“The end of the world is near—again! For centuries, dooms-dayers have prophesied the apocalypse. But there’s a tiny catch: None of the end-of-world predictions ever come true.” (“The Best Apocalypses in History.”)
History abounds with failed doomsday predictions. Even famed explorer Christopher Columbus predicted in 1501 that the world would only last 155 more years ending in 1656. A more recent prophecy based on the Mayan calendar claimed the end would come on December 21, 2012. This year, “World One,” a computer program developed in 1973 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), predicts the beginning of a series of catastrophic events leading to the end of human civilization.
Theoretical physicist Matt Caplan believes that not only the Earth but the entire universe will cease to exist…sometime over the “next few trillion years.” Perhaps we shouldn’t worry too much. But then again, the National Resources Defense Council believes we have only 20 years before climate change produces irreparable damage to our earth. Will global warming take us out in just a few short generations?
As Christians, should we be worried about the end of the world? And what does the Bible say about what to expect?
Yes, It’s coming!
“Let not your heart be troubled,” Jesus said. “I will come again” (John 14:1, 3). The Bible is unequivocal: The end of the world is coming. How? Jesus, our precious Savior, will come again to end the pain and sadness in this world and create all things new.
Speaking to his disciples on the Mount of Olives Jesus said, “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:38,39).
Our Savior compares His second coming to the unexpected cataclysmic event of the flood. His return will bring the world as we know it to an end. Scripture is clear that the Second Coming will be sudden and unexpected. Christ said, “of that day and hour no one knows” (Matthew 24:36).
Yet the manner of Jesus’ return is clearly revealed.
- It will be visible. “Every eye will see Him,” (Revelation 1:7).
- We will hear Him. “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
- Like the flood, this will be a literal worldwide event. “All the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).
- His return will be glorious. “The Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels” (Matthew 16:27).
- It will be unlike anything the world has ever witnessed. John saw in vision that, “there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth,” (Revelation 16:18) and “every mountain and island was moved out of its place,” (Revelation 6:14).
- No one will have to tell us about it when it happens. It will be impossible to miss! Jesus warned, “If anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it” (Matthew 24:23, 24).
Our Blessed Hope
“Christ is coming with clouds and with great glory. A multitude of shining angels will attend Him. He will come to raise the dead, and to change the living saints from glory to glory. He will come to honor those who have loved Him, and kept His commandments, and to take them to Himself. He has not forgotten them nor His promise” (The Desire of Ages, Ellen G. White, p.632.3).
The second coming of Christ is the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) of every believer. We can have full confidence that Jesus will come again. Why? Because He was victorious over Satan at the cross. In fact, the success of His first coming guarantees the certainty of His second.
The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus “appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself,” and that He “will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Hebrew 9:26, 27). “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them,” (Colossians 2:15). He was “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).
Christ won a decisive victory over the powers of darkness at the cross. Because of this, we can have confidence that He is coming again to end Satan’s dominion and restore the world to its original Edenic beauty.
Jesus is coming! But when will it be?
Thankfully our merciful God has not left us in the dark. The careful study of Scripture reveals that Jesus is coming soon. Very soon!
In upcoming articles, we will be looking at fulfilled prophecies in history as well as comparing the Bible with current events to understand where we are in the flow of prophetic time. Be prepared to see how prophecy is unfolding before your very eyes!
The end is near, but no man or earthly theory can accurately predict how or when it will happen. The only reliable guide we have is the Word of God. His Word tells us that the end of this world is just the beginning for those who love Him. The Good Shepherd is leading us into eternity. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27,28).
During the days of Noah, the only safe place was in the ark. Today, the only safe place is in Christ. As children of the King, we do not need to fear the end of the world because “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). We are free to look forward with hope to that moment when we will “meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).