17“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; 18even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.”
All who are chosen to be part of Christ’s church receive the gift of Holy Spirit. And Christ’s church members are sealed with Holy Spirit right up until the great tribulation Christ said will occur before the world’s end.
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Romans 8:16). That is anointed, which is chosen by God, in this case as his children.
“Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” Revelation 7:3
So servants of God are sealed by receiving God’s Holy Spirit, which bears witness to them that they are God’s children, right up to the great tribulation, or at least fairly close to it.
In Peter’s speech in Acts chapter 2 he said:
“Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the
promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as
the Lord our God will call to Himself.” (Acts2:38,39)
Here Peter confirmed that the gift of Holy Spirit was not only given the chosen ones in the apostles’ day, but it will be given to “as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself,” including some children his immediate audience had, some they would have in the future, along with future generations of chosen Christians.
There are many scriptures that indicate there are two classes of Christians, those chosen and anointed by God’s Holy Spirit, and those who are called Christians, who also call themselves Christians, but they are not anointed by God’s Holy Spirit. Note that concept is conveyed in the following scriptures. First Revelation 5:8-10:
“You were slain,
and by Your blood You purchased for God
those from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom
and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign uponthe earth.”
Speaking of these Christians Jesus said at Matthew 19:28:
“Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
In the New World all people will be Christians, as implied at Philippians chapter 2:
But every Christian there will not reign and be a priest with Christ serving God and mankind in that capacity. Those who will be, members of Christ’s church, are chosen in our present world by God. There citizenship is in heaven, meaning that is their place of residence, where they live. But they also come to earth to rule as part of God’s administration over mankind.
There are some Christians teaching that no one from earth goes to heaven (except Christ). They claim that vs 20 above means Christ’s church members merely have heavenly citizenship, in that their citizenship is overseen by God in heaven; while they teach no one from earth actually goes to heaven. But look at vs 21 above. What would Christ be doing transforming the bodies of humans into bodies like his glorious body, if those receiving such bodies are to remain on earth? That just doesn’t make any sense. That Christ would transform the bodies of humans into a spiritual body that can enter the heavenly dimension, but forbid humans from entering it. No Christ said his church members must be born again. And they will be born into bodies that can go everywhere Christ goes-*see scriptures below.
Human bodies cannot enter into those heavenly dimensions. And certainly humans living on earth do not need a body similar to Christ’s. Adam and Eve didn’t have such a body. Adam and Eve were flesh and blood. Yet being flesh and blood Adam was told he would die if he ate from the fobidden tree, implying if he didn’t he could keep living.
1Corinthians 15: 50Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
1Corinthians 13:10 “but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.”
The only scriptures I’m aware of Bible teachers use to assert the “gifts of the Spirit” already ceased are 1 Corinthians 13:10 and scriptures surrounding it. So let’s look at that in context.
“8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Verse 10 speaks of the incomplete aspect of these gifts ceasing. Paul also identified the time period when this occurs, by labeling it when the perfect (or when the complete thing) arrives in vs 10. He was contrasting the abilities Christians had then with those abilities they will posses in the future in vss 11 and 12. And in vs 12 Paul states that he will personally be affected when that happens. How? By having a much more complete picture, meaning fuller knowledge about some things concerning God when this perfect thing comes.
Now Paul wrote these words just a few years before he died. So what could he have meant by this perfect thing coming that would give him a better understanding of some things having to do with God? That complete thing couldn’t be the completion of the Bible, as Watchtower teaches. Why? Because Paul died well before the Bible, as we know it today, was completed. So, it doesn’t make sense in light of Paul’s scriptures that he wrote of the Bible’s completion as the arrival of that perfect thing.
So ask yourself, first, did the Spiritual gifts the early church possessed cease when Paul died? No. And second think, since Paul made personal application of this time and occurrence, isn’t it obvious he was referring to a time after he died? And since the coming of this perfect thing came to Paul after his death, the increased knowledge for him obviously came while he was in heaven, not while on earth.
But that time period that applied to Paul could not be applied to all other Christians. Why? Because that perfect or complete thing brings a deeper knowledge to all other Christians also. See vs9, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.” And Paul’s death didn’t affect all Christians receiving this complete knowledge from God. Therefore, he had to write about a time period when each individual member of Christ’s church experiences a heavenly resurrection themselves. See 1Thessalonians 4:15-17. Only then could they have the same knowledge Paul claimed he would possess, a perfect or complete knowledge.
I know not all the gifts of the Spirit have ceased. There are too many Bible teachers teaching false ideas for God to allow that. Today God counters their false claims through biblical truths taught by members of Christ’s church.
23“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the
true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people
the Father seeks to be His worshipers.24“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must
worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24.
Let’s look at some of these gifts of the Spirit:
“7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by the same Spirit,9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in various tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, who apportions them to each one as He determines.” 1 Corinthians 12:7-11
Those who claim these gifts of the Spirit have ceased will try to have you focus on speaking in tongues, prophecy, or other miracles. Why? because they personally have never seen a miracle, and they believe the same is true of you. But look again at the preceding paragraph. By teaching the “gifts of the Spirit” have ceased, whether they are aware of it or not, they are admitting they do not have wisdom from the Spirit (vs8), faith from the Spirit (vs 9), or knowledge from the Spirit (vs 8). If they do not have knowledge from God’s Spirit why would you want to follow them in their teaching about God’s scriptures? The knowledge they teach has to have come to them from their own limited reasoning ability, affected by other sources that are inferior to God’s granting of knowledge. Some of those sources might even be demonic, such as false interpretations that become solidified inside a Christian church.
God is not going to allow the truths about his word to be silenced by false teaching, just because the Bible was completed. Some Bible teachers teach these gifts were only given to help establish the first century Christian church, and once that was done the gifts ceased. But those teachers make that claim without any scriptural support at all. No scripture states that.
Also, please note the scriptures say nothing about God ever ceasing to perform miracles on earth or God ceasing to personally contact people today. Some religions claim these same scriptures support those false claims also, not just the gifts of the Spirit disappearing, but also godly miracles and personal contacts by God disappearing. These scriptures don’t even mention those things, which shows how far eschew their teaching is. Claiming those things ceased is adding ideas to their Bible teaching that are unscriptural. God still does provide gifts of the Spirit to his chosen church members as he sees fit to distribute those. God still does contact individual Christians today.
Many Christians claim the end Christ referred to in giving answer to the apostles’ question meant the end of Jerusalem in 70AD. However, look at the apostles’ question again. In the apostle’s question they associated “the end of the age” with Christ’s return. So let’s go all the way to the end of Christ’s answer and work our way back through a few points. I believe that will clarify what end Christ referred to in answering that question. Read:
Matthew 25:31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ”
Matthew 25:14“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.”
Matthew 25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him”
Matthew 24:45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.”
Matthew 24:36“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. ”
Now look at that last entry, Matthew 24:36-39. In it Christ said the time of the end he was referring to would come as a surprise to all people, including all Christians. Therefore, that end he spoke about in answering his apostles’ questions could not be the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, or the destruction of Jerusalem in any era, past, present, or future. Why? Because earlier in his answer Christ told them what to look for, as a sign, informing them Jerusalem was about to be destroyed. See Matthew 24: 15,“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”
Christ was not speaking nonsense when answering his disciples’ questions by giving them contradictory information. He did not spend the greater portion of his answer telling them no Christian would know when this “end of the age” would occur, and give them a definite sign to know when Jerusalem was about to be destroyed if he was speaking of the same event.
Also, the other scriptures I cited clearly show the end Christ was referring to in his answer was the end of this whole world’s system, not the end of an archaic Jewish system. It occurs when he returns to judge the world and settle accounts with his disciples. Christ didn’t return for everyone on earth to see him when Jerusalem was destroyed. We still await that presence of his.
FURTHER THOUGHTS ON THIS TOPIC:
At Matthew chapter 24:
Vs 36 reads, “Concerning THAT day and hour.” (What day?) In Vs 37 the answer given is, “the presence of the Son of man.” So Christ there was answering their question concerning his return. He previously addressed Jerusalem’s stones getting knocked down in vs 15
He was also speaking of his return in Vs 33, “when you see all these thing, know that he is near at the doors.” (Who is HE?) The answer given is Christ in vss 37,39. Yes in vs 33 he was also answering their question concerning his return. Note that he also said they would see, “ALL THESE THINGS,” in vs 33.
Vs 34 reads, “this generation will by no means pass away until ALL THESE THINGS OCCUR.” What precisely was spoken of as “all these things,” in vss 33 & 34? Read Matthew 24:4-31. Because ALL means ALL or it doesn’t. All does not mean just part of something. “All these things,” were the things Christ said must happen before his return. Christ spoke of a great tribulation, and miraculous signs in the heavens, as well as the many other events WT believes are a sign of the “last days,” before he said, “when you see ALL THESE THINGS,” in verse 33. Then right after that he referred to ALL THESE THINGS again, in vs 34, and it is in that vs that he mentions “this generation.” Just as he used the pronoun you in vs 33 to mean a future generation, not the generation of his present audience, likewise he used that phrase, “this generation,” to mean a future audience, not that generation of his present audience.
Vs 34 “Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until ALL THESE THINGS occur.”
Also, Christ was not giving a sign of any last days for two reason. First, the apostles never asked for a sign of the last days. They asked instead for a sign of Christ’s actual return and the end of the world. And second, and more profoundly, after giving this sign they asked for at Matthew 24:30, “Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,” Christ spent the rest of his speech telling that Christians would not know when he would return, or when the world would end, until they saw those two things taking place. And that speech continues with Christ giving examples of Christians not knowing, being totally unaware of what was about to take place, through the rest of chapter 24, and all of Matthew 25.
The Greek term translated angel in scripture means messenger. So it is a relatively unimportant point if Christ carried the title of chief angel in scriptures or not. Christ is the Word, thus he is the chief messenger of God. Whether he was Michael or not I see as inconsequential.
What is important is to recognize Christ’s position over angels and men. Why? Because recognizing and then accepting it is what exercising faith in Christ means. Some Christians (Jehovah’s Witnesses) believe the Bible teaches Christ is Michael an archangel, using that idea in order to teach Christ is not God over angels and men/women.
The mistake Jehovah’s Witnesses make in teaching that, and the illusion of their teaching, is that they equate Christ’s position to his Father as if that affects both Christ’s and his Father’s position over Christians and angels. That’s a fallacy. It’s like teaching because a wife subjects herself to her own husband then she is not a parent in equal status with her husband over her own children. And it’s like claiming that her children must not recognize her as an equal parent.
Whether or not Christ was created by the Father, whether he is inferior to the Father in any way, or whether or not the scriptures ever spoke of him as the chief messenger of God with a name Michael is not nearly as important as accepting Christ as your God alongside the Father. Why? Because believing in Christ means believing who he is and accepting him in the position he holds. John 3:16-18 reads, 16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” So does the Bible say he is God over angels and men/women, just the Son of God, or just an archangel who is the Son of God?
Although the Bible calls Christ God (e.g. Mighty God at Isaiah 9:6 -which JWs admit) he is not their God, only the Father is. JWs have changed their Bible, the New World Translation, to conform to this false idea. At John 1:1 they claim Christ is “a god” or has the quality of being divine without the actual position of God over them. Other Bibles simply call Christ “God” at John 1:1. Why?
Watchtower reasoning behind that teaching is based on the idea that in Greek there is no direct article (the) placed in front of theos (god) when referring to Christ at John 1:1. Jehovah’s Witnesses teach in ancient Greek a direct article (the) must be placed in front of the Greek word for God, if the intention is to actually refer to the Bible’s true god. They teach the Greek rendering for God must read the equivalence of “the God,” and not just read “God,” every time the Bible refers to the biblical God. Yet in the same chapter of John he does not place a direct article in front of theou, Greek for God, referring to the Father at John 1:6, 12 , 13, 18. You can verify that by using a Greek to English Bible interlinear. Biblehub.com is a free resource to do so. Watchtower reasoning makes no sense because of the absence of a direct article in front of the Greek word for “God,” in those other scriptures Watchtower admits refer to the Father.
Furthermore WT has misinterpreted the Greek word most often used for worship in the New Testament, but only when Watchtower applies that Greek word to Christ. Where it is applied to Christ they translate it as “do obeisance to,” instead of worship. You might check out the truthful rendering of that Greek word in an interlinear also, and in various translations. Again you will see Watchtower’s fallacy. True, the Greek word can be translated as “do obeisance to,” but why would Watchtower only translate it that way when applying it to Christ? They don’t even translate it that way when applying it to the Devil.
Check out the end of Revelation when John was about to bow down and worship the angel, but was stopped by the angel. Revelation 22:8 reads, “And I am John, who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown me these things. 9 But he said to me, “Do not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!” Yes the angel added worship God, thus recognizing that act as an act of worship.
Check out Matthew where the Devil asked Christ to bow down and do one act of worship to him. Matthew 4:8 reads, “Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 “All this I will give You,” he said, “if You will fall down and worship me.” 10“Away from Me, Satan!” Jesus declared. “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” All these scriptures and many more use the same Greek word, which is translated worship in the New World Translation, except when that act and word is applied to worshipping Christ.
Note also that when Christ was asked to do that before Satan Christ said, “worship your god and serve him only.” And that statement, by Christ, is what defines Watchtower’s teaching that Christ is not the god over true Christians and teaching Christ must biblically not be worshipped as apostasy. Because Jehovah’s Witnesses admit Christ received all authority in heaven and on earth, which signifies he has the right to rule over all others, and others have an obligation before God to recognize this right of his. That means all obedient to God must, by the word of God, recognize Christ as their God and serve him. Just as Christ said, “worship your god and serve him only.” You could not serve Christ in the sense scriptures claim as your absolute ruler, unless as Christ said in that statement you “worship your god” as Christ. See Matthew 28:18.
While the tetragrammaton is thought by many to represent only the Father, which it might, I don’t feel the scriptures can prove that. I live in one United States of America. But while this country has just one federal government, that government consists of many people.
Saying “one Jehovah” or “one God,” does not necessarily mean the tetragrammaton represents just one person. That’s an assumption. There are reasons to believe it might not. One of those reasons is tied up in the facts discussed here. Christ did accept worship. He is presently accepting worship. And biblically he is still going to receive worship in the future. Since the one he called Father does also that name could represent either of them individually while other scriptures might represent them collectively; because scriptures claim there is one God, and only God is to be worshipped.
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,” Philippians 2:10
“And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’” Hebrews 1:6
To learn more about this important topic click on What Must I Do To Get Saved?
This article considers what “THE LAST DAYS” means in the New Testament. Most Christians who claim Christ gave a sign of this world’s last days claim that sign is in Matthew chapter 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. I’ll concentrate on Matthew 24.
At Matthew chapters 24 and 25 Christ spoke of circumstances that occur before his return. Christ didn’t say how long those last. And he didn’t use the phrase “last days” at all. Neither did the apostles in conversation with him. But answering their questions he did use the phrase “beginning of birth pains.” Birth pains leading to what? His coming and the end of the world. He said “beginning of birth pains” describing certain circumstances in response to his apostles’ question,“what will be the sign of your coming and end of the age?” Almost everything Christ said in Matthew chapter 24 thru the very end of chapter 25 was in response to that one question, not his apostles’ first question about Jerusalem’s temple stones getting knocked down.
Christ’s response primarily consisted of circumstances his disciples would experience until he comes, rather than speaking a great deal about a sign of his presence. Those circumstances are interpreted collectively as a sign of the last days of the world by some Christians. I don’t advise you do that. However, if you choose to view the events in these scriptures as a sign preceding Christ’s return and a sign of the ‘last days,’ then logically you must view these circumstances collectively. Leave one of them out and your sign is not present, per Christ’s words. If you interpret his words this way, that sign would have to include a worldwide great tribulation and miraculous signs in heaven. See Matthew 24 verses 32-34. In those scriptures Christ tells Christians “all those things” he spoke of, including a great tribulation and miraculous heavenly signs, would be seen by Christians for them to know their deliverance is near.
I personally believe Christ only meant the sign of his coming will be the sign of the Son of Man, in heaven, and nothing more. I believe the other circumstances were given to enlighten his church about bad conditions to come, telling them those conditions do not mean his appearance is near-see Luke 21:8. And he named those bad conditions to strengthen the faith of Christians who experience hardships. By telling them in advance, they would know that he is aware of the hardships they face.
He started by describing wars, reports of wars, earthquakes and food shortages occurring in various places, and he said some Christians would find those notable, take them as the sign of his return, start teaching the end is imminent, and by doing that mislead themselves and other Christians. See Luke 21 verse 8, “For many will come in my name, claiming,… ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.”
Christ called those events, “the beginning of birth pains.” But those type of events occur in every historical period. Yes they do, and that is one truth that proves they are not part of a sign that Christ gave. Even so, do you see a couple reasons why some Christians misinterpret Christ’s answer to his apostles’ question? That phrase, “the beginning of birth pains,” might be one. Some Christians assume the birth must come soon after the birth pains begin. Actually they teach soon after just part of them begin [BECAUSE THEY NEVER INCLUDE THE “GREAT TRIBULATION,” OR MIRACULOUS SIGNS IN HEAVEN]. They fail to hold Christ to his word that all the things he said must occur before his return. Watchtower is one group that makes that assumption, as it looks to a sign of “the last days,” instead of the sign of Christ’s return that the apostles asked him about. In doing so Watchtower fails to include those major circumstances Christ said must occur, which are signs in heaven to form the sign he spoke of, preceded by a worldwide great tribulation (time of unparalleled troubles).
The nature of Christ’s answer to the question is a contributing factor that causes some to read what he said incorrectly. For instance, Christ incorporated so much information in his answer many people can’t separate his direct answer to his apostles’ question from the additional information Christ provided. Rather, they view information he shared with the apostles as a sign revealing something the apostles never asked about. His apostles never asked about any sign of the last days of this world. When they asked, “tell us when will these things be?” they were asking when the temple stones in Jerusalem would be knocked down. After that they asked for a sign revealing his coming and the end of the world. Misguided Christian interpreters of scripture look for a sign of the last days there, which is something the apostles never asked about. With their fallacious interpretations some Christians do not realize Christ was telling us what circumstances will exist in this world from the time he left it until he comes back.
As Watchtower and other religious groups misinterpret Christ’s response as a sign pointing to the “Last Days” of this world, other Christians misinterpret Christ’s response claiming it was a sign pointing to the “Last Days” of the Jewish system in AD 70. Therefore, as I continue, I’ll address both beliefs.
Christ went on to list how the world would treat his disciples, saying they would share lives of difficulty. Trying circumstances for Christians did not stop when Jerusalem was destroyed. They continue to this day. And they do not start and then stop and then start again, as if they occur during two or more time periods separated by breaks. Christian persecutions and betrayals occur during one time period. And it’s a long one. It’s from the time Christ died, until he returns. In another descriptor Christ said the good news will first be preached among all the nations, and then the end will come. The good news continues to be preached in all the nations. Again he did not cite preaching as a signal of Jerusalem’s end. Like Christian persecution, the preaching didn’t start and stop only to start again. It continues over one long time period.
Preaching and trying circumstances were just part of the conditions Christians would experience. Many of the circumstances Christ spoke of while answering that question take place over one long unbroken stream of time. However, not all, as I will soon bring up. But at Luke chapter 21 Christ said the Jewish people would be scattered among the nations until “the appointed times of the nations” are fulfilled. And the “appointed time(s) of the nations” is also a long period of time.
Now, how did New Testament writers use the actual term “last days”, and is it related to “the beginning of birth pains,” or “the appointed times of the nations?”As we shall see, it is related to both those phrases but not synonymous with either. First, the term “last days” is not found in the books Matthew, Mark, or Luke at all, and those are the books some Christians claim the sign of the last days is in. If so, why didn’t those Bible writers use that term in any of those books? Second, in their letters to congregations and in the book of Acts different authors of biblical scripture wrote they were living in the last days at the time they authored their scriptures. See Acts chapter 2 and other references to “last days” in New Testament scriptures proving this fact. Third, there is not one scripture written by any New Testament writer that defines the phrase, “last days” that they wrote about, as being limited to those days preceding the end of the Jewish system. Did their “last days” include the days before Jerusalem’s destruction? Certainly, but the apostles’ use of the term extends far beyond it. That is proven by my next point (#4). Fourth, there are scriptures written by Peter, which speak of the “last days” as explicitly referring to days that precede the end of this whole worldly system. See 2nd Peter chapter 3. The “last days” in those scriptures end when this world is destroyed. No other reference to “last days” in the New Testament tells us when they end. And no scripture in the New Testament claims the phrase last days applies to two separate time periods. There is no last days #1 and last days #2 in the New Testament.
The Last Days in the New Testament are spoken of as:
Existing in the first century.
The only scripture that references their end states they end when the world ends.
No New Testament scripture claims they ended with Jerusalem’s destruction.
New Testament Bible writers did not claim that term applies to more than one period of time.
The descriptors Christ spoke of in answering that question in Matthew 24 continue until he comes (as proven in 2 Peter 3), with the exception of just a few. Those few circumstances are Jerusalem’s surrounding by armies and it’s destruction, a worldwide great tribulation, signs in the heavens (the sky), and the sign of the Son of man also occurring in the heavens (the sky). Since those other descriptors Christ spoke of last so long, then how does his claim, “the beginning of birth pains,” harmonize with what he had John tell us in Revelation, “Look, I am coming quickly?” It does only if we view both ideas in the way Christ had Peter tell us to view the “last days.” Peter linked that phrase “last days” to the end of this whole worldly system. While doing so Peter was admonishing all Christians, living in every century, just as Christ was doing by giving his answers in Matthew 24 & 25. Peter admonished us to remain patient because, “One day with God is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” See 2nd Peter 3 verses 1 thru 13. Christ admonished Christians to be patient at Luke 21 verses 8 and 9. Both Christ and Peter knew that although the “last days” is a short period for God, it’s a long, long time period to us.
The New Testament Bible writers never wrote the “last days” were coming. In statements like, “Now in the last days critical times will be here…,”they described certain circumstances that exist while the last days exist. Christ had already referred to many of those circumstances that were coming, during the last days, in their discussion with him on the Mount of Olives. That’s what they were referring to. During his response on the Mount of Olives Christ warned them of their persecutions, the betrayal of individual Christians by others, and the love of the greater number of people in the world cooling off. Paul, Peter, James, Jude, and John wrote about those things in their letters. They didn’t write the time period of last days was coming because they recognised they were living in the last days when they wrote of those things.
In an effort to promote its view of the last days, Watchtower teaches there are distinctly different types of events described at Matthew 24 verse 6, and Matthew 24 verse 7-claiming world war was spoken of in verse 7, while claiming world war is not meant in vs 6. Watchtower claims this because it teaches that “world wars” had to exist to fulfill the sign of the last days. And so Watchtower points to World War I as part of that sign, it being the defining moment the sign supposedly began to be fulfilled. However, Christ wasn’t speaking of different events but the same wars in verses 6 & 7. In verse seven Christ was merely repeating what he had already described in verse six. Read those verses here:
verse 6 reads, “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for THOSE THINGS, must take place, but that is not yet the end. Verse 7 “FOR nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.”
The words in verse 7 represent “those things” Christ spoke of in verse 6. Note that the events in verse 6 are attached to the events in verse 7 by the word “For,” used as a conjunction in this case (a connecting word), and a substitute for the word ‘because’. So Christ meant his words to convey this idea, (vs 6) “You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars, see that you are not terrified, for those things must take place, (vs 7) BECAUSE nation will rise against nation.”
Also, in biblical days the word nation often meant a conglomerate of just a few cities. The apostles already knew of nations rising against nations as they understood how that phrase was used in their day. That was nothing new to them. It was as much a part of man’s history at that time, as the earthquakes and food shortages Christ spoke of. Also remember, Christ was giving this information to all Christians, living in every century after he left. After the days of the apostles Christians would continue to experience the conditions he spoke of, including wars.
The circumstances I covered at some length were just part of his answer. According to verses 32 thru 35 we can say everything that Christ said would happen in Matthew chapter 24 up to verses 32-35, including a great tribulation, and miraculous signs in heaven, will occur and be the reason Christ said Christians will lift their heads up, knowing their deliverance is near. That’s according to Christ’s words, not mine, “When you see all these things.” Though all Christians would see those words, only one generation of Christians is represented by the pronoun, YOU, that sees “all these things,” Christ spoke of. That pronoun, YOU, if taken out of context, could have referred to his immediate audience. But it didn’t. In context it referred to a future audience. And that future audience is the generation that will see his coming, and all the things he spoke of. It will be those he referred to as “this generation,” seeing, “all these things.” That means part of his church will be on Earth to see at least part of this world’s end. Because that generation sees all the things he mentioned, including the end. Christ’s long answer essentially meant, you’ll know it’s happening when you’ll see it start to happen. In other words, all these other things will happen first, but when I come, it will be obvious to you.
The idea that his disciples were asking for a sign of Christ’s invisible presence at Matthew 24:3 has no scriptural support at all. Watchtower teaches that, but proof that Watchtower just made that up is in Christ’s response to his apostles’ question. In his answer he didn’t speak of an invisible presence but a state in which every eye would see him. Read Matthew 24:30, “then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” So whether you interpret that Greek word “parousia” as coming or presence makes no difference. Christ said every eye will see him. Watchtower has to teach its members to jump through hoops, claiming his presence and coming are two separate events in Christ’s answer in Matthew chapter 24. But what did his apostles ask for? They wanted to know about his return. Christ wasn’t dancing around hoops in giving them an answer. He explicitly told them they would not know that until they saw the miraculous events that precede it. Read the last half of Matthew chapter 24 and all of chapter 25. In those scriptures that idea is very clear. There is just one presence or coming Christ spoke of in Matthew chapter 24, and no one knows when that is until the whole world sees it.