Questions about the end of the world have been on people’s minds for a very long time, possibly since the beginning of time. When Jesus walked the earth even his disciples asked him about the end of time or the end of the age. Thankfully we can turn to the scriptures because they give us insight into how the end of the world will happen. God, the one who started it, will be the one to bring it to an end. As we consider the events happening in our world and with things escalating and changing rapidly, it's more important than ever to know what the Bible says about the end of the world.

What does the end of the world mean?

When the Bible talks about the end of the world, I think it's important to define what that statement really means. A better way to think about the end of the world is to think about the end of the world as we know it. When the Bible talks about the world it can have two different connotations. In one sense, the world can refer to the things we see such as the earth, the sky, nature, and all the people and animals that inhabit the earth. This is what is referenced in this verse in Acts.

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.” – Acts 17:24

However, the world can also mean the system of thoughts, ideologies, and behaviors that people engage in, which oppose God’s standards. This is what John wrote about here.

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” – 1 John 2:15

When the Bible talks about the end of the world it is talking about both things. On one hand, the end of the world is about ending the system or order of things and restoring them back to God’s original design. On the other hand, at the end of the world, God will restore the physical things back to his original design as well. Keep these thoughts in mind and now consider what the Bible says about the end of the world.

What does the Bible say about the end of the world?

There are a series of events that will occur leading up to the end of the world. However, for this article, I want to focus on how it will end. 

The end of the world will come decisively.

“For the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth quickly and decisively.” – Romans 9:28 (NRSV)

When talking about the end of the world we must recognize it is a reference to God's final judgment on the earth. When this judgment comes it will be clear and decisive. By the way this is always how God brings judgment. When God brings judgment, he leaves no doubt about who the judge is and who the people are that are being judged. This is exactly how it will be at the end of the world. God's judgment will be clear. God's judgment will be decisive and God’s judgment will be final. This is not meant to scare you unless you are on the wrong side of God’s judgment then you have every right to be afraid. However, if you are in Christ then there is no need to fear because God is not bringing judgment on you.

The end of the world will come suddenly.

“For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3

The Bible tells us the end of the world will come suddenly. One of the meanings of the word suddenly is unexpected. In other words, there will be people who will not be looking or anticipating this day to happen. For those, it will happen without warning and without expectation. In other places of Scripture, Jesus refers to the days of Noah or the days of Lot. In those days people were living their lives, eating, drinking, and doing what they wanted up until the moment judgment came. The end of the world will be no different for those who are part of this world.

The end of the world will come by fire.

“By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly…But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.” 2 Peter 3:7;10 

One of the important parts of this verse is recognizing the role fire plays at the end of the world. It is not just about destroying the ways of the world, but more importantly, it is about burning the coverings of men’s hearts and exposing their hearts before the living God. In addition, fire is also a purifying agent. This day of the Lord will once and for all purge the world of the sinful condition that damaged it to begin with.

The end of the world is not the end just the beginning.

There is one last point that you should understand regarding what the Bible says about the end of the world. Earlier I mentioned this will be the end of the world as we know it. For those of us who are in Christ, this is not the end but simply the beginning. God is not just destroying the old, he is creating something new.

“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” – 2 Peter 3:11-13

I hope you can see that God will one day end the world as we know it. This world which has been dominated by rebellion and corrupted by sin will be done away with. In its place, God will create a new heaven and new earth that will be as Peter said a place where righteousness dwells.

What does this mean for you?

Without question, the events are lining up and we are moving closer to this day of the Lord. Jesus’ return is closer than ever before and with that in mind what does this mean for you? Peter tells us the answer. Live holy and godly lives. Since we know this is how it will all end, then we should live as if this could happen at any moment. Avoid getting caught up in this world’s system of thinking and living because those who live in the world, live with no expectation or anticipation of his coming. If the revelation and understanding of how the end of the world will happen do not move you to right living, perhaps nothing will. Therefore, let us be the people of God in this hour and live the kind of life that God will be pleased with when he comes.

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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.