The Last Days

When we hear the term “Last Days” we assume it refers to the final few years of history that will occur just before the return of Jesus “on the clouds of Heaven.” This is logical and natural. However, the New Testament presents the present age as the time of fulfillment, the period that began following the death, resurrection, and enthronement of Jesus.

For example, the Letter to the Hebrews declares that God, “upon the last of these days, has spoken to us in His Son.” Later, the Letter also states that Jesus “appeared once-for-all, upon the Conclusion of the Ages, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” - (Hebrews 1:1-3, 9:26).

Constellation - Photo by Martin Jernberg on Unsplash
[Photo by Martin Jernberg on Unsplash]

God spoke to the “
fathers” under the old covenant, but only partially. His previous “words” were preparatory, promissory, and incomplete. But now, He has spoken with fullness and finality in His “Son.” With the advent of Jesus in the first century, the time of fulfillment commenced.

This is emphasized in Hebrews by the term, “Conclusion of the Ages.” In the passage from Chapter 9, “ages” is plural, and the Greek term translated as “conclusion” or ‘sunteleia’ means “conclusion, consummation, completion, culmination.” In and through His “Son,” God has summed up all the eras of history and the creation itself.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “The appointed time has been shortened… For the forms of this world are passing away.” The last verb in the clause or “passing away” represents the Greek term in the present tense, signifying continuous or ongoing action. Thus, the institutions and “forms” of this present age are in the process of passing away, and they have been since the victory of Jesus over sin and death - (1 Corinthians 7:29).

Paul declared to the Assembly of Corinth that the Hebrew Scriptures were written for the followers of Jesus, the ones “upon whom the Ends of the Ages have come.” Like the passage in Hebrews, the Greek term rendered as “ages” is plural, and so is the noun “ends.” This serves to emphasize the summation of all things in what God has done for His people through Jesus- (1 Corinthians 10:11).

The Apostle made a similar point in his Letter to the Galatians by declaring that God sent His Son to redeem us “when the Fullness of Time had come” - (Galatians 4:4).

THE SPIRIT


In his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter changed the words of the Book of Joel he cited from “afterward” to “last days” - In the LAST DAYS, says the Lord…” In this way, he linked the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost to the start of the “Last Days” - (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17).

With his exaltation to the “right hand of God,” Jesus received the “promise of the Father,” the Gift of the Spirit, which he then bestowed upon his Assembly. This meant that the final era predicted by the Prophet Joel began with the arrival of the Spirit in his Assembly, the 120 disciples gathered for prayer that day in Jerusalem.

Peter wrote years later that Jesus was destined to be the Messiah “before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the End of the Times for your sake,” demonstrating once more that this final period began following the death, resurrection, and exaltation of the Son of God - (1 Peter 1:20).

In his first epistle, the Apostle John warned that “it is the Last Hour; and as you have heard that Antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore, we know that it is the Last Hour.” The presence and activity of false teachers in the Assembly not only fulfilled prophecies made by Jesus but also provided undeniable evidence that the “Last Days” were underway even in the first century - (Matthew 24:4-11, 1 John 2:18).

In the Hebrew Bible, the messianic era would dawn when the Messiah arrived, and two scriptural promises were key expectations of that coming period. First, the outpouring of the Spirit, and second, the resurrection of the dead - (Joel 2:28, Ezekiel 37:26-27).

Both predictions came to fruition because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. God not only raised him from the dead, but He also seated him on His Throne where he now reigns and pours the Gift of the Spirit on his Assembly. Therefore, the “Last Days” have arrived.

Moreover, when God raised His Son from the dead, the future resurrection of the righteous dead became assured, therefore, the New Testament calls his past resurrection the “first fruits” of our coming resurrection when Jesus returns. Likewise, the Gift of the Spirit is the “first fruits” of the promised redemption of our bodies - (Genesis 1:1-2, Romans 8:23, 1 Corinthians 15:20).

Starry Sky - Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash
[Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash]

The Spirit is also our “
earnest,” the ‘arrabōn’ or “down payment” that guarantees the resurrection of the saints. The Father will most certainly complete what He started when He raised His son from the dead - (Romans 1:1-4, 2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5, Ephesians 1:13-14).

The period known as the “Last Days” has been underway since the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus, as well as the bestowal of the Gift of the Spirit on his people. Moreover, because of his victory over sin and death, history entered its final phase, and the existing world order began to undergo its death throes.



RELATED POSTS:
  • The Final Sign - (The completion of preaching the Gospel to all nations will trigger the End and the return of Jesus)
  • Howling Imposters - (Jesus and his Apostles warned of deceivers who will infiltrate his Assembly)
  • In the Last Days - (The final period of history began following the outpouring of the Spirt on Pentecost)


Comments

POPULAR POSTS

Language of the New Testament

Two Little Horns?