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The Last Days

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that:

  • The term “last days” in 2 Timothy 3 and 2 Peter 3 refers to this generation which consists of two overlapping groups of anointed ones [1]
  • The last days began in 1914 at the end of “seven times [2]
  • The world has become progressively worse since 1914 [3]

 

What does mainstream Christianity believe?

Many Christians hold the view that the ‘last days’ commenced with Christ’s first coming and continue to their culmination at His second coming, but there are other views.

See this link for over 150 questions about the End Times 

Q1. How does the Bible use the terms “last day(s)”, “latter days” and “time of the end”?

Answer: These references are from the ESV along with some suggested meanings from context.

Last Day

ἔσχατος ἡμέρα

(eschatos hēmera)

Suggestions:

John 6:39,40,44,54

Resurrection under Messiah’s Rule

John 7:37

Final day (8th?) of festival of Tabernacles (cf Neh 8:18)

John 11:24

Resurrection under Messiah’s Rule

John 12:48

Judgement Day

 

 

Last Days

ἔσχατος ἡμέρα

(eschatos hēmera)

Suggestions:

Acts 2:17

Final period of the Jewish system

2 Tim 3:1

Final period of the Jewish system (and onwards)?

Heb 1:2

Final period of the Jewish system

2 Peter 3:3

Final period of the Jewish system (and onwards)?

James 5:3

Final period of the Jewish system

Jude 18

From Jesus first coming onwards?

  

Latter Days

אַחֲרִית יוֹם

(‘achariyth yowm)

Suggestions:

Num 24:14

Judgment on Moab (and future?)

Isa 2:2

Zion in future Messianic kingdom

Jer 23:20

Last Days of Israel’s false prophets

Jer 30:24

Judgment on Israel by Babylonians

Jer 48:47

Moab’s restoration

Jer 49:39

Elam’s restoration

Ezek 38:16

After Israel’s restoration

Dan 2:28

Gentile powers down to Messiah’s kingdom

Dan 10:14

Events down to Christ’s second coming

Hos 3:5

Greater David’s rule

Mic 4:1

Messiah’s Kingdom (cf Isa 2:2)

  

Time of the End

קֵץ עֵת

(qets`eth)

Suggestions:

Dan 8:17,19; 11:35,40; 12:4,9

Antiochus Epiphanes & prior to Christ’s return?

 

 

Day of the Lord

יוֹם יְהֹוָה

(yowm Yĕhovah)

Suggestions:

Isa 13:6,9

Destruction of Babylon by Medes & future Messianic judgments?

Isa 22:5

Jerusalem’s destruction by Nebuchadnezzar 586BC

Jer 30:7-9

Restoration of Israel and Judah

Jer 46:10

Egyptians defeat

Ezek 13:5

Judgment on Israel’s false prophets

Ezek 30:3

Judgment on Egypt

Joel 2:1,11

Assyrian invasion of Israel

Joel 2:28-31; 3:14

Restoration of Israel before God’s day of judgments on the nations (cf Acts 2:17-20)

Amos 5:18,20

Israel to face a dark day of God’s judgement

Obadiah 15

Edom and all nations opposing Israel to face judgment

Zeph 1:7,14-16

Babylon subdued Judah

Zech 14:1 [NKJV]

God’s wrath against all nations besieging Jerusalem

Mal 4:5

Jerusalem’s destruction in AD 70 (cf Matt 17:10-13)

ἡμέρα κύριος

(hēmera kyrios)

 

Acts 2:20

AD 70 and Christ’s future return (cf Joel 2:30)

1 Cor 5:5

Christ’s future return

1 Thess 5:2

Christ’s future return (cf Matt 24:43-44)

2 Thess 2:2

Christ’s future return

2 Pet 3:10

Christ’s future return (cf Matt 24:43-44)

μέγαςἡ μέρα θεός

(megas hēmera theos )

 

Rev 16:14

“Great day of God …” at Armageddon

Q2. How were the prophecies about the “last days” of Jerusalem and the Jewish system fulfilled in 33-70 AD?

Answer: A number of these prophecies, including at least the first part of Matthew 24, has had a historical fulfilment. Additional info here.

First of 4 videos showing Jerusalem’s final siege AD 70:

Dan 12:4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” [Apparently at the final “time of distress” -12:1]  

Matt 24:21-22 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. [Some view Matt 24:3-35 applying only to Jerusalem’s last days 33-70 AD; whereas 24:36-51 to a future world situation]

Acts 2:17 “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 …” [End times of the Jewish system from Pentecost 33 AD]

1 Cor 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come [End times of the Jewish system]

2 Tim 3:1-5 In the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money … lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. [Final period of the Jewish system … and onwards?]

2 Pet 3:3-4 Scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? [Final period of the Jewish system … and onwards?]

Q3. Did the Last Days begin in 1914 at the end of “seven times”?

Answer: There is no evidence of a 1914 date in Bible prophecy.

See ‘Return of Christ’ Q4.

Q4. ‘But hasn’t the world got progressively worse since 1914?

Answer: Are things in fact getting better? Indeed, the world faces some big challenges like climate change and the refugee crisis, but check these optimistic facts:

See FAQ

Summary:

  • According to context the terms “last day(s)”, “latter days” and “time of the end” have various meanings. There is no foundation for a generation of overlapping groups
  • Many of these prophecies have had a historical fulfilment in the first century
  • Claiming that 1914 features in Bible prophecy is eisegesis
  • Though the world today faces challenges, in many respects it is the best time to be alive

Endnotes

  1. God’s Kingdom Rules! chap 1, pp 6-12
  2. Watchtower 2014 Nov 1st pp 8-11
  3. Watchtower 2014 Jan 15th pp 27-31
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