Predicting the end of the world has become trendy again. Maybe it’s because of the current global recession, or the political mess that the entire Middle East is fast becoming. Or maybe it’s because the History channel for some reason never seems to air shows about actual history any more, preferring instead to expound upon their own theories depicting such things as the Mayan calendar and aliens helping where evolution has apparently failed. Whatever the reason, most of the predictions about the end of the world have about as much merit as comic strips from the 1970’s depicting homeless guys wearing cardboard signs that say the end is near.
The average person has no idea what the term the end of the world even means. Sadly, most people have little to no knowledge of the Bible and therefore default to an atheist/agnostic concept that the end of the world (be it from a nuclear war or an asteroid) is a single event which is ultimate in its finality. If it turns out God does exist, they suppose that good people will then go to heaven and bad people will go to hell, and that’s that. No doubt they all figure to be included among the good people; after all they are not as bad as Hitler or that child molester who was on the news. That notion is no more correct than their conceptual image regarding the end of the world.
From a Biblical perspective, I can make a prediction that is 100% accurate: The end of the world is at least 1,007 years away. You can bet on that. You should probably plan on dying an individual death, from something or another, long before this earth is destroyed. And you better get straight where you are going when that happens. If God is real, and the Bible is true, you are going to the same place as Hitler and the child molester if you have not received Jesus as your Lord and savior. Oh, there may be a slightly hotter spot in that place reserved for them, but it will still be uncomfortably hot where you are. The eternal hell is a place of torment (no small part of which is probably from kicking yourself in the butt), so why go there at all? Especially when you have been invited to an eternal paradise!
Jesus, forgive me. I open my heart to you. I confess that I am a sinner and I ask you to save me. Come into my heart. I repent from my sin and turn to you. Help me, Lord, and I will follow you.
Hey that was easy. And doesn’t it feel great? Like a giant weight lifted off your shoulders. All your sins have been forgiven! Jesus paid the price for them on the cross, baby. And by receiving him, you have been washed clean. What? You just read that last paragraph, and didn’t pray it from your heart? For crying out loud go back right now and pray those words, man! Get some relief! Have all your debt erased and inherit everlasting life. It’s the biggest no-brainer in the history of mankind.
Now, about the end of the world. It happens in a series of events, as follows:
- The rapture takes place. This is where Jesus returns to the cloud level and pulls his people out of the earth, as we have some cool events to be attending in heaven (while the rest of the world gets ready for the tribulation period). We receive new glorified immortal bodies at this time.
- The anti-christ comes to power. The rapture removed the restraining power of the Holy Spirit, which has kept him from being revealed up until this point. The anti-christ is actually two people, but the person we are referring to when using that term will be a powerful world political leader. His partner will be a false prophet that can perform signs and wonders.
- Wars in Israel, including the battle of Ezekiel 38-39. It is possible that these happen before the anti-christ is revealed.
- God’s wrath is poured out upon the earth for the final 3.5 years of the 7-year tribulation period in an incredible series of judgments like the world has never seen. The sea will be poisoned, as will fresh water supplies. Cataclysmic natural disasters and disease will run rampant. Terrible wars will be fought, including the massive battle of Armageddon. Most of the world’s population will not survive.
- The second coming of Jesus. He returns riding on a white horse, followed by a multitude of his followers. Most likely this will end the battle of Armageddon. The first time Jesus came it was as a servant, and he was slain like a lamb. This second time it will be as a conqueror and he will rule as a lion. His return results in the destruction of the warring nations. The anti-christ (both of them) are thrown into the eternal hell, which is described as an eternal lake of fire. They are its first occupants. (Everybody else who went to hell are still being held in the temporary hell, which is located in the center of the earth).
- Jesus sets up his kingdom upon the Earth. He will reign for 1,000 years as king of the world. It will be an efficient government, from God, and he will be the perfect good monarch. Life on earth will be in paradise-like conditions, and people will be free of health problems. The small percentage of the population that survived the tribulation judgments will be the subjects of the kingdom. Immortal followers of Jesus (who were raptured) will help him reign, probably as regional governors. During this 1,000 period Satan is chained in a bottomless pit.
- Towards the end of the thousand year reign of Christ, Satan is let out of the pit and he leads one final revolt against Christ. This is quickly vanquished. Satan and his army then join the anti-christ in the eternal hell.
- Final judgment. Everyone waiting in the temporary hell appears before the throne of God, and anyone whose name is not found written in the lamb’s book of life goes to the eternal hell. (Please note you get your name written in that book of life by simply receiving Jesus, in this life. Maybe you want to go back up the page and actually pray that prayer now?)
- The end of the world. Finally we are there! It is also the end of heaven. Heaven and earth are destroyed and a new heaven and new earth are created. Eternity in paradise with God for the rest of us.
So what exactly are you predicting when you predict the end of the world? The atheist/agnostic concept just isn’t real. The only thing you could try and predict is the rapture, since all other events follow in suit from there. (We already know when the actual second coming of Christ is, being as the above specific series of events in points 2 through 4 must happen first.)
But Jesus said that the day and the hour no man knows. In fact, he said the angels don’t know it either, and neither did He – at that time anyway, when in his mortal body in the form of a servant – only the Father knows. This means it is not knowable by man, not from scripture, not from a Mayan calendar, and not from ancient carvings by an alien.