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The End of the World

The End of the World

“The world is passing away and so is its desire,” says 1 John 2:17. What is that “world”? How and when will it pass away?

What is the “world” that will end?


Because the world in question has ‘desires’ that merit God’s disapproval, it is obviously not the literal earth. Rather, it is the world of mankind who disregard God, making themselves his enemy. (James 4:4) The people who make up that world “will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9) On the other hand, people who remain “no part of the world,” in obedience to Jesus Christ, have the prospect of everlasting life.​—John 15:19.

Indeed, 1 John 2:17 concludes: “The one who does the will of God remains forever.” Yes, that one has the prospect of everlasting life right here on earth, as stated at Psalm 37:29: “The righteous will possess the earth, and they will live forever on it.”

“Do not love either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”​1 John 2:15.

How will the world end?


The end will come in two main stages. First, God will destroy organized false religion, portrayed as a prostitute named “Babylon the Great.” (Revelation 17:1-5; 18:8) While professing loyalty to God, she has consorted with the world’s political leaders. These very rulers, however, will turn on her. “[They] will hate the prostitute and will make her devastated and naked, and they will eat up her flesh [or, riches] and completely burn her with fire.”​—Revelation 17:16.

Next, God will turn his attention to the political rulers themselves​—“the kings of the entire inhabited earth.” Along with wicked people in general, these will be destroyed in “the war of the great day of God the Almighty,” also called “Armageddon.”​—Revelation 16:14, 16.

“Seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth . . . Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you will be concealed on the day of Jehovah’s anger.”​Zephaniah 2:3.

When will the world end?


The end will come when mankind has been sufficiently warned by a global proclamation of God’s Kingdom​—a world government that will replace human rulership. (Daniel 7:13, 14) Jesus Christ said: “This good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) That preaching work, which reflects God’s justice and mercy, is part of a composite “sign” marking the time of the end. The sign also includes international warfare, earthquakes, famine, and disease.​—Matthew 24:3; Luke 21:10, 11.

Besides foretelling world events, the Bible also gives us a social profile of “the last days.” We read: “Critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, . . . disobedient to parents, . . . without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, . . . lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” *​—2 Timothy 3:1-5.

The present wicked world will soon ‘pass away.’​—1 John 2:17

All those conditions mark the era that began about the time of World War I in 1914. Moreover, since that year, God’s Kingdom has been announced in every corner of the earth, and Jehovah’s Witnesses count it an honor to be closely identified with this work. In fact, their main journal is entitled The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom.

“Keep on the watch, therefore, because you know neither the day nor the hour.”​Matthew 25:13.

^ par. 14 For more information, see chapter 9 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Also available at