I originally wrote this post about “the last days” a few years ago on my personal blog, and followed it with the article on if we’re living in the “Laodicean church age.” Lately on the Fire On Your Head podcast we’ve taken several sessions to cover this kind of stuff, so that’s been the nature of some of the things I’ve been studying lately in the Word of God.
I had sat down one night listening to an old revival message of Dr Michael Brown’s during the outpouring at Brownsville during the late 1990s, took some notes, and then this post is a loose translation those notes into a user friendly blog entry for anyone else who wants to kill this sacred cow that is rampant in evangelical rapture-awaiting circles.
Are we really living in the last days?
I hear this preached on and blogged on over and over again, and it’s used to defend why current events are taking place in the world around us.
As usual, emphasis in the Scripture references I’ll quote is my own emphasis.
As far as end times are concerned we’ve been living in the last days for over 2000 years; the promises and warnings that were given to Christian believers back then are just as relevant now as back then:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1-2)
If we understand that this was written in the first century, we know and understand they were living ‘in the last days’ then.
Speaking of Jesus, Peter says
He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was (past tense) made manifest in the last times for your sake, who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:20-21)
At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Children, 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. (1 John 2:8, 18)
Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. (1 Corinthians 10:11)
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. (Joel 2:28-31)
But now notice how Peter changes what Joel said when quoting this in the second chapter of Acts to the people gathered around at Pentecost:
But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on 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 2:17-18)
Peter changed what Joel said from “after this” and applied that to those listening–and us now as far as his speech from the upper room that day in context goes–saying these are the prophesied last days, “and what you see going on is evidence of it”. Let’s take another text, and read things in context, ask ourselves some questions based on the Scripture and see if things add up to what we’ve always been taught, and oh yeah—let’s not forget to use logic in reading this as well:
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-7)
Do you really think Paul is warning Timothy about something that will happen 1900 years after he’s died? What sense would it make if he were? Do you think there’s been people like this description all throughout history or just in our current generation?
Paul is not telling Timothy about something that will happen 2000 years later—this is practical counsel that applied to Timothy, and has application for us also, but is not talking about the specific last generation, but has always been relevant advice because, as the Scriptures above show us, since the Cross, it has always been ‘the last days.’
And if anyone would like to comment without fear that I will attack them for their opinions, feel free to explain this to me: how do we know for sure if we’re the last generation or not? Would other Bible-believing and God-fearing people in generations before us have thought they too might have been the last of the last days of church history on earth?
So to answer the question posed, sure, we ARE living in the last days, but so were the early church and Christians all throughout history.
Check out a recent podcast roundtable I did with a few other authors on this subject.