When Will the End of the World Come?

Chapter 11 | Summary

A Recurring Thought

The Most Extraordinary Event in History

A Deranged Society

Why Has Jesus Not Come Yet?

The Promise Remains Valid

In the Sierra Nevada Mountains in southern Spain, Belgian writer Patrick Geryl built a bunker where he planned on hiding from the cataclysm that, according to him, would destroy the planet on December 21, 2012. “We want a place that is 2,000 meters above sea level,” he explains. He and his supporters were attempting to shelter 5,000 people in a place that would “withstand the horrors of the end of the world.”1

December 2012, the end of the world month, was a recurring theme thanks to certain “prophetic” discoveries. The first theory to surface was that the earth would be struck by the planet Nibiru in 2012.2 Next came conversations about the Mayan Calendar, which apparently ended on December 21 of the same year.3 Later, interpreters of Nostradamus4 and, soon after “specialists” in geological and astronomical predictions, prepared a list of catastrophes, such as the earth’s magnetic field inversion,5 the change in the earth’s rotational axis, a devastating solar storm, and an alleged planetary alignment in which our world would end up in the center of the Milky Way. All of this in December 2012.

The matter piqued so much interest that it prompted many films and documentaries whose central theme was the end of the world: I Am Legend (Francis Lawrence, 2007) and 2012 (Roland Emmerich, 2009).6 The subject led to a large number of books and other types of businesses. On the Amazon shopping site alone, 275 books were available that mentioned 2012 as the possible date for the end of the planet. In the United Sates stores offer products for the “Apocalypse.” The biggest sellers are water-purifying pills and magnesium cylinders used to light fires. People worried about the possible shortage of water and fire in what they imagined would be a return to the Stone Age.

But December 2012 is history, and the world continues with its daily struggles. Patrick Geryl, the Belgian of the bunker, ill, found it regrettable and stopped making public appearances. Embarrassed, he ordered the removal of all his YouTube videos.

A Recurring Thought

The idea of the end of the world terrifies humanity. People have their own way of facing it. Some laugh or remain indifferent, others despair, and others, such as the Belgian writer, try to prepare a place to escape from the “final cataclysm.” However, the Bible is categorical about asserting that the coming of Christ is not related in any way to the destruction or extermination of lives, but to the establishment of a new world wherein sin will not distort things. Destruction and death will be the natural result of humanity’s erroneous decisions.

Jesus promised his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:1-3). This is one of the most beautiful promises from the Bible. It is an unconditional promise, which means that the promise will be fulfilled regardless of what human beings believe. When the day and hour of the Second Coming of Christ strike on the divine clock, the Lord will return to put an end to the history of sin.

The divine promise starts with words of comfort and encouragement. “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” We live in a world in turmoil. Pain, death, injustice, and violence are everyday occurrences. Large numbers of people mourn for loved ones destroyed by death. Millions of innocent children die as a result of injustice by adults. Loneliness, betrayal, and selfishness suffocate humanity’s most altruistic intentions. In the midst of such a dark cloud of uncertainty the promise of the Second Coming of Christ arrives as a soothing balm that alleviates pain. Jesus will return to earth to take us to be with Him.

It will be a universal event: “Every eye will see him” (Rev. 1:7). It will not be an occasion limited to one area. Jesus will not appear in one country followed by another. All the inhabitants on this planet will witness the most extraordinary event in this world. Nonetheless, the spiritual disorder of society and the thirst for the supernatural will facilitate the work of a good number of the deceitful who will try to take advantage of the emotional needs of the people: “At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There He is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. ‘So if anyone tells you, ‘There He is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here He is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man’” (Matt. 24:23-27).

The idea that the coming of Christ will be a secret event has no biblical foundation. When Jesus was taken to heaven, something happened that confirms the coming of Christ as a visible and universal act: “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven’” (Acts 1:9-11).

Jesus left physically and visibly. The disciples saw Him with their own eyes, not with eyes of faith. Nothing was hidden; it was public. The angels said He would return “the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” The other day a young man asked me a question based on the movie Left Behind, a Christian film that promotes the idea that Jesus will return in a disguised way through what is known as the “secret rapture.”

“Does the Bible not say that some will be taken and others will not?”

The young man’s question confuses many people. The biblical passage literally says: “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left” (Matt. 24:40, 41). The biblical text is clear and leaves no room for discussion. But to understand it properly, we must read the verses before and after. All of Matthew 24 talks about the signs of the coming of Christ. One of those signs will be the lack of preparation by many for their encounter with Jesus. In verse 36, Jesus says: “But about the day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” With this statement, the Teacher answers a question in the heart of every human being: When will Jesus come? However, notwithstanding human curiosity, the emphasis of the Bible upon mentioning the Second Coming is not the date of the event but the preparation necessary for that culminating moment of history.


1. It will be an invisible act perceived only by the redeemed. 1. It will be a visible event witnessed by the redeemed as well as the wicked (Matt. 16:24-28; 24:30, 31; 1 Thess. 4:16, 17; Rev. 1:7).
2. It will occur in two separate comings over a period of seven years. 2. It is the most transcendental moment in history, for both the righteous and the ungodly (Matt. 13:30, 39-43; Rev. 22:11-12).
3. Those who stay in this world will remain alive. 3. The brilliance of the coming of the Lord will destroy those who remain on the earth (Matt. 24:45-51; Luke 17:24-37; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; 2:8; Rev. 6:14-17).
4. The wicked will have a second chance to save themselves. 4. The only opportunity to be saved involves accepting Jesus now. Once the grace period is over, there will be no chance of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2; Heb. 3:7; 9:27-28; Rev. 22:11).
5. The redeemed will not go through a final judgment. 5. God will protect His people during the final judgment (Matt. 24:13; Rev. 2:10).
6. The rapture will occur before the Antichrist manifests himself. 6. The Antichrist will manifest himself first. Then he will apply the symbol of the beast. A time of grief will come. Then the Lord will return (2 Thess. 2:1-4; Rev. 14:9, 10, 12; 15:1, 8; 16:1, 15).

After asserting that only the Father knows the date, in the following verses Jesus presents a sorrowful example of people who were unprepared when the flood arrived: “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (verses 38, 39).

The problem experienced by the people who lived prior to the flood was a lack of preparation. They did not realize the urgency or importance of time. They lived as if nothing out of the ordinary was going to occur. They carried on with their everyday lives. They ate, drank, and got married. There was nothing wrong with eating, drinking, and marrying; those are typical activities of every human being. The problem was the peoples’ inconsistency regarding reality, their lack of interest in divine warnings. Most people were unprepared when the flood eventually arrived. The few who were prepared were saved in the ark; the others were left behind.

Upon finishing His presentation, which was no more than a warning about a lack of preparation, Jesus says that at His Second Coming the attitude of people would be the same as that of the days of Noah. When Jesus appears in the clouds of heaven, some will be taken and others will be left behind. Two men will be in the field; one of them will be prepared and the other will not. Two women will be grinding grain; one of them will be ready to meet Jesus, the other will not. Next He says: “So you must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (verse 44). And He caps the emphasis on the preparation for his coming by declaring: “The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of” (verse 50).

Does the Bible speak of a rapture, when God’s people are taken from this planet? Yes, but not a secret rapture. The apostle Paul affirms: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thess. 4:16, 17). This is the biblical rapture, a public event visible to everyone and accompanied by the sound of trumpets.

The Most Extraordinary Event in History

The coming of Christ is a hope maintained throughout the ages. The attention of many peoples is focused on it, even though there have been misunderstandings. In the city of Thessalonica when Paul lived, there were two types of people. Some believed Jesus would not return, and lived with no concern about the future. Others made up possible dates for the coming of Jesus. Both groups have existed since long ago, and both have been mistaken. Extremes are frequently deceiving. In view of the circumstances, Paul writes to the Thessalonians: “Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape” (1 Thess. 5:1-3).

Why did Paul say he did not have to write about the times? Clearly, Jesus taught that no one knew the day, only the Father knew. At the mountain of Ascension, He repeated the same idea. “Then they gathered around him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority’” (Acts 1:6, 7).

In the days of Paul, people insisted on knowing the day and the hour of the coming of Christ. But the biblical emphasis, as previously stated, has always been on preparation, not on the date. For this reason, the apostle reinforces the biblical idea with two illustrations. The first is that of a thief that comes at night to steal. The second is that of a woman who gives birth unexpectedly. Both examples have a clearly defined element of surprise. A thief does not give notice when he is about to steal; no one expects it. And the onset of labor pains is often unexpected.


In Nature In the Religious World In International Politics In Society
Darkening of sun and moon (Mark 13:24-26)* Great religious awakening (Rev.14:6-7) Wars and threats of wars (Matt. 24:6) Great wickedness (Matt. 24:12)
Fallen stars (Mark 13:24-26)** The Gospel preached to the whole world (Matt. 24:14) Food crisis (Matt. 24:7) Increase of immorality and lack of values (1 Tim. 3:1-4)
Natural disasters (Luke 21:10-11) Many deceivers (Matt. 24:11) Futile search for world peace (1 Thess. 5:3) Family crises (1 Tim. 3:1-4)
New diseases (Matt. 24:7) Re-emergence of the papacy (Rev. 13:3) Political unrest (Matt. 24:6) Labor conflicts (James 5:1-6)
Earthquakes (Matt. 24:7) Less freedom of religion (Rev.14:6-12) Uncertainty and insecurity (Luke 21:25, 26) Hedonism and materialism (Matt. 24:37-39)

**On May 19, 1780, a remarkable darkness descended over the American Northeast. That night the moon appeared around 9:00, but darkness prevailed past midnight. When the moon was finally discernable, it had a blood-like appearance.

**On November 13, 1833 a great meteoric shower took place, the greatest ever registered. Excerpt from: Alejandro Medina V., Seguridad en la incertidumbre, Mexico: GEMA, 2010, p. 204.

That’s how the return of Jesus will occur: Untimely, unexpected, and sudden. He will not come on any pre-determined date. However, even though many believe He is taking too long, He will come.

Why does the Bible not announce the date of such a transcendental occasion? Does Jesus want to catch humanity off guard? No! God longs to save all the inhabitants of the planet. His loving voice echoes through the walls of time: “Say to them, ‘as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’” (Ezek. 33:11). God is a God of life, not of death. His desire is to save. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). However, even though His ultimate desire is to save, and so that no one is taken by surprise, He left signs for His coming. Nobody will have reason to say they were unaware. While on earth, He warned: “At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’ He told them this parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of god is near’” (Luke 21:27-31).

In these verses, Jesus confirms the veracity of His return to earth. “At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory,” he says. But further, He warns twice: “When you see these things happening.” To what things was He referring? To the signs of His coming, which are many and varied. For example, in the social sphere: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come” (Matt. 24:6). In the physical: “There will be famines and earthquakes in various places” (Matt. 24:7). In the religious: “Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.’… and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people’” (Matt. 24:4, 5, 11).

Some people think that wars, earthquakes, false prophets, famines, and cataclysms have occurred throughout history. It is true. But never with the intensity and frequency of recent times. The weather seems to be going off the deep end. The planet gives the impression of being a wild horse that bucks with injuries from the spurs of human ambition that does not care to protect the environment. Some parts of the world experience extreme cold and floods, others extreme heat and drought. Vast areas of the planet do not receive a drop of rain, whereas others are inundated by excessive amounts of water.

A Deranged Society

Nobody can deny that the current situation of the planet is alarming. It is heading toward a mysterious chaos. Yet despite the fulfillment of the signs of the return of Jesus, a great number of people remain impassive, incredulous, and sarcastic. Imperturbability arises from indifference. Skepticism is fostered by materialism. Sarcasm dwells in arrogance. Peter describes the attitude of modern society toward the announcement of the coming of Jesus: “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘where is this ‘coming’ He promised?’ Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation’” (2 Pet. 3:3, 4).

Why Has Jesus Not Come Yet?

One day, after presenting a lecture on this topic, one of the attendees asked me why Jesus had not announced the exact day of His return. I believe it is because of the nature of the human heart. If humanity knew the exact day of Christ’s return, it would live without heeding His divine advice. With a few days remaining, attempts would be made to fix and prepare everything. Can you imagine a perfect world inhabited by imperfect people? Following the development of his thinking in relation to this matter, Paul contrasts the life of those who believe in the coming of Jesus with that of the unbelievers. “But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness” (1 Thess. 5:4, 5).

When this promise is fulfilled, those who live in darkness will be unprepared, caught off guard. They ignored the signs of the times or did not believe in them. They searched for any explanation to the phenomena affecting the world, but they hesitated to give credence to the Bible. They were unaware that “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Ps. 119:105). The result was to live submerged in a world of darkness. They looked but they did not see.

In contrast to the dismal situation of these people, those who live in the light wait faithfully for the divine promise to be carried out. And that faith fills hearts with courage to cope with the typical difficulties of life with the assurance that everything will pass. Jesus will return and put an end to the history of pain and suffering.

Paul insists on the essence of time, and the danger of indolence, by using two illustrations. “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet” (1 Thess. 5:6-8). The first representation is of those who sleep, and the second of an intoxicated person. Both live in darkness. Those who sleep rest worry-free, as if nothing is going to happen. Violent flames could threaten their lives, yet they are oblivious to the danger.

Intoxicated persons move, walk, and speak. They seem to be awake, but they are unaware of the danger. Their senses, dulled by alcohol, are unable to grasp the solemnity of the moment. They are unaware of the transcendental moment being experienced. They are indifferent to circumstances around them.

Jesus will carry out His promise of returning to this world (John 14:1-3), to liberate His people from evil’s oppression, to resurrect those who died believing in Him (1 Thess. 4:16), to move His children to the kingdom of heaven.

The Promise Remains Valid

It has been more than 2,000 years since Jesus said He would return. History has been devouring the years one by one, but He has not yet returned. But the promise remains valid. Peter confirms this truth by saying: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat” (2 Pet. 3:10-12).

Being prepared is to be vigilant, alert, not allowing the flame of hope to become extinguished.

Once I went to visit a person who had made a difference in my childhood. I knew him very well as a man who had taught my family the Bible. When I was just a child, he was already an old man. He preached about the Second Coming with such great fervor and enthusiasm that I imagined I could look at the sky and see Jesus return that very moment.

Years passed, as always happens in life. I became an adult, and now before me stood a man consumed by time. He could no longer walk. I saw him, but he was unable to see me. Time had closed the windows of his life.

“Come closer,” he said to me, with a voice full of emotion. “May I ask you a question?”

“Yes, of course.” I replied, placing his weak hands in mine.

“Will Jesus return?”

His question penetrated my heart like a knife. When I was a child, he had convinced me that Jesus would return. But time was threatening to put out the flame of hope in his weary heart. “Will He return?” he insisted.

“Of course He will return,” I said. “Rest peacefully. With the sound of the trumpet, at the glorious coming of Christ, you will rise and extend your hands to heaven to greet Him.”

Are you going through a difficult moment? Do you feel as though there is no strength left in you to withstand the storm of adversities? Trust in Jesus! He is coming soon!


1. https://bit.ly/2W2mt1h. Accessed May 16, 2014.

2. Jean-Pierre Luminet, “Astéroïdes : l’apocalype demain ?”, Futura-Sciences, December 6, 2012, https://bit.ly/2VsupvT. Accessed: May 16, 2014.

3. Émelyne Ferard, Fin du monde : le CNRS décrypte le calendrier maya pour démentir les rumeurs, dans Gentside découverte, December 17, 2012, https://bit.ly/2PrVZUd. Accessed May 16, 2014.

4. Benjamin Radford, “Nostradamus: Predictions of Things Past,” Live Science, October 23, 2012, https://bit.ly/2jyQmDu. Accessed: May 16, 2014.

5. According to this theory, on December 21, 2012 our planet would experience a powerful event.

6. Veja, November 4, 2009.