WHEN ARE THE LAST DAYS?

MF Blume



"The Apostles preached the coming of the Lord because they thought it was the last days.  Two thousand years later I am preaching the coming of the Lord because it is the last days."
(Rev. Nathaniel Urshan, The Coming of the Lord , The Pentecostal Herald, January 2001, pg. 5)

1 John 2:18  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. ;
(Apostle John, 1 John 2:18, First Century)

The New Testament writings contain words speaking of the "last days" and the "last times" in such a tone that reveals the writers' beliefs were that they lived in those last days.  Ministers today can see that opinion held by the Apostles in their writings, as does Bro. Urshan in his words I quote above.  However, one very important element is being overlooked by these well-meaning brethren.  Those words written by the Apostles and other biblical writers are not mere opinions that were mistaken, but were interpretations inspired by the Holy Ghost and to be deemed as inspired scripture today.  Bro. Urshan is a man of God who loves the truth, but in this area of prophecy, he is wrong.

PAUL'S WORDS CONCERNING THE LAST DAYS

2 Timothy 3:1-8   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 . For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
Paul spoke of the last days  as though he lived in them and had to warn Timothy about the men who were foretold to exist in those last days.  He said that in his time "do these also resist the truth."  They were there in his day!  The list of men foretold to come during the last days were noted by Paul to be in existence in his day!

Were these words of Paul merely incorrect interpretations?  Or were they inspired of God and therefore perfectly correct?  

It has been said that though the apostles were incorrect in believing they lived in the last days, it was healthy that they believed so.  People propose that every generation believed they lived in the last days, and the Lord intended them to think so, for such a belief would encourage one to always be ready for the coming of the Lord.  Should one not believe one was in the "last days", one might grow lukewarm and carefree and too loose in living.  And since God wants us to always be living a fiery and dedicated life for Him, He wanted men to think they were in the last days when they wrote what they did.  But this implies a very dangerous idea.  

If God inspired Paul to write those words to Timothy, and He did, and yet these men were not living in the last days as they wrote they indeed were, then God inspired them to write a deception.  One might think its a good deception, since it urged them to serve God wholeheartedly.  However, it was a deception.  Paul was inspired of the Holy Ghost to say that men foretold to come in the last days were alive in his day.  

Would God lie in order to move us to serve Him wholeheartedly?
Titus 1:2  In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
God cannot lie.  Neither would He deceive His Apostles and inspire them to write words that were not true.

Ironically, the very same chapter quoted above ends with these words:
2 Timothy 3:16-17  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works .
Do we not regard these words of Paul to Timothy as Scripture today and inspired of God?

PETER'S WORDS OF THE LAST DAYS

1 Peter 1:19-20  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

JUDE'S WORDS OF THE LAST DAYS


Jude informed us that his epistle was originally intended to speak about the common salvation, however the Spirit of God urged him to write otherwise.
Jude 1:3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints .
As Jude continued to write, he spoke about "certain men" who already crept into the church unawares.  And he reminded them of the Exodus story and the unbelievers who were destroyed by God.  then he made mention of the angels who left their first estate and were damned.  Then he spoke of Sodom and Gomorrah's example of punishment of fire to the disobedient.  Then he again pointed to men in his day.
Jude 1:8  Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.
These men who already were crept in were as wicked as the others in history.  And finally, in pointing to such men in his day, Jude, inspired of the Holy Ghost to write, referred to words of Jesus and the Apostles:
Jude 1:17-19  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. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
Jude said these references to mockers in the last time were fulfilled in his day!  2000 years ago! THESE BE THEY! 

PETER'S FAMOUS PENTECOSTAL SERMON

Acts 2:15-17  For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is [but] the third hour of the day. 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:
Peter was just filled with the Holy Ghost and under that inspiration of God preached a sermon that quoted Joel's prophecy concerning the last days.  God inspired Peter to preach that the events of his day were the events foretold by Joel to occur in the last days.

Did God deceive Peter in that inspired sermon to make people believe they were in the last days so they would serve God more faithfully?  No.

HEBREWS' MENTION OF THE LAST DAYS

Hebrews 1:1-2  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, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Over and again we read about the last days as though they occurred in the days of the early church writers.  If these men were inspired of God, then why did they say it was the last days in their time?

JOHN'S WORDS OF THE LAST DAYS

1 John 2:18-19  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 . They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Notice that John points to these apostates who were once among the church as proof that John was at that time in the last time.  He proved to the readers that those early believers were in the last time.  Was John not inspired when he wrote that those antichrists in his day proved they were in the last time?

THE LAST DAYS OF WHAT?

Beyond doubt the disciples preached they were in the last days, and they were inspired of God to say that, implying they were correct!  But it doesn't make sense!  How could they have been in the last days if the world went on another 2000 years since then?

The answer is simple.  Who said they spoke of the last days of the planet?  Nowhere did these men speak of the last days of the planet earth.  They were referring to the last days of something else.

An age was coming to a close.  The Messiah had come, and Jesus predicted that in that generation the temple would be destroyed and the city Jerusalem would be demolished.  True to His word, the temple was destroyed by the time 70 AD rolled around, and the city of Jerusalem was completely obliterated.  Jesus said the "end" would not fully come until certain signs would first occur.  He listed signs of earthquakes and pestilences and persecution and Christian martyrdom in Matthew 24.  He listed the same persecution in Matthew 23 and noted there that the disciples would flee from city to city amidst such hardships.  This is absolutely fulfilled and clearly noted to anyone who would read the book of Acts.  The church was persecuted from one city to another.  The apostles wrote of it in their epistles!  False prophets were abounding throughout the land.  

It is clear that the LAST DAYS stretched from Pentecost to Holocaust in 70 AD.  One generation.  Peter quoted Joel's last day prophecy of God's Spirit poured out upon all flesh and the destruction signified by the prophetic language of the sun turning to blackness and the moon to blood.  The Spirit outpouring refers to Pentecost, and the sun and moon's descriptions refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.  These days of that generation would see the end of the temple and the Judaic activity in Jerusalem, the nations' capitol.  They would see the end of the prophesied destruction upon those who rejected Christ and crucified Him.

An age was coming to a close.
Hebrews 1:1-2  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, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Notice that Hebrews 1:2 contrasts the Old Testament age with the age of the Church, and mentions the term "these last days". In other words, the last days were the absolute closing out of anything to do with the Old Testament, after the cross ended Law and the prophets. The temple still stood and would soon be destroyed along with its city Jerusalem.

Matthew 24:1-3  And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.  And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
People have incorrectly assumed the question regarding the end of the world referred to the end of the planet.  However, the Greek word from which "world" is translated here is AION, from which we derive the english word EON, speaking of AGE.  And this third question of the disciples is not an altogether different issue and to occur in a different time frame than the first question regarding the time when the temple would be destroyed.  Jesus' coming, likewise, was not referring to a different timeframe than the destruction of the temple, for the same discussion of these verses in Matthew is found in Luke and rephrased to help clarify to us their true intent.
Luke 21:5  And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
Luke 21:6  As for these things which ye behold , the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Luke 21:7  And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?
Instead of asking what the sign to indicate His coming would be, here we read it was the sign when these things (the destruction of the temple), would occur.  Very enlightening!  The timing of THESE THINGS and the sign when THESE THINGS would occur was their entire issue!  And THESE THINGS were the destruction of the temple buildings.

According to the disciples and Apostles, the last days referred to the timeframe between Christ's cross and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD.

And these apostles were not merely writing words based upon their erring opinions of when the last days would occur, but were writing inspired words of God concerning the time when the temple would be destroyed and Jesus' prophecy of Jerusalem's destruction would occur.  

What gives more witness to your spirit, and makes more sense?
  1. That God inspired the apostles to incorrectly believe they lived in the last days?
  2. Or, God inspired the apostles to write about the last days of the temple's existence and the Judaic religion in Jerusalem when time approached for the believers in Jerusalem to flee to the mountains and be safe from the devastation?
We know beyond doubt that the last days of the temple and Jerusalem were certainly the days of the early church!  


PROPHECY