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Bronze-level articleList of predictions of the end of the world

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Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Jesus of Nazareth[1]
I saw one, one time, that said, "The next week, the world is ending." And in the next week's paper, they said, "We were miraculously saved at the zero hour by a koala-fish mutant bird." Crazy shit.
Tabloid-reading customer in Clerks

There's always been good business predicting the end of the world. The "end" of the "world" is pretty badly defined by most supernatural predictions. The rapture, for instance, is really just the beginning of the end, and signals civilisation being sent back to the Stone Age for a bit while The Chosen are whisked up to heaven. Meanwhile, predictions of the end of the world in 2012 were wide-ranging, from a comet just tearing Earth in half (the rest of the universe spinning on as usual) to the complete and total end of everything ever. The latter is less scary because it's not like anything will be around afterwards to care.

In the case of some of the science-based predictions for how the universe will go on according to our knowledge of physics, there's no "end" as such. Matter and energy still exist, but in their lowest energy and most uniform state: the rub being that this state precludes the interactions needed to produce emergent structures. This includes stars, planets, and intelligent entities capable of experiencing the universe.

Here are some examples, with the predicted date of the end of all things.


[edit] Unspecified date

  • Zoroastrianism claims that the end of the world will happen when a comet, called Gochihr, strikes the earth. It will cause all the world's metals to melt and will burn up the world. At the same time, sinners and the pious will pass through this river of molten metal. Sinners will have their sins burnt away and the pious will feel like they're "passing through warm milk."[2]
  • Norse myths say that Ragnarök will be the battle between the gods, killing all but two of the humans, who will then repopulate the earth.

[edit] 28th century BCE

  • The oldest known prediction of the end of the world is recorded on Assyrian tablets: "Our Earth is degenerate in these later days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book and the end of the world is evidently approaching."[3]

[edit] 1st century CE

[edit] 7th century

  • Muslims believed in the Qiyamah (Last Judgement) during which time Jesus[5] will come to earth, end all wars, and kill ad-Dajjal - the Muslim anti-Christ. Then every person who ever lived will be bodily resurrected, before being judged by God. The faithful go to heaven, and the rest to hell. Apparently there's also room for some "People of the Book," i.e. Jews and Christians.
A little grandiose, eh?

[edit] 16th century

  • circa 1504: Painter Sandro Botticelli believed he was living during the End Times/Tribulation, according to an inscription on his painting The Mystical Nativity.
  • 1533: Michael Stifel, Judgement Day.[6] A common saying in German for PIDOOMA is to "calculate" or "talk a Stifel."[7]

[edit] 18th century

  • 1719: Jacob Bernoulli: a comet seen in 1680 would return and collide with the Earth.[8] Said comet hasn't been seen since.[9]

[edit] 19th century

  • The "Great Disappointment": William Miller predicts the end would come in 1843... then 1844... oh. His many thousands of followers were not put off by this utter failure, and some became the Seventh Day Adventists. They're still waiting.
  • Native Americans in Spring 1891: All the whites are gonna die really soon!

[edit] 20th century

[edit] 21st century

  • 2003: George W. Bush claimed that Operation Iraqi Freedom was necessary "to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse."[24] (Plan no longer in progress.)
  • 2005-2026: William Strauss and Neil Howe: A crisis period in the U.S. comparable in effect to the American Revolution, Civil War, and Great Depression/WWII.[25]
  • 2007: Hal Lindsey: Second Coming.
  • 2007: Pat Robertson: Great Tribulation.
  • 2008: Ronald Weinland: Start of the final years of Man's rule on Earth.
  • 2008: Sarah Palin: believes she is of the "Final Generation" and will see the End Times during her lifetime.[citation needed]
  • 2008: The Large Hadron Collider will destroy the world with black holes, strangelets or something similarly scary and sciencey.[26] (You can keep up to date with whether this has happened yet here.[27])
  • 2009: David Wilkerson: Earth-shattering calamity engulfing the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America experiencing riots and blazing fires.[28]
  • 2011: Harold Camping: Second coming/rapture. May 21st, to be precise.[29] He put up billboards![30] Later postponed to October 21st, but again nothing came of it. Camping will hold on to the money people sent him for the time being or for good,[31] though followers were encouraged to drain their savings for Camping's campaign funds and many are deeply disappointed.[32]
  • 2012: But of course! Un-naturally failed apocalypse, NASA pushed away space rock expected to hit in series of attempts to bombard asteroids in previous years.[33] (They even did this to the moon!) The following trail fell to/passed Earth in early 2013.[34] ;)
  • 2013: 2012 was just a warm up, the real bad stuff starts 2013 or something and it seems Isaac Newton predicted it.[35]
  • 2014: World War III, resurrected Nostradamus prophecy of a fire in the North for the reference of the end of the age of the fifth sun,[36] believed to be a specific Northern region of a country, current speculation is North Korea, as relative to the resolution of a Pope prediction.[37] Oh, and the Rapture. [38] And a giant asteroid hitting the Caribbean.[39]
  • between April 2014 and October 2015: A tetrad of lunar eclipses (or blood moons) will signal the start of the end times, according to megachurch pastor John Hagee. [40]
  • Unspecified time during the reign of Pope Francis, the pope succeeding Benedict XVI. Mediaeval Saint Malachy supposedly predicted Peter the Roman (Petrus Romanus) would be the last pope, Rome would be destroyed and a terrible judge would judge his people, The end.[41] Doomsayers have already started shoehorning the new pope into the prediction.[42]
  • 2016: Tom Wattkins[43]: He had a vision of the Great tribulation claiming to have met the beast of revelation, etc. Turns out the same day is a solar eclipse.[44], though of course he'll mention that.[45]
  • 2017: Various Christians: We'll be chipped, and the Great Tribulation begins.[46]
  • 2018: Hal Lindsey: Second Coming.
  • 2028: Fred Clark: A tongue-in-cheek offer guaranteeing 15 years of Bible-prophecy hucksterism for four easy payments of $39.99.[47]
  • 2030: Approximate date of a mass extinction event predicted by Bob Geldof. Myles Allen, of Oxford University claims "Competing hyperbole" are unhelpful in understanding real climate change. [48]
  • 2035: Asteroid.[49]
  • 2036: More asteroids.[50]
  • 2037: Hal Lindsey: Third Coming.
  • 2038: Deterioration of the fundamental older technology that still underlies the most crucial systems today.[51]
  • 2040: Even more asteroids.[52]
  • 2039: End of life, the universe and everything. Also known as the Ascension.

[edit] 87th century

  • 8661: Updated end of the world date for the Church of the SubGenius (from the original 1998).

[edit] 112th century

  • 11103: The Doomsday argument, first stated in 1983, predicts that there is a 95% chance that the human species will go extinct within 9120 years.[53]

[edit] 400th century

[edit] 8,000,000th century

  • According to current models, the Sun is expected to increase in luminosity by 10% in the next 800 million years. This will cause several changes to the climate that will make the continued existence of life on Earth impossible, starting with photosynthetic organisms and eventually killing off all life.[54]

[edit] 40 millionth century

  • The galaxy Andromeda (currently 2.5 million light years away) is expected to collide with our galaxy, the Milky Way. Actually, we don't quite know if this will be the end of the world per se, but it promises to be eventful. Watch this space.

[edit] 50 millionth century

  • 5 billion years from now: According to most accepted models of stellar evolution, the sun will eventually run out of hydrogen fuel to fuse into helium and will expand, becoming a red giant as a result. This red giant might get large enough to swallow the Earth's orbit, but even if it doesn't, the Earth will be roasted to a cinder crisp.[55] One school of thought predicts that the drag from the sun's outer gas envelope will cause the Earth to spiral into the sun and crash into its core; but as with all things scientific, there is another school of thought that says this won't happen.[56] It happens on Doctor Who, so that means it will happen unless it doesn't (because of the changes the Doctor made to the timeline). Either way, watch out for Daleks.

[edit] 200 millionth century

  • 20 billion years from now Judging from the current rate of universal inflation — the rate at which the expansion of the universe is accelerating — in 20 billion years, the universe will be expanding so rapidly that atoms will no longer be able to hold on to their electrons. This predicted event is known as the "Big Rip." Blame dark energy.

[edit] 3×1041 st century

  • 3×1043 years from now: estimated time for all nucleons in the observable universe to decay, if the proton half-life takes the largest possible value (1041 years).[57] This is the Total Existence Failure of the entire universe, anything complex enough to be considered life that would care about it would likely have evaporated to nothing long before this. Out of all the above, this is the most likely.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Matthew 24:35-36
  2. Chap 30 of the Bundahishn
  3. Ten Notable Apocalypses That (Obviously) Didn’t Happen, Smithsonian - though see Was this quote about unruly kids written by an Assyrian?
  4. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
  5. Yes! That Jesus.
  6. In his book Ein Rechenbuchlin vom EndChrist. Apocalyps in Apocalypsim, he put the date and time at 3rd October 1533 at 8 am. When the world did not end, he was ejected from his quarters and flogged in the streets. (Eeek.) [1]
  7. See the Wikipedia article on Life of Stifel.
  8. Jacob Bernoulli Deciphered
  9. See the Wikipedia article on Great Comet of 1680.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 American Atheist, April 2010. "Separation of Armageddon and State - Freethought at the Polls." Michael B. Paulk, pp 14–15. (Note that this gives 1874 as a predicted date of Armageddon, whereas this was merely the year the 1914 prediction was made.)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, Brooklyn: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1966. P. 29. says Fall 1975. Pp. 27-28 of the same book uses a different date counting method and says 1997. Both are based on estimates of when the earth was created of 4004 BCE and 4026 BCE respectively. So they hedged their bets but you still have to believe in YEC to believe either one.
  12. Wilkerson, David. The Vision. Spire Books 1973
  13. Branham, William. The Seven Church Ages, p. 322.
  14. [2]
  15. God's, not Pat's, we hope
  16. McMaster, R.E. Cycles of War: The Next Six Years. Timberland Trust, 1977.
  17. Whisenant, Edgar. 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be In 1988, World Bible Society 1988.
  18. Deal, Colin. Christ Returns By 1988: 101 Reasons Why. Self published, 1979.
  19. Whisenant, Edgar. The Final Shout: Rapture Report, World Bible Society, 1989.
  20. This was the South Korea-based Hyoo-go (rapture) movement, who put billboards up all over the U.S. predicting October 28, 1992.
  21. Camping, Harold. 1994? Vantage Press 1992.
  22. "Some Witnesses interpreted Psalm 90:10 as defining the length of a generation to be 80 years. Since 1914 plus 80 equals 1994, they predicted Armageddon would occur around that year. This prediction came from the grassroots level of the organization. The WTS itself did not officially proclaim it." B.A. Robinson. "Jehovah's Witnesses' end of the world predictions: Predictions for years after 1975. Will it happen in our future?" Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
  23. Wilkerson, David. God's Plan to Protect His People in the Coming Depression, 1998.
  24. http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2009/08/agog_over_bushs_comments_on_go.html
  25. Strauss, William and Howe, Neil. The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy, Broadway Books, 1997. Dates are approximate and based on their analysis of social cycles.
  26. Worries about LHC black hole resurface, Scientific American
  27. Comment from page HTML: "If the LHC actually destroys the earth & this page isn't yet updated please email mike@frantic.org to receive a full refund."
  28. Famed pastor predicts imminent catastrophe, WingNutDaily
  29. Judgment Day believers descend on Joburg
  30. [3]
  31. Ed Brayton: Camping's Explanation: It Did Happen!
  32. Suckers.
  33. Stardust
  34. See the Wikipedia article on Chelyabinsk meteor.
  35. End of the world in 2013? New book recalculates Newton's endtimes clock
  36. [4]
  37. Eerie accuracy!
  38. [5]
  39. https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Call-and-Warning-from-the-Lord-Prophet-Efrain-Rodriguez/692795807400214
  40. Tuesday’s ‘blood moon’ eclipse signals the end of the world
  41. Are We About To Witness The Rise Of Petrus Romanus?; Petrus Romanus: 900 Year Old Prophecy Says Next Pope Will Oversee End of Days; Is the last pope waiting in the wings? St Malachy seems to have said so.
  42. Peter the Roman and Pope Francis. Above Top Secret. 2013 March.
  43. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23YWBv-7lmE&list=UUdPio646UQMa0syAycUeffQ
  44. http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2016Mar09Tgoogle.html
  45. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23YWBv-7lmE&list=UUdPio646UQMa0syAycUeffQ
  46. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YJsxMcAJoA
  47. The money-making opportunities of Bible prophecy
  48. Why do people make bold predictions of doom?
  49. Russian Scientists Warn Of Asteroid Impact Hazard In 2035
  50. Business Insider says so
  51. See the Wikipedia article on Year 2038 problem.
  52. http://news.discovery.com/space/astronomy/asteroid-impact-hazard-2040-120228.htm
  53. [Wikipedia: Doomsday argument]
  54. Future of the Earth - Climate impact
  55. The Sun's death
  56. Red Giant Sun May Not Destroy Earth
  57. Exasecond and longer[wp] and Future of an expanding universe[wp] have a pile of similarly apocalyptic events that actually have some scientific basis.
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