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The 15 Greatest End of the World Prophecy FAILs

Don't panic. According to the Mayans, the world was going to end on Friday, December 21st, 2012. Whether by a reversal of the Earth's rotational axis, a collision with mysterious Niburu, or by some kind of implosion black hole issue, the Mayan calendar clearly indicates this TGIF would be our last. Except it wasn't. Neither was Harold Camping's prediction, Pat Robertson's, or anyone elses's

No matter how many times religious "prophets" predict doomsday based on numerology, the Bible or scientists wrongly calculate a comet's effect on the planet (Isaac Newton even wrote his own prediction of the apocalypse that was published after his death), people have kept bracing themselves for the end of the world or committing suicide to spare themselves from witnessing the Apocalypse (which, c'mon, would be pretty awesome to see).

Here are 15 failed apocalyptic prophecies of the past.

The 15 Greatest End of the World Prophecy FAILs Events
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  1. 15

    Richard Miller Says the World Will End On Or Before March 21st, 1844

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    William Miller was a Baptist preacher, a self-proclaimed Bible scholar, and another guy on the growing list of jerks who survived the day they proclaimed would be the apocalypse.

    Between the years of 1831 and 1844, Miller began focusing his Bible studies on the book of Daniel, paying special attention to the verse stating

    "For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state" (Daniel, 8:14).

    Using the extremely convenient -for-Doomsday-predicting "Day-Year Principle"- where a day is actually written to represent a year- Miller concluded that the clock counting down the 2300 days the verse spoke of would actually expire in sometime between March 21st, 1843 and March 21st, 1844. Curious, you may say, that this year would come up so quickly after Miller had begun his bible study, allowing him to be the center of attention as mouthpiece of the coming end of days that was prophesied by...choosing a day of historical significance approximately 2300 years ago that would signal the end of existence on Earth. Here's a chart: please reference it to understand the obvious conclusions Miller came to.

    The incident of Miller's concern was the 457 B.C. decree to rebuild Jerusalem by Artaxerxes I of Persia. Can you imagine, in 1000 years, if some nutbag cited the decree to rebuild the Twin Towers as a signal of the end of the world? You'd think they were crazy, right? Well, Miller's followers were not so discerning and they became convinced 1843 would be their last year on Earth and began living it up.

    Now, if Miller had convinced, let's say, 1,000 people to buy into this notion of the world ending, you might think, "ok, yeah, that's pretty understandable that 1,000 people would buy into what the guy has to say". If he had 10,000 followers, that would probably raise the "that lunatic??" eyebrow. But when you find out the guy had OVER 100,000 FOLLOWERS, you have to start wondering what kind of mass hysteria these people were conned into.

    Well, in a time where Snake Oil salesman could convince you to buy an alcohol-based remedy to cure your drinking addiction, it really doesn't come as too much of a surprise that one man could convince a few who would then convince thousands more. These people, who referred to themselves as Millerites, sold or gave away their possessions, withdrew from their jobs and the community, and basically embraced fully the fact (FACT) that the world was going to end.

    Except it didn't.

    March 21st, 1944 passed without incident, at which time Miller said "Oops! Used the wrong calendar", and changed the date to reflect the Kararite Jewish calendar, giving the end of the world a four week reprieve before the second coming.

    Excuse me, excuse me, the second not coming.

    No surprise, the extension date came and went as well, and the world didn't end. Yet the movement pressed on! I suppose if I had given away all my Earthly possessions, I'd be holding out for a one-way ticket to the apocalypse too. After a thrice amended date came and went, most of the Millerites went back to living their lives, while Miller himself went on waiting for the end of days until he finally left the earth (alone) in 1949.

  2. 14

    Richard Noone Predicts Ice Age To Start 5/5/2000

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    In his book Ice: Ultimate Disaster Richard Noone (which, surprisingly is not pronounced no-one) stipulated that the planets' alignment with the moon and sun would cause disturbances in the Earth's axis, sending the ice from the poles to the equator and ushering in an ice age.

    Noone used the Great Pyramid as evidence for a moment in the past when the climate changed very quickly and interviewed Egyptologists along with archaeologists and geologists.

    The book also explored the lore of the Freemasons, Illuminati and Knights Templar. While Noone was attempting to predict the f*ture, he wound up gaining more knowledge about the past, which makes his findings not a total loss, but still make him kind of a psychopath.

  3. 13

    Botticelli's Mystical Nativity Bears Ominous Inscription

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    The Mystical Nativity was the only painting Botticelli signed and with it wrote an inscription that said:

    "This picture, at the end of the year 1500, in the troubles of Italy, I Alessandro painted. In the half time after the time, during the fulfillment of the eleventh chapter of St. John in the second woe of the apocalypse."

    Botticelli was convinced that he was living in the times of the Tribulation (the pre-apocalyptic period described in the Bible during which the untrue would suffer great disasters) because a fanatical preacher named Savonarola had arrived in Florence in 1490.

    At first, he was seen as a prophet for having predicted the Italian War of 1494-1498 and talked the French king out of invading the city. Savonarola was a pimp like that. He sought to purge Florence of its artistic vanity and wealth by making its residents burn their luxuries and paintings.

    Savonarola was eventually executed, but Botticelli's inscription predicts an apocalypse in the 16th century and has been the key to reading The Mystical Nativity not only as a scene of salvation and goodness but one that foreshadows the second coming of Christ and has dark imagery such as demons fleeing to the Underworld.

    FUN FACT: There's actually a freakin red dragon in the Book of Revelations

  4. 12

    20,000 Londoners Flee Their Homes In The Second Great Flood

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    A respected German scholar and priest, Johannes Stoeffler, predicted in 1499 that the world would be flooded again because all six of the planets known then would be in conjunction in the constellation of Pisces.

    Since Pisces is represented by a fish, Stoeffer assumed it meant water would be responsible for killing all of the Earth's inhabitants. Perfectly reasonable.

    Because he was well-respected, people listened to his prediction and braced themselves for the second Great Flood.

    English astrologers set the date for February 1, 1524. People sold their waterfront property even if they lost profit and an elevated fortress was built at the Priory Church of St. Bartholomew the Great with two months worth of necessities.

    Boat builders became filthy rich as families commissioned arks to be built to protect themselves when the flood arrived.

    The craziest part, and definitely the one who believed Stoeffler the most was German count named Von Iggleheim who actually constructed a luxury, three-story ark for his friends and family.

    That's a lot of trust to put in a guy you've never met. But, I mean, c'mon, who wouldn't trust this face?

    Give in to your feeeeeear

    On February 1st 20,000 Londoners left their homes to get to higher ground and await the rain. Nothing happened and they all went back to their houses.

    In Europe, however, it began to rain at dawn. A crowd around von Iggleheim's ark became panicked and tried to get onto it, killing many in the stampede.

    When he refused to let them on, they dragged him out of the ark and stoned him to death. Makes sense.

    Fantasies of London flooding are not uncommon, though:

  5. 11

    Large Hadron Collider Potentially Creates a Black Hole Large Enough to Swallow the Earth


    The Large Hadron Collider that stretches 27 km between France and Switzerland is the largest particle accelerator ever built and was set to be turned on on September 10, 2008 to recreate the Big Bang.

    It was built by Cern, the European Organization for Nuclear Research and cost 5 billion pounds (or almost 10 billion American dollars), which was paid for by 20 different countries.

    The hadron particles within the accelerator would be crashed into each other at a speed almost as great as the speed of light in an area a billion times smaller than a speck of dust.

    Some scientists were worried so they filed a lawsuit because they thought the experiment could create a black hole that would devour the Earth.

    And even the fact that it was a small possibility was pretty terrifying. It was kind of like being on a plane, statistically you're safe, but you're obviously doing something that is challenging nature. I'm all for science and everything, and even love that the LHC exists, for science (you monster), but the fact that some scientists could turn something like this on, with even the slimmest probability of the world ending, was terrifying.

    How could something this shiny not be dangerous?

    Scientists working on the Collider insisted that the chances of a black hole being created were minuscule and that even if one did appear it would be too small to affect the planet and would be gone in seconds. The Collider was turned on successfully and will run until 2014.

    What ended up happening once it was turned on, though, was one, big, anti-climactic sigh of relief.

  6. 10

    Early Heretic Montanus Founds End of the World Cult

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    In the 2nd century, a native of what is now Turkey, Phrygia, and a pagan priest of an Oriental cult (yes, you can use this in a historical context) for Cybele (mother goddess of fertility) converted to Christianity and began a schism (or, an opposing group).

    His ecstatic revelations, which were supposedly directly from God and which he told in the first person, claimed that the end of the world was near.

    New Jerusalem was to drop from heaven right to his hometown of Pepuza, where only true believers would be allowed to live.

    Montanus, with a prophetess on each arm, Priscilla and Maximilla (both of which had left their husbands to join the cult), set out to purify his followers by making them fast and denying them material possessions. His followers had seizures and uttered phrases in strange languages that were interpreted as oracles of the Holy Spirit.

    Even though doomsday never came, the cult spread to North Africa and remained alive for centuries after Montanus and his two prophetesses had died and been buried in a shrine in Phrygia. Tertullian, the first Christian to compose in Latin, who came up with terms like The Trinity and Old and New Testaments was a devoted follower of Montanus' cult.

  7. 9

    Rockin' Rollen Stewart Wreaks Havoc Before The Rapture in 1992

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    At first he was just a guy in a rainbow-colored afro wig that would position himself perfectly behind an athlete at a sporting event to get on camera, much to the TV network executives' annoyance. He appeared on TV at basketball, baseball, football games and even the 1980 Olympics. But then Jesus came along, saved him from sexual promiscuity and drug abuse and he became a born again Christian.

    I Roll with the J-Man now

    Rainbow Man started wearing shirts with bible passages on it and holding up signs at the sporting events. One of his four wives divorced him after he tried to choke her for holding a John 3:16 sign in the wrong spot at the 1986 World Series.

    Stewart was sure that the Rapture would occur on September 28, 1992 and in the late eighties set out to stink bomb churches, The Orange County Register and a Christian bookstore.

    Rainbow Man was arrested in 1992 in a California hotel where he was attempting to kidnap two men and threatening to shoot airplanes coming out of LAX. He was given three life sentences and was denied parole in 2005. Parodies of him have been featured on SNL and Peanuts, among others.

  8. 8

    Taiwanese Cult Leader Says God Will Arrive in Spaceship

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    "The True Way" (Chen Tao) was a cult started by a Taiwanese national named Hon-Ming Chen who was originally an atheist and a professor. The movement was a mix of Buddhism, Taoism and UFOlogy. Three things that obviously fit together.

    Chen believed the Universe was 4.5 trillion years old and had been created by a nuclear war. He also believed there had been five tribulations in the past which were survived by UFOs rescuing Earth's inhabitants each time.

    Chen predicted that God would appear on cable television in North America at midnight on March 31, 1998, regardless of whether you subscribed to cable or not. After announcing his return, he would land on Earth in his spacecraft. To prepare for God's arrival, "The True Way's" 140 members moved to Garland, Texas because it sounded like "God Land," bought twenty homes and started wearing cowboy hats.

    When the prophecy didn't come true Chen offered to be crucified or stoned but no one carried out the punishment. 2/3 of the members abandoned the group, some because of visa problems that forced them to move back to Taiwan. In other words, people were so disappointed that they didn't even care enough to want revenge on the guy.

  9. 7

    Y2K Bug Threatens To Plunge World Into Chaos. Nutjobs Prepare.

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    Instead of getting ready to party hard to celebrate the privilege of welcoming a new millennium, theories that computers would shut down completely when they reached 00 due to the use of two digits for years (97,98,00) raised panic throughout the world.

    People bought gas-powered generators in case of massive power outages and stocked up on canned food and water because they were convinced that without computers running companies could not operate and the world would fall into chaos. In a Time article about Y2k that was written in 1998, the Eckhart family was featured as they prepared for the disaster. They loaded up on weapons (handguns, shotguns and rifles) in case any of the "unprepared" ones came onto their property after the New Year hit and Mrs. Eckhart made sure to learn some dentistry and medicine in case of emergencies.

    Never thought of that, did you? Where's the dentist in your apocalypse plan? All you've got are swords, boards and nails, and awesome looking leather stuff. What would you even wear (here are some ideas)? These people actually thought ahead of time.

    The acronym circulating on Y2k Internet sites was TEOTWAWKI or The End of the World as We Know It (as perpetuated by some Christian groups). A Christian Coalition even speculated that Bill Clinton would take advantage of the chaos to take over as dictator of America.

    And all because someone didn't think ahead of time to put four digits instead of two for the years. Whoever did that math wrong must've felt terrible.

    Someone should've carried the 1

    Needless to say, the millennium came, people still celebrated by freezing their asses off in Times Square and it only took several years for a recession to creep up on the U.S. and usher in the kind of financial meltdown that Y2K-enthusiasts had been predicting in the first place. So, you know, yay.

  10. 6

    Joanna Southcott Claims She Will Give Birth to The Second Jesus in 1814

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    If this lady existed in modern day, she would most likely write slash fiction.

    In 1814, a British virgin over 60 years old from Devon, England declared that she was the woman in Revelation (12:1-6) --

    1. And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
    2. And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
    3. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
    4. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
    5. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
    6. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

    According to her visions, she was pregnant with the next Christ and would give birth to him on Christmas day of that year. Despite the certainty that she had already gone through menopause and could no longer reproduce, Southcott was convinced that she was the next Mary. The second coming of Jesus would mean judgment day.

    So where her prediction fell through was instead of giving birth on Christmas day, she died. So she was way off.

    This wasn't enough proof for her 100,000 followers, however. Some kept believing in her until their death and up until 1927, one woman even put a large fortune behind publishing Southcott's writings

  11. 5

    Amateur Astrologist's False Observation Leads to Mass Suicide in 1997

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    When amateur astronomist Chuck Shramek took a fuzzy CCD image of the comet Hale-Bopp, which was set to reappear in 1997, he mistakenly observed that a Saturn-like object was trailing behind it. The observation reached message boards on the early, pre-YouTube Internet and spread, making UFO enthusiasts predict that an alien spacecraft was trailing the comet.

    The closeness of the comet's appearance to the new millennium led religious cults like Heaven's Gate to see it as a sign of the apocalypse.

    39 people in the cult committed mass suicide in California because they believed the UFO disguising itself through the comet was there to rescue them from a doomed Earth. How they thought killing themselves would help them get on the UFO makes no sense. Other cults who thought themselves to be creatures from other planets were waiting for the UFO to take them back home and end their "visit" on Earth.

    Later it was discovered that two astronomers from the University of Hawaii had actually taken the photo and Shramek's had been altered to add the object. Oh, how gullible people were before the magics of social media and Photoshop were well known. I'll be right back, I need to drink my Acai, wheatgrass and bacon shot.

    The Heaven's Gate cult has been made fun of in various parts of pop culture and has become one of the many cult laughing stocks that we now have forever. We have that information now, and can make fun of it whenever we want, so maybe it's not that big of a fail.

    This is probably the most notable of them all:

    The Leaderrrrrrrrrrr

  12. 4

    Televangelist Pat Robertson Says God Told Him World Would End in 1982

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    Televangelist, ex-Baptist minister and failed Republican candidate for the 1988 presidential election, Pat Robertson always has a prediction to make and commentary of the utmost insensitivity on any disaster that occurs (Check out The 10 Craziest Things Pat Robertson Has Ever Said)

    In 1980 he said on The 700 Club (a program named after the approximate age and/or weight of anyone who watches it) "I guarantee by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on this world."

    He believed that as of 1980, the Anti-Christ was about 27 years old and that Armageddon would start in 1982 followed by 7 "nightmare years" of intense suffering. Which is awesome. I mean, the Biblical apocalypse is pretty epic.

    The "nightmare years" according to the book of revelations include 4 horsemen, Satan coming back to Earth, zombies, a dragon (yes, a dragon) and some other stuff that would actually be pretty damn awesome to see in real life before dying a terrible, terrible death at the hands of some creature that would look like a main character from Hellraiser. Or maybe we'd just get the traditional Satan, who knows? Either way, it would be exciting.

    The classic Christian Rapture/Apocalpyse/Armageddon is by far the most Metal of them all. Imagine not being run over by a car, dying of old age or succumbing to a terminal illness, but instead meeting the edge of this guy's sword:


    Robertson, of course, had no reasoning behind this other than he felt the Lord told him it was going to happen and was 100% wrong. He said "times will be terribly hard, but we will survive." Maybe he was just talking about Olivia Newton John's "Physical" being the #1 hit in America in 1982, and hey, in that respect, he was right.

    In 2006 he predicted a tsunami would hit America.

    In 2008 God told him it would be a year of worldwide violence (pretty general there) and a recession would hit America before the stock market crashed in 2010 (it had hit by 2007).

    Robertson has called Hinduism "demonic" and Islam "Satanic" and has denounced homosexuality, abortion, feminists, and pagans, holding them responsible for 9/11. After Hurricane Katrina hit, Robertson said it was God's punishment for America's abortion policy. When the 2010 Haiti earthquake hit, Robertson said the Haitians had formed a pact with the Devil to liberate themselves from the French and the earthquake was a product of their curse.

  13. 3

    Harold Camping Thought the World Would End In 2011 (Just Like He Did in 1994 and on May 21 of ...

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    Because this is just something people should know about (it's pretty funny, and a little sad), here's what's going on with this weekend's Rapture.

    And in everyone on this list's defense, it makes sense that everyone thinks they're in the "end times" because life, in general, for people in pretty much any era in human history, almost always seems like it can't get any worse.

    California-based Family Radio host Harold Camping is back with another prediction! Unlike most radio talk show hosts, he doesn't just predict game scores or celebrity hookups, no, Mr. Harold Camping predicts apocalypses (apocali?).

    It's fair to say most people deserve a second chance, but considering that the 89-year-old has been wrong about the world ending before, it's shocking that people still believe him this time.

    In his book 1994, Camping applied numerology to the Bible (every douchebag that read the Da Vinci Code is nodding knowingly to the mention of numerology) and predicted that Christ would return between September 15 and 17 of 1994. When nothing happened Camping said he'd made a mistake in his calculations. He apparently hadn't considered the Book of Jeremiah.

    After recalculating, he decided the world is actually going to end on May 21 (Saturday) of this year. And some people BELIEVE him. No really, look! His followers are dropping out of med school, leaving their wives and children, and spending all their savings to spread the world about The Rapture. He and his followers are spending over $3 Million raising awareness. $3 Million (American). Good luck this year, orphans!

    Here's his reasoning:
    1. According to Camping, judgment day should occur 7,000 years after the Flood. Biblical scholars claim the Flood took place May 21 of 4,990 B.C. God told Noah to warn the people 7 days before the flood and using a Bible passage 2 Peter 3:8, "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day," Camping treats each of the days as a thousand years.

    2. The second piece of "evidence" is based off of the notion that the world began in 11,013 B.C. and after its 13,000th anniversary on May 21st, 1988, the "church age" was over and Satan took control of them (Camping and his followers do not believe in organized religion).

    3. Numerology, once again, comes into the picture -- Christ was killed on April 1 33 A.D., that is 722,500 days from May 21, 2011. 722,500 is the product of this equation: (5 x 10 x 7)^2. These numbers apparently mean something special. Five is atonement, ten completeness and 17 heaven.

    What if the numbers in the equation had been cubed instead of squared, though?

    If you're having a hard time following the logic of this argument don't worry about it because the chances of you being one of the 3% that God is taking with him to Heaven on the day of Rapture are very slim anyway. Unless you live on a farm and are the type of person who doesn't wear open toed shoes because they're the devil's handtools, then you're most likely going to die with the rest of us people-who-get-laid-and-have-fun.

    We'll be left here until October 21 to suffer the most horrendous tortures you can think of (God will most likely waterboard the planet) -- think earthquakes and the destruction of Earth and yes, even the entire universe, because sometimes you've just gotta start fresh.

    When asked if past failed apocalyptic predictions (*cough* 1994 *cough*) place any doubts in the minds of the believers, Chris McCann, a member of eBibleFellowship, a group who is spreading the word about May 21st, said, "It would be like telling the Wright Brothers that every other attempt to fly has failed, so you shouldn't even try."

    Yes Chris McCann, it is just as hopeful as that.

  14. 2

    The September 23rd Comet/LHC Black Hole/Jade Helm Rapture Fizzles

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    Biblical prophecy watchers, apocalypse predictors, and doomsday preppers were buzzing that September 23, 2015, would lead to confluence of events, both political and scientific, that would herald the destruction of humanity.

     Among the things predicted to happen on or around that day were:

    • Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

    • President Barack Obama was scheduled to meet with Pope Francis at the White House. Of note is that Francis is the 266th Pope,September 23 is the 266th day of the year, and the average length of human gestation is 266 days.

    • The Autumnal Equinox.

    • The First day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha - “the Feast of the Sacrifice.”

    • A range of dates that Comet 67P was going to be extremely close to earth.

    • The September restart of the CERN Large Hadron Collider,to begin a highly dangerous experiment to open a portal to another dimension.

    • The end of the controversial military exercise Jade Helm15 on September 15.

    • The September 25th launch of a new UN initiative, Agenda2030, which signaled the end stage of Agenda 21 implementation.

    • The last of the “Four Blood Moons” heralding the Biblical End Times, on September 28.

    • The end of a Shemitah year in the Jewish Calendar, the last year of the seven year agricultural cycle, that traditionally brings withit great economic tribulation.

    • The culmination of the End Times prophecies of Sir Isaac Newton.

    • A dire warning from French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius,who claimed on May 13, 2014 that we have “500 days to avoid climate chaos.” 500days after May 13, 2014 was September 24, 2015.

    Fortunately, other than the previously scheduled religious holidays, literally none of this happened - or at least had any meaning. September passed without a comet strike (indeed, Comet 67P was heading away from Earth at the time), black hole opening, climate chaos, or blood moon rapture. Yay!

  15. 1

    eBible Fellowship Predicts the World Will Be Destroyed By Fire

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    "Online fellowship" group head Chris McCann predicted that the world would be "annihilated by fire" on Wednesday, October 7. What brought him to this eerily specific date? A different failed apocalypse prediction, of course.

    “According to what the Bible is presenting it does appear that 7 October will be the day that God has spoken of: in which, the world will pass away,” McCann wrote. “It’ll be gone forever. Annihilated.” McCann was basing the day on the fizzled prediction of Harold Camping, the famous apocalypse predictor who died peacefully at age 93 in 2013.

    McCann believed that Camping's rapture date of May 21, 2011, was actually the day God began to choose who would survive the real rapture. He added 1,600 days to that day, and came up with October 7. While he allowed himself "the unlikely possibility" that he was wrong, he insisted he was likely correct. Fortunately, he wasn't.

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