What Does the Bible Say About the End of the Age? by Michael L. Brown for Ask Dr Brown
Let’s be brutally honest here. It would be arrogant and foolish to imagine that, in one short article, any of us could make a definitive statement about the Bible and the end times. After all, these issues have been debated for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and the debate continues to rage until this day. Plus, what Bible are we talking about? And what do we mean by the end of the age?
Let’s answer those questions first.
When talking about “the Bible,” I’ll be referring to the version of the Bible shared by the largest number of people, namely, the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament.
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Judaism accepts only the Hebrew Scriptures (called the Old Testament by Christians) as the Bible. And Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians accept the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Apocrypha as sacred Scripture.
But all Christians agree on the Old and New Testament as being Scripture, so for simplicity’s sake, when we speak about “the Bible,” that’s what we mean.
As for the end of the age, we’re asking the question: what does the Bible say will occur at the end of the world?
Even then, we have opened up a hornet’s nest of controversy, as within evangelical circles alone, there are numerous competing end-time systems, including: historic premillennialism; dispensational premillennialism; amillennialism; and postmillennialism (within this, there are also variations of preterism). Is your head spinning yet?
There are some theologians who believe the world will only get worse before Jesus returns, others who believe things will pretty much remain the same until then, and others who believe the whole world will become Christian. How do we sort this out?
I suggest we major on the majors, looking at the large themes that are repeated over and again in the Bible rather than trying to figure out every last detail. That’s why I’ve told people for years that if they keep a prophecy calendar, they should use a pencil when filling it in.
Here’s big theme number one: In the end, God’s kingdom will triumph. In the end, righteousness will rule. As described in these famous words of Isaiah, “In the last days the mountain of the LORD’S temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
“Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:2–4)