The End of the World? #4

Sunday, December 30, 2012

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36 KJV).

We take the remainder of the year to contemplate the term “the end of the world.”

When the Bible speaks of “the end of the world” such as in Matthew 13:39,49; Matthew 24:3; and Hebrews 9:26, it refers to the future destruction of the underlying (satanic) world system that governs earth and its realms. The rebellious, anti-God attitude that operates in Satan is quite evident in the spheres of education, politics, society, religion, and economics: hence, “this present evil world(Galatians 1:4), to which world we Christians should not be conformed (Romans 12:2). Remember, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world(John 19:36).

After our Dispensation of Grace closes (rapture), our planet will experience seven years of Tribulation, which Christ will end with His Second Coming. Jesus Christ will then bind Satan in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years, removing him from earth, so that God’s earthly kingdom can be established and accomplished throughout that millennium (Revelation 20:1-7). It will be the end of this present world—Satan’s evil world system—and the beginning of God’s authority and righteousness reigning on earth, which is called “the world to come” in Matthew 12:32, Mark 10:30, Luke 18:30, Hebrews 2:5, and Hebrews 6:5. However, that world to come—Christ’s reign on earth—will be interrupted.

In Matthew 28:20, our Lord told His eleven disciples, “…Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” That world is the world to come, which will one day replace this present evil world. That “end of the world”—compare verse 19 to Daniel 7:13,14 and 1 Corinthians 15:24,25—is the end of Christ’s earthly reign (the conclusion of the aforementioned 1,000 years). The world that Christ will establish will exist for 1,000 years, ending when God makes a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 20:1-21:1). Then, Christ will again reign, this time forever (Daniel 2:44; Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15).

Indeed, the definition of the term “world” in “end of the world” makes a “world” of difference in Scripture! 🙂

The End of the World? #3

Saturday, December 29, 2012

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36 KJV).

We take the remainder of the year to contemplate the term “the end of the world.”

The King James Bible uses the expression “the end of the world” seven times. We want to focus on the latter five instances—Matthew 13:39,49; Matthew 24:3; Matthew 28:20; and Hebrews 9:26.

In Matthew 13:39,49, our Lord spoke of the end of the seven-year Tribulation period, when He will send His angels to sort believers from unbelievers: “the harvest is the end of the world… so shall it be at the end of the world.” Later, His disciples ask about “the sign of [His] coming, and of the end of the world(Matthew 24:3). Christ’s Second Coming here is contemporary with the harvest of Matthew chapter 13 (above). But, exactly what is “the end of the world in these instances?

Ever since Lucifer/Satan was cast out of heaven, he has tainted every region of creation with sin. In fact, on earth, he encouraged mankind to join him in rebelling against God. Ever since man’s fall into sin, Satan and sin have ruled planet earth. Hence, the Bible calls Satan, “the god [ruler] of this world(2 Corinthians 4:4; cf. Matthew 4:8,9); Satan’s fallen angels are called, “the rulers of the darkness of this world (Ephesians 6:12). Galatians 1:4 mentions, “this present evil world.” This is the “world” of Matthew 13:39,49 and Matthew 24:3 (previous paragraph).

One day, the evil, anti-God system that governs society will be abolished—that is “the end of the world.” Earth’s wicked social, economic, religious, and political systems will pass away. Satan’s reign on earth will come to a violent end, for the glorified Lord Jesus Christ will descend from heaven, militarily defeat Satan and his minions, and then usher in everlasting peace and righteousness on earth (Christ’s Second Coming; see today’s Scripture). This victory over Satan’s evil world system is accomplished through Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary: hence, Calvary’s crosswork is termed to have occurred, “in the end of the world” (Hebrews 9:26).

The End of the World? #2

Friday, December 28, 2012

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36 KJV).

We take the remainder of the year to contemplate the term “the end of the world.”

When people discuss the “end of the world,” they need to explain what they mean by the term “world.” “World” means different things in diverse contexts. For instance, the first time the term “the end of the world” appears in Scripture is Psalm 19:4. This passage is beyond the scope of this study; suffice it to say that the testimony of the heavens regarding God’s glory and handiwork reaches to the farthest parts of mankind’s habitation on earth (verse 3). This usage of “the end of the world” has nothing to do with end times (prophecy), nor does “world” refer to the physical earth.

The second time God’s Word uses the expression “the end of the world” is Isaiah 62:11: “Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world,….” This is the same sense as Psalm 19:4 (above).

However, when we come to Matthew 13:39,49, the Bible uses “the end of the world” another way. These verses involve end times (prophecy): “…the harvest is the end of the world…. so shall it be at the end of the world.” Jesus Christ is describing the day—His Second Coming—when He will send angels to gather His believers and collect the unbelievers.

In Matthew 24:3, Jesus’ disciples inquired, “And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Here, “world” is in the same sense as in Matthew 13:39,49 above. Like Matthew chapter 13, Matthew chapter 24 is prophetic.

In Matthew 28:20, Jesus Christ told His eleven apostles, “…And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” This is very similar to the sense of Matthew chapters 13 and 24, but referring to a different “world.” Lastly, Hebrews 9:26 says, “now once in the end of the world hath [Christ] appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

We will proceed to discuss these usages in depth….

The End of the World? #1

Thursday, December 27, 2012

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36 KJV).

We take the remainder of the year to contemplate the term “the end of the world.”

Last year, May 21 was heralded as the “end of the world.” When that failed to come to pass, it was changed to October 21. December 21, 2012 was the latest “apocalyptic” hoax. The serious Bible student does not know the next date that the sensationalists will set regarding the “end of the world.” Nonetheless, he or she does know that much of that prophecy preaching and teaching—both in the secular world and the professing church—is grossly in error. Doctrinal integrity is of little to no importance when there is much to gain: record book sales, large television and radio audiences, a following, a name, and… an early retirement!

In common English, “world” can mean several things, such as the universe, the planet earth, this present life, a time period, society and its practices and customs, a system of related things, and the nations of the earth. The King James Bible uses the term “world” 289 times, in various different senses (the meaning being dependent upon the context).

Oftentimes, when people speak of and think of the “end of the world,” the classic imagery is—the planet earth blown to smithereens, and the human race and all other life forms on earth entirely wiped out, usually by a meteorite, biological or chemical warfare, a global natural disaster, and so on. While the Bible does speak of God’s future destruction of the present universe—the heavens and the earth (2 Peter 3:10-13)—it also anticipates a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1), the latter verse (understandably) ignored by the “doom and gloom” sensationalists.

Our King James Bible uses the term “end of the world” seven times. We will examine these instances, to understand how God’s Word utilizes this expression and what it means in light of God’s purpose and plan for heaven and earth. We will also briefly discuss other ways in which the Bible uses “world.”