According to Biblical numerologist David Meade, the world will receive a sign this coming Saturday that kicks off the End of Days and ushers in the end of the world. According to pretty much everyone else, this isn’t going to happen. Meade’s argument is based on a selective reading of recent events, some tenuous Biblical interpretation, and a healthy dollop of astrology tossed in for good measure.
“Jesus lived for 33 years. The name Elohim, which is the name of God to the Jews, was mentioned 33 times [in the Bible],” Meade told The Washington Post. “It’s a very biblically significant, numerologically significant number. I’m talking astronomy. I’m talking the Bible … and merging the two.”
What David Meade is actually merging isn’t astronomy, but astrology. His organization has created a video purporting to explain what’s (not) going to happen. I say “purporting” to explain because while the video claims not to be explaining the Rapture, it shows people vanishing from Earth in a cloud of light, which seems, well, rather Rapture-y.
To understand what this group is trying to argue, it helps to be familiar with the book of Revelation in the Bible. Specifically, Revelation 12, 1-6:
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.
Revelation has always been interpreted differently by different groups of Christians, from those who believe it describes history in general, to those who see it as a retelling of events around the first century, to those who believe it describes a future (relative to the life of the author) apocalyptic battle. But regardless of what you believe about Revelation, Christianity, or even the (non)existence of a deity, there’s nothing in the paragraph above about a sign from God appearing in the constellation of Virgo, as proposed by David Meade. Nor is it clear why ancient Christians, who were certainly aware of the Greek zodiac, wouldn’t simply have written “And a sign appeared in the constellation known to the Greeks as Virgo,” as opposed to a lot of vague handwaving about dragons, horns, and crowns.
It will surprise exactly no one to discover that Meade also believes in Nibiru, the supposed Tenth Planet that will destroy the entire solar system… someday. Despite not-existing.
Reading through Meade’s claims, I’m reminded of memes like the below:
I have all the problems with this.
Ironically, a deity or alien species so powerful as to make the distinction irrelevant would be the only way to explain how a planet the size of Mars could leave its orbit and appear in Earth’s sky as shown above. It would, however, qualify as an End of Days disaster, since a rock that big, that close, is clearly on a collision course.
But there’s good news. There’s no Nibiru. There’s no Mars sailing through interplanetary space with a song in its heart and murder in its soul. And there’s not going to be a sign on Saturday, September 23, heralding the end of the world.