We are probably all familiar with the children’s poem about Chicken Little. This rather “dumb cluck” was struck on the head with an acorn and she immediately concluded that the sky was falling. She quickly gathered her friends, Goosey Loosey, Ducky Lucky, and Turkey Lurky, sharing all her alarming news with them. As the panicked group hurried off to tell the king, the cunning Foxy Loxy had them all for lunch, literally.
No doubt this little poem was written originally to poke some fun at those who preach and teach about the end of the world. Yet, there is mounting evidence, both from the Bible and from the world around us that Chicken Little may have been right.
THE EARTH WILL WEAR OUT- THE SKY WILL FALL
The Bible tells us that we do not live in a permanent earth, and neither are we permanently attached to it. Even the heavenly bodies are not permanent, at least in their present state. The clear biblical evidence is that our earth is wearing out. In Hebrews 1:10-12, God says to his Son: “…In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” We learn from this that the present earth and heavens will wear out and be folded up like an
old worn-out piece of cloth.
In many other places the scripture speaks of the demise of our present cosmos. The consistent biblical witness is that the present world will be burned up or purged by fire in the last days (2 Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 8:7). In numerous places the scripture speaks of the heavenly bodies falling from their positions (Isa. 34:4; Joel 3:15; Matt. 24:29). All these cataclysmic events will come, it seems, as a result of the lawlessness of humanity and of the breaking and spurning God’s eternal covenants (Isa. 24:5-6; Mic. 7:13). We learn from the Bible that the original sin and rebellion of man brought forth death and decay into the world. That rebellion probably introduced a lot of other things that will help insure the end of the world’s systems.
Interestingly, some of those in the field of physics, and particularly of quantum physics, are coming to some similar and shocking conclusions. Dr. David Noebel, in his important work, Understanding The Times, relates the opinions of several of these physicists. We are told that according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, while the energy in the cosmos remains constant, the available useful energy nevertheless is always decreasing. Thus, even in the natural realm, the very entropy or our world system speaks of its eventual demise. Of course, all this greatly conflicts with the evolutionists bold and unfounded claims that life and its systems are always expanding and becoming
GOD’S JUDGMENT ON MEN AND NATIONS
Let us look at God’s end day judgment more closely. When I was a child, some sixty years ago, it was “a given” in the church, and in much of the society where I grew up, that the earth would eventually be destroyed. Preachers spoke often of the coming fire of God’s judgment. It was usually the thought of fiery judgment, both here on earth and in an eternal hell, that drove sinners to repentance and faith. It appears that the church has now almost totally abandoned this position. In fact, I cannot remember hearing a sermon on God’s fiery judgment in the last forty or fifty years. I cannot even remember the subject being mentioned in any detail.
What did the earliest Christians think about the end of the world? It might be greatly surprising for us to look into this. The earliest Christians firmly believed that just as the original world was destroyed by water in Noah’s day, the present world would be destroyed by fire. It is clear that both of these events are brought about because of the exceeding sinfulness of the human race. In 2 Peter 3:5-7 Peter says: “But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”
These earliest Christians believed that the coming fire was particularly designed to destroy godless humanity and purge the world of all evil. At the same time it was designed to preserve the righteous and leave them in charge of a renewed earth, and one that will be filled with righteousness (Psa. 37:29; Mt. 5:5). It will be much the same as it was in Noah’s day. Thus, it is the genius of God to design a judgment that will preserve the righteous while at the very same time it will destroy the sinners. Peter speaks of this: “…the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment” (2 Pet. 2:9).
HOW SHALL WE RESPOND TO THIS INFORMATION?
Obviously, it should greatly change our outlook on life if we realize that our lives and our surroundings are not permanent fixtures. It should also greatly change our actions. If the earth will be burned up, then we should certainly be a different sort of people.
The scripture deals with this directly and at length in 2 Peter 3:10-13. The apostle says:
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 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. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”
If the heavens and earth are going to be destroyed by fire along with everything in them, we can certainly afford to loosen our grip on the earth. If all the earth is passing away (1 Jn. 2:17), we can begin to look around us for those things that are not passing away and that will survive the fire, those things that are eternal. Of course, God is eternal (Gen. 21:33; Psa. 90:2). His word is also eternal as we see in Isaiah 40:8: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” But primarily, Jesus is our eternal Savior, the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). For the end time, or anytime, we have this sure word: “…Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). We are told in Hebrews 7:25: “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to
intercede for them.”
We need to start at once building our lives upon things that will last; upon God and his word and upon Jesus the Savior. Our foundations need to be deep and sure. In Israel it sometimes takes a couple of years to build a house. They are generally built from stone and concrete with pilings going down to bedrock. That is exactly the way the wise man constructed his house in Jesus’ parable of the builders (Matt.7:24-27). He dug deep and built his house upon the rock. The foolish man went to no such trouble. Instead, he quickly built his house upon the sand. All was well until the storms and rains came. With their arrival, the foolish man’s house came tumbling down with a great crash. Of course, the wise man’s house remained secure because it was built upon the rock.
Jesus gave this little parable to help us plan for the end day. The parable assures us that the storms will come, and that they will try our souls. Many will be swept away by end day floods and scorched by end day fires, but the righteous will be secure. They will no doubt have Psalm 91:1-2 on their lips: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”
– Jim Gerrish
Publication date, 2003