Picking up from the initial thoughts concerning eschatology, we defined the word as meaning, ‘the study of last things’. I personally like the phrase ‘last things’ instead of ‘end times’. The phrase ‘end times’ leaves a lot of scary images in peoples’ minds, and we are trying to lay a healthier foundation about the topic of eschatology.
Now, when studying this topic, one of the first questions that might arise is, ‘When are the last days?’ And I think it is an important question. Based upon a lot of current teaching, most people would answer the question by saying that the last days are the last seven years before Christ returns, or something like that. But, as always, let’s see what the Scriptures teach.
In Acts 2, after the Holy Spirit was poured out and the people began to speak in other tongues, some were mocking what they saw, claiming that the people were drunk. But Peter took his stand and declared:
‘For these men are not drunk, as you suppose…but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: “And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind.'” (Acts 2:14-17)
Peter was proclaiming that Joel’s prophecy about the last days (Joel 2:28-32) was being fulfilled right in front of their eyes, or better yet, in their hearing. Thus, what we see here is that the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy concerning the last days had begun at Pentecost in Acts 2, and it is to continue for all generations as we enjoy God’s promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all peoples.
According to Biblical understanding, and contrary to much teaching currently, we did not enter the last days 100 years ago, 50 years ago, nor 10 years ago. The last days are not a seven-year period before Christ returns. We entered into the last days when the Spirit was poured forth at Pentecost, and thus, we have been in the last days for approximately the past 1,978 years.
We could also refer to the last days as the Messianic Age in which the Messiah would reign. And we know by our study of Scripture that the Messiah is reigning, for He has been given the power to pour out the promise of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:33, see also Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:18-23). Oh yes, every knee has not yet bowed, nor every tongue confessed. But we are moving towards that day in which every enemy will be defeated (1 Corinthians 15:25-26), and every knee bowing along with every tongue confessing Jesus as Lord and King (Philippians 2:10-11).
Thus, take courage in knowing that, for the Church, the body of Christ, the last days are an exciting time. There are going to be tough days and tribulations for the Church at all points of history. But the people of God have enjoyed the promise of the great last days since Pentecost, and we will continue to be in the last days until Christ returns to fully establish His kingdom.
To continue with looking at the roots of eschatology, click here.