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What does it mean that the end of all things is at hand (1 Peter 4:7)?

the end of all things is at hand

Peter often encourages his readers by reminding them of their present position in Christ and by pointing them toward what Christ will accomplish in the future. In 1 Peter 4:7 Peter says, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers” (ESV).

The end of all things is at hand can be more literally understood as “the culmination of all things is near.” Peter taught, as Paul did, that God’s plans for the future were motivators for godly living. The imminent return of Christ will be the culmination of history and is probably what Peter had in mind (see 1 Peter 4:13). Peter reminded his readers that the Chief Shepherd would one day appear (1 Peter 5:4) and present them with the crown of glory. Peter encouraged them that even in their suffering they could look forward to the day when God would complete, confirm, establish, and strengthen them (1 Peter 5:10).

Even if the end of all things didn’t take place right away, it was at hand—it was imminent. God had been executing His plan, and, as Paul explained in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5, Jesus would return for His believers and take them to heaven with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:14–17). Then the day of the Lord would take place (1 Thessalonians 5:1–11). The day of the Lord will include the seventieth “seven” of Daniel’s prophecy (see Daniel 9:24–27)—the time of tribulation also called Jacob’s distress (Jeremiah 30:7) and which Jesus foretold in Matthew 24:14–21. Jesus described those events as “the end” (Matthew 24:14). At that point, Jesus will come with His saints to reign on the earth (Revelation 19:14). Jesus, like Peter, taught that the end was at hand or near. He challenged the readers of Revelation to heed the words because He would come suddenly when these things begin to take place (Revelation 22:7).

Peter wrote that the end of all things is at hand, yet he recognized that this did not mean that the end would come right away. He cautioned his readers about false teachings that would arise in the last days. People would think that, since Jesus had been gone for so long, He would not return (2 Peter 3:3–4). Peter explains that God’s delaying of the end is actually an expression of His patience (2 Peter 3:8–9). There will come a day in which the heavens and earth will be destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3:10–12) and God will make new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13). The end of all things will represent a new beginning for God’s creation. Peter explains that these things will certainly happen.

Because the culmination of all things is imminent, Peter challenges believers to be holy in their conduct (2 Peter 3:11) and diligent to make the most of the time (2 Peter 3:14). Peter reminds his readers that God’s patience provides the opportunity for salvation for many (2 Peter 3:15).

The end of all things is at hand. One day God will fulfill all the promises He made regarding future events. In this present age, He is fulfilling the promise Jesus made that He would build His church (Matthew 16:18). But Jesus will return (John 14:3), and that return is imminent. It could happen at any moment. In the meantime we ought to heed Peter’s words that the end of all things is at hand and be diligent to make the most of the time God has given us.

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What does it mean that the end of all things is at hand (1 Peter 4:7)?
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This page last updated: August 21, 2023