By Irvin Baxter
From the fear of “the bomb” in the early 1950s, to the global warming scare today that America is dying in a sea of pollution, “the end of the world” has concerned us since we were school children. Today, we continue to live in fear of nuclear annihilation, terrorism, epidemics, droughts, famine, tsunamis and earthquakes.
Many see a connection between today’s news and the ancient “end-time” prophecies recorded in scripture. Others have become skeptical because of the failed “end of the world” prophecies of self-styled prophets. Such skepticism has been driven by educators and theologians who question the accuracy and authority of scripture. Ordinary people, who say they believe in God, are confused about the future because they don’t know what the Bible actually says.
We’ve heard of a period of time known as “The Final 7 Years.” But does it really mean the final seven years to the end of the world? Let’s look at the prophecy.
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Daniel 9:27
This prophecy is more commonly known as Daniel’s 70th Week. In this passage we learn that the Confirmation of the Covenant is the event that starts this period. The Confirmation of the Covenant refers to the covenant that God made with Abraham in Genesis 15:18. This is going to establish the borders of Israel and create a sharing arrangement of the Temple Mount. As we continue reading we find that the animal sacrifices and the abomination of desolation will occur in the midst or middle of this seven year period. Jesus Christ spoke specifically about the abomination of desolation in Matthew 24:15-21 and He told us that it would be the event that would launch the Great Tribulation. The Bible tells us that the Great Tribulation is the time when Satan will pour out his wrath through the Antichrist for 42 months or three and a half years. Ultimately this leads to the Battle of Armageddon.
When we get to the end of the tribulation, which is also the end of the 70th week, one of the greatest events will take place.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:29-31
After the tribulation Jesus Christ is going to return to this earth. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the most awaited event of the church and it will truly be a glorious day. However, this is still not the end of the world.
Revelation 20 teaches us that after the return of Jesus Christ, He and His church will rule and reign on the earth for a thousand years. The Bible teaches us that this period of time will be a time of peace and that there will not be one war throughout the entire period. We also learn in Revelation 20:2-3 that Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit for the thousand years. Living in a world without a devil is going to be a wonderful and peaceful experience.
Once the thousand years are completed, Satan is loosed from his prison. Somehow, even with Jesus ruling on the earth, Satan will manage to convince a large portion of the earth to come against God and His saints. It is at this last attack that God smites the earth with fire and devours the army. Immediately after this John sees every man being judged by God and all those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life cast into the lake of fire for all eternity.
The Bible does not specifically say the world will end after the millennium but it appears that it is destroyed by fire along with humanity. Also, when we take into consideration that all enter into eternity after this point, whether it be eternal damnation or eternal life, it seems clear that nothing else takes place on the earth or that the earth is even in existence.
Now remember that there is a seven year period before the coming of the Lord and another one thousand years after He returns. So regardless of predictions that we may hear about the end of the world, we have the answer from the most reliable source of truth, the Bible.