Some ask “What will happen at the end of the age?” Jesus’ disciples asked Him a similar question and in His reply He confirmed that there will indeed be a definite end to the present age. In Mathew chapter 24 and Luke chapter 21 Jesus describes dramatic signs and end-time events that will occur just prior to His return to this earth (Christ’s Second Coming). He told his followers to “watch” for these things and when they are observed then His appearance will be “at the doors”:
So when you see all these things taking place, know for certain that He is near, right at the door. (Mat 24.33)
Bible prophecy adds many more signs and events to give a comprehensive picture of the state of the world just before Christ returns. This topic is widely debated with various prophetic interpretations. Here we take a common dispensational interpretation that is not in conflict with historical events or with observed events i.e. with reality.
Key End-time Events
The following list of major end-time events is not in any chronological order. In fact, many events are occurring concurrently, thereby underscoring the view that we are indeed in the very last days of the age. Only key Bible texts are given but most events are well supported by multiple Bible references.
- increased travel and knowledge (Daniel 12.4)
- worldwide preaching of the Christian gospel (Matthew 24.14)
- deep spiritual darkness across all nations (Isaiah 60.2)
- widespread lawlessness (Matthew 24.12)
- worldwide pollution because man has refused to live by God’s laws (Isa 24.5)
- increasing famines and plagues (Matthew 24.7)
- increasing persecution of Christians and Jews (Matthew 24.9)
- the return of scattered Israel to their biblical land, Canaan (Ezekiel 37.21)
- the sudden re-birth of the nation, Israel (Isaiah 66.8)
- a powerful, apostate church (Revelation 17.1-6)
- the sudden and miraculous removal of the true church from the earth (Matthew 24.40-42)
- a godless and ruthless world government with total control over individuals (Dan 2.40-43)
- a godless, pompous, lawless and blasphemous world dictator (Daniel 7.19-21)
- a seven-year Peace Treaty with Israel, which is then broken mid-term (Daniel 9.27)
- a cashless trading system, with the forced insertion of an ID on individuals (Revelation 13.16-18)
- a global financial (economic) crash (Revelation 18.9-24)
- an essentially Islamic invasion of Israel, probably led by Russia (Ezekiel 38.1-17)
- an ‘all-nation’ invasion of Israel (Armageddon) (Zechariah 14.1-3)
- God’s judgement upon nations: cataclysmic events such as severe weather (Revelation 16.8-9)
First, let’s clarify the terminology. According to the common dispensational prophetic interpretation, the ‘end of the age’ and ‘the end of the world’ are separated in time by some 1,000 years. We are currently nearing the end of approximately 6,000 years of human government and the start of 1,000 years of peace on the earth – the Millennial Age when Christ rules the earth. It is only after this glorious age on earth that the ‘end of the world’, the physical destruction of the present earth, occurs. The ‘last days’ is often taken to span from the time of the apostles (the gifting of the Holy Spirit) to the Second Coming of Christ. Here we outline ‘the last’ of the ‘last days’.
World-wide Gospel Proclamation
The Christian gospel message – reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ – will be preached worldwide just before the end of the age. This is happening now! The Bible is available in whole or in part to some 98% of the world’s population in a language in which they are fluent, and modern communications enables this message to be heard by over 99% of the world’s 7.7 billion people  if they have the technology.
Increase in Knowledge and Travel
There will be rapid increase in knowledge and travel. In just 100 years man has advanced rapidly in science, medicine, communications, astronomy and travel. We now understand how the trillions of cells in our bodies are controlled by a beautiful double helix molecule called DNA. And we can now hop on one of the 100,000 commercial flights each day and travel round the world in 24 hours! Tourism is the world’s largest industry: annual revenue of $500 billion, and is one of the major sources of foreign exchange in 83% of countries.
Apostasy and Spiritual Darkness
Although the gospel is preached worldwide, there will be a general falling away from biblical truth, a falling from the light of the gospel into deep spiritual darkness. The world will be deceived by the rise of a powerful false church that heads this end-time spiritual darkness. Some claim that this end-time worldwide church will be headed by the Vatican. There will also be false prophets and cults that deceive people.
There will be increasing lawlessness. This reflects a lack of love between people and spans from local disputes, to political corruption, to greedy bankers, to religious persecution, to international terrorism. It will culminate in the brief reign of the end time ‘lawless one’ (2 Thessalonians 2.8), a world dictator. Love between people will grow cold as they depart from the spiritual laws of life as revealed in the Bible.
Persecution of Christians
There will be increasing persecution of those who choose to follow Christ. We see this today in subtle form from western governments, but especially from those who mistakenly think they are doing God’s will (John 16.2) – as in Islamic persecution of Christians in the 10/40 window. Christianity is now the world’s most persecuted faith.
The Emergence of Israel
God’s chose the nation Israel to be His servant and witness in the world. At the end of the age they will be drawn back to the land promised to Abraham and his descendants. This in-gathering or ‘aliyah’ has been underway since the late 1800’s and the population of Israel has grown from 0.5m in 1900 to 8.7m in 2017. After years of being scattered amongst the nations, national Israel will become prosperous as God once more blesses His people and makes them a key witness of Himself amongst the nations. But Israel will become the vortex of world attention and activity as nations rage against her.
Middle East Wars
The Arab-Israeli tension will soon erupt into another middle east war, probably involving mainly Islamic nations. According to prophecy, the attacking nations will be defeated by the God of Israel. Eventually, at the very end of this age, all nations will come up against Israel in a place called Armageddon (Revelation 16.16), but again they will be defeated.
The Removal of the true Church
The true end-time church will be miraculously removed from the earth to meet Christ ‘in the air’ (1 Thessalonians 4.17). Believers past and present will be raised with immortal bodies to be with God forever, whilst the false, apostate church will remain in a spiritually dark world. This will probably happen just before the worst seven years the world has ever known.
Many world leaders have called for a ‘New World Order’ (NWO) or World Government, and this is currently being formed through organisations like the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, the Club of Rome, the Illuminati, NATO and the World Council of Churches (WCC). Bible prophecy suggests that this ruthless world government will be a form of revived Roman Empire based in Europe and headed by a world dictator (Revelation 13.1) and the Antichrist (Revelation 13.11).
Persecution of Israel
Israel has been in continuous conflict with the surrounding Arab nations since the birth of the State of Israel in 1948, and the so-called Palestinian problem is continually in the media. Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and has the goal of destroying the State of Israel through Jihad. At the very end of the age, the world dictator will sign a seven-year peace treaty with Israel. This is the last time the nations seek a ‘roadmap to peace’ in the Middle East. But midway through this treaty he will break it and start severe persecution of the Jewish people (Jacob’s trouble). It will be terminated by the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the age.
Individuals will be increasingly controlled by governments, particularly in developed nations. This will be via electronic ID and cashless trading. Extensive computer networks and large databases make it easy for governments to monitor and control individuals. Today, companies across the world have begun micro-chipping their employees. There is now just a short technological step to the ultimate electronic ID and it’s forced imposition upon all individuals.
Severe Weather Events
There will be extreme weather events (Luke 21.25) such as severe heat and drought, severe storms, torrential rain, large hail and heavy snow. Drought is one of the consequences of disobedience to God, as is extreme heat – heat severe enough to kill people. Reuters and large insurance companies confirm that such extreme weather events are increasing globally. These, together with cosmic disturbances (Luke 21.11, Revelation 6.12) and possible asteroid impact (Revelation 8.8) are part of God’s judgement on the rebellious nations.
A Global Financial Crash
As part of God’s judgement of the nations there will be a sudden global financial crash and collapse of the world trading system. The world economy is based upon highly-interconnected global supply chains which are vulnerable to even a single major shock – such as a major bank failure or a cyber attack. Contagion could then spread rapidly through the tightly-linked global financial network. Collapse seems certain since global government debt is rapidly increasing.
The End of the Age
There are some 1500 Bible references to the return of Jesus Christ at the very end of the present age. Contrast this with some 300 Old Testament prophecies that relate to Christ’s first coming, all of which were fulfilled. So Christ’s return is certain. In fact, it is Christ Himself who closes the age upon His return. He will destroy the final form of corrupt world government (Daniel 2.35) and usher in a peaceful age, the Millennium. He will reign from Jerusalem as ‘King over all the earth’ (Zechariah 14.9).
The End of the World
After some 1,000 years, at the end of the Millennial reign of Christ, the earth and the biblical ‘heavens’ will be physically destroyed by extreme heat (2 Peter 3.7,10). This is the literal ‘end of the world’. Some scientists expect that, at some point in the future, the sun will expand to become a red giant and burn up the solar system, including earth.