God declared many times that this created natural universe with its time cycles will not come to an end or cease to function. (a) [See endnotes] While this natural universe and our earth exists and functions, time will continue. The phrase “There should be time no longer,” only appears in the KJV once. Later translations correctly say: “There shall be no delay.” (b) Time will not cease as long as the natural realm exists.
Scripture declares “There is an appointed time for everything…for every event under heaven.” (c) Everything in this life experiences their appointed time. All seasons have beginnings and endings as a course of natural life. So, are we currently experiencing the last days or times?
Three Historical End Times
As our last blog points out, the Old Testament end of days speak of three historical end times. Two were fulfilled in Daniel’s lifetime as the ruling Babylon and the Mede/Persian empires came to their end. The third prophesied end of days would come in a future time. The system that came out of the first Covenant and ruled over the “holy people” would also see its end times. (d)
During this third end times Jesus Christ began to redefine perceptions of God’s kingdom. The reign of God came to be known as personal relationships with God-in-Christ. It was more than an earthly kingdom with the limitations of a natural location. (e) This greater reality would never end and would eventually fill the whole earth. (f)
Following the days when Jesus walked the earth, God gathered people into His kingdom reign by means of a New Covenant. The focus was not on keeping a Law or making annual sacrifices for bad behavior, nor gathering into one earthly area. God’s forgiveness was now received by our repentant efforts to change and His ways would be “written in minds and on hearts.” (g)
His ways would be “written in minds and on hearts.”
The Great Tribulation
Jesus Christ announced to his generation that: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand,” (now available). (h) He also proclaimed to the religious authorities: “the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation (Greek ethnos – gathered people) producing the fruit of it.” (i) He then foretold of “a great tribulation” that was coming “upon this generation.” (j)
The great tribulation was historically experienced in 70 AD with the long siege and destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. (k)
Those last times of the old order were affirmed by Peter, John and Paul, who also spoke of “these last days/times/hour.” (l) Paul further affirmed the end times was in full swing; “When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His son, born of a woman,” (m) and “upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (n) Peter also confirmed “He was foreknown…but has appeared in these last times,” (o) and “the end of all things is at hand…for it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God.” (p)
History records this end of time as BC (Before Christ). The ages of time that followed are called AD (Latin: Anno Domini) and are commonly referred to as “After Jesus.” Both Old and New Testaments record the seasonal ending of the Old Covenant as a time of great tribulation. It also records many details of the beginning of the New Covenant season as a reality that would never end.
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.”
Staying Faithful Until The End
Our Bibles bounce between the terms “latter days,” “last days,” and “end times.” In the Greek language of the New Testament, the words “end, latter, and last” (Greek – telos) actually mean: outcome; conclusion of the matter, experience, or season. As we look further into how the New Testament uses the terms, we find they also speak of the end of our personal life in this world.
While each of the following quotes apply to the generation of Jesus, they also address our personal lives as we grow old. “In the last days, difficult times will come,” (q) and “the one who has endured to the end will be saved.” (r) “He who keeps My deeds to the end” (s) and “If we hold fast our confidence… firm to the end.” (t) Even, “Having been freed from sin…you derive your benefit…and the outcome (end), eternal life.” (u)
At least three times Jesus said: “I myself will raise him up on the last day.” (v) Each time, he spoke of our individual physical death as our last day. When our life in this world ends, we consciously exit the natural sphere and fully enter the realm of eternity, “for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (w) When our physical life ends, our consciousness enters and begins to experience a fuller salvation that is void of natural complications.
Each of the Old Testament last days and end times have come and gone. While the New Testament talks about “these end times and days,” it also speaks of our future “end of time” when our personal life ceases and we enter eternity. We are encouraged to stay faithful to our earthly end.
While Jesus said “The word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day,” (x) we must remember God’s judgments are always corrective measures. (y) While God condemns bad intentions, ill behavior, and erroneous actions, He does not condemn people. He seeks to correct our corrupt perceptions by improving our thoughts, redirecting our desires and behavior to improve our maturing experience. “The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.” (z)
Scripture speaks of salvation as a reality we begin to know during this life. (aa) We can daily experience eternal perceptions of God-Light and experience God-Love.
Scripture speaks of salvation as a reality we begin to know during this life.
a) Genesis 8:20-22; Jeremiah 33:20, 25; Ecclesiastes 1:1-11; Psalm 104:5; 2 Peter 3:3; b) Revelation 10:6; c) Ecclesiastes 3:1; d) Daniel 12:7; e) John 18:36; Luke 17:20-21; f) Numbers 14:21; Luke 1:33; g) Jeremiah 31:31-33; Hebrews 8:7-13; 12:22-24; h) Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:7; Mark 1:15; i) Matthew 21:43; j) Matthew 24:21, 34; 23:36; Luke 21:9; k) Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:7; l) 1 Peter 1:5, 20; 1 John 2:18; Romans 13:11; Hebrews 1:2; m) Galatians 4:4; n) 1 Corinthians 10:11; o) 1 Peter 1:20; p) Peter 4:7, 17; q) 2 Timothy 3:1; r) Matthew 10:22; 24:13-14; Mark 13:13; s) Revelations 2:26; t) Hebrews 3:6, 14; 6:11; u) Romans 6:22; v) John 6:40, 44, 54; 11:24; w) 1 Peter 1:5; x) John 12:48; y) Hebrews 12:5-11; Proverbs 3:12; z) Psalms 19:9; aa) John 5:24; 6:47