It’s the End of the World (But Not as We Know It)

The eclipse is one of many failed apocalyptic expectations. What does Revelation have to say?

Next week’s solar eclipse has stoked the flames of end-time speculations, once again whipping doomsday theorists into a frenzy.

As the April 8 event will take place primarily over North America, some in the US are anticipating a great Day of Judgment complete with terrorist attacks, biological warfare, and nuclear meltdowns. According to alt-right conspiracy theorists, including some fringe evangelical leaders, this war will usher in a new world order in which Christ will return and America (alongside Israel) will rule the nations.

This isn’t the first time apocalyptic predictions were based on impending eclipses—the same thing happened in 2017. But end-of-world interest seems to have increased over the last few years, as things like the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the Israel-Hamas conflict has meant nearly every region of the globe has faced some sort of calamity. These and other recent tribulations have led many believers to conclude that the end is near. In fact, a Pew Research Center study found in 2022 that over 60 percent of evangelical Christians in the US believe we are living in the end times.

But while some passages in the Bible do link astronomical phenomena with “the end” (Matt. 24:29; Joel 2:31), doomsday prophets fail to explain why their biblical, global, and cosmic calculus often revolves around America. They further neglect the fact that an eclipse happens somewhere on Earth approximately every 18 months—and that these solar events have been associated with imminent doom for thousands of years without consequence.

And yet, based on the Book of Revelation, end-time conspiracists are correct in one aspect of their eschatology: We are …

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