The following headline, one of many of the same ilk, appeared in ‘The Daily Telegraph’ earlier this month: “Scientists witness what the end of the Earth could look like”. These ‘educated ejits’ (to quote the late W P Nicholson) state that “In five billion years it will likely be engulfed by our own Sun”.
Like so many blind and bumptious declarations by ungodly men, this baseless prediction, that the earth will be swallowed up by the sun in 5 billion years, is utter nonsense. They who cannot tell with any degree of accuracy what tomorrow’s weather will be like, rise up on their hind legs to pompously forecast what will happen 5 billion years from now!
These men utterly and blindly reject the record in the rocks of the earth and what is infinitely more clearly recorded in the Word of God, about what happened some 6000 years ago when the earth was brought forth ‘ex nihilo’, out of nothing, And in a further display of their blindness they would dare to pontificate regarding, as far as man is concerned, the utterly unknowable future!
The Bible tells us about all of our ‘tomorrows’, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil,” James 4:13-16.
Tomorrow is utterly hidden from the eyes of men and they have no means of predicting what GOD WILL DO WITH HIS CREATION! For that information we must utilise God’s own revelation on that matter.
I read today what God has to say about the future existence of the earth, “ . . . the earth which he hath established for ever,” Psalm 78:69. The word ‘established’ literally means ‘to found, fix, establish, lay foundation’.
What these foolish self-opinionated men say of the earth’s future is revealed as most foolish and flies in the face of what its CREATOR says of His own divine handiwork.
Let us consider just what the Lord tells us in His Word of His unalterable purpose for the earth.
I. ITS PRESENT ARRANGEMENTS WILL COME TO AN END.
That does not mean that the fabric of the earth, brought forth by the hand of God, will cease to be. Consider Paul’s words in Hebrews 1, “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail,” verses 10-12.
Note what is here said: “ . . . as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed.” A common household activity is used by the Lord to illustrate what He plans for the earth. As the sheets on a bed may be stripped off to be washed and then folded, so the Lord is going to ‘strip the sheets from His creation’ one day.
The word ‘perished’ carries the meaning of ‘coming to an end’. We speak of ‘hopes and plans’ perishing, that is, ceasing to have any expectation of a future. So the present structures of the earth will run their course and God will change things wonderfully.
1. There will be warnings of the approach of the change. I read the other day: ‘Almost half of animals in decline, research shows’, (BBC news report). On this occasion we may accept the word of the scientists for what they claim can be verified. I see in my own garden evidence of the ‘decline’. I have missed the presence of that beautiful little bird, the Greenfinch. Disease, I am told has decimated their numbers, though there is some hope of their recovery. However, many creatures, which once walked this earth and flew through its skies do so no more. That is one of the warnings of an approaching change!
“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body,” Romans 8:19-23.
As a result of the fall of Adam into sin, when tempted along with Eve by the devil, and the curse of God which followed (Genesis 3:6-19) mankind, the creatures of the earth and the very ground itself is under the judgment of God! As Paul says in Romans 8, “For the creature was made subject to vanity.”
Man sees the decline in the animal kingdom but pays no attention to the ‘decline’, morally, physically, mentally, within his own ranks. We would be fools to fail to see the increasing threat from world-wide plagues and diseases. The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said recently in Geneva: “Although COVID-19 may no longer be a global public health emergency, countries must still strengthen response to the disease and prepare for future pandemics and other threats.” While I hesitate to agree with his notion that the threat of COVID has receded, we see in his words an indication that there is some degree of concern regarding the growing threat of disease on a world-wide scale. With the present chaos in the ranks of our National Health Service, one would dread a repeat of a pandemic like that of the recent COVID virus.
We should remember that the Bible reveals that God has, in judgment, planned a time of plagues to fall on the region of the world which I believe to the the ‘Roman Earth’, the territory of the future Antichrist. “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God,” Revelation 15:1. These are but some of the warnings set forth in Holy Scripture. I will not refer to the religious and political events which foretell the approach of the end of this age as I have covered that topic many times before.
2. The events which will bring this age to an end will be most frightening to mankind generally. The Bible believer will not be frightened for he will know the meaning of these happenings and rejoice. The night of deliverance in Egypt was a most fearful time for the unbelieving Egyptian but one of joyful anticipation for the redeemed Israelite!
Heed these words of the Saviour on the matter: “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory,” Luke 21:25-27.
Of these events, the scientists, so full of ‘knowledge’ regarding events which they claim will take place 5 billion years from now, are totally ignorant!
These phenomena take place at the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ. The shaking of the present physical creation is an indication of a new regime about to be brought in. The prophets of old dwelt much on this matter. That which John speaks of in Revelation 20:4-6, was mentioned many times before by the prophets of Israel.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years,” Revelation 20:4-6.
Moses, Joel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and the New Testament writers, Paul, Peter and John, all refer to the last times and the changes that will follow the return of the Saviour.
I can only give you a few samples of what is written.
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever,” Daniel 2:44.
“And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him,”Daniel 7:27.
“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD’S house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts,” Zechariah 14:16-21.
“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more,” Isaiah 2:1-4.
“And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began,” Acts 3:20-21.
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea,” Isaiah 11:6-9.
“And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. . . . The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD,” Isaiah 65:19-22, 25.
There are a few of the references to that which will follow the Saviour’s return to this world and the “restitution of all things” that He will bring about.
II. GLORIOUS AND ALL AS THE CHANGES BROUGHT ABOUT ON THIS EARTH AT CHRIST’S SECOND ADVENT, THEY ARE NOT THE FINAL CHANGES THAT HE WILL INSTIGATE.
When the ‘thousand year reign’ of Christ ends, then there begins a series of events which will result in the eternal state being introduced.
Again we set before you God’s Word.
“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire,” Revelation 20:7-15.
Note the first words: “And when the thousand years are expired. . . .” The devil who has been incarcerated during the thousand year reign, verses 2-3, is released to fulfil God’s purpose through him. He is judged and “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
That is immediately followed by the setting up of the “great white throne” and the resurrection of the unconverted takes place, those referred to in the verse 5, as “the rest of the dead” who were not resurrected at the beginning of the Saviour’s reign on the earth. The unconverted sinners’ bodies remain in their graves until the setting up of the “great white throne”, “they lived not again until the thousand years were finished.”
Now takes place that which Paul had written. “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power,” 1 Corinthians 15:24.
It was immediately after the final judgment of the unsaved that John “saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea,” Revelation 21:1.
The chapter division between chapters 20 and 21 is not placed well for 20:15 and 21:1 are very closely linked. Indeed, the word ‘and’ joins the two together! It would be much better if chapter 20 ended at the verse 8 of chapter 21, for the verse 9 begins a new revelation given to John, “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
What John saw in 21:1, marks the transition of the earth into its final and eternal state. The creation is now utterly ‘new’. Peter spoke of this.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless,” 2 Peter 3:10-14.
Please note carefully the words of Peter’s statement. “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein . . .” That last word is particularly important. Peter is telling us that “the Day of the Lord”, which the Holy Scriptures tell us is not a 24-hour day, but rather a lengthy period in which many things requiring more than 24 hours to accomplish, will take place, will see the “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” That will happen at the end of the “Day of the Lord” and will bring that wonderful period to an end.
God is going to utterly purge this creation, so marred by man’s sin, and bring about a “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” Revelation 22:1-5, speaks of that eternal state.
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”
Of these glorious events, scientists know nothing for their microscopes, etc, can tell them nothing of what God has planned. Only the ‘old despised book’ can inform the one who comes to it and humbly believes what it says, even as John states at the opening of the last book of the Bible.
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand,” Revelation 1:1-3.
May each one who reads these few words find and enjoy that blessing.
Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
May 25th 2023