Methodist conspiracy theorist David Meade matched key passages with the movement of the stars and planets and world events to say the Rapture – when Christians will be taken up to heaven to avoid seven years of suffering – will take place this month.
The church has insisted Mr Meade’s forecast is based on a misreading of the key verses.
Now a leading scholar has explained what the passages really mean.
1. Revelation 12
Chapter 12 of the New Testament book of Revelation – known as The Woman and the Dragon – is the most often quoted apocalypse passage.
It 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”.
A red dragon – identified as the Devil or Satan – then appears and tries to kill the child – who is Jesus.
David Meade – and many other Christian soothsayers – claim this “great sign in heaven” matched the position of the stars and planets on September 23, 2017.
Mr Meade alleged the red dragon referred to a mysterious planet called Nibiru, which would appear in our skies and cause havoc with its gravitational pull.
Some believers claim Nibiru – also known as Planet X – has appeared and even provided photos and video to prove it.
NASA and most mainstream astronomers have not reported its arrival.
Mr Meade has since revised his prediction to say the Rapture will begin on October 2017 and Nibiru will appear “30 to 60 days later”.
But Rev Dr Ian Paul, who is a member of the Archbishop’s Council, which advises the leadership of the Church of England, said the prediction was a “complete misconception”.
He told Daily Star Online: “This is not a plausible reading of Revelation 12.
“The plot of a dragon wanting to consume a child, who in the end defeats him, comes from the Greek myth of Python pursuing Leto who gives birth to Apollo.
“In other words, this is about the birth of Jesus bringing an end to the suffering of his exiled people by defeating Satan – their enemy and accuser.
“For John and his readers, this would have been as easy to recognize as it would be for us if someone used the story of Little Red Riding Hood or Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”
Dr Paul added: “Revelation does focus on the end of the world – but it does so in order to encourage and reassure Christians in first-century 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.”
2. Luke 21
Some Christian fanatics also point 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.”
These appear to match recent major earthquakes in Mexico, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria and the World War 3 face-off between North Korea and the US.
But Dr Paul said Jesus was actually predicting the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans, which occurred about 40 years after the events of Luke 21, in about AD70.
Luke wrote his Gospel after the fall of the temple.
Dr Paul told us: “In Luke 21, Jesus’ words have clearly been understood by Luke to refer to the destruction of the temple by the Romans in AD70.
“He refers to ‘Jerusalem surrounded by armies’ in Luke 21.20, and after the mention of ‘signs in the sun, moon and stars’ in verse 25, goes on to say emphatically ‘Amen, I tell you this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened.’
“Luke records Jesus exact words in Aramaic here by using ‘Amen’ – showing that it was important to both Jesus and Luke, who was writing after the fall of Jerusalem, that all this referred to things in his own generation.”
3. Isaiah 13
Many doomsayers often quote the Old Testament book of Isaiah, Chapter 13, verses nine to 10: “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.”
Mr Meade said this referred to an extremely rare solar eclipse that crossed the US on August 21 this year.
He pointed out it was exactly 33 days before September 23 – and 33 was a significant number in the Bible.
The same passage has been quoted by other conspiracy theorists to claim various solar and lunar eclipses mean the world is ending.
Dr Paul told us suggested these natural phenomenons had occurred many times before – and there was no reason to believe Isaiah was referring to the recent eclipse.
He said: “Isn’t it a bit odd that we should take it to refer to ours? These things have happened before.”