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Doctrine of the Last Days copy

Doctrine of the Last Days
7/04/2015

I. Definition: The terms “last days” in its technical and eschatological use represent a time period when history and a time period comes to a close. Many scholars consider this to be the time between the first and second advents of Christ. However, there is evidence that it may include the period between the second advent and the destruction of the old heavens and earth and the beginning of the new heavens and earth.

II. Why use the term the last days? This is in light of the fact that it has been over two-thousand years since the First Advent of Christ. It may seem wrong to call the more than two thousand years with unseen amount of days to come, to call them the “last days.” This seemingly misuse of the term “last” is because of the measure by which one calls them last.

III. The Measure of Time
A. From the standpoint of all Scripture, the biggest event since creation is the coming of God to earth and taking on the form of man, the incarnation, in the person of Jesus Christ.
B. Jesus’ short time on earth changed everything:
1. Never before had God came to earth and taken on a human body, thus the God-man, Jesus Christ
(Jn. 1:1-2,14).
2. Redemption was provided through the work of Jesus Christ (Gal. 4:4;1 Pet. 1:5).
3. The Kingdom of God or the First phase of the Messianic Age began with the coming of the King. Christ presence brought on a New Age, an age that demonstrated God’s power on earth; over nature, over sickness, over death and over the demonic forces (Matt. 12:28).
4. After Jesus ascension and session, a shift took place, from the person of Christ to his followers. Now they would have the power with changing manifestations of that power (Acts 2:16-21).
5. Satan, the ruler of this world was judged through the cross (Jn. 16:11), yet the final execution of that judgment awaits till the end of the Millennial reign of Christ
(Rev. 20:19).

[Everything that happened before the First Advent event was leading up to it. Everything after it was looking back and playing out to the end. This playing out to the end is the “last days.]

IV. The last days comes in two parts. Both phases begin with an advent of Christ.
A. Part One— First Advent to the Second Advent
1. Peter connects the coming of Christ with the beginning of the last days.

Acts 2:17a ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND;
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With the fact that Christ came.

Acts 2:22 ¶ “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know —
Acts 2:23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
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1Pet. 4:7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be
of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.
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2. It is in the last days, that Jesus Christ, a Son of God speaks for God.

Heb. 1:1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets in many parts and in various ways,
Heb. 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the ages.

In contrast to the past, when God spoke to believers in partial revelation and by various means, now, with the coming of a Son, God speaks with fuller revelation through a new and higher representative—one in his likeness—a Son and that Son speaks for God.

The passage in Hebrews continues to describe the Son in several marvelous ways. The point we want to see is that this is in the last days.

3. Christ came in these last days or times to be made a sacrifice for us.

1 Pet. 1:20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you
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Heb. 9:26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
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B. Part Two— Second Advent to the new heavens and earth.

The last days take on a different meaning during the 1000 years reign of Christ on earth, the Millinnium. These are those days when Christ will have set up his rule over the earth from his earthly headquarters in Jerusalem.

Is. 2:1-4
Is. 2:1 The word which Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
Is. 2:2 Now it will happen in the last days* that
The mountain of the house of the LORD
Will be established as chief (most important) of the mountains,
And will be raised up above the hills:
And all the nations will stream to it.
Is. 2:3 And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That he may teach us his ways
And that we may walk in his paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Is. 2:4 And he will judge between the nations,
And will decide cases for many peoples;
They will beat their swords into plowshares
And there spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up a sword against another nation,
And they will no longer again train for war.

*Literally: —in the end of the days and is seen as future
(Cf. NET) from the view of the Ancient Jews.

Note: Only one other time is this use of last days used again referring to the Millennial period and that is in the near identical passage of Micah 4:1-3. For the purposes of our study, we will only be looking at Part 1 “last days,” the period between the First and Second Advent.

V. Major Characteristics of the Last Days— Part One

A. Advent of the Holy Spirit to universally indwell every believer (Rom. 8:9).

As the disciples were experiencing the advent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, Peters draws on Joel 2 to confirm that what was happening is what was predicted to happen and was happening right then and there—thus the last days.

Acts 2:16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
Acts 2:17 ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;
Acts 2:18 EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy.

B. Toward the end of the last days, there will be magnificent signs and wonders in both earth and sky before Christ’s return.

Acts 2:19 ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW,
BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.
Acts 2:20 ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.
Acts 2:21 ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’
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C. The last days will bring on terrible times.

1. A time of demonic activity, widespread heinous sins, pseudo-godliness, persecutions and sufferings for the faithful.

2Tim. 3:1 ¶ But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. (terrible-chalepos—dangerous, demonic activity in Matt. 8:28)
2Tim. 3:2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
2Tim. 3:3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,
2Tim. 3:4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—
2Tim. 3:5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
2Tim. 3:6 ¶ They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,
2Tim. 3:7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.
2Tim. 3:8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.
2Tim. 3:9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
2Tim. 3:10 ¶ You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,
2Tim. 3:11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
2Tim. 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
2Tim. 3:13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
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2. Many believers will fall away from the faith.

1Tim. 4:1 ¶ The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon (apostasize) the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
1Tim. 4:2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
1Tim. 4:3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.
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Forbidding people to marry was a teaching of early gnosticism, a teaching that said matter is evil, therefore physical (matter) pleasure was sin.

Matt. 24:10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,
Matt. 24:11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
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Mark 13:13 “You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
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Cf. Matt. 24:13

3. Scoffing and mocking.

2Pet. 3:1 ¶ Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.
2Pet. 3:2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
2Pet. 3:3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires (lusts).
2Pet. 3:4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”

Many will derisively deny and speak down to those who believe God’s word, mocking them—vs. 4. There will be an intensity of verbal attack on God, his word and Christians.

Jude 17 ¶ But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold.
Jude 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”
(lusts) NIV84

People will consider Christians as people to be laughed at. Not unlike those today who want to deny truth by promoting false philosophies and science. Much of this attack will stem from these mockers wanting to follow their lusts and believers neither indulging or approving of what they do.
4. By killing them.

Matt. 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.
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VI. Daniel receives major revelations about the last days.

Dan. 10:14 “Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days (end of days), for the vision pertains to the days yet future.”
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Refer to the study on Daniel.
VII. Christ comments on the last days during the Olivet discourse regarding the last days:

A. In Matt. 24, Mark 13 and Luke 18, Jesus spoke of the end days in terms of prophetic teaching. These passages have a multiple fulfillments. By that, we mean that these passages apply to three periods: near fulfillment in the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.; far fulfillment during the times prior to the tribulation (our present time); the distant future during the tribulation. It involves both major trends and specific events.
B. These multiple fulfillments is what has made these passages difficult to interpret for many. Many have tried to fix them in some short time periods or restrict them in some way, when in fact Jesus is describing the last days in what we now know of over 2000 years.
C. This passage will not be covered in detail at this point because this is a major prophetic passage regarding the tribulation and would fall under a another topic like Parousia or the book of Matthew. Our intention to simply to see more of the characteristics and events of the last days.

D. The passage begins with questions from some of the disciples:

Matt. 24:3 ¶ As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

They are asking Jesus three questions, though one is a compound question.

1) When will this happen? Referring to the temple being destroyed.
2) What will be the sign of your coming?
3) What will be the sign of the end of the age?

1. Great deception with many claiming to be the Christ.

Matt. 24:4 ¶ Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.
Matt. 24:5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

2. Periodical wars and reports of wars.

Matt. 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
Matt. 24:7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
Matt. 24:8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. NIV84

There will be many wars and reports of wars, earthquakes and famines (over 2000 years worth). This must happen. This is the ethos of the last days but not the end. Birth pains are painful and signal something is coming.

3. Persecution of believers.

Matt. 24:9 ¶ “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.

4. Believer apostasy—turning away from the faith.

Matt. 24:10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,

5. Many deceivers.

Matt. 24:11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.

6. Increase in wickedness.

Matt. 24:12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
Matt. 24:13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Matt. 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

7. Fulfillment-past, present, future.

These events have occurred in the past, are happening in the present and will happen in the future. The one “who stands firm to the end” either stands firm to the end of his lifetime or the return of Christ, depending on which generation he is in.

No doubt that the apostles and Christians went through major periods of persecution beginning during the apostolic period. Even in Acts, we see them arrested, jailed beaten and traditional has many executed. But Christians have been persecuted and martyred throughout the centuries, some worse than others and will be in the future.

Verses 13 and 14 mention that after these events, the end shall come. This would refer primarily to time up to the Second Advent—the final tribulation days. Though the apostles will have been long gone, to those future believers at that time, there is an extended application of persecution in the face of the most hostile opposition. It is those believers who hold on to their faith during this most intense period that will be saved. The gospel will also go worldwide during those final years.

Then in. vs. 15, Jesus goes into to more specifics when this most intense persecution begins. He goes on to describe the setting up of the abomination of desolation and that is the time to flee. This begins the second half of the tribulation leading up to the heavenly signs that indicate that the Son of Man is arriving. All of this is last days activities preceding the Second Advent.

VIII. The last days include the Battle of Armageddon
(Ezek. 38—39)

Ezek. 38:16 and you (Gog) will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog.”

IX. Other uses of the terms “the last days.”

A. This point demonstrates that the phrase the “last days’ is not always used in the technical sense as we have been using it for the time between the two advents.

B. The phrase does have a common use for days in the future, but the technical use that we have been looking at does not apply.

C. Gen. 49:1;Dan. 31:29;Num. 24:14;Jer. 48:47;49:39—

Check out the different translations and you will see some translate it “end of days” or “last days” and others “in days to come.” NET, NIV cf. NAS.