“Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Mt 24:30).
Preparing Creation for Christ’s Return
In Matthew 17:11 Jesus tells His disciples that before His return to earth to rule in glory “Elijah is coming and will restore all things.” Peter says the same thing in Acts 3:20-21, when he tells the assembled crowd who had come to see the healed beggar that they must repent so “that The Father may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.“
The Greek term used for the word “restore” in both cases means to return to the perfect state before the fall (Morphology: N-GF-S Strong’s: 605). So when Christ comes, the entire creation will be restored to the state in which it existed before the flood and the curse, when there was no sin and death.
We don’t know what the earth looked like before sin and death except that the Bible said God saw that it was very good. (Gen 1:31) “Very good” is something none of us but Adam and Eve has ever seen. Since the day that Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, the creation has been corrupted. Some 1600 years later, it was almost entirely destroyed by a global flood. But one day the creation will be restored to its former glory. The apostle Paul says in Romans 8:20-21, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.“ We can get a general idea what that restored creation might look like by comparing what we do know about the natural world today to the Genesis accounts of the creation and the flood.
What Creation Originally Looked Like
According to the Genesis account, God created an “expanse” that separated the waters above and below it. Then God said, “’Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. God called the expanse heaven.” (Gen 1:6-8). Heaven refers to the sky. It is where the birds fly, ““Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” (Gen 1:20) So when God created the earth, he placed waters above the sky that are not there today. These waters probably dissipated in the global flood. Creationists speculate that they would have had very salutary effects on all living things, shielding them from much of the harmful radiation that reaches the earth today. They also would have created a canopy effect that increased atmospheric pressure and oxygen content to optimum levels, promoting greater growth and longer life.
Samples of air bubbles trapped in petrified amber from the fossil record show oxygen levels 50% higher than current levels.(1) The fossil record shows plants, animals, and men that were much larger than they are today.(2) The Bible reports that human lifespans were much longer, too. Methuselah, the oldest man in the Bible, lived to the ripe old age of 969 years. The higher oxygen levels would have promoted healthier brain cells, producing greater intelligence. Ancient peoples were able to produce technological marvels that we cannot duplicate today. For example, the book of Job, written before the time of Abraham, describes mining operations that involved sophisticated blasting techniques. (Job 28:1-11). The TV series “Ancient Impossible” on the History channel describes technological marvels of ancient civilizations that we still cannot duplicate with modern technology (https://bit.ly/2RF7Oef). If ancient peoples had the technology that is available to us today, they would no doubt be able to use it much more effectively.
How the Flood Changed Creation
The book of Genesis says, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.” (Gen 7:11) The Bible says that before those days there was no rain because waters came up from underground to water the earth. (Gen 2:5) When the flood occurred, these underground aquifers erupted. These super-heated fountains split the earth’s crust, forming today’s tectonic plates and separating the single land mass of that time into what has become today’s continents. Creationists speculate that these waters were under such tremendous pressure from the weight of the land mass above them that they would have sent geysers high into the upper atmosphere.
Great earthquakes would have pushed up mountain ranges. Psalm 104:8 describes what happened this way, “The mountains rose; the valleys sank down to the place which You established for them.” Volcanoes would have spewed ash into the air, blocking the sun and cooling the land. The hot water from underground would have filled the basins between the continents, forming new oceans. Warm air masses above these super heated oceans would have collided with the cooler air above the land, producing terrific storms. Over time, the new oceans would have cooled, reducing the temperature of the molten core, and weakening the Magnetic Field, which deflects solar flares and meteorites. This would have exposed the earth to deadly radiation and collisions with debris from outer space, radically shortening lifespans.(3)
The shifting weight distribution of the planet caused by the rising mountains and sinking oceans would have caused the globe to roll on its axis from an upright position to its current tilt of 23.5 degrees, producing an instant deep freeze at the poles. What were tropical regions before the flood would very suddenly have become arctic climates. Snowfall would have continued year-round for many years, creating ice caps at the poles and the massive glaciers of the ice age. Proof of this rapid climate change is evidenced by woolly mammoths frozen in the arctic tundra with undigested tropical buttercups still in their stomachs. (4)
The Tribulation Will Reverse the Effects of the Flood
In many ways, the events of the Tribulation will mirror the events of the flood while reversing its effects. This is how the Bible describes those times:
There Will Be a Worldwide Earthquake
Rev 6:12-17 describes the Tribulation this way: “I looked and He broke the sixth seal; there was a great earthquake. The sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, the whole moon became like blood; the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it’s rolled up, and every mountain and island were removed out of their places.“
There is a fault line that runs around the edges of the Pacific Ocean called the “Ring of Fire.” It was created by seismic activity during the flood. According to Wikipedia, more than 75% of the worlds active volcanoes, 90% of the world’s earthquakes, and 81% of the world’s largest earthquakes occur here. (5) Scientists say it is possible that, given the right conditions, this whole fault line could suddenly create a series of cascading eruptions. This would produce a worldwide earthquake accompanied by volcanic activity that would be far more powerful than anything that has ever occurred before.
It Will be A Day of Darkness
The smoke and ash from the volcanoes will obliterate the sun, blackening the sky as the Mount St. Helens eruption did, only to a much greater degree. Numerous Bible passages refer to the darkness of those days: “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” (Joel 2:30-31)
“For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.” (Is 13:10).
“That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.” (Zeph 1:15).
“The sun will be turned into darkness, the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.” (Acts 2:20)
The Heavens Will Tremble and the and Earth Will Shake
This quake will cause mountains to sink and islands to vanish (Rev 6:17). The books of Isaiah and Joel describe this scenario:
“Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.” (Is 24:1)
“Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken from its place at the fury of the Lord of hosts in the day of His burning anger” (Is 13:13)
“Before them the earth quakes, the heavens tremble” (Joel 2:10).
The effect of a worldwide earthquake would be to open up huge fissures in the crust of the earth, allowing the oceans to flow back into subterranean caverns, leveling mountains and sinking islands by subduction of the earth’s plates, and throwing the earth out of balance, causing it to wobble on its axis as it did after the flood. From the perspective of someone experiencing this on earth, the sky would appear to ‘tremble’ as the horizon shifts back and forth from the shaking of the earth. The magnetic field will be weakened by the cooling of the core as the waters penetrate the earth, allowing meteorites to pierce the atmosphere in a terrifying display of noise and fury. “And the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (Mt 24:30)
Two meteorites struck Chelyabinsk, Siberia in 2013, producing a blast equivalent to 430 kilotons of TNT, 26 to 33 times as much energy as that released from the Hiroshima atomic bomb. According to one report, “The blast created by the meteor’s air burst produced extensive ground damage over an irregular elliptical area around a hundred kilometres wide, and a few tens of kilometres long, with the secondary effects of the blast being the main cause of the considerable number of injuries. Russian authorities stated that 1,491 people sought medical attention in Chelyabinsk within the first few days.”(6) This effect will be multiplied many times over during the tribulation as meteorites rain down upon the earth.
Other passages of scripture describe these same events this way, ““There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (Lk 21:25-26)
We don’t know what might cause the roaring of the waves, but it could be the rapid draining of the oceans, or the sloshing of waters back and forth as the earth shakes on its axis.
The Sun Will Scorch the Earth
Is 24:6-7 says, “Therefore…the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left.” Giant solar flares periodically erupt from the sun’s surface. Under normal conditions, the earth’s magnetic field deflects these flares. As we noted earlier, the magnetic field will probably be greatly weakened during the Tribulation by the cooling of the earth’s core. So the surface of the earth will be exposed to searing heat from these flares. The Bible tells us that the heat will be so intense that it will kill many people left on earth, along with plant and animal life. “A third of the earth is burned up, a third of the trees are burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.” (Rev 8:7 ).
Revelation 7:1 says, “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.” So in addition to the intense heat, a dead calm will cause massive evaporation of bodies of water, restoring the water vapor canopy to its place above the sky.
The Tribulation Will be an Extinction Event
Mt 24:21 tells us that “There will be great tribulation, such as has never occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.” That is quite a statement when you consider the fact that the flood destroyed everything on the planet except for the handful of people on the Ark and the animals with them. There were probably millions of people on earth at that time, given their long lifespans and over 1600 years to propagate. But the Bible says that after the Tribulation mankind will be as scarce as gold, “I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold and mankind than the gold of Ophir” (Is 13:12).
“For thus it will be in the midst of the earth among the peoples, As the shaking of an olive tree, as the gleanings when the grape harvest is over.” (Is 24:13)
“Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation; and He will exterminate its sinners from it.” (Is 13:9).
The Tribulation Will Prepare the Creation for Christ’s Return
“Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Mt 24:30).
All of the natural disasters of the Tribulation will establish the conditions for the restoration of creation to its original state. A giant earthquake will level the earth. The redistribution of the land masses will re-balance the earth on its axis, restoring a sub-tropical climate over the entire planet. Underground aquifers will be refilled and the continents rejoined by the draining of the oceans. The water vapor canopy will be put back in place by evaporation from searing heat and a dead calm. Blazing meteorites, volcanoes and earthquakes will kill wicked mankind along with much plant and animal life.
All Creation is Waiting For Christ’s Return
The apostle Paul says. “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” (Rom 8:22)
The prophet Isaiah describes how the creation will receive Christ when He comes to reign:
“They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west. Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One.” (Is 24:14-15)
The Psalmist says, “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy Before the Lord, for He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in His faithfulness.’ (Ps 96: 11-13)
Creation Will Flourish Again
In the coming age Christ will restore the perfect conditions of the Garden of Eden. The only difference will be that all things will be subject to His authority as King. Listen to how similar the description of the coming days sounds to what we know about the condition of the earth before the flood:
The Curse Will Be Removed:
“Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up,and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the Lord, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.” (Is 55:13)
The Land will be Leveled
“The mountains will be removed and valleys lifted up.” (Is 40:45)
Long Life Will be Restored
“No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed.” (Is 65:20)
Nature Will Flourish
“And in that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk,
and all the brooks of Judah will flow with water; and a spring will go out from the house of the Lord to water the valley of Shittim. (Joel 3:18)
“Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, for the Lord has done great things. Do not fear, beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness have turned green, for the tree has borne its fruit, the fig tree and the vine have yielded in full. So rejoice, O sons of Zion, and be glad in the Lord your God; for He has given you the early rain for your vindication. and He has poured down for you the rain, the early and latter rain as before. The threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil.“ (Joel 2:21-24)
“Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field is considered as a forest.” (Is 32:15)
Water Will Abound
“The beasts of the field will glorify Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people. (Is 43:20)
“I will open rivers on the bare heights and springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water and the dry land fountains of water.” (Is 41:18)
“Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah. The scorched land will become a pool and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, its resting place, grass becomes reeds and rushes.” (Is 35:6-7)
“On every lofty mountain and on every high hill there will be streams running with water on the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.” (Is 30:25)
“The wilderness and the desert will be glad, and the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.” (Is 35:1-2)
“I will open rivers on the bare heights and springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water and the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, the acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert together with the box tree and the cypress, that they may see and recognize, and consider and gain insight as well, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Is 41:18-20)
“Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. The beasts of the field will glorify Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people. The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise.” (Is 43:19-21)
Crops Will Abound
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When the plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; when the mountains will drip sweet wine and all the hills will be dissolved.“ (Amos 9:13)
Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture. Also the oxen and the donkeys which work the ground will eat salted fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. On every lofty mountain and on every high hill there will be streams running with water on the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the Lord binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.” (Is 30:23-26)
“It will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, The majesty of our God.” (Is 35:2)
Fish Will Abound
“Then he said to me, “These waters go out toward the eastern region and go down into the Arabah; then they go toward the sea, being made to flow into the sea, and the waters of the sea become fresh. It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.” (Ez 47:6-12)
Fruit Will Abound
“By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.” (Ez 47:12)
Infirmities Will Be Healed
“Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.“ (Rev 22:1-2)
“Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.” (Is 35:5)
The World Will Be Free From Harm
“And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.” (Is 11:6-9)
But This Time Everyone Will Know the Lord
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab 2:14)
They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.” (Is 11:9)
Cold Will Be Banished
The prophet Zechariah describes the first day of Christ’s rule as a unique day like no other:
“In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light. And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.” (Zech 14:6-8)
As Christ takes up His throne in Jerusalem, living waters will begin to pour out from the city to the east and west and He will signal the beginning of a new age by reversing the order of night and day. Year-round warmth will be restored. It will be a glorious day like no other in history.
1. Movement of the earth’s crust will produce enormous friction that will melt rock in the core, strengthening the magnetic field, thereby filtering out additional harmful radiation from the sun. (https://bit.ly/2FCrzwO) Livescience.com
2. Science: Putting on Ancient Airs, Time Magazine, Monday, Nov 9, 1987, https://bit.ly/2T49CKi
3. “The remains of gigantic animals have been found, including sheep the size of present-day cart horses, hogs with tusks like elephants have been dug out of an ancient gorge at Olduvai in East Africa. Two giant human teeth have also been found….. Dr. Leakey has found the complete skeleton of a Pleistocene sheep with a horn-span of fourteen feet. He also unearthed wild hogs the size of a rhinoceros with elephant sized tusks. He has found a giant sized giraffe, baboons as big as modern gorillas, and massive zebras and antelopes.” (“There Were Giants in the Earth in Those Days,” Out of Place Artifacts and Ancient High Technology, http://s8int.com/phile/giants23.html)
4. The Ice Age – Part 1, Michael Oard, https://bit.ly/2TZV3Yr
5. “Ring of Fire,” Wikipedia, https://bit.ly/1W7EG76
6. David, Leonard (7 October 2013). ““Russian Fireball Explosion Shows Meteor Risk Greater Than Thought““. http://www.space.com. New York, NY USA: Wired Magazine/Conde Nast.best estimate of the equivalent nuclear blast yield of the Chelyabinsk explosion