The end of the world – What does the Bible say?
The Bible says much about what will happen to the earth at the end of time. Many specific events are noted that include the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), a seven-year tribulation (Revelation 6—12), the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:11-21), a 1,000-year millennial kingdom led by Jesus from Jerusalem (Revelation 20:1-6), a final uprising by Satan and his followers (Revelation 20:7-10), a final judgment (Revelation 20:11-15), the destruction of the earth (2 Peter 3:10), and the creation of a new heaven and earth free from sin and death (Revelation 21—22).
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Specifically, the end of the earth often refers to the destruction of the planet as we know it. The one passage that describes this event is 2 Peter 3:10 that states, "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." This notes the sky (heavens) will end, the sun, moon, and stars will burn up (heavenly bodies), and the earth will be exposed (or "burned up" in some translations).
Revelation 21:1-2 says, "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." It simply states the first heaven and earth will be gone, along with the seas, and a new reality will exist. Verse 5 adds the Lord saying, "Behold, I am making all things new."
Second Peter 3:11-13 describe how believers are to respond to the future end of the world: "Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." These words include several important applications.
First, believers are to live holy and godly lives. This includes how we love God as well as other people (Matthew 22:37-40). This also impacts how we share our faith, knowing that time is limited and many have yet to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord.
Second, we are to greatly anticipate our future dwelling with the Lord. Whether we die and enter God's presence or Jesus returns for us during our lifetime, we are to "encourage one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:18). The end of the world is a comfort for those who believe in Christ and daily live for Him.
Third, we can also look forward to eternity with all of God's people. This will include Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Ruth, Joshua, Esther, Peter, Mary, and other saints from the Bible, as well as believing family members and friends who have gone before us. We can confidently know we will see them again in eternity, knowing that those who believe in the Lord have eternal life (1 John 5:13).
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