Monday marks seven years since former Family Radio President Harold Camping's much publicized prediction that May 21, 2011, would be the start of the Rapture failed to materialize.
Although Jesus is recorded as saying that no one "knows the day nor the hour" of the end of the world, that has not stopped many Christians and other religious figures through the centuries from trying.
These failed predictions often garner major headlines. They can result in great personal loss for believers who donated all their money and retirement to promote the date, quit a job or failed to plant crops for the next season.
Here are five notable times when American religious leaders claimed that the end was going to come and received a great deal of attention from a curious outside world.
The 'Great Disappointment' – October 22, 1844
Nineteenth century preacher William Miller gained a strong following in his time, with his messages often focusing on the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
Eventually, the Millerist movement that he founded began to claim that the Rapture was going to take place on Oct. 22, 1844. When the date came and went, the failed prophecy became widely known as the "Great Disappointment."
It is estimated that as many as 100,000 Americans awaited the end times at various gatherings on the predicted date, only to see it come and go without spiritual incident. Miller officially renounced "prophecy studies" afterwards, eventually dying five years after his false prophecy.
Others continued to meet despite the failed prediction, leading to the creation of modern religious groups, including the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Watchtower Society – 1925
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society President J.F. Rutherford, whose organization oversees the Jehovah's Witnesses, predicted that 1925 would mark the end of the world.
Rutherford predicted in 1918 that "we may expect 1925 to witness the return of" Old Testament figures including Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob "from the condition of death, being resurrected and fully restored to perfect humanity and made the visible, legal representatives of the new order of things on earth."
"Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection," said Rutherford.
1925 was one of many dates that Jehovah's Witnesses leaders put forth as possible years for end times events like the beginning of the end times and the Second Coming of Christ.
World Bible Society – September 11-13, 1988
Edgar Whisenant, a former engineer with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, released a widely-read pamphlet predicting that the end would come during Rosh Hashanah 1988, which fell between September 11 and 13 of that year.
Whisenant claimed that there were "88 reasons" to justify the date he picked, with the World Bible Society publishing 3.2 million copies of his pamphlet, including 200,000 that went to pastors.
"When the September prediction failed, Whisenant updated the time to October 3. Now that date, too, has fallen through," noted the Christian Research Institute in a 1988 essay.
"Our task is not to dwell at length on the particulars of the end-times, but to make ourselves ready at all times, and to help others become ready for Christ's return, which will happen in His time."
Harold Camping – 1994
Before predicting that May 21, 2011 would mark the Rapture, Family Radio President Harold Camping argued that at some point in 1994, the end would come.
At one point, Camping said that he was "99.9% certain" that the end was coming in 1994, basing his reasoning off of various mathematical calculations he used with numbers in the Bible.
"Camping is totally arbitrary in his treatment of texts. There is no basis for his assertion that the end will come in 1994," noted a critique published in 1993.
"We must listen to Jesus when he says that we must always be prepared for the end because it might happen at any moment—though it could also take place in the distant future."
David Meade – October 15, 2017
Christian numerologist David Meade has made multiple predictions for when the end would come, crafting an argument that melded biblical references and astronomy.
"When the birth of Jupiter from Virgo occurs, we also see the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12:4 when great and fearful signs in the heavens are given," wrote Meade last September.
"This birthing occurs according to the latest astronomical data available on October 15, 2017. This is when the King Planet – Jupiter, crosses the womb region of Virgo."