Is This the End Times- the Last Days?
Yes and no.
Most Christians today seem unaware that the Christians in the New Testament believed they were living in the last days. They believed that the resurrection of Jesus was the victory of God over the powers of evil and death – and so the new world was dawning and they were living in the last days. When they spoke of the last days, they didn’t mean sometime far-off time in the far-flung future, they meant the days they were living in!
So, in that sense, we are indeed living in the last days – and ‘the last days’ have been going on for 2,000 years so far. This New Testament sense of ‘the last days’ is the definition that matters, not the plots of movies, novels and preachers that like to write prophecy books. (Have you noticed those prophecy books have new, updated editions? Doesn’t that indicate they had gotten it wrong in the first edition? Ah well, sensational end-of-the-world stuff sells – especially to American Christians, for some odd reason).
Most generations of Christians have thought that Jesus’ return would happen in their lifetime. They looked at what was going on in the world around them and it sounded like things spoken about in Scripture. The Holocaust? The Black Plagues that killed around 100 million people? The Invasion of the Mongols? The destruction of Rome by the German tribes? All these things and more sounded to Christians like The End.
But here we are! So I personally don’t advise trying to guesstimate the Return of Jesus by what’s in the newspapers. (Ever noticed how most Americans judge the state of the world by what’s going on in American society? Reading bible prophecy and thinking its about America is sort of egocentric – don’t you think?) So, every time something bad happens (the price of oil is up! the price of oil is down! oh my!) does it mean we are in the end times? No, not the way people mean it. This week’s headlines don’t mean God is getting ready to open a can of whoop on the world.
Also keep in mind that many of Jesus’ warnings in Scripture are about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Trying to read these passages to be about ‘the end of the world’ creates a lot of confusion. Jesus’ words about his return are descriptions of things simply going along like always: wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines (all very common all through history), people marrying, working, harvesting. Jesus’ point? It’s like Noah’s time: you won’t see it coming. Live ready to meet God.
So hey, here’s my advice: how about instead of frantically trying to ‘time it’, just love Jesus and follow him in obedience and joy. Don’t spend your time on end-times charts or theories or stockpiling ammo: spend your time loving others and sharing with them the difference Jesus has made in your life.