Many people ask questions about the end of the world. Some people think the end will come gradually, as the sun slowly burns out over the next several billion years. Others think the end will come much more suddenly. Perhaps, as exiting recent catastrophe movies suggest, by an asteroid, or a nuclear disaster, or an alien invasion! Thinking about these question can make us afraid. So, what does the Bible say about the end of the world?
What the Bible tells us
There are a couple of things we can know for sure:
- This world will come to an end. See 2 Peter 3:10: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.“
- The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 that this day will come unexpectedly: “Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” Even Jesus didn’t know when He would return (Mark 13:32), and we are not allowed to know (Acts 1:7).
- The Bible also explains why this day has not yet come: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The time between Jesus’ first and second coming is time of grace: God gives us time to accept His love and to put our trust in Him. God is giving time for His Good News to be preached to all the tribes and tongues and nations in the world, so that people from every nation and ethnicity will be saved (Revelation 7:9-10).
- God will send Jesus back to earth on the last day to judge the world (Acts 17:31). Jesus will summon us all back from the grave, resurrecting some to life, and resurrecting others to be condemned (John 5:28-29).
- For whoever believes in Jesus, the day of the Lord will be a day of joy. They need not be afraid: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). But if you have rejected him, Jesus will punish you for your sins with everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).
The world will come to an end, and we see the signs of that. In Matthew 24:6-8, we read: “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.”
Birth pain is real pain. But it is pain expecting something wonderful. Nowadays, we see really people suffer; there is a lot of pain. But the Bible calls the sufferings of this world birth pains. A new world is about to be born. A new reality will come, in which we will see God’s glory, and in which there will be no more suffering. If a mother holds her newborn, she forgets about the pain. Only joy remains.
Revelation 21 tells us: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
That is the future we are expecting. Until that day will come, we share the good news about God’s love that Jesus Christ reveals to us. For whoever believes in him, trusts in him, will have eternal life!
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