has a zero-tolerance policy for false prophets. And yet, our modern, mystic-loving world gives these guys chance-upon-chance to spew their ramblings.
Also, “a planet will…collide with Earth?” What?! Seriously?! At least Harold Camping, for all of his looney tune ideas, was talking about the return of Jesus. Grant it, Meade is correct that Luke 21 talks about “signs” of meteorological and theological significance. However, it specifically states “Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD.” It does not say that they will see two planets collide in a cosmic explosion. What Meade was predicting was completely bizarre, off-kilter, and laughable. It wasn’t just non-biblical, it was unbiblical.
To clarify, Fox News added:
Meade has built his theory on the so-called Planet X, which is also known as Nibiru, which he believes will pass Earth on Sept. 23, causing volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes, according to British newspaper The Sun. NASA has reportedly said Planet X is a hoax.
I firmly believe that some ideas are so ridiculous, they deserve to be ridiculed. Meade’s prediction sounded more like the 1990’s Heaven’s Gate cult (the cloistered group that committed suicide because they were awaiting a space ship hiding behind the Halle-Bopp comet) than any serious, biblical prophecy. Thankfully, Fox News clarified:
Meade’s views are not endorsed by Roman Catholic, Protestant or eastern Orthodox branches of Christianity.
Now, that should tell you something! If no historic branch of Christianity is willing to endorse a view – does it even deserve to be called a “Christian” view? Certainly not. Here are a few, final takeaways:
- Meade, Camping, and other end-times hucksters have been doing exactly the opposite of what Jesus said. Before we learn about David Meade’s view of the end-times, how about we first learn Jesus’ view of the end times? Our Lord said, “if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe Him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise…” You might say, Meade has, in fact, fulfilled Bible prophecy by becoming one of the very false teachers that Jesus predicted. Such men deserve no audience. (For more of Jesus’ eschatology, read Matt 24:23-28.)
- Gullibility and naiveite are not a work of the Spirit. Discernment is. Pseudo-Christian con-artists have been around since the early church. God even warned us about them. In 2 Timothy 2:23 He says, “Avoid foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.” Titus 3:9 adds, “Avoid foolish controversies…for they are unprofitable and worthless.” That’s a pretty good description of Meade’s ideas.
- Read the Bible to understand its plain meaning instead of wasting your time looking for hidden meanings. As Dr. Ed Hindson says, “If the plain sense makes good sense seek no other sense, lest you end up with nonsense.” God is not looking for us to be gematria gurus or numerology nut jobs, He wants us to be “a workman, who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15) Instead of uncovering encoded messages in the Bible, just pay attention to the verbs, the context, the genre, and how Scripture uses Scripture. Those simple suggestions are responsible ways to read and profit from the Bible.
I wish I could predict that this is the end of such end times predictions. It won’t be.