Is a Fiery End Really Near?
WE HAVE heard all our lives that ‘someday the earth will meet a fiery end.’ Certain religions believe it will come from God. Some scientists say that it will eventually come through the expansion of the sun in its death throes, resulting in the engulfment and burning up of the earth.
Is either version true?
A British scientist, H. W. Chatfield, in his book A Scientist in Search of God, presents a mass of evidence that the superior mind of a great Creator designed the earth and life upon it, and provided in advance for a continuous supply of all things vital to life, especially for mankind. Then, in the concluding chapter, he shows why this gives evidence that God’s interest in man would also be continuous:
“Perpetual self-propagating creation on a grand scale does not accord well with a Planner whose interest was circumscribed solely by the duration of the mechanics of the operation, and who thereafter had no concern whatever for the beings which in some fragmentary measure at least were created in his own likeness.”
Rather, one who designed and created man in his own image would no more desert him than a loving father would suddenly turn away from his own children. Chatfield goes on to say:
“The mechanics of the creative acts are shown by scientific fact to have consumed ages of time on a basis of human reckoning, and it seems illogical that after such extended interest the living outcome should be left completely neglected by its architect.”
Now, the Creator who would make things in such a fine way and with such care and expenditure of time would also logically communicate with his intelligent creation, man. This would be particularly true in view of the fact that he placed man in charge of his earthly creation. (Gen. 1:26-28) The Bible constitutes that communication, God’s instructions and statement of purpose. Does it support the idea that earth and life on it are to remain permanently?
EARTH AND LIFE ON IT TO REMAIN
God showed he cared and purposed to have the earth continuously and permanently filled with animal and human creation when he preserved representatives of both human and animal kinds through the global flood of Noah’s day. Why would God do this if he did not care, or if he purposed someday to eliminate them all?—Gen. 7:1-3; 8:1, 17.
Also, God was careful to have his people Israel keep a detailed genealogical record, particularly of the line through which the Messiah would come. Why keep a record if the line of descent was to end in oblivion? And why did the Messiah, the Son of God, come to earth? For the preservation of life and the restoration of perfect life that Adam lost for his family by rebellion. Accordingly, by providing a ransom for dying mankind, Christ becomes “the last Adam” and the “Eternal Father.” Thus God demonstrated in the strongest possible way his care for mankind.—1 Cor. 15:45; Isa. 9:6.
Furthermore, the inspired psalmist sings of God: “He has founded the earth upon its established places; it will not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever.” Then, after describing the wonder of God’s creative works, particularly his provisions for the animal kingdom, this writer prophetically adds: “The glory of Jehovah will prove to be to time indefinite. Jehovah will rejoice in his works.” (Ps. 104:5, 31) How would the Creator rejoice in these works if he burned them up?
A FIERY END PROPHESIED, FORESHADOWED
What, then, does the Bible mean when it speaks of God as using a destructive fire upon the earth? Let us turn to an example in the Bible that very definitely shows us what it means and also what is very soon to take place, giving us opportunity to escape from fiery destruction.
Strangely, in the incident under discussion, the fire came upon a people who claimed to be the nation of God. This reveals that a mere claim to serve God, or even mere association with those truly serving him does not assure safety.
The occasion was a vision given to the prophet Ezekiel over in Babylon in the year 612 B.C.E., along with its fulfillment five years later. A chariot of tremendous height, a war chariot, appeared to Ezekiel, atop which was a figure representing Jehovah God as the rider of the celestial chariot. Ezekiel had described the visionary chariot in the first part of his account (Eze chapter 1), telling of the height of its wheels and of the living creatures accompanying it. Later, the chariot, envisioned by Ezekiel as being in Jerusalem, stood outside the north gate leading into the inner court of the temple. Jehovah’s glory had moved from above the chariot to position itself above the threshold of the Most Holy of the temple.—Ezek. 8:3, 4; 9:3.
Because of Jerusalem’s rebelliousness against him and its utterly detestable, unclean practices, Jehovah earlier had pictorially showed Ezekiel that he would destroy the wicked ones there. But first he commanded a visionary figure, a ‘man clothed with linen,’ to go throughout the city and mark righteous-hearted persons in the city for preservation. Alongside this man Ezekiel also saw six other men with ‘weapons for smashing’ in their hands.—Ezek. 9:2-7.
A “FIRE” FROM HEAVEN
Ezekiel proceeds to tell us what occurred next:
“And I continued to see, and, look! upon the expanse that was over the head of the cherubs there was something like sapphire stone, like the appearance of the likeness of a throne, appearing above them. And he proceeded to say to the man clothed with the linen, even to say: ‘Enter in between the wheelwork, in under the cherubs, and fill the hollows of both your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubs and toss them over the city.’ So he entered in before my eyes.”—Ezek. 10:1, 2.
The material to burn the city of Jerusalem was to come from between the chariot wheels. With Jehovah’s glory filling the temple, it was evident that he was present to see that his judicial decision was carried out.—Ezek. 10:3-5.
Ezekiel then goes on to describe the actions of the man in linen:
“And it came about, when he commanded the man clothed with the linen, saying: ‘Take fire from between the wheelwork, from between the cherubs,’ that he proceeded to enter and stand beside the wheel. Then the cherub thrust his hand out from between the cherubs to the fire that was between the cherubs and carried and put it into the hollows of the hands of the one clothed with the linen, who now took it and went out. And there was seen belonging to the cherubs the representation of a hand of earthling man under their wings.”—Ezek. 10:6-8.
It was not man-made fire that thus burned Jerusalem in the vision. It was miraculous fire from God’s heavenly chariotlike organization. What does this signify? This: that the utter destruction of Jerusalem as IF with fire could be an expression of Jehovah’s anger and fury against that city. In his book of Lamentations the prophet Jeremiah likens the rage of Jehovah (with which Jerusalem was destroyed) to fire, though the sword, famine and pestilence, as well as fire, were used.—Lam. 2:2-4; 4:11.
By the linen-clad man Jehovah was serving advance notice of the pouring out of his fiery rage to bring Jerusalem’s destruction. In like manner the modern-day counterpart of the linen-clad man, namely, the anointed, spirit-begotten brothers of Jesus Christ, scatter the fiery message from God’s Word all over Christendom. This serves as advance notification to her that Jehovah’s fiery anger will be vented upon her in the coming “great tribulation.”—Matt. 24:21.
This vision given to Ezekiel shows that the anointed Christian witnesses of Jehovah will not actually set fire to Christendom, nor will they have any active hand in destroying her. It was not the linen-clad man that did the destructive work. It was the “six men” with weapons for smashing. (Ezek. 9:2, 4, 5) Likewise, Jehovah’s witnesses today merely proclaim the “day of vengeance on the part of our God” against Christendom. They do not execute vengeance.—Isa. 61:1, 2; Rom. 12:19.
Jehovah’s witnesses got this fiery message from Jehovah through his heavenly organization, his celestial “chariot.” As it were, one of the heavenly cherubs belonging to that celestial chariot put these symbolic “coals of fire from between the cherubs” into the hollows of their hands to go and toss them out over the city of Christendom as warning notice.
However, Jehovah’s invisible heavenly organization under the glorified Jesus Christ will have a hand in the literal wiping out of Christendom. Under heavenly direction radical earthly agencies will also be used to wreak violent destruction upon Christendom as the Babylonians did to hypocritical Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E.
AVOID BEING A ‘MOURNER’
So a fiery end is near for Christendom. Her religious organizations will be destroyed. The apostle John heard prophetic words from heaven spoken against Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, of which the religions of Christendom are the dominant part: “That is why in one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong.”—Rev. 18:8.
The demise of Babylon the Great, though fully in harmony with justice, will have its mourners. Concerning them, the angelic heavenly voice says: “And the kings of the earth who committed fornication with her and lived in shameless luxury will weep and beat themselves in grief over her, when they look at the smoke from the burning of her, while they stand at a distance because of their fear of her torment and say, ‘Too bad, too bad, you great city, Babylon you strong city, because in one hour your judgment has arrived!”’—Rev. 18:9, 10.
The Scriptures go on to tell us that Babylon the Great’s mourners as well as all others who deny God’s Sovereign Rulership and defile his creation will follow Babylon the Great into destruction. It is dangerous, therefore, to hold sympathetically onto that great organization of false religion.—Rev. 11:18; 19:19-21.
Consequently, though a fiery end is coming, it is one that will cleanse and purge the earth of those who selfishly have no regard for their fellowmen who do want to live and follow righteous principles. (2 Pet. 3:12, 13) Those who care only for themselves and not for God or his wonderful creation must be blotted out as though by fire. (Mal. 4:1) God’s anger is specially hot against Christendom, because it has been the greatest defamer of his name. (Rev. 18:5-7) If you love life and enjoy God’s creation, forsake Christendom and other false religions NOW. Avoid the fiery destruction coming upon her supporters and ‘mourners.’