Time Has An End

by Harold Camping
Family Stations Inc.


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In our study of the timeline of the unfolding of Godís salvation program, we have come all the way to the likely year of the end of the world ó A.D. 2011. We have purposely avoided discussing the month or day of Christís return on the clouds of glory.

We do know that the Feast of Ingathering which is also called the Feast of Tabernacles in the Bible is scheduled each year from the fifteenth to the twenty-second of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. This will come in the fall of the year. It could well be that these physical, literal times of these feasts could identify with Christís return. I believe, however, at this time in our knowledge of Bible truth, it is not wise to go past the language that speaks of the Great Tribulation. In Matthew 24:29 we read:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.

Insofar as my present understanding of the Bible is concerned, I do not believe I can adequately understand this verse. That is, it surely is speaking about the visible return of Christ together with the events that will take place at that time. This will include the rapture of the believers, the judging of the unsaved, the physical destruction of the universe, and the creation of the New Heavens and the New Earth. This is a time when time is about to end and eternity future will have arrived. Will these closing events that occur after the end of the Great Tribulation be in the context of time so that there still will be a few days before eternity future begins? It is beyond my poor ability to know. As a minimum, I believe God has spoken about these things to give closure to the Gospel message.

Moreover, when these things which are spoken of in Matthew 24:29 are happening, spiritually, it will be nighttime. There will no longer be the possibility of salvation. It will be the time when mankind reacts as we read in Revelation 6:15-16:

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us,
 

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and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.

We can, however, summarize what we can know from the Bible concerning the visible return of Christ and the eternity which immediately follows.

We do know that at the time of the end, there will be the visible return of Christ as the Judge of all the earth. We read in Matthew 24:30:

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

When Christ ascended into Heaven, after His work of salvation for His elect people was accomplished, the disciples were told in Acts 1:11:

. . . Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Matthew 24:27 further describes His coming:

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

The immediate impact on mankind resulting from His visible return is described in Matthew 24:30 and in Revelation 6:15-17:

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

 

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When Christ comes in His visible return, He will come as the Judge of all the earth. We read in Revelation 20:12-13:

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

At that awesome time, every unsaved person who has ever lived on the earth together with every unsaved person who is still physically alive at that time will be individually brought to trial before the Judgment Throne of Christ. John 5:28- 29 discloses:

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

. . . when Christ visibly appears, and every person who has
ever lived on the earth sees Him in His glory, they
no longer can pretend or deceive themselves that
there is no God to Whom they must answer.

Mankind was created in the image of God. Intuitively, every human being knows that there is a God to Whom he must answer. He also knows that he has violated Godís Laws. He, therefore, knows he is guilty. But when Christ visibly appears, and every person who has ever lived on the earth sees Him in His glory, they no longer can pretend or deceive themselves that there is no God to Whom they must answer. They no longer can be in denial of this awesome truth. They will know that they must answer to Him.

Wonderfully, at the same time that Christ appears as the Judge of all the earth, He also comes to complete the salvation of those who have throughout time become saved. At anytime in the history of the world when an individual became  

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saved, from a legal standpoint, he is no longer in any way condemned by the Law of God. This is because the Lord Jesus, on behalf of that person, has personally paid the penalty, demanded by the Law of God, for that sin. This is the atonement.

On the other hand, those who died as unsaved individuals, and those unsaved who are still alive on earth when Christ visibly appears, must be brought to trial to be examined. Then will be brought to fulfillment the prophecy of II Corinthians 5:10:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Not a single unsaved person will escape
this awful judgment.

Not a single unsaved person will escape this awful judgment. Because God knows every thing about everything, no sin, however slight or seemingly unimportant, will escape the scrutiny of God. We read in Hebrews 4:12-13:

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

In this verse, the phrase ďthe word of GodĒ is pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ. In John Chapter 1, verses 1 and 14 we read:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Thus, we can know that as the unsaved stand for judgment at the time of the visible appearing of Christ as the Judge, no sin of that individual can be hidden from God. True, the sinner standing before this mighty infinite Judge can argue in accordance with the language of Matthew 7:22-23:  

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. . . Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Sentence will be pronounced. Hell, the Lake of Fire, eternal damnation is the penalty that must be paid. How horrible! And there will be no plea bargaining, no parole, no possibility of escaping this terrible experience. Only those who had become true believers in the times when God was saving will escape this awful end. Escape was made possible because Christ had taken upon Himself each and every one of the miserable, dirty, rotten sins of those He mercifully saved, and as their Substitute, He paid for their sins.

What a terrible future awaits the billions of people who have never become saved. For them, the most awful, terrible moment will be when Christ visibly returns as the Judge of all the earth.

New Resurrected Bodies

Wonderfully, at that dramatic moment when time comes to an end, another scenario also takes place. It will be the moment of ultimate joy for every true believer in Christ. Remember, we learned that at the moment of salvation, God gave that person a brand new eternal resurrected soul. This saved individual is, therefore, from the moment of his salvation, eternally alive.

But that person also was created with a physical body. When he became saved, God did not make a change in his body. Yet his body is an integral part of his personality. Therefore, at some moment, his body, too, must be changed into a perfect resurrected body. That moment occurs at the time of the literal, visible return of Christ.

If that saved individual physically died before the return of Christ, a separation between his soul (or spirit essence) and his body would have taken place at the moment of his physical death. Because he had received an eternal resurrected soul at the moment of salvation, at the moment of his physical death, he would have left his body, and in his new resurrected soul, he instantly would have been taken into Heaven to live with Christ as a spirit personality without a body. His physical body would have been buried or cremated or disposed of in some other way. But at the end of the world, in his soul existence, he will return with Christ. At that time, his body will be resurrected a perfect spiritual body and rejoined with his soul. Thus, his salvation will be complete in every way.  

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This resurrection of his body is an event that occurs simultaneously with the moment the unsaved are resurrected to stand for judgment. Remember John 5:28-29:

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

At precisely the same time this resurrection of the unsaved is taking place, a similar event is being experienced by all the true believers who are living at the time Christ returns. They instantly will be changed into their eternal resurrected spiritual bodies. We read in I Corinthians 15:51-53:

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

The simultaneous completion of the salvation of all true believers ó those who had physically died as well as those who are physically living when Christ visibly appears ó is spoken of in I Thessalonians 4:16-17:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

This will be the most notable, most happy, most exciting, most wonderful moment these true believers will have ever experienced. It is far above and beyond our human minds to grasp the import or significance of this. But it will come to pass.

As we have followed the timeline of the history of the world beginning at the first day of creation, we have learned much about God who is completely in control of every event that has occurred throughout the duration of this universe. We have learned that every prophetic declaration of God does come true in accord with the precise timetable God has established.  

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Godís Overall Plan for this Universe

We have come almost to the end of our study. The last event in the history of the universe will be its complete destruction and its re-creation as the New Heavens and the New Earth. To receive a bit of insight into this, we should take a moment to review Godís commitments to this present universe.

We have learned that the timeline of history is the unfolding of Godís salvation plan. We must keep in mind, however, that this salvation program is within the context of this universe which God brought into existence slightly more than 13,000 years ago. Therefore, this universe is intimately associated with the development of Godís salvation plan. Before we complete this study, we thus should briefly look at a number of Biblical citations that indicate the relationship between mankind and this universe.

The first principle we should note is that this earth was given to mankind. We read in Psalm 115:16:

The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORDíS: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.

Since the earth was given by God to man, we, therefore, are not surprised to read that mankind was to rule over this earth. We read this in Genesis 1:26:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

But then, as we have learned, disaster came. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, who represented the entire human race that was to occupy this earth, surrendered their will to the fallen angel, Satan. Thus, Satan became the ruler of this universe.

We read in John 12:31:

Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

The prince of this world is Satan who heads up the kingdom of Satan to which all of the unsaved of the world belong.  

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But Godís plan is that those who become saved, who in the Bible are called the righteous, are to inherit this earth. We read in Psalm 37, verses 9 and 11:

For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

On the other hand, the wicked, who have remained under the rule of Satan, are to be cut off from this earth as we just read in Psalm 37:9. In Psalm 37:20 God declares:

But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

This verse is effectively indicating that when God comes as the Judge of all the earth, all of the wicked will be cast into Hell which is also called the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15). Psalm 37:20 anticipates that the perfectly infallible righteous Judgment of God is required in order that this world be rescued from the possession and tyranny of Satan and restored to the possession and rule of mankind who are to inherit this earth. This rescue operation was accomplished by Jesus, who is eternal God Himself, taking on a human nature and undergoing the righteous Judgment of God so that He could rightfully pay for the sins of those individuals He came to save. In the process of paying for their sins, He also guaranteed that Satan and all the other fallen angels who rule over the unsaved (the wicked of this world) were also judged. This means that when the end of this world comes, Satan will no longer be the ruler of this world but will be cast into Hell which is eternal damnation.

It is true that when mankind sinned so that they effectively surrendered the rule of this earth to Satan, God cursed the earth, which He had created earlier as a perfect earth. Therefore, the whole creation, which consists of the entire universe, has been subject to decay and corruption throughout the approximately 13,000 years that followed the fall of man. That is why man and animals die, why there are thorns and thistles, poisonous bacteria, volcanoes and earthquakes, etc. This curse will be removed when the end of time comes, and God destroys this entire universe so that it can be re-created a perfect universe wherein the results of Godís curse will have been completely removed. This is why we read in Romans 8:19-21:  

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For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

The Bible speaks of the end of this existing corrupted earth by the language of II Peter 3:10-12:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

The final destruction of the present universe will be followed by the creation of New Heavens and a New Earth as we read in II Peter 3:13:

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

We thus must understand that the unfolding of the timeline of history is particularly focused on Godís salvation plan for mankind. However, this salvation plan is altogether identified with the whole universe in which mankind lives.

Eternity Future

As we have just noted, the last event in the history of the universe will be its complete destruction. In the first chapter of Genesis, God gives us the details of the creation of this universe about 13,000 years ago. In II Peter 3, verses 10 through 13, which are quoted above, God gives us the information concerning the end of this universe. Remember, when God created the universe in six days, He gave it the appearance of age. The moment Adam was created, he looked like he could have been a man several decades old. The moment the distant stars were created, God created the light of these stars to reach Earth so they appear to have  

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been created billions of years ago. Likewise, at the end of time, the entire universe simultaneously will burn with fire. Distant stars will disappear together with the light from them that presently can be seen.

It is at this moment, according to what we read in the Bible, that two major events occur. One is the development of the locale of all those who became saved during the history of the world. The other is the locale of Hell which is also called the Lake of Fire.

First, the Bible speaks of New Heavens and a New Earth. We can only speculate what God means by this. We do know certain facts that can provide some help in understanding this language:

  1. This present earth is separated from Heaven where God dwells. For example, Elijah went into Heaven in a whirlwind and in a chariot of fire (II Kings 2:11). Jesus, forty days after rising from the dead, ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:3, 11).

  2. This present earth is under the curse of God because of manís sin (Romans 8:19-22).

  3. This present universe will be completely destroyed by fire (II Peter 3:10-12).

  4. True believers who have died presently live in their soul existence or spirit essence in Heaven (II Corinthians 5:8; I Thessalonians 4:15).

  5. In eternity future, the true believers will be literally with Christ. In I John 3:2 we read:

    Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

    The Bible records these words of Jesus in John 17:24:

    Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
     

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Based on the above information, it appears that in eternity future there will not exist Heaven ďup thereĒ and Earth ďdown here.Ē It appears that Heaven and Earth will be a single entity.

We also know the following:

  1. Since the true believers were given eternal life, it definitely means they will never again fall into sin. This means that they never come under the wrath of God.

  2. There will be no sorrow or suffering (Revelation 21:2-4).

  3. There will be no day or night (Revelation 22:5).

  4. There will be no sun. Christ will be the light (Revelation 22:5).

  5. This earth and its sorrows will not be remembered. Isaiah 65:17 declares:

    For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

    The second major event to occur at the end of time is that in eternity, there will somewhere exist a place of eternal torment. It will be inhabited by Satan and all of the fallen angels who are called devils or evil spirits. Unfortunately, it will also be eternally inhabited by the billions of human beings who did not become saved.

    It will be a place:

    1. where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:41-42),

    2. where the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever (Revelation 14:10-11),

    3. where those present will be under eternal damnation (II Thessalonians 1:8-9; Matthew 25:46),

    4. which is called the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15),

    5. that is altogether outside of the New Heavens and the New Earth where the true believers live in the highest happiness with Christ forevermore (Revelation 21:8).  

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MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON EACH ONE OF US.

Because He is God who spoke and brought this complex universe into existence, He is also fully qualified to bring to completion all that He has prophesied concerning His visible return and the end of the world. Thus, when we realize that we have been shown Godís plan for the remaining few years of the existence of this earth, we should tremble with fear. AM I READY TO MEET GOD? Remember this study of the Biblical history of the world was not made in any sense as a speculation, as a novel, as something imaginative, or something based on intuition, a dream, or a vision. It is based on a careful analysis of the truths of the Bible.

We are almost to the end of time. Whether we like it or not makes no difference whatsoever. The end of time that is coming with all the horror of Christís Judgment Throne is almost here. True, the Bible reveals that most people will scoff at the concepts set forth in this study. As we noted earlier, they have to be in denial; they have to believe it cannot happen. The idea, that in a few short years they will be sent to Hell forever, is completely unacceptable.

Unfortunately, it will happen. The world of Noahís day was amply warned that a flood was coming that would completely destroy every living person and animal that was not in the safety of the ark. The Bible tells us that they continued to live with complete disregard of the warning. The Bible declares in Matthew 24:37-39:

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

People living today are no different from those living in Noahís day who perished in the Flood. The great comfort we receive is that it is still the day of salvation. God presently is saving a great multitude which no man can number (Revelation 7:9). That is why this book is written. That is why an organization like Family Radio, which is completely unrelated to any local church or denomination, is so extensively and intensively sending the Gospel into the world. Family Radio seeks to be as faithful as possible to the authority of the Bible as it sends for the Gospel.

With serious acknowledgment of all these things, we will seek to answer, in the next chapter, the big question, ďWhat Must I Do To Become Saved?Ē


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