How many people think that this is the year of 'the end of the world, 'the rapture', 'the return of the messiah'? How many times has the human race thought of it before?
There are legends, myths, confabulations about 'the end times' in nearly every culture that currently exists or has ever existed on this planet. And what demagogue (politician? religious leader?) wouldn't want to take advantage of that?
*Apocalypse: subject of research for the novel The Tao of the Thirteenth God - Amazon Kindle.