The truth is, not only is the teaching of the end of the physical earth unbiblical, but it is a direct contradiction of the Bible! Consider these passages:
“I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done” (Gen. 8:21).
“And He built His sanctuary like the heights, Like the earth which He has founded forever.” (Psa. 78:69).
“Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.” (Psa. 93:1).
“He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever.” (Psa. 104:5).
“Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands.” (Psa. 119:90).
“A generation goes and a generation comes, But the earth remains forever.” (Eccl 1:4).
“There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.” (Isa. 9:7 NKJV).
“To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph. 3:21 NKJV).
So we have God’s promise to Noah after the flood that He would never again destroy every living thing on Earth. We have the words of the Psalmist, the words of the wisest man, Solomon, and the words of the apostle Paul. All of these passages contradict the teaching that Earth and its people will soon come to a fiery end! Instead, these verses tell us that God will never do such a thing! They tell us that Earth’s existence is forever and we live in a world without end!
So the truth is, neither Jesus nor any of His apostles ever used the term “the end of the world.” They said “the end of the age.” Of course they could have used the word “world” it that was what they meant, but none of them ever did.
Let us look at this phrase “end of the age”:
1“Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 and Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:1-3)
- End of the Age = Greek: suntelias tou aionos. This very unique Greek phrase is only used 4 times in the entire NT (Matt. 13:39-40, 24:3, 28:20; Heb. 9:26). After Matthew 13:39-40, in verse 51, Jesus asked His disciples if they understood what He meant and they answered, “Yes.” So, sometime later in Matthew 24 when Jesus says the exact same unique phrase, and that it was within their generation, that He was going to destroy the temple, the centre of their Old Covenant world, and upon hearing that is when they asked Him “when will be the ‘end of the age’” (Old Heavens and Earth animal sacrificial system epitomized in the Old Covenant Mosaic age they were currently living in. Jesus had not gone to the cross yet, nor established the New Covenant age) à they knew exactly what the ‘end of the age was.’ Hebrews 9:26 also clearly states that the “end of the ages” was at the time Christ was crucified à we all know that was within the 1st century generation.
- Matthew 24:3 discusses the end of the AGE, which you will also notice with that phrase is included the Greek word aion, not kosmos (1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 1:1-2; 9:26; 1 Pet. 1:20).
- This refers to the end of the Old Heavens and Earth cosmological order epitomized in Old Covenant system, aka: JEWISH (MOSAIC) AGE.
- The use of “COMING” in relation to JUDGEMENT is an Old Testament concept, also used in the New Testament. (Egypt = Isa. 19:1; Assyrian captivity of Samaria and Jerusalem = Micah 1:1-4; Babylon = Isaiah 13; Destruction of Edom = Isaiah 34; Assyrians surrounding Jerusalem then defeated by God = Isa. 30 then 37; Israel by Assyria in 722 BC = Amos 8:8-9; Metaphoric talk of the Lord doing the fighting = Rev, 2:4-5, Rev. 2:16)
(i): Matthew 24:1-3 As Jesus’ disciples had just heard His prediction of “desolation” for the temple and city, they no doubt felt bewildered and wondered, “Lord, you cannot mean this temple!” They must have been astonished when Jesus told them that the temple was going to be destroyed, with not one stone left upon another (v. 2 and see Josephus in Wars VII:I:1.). So they were naturally curious about how and when those things were going to take place.
The disciples’ question involved three interrelated events: (1) the time of the temple’s destruction; (2) the signs that would signal Jesus’ Coming; and (3) the sign that would bring about the end of the age. Compare parallel passages in Mark 13:4 and Luke 21:7; 20-22 and 19:43-44. The disciples’ questions were related to the destruction of the temple and the end of the Jewish economy and to nothing else. There is no basis for a 2000-year “gap theory.”
Many modern Bible interpreters think that the disciples wanted to know about the end of the planet. But the disciples did not ask about the end of the “world” (Gk. kosmos). Rather, with the temple and city as their main focus, they asked about the end of the “age” (Gk. aion). In Strong’s exhaustive concordance, it says of the word aion, “specific (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future).” See also Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Ephesians 1:21.
One writer has written, “In these passages we have two worlds or ages in contrast: ‘This world’ (age) and the ‘world (age) to come’…. The expression ‘world or age to come’ implies that ‘this world or age’ must end. Will the ‘world or age to come’ also have an end? If not, then the expression ‘last days’ must apply to the closing period of ‘this world or age.’ Thus, in the end of ‘this world’ (whatever time is meant) is when God’s eschatological program will be completed or consummated.”
Another writer wrote, “They were asking when time would run out for the temple, the city of Jerusalem and the Covenant promises that were related to the Mosaic system, of animal sacrifices, ceremonial washings and priesthood.”
And another writer wrote, “Time was divided by the Jews into two great periods, the age of the law and the age of the Messiah. The conclusion of the one was the beginning of the other, the opening of that kingdom which the Jews believed the Messiah was to establish, which was to put an end to their suffering, and to render them the greatest people upon the earth. The apostles, full of this hope, said to our Lord, immediately before his ascension, ‘Lord, wilt Thou, at this time, restore the kingdom to Israel?’ [Acts 1:6]. Our Lord alluded to His coming to indicate His taking vengeance upon the Jews by destroying their city and sanctuary.” This “end of the age” would be the removing of the obsolete Old Covenant temple and system.
A very valuable parable look for us to look at is the parable of the marriage of the king’s son in Matthew 22. The king prepared a wedding for his son and sent his servants to tell those who were invited to come to the wedding for everything was ready. The people paid no heed to the servants; in fact they abused them and even killed some of them. In its most basic interpretation, this parable is a picture of the Jews’ rejection of Yeshua and the Gospel, and their persecution of the servants of God, who extended to them an invitation to participate in the salvation He offered. The result of their refusal to share in what God had prepared for them was nothing short of horrible! In the parable Jesus describes the consequences like this:
“But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire.” (Matt. 22:7).
This is powerful! If we can see what Yeshua was talking about here in this parable, then we will be in a much better position to understand the whole New Testament, for much of it is about this very matter! Look at verse 7:
1. The “King” was God.
2. God was “enraged” with His people, the Jews, for rejecting His prophets and His Son.
3. He sent “His armies,” the Roman legions, “to destroy those murderers,” the unbelievers among the Jews.
4. The Romans not only destroyed the people, but they “burned up” their “city,” (set their city on fire) which was Jerusalem!
How much better can any parable fit the actual historical events? We know this is exactly what happened to the Jews, Judea, and Jerusalem! Utter destruction came to the people and the land by AD 70.
Verse 7 in the parable of The Marriage of the King’s Son was the time when many prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments came to pass:
THIS was when “the heavens” passed away, when “the elements” melted, and when “the earth” “burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10)!
THIS was when the tares in Matthew 13:40 were “gathered up and burned with fire”!
THIS was the time of which Jesus was speaking in Matthew 13:40 when He said: “So shall it be at the end of this world [age].” (Please see eschatology Study Series 15 Lesson 3 on Matthew 13 Parable of the Tares for a more in-depth study).
THIS was when the last day of the Last Days arrived!
THIS was when Malachi 4:1 was fulfilled: “’For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.’”!
THIS was “the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord” (Mal. 4:5)!
THIS was “the end” of which Jesus spoke when He said: “Then the end will come,” and the time of which He said: “Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains” (Matt. 24:14 and 16)!
THIS was the calamity of which Paul was warning when he said: “Brethren, the time has been shortened,” (1 Cor. 7:29)!
THIS was “the end” of which Peter warned when he said: “The end of all things is near” (1 Pet. 4:7)!
THIS was when “the first (former) things [the age of the Old Covenant and all that pertained to it] … have passed away” (Rev. 21:4)!
THIS was the Judgment of which Jesus spoke when He said: “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell [Gehenna]” (Matt. 23:33)?
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 7 Lesson 1 Matt. 24:1-14”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 15 Lesson 2 Revelation Last Days and The Judgment”]