▪ Some believed that the earth would end on October 21, 2011. It did not. Thus, the prophecy of U.S. radio broadcaster Harold Camping rang hollow. He predicted that Judgment Day would come on May 21, 2011—a tremendous earthquake would roll across the globe, and five months later, on October 21, the earth would be annihilated.
The earth, however, will never come to an end. Earth’s Creator will not allow it. His Word states: “You have solidly fixed the earth, that it may keep standing.”—Psalm 119:90.
Some Bible readers may object, however, that this planet will be destroyed by fire. They point to 2 Peter 3:7, 10 to support that view: “By the same word 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. . . . Yet Jehovah’s day will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a hissing noise, but the elements being intensely hot will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be discovered.” Are the apostle Peter’s words to be taken literally?
No, they are not. Why not? Because the interpretation of these verses must line up with the context of Peter’s letter and with the rest of the Bible. A literal view of those texts would mean that the heavens, or universe—billions upon billions of stars and other matter—will be consumed by fire because just one speck in its vastness contains wicked humans. Would you destroy miles of shoreline of sand because one grain is not to your liking? That would not make sense! So neither would Jehovah destroy all of his created universe because rebellion erupted on just one of his creative works.
Besides, such a view is in direct conflict with the words of Jesus Christ, who said: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:29) Would a loving father handicraft a comfortable house for his family only to burn it down? (Psalm 115:16) That would be unthinkable! Jehovah is not only the Creator but also a loving Father.—Psalm 103:13; 1 John 4:8.
Peter uses the term “earth” in a figurative sense, referring to human society—in this case wicked human society. Note that Peter draws a parallel with the Flood of Noah’s day. (2 Peter 3:5, 6) On that occasion, only wicked mankind was destroyed; the earth itself and righteous Noah and his family survived. By the same token, Peter’s use of “heavens” would also be symbolic. In this case, “heavens” refers to human rulership over the ungodly. Thus, the incorrigibly wicked will be gone, as will all wicked governments, which will be dissolved and replaced by God’s heavenly rule, or Kingdom.—Daniel 2:44.
So, will planet earth come to its end? No. What will end is the symbolic earth, or wicked human society. The earth itself and the future godly human society will last forever.—Proverbs 2:21, 22.