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Are we in the last days?
First, it is clear that the New Testament writers considered that they were already living in the “last days.” Second Peter 3:2-3 says, “You should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.” The writer believed this prediction was already coming true in his own time.
In addition, Hebrews 1:2 says, “In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” The coming of Jesus appears to be the starting point of what the biblical writers considered the last days.
Third, the apostle Paul noted, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people” (2 Timothy 3:1-5). The fact that Paul told Timothy to “avoid such people” clearly notes he thought these “last days” were already in progress.
Fourth, in Acts 2:17, Peter quotes the prophet Joel, saying, “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.” Peter taught that the Day of Pentecost was a fulfillment of this prophecy.
At least in these passages, some aspects of end-times prophecy have been fulfilled. In addition, many view the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948 as a sign of the end times. Why? The Bible often speaks of the role of Israel in the end times, yet it did not exist as a nation for 1,900 years. In 1948, the re-establishment of modern Israel opened a way for many end-times prophecies about Israel to be literally fulfilled.
The Bible also predicts a future global government that will exist during the tribulation period. The prophecies described in Daniel 7:20 and Revelation 13:1 each point to a revived Roman Empire that closely resembles today’s European Union. Though not a clear fulfillment, it certainly connects with this aspect of end-times prophecy.
Other details of end-times prophecy are often debated regarding fulfillment or degree of fulfillment. Not every prediction is clear at this time. However, it is clear that since the time of the apostles, the New Testament describes Christians as living in the last days and the difficulties that will be included. Believers are urged to live holy lives, to make disciples, and to look with anticipation toward the future coming of Christ.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen.