Updated: Oct 31, 2019
There will be a future time of judgment and blessing by God that will bring about the end of the present heaven and earth as we know it. This will happen on the Day of the LORD. It is mentioned many times in the Old Testament prophetical books and described in Revelation 6-20. We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:1,2 that as to the times and the epochs, we have no need of anything to be written to us. The day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.
We should be expecting the second coming of Christ at any time.
Just a couple weeks ago a man asked me if I thought we are living in the last days. What he meant was do I think the second coming of Christ is coming soon/ upon us. See there is a difference between the last days and the End Times. I don't know if the second coming of Christ will be tomorrow or centuries or millennia from now. Don't know and I'm not going to waste time speculating on that. (See Are the End Times Coming? dated June 24, 2018.)
I'm presently taking a Theology Survey I class taught by Dr. David Wells. The lectures were recorded back in 2001 and he was a professor of Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I have no idea if he is retired or still teaching.
In his lecture on the nature and use of Scripture he referred to the last days. He said when we read "the last days" we think this must be the closing times of life, but that is a mistake to read it that way. "Last days" is used for the whole period from Christ's first coming to the second coming of Christ. The professor pointed out there are 19 terrible things that will happen in the church during the last days as recorded in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. They are going on right now.
The last days are different than the Day of the LORD or what we refer to as the End Times.
We are living in the last days. We have been for the last 2000 years. And we will continue to live in the last days until Christ returns.
Now if you have this definition down of what is meant by "the last days" - the time period between the first coming of Christ and the future second coming of Christ - and you go back and read the Scripture that mentions "the last days," you see them in a whole new light!
17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’"
In the last days God will pour out His Spirit on both men and women. Note Scripture is referring to the second coming of Christ in verse 20: "the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord." Who will be saved in the last days? Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord - which includes faith and response.
1 Timothy 4:1
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
In this verse "later times" is the Messianic era inaugurated by the incarnation.
2 Timothy 3:1
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
Difficult times will come. And the passage 2 Timothy 3:1-16 goes on to tell us about those difficult times and Paul's model of how to live during those sufferings. Ending in verses 16 and 17 which tells us that all Scripture is inspired by God for teaching, instruction, nurture and encouragement so that we can be equipped to do God's work during the last days.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
God has spoken to us in His Son.
1 Peter 1:20
He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
In this verse it uses these "last times" which is the same thing as "the last days." We are told Jesus was revealed in these last times for our sake. And verse 21 tells us why. That through Him we are believers in God and that our faith and hope are in God.
2 Peter 3:3,4
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
You should continue reading until verse 9! It tells us that the present heavens and earth are kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly and that to God one day is like a thousand years. And verse 9 sums it up. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
We are living in the last days right now - the time period beginning with the first coming of Christ until the second coming of Christ.
And what did we learn from Scripture about living in the last days?
That God poured forth His Spirit.
These are difficult times.
God spoke to us in His Son.
God revealed His Son to us so that we might believe and put our faith and hope in Him.
Mockers will come wondering why hasn't the second coming of Christ come like we profess it will. It is because God is patient and does not want anyone to perish but for all to come to repentance.
You are living in the last days right now.
John thinks of it as "the last hour" (1 John 2:18). We know the truth and there is no time to waste.
Live like you get this concept. Feel the urgency of the last days. God desires all to believe and none to perish. We are His witnesses to this truth.