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Article – Apocalypse

The concept of Apocalypse, or the end of the world, is a prevalent theme in many religions and belief systems around the world. While the details and interpretations of the Apocalypse may vary, the concept generally refers to a cataclysmic event or series of events that bring about the end of the world or a major transformation of the existing world order. The apocalypse is often associated with themes of divine judgment, renewal, and transformation, and may be accompanied by prophecies, signs, and symbols that hold special meaning within each religious tradition. These stories and beliefs can serve as a source of hope, fear, and guidance for believers, and may have varying implications for individuals and communities within each religious tradition. 

Generally speaking, the religions of the West believe in a linear version of the apocalypse, in which the universe was created once and will be destroyed one day, at which point it will be reshaped into a better, more enduring state. Hindus instead believe in a more cyclical cosmogony, in which the universe is created and destroyed over and over again. For other Eastern religions, like Buddhism and Daoism, the apocalypse is ambiguous and not central to their teachings.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.’”
–The New Testament (Revelations 21:1-3), Christian scripture

“On that Day, We shall roll up the skies as a writer rolls up [his] scrolls. We shall reproduce creation just as We produced it the first time: this is Our binding promise. We shall certainly do all these things.”
—The Qur’an (21:104), Islamic text

“This multitude of beings is created and destroyed again and again in the succeeding days and nights of Brahma. But beyond this formless state there is another, unmanifested reality, which is eternal and is not dissolved when the cosmos is destroyed.”
—The Bhagavad Gita (8:19), Hindu scripture

“I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”
–The Hebrew Bible (Joel 2:30-31), Jewish scripture

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” […] Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.”
–The New Testament (Revelation 11:15-19), Christian scripture

“We have fixed a time for you, O peoples. If ye fail, at the appointed hour, to turn towards God, He, verily, will lay violent hold on you, and will cause grievous afflictions to assail you from every direction. How severe, indeed, is the chastisement with which your Lord will then chastise you!”
–Bahá’u’lláh, Baha’i prophet

“It is difficult to say when things begin or when they end. The start of one thing may be the end of another. From the ancient beginnings to our time, things continuously come and go. There is no way of knowing what came first.”
—Lieh-tzu, Taoist text

See All Commonalities Across Religions