Mentions of the ‘Last Days’
info This commentary was written by a volunteer for our Bible translation project. It’s not an official view of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.
Throughout the Christian Era Scriptures (New Testament), we read of a time that is referred to as ‘the last days’ (gr. tas hemera eschata). So, notice how Peter used these words as he quoted them from the prophecy of Joel, when he was explaining all the miraculous things that were happening after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (or Breath) on the day of Pentecost in 33-CE (at found at Acts 2:17-21):
‘In the last days,
says The God;
I will pour out My Breath on all flesh,
And your sons and daughters will then prophesy;
Your young men will also have visions,
And the old among you will [see things in] dreams.
‘Yes, even upon My male servants
And on those who are My handmaidens,
I will pour out My Breath in those days,
And all will then prophesy.
‘From the skies above, I’ll send omens and signs
With blood, fire, and smoke to the earth down below,
Before the great shining day of the Lord.
‘For the sun will be changed into darkness
And the moon will be changed into blood.
Then, all of those will be saved
Who have called on the name of the Lord.’
So from Peter’s application of these words, we can clearly see that the prophecy of Joel was fulfilled (at least initially) at the time that Peter was saying this…
During and after Pentecost 33-CE.
However, it is possible that Joel’s prophecy concerning the last days may not have only applied to the last days of ancient JeruSalem before its destruction by Roman armies in 70-CE. For, where these same words (last days) are found in other Bible verses, most Christian religions teach that the fulfillment will come during a future ‘Day of the Lord.’
Notice the words found at 2 Timothy 3:1-5:
‘Recognize that the last days will bring fierce times.
For people will just love themselves and money.
They’ll be braggarts, arrogant blasphemers, disobedient to their parents, unthankful, and disloyal.
They won’t have any natural (family) love, and they they’ll be disagreeable.
They’ll be slanderers that don’t have any self-control, and they’ll be wild people that won’t love anything that’s good. They’ll also be betrayers that are headstrong and proud, and that care more for pleasures than for God.
So although they may practice some form of religion, they’ll deny its power.’
Therefore, though the prophecy of Joel about the last days does in fact apply to what was happening among Christians during the period between Pentecost of 33-CE and 70-CE
(since Peter applied it that way, and it did lead up to the destruction of JeruSalem),
his prophecy could also refer to some future last days that are yet to come upon the whole earth.
That a future ‘last days’ will come, seems to be indicated by Jesus’ words at John 6:39, 40, where it’s recorded that he said:
‘And this is what His Will is:
That I shouldn’t lose any of those whom He has given to me, but that I should resurrect them on the Last Day. Yes, it is the Will of my Father that everyone who pays close attention to the Son and believes in him should have age-long life.
For, I will resurrect him… [yes] me, on the Last Day!’
So, since there is no record of many faithful Christians being resurrected on or after Pentecost in the 1st Century;
We must assume that the ‘last days’ that were spoken of by Jesus haven’t arrived yet.
Also note that some sixty or more years after that time, John wrote in the Revelation that the resurrections wouldn’t start until after ‘the battle of Armageddon’ (mentioned at Revelation 16) is fought.
And from this, it appears as though there have been and will be at least two last days:
1. The last days of ancient JeruSalem 2. Some future last days that will lead up to or follow the second coming of Jesus.
Therefore, if there are yet to be some future ‘last days’ that will arrive for this earth, and the prophecy of Joel will in fact see a much greater fulfillment; This must also include an outpouring of God’s Holy Breath and a manifestation of its gifts, much the same as were seen on Pentecost of 33-CE…
For this would also be required to fulfill the prophecy.
Of course, we realize that some religions are teaching that we are already in the last days, and some are claiming that their members already have these gifts.
However, there are problems with these claims.
Notice that these ‘gifts’ that people claim to have seem to be manifested through healing, snake handling, and speaking in tongues…
Yet, none of these things were mentioned in Joel’s prophecy.
Rather, it says there that God’s servants will be having prophetic visions, dreams, and that they would be speaking prophecies (we have heard of no great prophecies coming from them).
Also notice that Paul, when speaking of such gifts at 1 Corinthians Chapters 12, 13, 14, actually discouraged speaking in tongues. Rather, he said that they should cultivate the gift of prophesying and that they should develop Christian love.
Yes, it is a fact that Peter and Paul actually did perform divine healing back then, and it appears as though both even performed resurrections! Yet, notice that these gifts were unusual, and they weren’t mentioned at all in Joel’s prophecy.
So if there is to be some modern fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy;
We would expect it to involve miraculous prophesying (which is something more than just sharing our personal interpretations of Bible doctrines) and an unusual outpouring of brotherly love upon all those that are truly trying to live as Christians. (For more information, see also the linked documents, ‘The Last Days,’ and ‘The Powers of God’s Holy Spirit’).