Ever since the world began, people have been wondering about its end.
Literature throughout the ages explores what the end of the world might be like. Blockbuster movies paint pictures of destruction from earthquakes, alien invasions, nuclear warfare and asteroid collisions. While there might be much to say about it, the end of the world is an unknown quantity to many people.
In God’s Church, we are blessed with significant and uncommon understanding of what “the end of the world” will actually be like. The Bible even comments on the end of the age within its opening pages, a passage we will turn to shortly.
Biblical prophecies about the end times do speak of dire and horrifying events in the future. In Leviticus 26:16, God vows He will bring “sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever” to the nation which does not obey Him (New International Version). As another example, God discusses a soon-coming beast power in Revelation 13. It will have vast control over the world’s economies and brutally murder those who oppose or refuse to worship it, especially the Church of God (verses 15-18).
These and other end-time events are disturbing and troubling to many. What can you do to grow in courage and not be so afraid? How can you stop worrying about the end of the world?
Perhaps the most important thing to remember regarding the end times and prophecy in general is that God is sovereign and in control of all things. God inspired the words of the Bible, and prophecies are only going to be fulfilled as part of His schedule and His plan.
“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you” (2 Chronicles 20:6; NIV). Ultimately, God reigns over all the nations we see today. Nothing happens without Him either (1) making it happen or (2) allowing it to happen. Even in humanity’s darkest hours, God is working behind the scenes.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling” (Psalm 46:1-3). When intense natural disasters strike, like those in the end times, God is a sure protector and source of strength.
Our sovereign God is guaranteed to win and, incredibly, He is inviting you and me to join Him. We can be confident of the fact that Jesus Christ will return and that God’s faithful will get to be like Him as He is (1 John 1:1-3). As astounding as it sounds, this was God’s plan from the very beginning!
On the Bible’s opening pages, God says this about Satan and foretells an end to his worldwide deception: “I will put enmity between you [speaking to Satan] and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15).
That “Seed” is Jesus Christ. He is returning to stamp out Satan’s evil from the earth and establish truth and justice. The Messiah will put an end to the violence, destruction and suffering of the end times and usher in an age of joy and peace. “Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Corinthians 15:54). This present, evil age will be replaced by the glorious Kingdom of God (Galatians 1:3-5). We can be absolutely sure that this will happen because this is God’s plan, and He is in control.
You and I also have a role to play in this. God expects us to persevere in His truth to the end, no matter what. Note what God says about those who do so in Revelation 3:10: “I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world.” God, who is in control of everything, is certainly able to protect His Church in a time of crisis. He extends an offer of end-time protection to those who faithfully and wholeheartedly follow Him (Zephaniah 2:3).
We should take action as a result of our belief that God is in control. Let’s look at just two important ways that you can take action and strengthen yourself as you persevere to the end.
Pray to develop a trusting relationship with God (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer is one way that you can get to know God and more deeply understand His Will for your life. Navigating life’s ups and downs can be difficult. Turn to Him on both the good days and the bad, talking to Him both when it’s easy and when it’s hard.
“Do not despise prophecies” (1 Thessalonians 5:20). Another important action we can take is to not neglect but instead become familiar with the prophetic insight God provides. Prophecies of historical events demonstrate God’s control and influence over human affairs, which can really help build our faith. Likewise, we can look to the Bible’s end-time prophecies with comfort and confidence that they will proceed just as God has planned because He is in control. Furnishing a good understanding of prophecies about “the end of the world” can help stop you from worrying or being afraid of it. If you aren’t sure where to begin or what to look for, the United Church of God has many different resources to help guide your studies. God wants us to live by His every word, and prophecy is no exception (Matthew 4:4).
The end of this age is coming; the Bible leaves no doubt about that. But God does not want us to worry about this treacherous time. He wants us to remember that in the good times and the bad, He is still in control. God is willing to protect and comfort His people, even in the despair of the end times. We must draw near to Him in spite of these trying circumstances, with prayer and with confidence in His Word, looking forward to the time when God will establish a new age of goodness, peace and joy on earth. In that day, the entire world will recognize God’s sovereignty and take comfort in the fact that He is in control.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:31-34, NIV).