In Judaism, the Messiah or Mashiach is no Son of God but a human priest or king from the Davidic Line, who oversees the Armageddon, revival of the dead and ushers in a messianic age when everything is just perfect.
Can matters of such gravity be left in the hands of God?
In some of most gripping lines in all literature, the dialogue between Christ and the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov clarifies “Everything was given over by Thee to the Pope, and everything now rests with him alone; Thou hast no business to return and thus hinder us in our work.”
This has been seen many times as in the case of the doomsday cults like Heaven’s Gate, Jim Jones and The Peoples Temple, David Koresh and The Branch Davidians, WKFL (Krishna Venta) and Aum Shinrikyo etc.
The current era is the "Fa rectification" period (zhengfa, "to correct the dharma"), which ends in total destruction of evil, as represented by the China Communist Party, and establishment of the 'Fa' - law of 'Dharma'. Of course, the Chinese Communist Party wasn't very amused by being called bad names and in 1999, declared it xie jiao (邪教, “evil religion”) and banned it. For followers, enduring suffering while being tolerant to oppressors is a way to obtain a good 'Karma' and "ascend into the highest heavens" when the truth prevails during the 'Fa' period.
But, Karma plays an important role, so focus on your Karma is Jainism’s advice to the 4 million followers.
Others believe they will eventually attain a place of rest called the Summerlands. (I've been shoveling so much snow for the last two winters that I love this idea of eternal Summerland!)
They are all born of maidens, conceived while their mothers bathed in a lake that preserved the original seed of the prophet Zoroaster.
Hinduism has multi-dimensional universes: “Every universe is covered by seven layers — earth, water, fire, air, sky, the total energy and false ego — each ten times greater than the previous one. There are innumerable universes besides this one, and although they are unlimitedly large, they move about like atoms in You. Therefore You are called unlimited.” (Bhagavata Purana 6.16.37)
- Around 2800 BC, an Assyrian clay tablet talks about the end of the world as it proclaims: “The Earth is degenerating today. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer obey their parents, every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching."
- Hesiod in the 8th century BC Greece writes in The Works and Days that till then at least three generations of humans had thus been obliterated. The ages of the earth are Golden, Silver, Bronze/Copper and Iron (In order of moral degeneration).
- The Hopi mythology describes how the world was almost destroyed by fires at the end of the first cycle, by the coming of an ice age through a pole shift when the next cycle ended. The third cataclysmic change is by flooding.
- Plato in the 4th century BC Greece in Timeaus further explains that “.. as you achieve literacy and what cities require, after the usual number of years, comes the heavenly flood. It sweeps everything and leaves only the illiterate and uncultured people behind. You become infants all over again; completely unfamiliar with anything there was in ancient times.
- Mankind’s memory slate being wiped totally is echoed in the Bible, where God promises a new heaven and earth: "Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former will not be remembered nor come to mind."[Isa 65:17] The Revelation has a similar vision: "I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away."[Rev 21:1]
- Gnostics in the first century AD were seriously waiting for the Last Judgment and God’s Kingdom, which followed it.
- The Shakers expected the world to end in 1792
- Sir Isaac Newton calculated that the world would end in 2060.
People love to interpret scriptures literally. Car Gustav Jung (1875-1961), the Swiss Psychiatrist quipped that “Religion is a defense against the experience of God.” There is a lovely saying in The Gospel of Thomas, where Jesus blows this human penchance for literal interpretation apart when he answers the question "When will the kingdom come?" by saying "It will not come by watching for it. Rather, the father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth and people do not see it." (The Gospel of Thomas, translated by Harold Bloom, 113 p.65).
The world is not going to end on 21st December 2012, so rather than wait for the pyrotechnic show, why don’t you do something nice for a change, today.
Make someone happy!