Following widespread reports that the world would be ending today, a church leader has broken silence on the controversial topic.
The Church of England has finally spoken out on claims the end of the world will start today.
An increasing number of conspiracy theorists – especially Christians – fear the apocalypse would be happening today.
The prediction is mainly based on the fact that the stars and planets will apparently align as described in the Bible at the End of Days.
But there a staggering number of other “signs” – ranging from the total solar eclipse last month to prophecies from Jewish mystics, a Catholic saint and other soothsayers.
Even Hollywood films, TV shows and music videos appear to be saying the world will end on September, 30, 2017.
Many Christians believe the Rapture – when the faithful will be drawn up to Heaven – is about to begin.
Although a lot of Evangelical preachers and American so-called “mega-churches” are preaching doom online, official churches, such as the Church of England and the Vatican are yet to comment.
One of Britain’s top Anglican thinkers – a member of the Church of England’s executive committee – has told Daily Star Online he does not believe the end of the world will start today.
But he admits he cannot be sure.
Doomsayers believe events described in the Bible books of Isaiah, Luke and Revelation are about to come true.
Chapter 12 of Revelation describes a “great sign” in heaven. It is a “woman clothed with the sun, with the Moon under her feet and a crown of 12 stars on her head”. The woman will then “give birth”.
On September 23, the Moon will appear at the “feet” of the constellation Virgo – a virgin woman. At the “head” of Virgo on that date, there will be 12 “stars” – the nine stars of Leo and the planets Mercury, Venus and Mars.
Virgo will then appear to “give birth” to Jupiter.
Then, “an enormous red dragon” with seven heads and 10 horns will appear and fling stars towards Earth.
Some conspiracy theorists believe this refers to a mythical planet, called Nibiru or Planet X, on a collision course with Earth.
The extremely rare total solar eclipse in the US last month was also supposedly a sign of the coming apocalypse, as described in the Old Testament book of Isaiah.
Chapter 13, verses nine to 10 says: “See, the Day of the LORD is coming – a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger – to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.
“The Stars of Heaven and their constellations will not show their light.
“The rising Sun will be darkened and the Moon will not give its light.”
Some Christian fanatics have also pointed to Luke, chapter 21, verse 10 and 11 – in which Jesus describes how we will know when the end of the world is approaching.
He said: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
“There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”
Christian numerologist and amateur stargazer David Meade, who wrote Planet X – The 2017 Arrival, says this matches hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Jose and the World War 3 face-off between North Korea and the US.
The Catholic Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury ignored repeated requests for comment from Daily Star Online.
Lambeth Palace, the Most Rev Justin Welby’s office, finally referred us to a list of official church scholars who could comment.
Daily Star Online contacted more than 20 of these colleges – and only one theologian came forward.
Luckily he’s a member of the Archbishop’s Council, which advises the leadership of the Church of England – so he should know what he is talking about.
Rev Dr Ian Paul said he didn’t think the world will end this today.
He told Daily Star Online: “No one knows when that will be, it is futile to predict it and anyone who claims to know the time is misleading the faithful.
“He [Jesus] will return at some point, and then everything will be put right.”
He said those fearing an imminent apocalypse have misread the Bible.
The verses in Revelation are about the fall of the Roman Empire, rather than the end of life on Earth – or the arrival of a giant mythical planet.
He said: “Revelation does focus on the end of the world – but it does so in order to encourage and reassure Christians in first-century Asia (Western Turkey) that the Roman Empire that challenged and dominated them would one day come to an end, so they should trust Jesus and not the Emperor.”
The verses in Luke predict the destruction of the Jewish Temple of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD – not Armageddon – Dr Paul said.
He scoffed at the suggestion recent natural disasters were signs the apocalypse was coming.
Dr Paul told us: “If Luke 21 is referring to floods, gales and earthquakes, isn’t it a bit odd that we should take it to refer to ours?
“These things have happened before.”
The Diocese of Westminster – the office of Catholic Cardinal Vincent Nichols – failed to respond to our requests for comment.
But the Pope appears to have given his own comments on the September 23 apocalypse prophecy.
Speaking last month, as the conspiracy theory gathered pace ahead of the Great American Total Solar Eclipse, Pope Francis told pilgrims in St Peter's Square, Vatican City: “When we do not cling to the Word of the Lord, but consult horoscopes and fortune tellers, we begin to sink.”
Dr Paul said: “New Testament writers use language of the imminence of Jesus’ return because that is how all Christians have always spoken.
“We should live ready to meet Jesus at any time.”