The Last Days and Spiritual Awakening

In the New Testament, both Peter, Paul, Luke and the writer of Hebrews mention something called “the last days.” Do you know what this is?

Perhaps you believe that this will be a special period of time, at the end of this present era, in which the world will descend into unprecedented turmoil. Though many hold this view, I cordially disagree.

I believe that “the last days” refers to the entire era of church history, from the first century church, through today and into the future. “The last days” will end at the second coming of Christ. Why do I say this?

  • Peter (recorded by Luke) describes the period in which he lived “these last days” (Acts 2:16-21).
  • The writer of Hebrews also calls the first century “these last days” (Hebrews 1:2).

What do we know about this period of time?

  • Peter portrays “the last days” as a time when unbelievers will mock a godly worldview, gratifying their own sinful desires to an exorbitant degree  (2 Pet.3:3).
  • Paul describes “the last days” in a similar way, providing a detailed list of characteristics and behavior (2 Tim. 3:1ff).

Some believe that a passage like 2 Tim. 3:1ff refers only to the final days of this church era. But the word days (kairoi, meaning “times”) does not describe a single period of time. Instead, it refers to seasons or periodic intervals of time. This means that we should expect the entire church era to experience recurring seasons of remarkable decadence and turmoil.

You will agree when I say that we live in a messed up world. Both national and global news headlines emphasize this sad reality. Terrorism, ethnic division, political angst and selfish individualism characterize our world today, to a remarkable degree.

Does this mean that the end is near? Does this mean that we have no hope for a spiritual awakening? If you take the view that “the last days” are a one-time stage at the end of church history, then you will easily develop a pessimistic view about what God is doing in the world.

But if you believe that “the last days” are the entire era of church history, experiencing recurring cycles of decadence, then you also believe that the entire era of church history experiences recurring cycles of spiritual awakening.

How many times, since the first century, has the end of the age seemed near? Many. How many times has the world seemed ready for the antichrist to appear? Many.

Remember, though, that even the first-century apostles considered their generation “the last days.” Furthermore, they believed that the world was already primed for the appearance of the antichrist, and that was 2,000 years ago. In fact, John taught that the first century was already “the last hour,” at which point the antichrist could have appeared (1 Jn. 2:18)!

So we continue to live in “the last days” and “the last hour,” and we continue to observe recurring cycles of decadence and awakening. Let us refrain from negative, pessimistic perspectives about the condition of our world. The world has been messed up, as it is today, for the entire 2,000 years of church history. The Lord may return very soon and the antichrist may soon appear. But the Lord may not return and the antichrist may not appear for another 2,000 years! We may yet live to see one or many more spiritual awakenings in America or throughout the world.

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near (Isaiah 55:6).

Reject feelings of anger, fear or impatience caused by the turbulent, antagonistic condition of our world. Also reject the unbelieving, pessimistic attitude that gives up hope for more recurring seasons of spiritual awakening. Though the Lord may return in our lifetime, He may also choose to visit us with more recurring seasons of spiritual awakening instead!

 

5 replies
  1. jonathan
    jonathan says:

    So glad to see someone go against all of these right wing nutjobs who think “prophecy” is in the Bible and that we are literally living in the “last days.” Some of my relatives are caught up in this garbage and it makes for awkward and embarrassing (for them) family get togethers.

  2. TOvermiller
    TOvermiller says:

    John, thank you for your feedback. To be clear, I do believe that there are prophecies in the Bible. However, I cordially disagree with dear brothers and sisters in Christ who believe that we are living in a phase of history that will inevitably grow worse, with no possibility spiritual awakening prior to the Second Coming of Christ.

  3. E. Bohanan
    E. Bohanan says:

    I also have relatives buying into this stuff. They think we are moving towards “world government” and go on and on about that. Last Thanksgiving I think I finally got them to be quiet by telling them that I think most normal Christians should be more concerned with the NFL and the defensive challenges with the Cowboys than worrying about these far right, loony bin things such as “world government” and the “anti-Christ” etc. Believe me, there is no “world government” and there is no economic collapse coming. This is their latest rabbit trail they are on. They don’t seem to get that we can just keep revolving the debt, which we’ve done for decades, and fix any changes in the business cycle. That’s why the Fed was created in the first place: to keep this in check. It just goes on and on with these people. Have you heard of this thing called “the rapture?” I’m sure you have if you have studied this topic. This is another weird doctrine that these people believe in. To their credit, I suppose, I think they actually believe this stuff and are sincere. But they are sincerely wrong. Are there problems in the world? Sure, but there always have been and this isn’t exactly a newsflash. If this people put as much concern into feeding the poor, racial justice and equality for our gay brothers and sisters as they do on this “end times” stuff, we would live in a much better world.

  4. TOvermiller
    TOvermiller says:

    Thanks for chiming in. To be clear, I do believe the Bible teaches a future “world government,” an antichrist, an economic crisis, etc. But I don’t believe that current world conditions require that this ultimate crisis will definitely occur next. It may occur next, or it may not. Only the Lord knows that. Our responsibility? To preach the gospel of the kingdom of God – to love God and make disciples – always ready to be raptured or ready to die.

  5. Nestor Cardenas
    Nestor Cardenas says:

    The end times is here, the stage is unfolding, Atten a independent fundamental Baptist Church, there are others churches that are faithful also .there you will be equipped. First step is to turn your life to the Lord Jesus and get saved. Then start studying the word of God .otherwise you will never understand what’s happening.

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