At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:1–2).
Survival or Destruction?
Will the earth survive or will it, and every living thing upon it, be destroyed? Some people think that the earth’s days are numbered and fear for its future survival, but they need have no such concerns.
Although there is a time of judgement coming on this earth, the Bible is quite definite that the earth itself will not be destroyed; that it will survive. And as this is a promise that God has made in His Word, the Bible, we can be absolutely sure about it. Here are some of those promises:
- For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:18);
- The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men (Psalm 115:16);
- Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).
Notice the last passage in particular, for it is a promise made by the Lord Jesus to all faithful believers. This is the promise of an everlasting inheritance here on earth, not a promise of life in heaven.
It is God’s intention to stop the present decline which now affects most aspects of human existence, before it goes too far. He will send His Son to save His people from destruction and to set up His kingdom on this earth. The establishment of that Kingdom will, in time, restore this earth to the condition it was at the time of creation. This is what the apostle Peter said on the day of Pentecost to those Jews who were willing to listen:
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:19–21).
The physical earth will survive the time of trouble that is coming on this world and will yet have a glorious future. There are many descriptions of this time which is spoken about by God’s prophets and they are written to give us great hope and encouragement. For example, God says through His prophet Isaiah:
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:2–3).
God’s Gracious Purpose
We will consider more of these things in due course, as this series continues. For now, we can satisfy ourselves with the knowledge that, even though we are living through the beginning of a time of trouble such as never has been known before, God has a plan for this earth and He will surely bring it to pass. For it is God’s ultimate and declared purpose to fill this earth with His glory.
But truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord… (Numbers 14:21);
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9);
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).