If you have been a Christian for some years, I am pretty sure you have heard preachers stating “we are now living in end times!”
Also I have heard, preached and shared this belief system for most of my life until the last few years since I decided to study really what the bible says and not primarily what I have been taught. What I will show you might shock you first, but make sense if you reflect what the scriptures really states in its context.
”But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.” – 2 Timothy 3:1-9 ESV
This being one of the most used scriptures, often wrongly applied to our time. When Paul is talking about “they”, “these men”, “those”, leading astray women in a certain context only those reading the letter then, knew exactly whom they where at their time, not ours.
There are mainly three views when it comes to understand what NT writers mean when they say Last Time, Last days or Last hour.
1. Dispensationslistic view – those living in the last generation before Jesus second coming are living in the end times.
2. All generations view – saying that from the days of Jesus and until now we are living in the last days. The disciples lived in the last days, the Dark mid age lived in the last age and we are now 2000 years later living in last age=end times. Last days seems very long?
3. Partly preterists and full preterists view is that it is related to thoose living in the shift between the old covenant and the new covenant. And that the new covenant was introduced by Christ and the old covenant ended AD 70 when the temple was destroyed.
If we believe the Kingdom has already come with Christ and is growing on earth we cannot logically also say we live in the end times including everything that would comes with it.
”Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” – Hebrews 1:1-2 ESV
Here we see clearly “Last days” started with Jesus. Already now dispensationalism will start to have problems as they state “Last Days” will be 4-7 years before Jesus second coming. (Read time o tribulation and rapture).
”but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you” – 1 Peter 1:19-20 ESV
Here we see that Christ, the lamb was manifested in the last time=last days, their time.
The writer of Hebrew puts it like this: ”for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” – Hebrews 9:26 ESV
”But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;” – Acts 2:14-17 ESV
When Peter is reciting the prophecy of Joel explaining what happened at the day of Pentecost he interprets it as the last days.
John even pushes it to the last hour, talking about a specific situation in specific churches.
”Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” – 1 John 2:18-19 ESV
The most important verse about the last days in the bible is in Matthew 24:34. When Jesus has described all terrible things that will happen, he very clearly states it will happen within 40 years, a generation.
”Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” – Matthew 24:34 ESV
That is also what happened AD70.
For the first Christians it was clear they lived the in the last days. They were living in end of the old covenant entering into the new age that came with the new covenant and was finalized with the destruction of the temple AD70 with its sacrifices. The first Christians knew they had the tribulation ahead of them, that is also what happened to them from year 66AD by Nero.
This means to me, we are not living in the last days but in the new age of a new covenant through Jesus Christ. We are now living in the times of the advancing Kingdom according to Daniel 2.
I am sorry if I am disturbing your world view, but may I challenge you to study what the bible is really saying, maybe in a new light?
It might change your future view from a very pessimistic one, to a more optimistic one where the Kingdom God is growing, bit by bit and the Devil will lose ground bit by bit.
God let your Kingdom come, let your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
And yes, I do believe Jesus will come back and the final judgement will come. But when he comes, all knees will bent to him, and many out of a free will, and then God will stay with us on earth and be together with us for all eternity.
”Then I heard what seemed to be a large crowd that sounded like a roaring flood and loud thunder all mixed together. They were saying, “Praise the Lord! Our Lord God All-Powerful now rules as king. So we will be glad and happy and give him praise. The wedding day of the Lamb is here, and his bride is ready.”
Revelation 19:6-7 CEV