Understanding the “Last Days”
By Jack Kinsella
We’ve been discussing events, manmade, natural and political, that conspire together to bring about the precise conditions the Bible forecast would exist in the “last days.”
Before we go on, we should revist the term, “last days” since my email indicates there is a bit of confusion about what the term means. After all, many argue, the Apostle Paul thought he was living in the last days, and here we are two thousand years later…
This line of reasoning adds credibility, at least on the surface, the scoffer’s argument “People have been forecasting the return of Christ in every generation, etc.”
That line of reasoning is itself a fulfillment of Bible prophecy for the last days. Writes the Apostle Peter;
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2nd Peter 3:2-3)
Again, there is that reference to the ‘last days’ again. The term ‘last days’ has two meanings. In the first and broadest sense, it refers to the entire period of the Church Age, since it is the final Dispensation of human government before it is reclaimed by Jesus Christ at the beginning of the Kingdom Age to come.
In the second and more specific sense, it refers to the period of time between the restoration of national Israel and the onset of the 70th Week of Daniel — the generation of whom Jesus said, “This generation shall not pass away until all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:34)
The meaning is derived from the context. The Prophet Joel prophesied, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28)
The Church Age began with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in all believers, starting with the Apostles at Pentecost. Of Pentecost, Peter explained;
“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.”
The context makes it clear that in this instance, the reference is to the Church Age as the “last days.” On the other hand, the Apostle Paul warned of ‘perilous times’ (2nd Timothy 3:1-5) in the ‘last days’.
But the context indicates he is referring to the ‘last days’ in the sense of the last generation of the Church Age — since Paul’s prophecy of social conditions echoes the description of the Laodicean Church Age of Revelation 3:14.
The same can be said of Paul’s warning to Timothy (1st Timothy 4:1-3);
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”
The meaning of the term, ‘the latter times’ taken in context in this description could apply to most any point in the Church Age from the 4th century forward, but it is to this generation, uniquely, that the phrase ‘Christian fundamentalist’ means the same thing as ‘radical extremist.’
Paul warned of a ‘departure from the faith’ — what is ‘fundamentalism’ if it isn’t following the fundamentals — unchanging doctrinal truths?
But Paul said that the doctrines of demons and seducing spirits would supplant the doctrines of Christianity.
Christian ‘fundamentalists’ believe that only those who put their trust in Christ will be saved. The world calls that “too exclusionary” and envisions a form of religion that embraces all faiths as equal in the eyes of God.
That non-exclusionary version of Christianity is championed by the foundational documents of the World Council of Churches, founded in Amsterdam in 1948. And is central to the principles of the UN’s Global Religious Forum.
It fits precisely with John’s description of the global religion of antichrist, which he described as having ‘two horns like a lamb (Christianity) but spake as a dragon (Satan)” (Revelation 13:11)
In this generation, the TRUE Christians are the tolerant ones who recognize all faiths as equally valid. (It seems to escape their attention that it also renders all faiths are equally invalid).
In any case, those who hold to a literal understanding of John 14:6; (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me”) are intolerant at best, fundamentalist or extremist at worst.
“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1st John 4:3)
If all faiths are equally valid, then Jesus is One Voice among many — hardly the same as an acknowledgment He is God come in the flesh. The ‘doctrine of demons’.
Ezekiel places the Gog Magog War in the “latter times” but in context, it is clear it is referring to the last generation, rather than the broader sense of the Church Age.
For Ezekiel’s prophecy of a Russian-led, Islamic invasion of Israel to take place, Israel must first exist. “Israel” was conquered, assimilated and thereby lost to history before Ezekiel was born.
From that day until May 14, 1948, no sovereign nation called “Israel” existed anywhere on the planet. The context puts Ezekiel’s war in the last days of the last generation, at a time when Israel is a ‘land of unwalled villages, dwelling ‘safely’ during a temporary period of false peace.
Israel has existed under a series of periods of false peace, but it has yet to dwell ‘safely’ during any of them. And, at this point, Israel is building the wall Ezekiel says has to come down. It is the number one sticking point in Arab-Israeli negotiations. Any successful outcome will have to include the dismantling of the hated ‘Apartheid Wall’, as the Palestinians dubbed it.
The scoffers will argue that the “last days” is a generic term with no specific meaning as part of a general argument that there is nothing unique about this generation that points to the soon return of Christ. “Since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue…” etc.
That is why there is such a division within the professing Church about the timing of the Rapture, the relevance of Bible prophecy, the Tribulation, Millennial Kingdom and so on.
One can take a Scripture and use it to validate almost any theological argument, unless it is taken in context. Then the Bible interprets itself. It is up to us to study the Word, rather than accepting logical-sounding arguments out of context at face value.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth… But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” (2nd Timothy 2:15,23)
The Word, rightly divided, says that we are the last generation before the Return of Christ. That means that many of those reading these lines will be among those who will never, ever, die! It is to us — this generation — that the Apostle Paul was speaking when he promised;
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)
These ARE the last days! Get excited! And tell your friends.
We’re almost outta here.