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.
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.
Satan will be released, and he and God will gather the nations to fight, capture, plunder, exile, rape, and kill the people of Jerusalem. Two witnesses will prophesy and torment everyone for 3.5 years while the Gentiles trample on the holy city. Then a beast from the Abyss will kill them, and everyone will celebrate. After a 3.5 day delay, the witnesses will go to heaven. Then there will be storms and earthquakes, and a tenth of the city will collapse, killing 7000 people.
God will split the Mount of Olives in two, forming a valley so the people of Jerusalem can flee from the attackers God sent after them. Then God’s people will fight the other nations, steal all their money, and take over the world. God will make the nations panic, attack each other, rot, and be devoured by fire from heaven.
The Anointed One vs. the Anointed One
The king of Greece will fly over and destroy the great kingdoms of Media and Persia. After he dies, four lesser kingdoms will emerge from Greece. 16 months after Jerusalem starts to be rebuilt, the anointed ruler will arise: The fierce, powerful, crafty, lawless eleventh king of the fourth kingdom.
This king will set himself up as a god in the temple. He will perform wonders, the signs of a true apostle. For 14 months he will oppose God and his people. He will destroy many of them, and have their city destroyed. Even the heavens won’t be safe from the Anointed One’s tyranny. He will set up an abomination that causes desolation in the temple. And the people of Judea will flee to the mountains.
A fourth of mankind will be killed by famines, plagues, beasts, and people. There will be a great earthquake, the sun will turn black, the moon will turn red, the stars will fall to earth,7 and people will hide in caves. Angels will put seals on the foreheads of 144,000 people from Israel who will be redeemed because they never had sex. There will be a storm of hail, fire, and blood, and another earthquake. A third of the earth and trees and all the green grass will be burned up, a third of the sea will turn into turbulent blood, a third of the ships and sea creatures will be destroyed, a third of the waters will be poisoned, a third of the sun, moon, and stars will turn dark,8 and it will be dark for a third of the day and night.9
Smoke from the Abyss will darken the sky, and out of the smoke will come locusts that look like horses with human heads, lion’s teeth, and scorpion’s tails. They will torture everyone but those 144,000 virgins for five months. Then 200 million fire-breathing horses with lion’s heads and snakes for tails will kill a third of mankind.
Before his disciples finish going through the towns of Israel, Jesus will unexpectedly come from heaven and send angels to gather his people. The dead in Christ10 will rise again and meet him in the sky. They will be joined by the rest of the dead and some people who are still living (like Paul).
All the nations will worship Jesus, the Anointed One. He will throw Satan into hell, and he will overthrow the lawless king with his deadly breath. After that king loses his power, the holy people will possess the kingdom forever.11
A multitude of people from every nation who managed to survive all that will be gathered to Jesus at the temple to be judged. They will serve God day and night, because he will force them to go to Jerusalem each year to worship him. Jesus will be king over the whole earth forever, reigning over Israel and crushing all the other kingdoms. He will provide living water, and there will be no more hunger, thirst, or war.
God judges in peculiar ways
At a time only the Father knows, God will destroy the earth with fire, and the heavens will be rolled up and burned. Everyone will die, except the ones who don’t try to stay alive. Then the dead, who have been unconscious since they died, will rise (again) and be judged by Jesus.12 Those who know what God wants will be punished more severely than those who don’t. So you might want to avoid reading God’s law, just to be safe.
Many people will be disowned by Jesus, cut to pieces, trampled by godly people, eaten by immortal worms, thrown out into the darkness, and constantly tormented day and night with unquenchable fire and sulfur in hell forever.13 This includes:
- People who don’t know about God
- People who call atheists fools
- People who disagree with others
- People who take oaths
- People who aren’t sure if they’re eating the right things
- People who drink
- People who fail to pay interest
- People who have pleasant lives
- Angry people
- Circumcised men
- Heterosexual men
- Everyone who was forced to receive the mark of the beast
- People who don’t mutilate their bodies every time they do something wrong
- Jesus’s generation, which will not pass away until all these things have happened
- Many who prophesied, drove out demons, and performed miracles in the name of Jesus
- People who teach God’s law15
- People who tried to enter God’s kingdom, but got there too late or were wearing the wrong clothes
- People who did manage to become subjects of the kingdom of heaven, but will now be thrown out
God will create a new heaven and earth with no sea. There will be a shiny new Jerusalem with pearly gates and gemstoney foundations. This city will be as big as if there was a building thousands of stories high and covering the whole surface of the old earth. God will personally provide light for the new Jerusalem, so it will always be daytime, but with no need for the sun. There will be no pain, death, curses, marriage, or anything else impure there, and no one will be able to remember their past lives.
A few people will be forgiven by Jesus, given superior new spiritual bodies that make them all look like Jesus, and rewarded with eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. This includes:
- All Israelis
- Some mothers
- People who aren’t born of women16
- People who are good but let everyone think they’re evil
- People with Christian roommates
- People who have unpleasant lives
- Childish people
- People who use worldly wealth to gain friends for themselves
- Tax collectors and prostitutes
- People who think borrowed things don’t have to be returned
- People who force others to torture them (they get an especially good reward)
- People who criticize Jesus
- People who have been given over to Satan
- Random people who God will force to go to his place because other people aren’t interested
God’s people will serve him and judge the angels and the world forever, and Jesus’s disciples will judge Israel. All the animals will become herbivores and live peacefully together on the holy mountain. Everyone will know God and will have access to the river of life and the tree of life. Yet some of those people who have been rewarded with eternal life will be cursed and won’t even live 100 years.