A three-paneled painting. The centre panel shows Jesus sitting in judgment on the world, while St Michael is weighing souls. On the left-hand panel, the saved are being guided into heaven, while on the right-hand panel, the damned are being dragged to hell
The Last Judgment by painter Hans Memling. In Christian belief, the Last Judgement is an apocalyptic event where God makes a final judgement of all people on Earth.

Predictions of apocalyptic events that would result in the extinction of humanity, a collapse of civilization, or the destruction of the planet have been made since at least the early Common Era.[1] Most predictions are related to Abrahamic religions, often standing for or similar to the eschatological events described in their scriptures. Christian predictions typically refer to events like the rapture, the Great Tribulation, the Last Judgment, and the Second Coming of Christ. Many religious-related end-time events are predicted to occur within the lifetime of the person making the prediction, who often quote the Bible, and in particular the New Testament, as either the primary or exclusive source for the predictions.[1] This often takes the form of mathematical calculations, such as trying to calculate the point where it will have been 6000 years since the supposed creation of the Earth by the Abrahamic God,[2] which according to the Talmud marks the deadline for the Messiah to appear.[3] Predictions of the end from natural events have also been theorised by various scientists and scientific groups. While these disasters are generally accepted within the scientific community as plausible "end of the world" scenarios, the events and phenomena are not expected to occur for hundreds of thousands or even billions of years from now.

Little research has been done into why people make apocalyptic predictions.[4] Historically, it has been done for reasons such as diverting attention from actual crises like poverty and war, pushing political agendas, and promoting hatred of certain groups; antisemitism was a popular theme of Christian apocalyptic predictions in medieval times,[5] while French and Lutheran depictions of the apocalypse were known to feature English and Catholic antagonists respectively.[6] According to psychologists, possible explanations for why people believe in modern apocalyptic predictions include mentally reducing the actual danger in the world to a single and definable source, an innate human fascination with fear, personality traits of paranoia and powerlessness and a modern romanticism involved with end-times due to its portrayal in contemporary fiction.[4][7] The prevalence of Abrahamic religions throughout modern history is said to have created a culture which encourages the embracement of a future that will be drastically different from the present.[1][8] Such a culture is credited with the rise in popularity of predictions that are more secular in nature, such as the 2012 phenomenon, while maintaining the centuries-old theme that a powerful force will bring the end of humanity.[8]

Polls conducted in 2012 across 20 countries found over 14% of people believe the world will end in their lifetime, with percentages ranging from 6% of people in France to 22% in the US and Turkey. Belief in the apocalypse is observed to be most prevalent in people with lower rates of education, lower household incomes, and those under the age of 35.[9][10] In the UK in 2015, 23% of the general public believed the apocalypse was likely to occur in their lifetime, compared to 10% of experts from the Global Challenges Foundation. The general public believed the likeliest cause would be nuclear war, while experts thought it would be artificial intelligence. Only 3% of Britons thought the end would be caused by the Last Judgement, compared to 16% of Americans. Between one and three percent of people from both countries said the apocalypse would be caused by zombies or alien invasion.[11][12][13]

Past predictions

First millennium CE

Date (CE) Claimant(s) Description Ref.
66–70 Simon bar Giora, Jewish Essenes The Jewish Essene sect of ascetics saw the Jewish uprising against the Romans in 66–70 in Judea as the final end-time battle which would bring about the arrival of the Messiah. By the authority of Simon, coins were minted declaring the redemption of Israel. [14]
2nd century Montanus Montanus and the followers of Montanism believed that Christ's apocalyptic return was imminent and would occur during their lifetime near Pepuza. [16][17]
365 Hilary of Poitiers This early French bishop announced the end of the world would happen during this year. [18]
375–400 Martin of Tours This French bishop stated that the world would end before 400 AD, writing, "There is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born. Firmly established already in his early years, he will, after reaching maturity, achieve supreme power." [19]
27 May 482 Hydatius This bishop of Aquae Flaviae (modern Chaves, Portugal) wrote his chronicle (c. 469, i.e. after the violent collapse of civil order in Hispania) his firm belief that humanity was living in the end times, marching towards its certain doom on this day, when Jesus would come back and the world would end. [21]
500 Hippolytus of Rome, Sextus Julius Africanus, Irenaeus All three predicted Jesus would return in this year, with one of the predictions being based on the dimensions of Noah's Ark. Another prediction was based on the dimensions of the tabernacle built by the Israelites under Moses. [22]
6 Apr 793 Beatus of Liébana This Spanish monk prophesied the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world on that day in front of a large crowd of people. [22]
800 Sextus Julius Africanus This Christian historian revised his prediction from the year 500 to 800. [24]
799–806 Gregory of Tours This French bishop calculated the end would occur between 799 and 806. [25]
847 Thiota This Christian declared in 847 that the world would end that year, though later confessed the prediction was fraudulent and was publicly flogged. [26]
992–995 Various Christians Good Friday coincided with the Feast of the Annunciation; this had long been believed to be the event that would bring forth the Antichrist, and thus the end-times, within three years. [28]
1000 Pope Sylvester II and others According to several sources, various Christian clerics predicted this date as the Millennium, including Pope Sylvester II. As a result, riots are said to have occurred in Europe and pilgrims headed east to Jerusalem. Most historians, however, have disputed that any of these events ever took place. [29]

11th–15th centuries

Date (CE) Claimant(s) Description Ref.
1033 Various Christians Following the failure of the prediction for 1 January 1000, some theorists proposed that the end would occur 1000 years after Jesus' death, instead of his birth. [22]
1200–1260 Joachim of Fiore This Italian mystic determined that the Millennium would begin between 1200 and 1260. [33]
1284 Pope Innocent III Pope Innocent III (died 1216) predicted that the world would end 666 years after the rise of Islam in 618. [19]
Joachimites After his 1260 prediction failed, the followers of Joachim of Fiore rescheduled the end of the world to 1290 and then again to 1335. [34]
1346–1351 Various Europeans The Black Death spreading across Europe was interpreted by many as the sign of the end of times. [35]
1368–1370 Jean de Roquetaillade This French alchemist predicted the Antichrist was to come in 1366 and the Millennium would begin either in 1368 or 1370. [37]
1378 Arnaldus de Villa Nova This Joachite wrote that the Antichrist was to come during this year. [38]

16th century

Date Claimant(s) Description Ref.
1504 Sandro Botticelli This painter believed he was living during the Tribulation, and that the Millennium would begin in three and a half years from 1500. He wrote into his painting The Mystical Nativity that the Devil was loose and would soon be chained. [39][40]
1 Feb 1524 London astrologers A group of astrologers in London predicted the world would end by a flood starting in London, based on calculations made the previous June. Twenty thousand Londoners left their homes and headed for higher ground in anticipation. [41][42]
20 Feb 1524 Johannes Stöffler A planetary alignment in Pisces was seen by this astrologer as a sign of the Millennium. [41]
1525 Thomas Müntzer 1525 would mark the beginning of the Millennium, according to this Anabaptist. His followers were killed by cannon fire in an uneven battle with government troops. He died under torture and was beheaded. [32][43]
27 May 1528 Hans Hut This German Anabaptist predicted the end would occur on this date. [44]
1528 Johannes Stöffler A revised date from Stöffler after his 1524 prediction failed to come true. [45]
19 Oct 1533 Michael Stifel This mathematician calculated that Judgement Day would begin at 8:00 am on this date. [46]
1533 Melchior Hoffman This Anabaptist prophet predicted Christ's Second Coming to take place this year in Strasbourg. He claimed that 144,000 people would be saved, while the rest of the world would be consumed by fire. [47]
5 Apr 1534 Jan Matthys During the Münster rebellion, this Anabaptist leader declared that the apocalypse would take place on this date. When the day came he led a failed attack against Franz von Waldeck and was decapitated. [48]
1555 Pierre d'Ailly Around 1400, this French theologian wrote that 6845 years of human history had already passed, and the end of the world would be in the 7000th year. [49]
1585 Michael Servetus In his book The Restoration of Christianity, the Spanish born reformer claimed that the Devil's reign in this world had started in 325 AD, at the Council of Nicea, and would last for 1260 years, thus ending in 1585. [50]
1588 Regiomontanus This mathematician and astronomer predicted the end of the world during this year. [51]
1600 Martin Luther Luther, a German priest and professor of theology known for starting the Protestant Reformation, predicted the end of the world would occur no later than 1600. [52]

17th century

Date (CE) Claimant(s) Description Ref.
1 Feb 1624 London astrologers The same astrologers who predicted the deluge of 1 February 1524 recalculated the date to 100 years later after their first prophecy failed. [41]
1648 Sabbatai Zevi Using the kabbalah proclaimed that the Messiah would come during that year. Later claimed to be the Messiah in 1666–67 [51]
1651 Unknown author from Lübeck, Germany The apocalypse maps tell of an Antichrist, the rise of Islam and other events following Judgement Day that was predicted to occur in 1651. [53]
1654 Helisaeus Roeslin This physician made a prediction that the world would end this year based on a nova that occurred in 1572. [54]
1656 Christopher Columbus In his Book of Prophecies (1501), Columbus predicted that the world would end during this year. [55]
1655–1657 Fifth Monarchists This group of radical Christians predicted that the final apocalyptic battle and the destruction of the Antichrist were to take place between 1655 and 1657. [57]
1658 Christopher Columbus Columbus claimed that the world was created in 5343 BCE, and would last 7000 years. Assuming no year zero, that means the end would come in 1658. [58]
1660 Joseph Mede Mede claimed that the Antichrist had appeared in 456, and the end would come in 1660. [59]
1666 Sabbatai Zevi Following his failed prediction of 1648, Zevi recalculated the end of the Earth for this year. [51]
Fifth Monarchists The presence of 666 in the date, the death of 100,000 Londoners to bubonic plague, and the Great Fire of London led to superstitious fears of the end of the world from some Christians. [60]
1673 William Aspinwall This Fifth Monarchist claimed the Millennium would begin by this year. [62]
1688 John Napier This mathematician calculated the end of the world would be this year based on calculations from the Book of Revelation. [63]
1689 Pierre Jurieu This prophet predicted that Judgement Day would occur this year. [64]
1694 John Mason This Anglican priest predicted the Millennium would begin by this year. [65]
Johann Heinrich Alsted This Calvinist minister predicted the Millennium would begin by this year. [66]
Johann Jacob Zimmermann Believed that Jesus would return and the world would end this year. [67]
1697 Cotton Mather This Puritan minister predicted the world would end this year. After the prediction failed, he revised the date of the end two more times. [48]
1700 John Napier Following his 1688 prediction, Napier recalculated his end of the world prediction to 1700 in A Plaine Discovery, a book published in 1593. [68]
Henry Archer In his 1642 work, The Personall Reigne of Christ Upon Earth, Archer predicted the Second Coming of Jesus would occur in approximately this year. [69]

18th century

Date Claimant(s) Description Ref.
1705–1708 Camisards Camisard prophets predicted the end of the world would occur in either 1705, 1706 or 1708. [64]
1716 Cotton Mather Revised prediction from Mather after his 1697 prediction failed to come true. [48]
5 Apr 1719 Jacob Bernoulli This mathematician predicted a comet would destroy the Earth on this date. [54]
1700–1734 Nicholas of Cusa This cardinal predicted the end would occur between 1700 and 1734. [70]
16 Oct 1736 William Whiston This theologian predicted a comet colliding with the Earth this year. [71]
1736 Cotton Mather Mather's third and final prediction for the end of the world. [48]
1757 Emanuel Swedenborg Swedenborg, a former Lutheran, claimed that the Last Judgement occurred in the spiritual world this year. [72][73]
20 May 1773 Various Parisians Based on a misunderstanding of a talk given by astronomer Jérôme Lalande Parisians were convinced that a comet would destroy the world on this date. [74]
19 May 1780 Connecticut General Assembly members, New Englanders The sky turning dark during the day was interpreted as a sign of the end times. The primary cause of the event is believed to have been a combination of smoke from forest fires, a thick fog, and cloud cover. [75]
1789 Pierre d'Ailly The year 1789 would bring the coming of the Antichrist, according to this 14th-century cardinal. [76]
1792, 1794 Shakers The Shakers, a Christian sect founded in 18th century England, predicted the world would end in 1792 and then in 1794. [48]
19 Nov 1795 Nathaniel Brassey Halhed While campaigning for Richard Brothers' release, Halhed proclaimed that the world would end on this date. [77]
1793–1795 Richard Brothers This retired sailor stated the Millennium would begin between 1793 and 1795. He was eventually committed to an insane asylum. [70]

19th century

Date Claimant(s) Description Ref.
1805 Christopher Love This Presbyterian minister predicted the destruction of the world by earthquake in 1805, followed by an age of everlasting peace when God would be known by all. [78]
1806 Mary Bateman In Leeds, England, in 1806 a hen began laying eggs on which the phrase "Christ is coming" was written. Eventually it was discovered to be a hoax. The owner, Mary Bateman, had written on the eggs in a corrosive ink so as to etch the eggs, and reinserted the eggs back into the hen's oviduct. [79][80]
19 Oct 1814 Joanna Southcott This 64-year-old self-described prophet claimed she was pregnant with the Christ child, and that he would be born on October 19, 1814. She died later that year having not delivered a child, and an autopsy proved she had not been pregnant. [81]
1836 Johann Albrecht Bengel In the 1730s this Lutheran clergyman proclaimed that Judgment Day would come in 1836, with the pope as the anti-Christ and the Freemasons representing the "false prophet" of Revelations. [82]
1836 John Wesley Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, foresaw the Millennium beginning this year. He wrote that Revelation 12:14 referred to 1058 to 1836, "when Christ should come". [79][83]
28 Apr 1843
31 Dec 1843
Millerites Although it was not officially endorsed by their leadership, many Millerites expected the Second Coming to occur on April 28 or at the end of 1843. [84]
1843 Harriet Livermore The first of two years this preacher predicted the world would end. [85]
21 Mar 1844 William Miller Miller, a Baptist preacher, predicted Christ would return on this date. [86]
22 Oct 1844 Millerites After Christ did not return on 21 March 1844, the Millerites then revised William Miller's prediction to 22 October that year, claiming to have miscalculated Scripture. The realization that the predictions were incorrect resulted in the Great Disappointment. [86]
7 Aug 1847 George Rapp Rapp, the founder of the Harmony Society, preached that Jesus would return in his lifetime, even as he lay dying on August 7, 1847. [88]
1847 Harriet Livermore The second prediction of the end of the world from this preacher. [85]
1862 John Cumming This Scottish clergyman stated it was 6000 years since creation in 1862, and that the world would end. [89]
Joseph Morris Originally an English convert to Mormonism, Morris had revelations to gather his followers and wait for the Second Coming, through successive prophesied days. [90]
1863 John Wroe The founder of the Christian Israelite Church calculated that the Millennium would begin this year. [81]
1873–1874 Jonas Wendell Wendell, along with other Adventist preachers, predicted the Second Coming of Christ would occur in 1873 or 1874. In 1870, Wendell published his views in the booklet entitled The Present Truth, or Meat in Due Season concluding that the Second Advent was sure to occur in 1873. After the prediction did not bear out, Nelson H. Bardour reinterpreted the prediction holding that Jesus had in fact returned in 1874 but in an invisible form. [91]
1881 Mother Shipton (attrib.) This 15th-century prophet was quoted as saying "The world to an end shall come, In eighteen hundred and eighty one" in a book published in 1862. In 1873 it was revealed to be a forgery; however, this did not stop some people from expecting the end. [94]
1890 Wovoka The founder of the Ghost Dance movement predicted in 1889 that the Millennium would occur in 1890. [95]

20th century

Date Claimant(s) Description Ref.
1901 Catholic Apostolic Church This church, founded in 1831, claimed that Jesus would return by the time the last of its 12 founding members died. The last member died in 1901. [96]
1901 Annie Keeler Keeler, a prominent doctor in Connecticut, predicted that due to the alignment of the planets, the world would come to an end and "complete the planetary cycle as it was in the days of Noah". [97]
1910 Camille Flammarion Flammarion predicted that the 1910 appearance of Halley's Comet "would impregnate that atmosphere and possibly snuff out all life on the planet", but not the planet itself. "Comet pills" were sold to protect against toxic gases. [87]
1892–1911 Charles Piazzi Smyth This pyramidologist concluded from his research on the dimensions of the Great Pyramid of Giza that the Second Coming would occur somewhere between 1892 and 1911. [100]
1914 Charles Taze Russell Russell, who founded the Bible Student movement, said "...the battle of the great day of God Almighty... The date of the close of that 'battle' is definitely marked in Scripture as October 1914. It is already in progress, its beginning dating from October, 1874." [101]
1915 John Chilembwe This Baptist educator and leader of a rebellion in the British protectorate of Nyasaland predicted the Millennium would begin this year. [95]
1918 International Bible Students Association "Christendom shall be cut off and glorification of the Little Flock (The Church) in the Spring of 1918 A.D." [102]
1920 International Bible Students Association In 1918, Christendom would go down as a system to oblivion and be succeeded by revolutionary governments. God would "destroy the churches wholesale and the church members by the millions." Church members would "perish by the sword of war, revolution and anarchy." The dead would lie unburied. In 1920 all earthly governments would disappear, with worldwide anarchy prevailing. [103]
13 Feb 1925 Margaret Rowen According to this Seventh-Day Adventist, the angel Gabriel appeared before her in a vision and told her that the world would end at midnight on this date. [104]
1926 Spencer Perceval This British MP, who was one of the 12 apostles of the Catholic Apostolic Church, believed that the world was growing nearer to the Apocalypse due to what he viewed as the rampant immorality of the times in Europe. [105]
1934 Walter Marks Marks, an Australian MP, told the House of Representatives that Armageddon would occur in 1934 and culminate with the Royal Navy bringing Christ's chosen people to Jerusalem. [106]
Sep 1935 Wilbur Glenn Voliva This evangelist announced that "the world is going to go 'puff' and disappear" in September 1935. [108]
1936 Herbert W. Armstrong The founder of the Worldwide Church of God told members of his church that the rapture was to take place in 1936, and that only they would be saved. After the prophecy failed, he changed the date three more times. [109]
1941 Jehovah's Witnesses A prediction of the end from the Jehovah's Witnesses, a group which branched from the Bible Student movement. [110]
1943 Herbert W. Armstrong The first of three revised dates from Armstrong after his 1936 prediction failed to come true. [109]
1947 John Ballou Newbrough The author of Oahspe: A New Bible predicted the destruction of all nations and the beginning of post-apocalyptic anarchy in this year. [94]
21 Dec 1954 Dorothy Martin The world was to be destroyed by terrible flooding on this date, claimed this leader of a UFO cult called Brotherhood of the Seven Rays. The fallout of the group after the prediction failed was the basis for the 1956 book When Prophecy Fails. [111]
22 Apr 1959 Florence Houteff The leader of the Branch Davidians predicted the apocalypse foretold in the Book of Revelation would proceed on this date. The failure of the prophecy led to the split of the sect into several subsects, the most prominent led by Benjamin and Lois Roden. [112]
1951–1960 Johann Gottfried Bischoff On December 25, 1951, Bischoff stated the Second Coming would occur before he died. He died on July 6, 1960. [113]
4 Feb 1962 Jeane Dixon, various Indian astrologers Dixon predicted a planetary alignment on this date was to bring destruction to the world. Mass prayer meetings were held in India. [114]
20 Aug 1967 George Van Tassel This day would mark the beginning of the third woe of the Apocalypse, during which the southeastern US would be destroyed by a Soviet nuclear attack, according to this UFO prophet, who claimed to have channeled an alien named Ashtar. [116]
1967 Jim Jones The founder of the People's Temple stated he had visions that a nuclear holocaust was to take place in 1967. [117]
9 Aug 1969 George Williams The founder of the Church of the Firstborn predicted the Second Coming of Christ would occur on this date. [118]
1969 Charles Manson Manson predicted that Helter skelter, an apocalyptic race war, would occur in 1969. [119]
1972 Herbert W. Armstrong The second of three revised dates from Armstrong after his 1936 and 1943 predictions failed to come true. [109]
Jan 1974 David Berg Berg, the leader of Children of God, predicted that there would be a colossal doomsday event heralded by Comet Kohoutek. [120]
1975 Herbert W. Armstrong Armstrong's fourth and final prediction. [109]
Jehovah's Witnesses From 1966 on, Jehovah's Witnesses published articles which stated that the fall of 1975 would be 6000 years since man's creation, and suggested that Armageddon could be finished by then. [121]
1976 Brahma Kumaris The Brahma Kumaris founder, Lekhraj Kirpalani, has made a number of predictions of a global Armageddon which the religion believes it will inspire, internally calling it "Destruction". During Destruction, Brahma Kumari leaders teach the world will be purified, all of the rest of humanity killed by nuclear or civil wars and natural disasters which will include the sinking of all other continents except India. [122]
22 Sep 1977 Ben Ammi Ben-Israel The spiritual leader of the African Hebrew Israelites predicted the beginning of an apocalyptic war would occur on this date (the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur). [123]
1977 John Wroe The founder of the Christian Israelite Church predicted this year for Armageddon to occur. [94]
William M. Branham This Christian minister predicted the rapture would occur no later than 1977. [125]
17 Feb 1979 Roch Thériault Thériault, who called himself Moïse (Moses), led a commune in the wilderness of eastern Quebec in the late seventies. Formerly a Seventh-Day Adventist, he told his group they would form the center of a new society during God's 1000-year reign following Armageddon. [126]
1980 Leland Jensen In 1978 Jensen predicted that there would be a nuclear holocaust in 1980, followed by two decades of conflict, culminating in God's Kingdom being established on Earth. [127]
1981 Chuck Smith The founder of Calvary Chapel predicted the generation of 1948 would be the last generation and that the world would end by 1981 at the latest. Smith identified that he "could be wrong" but continued to say in the same sentence that his prediction was "a deep conviction in my heart, and all my plans are predicated upon that belief." [128]
10 Mar 1982 John Gribbin, Stephen Plagemann Gribbin, an astrophysicist, co-authored the 1974 book The Jupiter Effect which predicted that combined gravitational forces of aligned planets would create a number of catastrophes, including a great earthquake on the San Andreas Fault. [99]
21 Jun 1982 Benjamin Creme Creme took out an ad in the Los Angeles Times stating that the Second Coming would occur in June 1982 with the Maitreya announcing it on worldwide television. [131]
1982 Pat Robertson In late 1976 on his 700 Club TV programme, Robertson predicted that the end of the world would come in this year. [132]
1985 Lester Sumrall This minister predicted the end in this year, even writing a book about it entitled I Predict 1985. [133]
29 Apr 1986 Leland Jensen Jensen predicted that Halley's Comet would be pulled into Earth's orbit on this date, causing widespread destruction. [134]
17 Aug 1987 José Argüelles Argüelles claimed that Armageddon would take place unless 144,000 people gathered in certain places across the world in order to "resonate in harmony" on this date. [135]
1988 Hal Lindsey Lindsey believed that Jesus would return within 40 years, a "biblical generation", of the founding of Israel in 1948. [136]
11–13 Sep 1988
3 Oct 1988
Edgar C. Whisenant Whisenant predicted in his book 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be in 1988 that the rapture of the Christian Church would occur between September 11 and 13, 1988. After his September predictions failed to come true, Whisenant revised his prediction date to October 3. [137]
30 Sep 1989 Edgar C. Whisenant After all his 1988 predictions failed to come true, Whisenant revised his prediction date to this day. [137]
23 Apr 1990 Elizabeth Clare Prophet Prophet predicted a nuclear war would start on this date, with the world ending 12 years later, leading her followers to stockpile a shelter with supplies and weapons. Later, after Prophet's prediction did not come to pass, she was diagnosed with epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease. [138]
9 Sep 1991 Menachem Mendel Schneerson This Russian-born rabbi called for the Messiah to come by the start of the Jewish New Year. [140]
1991 Louis Farrakhan The leader of the Nation of Islam declared that the Gulf War would be the "War of Armageddon which is the final war." [141]
28 Sep 1992 Rollen Stewart This born-again Christian predicted the rapture would take place on this date. [142]
28 Oct 1992 Lee Jang Rim Lee, the leader of the Dami Mission church, predicted the rapture would occur on this date. [143]
1993 David Berg Berg predicted the tribulation would start in 1989 and that the Second Coming would take place in 1993. [144]
2 May 1994 Neal Chase This Bahá'í sect leader predicted that New York City would be destroyed by a nuclear bomb on March 23, 1994, and the Battle of Armageddon would take place 40 days later. [145]
6 Sep 1994
29 Sep 1994
2 Oct 1994
Harold Camping Camping predicted the rapture would occur on 6 September 1994. When it failed to occur he revised the date to the 29th of September and then to the 2nd October. [146]
31 Mar 1995 Harold Camping Camping's fourth predicted date for the end. This would be Camping's last prediction until 2011. [146]
26 Mar 1997 Marshall Applewhite Applewhite, leader of the Heaven's Gate cult, claimed that a spacecraft was trailing the Comet Hale-Bopp and argued that suicide was "the only way to evacuate this Earth" so that the cult members' souls could board the supposed craft and be taken to another "level of existence above human". Applewhite and 38 of his followers committed mass suicide. [148]
23 Oct 1997 James Ussher This 17th-century Irish archbishop predicted this date to be 6000 years since creation, and therefore the end of the world. [149]
31 Mar 1998 Hon-Ming Chen Chen, leader of the Taiwanese cult Chen Tao – "The True Way" – claimed that God would come to Earth in a flying saucer at 10:00 am on this date. [150]
Jul 1999 Nostradamus A quatrain by Nostradamus which stated the "King of Terror" would come from the sky in "1999 and seven months" was frequently interpreted as a prediction of doomsday in July 1999. [151]
18 Aug 1999 The Amazing Criswell The predicted date of the end of the world, according to this psychic well known for predictions. [152]
11 Sep 1999 Philip Berg Berg, dean of the worldwide Kabbalah Centre, stated that on this date "a ball of fire will descend, destroying almost all of mankind, all vegetation, all forms of life." [153]
1999 Charles Berlitz This linguist predicted the end would occur in this year. He did not predict how it would occur, stating that it might involve nuclear devastation, asteroid impact, pole shift or other Earth changes. [154]
Hon-Ming Chen The leader of the cult Chen Tao preached that a nuclear holocaust would destroy Europe and Asia in 1999. [155]
James Gordon Lindsay This preacher predicted the great tribulation would begin before 2000. [156]
Timothy Dwight IV This 19th century president of Yale University predicted Christ's Millennium would start by 2000. [157]
Nazim Al-Haqqani This Sufi Muslim sheikh predicted that the Last Judgment would occur before 2000. [158]
1 Jan 2000 Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God An estimated 778 followers of this Ugandan religious movement perished in a fire and a series of poisonings and killings that were either a group suicide or an orchestrated mass murder by group leaders after their predictions of the apocalypse failed to come about. [159]
Jerry Falwell Falwell predicted God making judgement on the world on this date. [161]
Various During and before 1999 there was widespread predictions of a Y2K computer bug that would crash many computers on midnight of January 1, 2000 and cause malfunctions leading to major catastrophes worldwide, and that society would cease to function. [99]
Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins These Christian authors stated that the Y2K bug would trigger global economic chaos, which the Antichrist would use to rise to power. As the date approached, however, they changed their minds. [162]
6 Apr 2000 James Harmston The leader of the True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days predicted the Second Coming of Christ would occur on this date. [163]
5 May 2000 Nuwaubian Nation This movement claimed that the planetary lineup would cause a "star holocaust", pulling the planets toward the Sun on this date. [164]
2000 Peter Olivi This 13th-century theologian wrote that the Antichrist would come to power between 1300 and 1340, and the Last Judgement would take place around 2000. [165]
Ruth Montgomery This self-described Christian psychic predicted the Earth's axis would shift and the Antichrist would reveal himself in this year. [166]
Edgar Cayce This psychic predicted the Second Coming would occur this year. [167]
Sun Myung Moon The founder of the Unification Church predicted the Kingdom of Heaven would be established in this year. [168]
Ed Dobson This pastor predicted the end would occur in his book The End: Why Jesus Could Return by A.D. 2000. [169]
Lester Sumrall This minister predicted the end in his book I Predict 2000. [170]
Jonathan Edwards This 18th-century preacher predicted that Christ's thousand-year reign would begin in this year. [171]
Wentworth Arthur Matthew This early Black Hebrew Israelite claimed that a millennial nuclear war would leave nobody but Israelites alive. [172]

21st century

Date Claimant(s) Description Ref.
2001 Tynnetta Muhammad This columnist for the Nation of Islam predicted the end would occur in this year. [173]
27 May 2003 Nancy Lieder Lieder proposed the Nibiru cataclysm, which was predicted to occur on this date. She claimed aliens in the Zeta Reticuli star system told her a planet would enter the solar system and cause a pole shift on Earth that would destroy most of humanity. [174]
30 Oct–Nov 29 2003 Aum Shinrikyo This Japanese cult, which carried out the Tokyo subway sarin attack in 1995, predicted the world would be destroyed by a nuclear war between 30 October and 29 November 2003. [175]
12 Sep 2006 House of Yahweh Yisrayl Hawkins, pastor and overseer of The House of Yahweh, predicted in his February 2006 newsletter that a nuclear war would begin on September 12, 2006. [176]
29 Apr 2007 Pat Robertson In his 1990 book The New Millennium, Robertson suggests this date as the day of Earth's destruction. [177]
May 2008 Pyotr Kuznetsov Followers of Kuznetsov, 31 adults and 4 children (one 18 months old), went into a cave in Russia in November 2007 thinking they would be safe from an apocalypse occurring in the spring. Kuzentsov did not join them, was later committed and attempted suicide when some had left the cave in the spring. By the time all the followers had left the cave in the spring, two adults had died. [178]
2010 Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn This magical organization, which existed from 1887 to 1903, predicted the world would end during this year. [179]
21 May 2011 Harold Camping After several unsuccessful predictions in 1994 and 1995, Camping predicted that the rapture and devastating earthquakes would occur on 21 May 2011, with God taking approximately 3% of the world's population into Heaven, and that the end of the world would occur five months later on October 21. [180]
29 Sep 2011 Ronald Weinland Weinland, the founder of the Church of God Preparing for the Kingdom of God, stated Jesus would return on this date. After his prophecy failed to come true he changed the date to 27 May 2012. [181]
21 Oct 2011 Harold Camping When his original prediction failed to come about, Camping revised his prediction and said that on May 21, a "Spiritual Judgment" took place and that both the physical rapture and the end of the world would occur on 21 October 2011. [180]
Aug–Oct 2011 Various There were fears amongst the public that Comet Elenin travelling almost directly between Earth and the Sun would cause disturbances to the Earth's crust, causing massive earthquakes and tidal waves. Others predicted that Elenin would collide with Earth on October 16. Scientists tried to calm fears by stating that none of these events were possible. [182]
27 May 2012 Ronald Weinland Weinland's revised date for the return of Jesus following the failure of his 2011 prediction. [183]
30 Jun 2012 José Luis de Jesús This cult leader predicted that the world's governments and economies would fail on this date, and that he and his followers would undergo a transformation that would allow them to fly and walk through walls. [184]
21 Dec 2012 Various The 2012 phenomenon predicted the world would end at the end of the 13th b'ak'tun. The Earth would be destroyed by an asteroid, Nibiru, or some other interplanetary object; an alien invasion; or a supernova. Mayanist scholars stated that no extant classic Maya accounts forecasted impending doom, and that the idea that the Long Count calendar ends in 2012 misrepresented Maya history and culture. Scientists from NASA, along with expert archaeologists, stated that none of those events were possible. [185]
23 Aug 2013 Grigori Rasputin Rasputin, a Russian mystic who died in 1916, prophesied a storm would take place on this date where fire would destroy most life on land and Jesus would come back to Earth to comfort those in distress. [187]
Apr 2014 – Sep 2015 John Hagee, Mark Biltz The so-called blood moon prophecy, first predicted by Mark Biltz in 2008 and then by John Hagee in 2014. These Christian ministers claim that the tetrad in 2014 and 2015 may represent the beginning of the Messianic end times. Some Mormons in Utah combined the September 2015 blood moon with other signs, causing a large increase in sales of preppers survival supplies. [188]
7 October 2015 eBible Fellowship This online religious group predicted that world would be destroyed 1600 days after “Judgment Day”, which they believed had happened on May 21, 2011, per Harold Camping's prediction. [190]
23 Sep–15 Oct 2017 David Meade Conspiracy theorist David Meade predicted that Nibiru would become visible in the sky and would "soon" destroy the Earth. [191]
23 Apr 2018 David Meade After his 2017 prediction failed, Meade predicted the rapture would take place and that the world would end on this date. [192]
9 Jun 2019 Ronald Weinland Weinland, who previously predicted the world would end in 2011, 2012, and then 2013, predicted in 2018 that Jesus would return on June 9, 2019. Prior to the date occurring he began to express some doubts regarding his own prediction. [194]
2020 Jeane Dixon Dixon predicted that Armageddon would take place in 2020. She previously predicted the world would end on February 4, 1962. [196]

Future predictions

21st century

Date (CE) Claimant(s) Description Ref.
13 Nov 2026 Heinz von Foerster In a 1960 Science article, this scientist predicted a date for the end of humanity due to overpopulation. [197]
2026 Messiah Foundation International This spiritual organization predicts that the world will end in 2026, when an asteroid collides with Earth in accordance with Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi's predictions in his 2012 book The Religion of God. [198]
2028 Kent Hovind While clarifying there is no way to be certain, this Christian fundamentalist evangelist speculated in 2015 that 2028 was the "most likely" year for the rapture. [199]

22nd–23rd centuries

Date (CE) Claimant(s) Description Ref.
31 Dec 2129 Said Nursî This Sunni Muslim theologian, author of the Risale-i Nur and founder of the Nur movement, wrote in a letter to one of his students (the 21st in the so-called Kastamonu Appendix) that by applying numerology to a hadith he had arrived at a date of 1545 for the arrival of doomsday. 1545 in the Hijri calendar would be 2122; in the Rumi calendar it would be 2129. Nursî added that this was not a definite prediction, as "nobody knows the time of doom in a strict manner". [200]
30 Sep 2239 Talmud, Orthodox Judaism According to the Talmud in mainstream Orthodox Judaism, the Messiah will come within 6000 years of the creation of Adam, and the world may be destroyed 1000 years later. This would put the beginning of the period of desolation in 2239 and the end of the period of desolation in 3239. [3]
2280 Rashad Khalifa According to this Egyptian-American biochemist's research on the Qu'ran, the world will end during that year. [201]

Far future predictions

See also: Timeline of the far future, Global catastrophic risk, and Ultimate fate of the universe

Estimated timeframe (years) Claimant(s) Description Ref.
11,118 John A. Leslie Per Leslie's use of the Doomsday Argument, there is a 95% chance the last human beings will be born before the year 11,118 (or 9,120 years after 1998, when he published his argument). [202]
300,000 Peter Tuthill In approximately 300,000 years, WR 104, a triple star, is expected to explode in a supernova. It has been suggested that it may produce a gamma ray burst (GRB) that could pose a threat to life on Earth should its poles be aligned 12° or lower towards Earth. However, spectroscopic observations now strongly suggest that it is tilted at an angle of 30–40° and so any gamma ray burst should not hit Earth. [203]
1 million Geological Society of London Within the next 1 million years, Earth will likely have undergone a supervolcanic eruption large enough to erupt 3,200 km3 of magma, an event comparable to the Toba supereruption 75,000 years ago. [205]
100 million Stephen A. Nelson It is estimated that every 100 million years, Earth is hit by an asteroid about 10–15 km in diameter, comparable in size to the one that triggered the K–Pg extinction which killed non-avian dinosaurs 66 million years ago. [206]
500–600 million Anne Minard A gamma ray burst (GRB) or a massive, hyperenergetic supernova, would have occurred within 6,500 light-years of Earth, close enough for its rays to affect Earth's ozone layer and potentially trigger a mass extinction, assuming that the hypothesis of a previous such explosion triggering the Ordovician–Silurian extinction event is correct. However, the supernova would have to be precisely oriented relative to Earth to have any negative effect. In 2022, GRB 221009A, dubbed BOAT for "Brightest Of All Time", was 70 times brighter than previous brightest and was 1.9 billion light-years away, yet it affected the ionosphere as much as a small to medium solar flare. [207][208]
600–800 million Various The Sun's increasing brightness causes the rate of weathering of the planet's crust to increase. This will cause the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to drop dramatically, making photosynthesis in plants impossible. This will very likely cause a mega mass extinction of the Earth's vegetation. The lack of oxygen-producing plants will cause oxygen in the atmosphere to disappear as well as the ozone layer, making animal life impossible. Even if photosynthesis were still possible, rising surface temperatures from the brighter sun will make complex life (plants and animals) impossible. [209]
1–5 billion Various The estimated end of the Sun's current phase of development, after which it will swell into a red giant, either scorching or swallowing Earth, will occur around five billion years from now. However, as the Sun grows gradually hotter (over millions of years), Earth may become too hot for life as early as one billion years from now. [211]
1.3 billion Various It is estimated that all eukaryotic life will die out due to carbon dioxide starvation, with only prokaryotes remaining. [209]
7.59 billion David Powell The Earth and the Moon will most likely be destroyed by falling into the Sun, just before the Sun reaches the largest of its red giant phase when it will be 256 times larger than its current size. Before the final collision, the Moon will possibly spiral below Earth's Roche limit, breaking into a ring of debris, most of which would fall to Earth's surface. [214]
22 billion Various This is the end of the Universe in the Big Rip scenario, assuming a model of dark energy with w = −1.5. Observations of galaxy cluster speeds by the Chandra X-ray Observatory suggest that the true value of w is approximately −0.991, indicating the Big Rip would not occur. [215]
10100 Various The time estimated for the heat death of the universe, a hypothetical event in which the universe would diminish to a state of no thermodynamic free energy, becoming no longer able to sustain directed motion or life. [216]

See also


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