Is an “Earthly Apocalypse” coming soon? This truly all depends on who you ask. Many religions, cultures, cults, etc. have some belief in how the world, and possibly the universe, will end. Belief in any form of apocalypse is referred to as “apocalypticism,” and it is incredibly common. The problem for most of us is, if an apocalypse is really happening, which version will actually happen? There are many major apocalyptic events predicted or referenced throughout history. Yet many of these events were used to prey on people’s beliefs. Where leaders often used forms of psychological manipulation.
There are some that come from ancient times while others are more modern. Yet none are more commonplace today than those in religious movements. Some have even predicted the specific date that the world will end or when a specific “savior” will return to Earth. Most of these predictions turned out to be false, with excuses galore being used. Our focus will be on explaining the beliefs as well as what happened or will happen within them. Our list of major apocalyptic events should prepare you for all possibilities or reference how some have been way off about their predicted event.
World War I Apocalypse
Jehova Witness Prediction (then called Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society)
When World War I broke out in the early 1900s, it made a lot of people freak out. If you were in Europe, especially, during this time, you were likely more afraid than most. War was going on around you and it could feel like the world was coming to an end. This was a huge opportunity for Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society and its founder, Charles Taze Russell. He had previously claimed that Christ’s invisible return happened in 1874. But major apocalyptic events aren’t easy to predict.
He then claimed a second coming would be officially happening in 1914. This worked out perfectly for Russell because it was the same year World War I broke out. Naturally, Russell used it as the sign of Armageddon and the end times. Actually, he referred to it as the end of “Gentile Times.” Obviously, we know the world did not come to an end. When things did not work out, the group eventually changed its name to the “Jehova Witnesses.” They still use the “Watch Tower Magazine” as well.
We have to hand it to the Taiwanese religious leader, Hon-Ming Chen. He offered a lot of detail and even tried to put things out there that seemed to fit every possible belief. Although, he did get a bit “too detailed” at times too. Chen invented the Chen Tao religious movement, which translates to the “True Way.” He claimed that God would be appearing on Channel 18 in the United States on March 25, 1988. There, he would announce that he’s coming to Earth the following week in physical form.
Somehow, that physical form would look a lot like Hon-Ming himself. Shocking, right? Over the next year, he claimed that millions of devil spirits, mass flooding, and eventual mass human extinction was coming. Of course, you’ll be able to save yourself by buying your way onto spaceships, which are disguised as clouds sent to rescue us. Major apocalyptic events like this seem dumb but the True Way movement had many followers.
There are several Native American stories about potential apocalypses. However, one of the most famous versions that seems to exist across several concerns the disappearance of the Sun & Moon. For the Pawnee Native American Tribe, one of the best-known tribes in mainland America, a lot would come from this. In one of the major apocalyptic events known to tribes, they felt the Sun & Moon would disappear signaling the end times. It would be accompanied by meteor showers as well.
In this situation, the stars were falling down out of the sky and darkness would cover the Earth. This will bring about widespread destruction, but those who survived will rise up and become stars themselves. Historically, Christopher Columbus once tricked a native tribe by saying he’d make the Sun disappear if they did not give him what he wanted. It was on a day in which we’d have a solar eclipse, scaring the tribe. This is also why so many things had to come at the same time rather than just one for the Pawnee to believe the end times were here.
During the Middle Ages, astrology was quite popular. Yet astrology and astronomy had not quite separated enough, looping the two together for many. They did not officially break apart until the “Age of Reason” in the 17th Century. As a result, several issues arose when London Astrologers predicted an incoming disaster. In June of 1523, they claimed that on exactly February 1, 1524, the world would be hit with a massive flood. Making it one heck of a major apocalyptic event to remember.
They claimed, “the waters of the Thames would swell to such a height as to overflow the whole city of London, and wash away ten thousand houses.” The expectation was that this new great flood would start in London but eventually become a widespread global event. This led around 21,000 people in London to leave their homes for higher ground in expectation of the flood that never came. The astrologers seemingly calculated out that the event would take place in a “Great Conjunction.” Of course, the previous one in 1484 led to the infamous Reformation, so people had a reason to worry.
There have been several predictions about potential comets hitting the planet. This is not exactly weird to assume as a possibility, as there are a few that have just narrowly missed the Earth. Meanwhile, our planet has been hit by massive meteorites several times. In fact, one started the Ice Age that killed all the dinosaurs and a few others became extinction-level events too. Therefore, when a few men brought up the possibility that a comet could hit the Earth, it wasn’t crazy.
Jacob Bernoulli, a respected mathematician that became a pioneer in calculus, was the first to predict this. He claimed on April 5, 1719, a comet would hit the planet on March 17th of that year. He felt that Newton’s Comet would return, this time hitting the planet. The second was William Whiston, a noted historian who helped spread the works of Isaac Newton. While he also claimed that a comet caused Noah’s Flood, he claimed a comet would hit the Earth on October 16, 1736. Both of their major apocalyptic events never happened, obviously.
The Assyrians were a group of people native to mostly the Middle East. They had tribes in modern-day Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq. Although recent evidence found that they were as widespread as Australia and North America too. They were mostly native speakers of the New-Aramaic version of Semitic languages, on top of the language of their specific region. They date back to at least 2800 to 2500 B.C., and we actually have a proven record of this.
It comes from a cuneiform tablet that dates back to the 2800 to 2500 B.C. period. The tablet reads, “Our Earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common and children no longer obey their parents.” The Assyrians Empire itself lasted another 2,000 years. Of course, no one is certain who wrote the tablet. Thus, many took it as a speculative opinion from an irritated person of the time.
To be fair, the panic from the Y2K issue might have been overblown but the issue began around a real fact. A lot of our technology at the time was set to expire or no longer operate as it did by January 1, 2000. This would obviously be a problem, as it could stop specific and important clocks. It could stop technological workings in power plants, nuclear plants, military equipment, radars, global satellites, you name it. But we knew about this potential issue years ahead of time.
Thus, when the widespread panic broke out about all technology dying and the world going into ultimate darkness. Along with the idea that this could result in one of the most notable and major apocalyptic events in history. It was pretty insane to think about. Especially considering we were in an age where we now relied heavily on technology. However, engineers and other experts worked their butts off to make sure everything was good before the Year 2000 came, removing the deadly Y2K issue.
Unlike the Pawnee and other Native American tribes, the Hopi Tribe had some different beliefs. While some others believed in a similar concept in some formats, they altered from most. They believed we live in “a world out of balance.” Their apocalyptic belief was that the world will suddenly shake three times. The tribe does not elaborate much on this, so we are not sure what they meant by “shake.” Is this the literal term or something similar to it? Do they have a different usage of the word?
The Hopi continue, stating that humanity will eventually reach a pivotal threshold. At this point, humanity must choose between two paths. One of continued self-destruction with green & hatred as a driving force. The other, a path inspired by love, peace, and abundance for all beings that will go into a bright future. This might be one of the major apocalyptic events that most would see as fictional. However, it does seem that we might have chosen that first option if it’s true.
End Times That Was Accompanied By Real-Life Horror
Fifth Monarchy Men Belief
People put too much stock in “signs,” but many more put too much stock in numerology. The connection to numerological events in Christianity is heavily tied to the Fifth Monarchy Men. This was a puritan sect that was heavily active between 1649 to 1660. This was the time of the “Commonwealth,” which came right after the end of the Second English Civil War, as well as Charles I’s execution. The Men took their name from the Book of Daniel’s “Four Ancient Monarchies.”
These places were set to precede the Kingdom of Christ. Yet they also claimed that the “666” number connected to the biblical “number of the beast.” Therefore, when the year “1666” came up, they felt it would be an apocalyptic year. A year in which Earthly rule would end at the hands of carnal humans. Of course, this came right after around 100,000 people of London died from the Bubonic Plague. Plus, the Great Fire of London happened too. Leading many to believe in this theory.
Charles Manson was a horrible human being, known for leading a violent cult that led to a series of murders. He called his cult members his “family,” as they did themselves. They looked at Manson like a God, which allowed him to easily manipulate these lost souls, getting them to do whatever he pleased. They believed that one of the world’s major apocalyptic events was coming, known as “Helter Skelter.” A potential war that would arise due to racial tensions between black and white people of the time.
The Manson family never discussed it, so the world found out about it via Vincent Bugliosi. He was the lead prosecutor in the Tate-LaBianca Murder Trial. Leading up to the murders of Sharon Tate & Rosemary LaBianca in August 1969, Bugliosi claimed that Manson told the family of this apocalyptic war. It came from specific songs from the Beatles’ White Album, which came out in 1968. That’s along with portions of the Book of Revelation from the Holy Bible. Unsurprisingly, the cult leader lied. We know, we were shocked too!
To be 100% fair, we are aware that this specific belief is not something ALL Mormons believe in. However, a large sect bought into it during the 19th Century. During this period, the Mormon tradition was similar to that of the Christian one of the time. It was built on a potential “second coming” of Christ. Yet the term “latter days” is often used for several Mormon churches, which connects to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or LDS for short.
LDS President from 1889-1898, Wilford Woodruff, claimed that all then-living LDS members “would not taste death” before witnessing the return of Christ (they all died). LDS claims the “true gospel” will be taught in all parts of the world prior to the second coming. Members feel that several wars, hurricanes, earthquakes, and man-made natural disasters will come prior to it happening. Basically, they believe that weather caused by climate change issues, along with normal Earthly events, will take place. How did LDS possibly know?!? Major apocalyptic events often reference an end, but this is more of a pre-event.
Jainism is an ancient Indian religion that traces its ideals through a succession of 24 leaders, known as Tirthankaras. Jainism is considered to be in eternal dharma with these Tirthankaras, guided by every time cycle in cosmetology. Since time, for them, is beginningless and eternal, their cosmic wheel of time rotates consistently. It’s divided up into two half-rotations, the Utsarpiṇī & Avasarpiṇī. The first is the ascending time cycle and the latter is the descending. During the Utsarpiṇī, we’re in a progressive and happy period. During the Avasarpiṇī, we’re in a time of sorrow in immorality.
In each cycle, there is an innumerable period of time, divided into 6 Aras or Epochs. Yet they are not equal in their time. Suṣama-suṣamā offers happiness and no sorrow. Meanwhile, Suṣamā offers moderate happiness and no sorrow. Suṣama-duḥṣamā offers happiness with very little sorrow. However, Duḥṣama-suṣamā offers happiness with little sorrow. Duḥṣama offers sorrow with very little happiness & Duḥṣama-duḥṣamā offers extreme sorry and misery. Each could be billions to millions of years. Yet the last two are 21,000 years each.
The Ancient Mayans were a civilization located in Mesoamerica. The Maya are still around today, but spread out and often in a normalized society long beyond their ancient roots. Their ancestors were geniuses in astronomy and astrology. In fact, this is what allowed them to form the Mayan Long Count Calendar. This calendar referenced a major cosmic cycle in the year 2012, which was HEAVILY misinterpreted. The calendar came to an end in December of that year, where we’d see the ending of “the current cycle.” The Maya believed this end would usher in a new era of evolution & spiritual awakening for mankind.
Yet as we tend to do in the Western world, we did not bother to ask much beyond “Mayan Calander Ending.” We took this to mean it was referencing one of the major apocalyptic events forthcoming. One that would end life on Earth. Due to Mayans being so great at mapping the stars and understanding the universe, it made sense to freak out. Yet the calendar ending is not the end of the “physical world,” but the end “as we once knew it.” Which, to be fair, the Mayans were probably right about this. Just think of how much has happened in nearly a decade since 2012.
The Rapture That Never Was, And The Corruption That Was
Dami Mission Belief
The Dami Mission was a Christian religious movement that operated roughly from the 1980s into the 1990s. It was founded by Lee Jang Rim, a South Korean native. They had churches all over, even in Los Angeles & New York. The movement gained worldwide attention when Lee made a major prediction. He claimed that the rapture and the end of the world itself were both going to happen specifically on October 28, 1992. One female believer in the Dami prediction had been trying to have a child for 3 years. Yet she aborted her 7-month-old fetus in the assumption that women shouldn’t be pregnant in the end times.
4 of Lee’s followers committed suicide. Another man named Chang-Young Mun died of malnutrition due to fasting for more than 40 days. Mun actually died at their Los Angeles church, where he was one of 200 people fasting. This led the authorities to shut that specific church down. After investigating the church, the Police arrested Lee for fraud and illegal possession of $26,711 in American currency. It was later found that Lee defrauded millions of dollars out of his followers. He used their money to buy bonds that matured on, you guessed it, Oct. 28th. Interesting timing, eh?
If you want to know who might be the most famous false prophet in modern history, look no further than William Miller. He lived from 1782 to 1849. Most of his life was spent as a “minister” who consistently preached of Jesus Christ’s return. He claimed that the world would be engulfed in flames when the second coming took place. Perhaps he was most prominent during the 1840s when he truly began to make wild predictions on when this would take place. At one point, he claimed it would happen somewhere between March 21, 1843 – March 21, 1844.
Miller made sure to get this message out there too. He printed out posters, newsletters, and charts to top it off. People were certainly invested by the message, resulting in around 100,000 followers eventually dubbed “Millerites.” These people would sell all of their belongings between 1840 to 1844 in anticipation of Christ’s return. But it didn’t happen, causing Miller to change the date to October 22nd of that year. It didn’t come then either. However, his followers have tried to explain it away ever since. After Miller’s death, the Millerites would go on to become the Seventh-Day Adventists.
The Aleph Cult, previously known as Aum Shinrikyo, was a Japanese Cult that operated mostly in the 1980s. Founded by Shoko Asahara, it originally focused its beliefs on concepts from Buddhism, Tibetian Buddhism, and Hinduism. They also used millennialist ideas from Christianity and Yoga, while also using the writings of Nostradamus. By 1992, Asahara seemingly lost his mind or decided to use his movement to make himself a major figure. In this period, he wrote a book where he declared himself to be Christ. On top of claiming he is Japan’s only fully enlightened master.
He then claimed he will take the sins of the world upon himself and could transfer spiritual power to followers, taking away their sin or bad deed. Yet Shoko also made prophecies, one being a Third World War that would be instigated by the United States in 1997. He claimed it would be a nuclear armageddon event. Humanity will end, except for those who joined his cult obviously. Asahara saw dark conspiracies everywhere and used them to persuade his followers to do horrible things. The cult carried out the 1994 Matsumoto Sarin Attack & the 1995 Toyko Subway Sarin Attack. Shoko was later executed for the crimes.
While the existence of the Jewish Essenes had been disputed by some, several major historians reference them as a real Jewish sect. This includes Philo, Josephus, and even Pliny the Elder. We know that the sect managed to thrive in Roman-Judaea from the 2nd Century B.C. to the 1st Century AD. Anthropological studies have even found things that were connected to the sect too. They had some, shall we say, “interesting” beliefs.
One such belief happened to be that a Jewish uprising would occur that will lead to the end times. While major apocalyptic events are not shocking in religious sects, the Essenes specifically reference that the uprising will be against the Romans between 66-70 AD. It will supposedly take place in Judea, and this very battle will bring about the arrival of the Messiah. The Essenes were so psychologically influential on people at the time, even coins were minted declaring the redemption of Israel.
The Zoroastrian religion is one of the oldest religions on the planet, and likely THE oldest of the practiced religions on the planet today. The religion is based on the teachings of the Prophet Zoroaster. It uses a dualistic cosmology of good and evil, where they predict “Good” will conquer “Evil.” Pretty much every single major religion was based partly on this specific religion, including Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Gnosticism, and even some Greek Philosophy.
They certainly have one of the world’s major apocalyptic events to their credit, and it’s surrounding their base concept. A battle will take place between good and evil, history itself will come to an end and we will be judged. All metals and minerals will be melted in a grand explosion or fire. This molten metal will then cover the Earth in an effort to purify it. Zoroaster will make his return to Earth as a prophet and assist in the restoration of the world.
The Aztecs were a fascinating culture that was heavily active in Mesoamerica from around 1300 to 1521 AD. Their empire was vast and spread across a large portion of modern-day Mexico. In spite of their decline hundreds of years ago, we know a lot about their culture. In particular, their story about how Earth began as well as several endings of it. They believe four worlds previously existed but were destroyed by the Gods Tezcatlipoca & Quetzalcoatl. We’re now in the “fifth world” as a result.
In the first, Tezcatlipoca turned himself into the Sun yet Quetzalcoatl knocked him out of the sky, making Tez mad. As revenge, he had jaguars eat all the humans. In the second world, people stopped being religious causing Tezcatlipoca to make them into monkeys. But Quetzalcoatl loved their sinful nature, so he killed them all with a hurricane. In the 4th world, New Gods Tlaloc & Chalchiuhtlicue were tricked by Tezcatlipoca into destroying the world via fire and floods. “Our” 5th world will be destroyed via earthquakes.
In spite of being one of the greatest scientists in history, Isaac Newton was also quite religious. In fact, he had a deep interest in the world as well as what was beyond it. You could say his religious beliefs are what truly made him interested in science, to begin with. However, Newton was obsessed with trying to decode the Bible and other “Holy Texts” in an effort to find hidden messages. Yet some of his concepts were odd. One thing we’re not sure about, at least yet, is Newton’s predicted “2060 Event.”
He wrote this passage in his journal: “So then the time times & half a time are 42 months or 1260 days or three years & a half, recconing twelve months to a year & 30 days to a month as was done in the Calendar of the primitive year. And the days of short-lived Beasts being put for the years of lived kingdoms, the period of 1260 days, if dated from the complete conquest of the three kings A.C. 800, will end A.C. 2060. It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner.” Does this seem like crazy talk? Cause we think it’s crazy talk.
David Meade is a conspiracy theorist author who describes himself as a “Christian numerologist.” That is not a thing, FYI. He has been pretty successful, with 13 relatively well-selling books all completely self-published to his credit. He’s often making predictions about the end of the world. Including one where a hidden planet named Nibiru (or Planet X) will somehow destroy the Earth. Meade claimed that Nibiru will collide with Earth on September 23, 2017, and destroy us all. After this failed to happen, he changed that the Apocalypse will happen in October of that year.
That would be followed by a 7-year tribulation, then a millennium of peace. In 2018, he did the same sort of thing. Claiming North Korea will be a superpower by March and Nibiru would destroy the Earth that Spring. Meade then moved the apocalypse to April 23, 2018. Where he predicted the Sun, Moon, Jupiter, and Virgo will signal the rapture, and that Nibiru would destroy the Earth. When this passed, he claimed that rumors of him saying those dates were “fake news” so he claimed a rapture would happen between May and Dec. 2018. None of this happened. Alas, major apocalyptic events are hard to predict.
If you ever wanted to check into some wacky theories, we recommend you look into Pyramidology. They believe that the first ancient civilization was recorded 6,000 years ago. Starting with Adam (4068 B.C.) to Noah (2288 B.C.). This civilization ended with the first asteroid strike on February 5, 2287 B.C. The second civilization started with Noah and will end with an asteroid strike on September 17, 2015. Our article is being written in the Spring of 2021, by the way. We checked into this belief further.
One person noted that this predicted date “is not only based on prophecy but proven with scientific data using high-tech telescope observations but needs the help of metaphysics to date it to a precise day. The September 17, 2017 date still matches the overlay with the HANS codes Science can check history like when God initially announced to Nineveh: in 40 days you are history!” Again, major apocalyptic events are hard to predict. Yet the confidence this dude had is nice to see.
There are quite a few UFO religions, so we’re aware that this is not the belief of ALL in this sect. However, it is a prominent theory across most. In most, you’ll see major apocalyptic events predicted in specific times. Others do not have a specific date attached. The idea is that extraterrestrials will bring about a major change on Earth, lifting the UFO religion believers into a higher plane of existence. Most major apocalyptic events end up involving people being removed as the Earth crumbles.
One specific sect had an exact date where this was supposedly going to happen. Yet it didn’t, heavily disappointing believers. This was so impactful that it became a psychological study called “When Prophecy Fails.” Some believe that the arrival or rediscovery of alien civilizations, technologies, and spirituality will allow humans to overcome major issues. Such as our current ecological and social issues. Things like war, poverty, bigotry, etc. will be resolved through this major alien tech.
A lot of the Christian religion’s belief about the end times is similar to other major apocalyptic events across other religions. Of course, the three major Abrahamic religions agree on a lot here. Most Christians believe that they are in the “end times” right now, with many expecting Christ’s return any day now. Yet unlike other religions or beliefs, only the wackos pick out specific dates and times for this. The idea is that a rapture will take place first to take all believers from Earth. The remaining nonbelievers have time to repent over the course of 7 years, but this is an era of “tribulation.”
It’s a time in which famine, disease, war, natural disasters, etc. will take place. You can take Jesus as your savior in this time, but it won’t be easy as wickedness will take over the land. The last three years of tribulation will be the worst. Bloody water, sun-scorched Earth, painful sores, etc. will be present for people. After this, the “battle” will happen. That’s right, it’s Armageddon time. Obviously, we expect Jesus and his Army to win against Satan and his. Upon doing so, Jesus will set up a Kingdom of 1,000 years on Earth. After this, “judgment” will take place for ALL mankind.
When it comes to the major apocalyptic events, few are more famous or legendary than Ragnarok. From Norse Mythology, it is a period in which nearly everything is destroyed. It became quite famous due to the Vikings, and it’s truly impossible to do the story justice here. However, the event will begin as the humans on Midgard disregard their way of life and engage in endless wars. Murder, incest, and more will happen. Then, a season of darkness & coldness will come to put forth a “Great Winter.”
Loki and his wolf-son, Fenrir, break free from their imprisonment and set out to kill the Gods of Asgard. As well as the entire world. They and their army will move to break through the Gods’ fortress. Fenrir will enclose the land and sky within his jaws and consume everything in-between. Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent, will spit poison upon the Earth. The Beast Surt will sweep across with a flaming sword to leave the world a scorched, barren landscape. While the end will come, Ragnarok only ends the current cycle with the promise of a new beginning.