Resources for the members of the United Church of God

The End of the World: Will It Really Happen? Should You Be Worried?

You are here

The End of the World

Will It Really Happen? Should You Be Worried?

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×

Predictions abound about massive worldwide upheaval and the end of the world. They are found in popular sci-fi movies and books, religious figures proclaim it and Internet sites are filled with theories about the complete annihilation of the human race in the near future.

In this fall issue of Compass Check magazine, which is our pre-Feast issue, let’s address this vital question for all of us: Will the world end, or is there a better one coming?

First, some bad news

Jesus’ disciples asked Him the question we are addressing in this article. Specifically, they asked Jesus in Matthew 24:3 Matthew 24:3And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?
American King James Version×
: “ … And what will be the sign of Your coming, and the end of the age?” This was in the context of events just prior to His return to the earth. But note that they referred to this as “the end of the age” and not “the end of the world,” as some have incorrectly translated this.

This is key to our understanding. The disciples were asking about the end of “this present evil age” (see Galatians 1:4 Galatians 1:4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
American King James Version×
). So Jesus told them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:7-8 Matthew 24:7-8 [7] For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. [8] All these are the beginning of sorrows.
American King James Version×
).

Elsewhere the Bible details those other “sorrows.” The book of Revelation describes many worldwide events that are coming, including cosmic disturbances such as the darkening of the sun and moon and the plummeting of meteors from the sky (Revelation 6:12-13 Revelation 6:12-13 [12] And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, see, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; [13] And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
American King James Version×
); colossal environmental disasters impacting vegetation (Revelation 8:7 Revelation 8:7The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
American King James Version×
), sea life (verse 8) and the atmosphere (verse 12); and the most powerful, destructive earthquake in the history of mankind (Revelation 16:18 Revelation 16:18And there were voices, and thunders, and lightning; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were on the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
American King James Version×
). We’re talking about a pretty big deal here!

But why do these end-time events have to take place? Mankind is stubborn and generally does not want Almighty God to rule their lives. This stubbornness started about 6,000 years ago in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were told by God to not eat of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Instead of obeying God and trusting in Him, they chose to follow Satan and their human nature. Simply put, they rebelled against God and thought they knew better than God! (You can review the beginning of the “bad news” in Genesis 2:16-17 Genesis 2:16-17 [16] And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.
American King James Version×
, Genesis 3:1-19 Genesis 3:1-19 [1] Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden? [2] And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: [3] But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. [4] And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die: [5] For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. [6] And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her; and he did eat. [7] And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. [8] And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. [9] And the LORD God called to Adam, and said to him, Where are you? [10] And he said, I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. [11] And he said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded you that you should not eat? [12] And the man said, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. [13] And the LORD God said to the woman, What is this that you have done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. [14] And the LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life: [15] And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. [16] To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you. [17] And to Adam he said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life; [18] Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb of the field; [19] In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and to dust shall you return.
American King James Version×
.)

God cannot bless rebellion and sin. Sin is the breaking of His holy laws as we find in 1 John 3:4 1 John 3:4Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
American King James Version×
: “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”

Take war, for example, and the sixth commandment in Exodus 20:13 Exodus 20:13You shall not kill.
American King James Version×
: “You shall not murder.” In the following quote we read about the devastating loss of human life to war. It is tragic!

“At least 108 million people were killed in wars in the twentieth century. Estimates for the total number killed in wars throughout all of human history range from 150 million to 1 billion. Of the past 3,400 years, humans have been entirely at peace for 268 of them, or 8 percent of recorded history” (The New York Times, July 6, 2003).

The Bible shows that in the end-time, war will once again be on the rise. When will mankind learn that war does not bring peace?

So far, it looks like the end-of-the-world folks are pretty close to the mark. Will mankind survive all this upheaval? Humanly, we can’t.

Now, the good news

The Bible reveals that mankind would be entirely wiped off the face of the earth except for the sudden and universe-changing rescue by Jesus Christ! Jesus gave the disciples (and us too) hope and assurance: “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved [alive]; but for the elect’s sake [the sake of those God is working with today] those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22 Matthew 24:22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×
).

Tragically, even when God the Father sends Jesus Christ to this earth to rescue us from total destruction, mankind will fight the Son of God. Notice in Revelation 19:19 Revelation 19:19And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
American King James Version×
: “And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.” This shows how totally deceived our world will become during the dark close of this age.

The return of Jesus Christ to rescue planet earth is pictured in the meaning of the first fall Festival, the Feast of Trumpets. Jesus’ return initiates the resurrection of the saints of God who have died in the faith or who are alive when He returns. You can read this in Matthew 24:30-31 Matthew 24:30-31 [30] 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. [31] 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.
American King James Version×
: “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then 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. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Satan bound

Satan’s influence over humanity will then be ended for an entire 1,000 years, which is the meaning of the Day of Atonement. Satan will be bound and thrust into the bottomless pit, which pictures a place of restraint, where he and the demons cannot influence humanity.

This is found in Revelation 20:1-3 Revelation 20:1-3 [1] And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. [2] And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, [3] And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
American King James Version×
: “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.”

A better world coming

God gives us confidence to know that the world won’t end in the way that many predict. With the upheaval surrounding Christ’s return and the changes He will then bring, the world as we know it will come to an end at that future time—though the earth itself and humankind will survive. This is wonderful news!

So what happens after Jesus intervenes to set things straight and prevent life on earth from being destroyed? Our planet will be in rough shape. But God has a plan for everything, and His plan for what follows after Christ’s return is amazing and beautiful. The meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles pictures this time.

Jesus Christ will rule the world from Jerusalem and be our loving King (Isaiah 2:2 Isaiah 2:2And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
American King James Version×
, 9:7, Isaiah 11:1-5). War will be a relic of the past (Isaiah 2:4 Isaiah 2:4And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
American King James Version×
, Isaiah 11:9). God will miraculously transform major portions of the world so mankind can inhabit these areas (Isaiah 35:1 Isaiah 35:1The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
American King James Version×
). The law of God will be taught to all people around the world (Isaiah 2:3 Isaiah 2:3And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
American King James Version×
), and God’s Holy Spirit will be available to everyone so repentance can take place (Isaiah 25:7-9 Isaiah 25:7-9 [7] And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. [8] He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD has spoken it. [9] And it shall be said in that day, See, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
American King James Version×
; Ezekiel 36:26-27 Ezekiel 36:26-27 [26] A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. [27] And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.
American King James Version×
, 31). Even the wild nature of animals will be removed (Isaiah 11:6-8 Isaiah 11:6-8 [6] The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatted calf together; and a little child shall lead them. [7] And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. [8] And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
American King James Version×
). God will remove the veil of spiritual blindness so all people can learn about Him (2 Corinthians 3:13-18 2 Corinthians 3:13-18 [13] And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: [14] But their minds were blinded: for until this day remains the same veil not taken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ. [15] But even to this day, when Moses is read, the veil is on their heart. [16] Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. [17] Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. [18] But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD.
American King James Version×
; Isaiah 2:2-3 Isaiah 2:2-3 [2] And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. [3] And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
American King James Version×
).

Those individuals whom God the Father has drawn during this physical life to have a relationship with Him and His Son, and who have been faithful in this calling, will be blessed with eternal spirit life in the Kingdom of God. “ … And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
American King James Version×
).

The Bible shows that there are some very difficult and dangerous times ahead—“some bad news.” Thankfully, we also know that in His goodness and mercy God won’t allow mankind to be destroyed, but will send Jesus Christ back to earth to intervene—“the good news.” God tells us in Revelation 20 that those in the “first resurrection” will be “blessed and holy” (Revelation 20:6 Revelation 20:6Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
American King James Version×
).

So now that we know what to expect from the future, what should we do about it? We need to put this knowledge into action. When you and I personally come to the point in our lives that we don’t want to live any longer by our own rules or the ways of this world, and instead submit to God, accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Master and repent of our sins, then we may be baptized and, with the laying on of hands, receive God’s Holy Spirit. (Search “The Holy Spirit: God’s Power at Work” at ucg.org .) This, too, is really good news.

God is our place of refuge

The ultimate “place of refuge” is in your personal relationship with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. We read this in Psalms 9:9-10 Psalms 9:9-10 [9] The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. [10] And they that know your name will put their trust in you: for you, LORD, have not forsaken them that seek you.
American King James Version×
: “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

God gives us understanding of what’s coming to give us peace and to prepare us for things to come. God gives us peace, a calmness and hope in our lives. We don’t need to worry about the future of the world. God is in charge of all things and His love for humanity will not be thwarted by Satan or mankind. God reigns supreme.

Prophecy gives us knowledge of future events so we can draw closer to God. So don’t worry about the end of the world. Instead, look forward to the far better world to come!