‘Last Days’

  • “We are living in the ‘last days!’”
  • “These are the end times!”
  • “Soon it will be all over!”
  • “Jesus is coming back!”
  • “We’re leaving this world!”

If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard this a thousand times. And it never happens. Since the 1970s—the heyday of Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth—this end-times-gospel has been everywhere it seems. For John Noe, this was not good news. “I remember thinking at the time, oh, no! I had just become a Christian. The business my wife and I started five years ago was starting to make money. Our two children were attending grade school. I wanted to see them grow up. I didn’t want everything to end, at least not yet.”

Theological Problem:

“As a new Christian, I was also being told and taught to read and study my Bible. That’s when another strange thing started happening. Verses began popping out, like these two verses from the New Testament book of Hebrews 1:1-2. ‘In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.'”

“So I started asking more questions of those I deemed to be in the know like . . . “Doesn’t the writer of Hebrews state here that the biblical timeframe known as the ‘last days’ was taking place, back then and there—i.e. during the earthly ministry of Jesus and during the time this writer was writing? And if that is true, how can we possibly say that we are now living in the ‘last days?’

“Well, we just are! Look around,’ I was bluntly informed. ‘It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out. Just look at the moral decay in society and world events—especially those in Israel. How could anyone come up with any other conclusion? Everybody knows we are living in the ‘last days.’ Or are we?”

What Scripture Says:

Every New Testament reference to the “last days” or to equivalent terms such as “last times” or “last hour,” confirms the same thing. And history records that circa A.D. 70, exactly forty years after Jesus’ most dramatic end-time prophesy on the Mount of Olives and within the time of one biblical generation that He placed upon its fulfillment, Roman armies led by Titus destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple. This was the same Temple that was standing when Jesus foretold its destruction¾not some third (or fourth), rebuilt temple centuries removed.

Make no mistake Jesus was no false or fallible prophet. He was the greatest Prophet of all. And even though many may have dealt loosely, if not treacherously, with Jesus’ words, He set a definite time limit for the “last days.” These “last days” and end times were not a 19-centuries-and-counting extended period. Without exception, they literally refer to that 1st-century timeframe in which the New Testament writers were living, there and then. Hebrews 1:1-2 clearly and firmly affixes Jesus’ earthly ministry, as well as the time in which the writer of Hebrews was writing, to the historic and biblical time period termed the “last days.”

Elaborations:

  • Jesus’ most dramatic prophecy.
  • Confusion abounds.
  • Five side-stepping devices.
  • More startling nearness statements
  • The ‘whole world’ objection.
  • What the critics charge.
  • Exactness.

Sources:

  1. The Perfect Ending for the World by John Noe
  2. The Last Days According to Jesus by R.C. Sproul
  3. Last Days Madness by Gary DeMar
  4. The Works of Josephus translated by William Whiston
  5. Josephus the Essential Writings by Paul L. Maier