The Ancient Biblical Teaching of the Ages Part 2
Part 2 – The “Last Days” are now the Past Days: – “The End of the Age”
I get very weary of all the “end time” predictions that go on in the name of Jesus. You would think that if someone wanted to dedicate their life to spreading the message of the “Last Days” and of the “End Times” that they would have at least taken the time to find out what those terms actually mean. The truth is, people seem to read what the Bible says about “the Last Days” and somehow or other, without actually researching what that term meant to the people who used it in the first century, they simply presume that it must be talking about the day and age that we live in. “Do you think we are in the Last Days?”, “well, thats just a sign that we are in the End Times”, or “the Bible did predict that such wars/tsunamis/whatever would happen at the End – these things will just get worse because we are in the Last Days and the End Times are upon us” …. I read that kind of pop-theology ALL THE TIME online. But, why do the people making these comments automatically presume that the “Last Days” and the “End Times” are speaking about our day and age? Why would they not actually do some research into what those phrases originally meant? I simply can’t answer that. I am an inquisitive person – I want to find out exactly what something means before I throw my lot in with it. So, let me share the conclusion of the more than 15 years of research that I have done into this topic:
We do NOT Live in the “Last Days”. These are NOT the “End Times”. When the Bible speaks of the “End Times” is is ALWAYS speaking about the “End of the Age” – not the end of the world, but of the “Age”. That is very, very important. Its not the world or planet earth that is coming to an “End” in those Biblical passages – it’s an “Age”, (so we need to find out what an “Age” is). When the Bible speaks of the “Last Days” it is ALWAYS speaking of the “Last Days of the Age” ….. not the Last Days of our current Age, but the Last Days of the Age that was coming to an end THEN. It is very, very easy to prove that this is true. I would challenge anyone to go through every New Testament reference to “the Last Days” and read it in context. You will make a startling discovery …. every passage says that Jesus and the first apostles, and early Christians in the first century AD, lived in the “Last Days’.
THEY lived in the “Last Days’, not us. For us, the Last Days are now the Past Days. Let me show you that:
“Peter said: What you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel: In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.”
- (Acts 2:17 – Pentecost happened in “the last days”)
“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. But now, in these last days, he has spoken to us through his Son”.
- (Hebrews 1:1 – Jesus teaching ministry took place during “the last days”)
“God chose Jesus as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake”.
- (1 Peter 1:20 – Jesus death took place during “the last days”)
“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.”
- (2 Timothy 3:1 – Timothy needed to know that HE would be experiencing difficult times in the “last days” because he was living in them).
Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
- (James 5:3-4 – James warns wicked people in his time, that the “last days” were upon THEM, not us)
But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last days there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
- (Jude v17-19 – Jude said that the people who were THEN troubling the church were the “last days”scoffers who had been foretold)
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
- (1 John 2:18 – John wrote this when he was the last remaining member of the 12 disciples, and by that time it wasn’t just the “last days”, it was the “last hour”!)
All of these passages make it clear (as do every “last days” passage) that THEY were living in the “last days”, not us. So, the last days of what? Of the “Age” – the one that was coming to an end in their lifetime, the period that is called the “Last Days” is also referred to as the “End of the Age”, and Jesus himself predicted that the Age would End within one generation:
“When will these things happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the End of the Age” …. (asked Jesus disciples, when he had predicted that the Temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed. He answered) …. “this generation will not pass away before all these things are accomplished”. (Matthew 24).
The “End of the Age” was going to happen within one generation of Jesus prediction, and the people who lived during that final generation were living in the “Last Days” of that “Age” which was coming to an “End”. And what “Age” was that which was coming to an “End”? It was the Old Covenant Age. From the time of Abraham to the time of Jesus the descendants of Abraham had lived under a Covenant with God. That Covenant was to last for an “Age”. The prophets sent to Israel predicted that, when that Covenant came to an End, there would be a “New Covenant”, and there would be a “Kingdom” which would expand and increase, “without end”. Jesus disciples were brought up in a culture and religion which understood these concepts, and so when Jesus predicted that the Temple would be destroyed in the lifetime of the disciples, they realized that this would be the “End of the Age”, and so they asked for some clarity about when the “End of the Age” would be. Let’s look, in the next part of this series, at some scripture passages which show this. Unfortunately, some English translations of the Bible don’t use the actual words, (don’t actually translate the Hebrew and Greek words for “Age” and for “Age-enduring”), but instead “interpret” them with some other meaning …. so often, (depending of which English translation you are using) you will find the term “Age” translated as “world” (the “End of the world”), or the term “age-abiding” translated as “forever” or “eternally”. A “literal” translation of the Bible (one which translates it word-by-word and sticks to the closest English word to the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic words, regardless of whether it “flows” well or not) may be a bit sticky to read, but it is good for detailed study. I will be ensuring that the correct terms are used in the quotations I give in the following posts, and you can check them all out in a literal translation (like Young’s Literal Translation), to see that for yourself.