New Heaven and Earth

World Without End

With the turn of the century approaching speculation about the "end of the world" is running rampant. But does the Bible actually predict an end of time? Does the Biblical term "the last days" refer to the last days of time or to the last days of an age?

Some Bible facts
Fact #1
When God destroyed the world with a flood, Genesis 6, he promised "I will never again destroy every living creature as I have done" Genesis 8:21. This is normally interpreted to mean " I will destroy the world again, but this time I will do it with fire!" Reader, does the "as I have done" refer to the water or to "every living creature"? The traditional interpretation says it refers to the water. But this means God was more concerned about methods of destruction than he is mercy for his creation. God brought the flood because mankind was evil "every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." God brought the flood because of sin. But in Genesis 8:21 God looked down through time; knowing "the imagination of man’s heart is evil from youth" God vowed to never again destroy every living creature. God destroyed the world by the flood because the world was wicked. But God knew that man would not change therefore he vowed to never again destroy the world. In spite of this, modern theories insist that God will destroy the world because of man’s evil. We are constantly told that the world will get worse until God destroys it. But a futuristic destruction of creation to destroy the wicked contradicts God’s promise to never again destroy creation because of man’s sin! How then do we explain the passages about the "end"?

Fact #2
The Bible nowhere speaks of the "end of time"; it always speaks of the "time of the end." There is a difference!

A few translations do unfortunately use the term, "end of time" but not correctly translated. Revelation 10:6 is a good example, the correct translation is "there shall be delay no longer." This is significant. John, in Revelation was seeing the imminent fulfillment of all things the Old Prophets had foretold. Those things had been foretold hundreds of years before. For instance Daniel was told his visions were not for his time but for the time of the end, 12:4, 9; the last days, 2:28. Isaiah and Joel were also told their predictions were for the "last days" Isaiah 2:2; Joel 2:28ff. While the prophets knew their predictions were for the "time of the end," John was told "there will be delay no longer" in the fulfillment of what the prophets foretold!

The Time for Fulfillment had Come When John Wrote
John was living in "the time of the end"; though obviously not the "end of time!" This is why he wrote "it is the last hour," I John 2:18. Peter said the prophets knew the things they predicted were not for their times, I Peter 1:10-12. But Peter said the salvation they foretold was "ready to be revealed in the last times" — and he was living in the last times, I Peter 1:3-20. What was once far off was ready to be revealed when Peter and john lived and wrote — the time of the end. They were living in the last days of the Jewish Age. This is what they asked about in Matthew 24:3 — "What shall be the sign of thy coming and the end of the age."

The Disciples Were Not Asking about the End of Time, but the End of the Age
Jesus gave the signs, Matthew 24:14ff and said it would occur in that generation, Matthew 24:34. The end of the age was to occur with Christ’s coming in judgment in the destruction of Jerusalem. He said that would happen before all that generation passed away, Matthew 16:27-28. The Bible nowhere speaks of an "end" far removed from the first century inspired writers. They always said the "end of all things is at hand," I Peter 4:7. If the end of all things was at hand when Peter wrote how can it be said he was speaking of the end of time? Two thousand years have passed and two thousand years is not "at hand." No, the end was not of time, but of the Jewish Age.

As opposed to the time of the end, the Bible affirms the Christian Age will have no end. In Isaiah 9:6-7 it predicted the establishment of the rule of Christ on the throne of David and "of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end." Christ’s throne is endless; not limited to a millennium nor until the end of time! Daniel 2:44 and 7:13-14 says Christ’s kingdom will never be destroyed. In Luke 1:32ff the angel told Mary that Jesus would be given the throne of David and "of his kingdom there will be no end." Paul says in Ephesians 3:21 that it is the mission of the church to give glory to God "world without end."

What is the point here?
The traditional views of "the end" say the church will give way to the kingdom [premillennialism]; or Christ will give up his throne at the end of time, (amillennialism). Both views teach that the Christian Age is temporary. Both views contradict scripture about the unending nature of the Christian Age. Since the Bible does speak of the end of the age yet the Christian Age has no end, what Age was to end? It was the Old Covenant age of Israel. Israel’s "heaven and earth," their Covenant world, was to give way to the New Covenant world of Jesus — the New Heavens and Earth.

In Isaiah 51:5-6 God predicted the destruction of "heaven and earth." Verses 15-16 defines that "heaven and earth" as the world created when God gave Israel the law at Sinai. In contrast to that world that would be destroyed, God’s new world would stand forever, vs. 6. God created Israel’s heaven and earth at Sanai, but he would destroy that world to make way for the new creation of Christ. Isaiah predicted this in chapter 65: God would destroy Israel, create a new people with a new name, and give them a new heaven and new earth, vs. 7ff.

These are Covenant Worlds — Not Physical Worlds
This is what Jesus predicted in Matthew 24 when he predicted the fall of Jerusalem: "heaven and earth shall pass away but my word shall never pass away" vs. 35. Hebrews 12 speaks of the passing of the heaven and earth, established at Sinai, and the deliverance of the unshakable kingdom of God, the church, 12:21-28. Revelation speaks of the new heaven and earth that would come when the city "where our Lord was crucified" was destroyed, 11:8; 21:1f.

The Bible does not speak of the end of time. It speaks instead of the end of the Old Covenant Age of Israel and the full establishment of the New Covenant "heaven and earth" of Christ — his church. The traditional views of final things (eschatology) say the church will give way to the kingdom (premillennialism); or Christ will give up his throne at the end of time (amillennialism). Both views teach that the church is an interim measure until the "real" blessings of God come. Since the Bible teaches that the church, established among men to be a teaching, evangelizing organization, is to have no end, then any view that speaks of the end of the church age contradicts scripture.

This helps us to better understand that when the Bible speaks about the time of the end it is actually speaking of the end of the Old Covenant "Heaven and Earth" of Israel, that was to give way to the unending New World of the Messiah. In Isaiah 51:5-6 God predicted the destruction of "heaven and earth." In verses 15-16 he defines that "heaven and earth" as the world created when God gave Israel the law at Sinai. In contrast to that world that be destroyed, God’s new world would stand forever, vs. 6.

God crated Israel’s heaven and earth at Sinai, but he would destroy that world to make
way for the new creation of Christ.

Isaiah predicted this in chapter 65: God would destroy Israel, create a new people with a new name, and give them a new heaven and new earth, vs. 7ff. These are Covenant Worlds not physical worlds. This is what Jesus predicted in Matthew 24 when he predicted the fall of Jerusalem: "heaven and earth shall pass away but my word shall never pass away" vs. 35. Hebrews 12 speaks of the passing of the heaven and earth, established at Sinai, and the deliverance of the unshakable kingdom of God, the church, 12:21-28. Revelation speaks of the new heaven and earth that would come when the city "where our Lord was crucified" was destroyed, 11:8; 21:1f.

The Bible does not speak of the end of time. Fear of Armageddon is unfounded. All forms of futurist interpretations will constantly hold people in needless fear of the future. Heaven and Earth have already passed. The kingdom of God rules in the lives of the obedient. Don’t fear the future — trust Him who holds the future!

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