Awaiting the Apocalypse

By Mark A. Kellner | Posted December 03, 2019

In a sparsely populated corner of the Netherlands, police found six siblings and a man believed to be their father hidden in a farmhouse basement awaiting the end of the world.

The brothers and sisters, aged 18 to 25, and their father, a 67-year-old man, had lived underground for the past nine years and were “entirely self-sufficient, living off a vegetable garden and a few animals,” CBS News reported. The oldest of the siblings, a 25-year-old male, revealed the family’s existence when he went to a local tavern and asked the owner for help. The 25-year-old said he had never been to school and was tired of the isolated existence.

The tavern owner then contacted the police, who eventually found the other adult children, along with their father, in the basement of a remote house. The siblings were taken for medical evaluation and treatment; their father, who reportedly had suffered a stroke, was subject to arrest.

“Never Seen Anything Like It”

A great deal of mystery continues to surround the house and its occupants. The local letter carrier said he was surprised to realize he’d never delivered any mail to the address. According to the village’s mayor, Roger de Groot, a number of the siblings were not registered with local authorities. Additionally, an Austrian identified in reports as Josef B. rented the house and kept the family in the basement area. 

What will happen to the siblings and the two older men of that house hasn’t been determined yet. Much will unfold in the coming weeks and months, yet investigators may never fully learn what happened and why. To the villagers and authorities, the whole affair was a perplexity. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Mayor de Groot added.

Dutch Event Not Unique

In actuality though, as jarring as this news might seem, it’s far from the first time in history that people waiting for the world to end have made headlines.

In 2011, Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping and many of his followers determined that May 21 of that year would mark the “rapture” of all believers from the world and that the world would then be destroyed on October 21 of that same year. One retiree in New York spent $140,000 on advertising Camping’s claim, only to be left in shock when the event didn’t come to pass.

As the year 2000 loomed large on the horizon, worries about a “Y2K” bug that would disrupt modern conveniences, such as automated teller machines, grocery store checkouts, and even gas pumps, sent millions scurrying for freeze-dried food, water storage, and backup generators. One report estimated the cost to the U.S. economy at more than $100 billion. 

In the last century, various communes and groups have retreated from society at large to wait out the apocalypse or some other divine destiny. In San Diego, the 1997 deaths of dozens of “Heaven’s Gate” cult members, dressed in identical running outfits and Nike sneakers, were credited to a belief that the Hale-Bopp comet, which passed near earth that year, would transport them to the next life.

We can reach back into nineteenth-century history and the Great Disappointment experienced by the followers of William Miller, a lay Baptist preacher who discovered that Bible prophecy foretold a major event in 1844. The Millerites fervently believed that event to be the return of Jesus, but when that didn’t happen, many who had sold their homes, farms, and businesses in preparation for Christ’s second coming became the laughingstock of their communities and struggled to rebuild their lives.

While Jesus told His disciples that He would return at the end of the age, He also cautioned, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36). The Bible warns us again and again that setting dates is not the responsibility of the church but rather the business of God alone.

But while the Bible does not reveal the exact date of the end of the world, it does tell us that “the time is at hand” (Revelation 22:10), that we are indeed nearing the close of this world’s history. While we cannot know the day or hour, we can prepare ourselves and others for this soon-approaching day, and the Bible calls us to do that. The Word of God teaches us that the end of the world is so much more than just a day, a date, or a time. It is an event that has a direct correlation to the meaning of life, to our purpose in this life, and to the big picture of our entire existence!

If you want to learn more, offers direct insights into what the Bible actually says about future events, including the end of the world. Bible study lessons, books, and audio and video presentations offer a real look at what lies ahead—and it’s well worth investigating!

If, like the followers of Harold Camping, you expect a “rapture” of believers before Jesus’ return, you might wish to visit, a website that documents how the rapture theory came to be promulgated—as well as the Bible’s answers to this question.

After all, is there something more important to think about than your eternal destiny and that of your loved ones?

Mark Kellner
Mark A. Kellner is a staff writer for Amazing Facts International. He is a veteran journalist whose work has been published in Religion News Service, The Washington Times, and numerous computer magazines.

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