The tendency many have when studying end times theology (i.e. eschatology) is to link everything together too quickly. We want a system we can memorize and check off our list of things we know with certainty. The problem in our rush to have a systematic eschatology we often end up with an unbiblical eschatology. Our goal must be to know what the Scriptures say. We must approach each passage and each term in its own Scriptural context. We mustn’t read our theological systems into the individual passages. If we do read into these passages, we will come away with a perfectly consistent eschatology, but we will not have a biblical eschatology.
Describing the Last Days
In my last post, “Defining the Last Days,” I tried to lead us into a biblical definition of the last days. I noted that according to the New Testament the last days began with the coming of Christ and will end sometime after his second coming when he destroys death at the Great White Throne Judgment. Often people have the impression that the last days is one generation long, but the Bible is clear that the last days is an era, not a generation. Simply put, the term “last days” refers to the Messianic age.
In this post we want to get a general picture of what is to be expected in the last days. Usually people want to look for “signs” that we are living in the end times, but the Bible is more interested in telling us what to expect than trying to prove to us that we are living in that age. We don’t need signs to know it is the last days, the Bible has already told us that is (Heb.1:2, 9:26,1 Cor.10:11). But we do need to be prepared for the things we will face.
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Defining “The Last Days”
What does the Bible mean by the terms like “last days”, “last hour” and “end of the ages”? These phrases, and others like them, are the most fundamental terms in eschatology (i.e. the study of the end times) and yet they are commonly misused. A misunderstanding on these phrases can lead to a lot of unbiblical conclusions. So I would like to look at some verses and come up with a basic New Testament definition. This will give us a clear place to start as we embark on the journey of understanding what the Bible teaches about the end of the world. If we are not clear on this point, the rest of what we learn will be skewed at best, and downright false at worst.
Before getting into how we should interpret such phrases, I would like to demonstrate how we usually interpret them.
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