The End of theWorld
Since the beginning of human history, speculation about the end of the world has fascinated mankind. Myths and stories about the end of the earth exist in almost every religion and culture ever known. And yet, somehow, men seem unsatisfied with the answers they receive. They turn to Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, or ancient Hindu writings hoping to uncover some modicum of truth that will satisfy their innate desire to know something about the future and the ultimate fate of the world.
Never has mankind's fascination with the end been more prevalent than it is today. Fears of global warming saturate the news media. Worry over a nuclear holocaust persists into its sixth decade. And storylines of asteroids, comets, aliens, or bio-engineered super-diseases wiping out all planetary life continue to dominate the themes of many Hollywood blockbusters. Throughout the world, people are plagued with the same recurring questions. Will the human race become extinct? Will nuclear war or global warming destroy the biosphere? Will the world as we know it continue to exist?
The answer to these questions and many others concerning the end of the world are not found in the writings of Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, or any other self-professed psychic. They can't be found in Islamic, Hindu, or Buddhist writings. However, they can be found in the Bible. The bible, which has a track record of 100% accuracy when it comes to future events, has much to say about the ultimate fate of the earth, the people who live here, and creation itself. For those who wish to know the answers to these age old questions, the bible is your definitive source.
What the Bible Says
According to the bible, the earth is eternal. So despite what some people say, we shouldn't worry about the earth itself being destroyed. However, throughout the ages, the nature of the earth has changed, and it will change again in the near future.
The Book of Genesis teaches that God created the earth and everything in it to be perfect. However, the nature of the earth changed when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. This act prompted God to place a curse on the earth, and it radically transformed the nature of the earth itself. Several centuries later, the human race had become so corrupt that God decided to destroy it with a flood. However, God spared Noah and his family, allowing them to repopulate the earth of the present day.
Throughout these changes, the earth as a creation has remained intact. But its nature has been radically altered twice. The bible teaches that it will soon be altered third time, and this time, the result will be far different from the previous ages.
The New World
Verses throughout the bible point to the creation of a new earth. This shouldn't be viewed as an entirely new physical creation by God. Rather it should be viewed as a highly transformative process whereby the current earth is reshaped by the hand of God to create a different world. The prophet Isaiah described this process over two thousand years ago:
"Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth " so wonderful that no one will even think about the old ones anymore. Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard no more.' Isaiah 65:17-19 (NLT)
The nature of the present earth will change dramatically. It will be transformed from a place of sadness and weeping to a place of intense happiness, where "the sound of weeping and crying will be heard no more." The creation of this new earth is also mentioned by Peter who encourages us to live our lives in accordance with God's will. He encourages us to do so, because he knows this present age will soon pass:
"And God has also commanded that the heavens and the earth will be consumed by fire on the day of judgment, when ungodly people will perish." 2 Peter 3:7 (NLT)
"But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and everything in them will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be exposed to judgment." 2 Peter 3:10 (NLT)
"Since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives you should be living! You should look forward to that day and hurry it along - the day when God will set the heavens on fire and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and the new earth he has promised, a world where everyone is right with God." 2 Peter 3:11-13 (NLT)
From these passages, it is clear that God will one day use fire to create a new earth from the present world. It will be dramatically different from the one in which we live. But how different? What will the new earth look like? The bible provides us with a vivid illustration.
What Will the Future Earth Look Like?
The Book of Isaiah contains a wealth of information on the nature, quality, and characteristics of the new earth. One of the first references is found in Chapter 11:
"In that day, the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard and the goat will be at peace. Calves and yearlings will be safe among lions, and a little child will lead them all. The cattle will graze among bears. Cubs and calves will lie down together. And lions will eat grass as the livestock do. Babies will crawl safely among poisonous snakes. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes and pull it out unharmed. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain. And as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord." Isaiah 11:6-9 (NLT)
God will finally lift the curse He placed on the earth following the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. This curse created a conflict between the animal kingdom and mankind with many humans killing animals and many animals killing humans. But on the new earth, "nothing will hurt or destroy." And the number of people who know the Lord will be as endless as the waters in the sea.
Isaiah continues his description in Chapter 65:
"No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only sinners will die that young! In those days, people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. It will not be like the past, when invaders took the houses and confiscated the vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees and will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains. They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the Lord, and their children, too, will be blessed. I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking to me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! The wolf and lamb will feed together. The lion will eat straw like the ox. Poisonous snakes will strike no more. In those days, no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the Lord, have spoken!" Isaiah 65:20-25 (NLT)
Babies will not die, and the lifespan of the human race will be extended well beyond current expectations. Life expectancy will be so great that the death of a one hundred year old person will be a notable tragedy. People will enjoy the fruits of their labor without fear that someone will come and steal what they have. The people of the new earth will be so close to God that He will answer their prayers before they have even prayed them! Animals who are natural enemies in our age will become friends on the new earth, and all the animals of the earth will be herbivores.
In addition, waters will burst forth and give life to that which was previously uninhabitable:
"And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unstop the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will shout and sing! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the desert. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived." Isaiah 35:5-7 (NLT)
The first part of this passage was partially fulfilled in the miracles of Jesus Christ. Through the life of Christ, the human race received a glimpse of the new earth that is to come. It will be a place where the miracles performed by Christ two thousand years ago will be in perpetual abundance. The blind will see. The deaf will hear. The lame will leap like deer, and the mute will shout and sing.
Meanwhile, the land will be blessed with life-giving water:
"On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean, flowing continuously both in summer and winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord - his name alone will be worshiped." Zechariah 14:8-9 (NLT)
The Dead Sea will spring to life, and the name of the Lord alone will be worshiped throughout the world. All idols, false religions, and false prophets will disappear. The new earth will be filled with people who know the Lord and are devoted to Him only.
More importantly, the Lord Himself will be king over all of the earth. He will dwell among His people, providing them with everything they need:
"In the last days, the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem will become the most important place on earth. People from all over the world will go there to worship. Many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Israel. There he will teach us his ways, so that we may obey him." For in those days the Lord's teaching and his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will settle international disputes. All the nations will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. All wars will stop, and military training will come to an end. Everyone will live quietly in their own homes in peace and prosperity, for there will be nothing to fear. The Lord Almighty has promised this!" Micah 4:1-4 (NLT)
On the new earth, Jerusalem will be the center of the world. It will be the dwelling place of the Lord, and people from every nation will travel to Jerusalem to worship and to have their disputes settled. War will no longer exist. Because of this, armies and weapons will no longer exist. The Lord will settle all disputes, and the people will devote the energy they previously expended on war to prosperous living and worship of the Lord. Peace and prosperity will be abundant, and there will be nothing to fear.
Knowing what we now know about the new earth, who would not want to live there? Unfortunately, the bible also tells us that many will turn down their invitation to this blessed new world. The only way to get there will be to place one's trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, who will be the undisputed ruler of the new earth.
When Will This Future World Arrive?
Because the new earth is the creation of Jesus Christ, it will not arrive until after His Glorious Appearing. In the interim, many politicians, idealists, and others will conjure their own ideas of how to create such a world. But placing faith in any of these people or their schemes will only lead to disappointment.
For the bible is clear that the new earth will only arrive when God comes to physically dwell among His people:
"I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, 'Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.'" Revelation 21:3-4 (NLT)
When God dwells among men, the earth will no longer harbor death or sorrow or crying or pain. It will be a new world. The old world will have come to an end - its evils gone forever.
The End of the World is Not to be Feared
Knowing the promises of the Lord, none of us should live in fear of the end of the world. The present fears of this world are fleeting in nature, and the Lord is in perfect control. He has made clear the end from the beginning, and it is clear that the final end of this world is not a time to mourn, but rather a time to celebrate. Jesus Himself reiterated this concept:
"The courage of many people will falter because of the fearful fate they see coming upon the earth, because the stability of the very heavens will be broken up. Then everyone will see the Son of Man arrive on the clouds with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand straight and look up, for your salvation is near!" Luke 21:26-28 (NLT)
The arrival of Jesus Christ at the Glorious Appearing should not be a time of anguish, but a time to rejoice. Although we are familiar with the things of this world, we can not fathom the glory of that which God has in store for us. It will far surpass the things of this world, so we should patiently and eagerly await the Lord's return. For Christ's return will bring with it our salvation and the blessings of the new earth.
Those who worry about the end of the world or live in fear of a great worldwide catastrophe are not living their lives in accordance with God. For God tells us to live boldly and without fear of the things of this world:
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
Don't worry about global warming or a nuclear holocaust. Don't live in fear of a worldwide pandemic or asteroids or comets or aliens or massive volcanoes. The Lord is in control of everything, and He has already revealed what will happen to this present age. He will usher in the end of the world and transform the earth into his own dwelling place. Therefore, if we are to have fear of anything, it should be the Lord Himself. The prophet Isaiah agrees:
"Do not fear anything except the Lord Almighty. He alone is the Holy One. If you fear him, you need fear nothing else." Isaiah 8:13 (NLT)
Jesus reminds His disciples of this command while teaching them not to fear persecution:
'Don't be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.' Matthew 10:28 (NLT)
In short, don't fear the end of this world. Celebrate it. Christ is coming. And when He arrives, He will eliminate all the evils of this world, including our fear and worry.
Britt Gillette is founder of BrittGillette.Com, a website examining the relationship between bible prophecy and emerging trends in technology. For more information or to sign up for his email alerts, please visit http://www.brittgillette.com