End of the World
Many Christians would be shocked to know that the Bible says nothing about the end of the world (physically speaking). In other words, most Christians are quite unfamiliar with the Jewish apocalyptic style of writing of the Old Testament prophets.
They approach the Bible, not as if it were written to a specific people and culture, ignoring what we call audience relevance, but as though it were penned in our own generation and time. This is especially true with end of the world eschatology. (Get more studies on the end of the world and other last days topics through our audio newsletter.)
The End of the World and Covenant Eschatology
The second problem Christians (and non-Christians) have is the failure to properly understand the nature of the eschatology taught in the Bible. Eschatological prophecies are not focused on material cosmic dissolution, but on covenant transformation. In other words, “covenant eschatology” is the more accurate Biblical teaching.
What is covenant eschatology? It is the transition from Israel’s Old Covenant of sin and death, often called the ministration of death (2 Cor. 3) or Torah, to the new covenant (ministration of life). It is the making of a new world of righteousness in which “the sin” under which man fell in the Garden is removed through Christ via his death and parousia (“second” coming).
What Christians Should Understand About The End of the World?
The Bible, rather than teaching that the end of the world is near, actually teaches the very opposite. The belief that the world will end some day (usually believed to be imminent and in our generation) is a distraction and leads to escapism. It causes one to view the world as secular rather than spiritual and therefore results in an abandonment mentality.
Christians sit around and talk about how “evil” the world is, escape to the safe haven of the church building and wait on the Lord in the clouds. This is a horrible paradigm and we see the horrific results where the world today is described as an evil place which needs a purging by fire.
By taking a quick glimpse at the “end” we can see that God is not concerned about the end the world in which we live nor does he assume the earth will one day be free from all evil people. In Revelation 22, after the new heaven and earth, God’s holy city new Jerusalem has come down out of heaven to be with men on earth, (Revelation 21:1-3) we yet find wickedness in the earth. Consider what God says of those outside the holy city.
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Revelation 22:14-15)
Not only has God chosen not to end the world, he also stated he would not destroy all the wicked as he once did during the flood. Consider his assessment of man after the flood in the days of Noah. The occasion of the flood was the wickedness of man, Gen. 6:5-7, 12-13.
However, after the flood, God said, even though man’s heart was only evil continually, he would never destroy every living thing as he had done! “And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart. “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.” (Gen 8:20).
Not only did God promise never to destroy all living things, he also promised that while the earth remained it would remain under his protective care with promises of food supply, and the cosmic essentials to sustain life on the planet would never cease, (Gen. 8:21).
The End of the World and the Immutable Promise of God
As we said in the outset of this post, the end of the world or physical universe directly calls into question the immutable promise of God. The promise of the continuation of the physical world is so strongly embedded in the character of God, that it is tied to heaven itself. We will give the following scripture as food for thought, but will expand this in later writings on the subject.
The Bible says God has given Christ a name which is above every name that is named, not only in this age, [meaning that present Jewish world/age, which ended in A.D. 70] but also in the age to come [the age which followed the Jewish age, i.e. the current Christian age]. Further, the age to come, is the world or “age” without end. (Ephesians 3:21)
In other words, there is no eschatology for the Christian age. You cannot have an end to that which has no end.
Now observe that God says, the name of Christ shall continue as long as the sun! “His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed.” (Psalm 72:17)
That can only mean that the sun is forever and will not cease for its duration is inseparable to the duration of the name of Christ. That is God’s promise. Likewise he says the same of the moon. “In his days the righteous shall flourish, and abundance of peace, until the moon is no more. (Psalm 72:7) Israel, had no concept of the end of the world. They knew God’s promise concerning the physical universe that it would never end.
As Solomon wrote: “One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever.” (Eccl. 1:4). Remember God said that as long as the earth remained, “day and night” would not cease. What did he give to separate the day and night? The sun, moon and stars.
In Jeremiah 31:35, God says, if those ordinances, i.e. of the sun and the moon depart from before Him, then the seed of Israel would cease. That would include Christ and all who become the seed of Abraham through him. See our full video explanation of this verse.
End of the World Summary
In summary, we have demonstrated that covenant eschatology, not cosmic dissolution and destruction is the focus of the end times teachings of the Bible. The Scriptures teach that the cosmic world as we know it will continue to exist without end. Further, we demonstrated that unbelievers will continue on earth but remain outside of the holy city of God unless they repent of their deeds until their probation ends in death.
Next we demonstrated God’s promise never to destroy the cosmic world, but promised that it remains as long as the name of Christ which is forever. God connected the longevity of the sun and moon with the longevity or eternal nature of the name of Christ. Christians should therefore be actively engaged in reaching the lost for Christ rather than sitting around waiting on the end of the world.
To enhance your studies on the end of the world, we recommend the following study that provides even deeper insights. You will discover many additional texts and how to accurately interpret them. Example after example is given to show how God used apocalyptic language. Some of the more difficult texts on the end of the world are simplified in plain language. See our book on the end of the world, Will Planet Earth Be Destroyed?