When you hear the words “The end is near!” what comes to mind? Do you think of a wild-eyed preacher thundering from the pulpit and gesturing dramatically, Bible in hand? Or do you picture a bearded old man standing on a street corner, wearing a long robe tied at the waist with a rope, holding a sign bearing a doomsday message? Imagining such scenes may make some people feel concerned, while others may feel skeptical or even amused.
The Bible does state: “The end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) The same event is also called “the great day of God” and “Armageddon.” (Revelation 16:14, 16) True, there is much religious confusion on the subject and strange, gloomy notions abound. Nonetheless, the Bible itself is quite clear about the end—revealing what it is and what it is not. God’s Word also helps us to see clearly whether the end is near. Best of all, it teaches us how to survive! First, though, let us clear up some misconceptions and establish a definition. What does “the end” really mean according to the Bible?
WHAT THE END IS NOT
THE END IS NOT AN EPIC, FLAMING DESTRUCTION OF THE EARTH.
The Bible states: “[God] has established the earth on its foundations; it will not be moved from its place forever and ever.” (Psalm 104:5) That scripture and others assure us that God will neither destroy the earth nor allow it to be destroyed—ever!—Ecclesiastes 1:4; Isaiah 45:18.
THE END IS NOT A RANDOM, UNSCHEDULED EVENT.
The Bible reveals that the end is scheduled—God has set a specific time for it. We read: “Concerning that day or the hour nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father. Keep looking, keep awake, for you do not know when the appointed time is.” (Mark 13:32, 33) Clearly, God (“the Father”) has scheduled the exact “appointed time” when he will initiate the end.
THE END IS NOT TRIGGERED BY HUMANS OR BY DEBRIS HURTLING THROUGH SPACE.
What will bring about the end? Revelation 19:11 says: “I saw heaven opened, and look! a white horse. And the one seated on it is called Faithful and True.” Verse 19 continues: “And I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the one seated on the horse and against his army.” (Revelation 19:11-21) Though much of the language here is symbolic, we can readily discern this much: God will send an army of angelic creatures to exterminate his enemies.
WHAT THE END IS
THE END OF FAILING HUMAN GOVERNMENTS.
The Bible explains: “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom [government] that will never be destroyed. And this kingdom will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it alone will stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44) As was stated earlier, in point 3, there will be an extermination of “the kings of the earth and their armies,” who will have “gathered together to wage war against the one seated on the horse and against his army.”—Revelation 19:19.
THE END OF WAR, VIOLENCE, AND INJUSTICE.
“[God] is bringing an end to wars throughout the earth.” (Psalm 46:9) “Only the upright will reside in the earth, and the blameless will remain in it. As for the wicked, they will be cut off from the earth, and the treacherous will be torn away from it.” (Proverbs 2:21, 22) “Look! I am making all things new.”—Revelation 21:4, 5.
THE END OF RELIGIONS THAT HAVE FAILED GOD AND HUMANS.
“The prophets prophesy lies, and the priests dominate by their own authority. . . . But what will you do when the end comes?” (Jeremiah 5:31) “Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’”—Matthew 7:21-23.
THE END OF PEOPLE WHO PERPETUATE AND SUPPORT THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS.
Jesus Christ said: “Now this is the basis for judgment: that the light has come into the world, but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked.” (John 3:19) The Bible describes an earlier worldwide destruction during the time of the faithful man Noah. “The world of that time suffered destruction when it was flooded with water. But by the same word the heavens and the earth that now exist are reserved for fire and are being kept until the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly people.”—2 Peter 3:5-7.
Note that the upcoming “day of judgment and of destruction” is compared with the destruction of “the world” of Noah’s time. What world was destroyed? Our planet survived; it was “the ungodly people”—God’s enemies—who “suffered destruction.” During God’s upcoming “day of judgment,” those who choose to be God’s enemies will likewise be destroyed. But God’s friends will be preserved, as were Noah and his family.—Matthew 24:37-42.
Imagine how splendid this earth will be after God eliminates all wicked influences! Clearly, the Bible’s message about the end is good news rather than bad. Still, you may wonder: ‘Does the Bible tell us when the end will come? Could it be near? How can I survive it?’