|“||And when he touches down, we're talking Four Horsemen, red oceans, fiery skies.||”|
— Zachariah describing the Apocalypse
The Apocalypse is a long-prophesised biblical series of events described in the Book of Revelation which will eventually lead, quite literally, to the end of the world. It's also referred to as Armageddon, Judgement Day or the End of Days.
The Apocalypse was "long foretold" according to Castiel, and angels and demons both emphatically stated regarding its prophesised events, "[i]t is written". Michael and Gabriel both claimed that God knew the Apocalypse was how Creation was going to end from its very beginning. The actual Apocalypse primarily consists of a destructive war between the forces of Heaven and Hell following Lucifer's release from the Cage, which will culminate in a battle between Lucifer and Michael that will destroy half the Earth.
On a cosmic scale, the Apocalypse apparently isn't unique in its magnitude, with Gabriel describing it as "Sunday dinner" for him and Zachariah stating it "isn't the first planetary enema [angels have] delivered."
The following were tools which aided the Apocalypse's progression:
Directly following Lucifer's release from the Cage, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would be summoned to aid him, taking physical human forms on Earth. War would use his influence to drive humans to turn against each-other in open warfare by making them hallucinate each-other as demons. Famine would be preceded by his influence, which would drive humans around him to go self-destructively and suicidally rabid with their hungers and cravings, before Famine would personally "ride into the land of plenty" which he'd afflicted - according to Castiel, once Famine had grown strong by devouring his victims' souls, he would "march across the land." Pestilence would likewise instigate the outbreak of diseases among the human population. Death wouldn't manifest until he was freed from his underground prison by a ritual, conducted at midnight at a "place of awful carnage" on Earth. Afterward, Death would raise the dead during the Apocalypse.
War and Famine, who were apparently copasetic with Lucifer's plans, were both defeated by Sam and Dean Winchester before their powers could spread beyond a single town respectively, whilst Pestilence was able to cause a "briefcase bomb" outbreak of swine flu in numerous towns, and he worked with Lucifer's demons to engineer a fast-acting Croatoan Virus strain. Death only served Lucifer due to being bound to him and forced to be where Lucifer wanted when he wanted, and the horseman resented being "enslaved to a bratty child having a tantrum". He was sent by Lucifer to wipe Chicago off the map with a storm that would "set[...] off a daisy chain of natural disasters", but decided to spare the city when conspiring with Dean Winchester. Whereas the other three horsemen's rings were forcibly taken by Team Free Will, Death willingly loaned his to be free of Lucifer.
The cambion Jesse Turner was the Antichrist, destined to be one of Lucifer's greatest weapons in the Apocalypse war against Heaven. Lucifer's presence on Earth during the Apocalypse caused Jesse's powers to grow strong, and according to Castiel, he would eventually do something drastic with them that would enable the demons to find him - afterward, Lucifer would twist Jesse to his purpose, and Jesse would destroy the Host of Heaven "with a word." However, after being made aware of his half-demon heritage by Team Free Will, Jesse chose to reject his destiny and go on the run using his powers.
The Whore of Babylon also rose when Lucifer walked the Earth, "bearing false prophecy", with the goal of condemning as many souls to Hell as possible by manipulating people into spilling innocent blood in God's name. To this end, she falsely posed as a prophet and utilised demons under her control to con Blue Earth, and was "well on her way to dragging th[e] whole town into the pit" until she was slain by Dean Winchester.
The Croatoan Virus was apparently also preordained to be used during the Apocalypse. Pestilence and his demons attempted to simultaneously distribute a modified strain which infected hosts in seconds across the entire United States inside a swine flu vaccine, but Team Free Will foiled the distribution.
Sam and Dean Winchester were the two most prominent tools during the Apocalypse. They were intended to be Lucifer and Michael's respective true vessels (with Dean/Michael representing "the big brother, loyal to an absent father", and Sam/Lucifer "the little brother, rebellious of Daddy's plan"). Both Winchesters rebelled against these destinies from the start, though Heaven and Hell both persisted in getting their respective leader's true vessel to consent, and the archangels were confident it would eventually happen. Apart from a close call in Dean's case, his continued defiance of Michael eventually forced the archangel to instead possess Sam and Dean's paternal half-brother Adam Milligan (also able to contain him as John Winchester's descendant, and imperfectly matching the prophecy as Sam's half-brother). Though Lucifer possessed Nick as a temporary "Plan B" vessel for the majority of the Apocalypse, he eventually gained Sam's consent and possessed him, although the Battle of Armageddon was averted when Sam threw himself and Adam with either archangel inside them, into Lucifer's Cage using the Four Horsemen's rings. Although the Apocalypse was successfully derailed, ironically, Dean would years later consent to and be possessed by an alternate universe counterpart of Michael.
Signs, Omens and Other Events
The Apocalypse was marked by numerous omens and (primarily natural) disasters, including violent weather and a spike in earthquakes. It's implied the majority of these Apocalyptic signs were directly linked to Lucifer's presence on Earth, and Death implied he was responsible for at least some of the natural disasters which occurred after he was freed.
- War's manifestation was directly preceded by the passing of Star Wormwood and a river abruptly becoming polluted, at the site where he first manifested.
- Lightning storms occurred where and when Death raised the dead during the Apocalypse.
- Weeping statues were an omen signifying the onset of Pestilence's swine flu outbreaks.
- Lucifer's presence in downtown Motown, Detroit caused a twenty-degree temperature drop within a five-block radius.
- After Lucifer possessed Sam and Michael possessed Adam, a series of earthquakes occurred around the world which Castiel stated signified the start of the Battle of Armageddon - a 7.6 in Portland, an 8.1 in Boston, and more in Hong Kong, Tehran and Berlin.
- Signs which occurred immediately following Lucifer's escape from the Cage included:
- A hurricane named Kinley slamming into the Galveston area unexpectedly.
- A successful North Korean nuclear test.
- A series of tremors.
- An unknown event involving swine flu.
- A torrential hailstorm in Hawley, Oklahoma, which gave way to lightning strikes which in turn caused fires along the Route 17 corridor that consumed over twenty acres in less than twelve hours. County officials advised all the town's residents to prepare for evacuations that could become mandatory.
- Following Death's release in Carthage, Missouri, a storm system in Paulding County, Ohio caused a number of tornadoes to touch off in the area, leading the governor to declare a state of emergency for the county including the towns of Fetterville, Marion and Carthage.
- The torrential thunderstorm hitting the I-90 at Muncie, Indiana where the Elysian Fields Hotel was located was discovered by Sam to be biblical.
- Hurricane Tiffany on the Gulf Coast, pounding Galveston, Texas with ten-foot swells and winds of up to 150 miles per hour. The hurricane broke up and the weather calmed within a day when Michael and Lucifer's imprisonment ended the Apocalypse.
- A 9.2 earthquake at Rome.
- An 8.5 earthquake outside Boston.
- An east/west tsunami chain.
- Bobby Singer suggested a cyclone in Florida and wildfires in Los Angeles before the Apocalypse's end could've been omens.
The initial onset of the Apocalypse would consist of the breaking of 66 of the 600 seals keeping Lucifer bound within his Cage - the first seal to be broken would be a righteous man shedding blood in Hell ("And it is written that the first seal shall be broken when a righteous man sheds blood in hell. As he breaks, so shall it break.") Another seal, the Rising of the Witnesses, was described in the Book of Revelation as a "mile marker" to the Apocalypse. The final seal to be broken would be the death of Lilith ("And it is written, that the first demon shall be the last seal.")
After Lucifer was freed, the Host of Heaven and the forces of Hell would go head-to-head in warfare. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would bring suffering and destruction to mankind, while the Antichrist would obliterate the Host of Heaven.
Michael and Lucifer would take possession of their true vessels after gaining their consent - Dean and Sam Winchester respectively - and they would meet on the Chosen Field for a one-on-one battle between the two archangels known as the Battle of Armageddon. This battle specifically would cause the most devastation to the Earth - Zachariah admitted that the death toll would be "probably more" than ten million humans, and Castiel indicated the archangels' clash would release a cataclysmic "blast wave" that did the damage. Dean assumed the battle would burn away "half the planet". Gabriel stated the battle would invariably end with one archangel killing the other. Castiel, Michael and Zachariah both believed that Michael would invariably win the battle, and that his victory would bring about Paradise. Zachariah claimed that if Lucifer won, he would "roast the planet alive"; a claim which a victorious version of Lucifer rebuked, insisting his desire was to cleanse the Earth of humanity and restore the planet's natural order, whilst the main/real version of Lucifer would later in his life after becoming more malicious declare his intent to remake the "sad trash-fire of a world" in his own image.
In 1972, after years of searching, the demon Azazel found the entrance to Lucifer's Cage at St. Mary's Convent. He contacted Lucifer, who told him of his plans: Azazel was to free Lilith, the first demon, from Hell so that she could break the 66 Seals. In addition, Azazel was also tasked with finding a special child strong enough to kill Lilith, thereby breaking the Final Seal, as well capable of serving as Lucifer's Vessel for the final battle against Michael. In 2007, Azazel succeeded in both freeing Lilith and finding Lucifer's special child, Sam Winchester, the younger brother of Dean Winchester, Michael's true Vessel.
A year later, Dean Winchester, who had sold his soul to save Sam, was taken to Hell. There he was tortured mercilessly by the demon Alastair. The forces of Heaven laid siege to Hell and eventually broke through their defenses. The angel Castiel personally pulled Dean out of Hell. By then, however, Dean had broke and started torturing souls himself.
|“||This demon, Lilith, is trying to break the 66 seals to free Lucifer from Hell. Lucifer... will bring the Apocalypse. So... smoke 'em if you got 'em.||”|
Soon after Dean's resurrection, hunters are attacked by the ghosts of people they could not save. Bobby's research uncovers an obscure translation of the Book of Revelation that lists the ghosts, or the Witnesses, as a sign of the upcoming Apocalypse. Castiel confirms that demons, under Lilith, are attempting to break the 66 Seals and free Lucifer from his cage which will bring the Apocalypse. The Rising of the Witnesses was one of these seals.
The Winchesters, Bobby, and Angels fight to stop other seals from breaking, but they steadily lose ground. There are over 600 Seals, and only 66 need to be broken. They discover that the First Seal was broken by Dean in Hell, when he became a torturer. Sam feels compelled to kill Lilith, who he has been told is the only being that can break the Final Seal, while the Angels tell Dean that it is he who must prevent the Apocalypse.
In fact, both brothers are being manipulated by their "allies." Ruby is secretly an agent of Lucifer, working to get Sam to use his special demon powers. The higher ranking angels including Michael, Raphael and Zachariah want the Apocalypse to happen so that they can draw Lucifer out into the open and kill him. The Angels hold Dean in the Green Room while Sam and Ruby track Lilith down to St. Mary's Convent where the Final Seal is to be broken. Castiel frees Dean and sends him after Sam, but Sam uses his powers to kill Lilith, whose death is actually the Final Seal. Lucifer's Cage opens, and the Apocalypse begins.
As Lucifer rises from his Cage, the brothers are teleported out of harm's way by God. Finding themselves on an airplane, they witness Lucifer burst out of his prison in a blast of white light.
Immediately, Sam and Dean hear of earthquakes, tornadoes and disease spreading. Zachariah confronts the brothers, and reveals that the real carnage will not start until Lucifer enters his preordained vessel. Zachariah also reveals that Dean alone cannot possibly kill Lucifer, but he tells Dean that he is Michael's vessel, and once occupied, he can defeat Lucifer and bring paradise to Earth - though half the planet will also be destroyed. Sam learns later, from the Devil himself, that he is Lucifer's true vessel. Neither brother is willing to consent to serve as a vessel, postponing the final battle. Michael remains disembodied, but Lucifer finds a temporary vessel in Nick.
Most demons fall in line behind Lucifer, and his plans proceed. He intends to destroy humanity, and essential to his goals are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. War is the first encountered by Sam and Dean. He causes an entire town to believe there are demons among them when there are none. Famine, a weakened but still intimidating figure, is cared for by demons at Lucifer's direction. Pestilence, again assisted by demons, devises a scheme to spread the Croatoan Virus as fast as possible. Death, the oldest and most powerful horseman, is freed and Lucifer finds a way to force his obedience. With Death under his control, Lucifer orders still greater disruption. The Whore Of Babylon also serves as an instrument of destruction and misinformation. Jesse Turner, the Anti-Christ, was supposed to play an important role during the destruction of Earth, but he decided to turn away from Lucifer's plans.
Meanwhile, Castiel, having been resurrected by God, goes on a search to find God, believing him to be capable of putting an end to the Apocalypse. His efforts however are futile, as even the Archangels themselves believe God to be dead or having abandoned them.
Sam and Dean follow omens, from forest fires to biblical storms to the dead rising, and combat what they find. Other hunters are hostile toward them because rumor has spread of their involvement in starting the Apocalypse. They are constantly assaulted by both angels and demons who want to force them to serve as vessels so that the last battle may take place; all the entities against them are very concerned with destiny. Even old allies turn against them. Anna Milton, the fallen angel who helped them in the previous season, attempts to stop the Apocalypse on her own by going back in time and preventing Sam's birth. She is stopped by the Winchesters and the Archangel Michael.
The Winchesters find an unlikely ally in the Crossroads Demon Crowley, who gives them the Colt to kill Lucifer. With the aid of Castiel, Ellen, and Jo, the Winchesters launch an attack on Lucifer. Unfortunately, the Colt fails to kill Lucifer, and Ellen and Jo are lost in the process. The Winchesters are then dealt a further blow when they learn that while God has saved them and helped in other ways he no longer cares about the Apocalypse and will not step in to help.
Dean, slowly worn down by the losses and defeats, and afraid that Sam will give in to Lucifer, and that Lucifer will win, decides to say yes to Michael, but the efforts of Sam, Bobby, and Castiel keep him away from the archangel until he decides to keep fighting. After Dean rejects Michael one final time and kills Zachariah, Michael takes Adam, Sam and Dean's half-brother, as his host.
The lost Archangel Gabriel allies himself with the Winchesters and tries to kill Lucifer, but is killed himself. However, he manages to leave the Winchesters a message that tells them how they can re-imprison Lucifer using the rings of the Four Horsemen. Having already acquired Famine and War's rings, Sam, Dean, and their allies do whatever is necessary to acquire the rings from Pestilence and Death. With Crowley's help, they track down Pestilence and steal his ring. Death, seeking to be free from Lucifer, willingly gives Dean his ring.
Sam comes up with a plan to say "yes" to Lucifer, so that the angel will enter him and then Sam will throw himself into the pit. Team Free Will is reluctant to agree, but does so. Sam takes Lucifer in, but cannot control him.
Lucifer later takes Sam to Stull Cemetery to confront Michael, who now has Adam. Dean, Castiel, and Bobby interrupt them, however, and Castiel succeeds in temporarily banishing Michael. Lucifer kills Castiel and Bobby, but Dean manages to reach Sam.
Now in control, Sam opens the Cage and prepares to fall in. Michael tries to stop him, but Sam grabs him by the arm and pulls all four of them into the Cage, ending the Apocalypse. who opens the portal and tips himself, Lucifer, Adam, and Michael, over the edge and into the Cage.
God resurrects Castiel, again, this time as a Seraphim. Castiel heals Dean and resurrects Bobby before taking off to take control of Heaven in Michael's absence. Dean and Bobby later part ways.
The prophet Chuck also disappears and is not seen for a while.
|“||You rebelled - against God, Heaven, and me. Now you will atone. We'll start by freeing Lucifer and Michael from their cage. And then we'll get our show back on the road.||”|
After the Apocalypse, a civil war broke out in Heaven. Raphael, the leader of the traditionalists, intended to free Michael and Lucifer so that the Apocalypse would restart and the predestined end of the world could still be reached. Castiel, who was resurrected by God once again, opposed him, and managed—with the help of Crowley—to destroy the Archangel, inadvertently releasing a new threat upon the world in the process.
|“||You ran me from my home. Did you really think you could do all of that to me and there'd be no payback?||”|
The angel Metatron revealed to Castiel that with the end of the Apocalypse and the fall of the Archangels, Heaven was in chaos with a new civil war waging between many factions trying to take control; Naomi was revealed to be the leader of one of these said factions.
|“||My brother will dim and fade away into nothing, but not until he sees what comes next. Not until he watches this world, everything he created, everything he loves, turned to ash. Welcome to the end.||”|
After the release of the Darkness, Sam visits Lucifer in Hell in hopes of learning how to defeat the Darkness. Lucifer claims to be able to defeat the Darkness if he is released, but Sam ultimately refuses as he believes Lucifer will restart the Apocalypse once the Darkness is gone. Lucifer eventually manages to escape his Cage once again by taking Castiel as his vessel. Lucifer also tells Sam that being trapped in the Cage has driven Michael insane, further confirmed by God saying that Michael is in no shape to join them in battle against the Darkness months later.
|“||Lucifer: Every time I look at this sad little trash fire of a world, do you know what I keep thinking? I could do so much better.
Dean: So Apocalypse take two, that's your plan?
Lucifer: When in doubt, go with the classics.
When confronting Lucifer in All Along the Watchtower, the Archangel professes his desire to destroy humanity once again, prompting Dean to question "Apocalypse take two", and Lucifer to tell them that he always "goes with the classics".
In the same episode, the Winchesters and Castiel travel to a world where the Apocalypse was never averted and angels and demons are locked in battle with what's left of humanity caught in the middle. The Winchesters, Castiel and Crowley work together to lock Lucifer in this world.
Its revealed that in the Apocalypse World version of the Apocalypse, Michael killed Lucifer in the skies over Abilene, allowing Michael to take over the world. This Michael begins planning to invade the Main Universe to take it over for himself.
While in this world, Mary Winchester and Jack discover that the angels are waging a war of extermination upon the remaining human population. Bobby Singer states that when Lucifer and his demons rose from Hell and the Apocalypse began, the humans thought that the angels were there to save them but the angels turned on them one by one. After talking with Bobby, Mary realizes that the divergence in the universes occurred because her counterpart refused to make a deal with Azazel to resurrect John Winchester. As such, Sam and Dean never existed to stop the Apocalypse in that world.
After Gabriel's rescue from the Prince of Hell Asmodeus by Arthur Ketch, Sam and Castiel learn that Gabriel faked his death during the Apocalypse by tricking Lucifer into stabbing a fake duplicate of himself in order to abscond from his responsibilities and return to a life of personal enjoyment.
Lucifer is eventually killed in battle by Dean Winchester while Dean acts as the vessel for the alternate Michael. However, as a consequence, Michael is let loose upon the Main Universe in his true vessel.
In Damaged Goods, Nick finally tracks down the demon Abraxas who had murdered his family. Abraxas reveals that he murdered Nick's family on Lucifer's orders so that Lucifer could use it to manipulate Nick when the Apocalypse started. Additionally, Nick was chosen for no other reason than the fact that his name was what was landed on when Abraxas threw a dart at the phone book.
In Lebanon, after John Winchester is pulled to 2019 from 2003, his sons inform him of the events that he has missed, including the Apocalypse. The disappearance of John in 2003 creates an alternate timeline where Sam and Dean never started hunting together again and thus the Apocalypse never happened. While investigating the temporal disturbance, the alternate timeline Zachariah comments on how the angels had big plans for the Winchesters before their father disappeared. Zachariah realizes that the Winchesters are responsible and sets the alternate Castiel on Dean while he tries to torture information out of Sam. Sam kills Zachariah and banishes Castiel. Once John is returned to his own time, history is restored back to normal, including the events of the Apocalypse.
- The term 'Armageddon' refers to the climatic duel between Jesus Christ and the Anti-Christ, which, supposedly, is to happen on the mountain of Mageddo, hence the name Ar-mageddo-n (הר מגידו, Hebrew for the The Mountain of Mageddo). The term 'Judgment Day' refers to a time frame when all people stand before God the Father and are judged.
- Incidentally, according to Death, at the End of all things, he'll reap God.
- Gabriel refers to the Apocalypse as "Sunday Dinner", indicating that, while calamitous in human terms, in cosmic terms, although still a special, unusual event, the Judeo-Christian Apocalypse isn't that big of a deal.
- The term "Apocalypse", in Greek, actually means "Revelation" which is why the last book of The Bible is called "Revelation", given that it was John's revelation of the End from God. Many New-Age movements suggest a less cataclysmic event of the "Unveiling" or the "Revelations" and more of an access of hidden knowledge, or humanity gaining a higher power or plane of existence.
- The alternate timeline of The End shows what would have happened if Lucifer won the Apocalypse. The Apocalypse World shows what would have happened if Michael won. Neither is favorable for humanity. However, ironically, the former is better for the Earth as a whole.
- The alternate Charlie Bradbury of Apocalypse World revealed to Sam that when Michael and Lucifer began their war in her world, an EMP type of blast occurred over North America, frying all technology and power plants.
- The Devil You Know
- On The Head Of A Pin
- Abandon All Hope...
- Sympathy for the Devil
- Changing Channels
- Hammer of the Gods
- Swan Song
- Good God, Y'all
- Lucifer Rising
- The Song Remains the Same
- My Bloody Valentine
- Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
- Two Minutes to Midnight
- I Believe the Children Are Our Future
- 99 Problems
- Point of No Return
- Swap Meat
- Free To Be You and Me
- Let the Good Times Roll
- The French Mistake
- Weekend at Bobby's
- This state has town names matching those listed
- Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester
- The End
- All Along the Watchtower