chapter  1
14 Pages

From the Extraordinary to the Ordinary: An Overview of Prophecy

Apocalyptic images fascinate and terrify; at the dawn of the new millennium, end-times prophecy can be found everywhere. Images of the world destroyed – overwhelmed by water, ice or fire – have inspired both the religious and artistic imagination for millennia. Popular imagination acknowledges a kind of incomprehensibility of this scale of disaster, inviting an image of a ‘hand of God’. In modern times we worry about the possibility of a human-created end of time – through nuclear war (Strozier 2002) or environmental mismanagement. Recent action films like Armageddon (1998), The Day after Tomorrow (2004), I Am Legend (2007) and 2012 (2009) testify to the lucrative popularity of the endtimes scenario. More visibly, there continues to be a proliferation of newspaper headlines, books, music, disaster movies and other media activity relating to ‘end of the world as we know it’ – prophecies of Christ’s imminent return, the ‘end’ of the Mayan calendar cycle on 21 December 2012, and the possibility of a cataclysmic disaster such as a meteor-impact or a nuclear attack by terrorists.