When it comes to an important event in your life, if you're like most people, you want to plan it out so you can be there.
If you're getting married, you surely take the time to organize your wedding and honeymoon. Graduating from college? That's going to be marked and circled in your planner, too. So, it's fairly reasonable to say if you're going to die, you might want to pay attention. If you can know the exact date that your death is coming or the world was going to end — although it's admittedly not a fun topic to discuss — there could be a part of you that is slightly interested in knowing when that would be, you know...so you can plan ahead and make the most of the time you still have in the here and now.
In a sense, the fear of dying is what drives increased popularity for today's end time theorists.
People are paying more attention to apocalyptic messages. Like the recent earthquake in Japan and another massive one in Mexico as well as the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria hitting Puerto Rico — and people are wondering what's going on.
Is God really that angry?
Apocalyptic messengers point to the End of Times, but some sadly some of these end time prophets who claim to be preaching from scripture place emphasis on being right, more than encouraging hearers to be righteous.
It's enough to make anyone suspicious and wonder why now, and on what basis, are they making these crazy allegations that September 23, 2017 is the beginning of the end of the world.
And before we get started, it's important to note how many times have these End of the World / Armageddon / End Times preachers have been wrong? (Hint: Lots.)
But still, it's curious that the pot was stirred most recently by author, James F. Fitzgerald, who thought his end time prophecy book might not be a high interest topic.
To test the waters of potential financial gain just prior to publishing his popular book, The 9/11 Prophecy—Startling Evidence the Endtimes Have Begun, (which ranks #602 for Biblical Prophecy on Amazon) he requested a poll from Barna Group.
The results surprised him (and everyone else).
Forty-five percent of devout Catholics, 54 percent of Protestants, 71 percent of evangelicals and 2 out of 5 non-denominational Christians agree with the statement, "the world is currently living in the ‘end times’ as described by prophesies in the Bible.”
The same poll conducted by Barna Group during a summer OmniPoll Survey found that among religious racial groups, 39 percent of whites, 48 percent of Hispanics, and 54 percent of blacks believed the end of times is near.
It's normal to feel skeptical about a poll done by an author wanting to sell a book — the topic of end times is a popular one, and lucrative. In fact, the Left Behind Series has sold nearly 80 million books when Pastor Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins warned the world about the need for salvation before the rapture which would result in a 7 year tribulation and subsequent end of the world. Left Behind stories are now in films, video games, graphic novels, and other marketable items.
Here was LaHaye's last interview with NPR before he died in 2016:
However, there's no denying that BOTH astrologers AND Bible thumping end time self-proclaimed prophets are making quite a fuss over the celestial bodies and the earthly natural disasters taking place over the last few months.
In fact, these signs are what gives evidence to apocalyptic claims prophesied in the Bible.
Astrologers say the current planetary and star alignments, and natural events are astronomical energy shifts. They are signs for a new beginning, and a season of forgiveness. To prepare, humans should let go of the past, clear obstacles, and connect with their spiritual purpose.
The same message is also historically shared by Christians except spiritual cleansing is through "accepting Christ" rather than the stars.
But strangely, that's what end time theorists are doing.
To help clarify some of the confusion, here are 7 theories and predictions about why the End of Times / End of the World / End of Days is rumored to happen on September 23, 2017:
1. The Bible talks about 7 seals and 7 scrolls in the book of Revelation that once opened by the Lamb of God (Jesus) in heaven, the end of the world is near.
In the Bible there are a series of prophetic books, but the one is solely about the unfolding of end time events: Revelation.
The book was written by John, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus before his crucifixion. Christians believe that God revealed his plans for Christ's 2nd coming and eventual restoration of the world to righteousness to John. In Revelation, just like the rest of the Bible, particularly those written by what's called minor and major prophetic books, these signs and symbols are found by observing the planets, events, and number patterns.
As a child, I grew up reading and being taught the hidden secrets of the book of Revelation. These bible studies put the fear of God in me. But there's one message that rises above all messages in that text: Those who read the book of Revelations, according to the scriptures 'will be blessed" but those who alter the texts will be sorry.
From a Christian standpoint, there are many signs that have been fulfilled according to early prophecy found in Matthew, Luke, John, and even the Old Testament. However, what today's doomsday theorists are claiming is one thing that Revelation and Jesus told his disciples, no one, including himself, knew the exact date that the first seal would be broken or when he would return.
2. When the first seal opens the apocalypse begins, which is also around the time of a woman giving birth.
Revelation 12: 1-2 says, "And then a great wonder appeared in heaven: There was a woman who was clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet. She had a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out with pain because she was about to give birth."
Coincidentally, this week is the week of Fall Solstice and also the New Moon in Virgo. The Sun is also in Virgo, and the planets, Mars, Mercury, and Venus will be aligned above the astrological zodiac sign and star symbol, Virgo the Virgin.
3. It's rumored that the woman spoken about in Revelation chapter 12 is appearing now and is a sign of the apocalypse.
Catholics think she is Mary the mother of Jesus. Some Christians think she is the persecuted Church or Babylon. Others say she is Israel, or perhaps the City of Jerusalem. Some Christians think the woman of Revelation 12 is the symbolic representation of the first mother, Eve.
But apocalyptic end of time preachers claim that September 23rd is the End of Time, and she is the star constellation (aka zodiac sign), Virgo the Virgin, historically and symbolically.
They claim that Virgo and the planet alignment fulfills prophecy found in Revelation, and her labor pains started during the eclipse season.
Her water breaking was Hurricane Harvey. The near missed massive flooding of Irma was the sparing of the Church, and a miracle —all signs of the End of Time.
The Bible quote that is referenced that this was a sign from God and a warning to awaken people about the End of Time comes from a prophecy found in Exodus 14:21.
4. It rumored that the first of seven seals told about in the book of Revelation opens on September 23rd.
According to Biblical scripture found in both the New and Old Testament, patterns of God's work have emerged. Each of these has numeric value to Biblical prophets, scholars, and nearly all Christian people.
Numerology and Biblical scripture are commonly studied modern by Christians, especially as it relates the the term Messiah. Jesus as "Messiah" was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy and the Torah (the first 5 books of the Old Testament). Major and minor prophets before Christ's birth used numbers when predicting the birth and death of Christ.
So, of course it stands to reason that the same prophetic practice of Old Testament prophets would be part of today's modern prophets who are watching for the second coming of the same Christ as Messiah.
5. It's rumored that Planet 9 aka Planet X is a sign of judgment prophesied in Revelation 12.
This planet, also known as Nibru, is much larger than planet Earth.
Some, including David Meade point to other End of Time prophets predictions to support the claim that Nibru / Planet X's presence induces more natural disasters that lead up to Christ's arrival. And, that this is why we are seeing so many earthquakes and hurricanes at this time.
6. End time theorists believe that Planet X could be The Red Dragon that seeks to devour the child that's birthed by the woman in Revelation 12.
These events, including Planet X's involvement with Earth's was predicted in the year 1217 Judah Ben Samuel who inferred that 2017 would be the year of the Messiah, after 10 Israel Jubilees and the temple is brought back to Jerusalem which is also predicted in Daniel and Thessalonians, which would come as a labor pain.
However, NASA recently dismissed the presence of a Planet X / Nibru. There's really little proof that Planet X will strike Earth.
But some end time theorists continue to speculate that the Red Dragon and Planet X are one and the same, thus a fulfillment of prophesy.
7. Some end time theorists claim that the government is trying to hide the truth about the Red Dragon.
Since Biblical prophecy warns readers that the truth will be suppressed and governments will be manipulated by Satan, some end time theorists are holding fast to their belief that this hidden planet is placed right between the legs of Virgo the Virgin beside the Planet Jupiter.
In Revelation, Virgo is closed in the Sun, (the Sun is in the sign of Virgo), wearing a crown of stars, (Mars, Mercury, and Venus), and she will be giving birth, the planet of Jupiter is positioned between her legs, and the Moon is at her feet.
If Planet X does exist, according to end time theorists, September 23rd is a sign of the end time and the year of the Messiah— but since no one really knows for sure, might as well plan ahead anyway.
Aria Gmitter is an editor at YourTango who covers religion, spirituality and new age topics, current events, love and relationships and whatever people are talking about.You can follow her on Twitter (@ariagmitter)