Written Word

What did Jesus teach about the end of the world?

If you look back over Christian history, you will see that there have been many confident proclamations made declaring when the world will end. These predictions have come from cult leaders, churches and self-appointed prophets who have been prepared to go public in declaring when the Lord Jesus Christ will return and bring the world to an end. And they have not been short of followers either.

Jesus and the Bible spoke about the end of the world. Let’s see what they have to say.

What Jesus Taught

‘It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.’ (Luke 12:38-40)

‘No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 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.’ (Matthew 24:35-39)

What is Jesus Teaching Us About the End of the World?

  1. Be ready.
  2. He will come at a time when people are not expecting him.
  3. No one knows when the end of the world will be. No one!

What the Apostles Taught

‘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.’ (2 Peter 3:10)

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. Therefore encourage each other with these words. Now, brothers, 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 labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:4)

What is the apostolic teaching about the end of the world? The apostles are echoing the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ: He will come like a thief in the night, unannounced, when no one is expecting him.


Those who make predictions about the end of the world often interpret world events as signs that the end is near: the crisis in the Middle East, the oil shortage, the political maneuverings of Russia and China, the formation of the European Union, the fall of communism, etc. In the light of what Jesus and the apostles taught, this has to be entirely wrong. No one knows when the world is going to end.

The Christian response is to live our life in expectation of the Lord’s return.