THE LAST DAYS

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. ~ 2 Timothy 3:1

Notice that the time statement in this text is future from Paul’s perspective. 2 Timothy was written by Paul late in his life somewhere likely between 63-67 A.D. Paul does not place himself or Timothy in the last days of which he speaks but refers to the last days as yet to come.

In 2 Peter, the apostle Peter also speaks of the last days as being yet future:

This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts… ~ 2 Peter 3:1-3

Like Paul, Peter speaks of the last days as yet future from his perspective. It is believed that 2 Peter was written somewhere in the AD 60’s.

Peter goes on to remind his readers “that a day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”. Peter then says “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise as some men count slackness…”

When Full Preterists claim that the time statements in the Bible prove that the coming of the Lord occurred in AD 70 they are placing God on their timetable and actually counting any possibility beyond AD 70 as “slackness”, but God is not slack concerning his promise as men count slackness.

Peter tells us that God is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

In the New Testament the phrase “last days” is found 5 times. Two of those references have already been mentioned.

The first reference is found in Acts 2 where Peter cites the prophet Joel, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh…” ~ Acts 2:17

Another reference is found in the book of Hebrews

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… ~ Hebrews 1:1-2

Notice the contrast made by the writer of Hebrews. God spoke by the prophets in “time past”  but has spoken by his Son “in these last days”.

Joel, whom Peter cites in Acts 2 was one of the prophets by whom God spoke in time past. This reference of  time past was not a brief period of time, it was a long dispensation of many centuries of God speaking by the prophets. In like manner the description, “these last days”, also refers to a long period of time, namely the dispensation of the rule of Christ in the Heavens until his second coming.

The last days referred to by Peter in Acts 2, and the writer of Hebrews is a dispensation over a long period of time and not a generation only. When reading scripture we must consider the context when interpreting phrases like these.

Just because they mean one thing in one text doesn’t mean they are referring to the same in another.

In Paul’s reference in 2 Timothy and Peter’s reference in the 2 Peter, the last days is not a reference to a long period of time as it is in Acts 2 and Hebrews 1. We can see that from the context that each of these belong to.

In Acts 2, and Hebrews 1, the last days refers to a long period of time, In 2 Timothy and 2 Peter it refers to a time within a longer time – the last days within the last days.

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