Some ask “What will happen at the end of the world?” Jesus’ disciples asked a similar question:
What will happen at the end of the age? (Matthew 24:3)
According to common (futuristic) prophetic interpretation, the ‘end of the age’ and ‘the end of the world’ are separated in time by some 1,000 years. We are currently nearing the end of approximately 6,000 years of human government and the start of 1,000 years of peace on the earth – the Millennial Age when Christ rules the earth. It is only after this that the end of the world, the physical destruction of the present earth, occurs. The ‘last days’ is often taken to span from the time of the apostles (the gifting of the Holy Spirit) to the Second Coming of Christ.
The Christian gospel message – reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ – will be preached worldwide just before the end of the age. This is happening now! The Bible is available in whole or in part to some 98% of the world’s population in a language in which they are fluent, and modern communications enables this message to be heard by over 99% of the world’s eight billion people if they have the technology.
There will be rapid increase in knowledge and travel (Daniel 12:4). In just 100 years man has advanced rapidly in science, medicine, communications, astronomy and travel. We now understand how the trillions of cells in our bodies are controlled by a beautiful double helix molecule called DNA. And we can now hop on one of the 100,000 commercial flights each day and travel round the world in 24 hours!
Although the gospel is preached worldwide, there will be a general falling away from biblical truth, a falling from the light of the gospel into deep spiritual darkness (Isaiah 60:2). The world will be deceived by the rise of a powerful false church that heads this end-time spiritual darkness. There will also be false prophets and cults that deceive people.
There will be increasing lawlessness (Matthew 24:12). This reflects a lack of love between people and spans from local disputes, to political corruption, to greedy bankers, to religious persecution, to international terrorism. It will culminate in the brief reign of the end time ‘lawless one’ (2 Thessalonians 2:8), a world dictator. Love between people will grow cold (Matthew 24:12) as they depart from the unseen spiritual laws of life as revealed in the Bible.
There will be increasing persecution of those who choose to follow Christ (Matthew 24:9). We see this today in subtle form from western governments, but especially from those who mistakenly think they are doing God’s will (John 16:2) – as in Islamic persecution of Christians in the 10/40 window. Christianity is now the world’s most persecuted faith.
God’s chosen people, Israel, will be drawn back to the land promised to Abraham and his descendants. Already, the population of Israel has grown from 0.5m in 1900 to 8.7m in 2020 – an amazing 1700%. After years of being scattered amongst the nations, national Israel will become prosperous as God once more blesses His people and makes them a key witness of Himself amongst the nations. But Israel will become the vortex of world attention and activity as nations rage against her:
The Arab-Israeli tension will soon erupt into another middle east war, probably involving mainly Islamic nations. According to prophecy, the attacking nations will be defeated by the God of Israel. Eventually, at the end of this age, all nations will come up against Israel in a place called Armageddon (Revelation 16:16), but again they will be defeated.
The true end time church will be miraculously removed from the earth to meet Christ ‘in the air’ (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Believers past and present will be raised with immortal bodies to be with God forever, whilst the false, apostate church will remain in a spiritually dark world. This will probably happen just before the worst seven years the world has ever known.
Many world leaders have called for a ‘New World Order’ (NWO) or a World Government, and this is currently being formed through organisations like the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, the Club of Rome, the Illuminati, NATO and the WCC. Bible prophecy suggests that this ruthless world government will be a form of revived Roman Empire based in Europe and headed by a world dictator (Revelation 13:1) and the Antichrist (Revelation 13:11).
The end time world dictator will sign a 7-year peace treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27). This is the last time the nations seek a ‘roadmap to peace’ in the Middle East. But midway through this 7-year period he will break the treaty and start severe persecution of the Jewish people. It will be terminated by the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the age.
Individuals will be increasingly controlled by governments, particularly in developed nations. This will be via electronic ID and cashless trading. Extensive computer networks and large databases make it easy for governments to monitor and control individuals. There is now just a short technological step to the ultimate electronic ID and it’s forced imposition upon individuals (Rev 13:16-17).
There will be extreme weather events (Luke 21:25) such as severe heat and drought, severe storms, torrential rain, large hail and heavy snow. Reuters and large insurance companies confirm that such extreme weather events are increasing globally. These, together with cosmic disturbances (Luke 21:11, Revelation 6:12) and possible asteroid impact (Revelation 8:8) are part of God’s judgement on the rebellious nations (Revelation 16).
As part of God’s judgement of the nations, there will be a sudden global financial crash and collapse of the world trading system (Revelation 18). The world economy is based upon highly-interconnected global supply chains which are vulnerable to even a single major shock – such as a major bank failure or a cyber attack. Contagion could then spread rapidly through the tightly-linked global financial network. Note that global government debt is rapidly increasing.
Jesus Christ will return to this earth at the very end of the present age. He will destroy the final form of corrupt world government (Daniel 2:35) and usher in a peaceful age, the Millennium. He will reign from Jerusalem as ‘King over all the earth’ (Zechariah 14:9).
After some 1,000 years, at the end of the Millennial reign of Christ, the earth and the biblical ‘heavens’ (2 Peter 3:7,10) will be physically destroyed by extreme heat. This is the literal ‘end of the world’. Some scientists expect that, at some point in the future, the sun will expand to become a red giant and burn up the solar system, including earth.