The GraceLife Blog has readers from almost 200 countries and territories around the world. Many of those countries have experienced societal collapse in the past. What about their future? What about the future of the country where you live?
[Podcast version available at the end of this post.]
According to many historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and social scientists, it takes about 250 years for a civilization to decline and fall. Social scientist Luke Kemp studied the collapse of many civilizations over a period of thousands of years and calculated the average life span of a civilization to be about 340 years. Some experts use the term “collapse,” while others use terms like “fall,” “decline” or “disintegration.” The study of civilization collapse is known as Collapsology. Civilizations can collapse suddenly or slowly. Some are absorbed into more powerful societies. Some civilizations become more primitive. Some disappear completely.
Future Societal Collapse
Most experts in Collapsology believe our world will face more societal collapses in the future. Some believe many societies are only decades away from collapse. I’ve read many “expert” reports and their findings and warnings are dire indeed. Many point to climate change as a prime reason for the impending collapse of civilizations. You can read an article we wrote a couple of years ago about climate change. Some scientists believe there is still time for members of the global community to stop a massive collapse of civilizations around the world, while other scientists believe it’s too late to stop a collapse.
As world leaders and experts in a variety of scientific fields debate these issues, what should Christians think and do? First, trust God. Second, look to the Bible for answers. If God is who He says He is, He knows the future and has revealed much of it to His people.
We spent time in the last part of our series looking at prophetic warnings to Israel and Judah, warnings that turned out to be true. Lament followed warnings in the past as they will in the future. Societal collapse can be very hard on the people who live through it.
As we mentioned in an earlier part of this series, the Bible warns about impending civilization collapses during what it calls “end of the age.” Jesus addressed that question from His disciples in Matthew 24 and 25. Jesus said that nations would rise against nations, and kingdoms against kingdoms. He said there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in many places. Jesus called that the “beginning of sorrows.”
Jesus told His disciples that His followers would be hated, persecuted and killed for His name’s sake. Jesus said many people would be offended and would betray and kill each other. False prophets would rise up and deceive many people. Lawlessness will abound and the love of people will grow cold. Jesus said the Gospel would be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, “and then the end will come.” You can read the rest of Matthew 24 and chapter 25 for more specifics about what Jesus told His disciples concerning the future collapse of human civilizations.
The Lord also instructed the Apostle John to write what he saw in a vision of that future time. Here are some of the things that will happen as civilizations begin to collapse before the return of Christ.
From Revelation chapters 2 – 6:
- Moral and Religious decline (lack of belief in God, religious compromise, idolatry (including celebrity worship), sexual immorality, breakdown of family, overwhelming desire to be entertained by godless activities, overall moral decay, etc)
- Kingdom Conquering (Physical invasion or civil/economic takeover from outside society, ruling class loses its will to rule and coordinates with outside forces)
- Deadly Conflicts (Within a society — increase in crime (especially by young people), lack of respect for law enforcement, government/political corruption and civil breakdown, economic collapse because of overwhelming debt and monetary collapse, racial divide, low view of importance of life, breakdown of middle class, large gap between rich and poor, civil war, etc)
- Scarcity of necessary commodities (e.g. drought which affects water and food supply, medical care, individual income, housing, power sources (e.g. electricity), transportation, degrading supply chain, personal defense against rise in crime, etc)
- Hunger (high cost of food, lack of food supply, poor soil for growing crops, corruption in food industry and government agencies, etc)
- Disease (Degradation of public health through corruption and incompetence, uncontrollable epidemics, pandemics, etc)
- People who believe in Christ will be martyred in large numbers
- Natural Calamaties (e.g. volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, fires, wind storms, etc)
God will allow these events to occur to people and civilizations on earth. Revelation 6:4 reads – “Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.” But it doesn’t end there.
Revelation chapter 8 reveals how God will judge the leaders and people on earth at the opening of the “seventh seal,” which will be a prelude to seven angels sounding trumpets of doom on the earth.
- Angel One – Vegetation Struck
- Angel Two – Seas Struck
- Angel Three – Waters Struck
- Angel Four – Heavens Struck
- Angel Five – Smoke and Locusts from Bottomless Pit
- Angel Six – Four Angels Released from Euphrates River
- Angel Seven – Proclamation of the Kingdom
Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’ And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.’ Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail. Revelation 11:15-19
The impact of what the angels unleash on earth will be devastating for leaders and people living at that time. Will the people repent?
But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. Revelation 9:20-21
Even as people cry out in anguish (lament), they still will not repent of their evil and rebellion against God.
That’s followed by Seven Bowls of God’s Judgment.
- Bowl One – Loathsome Sores
- Bowl Two – Sea Turns to Blood
- Bowl Three – Waters Turn to Blood
- Bowl Four – People Scorched with Fire
- Bowl Five – Darkness and Pain
- Bowl Six – Euphrates River Dries Up
- Bowl Seven – Earth is Shaken by Earthquakes
That’s followed by the sudden collapse of a civilization called Babylon the Great (Revelation 18) and the Return of Christ to destroy the armies of the world and establish His earthly reign (Chapter 19). Once Jesus is enthroned in Jerusalem, He will rule the earth with “a rod of iron” (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 12:5; 19:15).
And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:14-16
A New Civilization
What Jesus will do when He returns is to establish a New Civilization – God’s rule on earth. Then, just as Jesus taught His disciples to pray, God’s will will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. For a period of a thousand years, a millennium, Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit and will not be allowed to deceive the nations until the thousand years are finished. During that Millennial reign, Jesus will clean up the earth and rule with righteousness and justice for all the peoples of the earth. Those who were martyred for their witness to Jesus and for the Word of God and did not worship the beast or his image or receive his mark on their foreheads or on their hands will live and reign with Christ for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4).
Once the thousand years is complete, Satan will be released from the bottomless pit and attempt a global coup against Jesus. The devil will go out to deceive the nations and gather them together to battle. They will surround Jerusalem to wage war against the Lord, but fire will come down from God out of Heaven and devour them. Satan will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and false prophet are and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
The Everlasting Civilization
The Lord’s defeat of Satan leads to the final judgment of humanity.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15
The final judgment leads to the establishment of the everlasting civilization.
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4
Revelation chapters 21 and 22 describe this everlasting civilization in detail.
Civilizations that are currently on earth will one day be destroyed and replaced by God’s Kingdom on earth. We don’t know the exact time, but it’s close.
But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Matthew 24:37-39
Teaching Notes: On Genesis 17 – GraceLife Blog
The global community is sounding the alarm. People know things are going horribly wrong and they’re desperately trying to stop the collapse of civilizations around the world. As we’ve seen from the Bible, there’s nothing the world can do to stop the coming collapse. God has been warning the people and leaders of the world for thousands of years and the time of His judgment is fast approaching. What are Christians to do? We’ll see in the next part of our special series – Warning and Lament: The Collapse of Civilizations.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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