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When is the end of the world?

When is the end of the world?

People have speculated for thousands of years about when our world will end. For instance, many in Europe feared that the world would end at midnight on January 1, 1000. In 1719, Jacob Bernoulli warned that a comet seen in 1680 would collide with the earth and destroy it. More recently, Harold Camping made false predictions about Jesus’ second coming in 1994 and again in 2011.

Then there was Y2K, the Mayan calendar, and the four blood moons.

Even though all these predictions failed, there is still a continued sense among many that our world is deteriorating and cannot last forever. According to a 2010 Pew Research Center study, “a significant number of both religious and non-religious people believe the world will end before 2050.”

Even scientists who do not believe in God warn of a possible nuclear holocaust, devastating climate change, or pandemic infectious diseases that could end the human race.

The Bible speaks clearly about the second coming of Christ and the destruction of our planet. Jesus told His disciples, “I will come again” (John 14:3). But Christ never gave a date for His coming. He said, “Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36).

Yet Jesus told us we may know of the nearness of His coming. “Look at the fig tree,” Jesus urged. “When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:29–31).

Christ gave us many signs that tell us His coming is soon. He predicted, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:7). History records an unquestionable increase in conflicts that keeps rising. Almost all efforts at peaceful resolutions are temporary or fail. Bloodshed in places such as the Middle East and Africa, and an increase in violence in the United States and around the world, tell us conflict is not abating.

Disease and pestilence are on the rise. The World Health Organization has warned of a dramatic resurgence of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. Famines often follow wars and the millions of refugees in camps are often undernourished. In 2014, for instance, 842 million people suffered from malnutrition worldwide. Christ also predicted an increase in natural disasters. Massive earthquakes, such as the Osaka-Kobe and Fukushima quakes in Japan, kill thousands.

Perhaps one of the most obvious signs of the times is the collapse of morality in society. Jesus said, “As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37). A glance at Genesis 6 reveals wickedness was spreading all over the earth in those days. Today, God’s original design for marriage and family has been marred and the blight of pornography and child slavery is rampant.

Jesus also told us that in the last days false christs and false prophets would arise (Matthew 24:5, 11), that His followers would be persecuted and killed (verses 9, 10), that the love of many would grow cold (verse 12), and that we would even see signs in the heavens (verse 29).

Perhaps the most encouraging sign is this: “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). In spite of what appear to be insurmountable odds, God’s people are diligently sharing their faith with their friends and neighbors. Missionaries are covering the planet, and the Bible is being translated into more languages than any other book in history. Technology is being successfully used to transmit the good news through satellite, radio, television, and the Internet.

When will the world end? We don’t have an exact time, but we can look at the prophetic signs in Scripture, which tell us the clock is ticking and the hands are nearing the big day.

Are you ready?

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