When Are The Scriptural End Times?
July 28, 2022Jesus Christ, Kingdom
We often hear the phrases: “These are the end times,” “We are in the last days,” and “The end is near.” Much fear is generated based on the Scriptural “last days,” proclaiming disastrous times. Books and movies portray a coming doomsday as a time of tribulation and destruction.
The assertions usually apply to a large range of reasons: a sinful nation, an ungodly world, a cold and fruitless religion, and a wayward generation. Many Bible teachers support such thoughts so we want to know, when are the Scriptural end times and are we actually in them? Let’s examine Scripture and discover when it says the last days actually happen.
As we begin our search through scripture, it is helpful to understand time. When God created the natural universe, the cycles of time began. (a) [see endnotes for Scriptures] Days come and go as one passes and another arrives. A multitude of days are generally looked at as seasons which also come and go. While history records days as twenty four hours periods, we generally speak of the day as the time light shines.
To be clear, everything in this natural realm experiences last times and an end of days. Our days are even filled with moments that begin and end. When we say “those days” or “the days to come,” we repeat what Scriptural calls “the former and latter days.” The passage of days will continue as long as the natural realm exists. So an “end” is not an end of all time.
Our Old Testament translations alternate between the “last days” and “latter days.” When Jacob gathered his sons to “tell you what shall befall you in the last days, (b) he described the personality traits of each son and what their children’s activity would be like. The NASB correctly translates the phrase as ‘in the days to come’. Their last days were not their end.
The prophet Daniel spoke most about end times in scripture. During the first occasion, the angel Gabriel told of the end of the Babylon Empire, which was soon fulfilled by the Medes and Persians “in the appointed time of the end.” (c) In the second event, the angel Michael spoke of the end of the Mede and Persian Empire, which fell to Greece “in the latter days.” (d) Daniel lived to see both ruling empires come to their end. While the people continued, their authority as dominant kingdoms ended.
When God created the natural universe, the cycles of time began.
“These Last Days”
Isaiah and Micah are two prophets that addressed “the last days.” Both said: “It will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the lord will be established as the chief of the mountains.” (e) In Scripture prophetic mountains usually depict nations and kingdoms. (f) In comparison to the days of these mountains, God’s kingdom would be dominant in the last days. (See article “Vision for People of Faith” HERE)
In the midst of his book, Daniel tells of the coming of “One like the son of man…his dominion …will not pass away…will not be destroyed.” (g) This promised Messiah would introduce a New Kingdom reality that would never end. Daniel proclaimed that all who partook of the new kingdom “will awake…will shine as the stars of heaven…and lead many to righteousness.” (h)
The “One like the son of man” was Jesus Christ. He simplified the Law of Moses into an easy and insightful perception: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…soul…and mind… and your neighbor as yourself…on these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (i) The Law became so clear even the uneducated could easily pursue its reality.
The last chapter of Daniel’s book uses the term “end of time” twice, then the “end of wonders” and the “end of the age.” (j) Each of these indicates a future beyond Daniel’s days. This chapter speaks of “shattering the power of the holy people.” (k) Who were considered to be the holy people? They were people of faith that subscribed to the Law of Moses.
God’s kingdom would be dominant in the last days.
Old Testament End Times
Jesus described this end time transfer saying: “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation (peoples) producing the fruit of it.” (l) The Apostle Paul acknowledged this reality was happening in his day: “For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’” (m) “But you, brethren, are not in darkness…for you are all sons of light and sons of day…so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.” (n)
He went on to declare this terrible end time distress would come during that generation: “All these things shall come on this generation,” amplifying, “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (o) The end of Judaism’s oversight climaxed in 70 AD with the destruction of their historical seats of authority, Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. (p)
Peter, Paul, and John also acknowledged they were living in Daniel’s last chapter end times: “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times.” (q) “God…in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.” (r) “Children, it is the last hour…we know that it is the last hour.” (s)
The Old Testament prophets spoke of the end, last, and latter days as historical seasons for authoritative ruling powers. Daniel lived to see two of them. The third would come in the future when Jewish oversight of the people of faith would end. God would gather people of faith to Himself instead of the Old Covenant which had become a religious system. His ways would be written in their minds and on their hearts. (t)
During the fulfillment of the last days 2000 years ago, “One like the son of man” changed the perception of God’s kingdom. Jesus introduced a more personal relationship with God as Father. This new reality would not end but would continue until its glory filled the whole earth. (u)
This is not all there is to Scripture’s last days or end of time, there is more. In the next blog we will examine the New Testament applications that speak of more than past historical end times.
Jesus introduced a more personal relationship with God as Father.
a) Genesis 1:1-5; b) Genesis 49:1, KJV; c) Daniel 8:17-20, 23; d) Daniel 10:13-14, 20; 11:29, 35, 40; e) Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1; f) Daniel 2:35; g) Daniel 7:13-14; h) Daniel 12:2-3; i) Matthew 22:37-40; j) Daniel 12:4, 6, 9, 15; k) Daniel 12:7; l) Matthew 21:43; m) Ephesians 5:14; n) 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6; o) Matthew 23:26; 24:34; p) Daniel 9:24-27; q) 1 Peter 1:20; 4:7; r) Hebrews 1:1-2; s) 1 John 2:18; t) Jeremiah 31:31-33; Hebrews 8:7-13; 12:22-24; u) Numbers 14:21; Luke 1:33