Times People Predicted The End of the World

All dates are given in “Common Era”. A pair of dividing lines separate “past” and “future” predictions from “current” prediction(s).

30ish to 100ish – Jesus, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” [1]

500 – Hippolytus of Rome, Sextus Julius Africanus, and Irenaeus, based on dimensions of Noah’s Ark

1000Pope Sylvester II, riots resulted from the populace’s belief that Jesus would return one thousand years after his birth, and a similar logic led similar believers to think 1033 to be the true date, one thousand years after his death

1284Pope Innocent III, arrived at the number by adding 666 years to the year Islam was founded, 618

By 1600Martin Luther, the first Protestant prediction

1648, 1666, and 1667Sabbatai Zevi, used the Kabbalah and used it again

1656 and 1658Christopher Columbus, from El Libro de las Proecias, a compilation of apocalyptic ruminations written towards the end of his life [3]

April 5, 1719Jacob Bernoulli, the man who discovered the number “e” thought the earth would be destroyed by a comet

April 23, 1843, December 31, 1843, March 21, 1844, October 22, 1844The Millerites, the first of many American predictions

1910Camille Flammarion, believed Halley’s Comet would scorch the earth, “comet pills” were sold to alleviate the effects

1914, 1918, 1920, 1942, 1975, ≤1999, “imminent”Jehovah’s Witnesses, pick up a copy of The Watchtower magazine for the latest update

1967Jim Jones, had vision of a nuclear holocaust

1969Charles Manson, believed his “Helter Skelter” “race war” signaled the end of the world

1982Pat Robertson, then again in April 29, 2007

1988ish (±5 years, every five years after) – Hal Lindsay, popularized in The Late, Great Planet Earth (over 35 million sold!)

1991Louis Farrakhan, declared the Gulf War to be “that which the scriptures refer to as the War of Armageddon which is the final war”

September 6, 1994, September 22, 1994, October 2, 1994, March 31, 1995, May 21, 2011, October 21, 2011Harold Camping, died in 2013, ending his end of the world predictions

July 1999Nostradamus, had a poem about a “King of Terror” that would come screaming across the sky in “1999 and seven months”

January 1, 2000Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye, and Jerry B. Jenkins, all profited handsomely

2000Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church was among many predicting the end/beginning of the millennium 

October 30 through November 29, 2003Aum Shinrikyo, the same Japanese cult that perpetrated the Tokyo subway sarin gas attacks in 1995

December 21, 2012Misinterpreters of Mayan Calendars, there is nothing to suggest classic Mayans thought this is when the world would end


2020Jeanne Dixon, previously predicted February 4, 1962


Before 2239 until 3239The Talmud, Orthodox Judaism posits that a Messiah will come within 6,000 years of Adam’s creation and the world would be destroyed a thousand years later

3000, probablyThe past as prologue, Given that 1000 and 2000 CE were met with apocalyptic predictions, I predict there will be end of the world predictions scheduled around 3000 CE too

Within 1,000,000 yearsThe Geological Society, within the next million years Earth will likely experience a supervolanic event (my money’s on Yellowstone)

Somewhere between 1,000,000,000 and 5,000,000,000 years from nowThe Sun Exploding, on its way to becoming a red giant, the Earth will be swallowed by the sun

In approximately 1,600,000,000 years  – All life dies out, with multicellular life dying out first somewhere between 800,000,000 and 1,200,000,000 years from now, all eukaryotes suffocating on carbon dioxide somewhere between 1,300,000,000 to 1,500,000,000 years from now, and prokaryotes returning to dust 100,000,000 years after that [4]

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years from this very minuteThe Heat Death of the Universe, a state of the universe in which there is no thermodynamic free energy

 


  1. Per Matthew 24, said things include but are not limited to, “not […] one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down”, “wars and rumours of wars”, “nation shall rise against nation”, “kingdom against kingdom”, “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places”, “many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another”, “many false prophets shall rise”, “the love of many shall wax cold”, “great tribulation”, “there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders”, and “the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven”. [2]
  2. “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:8
  3. According to this “Book of Prophecies”, for the end of the world to occur, Christianity must spread across the world, the Garden of Eden must be found, a Crusade must be fought to “take back” the Holy Land, and a final (earthly) emperor must ascend.
  4. S. Franck, C. Bounama, and W. von Bloh, “Causes and timing of future biosphere extinctions”, Biogeosciences, 3, 85-92, 2002.