We Are Living In The Last Days
by Douglas Hoff
Mention “the last days” or “the end time” and some people get very excited. Fear fills the hearts of some while a sense of expectation comes to others. Misunderstanding about this important Bible topic causes these different reactions. To some, the “the last days” suggest the imminent return of Jesus Christ and judgment upon mankind. Those who believe and obey God’s word have nothing to fear about these events. On the contrary, the Bible calls the glorious appearing of Jesus the Christian’s “blessed hope” (Titus ). Indeed, it is something to be desired. It will be the time when God’s servants shall receive their eternal reward. Some, however, dread the appearing of Jesus Christ since they know they are unprepared for the judgment day. These people probably have heard tales of the great tribulation and the battle of Armageddon. Not knowing exactly what to expect they fear such events.
However, what does the Bible mean by “the last days?” What will occur during “the last time” and what should it mean to the child of God? The best way to answer these questions is to let the Bible speak for itself.
The book of Hebrews begins by telling us “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son (Hebrews 1:1, 2). When did God speak to “us” by Jesus? According to the writer of Hebrews it was in these last days. Jesus taught the Father’s will during his earthly ministry (John , 17). Yet, the writer of Hebrews informs his readers that God communicated His will to mankind during these last days. All scripture was given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy ). The writer of Hebrews was an inspired penmen and giving us divine revelation. From his perspective God was still speaking through his Son in those last days (cf. John ; -15). This is a reference to the time Hebrews was being written. The book of Hebrews was written years after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus back to heaven. The inescapable conclusion is that the “last days” began in the first century!
The second chapter of the book of Acts provides another proof of this fact. On the day of Pentecost after Jesus ascended Peter and the rest of the apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). Peter began explaining to the people what was happening. He told them that their speaking in tongues was a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. Peter said, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:16, 17). Peter said the events of that day were in “the last days.” This explanation needs to be accepted for the simple truth it presents. Not only did the writer of Hebrews live in the last days but so did Peter. On that important day nearly two thousand years ago the church came into existence (Acts ). From that time forward Christians have been living in the last days.
The apostle John gave his readers an interesting warning in his first letter. He told them, “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:18). John wanted Christians to be on guard against the errors of false teachers who taught things contrary to the doctrine of Christ. He said that some were even denying Jesus came in the flesh. Such teachers were set against the will of Christ. This is why these people were called antichrists. John said their existence proved it was the last time
John was in total harmony with the statement of Paul found in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Paul wrote, “This know also; that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Both John and Paul were talking about conditions that existed in their day. Saying these warnings only apply to the time shortly before the world ends is a gross perversion of God’s word. To be fair though, the last time does include the time when Jesus comes again. Peter said the Christian’s eternal inheritance (i.e., salvation) will be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:5).
Jude acknowledged that mockers would be plentiful in the last time. He wrote, “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts” (Jude 17, 18). One apostle in particular who spoke about such mockers was Peter. He said, “Knowing this first, that there shall borne in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? (2 Peter 3:3, 4a). Peter wrote those words urging his readers to be on guard and to remember the warnings previously uttered by the apostles and prophets.
Many people have been deceived into thinking that the Bible’s “last days” or “last time” is a special period of abounding wickedness and great tribulation immediately preceding the return of Jesus Christ. Paul did say that perilous times shall come but he was referring to the church age just as all the New Testament writers did.
The last days began almost 2,000 years ago and will last until the end of time. They are called the last days for a good reason. God “hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained (Acts ). That means time is running out for this world. When Jesus comes back this sin filled world and every sinner will be destroyed with fire. Each day that goes by takes us one day closer to the end of this age.
The only time man can be saved is NOW (2 Corinthians 6:2). There will be no chance for salvation after death or the Lord’s return (Luke -31). The Bible tells us, “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews ). Do you need to obey the gospel? If so, do it now while you still have the opportunity (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).