I have often heard this question in the past, when I served as a Pastor, and even today, as a Bible Teacher. It’s one of the most common questions astute followers of Christ ask, considering the condition of the world right now. In fact, I wish more people were asking themselves this question.
There is a simple Biblical answer. The answer really does not depend on your theology (if your theology is orthodox). It doesn’t even matter what you believe about the “Kingdom Age” (or, Millennial Reign of Christ). This may elicit some gasps but, it really doesn’t matter, at least directly, when you believe the Return of Christ will take place…. Although, if you read this Scripture, I think it makes much more clear which view of both Christ’ return and the Kingdom Age is part of the framework of God’s Plan for the Ages.
The answer is found in the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 1. (NOTE: I won’t get sidetracked about who the author of Hebrews was – Paul – I’ll get to that another time)… Hebrews 1:1-2 —
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds…”
Please note the phrase at the beginning of verse 2, “hath in these last days…”
IN THESE LAST DAYS….
The Book of Hebrews, we know, was written before the end of Temple Sacrifices in Jerusalem, which occurred in 70AD with the Romans destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple complex (cf. Hebrews 8:5 – present tense).
So, what does that tell us about the authors idea of “the last days”?
May I suggest that we have literally been in “the last days” since Jesus’ first advent to the earth?
It’s true. When John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ, and his message was “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” he meant it. And, it was a genuine and real possibility. When Jesus came on the scene a few months later, and He proclaimed, “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” His statement was just as genuine and sincere. But the ones to whom He was sent to offer the Kingdom – Israel – refused it. That they would reject Christ was already known to God, of course, so Jesus prepared and sent forth His Disciples, to establish His Church…. But He promised, He would return.
The Apostles believed He might return in their generation. The Church has always had elements that believed their days were the last days. And it’s very clear, the writer of Hebrews believed we were in the “last days.”
Was he wrong?
No. Neither were John the Baptist, nor Jesus, nor the other New Testament writers, nor the Early Church Fathers such as Papias, Polycarp, and Irenaeus. Since Our Lord came the first time, completing the work of salvation in His death, burial and resurrection, He could return at any time, to set in motion the events that lead to the inauguration of His Kingdom.
At. Any. Time.“
So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him,” Jesus told us in Matthew 24:44.
And indeed, when we look around the world today, does it look like the world expects Him? Does it even look like most of His Church expects Him?
The world openly mocks the idea, and most of the Church sheepishly withers in the face of their taunts and insults.
Does that sound vaguely familiar? In the words of Peter:
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
What was that Peter said?
In the “LAST DAYS.”
Yes, we are in the last days. We are very near the end of the last days, if one reckons the “signs of the times” with a Biblical mind and a watchful eye on the world we live in. We have been for nearly 2000 years. And He may return any moment. Be prepared, Church. It’s certainly closer than when Paul and Peter wrote of it.
And if you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you cannot be ready for the events of the Last Days. You certainly aren’t prepared for the return of Jesus. But you can be. It is at once simple, but profound. You must:
A – Admit Admit what you have sinned (done wrong morally, ethically, spiritually) and ask forgiveness. Romans 3:23 All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 6:23 The wages of sin is death. I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
B – Believe Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again as a payment for your sins. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us
.C – Confess and Choose Confess and choose to allow God to the be in charge of your life Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:13 Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Peter says in Acts 4:12, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
It’s not too late – but we are in the “last days.” Don’t put off what you could end up regretting for eternity.
In Jesus’ Name…. Amen.
J. Dale Weaver, M.Div., M.A.