June 19, 2007
Isaac Newton Predicts Apocalypse
By Pamela Mortimer
An exhibit premiering in Jerusalem this week contains manuscripts written by Sir Isaac Newton that predict the date of the Apocalypse.
Sir Isaac Newton is considered by many to be history’s greatest scientist, often known as the man who laid the foundation for modern physics, mathematics, astronomy, and optics. Much to the surprise of the world at large, the author of the Principia Mathematica was also a theologian who wrote thousands of pages on Jewish law. A significant portion of the last fifty-five years of his life was spent focused on Biblical references which he would use to predict the date of the Apocalypse.
In a series of 300-year old manuscripts, Newton uses sections from the Bible – The Book of Daniel and Revelation, to be exact – to decipher dates and occurrences which will be the precursor to Armageddon. Newton was quick to point out, however, that while the Apocalypse would bring the expected wars and plagues, the prediction did not mean the end of the world. In fact, he believed that it would mean the beginning of a 1,000-year reign in which saints would rule the earth. In essence, a new heaven and a new earth.
Although many had attempted to calculate the date of Armageddon, Newton felt that his calculations were correct. Many agreed that the date could be determined by adding the 1260 years of Daniel to the “formal acquisition of temporal power by the papacy”. The only problem is that no one could seem to agree on the starting date. One chose the fall of the Roman Empire, while another chose a date that would place Armageddon at the beginning of this millennium.
Written on a slip of paper, without any detailed mathematical calculations, leads experts to believe that Newton never intended to share his findings with the public. In fact, Newton detested “date-setters”. He felt that the date his chosen date, 2060 A.D., was approximate.
"It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner," Newton wrote. "This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail."
Additionally, Newton’s interpretations included the belief that the Jews would return to the Holy Land before the end of the world. Newton wrote that the end of days will bring "the ruin of the wicked nations, the end of weeping and of all troubles, the return of the Jews captivity and their setting up a flourishing and everlasting Kingdom".
While many of Newton’s predictions and calculations have proven to be true, we’ll just have to wait to see if this one pans out.