A Nuclear Doomsday—Does the Bible Predict It?
Absolutely not! To the contrary the Bible says that God “has founded the earth upon its established places; it will not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever,” and, “The earth abideth for ever.”—Ps. 104:5; Eccl. 1:4, Authorized Version. See also Psalm 119:90.
‘But doesn’t the Bible speak of the “end of the world” and say that the earth will be destroyed by “fire”?’ ask some who point to Matthew 24:3 (AV) and 2 Peter 3:7. Jesus, in the same chapter where he mentions the “end of the world,” shows what this will mean. He associates the “end of the world” with his return and says: “Just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. . . . [The people] took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.”—Matt. 24:37, 39.
What the Bible Means
The “end of the world,” according to the Bible, will therefore conclude a period of time similar to the days leading up to and including the worldwide flood of Noah’s day. When that period ended, what was destroyed? The Bible tells us: “[God] brought a deluge upon a world of ungodly people.”—2 Pet. 2:5.
Yes, a violent system of things halted when that “world of ungodly people” was drowned. But obviously the literal earth was not destroyed. We are still standing on it. So in our day it is a wicked “system of things” that God will bring to its end by destroying “ungodly persons.”
What, though, about the verse that says the “earth . . . shall be burned up”? (2 Pet. 3:10, AV) Does “earth” as used in the Bible always mean the ground? No. For instance it says: “The whole earth was of one language,” and, “Sing unto the LORD, all the earth.” (Gen. 11:1; Ps. 96:1, AV) Who is it that has “language” and ‘sings’? Is it not people?
So when the Bible speaks of the “earth” as being destroyed, it is talking about the end of a society of wicked people. Notice how clear the apostle Peter makes this point: “The heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.” So “ungodly men,” including the political authorities that rule over them like “heavens,” face “destruction.”—2 Pet. 3:7.
Destruction from God or Men?
The flood of Noah’s day, which has been established as a historical fact,a did not happen by mere chance. Nor was it the result of human efforts. It was an act directly brought by God. Also, the destruction was selective. Good persons did not die with the bad.
But why did God cause the Flood? What terrifying conditions were eliminated by the deluge of waters? Why were Noah and his family spared? Answers to these questions are of vital interest to us, since we live close to the time when God will again act.
A Violent World Washed Away
The world of that time was “filled with violence,” according to the Bible. (Gen. 6:11) No details are given in the record about the nature of the violence or what type of weapons were used. However, among those who lived before the Flood was “the forger of every sort of tool [cutting instruments] of copper and iron,” Tubal-cain.—Gen. 4:22.
Ancient Jewish comments claim that he did make weapons. Rabbi Rashi relates of him: “He refined and improved the work of Cain [his violent forefather] by providing weapons for murderers.” Historian Josephus adds a similar thought about Tubal-cain, saying that he was “surpassing all men in strength, distinguished himself in the art of war.”
No doubt the development and continued use of metal weapons added to the violent conditions. By the time of the Flood the Bible reports: “God saw the earth and, look! it was ruined, because all flesh had ruined its way on the earth.” (Gen. 6:12) But God acted and removed those war-like persons who were “ruining” the earth. Yet at the same time he protected those who obeyed him. He enabled Noah and his family to survive and continue worshiping him on a cleansed earth. But what about us today?
How Can We Survive God’s Action?
The Bible assures us that God will again act in our day by saying he will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Rev. 11:18) However, “Jehovah is guarding all those loving him,” promises the Bible, though “all the wicked ones he will annihilate.” (Ps. 145:20) Lovers of God will survive.
But what does it mean to ‘love God’? Is mere talk enough? “This is what the love of God means,” answers the Bible, “that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3) Yes, those who obey God, like Noah, will survive into a cleansed earth.
And what an earth it will be! All who would disrupt the security of that time will have been removed by the “fire” of God’s anger. (Zeph. 3:8) The survivors will have genuine love for God and for one another. Would you not enjoy living in a world where everyone would be a trusted friend? Instead of ruining the earth, these ones will have the satisfying work of restoring places spoiled by man. They will delight to see the earth become a global paradise, as God purposed from the time of the first man and woman.—Gen. 1:28; 2:18-25.
Beyond this the Bible shows that sickness and death will be removed, which will open up the opportunity for persons to enjoy these conditions forever. True, “the world is passing away,” since it will soon be destroyed by God, but ‘those that do the will of God will remain forever.’—1 John 2:17; Rev. 21:3, 4; 2 Pet. 3:13.
Such blessings are very near, especially when you consider that only in our generation has man developed the power to destroy our earth completely, and is threatening to do so. To prevent a totally ruined earth, God must soon act. Jehovah’s Witnesses will be happy to assist you free of charge to know just what God’s will is and to do it obediently, as well as telling you of other delightful features of this comforting hope.
a For scientific evidence see the chapter “Was There an Earth-wide Flood” in the book Is the Bible Really the Word of God? published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
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The “end of the world” means the end of a wicked system, not the end of our earth
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Survivors will share in making the earth a paradise