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: a great disaster : a sudden and very bad event that causes much fear, loss, or destruction
Full Definition of APOCALYPSE
a: one of the Jewish and Christian writings of 200 b.c. to a.d. 150 marked by pseudonymity, symbolic imagery, and the expectation of an imminent cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil and raises the righteous to life in a messianic kingdom
In many Western religious traditions, the period of catastrophic upheaval expected to occur just before the end of the world, when God will come to sit in judgment on humankind. The belief that the world will come to a violent and cataclysmic end exists in Judaism and Christianity as well as in Zoroastrianism. Several of the prophetic works of the Hebrew Scriptures, notably the book of Daniel, include visions of the apocalypse. The book of Revelation (or Apocalypse) gives a dark and dramatic picture of the end of time, when the wicked will be punished and the good will triumph through God's intervention. The approach of the Last Days is expected to be marked by famines, wars, earthquakes, plagues, and other natural disasters, along with signs in the heavens. Today apocalyptic themes are emphasized by various religious groups (e.g., fundamentalist Christians) and have also been taken up by science-fiction writers. See alsoeschatology; millennialism.