46 failed end-of-the-world predictions that
were to occur between 30 & 1920 CE, but didn't.
Some Christians and secular individuals predicted several
momentous events that they
believed are related: occur
The second coming of Jesus Christ -- his anticipated return to earth after almost two millennia.
The war of Armageddon -- a massive battle in Israel.
The arrival on earth of the Antichrist, an evil political, military leader.
The Tribulation, a seven year interval of great suffering and death.
The Rapture, when Christians who have been born again -- both living and dead -- will
rise into the sky towards Jesus.
Some horrendous natural disaster(s).
It is worth noting that all of the following
predictions have failed. We expect that all of the doomsday predictions about our future will
We offer no guarantees that the prophets listed below
actually made these predictions. We have described their alleged predictions as they were
reported on the Web, in newspapers, books, etc. We do not have the resources to track down
original source material.
About 30 CE: The Christian Scriptures (New
Testament), when interpreted literally, appear to record many predictions by Yeshua of Nazareth
(Jesus Christ) that God's Kingdom would arrive within a very short period, or was actually
in the process of arriving. For example, Jesus is recorded as saying in Matthew 16:28:
"...there shall be some standing here, which shall not taste of
death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." In
Matthew 24:34, Yeshua is recorded as saying: "...This
generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." Since
the life expectancy in those days was little over 30 years, Jesus appears to
his second coming sometime during the 1st century CE. It didn't
happen. More details.
About 60 CE: Interpreting the Epistles of Paul of Tarsus literally,
his writings seem to imply that Jesus would return and
usher in a rapture during the lifetime of persons who were living in the middle of the 1st
century. More details.
About 90 CE: Saint Clement 1 predicted that the world end would occur
at any moment.
2nd Century CE: Prophets and Prophetesses of the Montanist movement
predicted that Jesus would return sometime during their lifetime and establish the New
Jerusalem in the city of Pepuza in Asia Minor.
365 CE: A man by the name of Hilary of Poitiers, announced that the end
would happen that year. It didn't.
375 to 400 CE: Saint Martin of Tours, a student of Hilary, was
convinced that the end would happen sometime before 400 CE.
500 CE: This was the first year-with-a-nice-round-number-panic.
The antipope Hippolytus and an earlier Christian academic Sextus Julius Africanus had
predicted Armageddon at about this year.
968 CE: An eclipse was interpreted as a prelude to the end of the world
by the army of the German emperor Otto III.
992: 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 events foretold in the book of Revelation. Records from Germany report that a
new sun rose in the north and that as many as 3 suns and 3 moons were fighting.
There does not appear to be independent verification of this remarkable
1000-JAN-1: Many Christians in Europe had predicted the end of the world on this
date. As the date approached, Christian armies waged war against some of the
Pagan countries in Northern Europe. The motivation was to convert them
all to Christianity, by force if necessary, before Christ returned in
the year 1000. Meanwhile, some Christians had given their possessions to the Church in anticipation of the end.
Fortunately, the level of education was so low that many citizens were unaware of the
year. They did not know enough to be afraid. Otherwise, the panic
might have been far worse than it was. Unfortunately, when Jesus did not appear, the
church did not return the gifts. Serious criticism of the Church followed. The Church
reacted by exterminating some heretics. Agitation settled down quickly, as it
later did in the year 2000.
1000-MAY: The body of Charlemagne was disinterred on Pentecost. A
legend had arisen that an emperor would rise from his sleep to fight the Antichrist.
1005-1006: A terrible famine throughout Europe was seen as a sign of
the nearness of the end.
1033: Some believed this to be the 1000th anniversary of the death and
resurrection of Jesus. His second coming was anticipated. Jesus' actual date of execution
is unknown, but is believed to be in the range of 27 to 33 CE.
1147: Gerard of Poehlde decided that the millennium had actually
started in 306 CE during Constantine's reign. Thus, the world end was expected in 1306 CE.
1179: John of Toledo predicted the end of the world during 1186. This
estimate was based on the alignment of many planets.
1205: Joachim of Fiore predicted in 1190 that the Antichrist was
already in the world, and that King Richard of England would defeat him. The Millennium
would then begin, sometime before 1205.
1284: Pope Innocent III computed this date by adding 666 years onto
the date the Islam was founded.
1346 and later: The black plague spread across Europe, killing one
third of the population. This was seen as the prelude to an immediate end of the world.
Unfortunately, the Christians had previously killed a many of the cats, fearing that they
might be familiars of Witches. The fewer the cats, the more the rats. It was the rat fleas
that spread the black plague.
1496: This was approximately 1500 years after the birth of Jesus.
Some mystics in the 15th century predicted that the millennium would begin
during this year.
1524: Manyastrologers predicted the imminent end of
the world due to a world wide flood. They obviously had not read the Genesis story of the
1533: Melchior Hoffman predicted that Jesus' return would happen
a millennium and a half after the nominal date of his execution, in
1533. The New Jerusalem was expected to be established in Strasbourg, Germany. He was
arrested and died in a Strasbourg jail.
1669: The Old Believers in Russia believed that the end of the world
would occur in this year. 20 thousand burned themselves to death between 1669
and 1690 to
protect themselves from the Antichrist.
1689: Benjamin Keach, a 17th century Baptist, predicted the
end of the world for this year.
1736: British theologian and mathematician William Whitson predicted a
great flood similar to Noah's for OCT-13 of this year.
1783: On JUN-08, a volcanic eruption in southern Iceland started. It pumped massive amounts of toxic dust, sulphur dioxide and fluorine into the atmosphere. Cattle died, crops failed, and about one quarter of the island's population died of starvation. By the end of June, poisonous clouds had reached England and much of Europe. Boats had to stay in harbor because they could not navigate. There was massive loss of life in England, particularly among farm workers. Many predicted that the end of the world was imminent.
1792: This was the date of the end of the world calculated by
some believers in the Shaker movement.
1794: Charles Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism, thought
that Doomsday would occur in this year.
1830: Margaret McDonald, a Christian prophetess, predicted that Robert
Owen would be the Antichrist. Owen helped found New Harmony, IN.
1832?: Joseph Smith (1805-1844) was the founder of the
Church of Christ, which became the Restorationist movement
after many schisms. It now includes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints -- a.k.a. the Mormons, and about a hundred other denominations and
sects. He heard a voice while praying. He wrote, in Doctrines and Covenants
14: "I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of
the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following:"
15: "Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old,
thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and
trouble me no more on this matter."
16: "I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming
referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing,
or whether I should die and thus see his face."
17: "I believe the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that
The year in which this event occurred is not recorded. However, one commentator suggested 1832 or earlier.
Smith is later recorded as having said:
"I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written--the
Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till I am eighty-five
years old." 17
Smith would have reached the age of 85 during 1890.
Unfortunately, by that year, Smith had been dead for almost a half century,
having been assassinated by a mob.
1843-MAR-21: William Miller, founder of the Millerite movement,
predicted that Jesus would come on this date. A very large number of Christians
accepted his prophecy.
1844-OCT-22: When Jesus did not return, Miller predicted this new date. In an
event which is now called "The Great Disappointment," many Christians sold their
property and possessions, quit their jobs and prepared themselves for the second coming.
Nothing happened; the day came and went without incident.
1850: Ellen White, founder of the Seven Day
Adventists movement, made many predictions of the timing of the end
of the world. All failed. On 1850-JUN-27 she prophesied that only a few
months remained before the end. She wrote: "My accompanying angel
said, 'Time is almost finished. Get ready, get ready, get ready.' ...now
time is almost finished...and what we have been years learning, they
will have to learn in a few months." 10
1856 or later: At Ellen White's last prediction, she said
that she was shown in a vision the fate of believers who attended the
1856 SDA conference. She wrote "I was shown the company present at
the Conference. Said the angel: 'Some food for worms, some subjects of
the seven last plagues, some will be alive and remain upon the earth to
be translated at the coming of Jesus." 11 That is, some of the
attendees would die of normal diseases; some would die from plagues at
the last days, others would still be alive when Jesus came. "By the
early 1900s all those who attended the conference had passed away,
leaving the Church with the dilemma of trying to figure out how to
explain away such a prominent prophetic failure." 12
1881: Mother Shipton, (1488 - 1561), a 16th century mystic predicted the end of
the world: "...The world to an end shall come; in eighteen hundred and
1891 or before: On 1835-FEB-14, Joseph Smith, the founder of
the Mormon church, attended a meeting of church leaders. He said that
the meeting had been called because God had commanded it. He announced
that Jesus would return within 56 years -- i.e. before 1891-FEB-15.
(History of the Church 2:182)
1914 was one of the more important estimates of the start of the war of
Armageddon by the Jehovah's Witnesses (Watchtower Bible and Tract
Society). They based their prophecy of
1914 from prophecy in the book of Daniel, Chapter 4. The writings referred to "seven
times". The WTS interpreted each "time" as equal to 360 days, giving a
total of 2520 days. This was further interpreted as representing 2520 years, measured from
the starting date of 607 BCE. This gave 1914 as the target date. When 1914
passed, they changed their prediction; 1914 became the year that Jesus
invisibly began his rule.
1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994, etc. were other dates that the Watchtower Society (WTS) or its members predicted.
Since late in the 19th century, they had taught that the "battle of the
Great Day of God Almighty" (Armageddon) would happen in 1914
CE. It didn't.
The next major estimate was
1925. Watchtower magazine predicted: "The year 1925 is a date
definitely and clearly marked in the Scriptures, even more clearly than
that of 1914; but it would be presumptuous on the part of any faithful
follower of the Lord to assume just what the Lord is going to do during
that year." 6
The Watchtower Society selected 1975 as its next main
prediction. This was based on the estimate "according to reliable
Bible chronology Adam was created in the year 4026 BCE, likely in
the autumn of the year, at the end of the sixth day of creation."
believed that the year 1975 a promising date for the end of the
it was the 6,000th anniversary of Adam's creation. Exactly 1,000 years was
to pass for each day of the creation week. This prophecy also
The current estimate is that the end of the world as we know it
will happen precisely 6000 years after the creation of Eve. 9 There is no way of
knowing when this happened.