HOW WILL THE WORLD END? – Part 4

In their book The Life and Death of Planet Earth, two astrobiologists from the University of Washington, claim the world’s future is bound by an internal time clock.

Firstly, they say the age of plants and animals will be over, then the ocean will be lost in space, and eventually the entire planet will devolve into a burned-out cinder as the sun swallows it up – in about 7.5 billion years.

Astronomer Robert Smith, from the University of Sussex, agrees with this prognosis and suggests our only hope may be to build a fleet of interplanetary “life rafts”.

These rafts would need to manoeuvre themselves away from the reach of the sun but still stay close enough to use its energy.

Here are some other bleak options for how our world may end:

• A global nuclear war will occur with the only survivors being cockroaches.

These cockroaches will be the “seed” that evolve into the next “intelligent” species – in 100 million years or so.

• A “doomsday” asteroid will hit the planet and destroy humanity.

According to the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, there are between 500 and 1000 large near earth objects that could accomplish this objective.

• A fatal disease will sweep the earth wiping out all humanity.

This could be an alien micro organism, or a man-made disease through biotechnology such as an airborne version of the Ebola virus.

• One of the 10 million black holes within the milky way will move towards earth, resulting in our planet being ejected from the solar system and hurtled to a frigid fate in deep space.

• Experiments with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will go wrong, and instead of recreating the “Big Bang”, 21st century scientists will turn the entire planet into a fine cloud of particles.

Is the future this gloomy?

Is there any hope for planet earth or are we doomed into an eternity of oblivion?

This study guide will document the prophecies of Scripture that clearly outline how this world will end.

Q1 – WHAT HOPE IS THERE FOR THE FUTURE?

Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Titus 2.13

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21.4

The future life will be full of new beginnings. Just imagine – no more broken relationships, no more cancer, no more depression, no more loneliness and no more youth suicide. The power and effect of sin and death WILL BE GONE – replaced with health, happiness and peace.

Q2 – WHAT EVENT WILL BEGIN THIS NEW LIFE OF UNENDING HOPE AND HAPPINESS?

To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. Hebrews 9.28

The Second Coming of Christ brings victory and salvation to the followers of Jesus, and an end to this world in its present state.

This event is so important that it is mentioned over 1,000 times in the Bible.

In the New Testament alone, one in every 25 verses speak of the return of Jesus Christ.

Q3 – CAN WE BE CERTAIN JESUS WILL COME AGAIN?

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14.3

Jesus gives us His Word that He will come again.

Not maybe – or should – or hope to – but will.

If there is one thing we can be absolutely certain of, it is the Second Coming of Jesus.

Notice also the main purpose of the Second Coming – to receive us to Himself and take us back to heaven.

Q4 – HOW WILL JESUS COME AGAIN?

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Acts 1.9-11

Evidently, when Jesus comes back He will come back in the same way that He left.

That is, He will be coming back literally and personally, not figuratively or spiritually.

Notice the visual words: watched, looked, behold, gazing and saw.

Just like those apostles, we will be able to look up into heaven and actually see Him come back to this earth.

Also, it will be this “same” Jesus who returns.

Not a ghost or spirit, but in bodily form, just as He left.

Q5 – WHO WILL BE WITH JESUS WHEN HE RETURNS?

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Matthew 25.31

Can you imagine the enormity of the Second Coming of Jesus?

Jesus will be coming down out of heaven, sitting on His throne, accompanied by possibly billions of His angels.

Q6 – WHO WILL SEE JESUS WHEN HE RETURNS?

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24.30

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. Revelation 1.7

The Second Coming will be a global event seen by everyone – good and bad.

Every eye will see Him.

No- one will miss it.

Jesus compared His coming to a huge electrical storm flashing from one side of the sky to the other (Matthew 24:27).

Q7 – WILL THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS OCCUR SECRETLY?

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. John 5.28,29

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God 1 Thessalonians 4.16

There will be nothing secret or silent about the Second Coming of Jesus.

Even the dead will hear the voice of Jesus.

With words such as shout, voice and trumpet, God wants to make sure we were absolutely clear that the Second Coming will be an event everyone will hear.

Q8 – WHAT DID JESUS MEAN WHEN HE SAID IN MATTHEW 24 “ONE WILL BE TAKEN, AND THE OTHER LEFT”?

For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24.27-30

Some Christians believe in a concept called the “secret rapture”

At the heart of this teaching, Jesus is said to “rapture” away the righteous in secret.

For instance, a plane will be flying along, and suddenly the pilot has just vanished.

The good are taken away silently while the wicked are left on planet earth.

You have probably read books or seen movies, which incorporate this concept.

One such film is the movie Gone which depicts three lawyers who were “left behind” while their more ethical friends were whisked away to heaven in secret.

The words of Jesus here in Matthew 24 are often used as evidence for the theory of the secret rapture, but notice what Jesus is actually saying.

Jesus compared the Second Coming to the global flood at the time of Noah.

He describes how the people of the day were enjoying everyday life as per usual until the flood came along – some were taken; the others were left.

There is not even the slightest indication that this event is secret.

Nor is there any reference to a two-stage coming.

One of the key “secrets of prophecy” is that the Second Coming is not going to be secret!

The return of Jesus will be the loudest, most visible and global event in this world’s history.

Q9 – HOW WILL THE SECOND COMING AFFECT PLANET EARTH?

And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth…Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. Revelation 16.18,20

With unprecedented earthquakes, islands sinking and mountains falling, planet earth as we know it, will be devastated by the Second Coming (see also 2 Peter 3:10 for a description of the powerful destruction of earth when Jesus comes as a “thief in the night”).

Q10 – WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD WHEN JESUS RETURNS?

And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Daniel 2.44


Here we find the key point of a secret dream given to King Nebuchadnezzar more than 2,500 years ago.

The Second Coming of Jesus will destroy all the kingdoms of this world.

God will set up His own Kingdom – a kingdom that will stand forever.

Q11 – WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE LIVING WICKED WHEN JESUS RETURNS?

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2.8

The wicked cannot bear the sight of a pure and Holy God.

They shout out for the rocks and mountains to fall on them; to hide them from the face of Jesus (Revelation 6:15-17).

At the time of Christ’s resurrection the brightness of one angel caused the Roman guards to faint and become “like dead men”(Matthew 28:2-4).

Imagine the impact of what could be millions, possibly billions, of angels, along with the glory of Jesus.

The evil natures of the wicked will be overwhelmed with His purity and brightness.

Q12 – WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE RIGHTEOUS DEAD WHEN JESUS RETURNS?

And the dead in Christ will RISE first. 1 Thessalonians 4.16

When Jesus returns the righteous dead will be raised first out of their graves.

Imagine the excitement of standing in a graveyard at that time, or seeing your loved relatives raised from their tombs.

The prophet Isaiah says the dead will awake and sing praise to their God (Isaiah 26:19) as they are lifted up to meet Jesus in the air.

Q13 – WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO OUR BODIES WHEN JESUS COMES?

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1 Corinthians 15.52,53

What great news. These imperfect bodies will be changed.

We will have eternal youth!

Even more importantly, our natures will change.

We will become immortal, never to suffer, sin, or die again.

Q14 – WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE RIGHTEOUS LIVING WHEN JESUS RETURNS?

Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord i in the air And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 2 Thessalonians 4.17

Once the righteous dead have been raised, those who are alive and waiting for the return of Jesus will rise into the air also.

There will be a giant reunion of all those who have loved God throughout the history of the planet.

Notice that Jesus does not set foot on the earth.

Jesus will not be seen via CNN at a football match or meeting the President at the White House.

The earth will be wiped clean of all life and all the righteous will meet in the air.

Q15 – WHAT WARNING DOES JESUS GIVE ABOUT THE SECOND COMING?

For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. Matthew 24.5

Jesus warns us that there will be counterfeit or “fake” Christs.

It is interesting to note that the Jews are anxiously looking for their Messiah; the Muslims are looking for the return of Jesus (Isa) and the Christians of course are also looking for Jesus to return.

One of the last deceptions will be a range of counterfeit Second Comings, possibly including a secret rapture and a literal return by the devil himself, claiming to be Christ.

Jesus said these deceptions will be so effective, even the “very elect” may be fooled (Matthew 24:24)..

Q16 – HOW CAN WE BE PROTECTED AGAINST DECEPTION?

To the LAW and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8.20

In order to know what is right, we need to firstly understand and trust the Scriptures.

We then need to test everything by “this Word”.

In this lesson we have outlined from the Bible how Jesus will return.

We can all be certain of truth and error when it comes to this vital issue of the Second Coming.

Q17 – WHAT WILL THE RIGHTEOUS SAY AT THE SECOND COMING?

And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. Isaiah 25.9

The righteous will not be taken by surprise.

Jesus will come as a “thief in the night” (2 Peter 3:10) for the wicked, but the righteous will be waiting for Jesus.

Q18 – WILL EVERYONE WHO CLAIMS TO BE SAVED BE TAKEN TO HEAVEN WHEN JESUS RETURNS?

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7.21-23

There are people today who claim to be Christians, full of the Holy Spirit, yet they will miss out on heaven.

The reason is simple.

Jesus wants not only our worship, but also our obedience.

In fact the highest form of worship is obedience.

Any Christian who says “Lord, Lord” but is not willing to keep God’s law is alienating themselves from God and not practising true Christianity.

commandments, tablets, stone

Q19 – WHAT SHOULD BE OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE SOON COMING OF JESUS?

“ He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22.20

The Second Coming is the great hope for the Christian.

There may be some of you who want Jesus to come – but not yet.

You may feel you have too much of your life still to live.

But a life with Jesus is not a boring, restrictive life.

It involves living life to the full, through health and happiness.

It is a life that brings inner peace and contentment.

Added to this, it will soon be an eternal life where there will be no more pain, suffering or sorrow.

Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Three points to remember:

•The Second Coming of Jesus is the great hope for the Christian
• Jesus will return to planet earth – physically, visually and audibly

Deception regarding the Second Coming is a vital tool of the devil

The Story:

In early May 1980, a warning message went out to the residents of Mount St Helens in the United States. Seismologists and other experts had monitored this volcanic mountain for months, and after repeated false alarms, they were sure this time it was going to blow. One of the most famous residents of this mountain was a man by the name of Harry Truman. This old character was nicknamed “the old man of the mountain”. He repeatedly had officials plead with him to prepare for the destruction by leaving his property and going to an area of safety. Truman would laugh at the rangers and camera crews and refused to leave the mountain, certain he would be safe. On May 18, 1980, at 8:32am, Mount St Helens erupted violently. The powerful gases blew out at over 1,000 kilometres per hour with a scorching heat of nearly 400 degrees Celsius. The result was the destruction of every living thing within a 20 km radius. That day 57 people died, including Harry Truman, buried about 30 metres under the lava.

What can we learn from this story as it relates to the destruction of the world at the Second Coming of Christ?

Relational questions

1. Why is an understanding of the Second Coming important to your everyday Christian experience?

2. What can you do in a practical way to protect yourself against false Christs and religious deceptions about the Second Coming?

3. What do you need to do in your life in order to know and do the will of God?

Your response:

When Jesus comes there will be only two groups – the saved and the lost.

Would you like to choose today to accept Jesus and be among those who are saved?

In Lesson 5 we take a look at Does God Care?

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