This fascination with the 'end of the world as we know it' may be due, in part, to the fact that the events leading up to and including the Second Coming of Christ are mentioned at least 318 times in the New Testament. According to the Encyclopedia of Bible Facts, information related to his return is mentioned more than any other doctrine.
Jesus told his disciples, clearly and directly, that no one will be able to figure out the exact time when the end of the world will occur and man's sad dominion on the earth will cease. Yet many 'false prophets' seem determined to prove our Savior wrong!
36. But concerning that day, and the hour (of when the end will come), NO ONE KNOWS, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only . . . 42. Watch, therefore, because YOU DO NOT KNOW in what hour your Lord is coming . . . 44. Therefore, you also be ready. For the Son of man is coming at a time that YOU DO NOT THINK. (Matthew 24:36, 42, 44, HBFV throughout unless stated)
We have a three-fold admonition from Jesus, who was and is God, that not even called and converted Christians will be able to figure out when the end of man's civilization and the beginning of Jesus' reign on earth will happen!
Events before Christ's return
Although the Bible does not give us the exact time of Christ's Second Coming, it does give a broad outline of what events MUST occur before the completion of the age. Some of these events will no doubt occur within a relatively short span of time while others will take YEARS, perhaps decades, to reach their fullness.
Before everything is completely destroyed, MANY end time false prophets and false Messiahs will come to deceive the masses and offer false hopes (Matthew 24:4 - 5, 26 - 27).
A global time of trials and troubles will occur (Great Tribulation) the likes of which has never been seen. There will be wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines and more, yet some people and nations will still prosper (see Revelation 18:9 - 19).
The whole world will be deceived, through false signs and wonders, to worship a false Messiah. A mark or sign will designate who willingly worships and obeys the false system. The Beast and False Prophet will deceive and rule humanity for 3 1/2 years (Revelation 13 - 14).
God's Two Witnesses will be given unprecedented power for 3 1/2 years to call upon all humans to repent and prepare themselves for the imminent return of Christ (Revelation 11:3 - 7).
Almost all true Christians, who are those who obey God and keep his commandments (Matthew 24:9, Revelation 12:17, 14:12, 22:14), will be afflicted, persecuted and hunted down. They will be slaughtered in great numbers (Matthew 24:9, Revelation 6:10 - 11, 12:11, 17, 13:7).
Four demonic spirits will be released from the Euphrates River to wreak havoc on the earth (Revelation 9:13 - 15). Shortly thereafter the river will be DRIED UP to allow the entire world, near the very end, to gather themselves together in a place called the valley of Megiddo (from where we get the term Armageddon) to make war against Jesus as he returns to earth (Revelation 16:12, 14, 17:12 - 14).
The ultimate outcome of all these events would be the annihilation of ALL human life if God did not intervene (Matthew 24:21 - 22).
Some people seem willing to believe almost anything that seems credible to them - anything, that is, except the Bible. Although the exact time of the end of the world is not delineated in Scripture, we are told that certain major events WILL and MUST occur before the Lord arrives to save mankind from himself. Those who offer fanciful speculations or try to convince people they know the exact moment of our Savior's return should not be taken seriously.