Tag Archives: apocalypse

Can the coming of the kingdom of God be observed?

Jesus once claimed that the coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed. He acted like “the coming of the kingdom” wasn’t what it sounded like at all. Like it was just something that was with you all along. But he also told his disciples they were going to see the coming of Christ along with his kingdom, which is also God’s kingdom.1

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When will the world end?

It will happen soon.

The prophets warned that the destructive and disastrous day of the Lord is near. Zephaniah says it’s near and coming quickly. God told Ezekiel that the fulfillment of every vision was now near. And in particular, that the day of the Lord is near, when the nations will be doomed. When God told Habakkuk about the end, he said it will come and will not delay.

Paul told his followers that the day was almost here, even nearer than he’d thought. He told them to stop acting like they were going to go on living in this world, because the time is short, and the present world is passing away.

Letters from other early Christian leaders have the same message: This is the last hour. The end of all things is near, because the Lord’s coming is near. Jesus will come in just a little while, and will not delay.

The book of Revelation claims to be about what will take place soon. It repeatedly says the time is near, and it repeatedly has Jesus say he’s coming soon.

It will be delayed.

When God told Habakkuk that the end would not delay, he also contradicted himself. He suggested that if you’re looking forward to the end of the world, you’re going to have to wait for it.

Jesus told multiple parables in which the events corresponding to the second coming were described as a long time in coming, or only happening after a long time. He did this to correct the misconception that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. He said if you hear about wars, it’s not the end of the world. And even if someone says he’s Jesus and that the time is near,1 Jesus says that’s a deception and you should ignore him.

And according to a passage in Revelation, the last judgment apparently isn’t going to happen until all Christians are dead.

It already happened thousands of years ago.

The answer the Bible most commonly gives to the question of when the world will end is the most absurd one: It has actually happened already, way back in biblical times.

God told Noah that he was about to put an end to all people, destroying both them and the earth. If God said it, it must be true. The earth doesn’t exist anymore, and there haven’t been any people in over 4000 years.

Daniel predicted that God’s everlasting kingdom would come once Babylon had been taken over four times after Nebuchadnezzar. In reality, Babylon has already been taken over more times than that. Yet it has been “left to another people” rather than to God, contrary to Daniel’s claim.

Daniel also had a vision about the time of the end, where an angel said it would only take 2300 days (less than seven years) before the vision would be fulfilled. He had another vision later, about the last judgment, which also had an angel telling how long it would be before it was fulfilled. And the angel’s answer in that one is generally taken to mean just three and a half years. These predictions would put the end of the world way back in the 6th century BC.

The angel then stated that those words would be sealed up until the time of the end. Since they’re not sealed up, since we have had access to those words all this time, the time of the end must have already come a long time ago.

Jesus said the end would come as soon as the gospel had been preached throughout the whole world. In fact, he said his twelve disciples would not even finish going through the towns of Israel before Jesus came. Since Jesus had obviously already come by that time, he must have been referring to his second coming. Well, the Bible says the disciples did preach everywhere, so that means Jesus must have already returned.

Plus it says Paul preached in all Judea. And he said the message had gone out into all the earth, to the ends of the world, and the gospel had been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. If that’s all true, the world definitely should have ended a long time ago.

Jesus said his generation would not pass away until all the events of the end of the age happened and the whole world passed away. And more specifically, he said some of his disciples he was talking to would not die before they saw him coming in his kingdom. So Jesus must have already returned almost 2000 years ago, when not all of the twelve had died yet.2

Jesus said when Jerusalem is conquered, you’ll know the kingdom of God is near. Jerusalem was conquered just a few decades later. Since Jesus specified a future event when the kingdom would be near, rather than just saying the coming of the kingdom was near, he must have meant that the kingdom of God wasn’t near yet. So if the coming of the kingdom is near the destruction of Jerusalem, but it’s not near the time a few decades earlier when Jesus was talking about it, that clearly means that the kingdom is coming just a few years after the fall of Jerusalem, not thousands of years after. Jesus was saying the world would end just a few years after that event that happened in the 1st century AD.

When the apostles received the Spirit and started speaking in tongues, Peter explained what was happening, claiming that this was a fulfillment of a prophecy about the last days. So the end can’t have been too much later than that.

The culmination of the ages was back in Paul’s time. Paul wrote about what was true if anyone was in Christ. I’m not sure what exactly “in Christ” is supposed to mean, but it didn’t sound like he thought it wasn’t the case that anyone was. So we can assume he was saying that what follows from someone being in Christ was already true… which was that the old creation had gone, and the new creation had come. Paul also said he was among the people who would still be alive when Jesus came back. So that means the second coming must have happened back before Paul died.

Other letters from early Christian leaders at that time also claim that they were living in the last times, the last days, or the culmination of the ages.

It didn’t already happen.

Of course, the Bible also says the second coming and the day of the Lord have not already come. Paul says you can ignore anyone who tries to deceive you by telling you things like that, even if it’s in a message that appears to be from him. Looks like a lot of what we call the Bible is fake, according to the Bible.

Continue reading When will the world end?
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Will all the mountains be removed when the heavens recede?

In the book of Revelation, the author has a vision of the future where the heavens are rolled up like a scroll, and every mountain is “removed from its place“. Then the next thing he sees is everyone hiding in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. How can they do that if the mountains aren’t there anymore?

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The end of the world

This is a summary of what the Bible says will happen when the world ends. The predictions are scattered throughout various parts of the Bible, which makes it hard to tell how they’re all supposed to fit together. Some things just don’t fit together at all. But I’ve attempted to put everything in order and make a fairly coherent narrative out of it, using whatever chronology clues I could find in the Bible.

Fantastic beasts

In the end times, God will send many false Messiahs and false prophets. They will perform miracles, which can only be done with God’s help.1

Satan and his angels will lose a war in heaven. Then he will be thrown down to earth, where he will go to war against the Christians. A beast like a leopard with bear’s feet, a lion’s mouth, seven heads, and ten horns will come out of the sea. Satan will give the beast power over everyone for 3.5 years. All the people God arbitrarily decided not to save will worship the beast and Satan. The beast will speak against God and conquer his people.

Then a second beast with a lamb’s horns and a dragon’s voice will come out of the earth. It will perform great signs, confirming that its word is true. It will make a talking image of the first beast, and kill anyone who doesn’t worship the image. It will force all people to receive the mark of the number of the beast on their hands or foreheads.

An angel will preach the gospel to the world.2 Then Jesus will come on a cloud and harvest the earth. An angel will throw trillions of people into a winepress so Jesus can trample them to death, and a five-foot flood of blood will flow out of it. Seven more angels will bring seven plagues on the world. Festering sores will break out on the people who have the mark of the beast.3 The water will turn into blood and the Euphrates will dry up. The sun will scorch people, but the kingdom of the beast will be in darkness.

Then three frog-demons will perform signs, proving that God is on their side. They will gather the kings of the world for battle at Armageddon. God will send storms, giant hailstones, and an unprecedented, city-destroying earthquake that will split Babylon into three parts. All the islands and mountains will be removed.

The beast4 will be put in the Abyss and come back out. Then God will give power to the beast, which together with ten very briefly-reigning kings will burn down Babylon. With a sword from his mouth, Jesus will destroy the nations, the kings of the earth and their armies, and the beast and the false prophet5 will be thrown alive into hell.

God saves Jerusalem from himself

Satan will be locked in the Abyss for a thousand years, and God will resurrect Christian martyrs from every nation who have not worshiped the beast or received its mark,6 and bring them to Israel to reign alongside Jesus as priests. After the thousand years are over, God will bring unprecedented distress on everyone.

Continue reading The end of the world
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Will the day of the Lord be at the beginning or the end of the thousand years?

Several prophecies in the Bible mention a future event called “the day of the Lord”. Here’s what we know about that day: On the day of the Lord, the sun and moon will be darkened, and the heavens and earth will be destroyed. Jesus will return in between those two events, after the sun and moon have already been darkened, but while the heavens and earth still exist. And when Jesus returns, his dead followers will be resurrected. So those things all happen on the same day.

Another future event is mentioned in the last few chapters of the Bible. It says after many apocalyptic disasters occur, the devil will be temporarily locked up and the world will get a break for a thousand years, before the world truly ends. But when will the day of the Lord occur, relative to the thousand years?

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