We are in a great deal of turmoil today because of a misreading of the Scriptures. The book of Revelation cannot be understood without also understanding the Old Testament. But, there are many clear statements in the New Testament that give the time frame of the “second Coming” of Christ.
I believe there is great merit in questioning the term “second Coming” as used by most people today, since Christ has come many times before in judgement, and in mercy. See the post “The Days of His Visitation” here.
For now, let us consider that the premise of a “second Coming” and the idea of a future apocalypse have been generated and fomented for political reasons as fear porn to provide cover for certain countries’ or agents’ war efforts. The people who foment the “end of the world” views of Revelation arrogantly like to say they are “doing God’s work”, when actually they are only doing the work they desire. God doesn’t need our help to do His work. He can take care of that very well on His own.
If we call the Messiah’s first coming as His bodily presentation and habitation here on earth, then we will refer to His next coming as His second. Keep in mind these terms are applied by man, and not God. So, let’s look at one time frame statement from the New Testament that speaks of Jesus’ next coming. (Bold emphasis is mine.)
Heb 1:1-3, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: (KJV)
We are going to use basic algebra to analyze this scripture. If A = B, and B = C, then A must also = C. In vs. 1, we are told that God spoke to the fathers in different or various ways in the past, by or through the prophets. The prophets then spoke the Word directly to the people. He next states that Christ spoke to the people “in these last days.”
When did Jesus speak directly with the people?
Jesus spoke directly with the people in the first century A.D., during His three year earthly ministry in the flesh, and to His disciples and a few select others for a little time after His resurrection.
Therefore, Jesus spoke to the people in the 1st Century AD (A), and the scripture says he spoke to them in these last days (B), then these last days were in the 1st Century AD (C). A = B = C.
Remember basic Algebra; the time of His speaking directly to the people was in the first century A.D., and Heb 1:2 says the time of his speaking was in “these last days”, so “these last days” in Heb. 1:2 occurred in the first century A.D.
The scriptures must rule our understanding! Hebrews 1 clearly sets the time of “these last days” in the first century A.D. Every time we read the words…”these last days”… in the New Testament we must set the time period in the first century A.D.
Proceeding to vs 3; when did Jesus purge our sins? Again, we know the answer is at the Cross, which occurred approximately 30 – 31 A.D., in the first century A.D. So, when did He sit down on the right hand of God? In the first century A.D! A = B = C.
Therefore, the last days spoken of in the New Testament occurred in THE FIRST CENTURY A.D.
We can see from Heb 9:26 that the reference is also to the “end of the world (ages)“. Almost two thousand years have passed since this scripture was written, and the world is still here. It obviously wasn’t speaking of the physical cosmos. So, which age or world was ending in the first century A.D.?
Hebrews Chap. 8:13 explains which age is ending.
“In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”
Heb. Chap. 9 continues on to explain that the old covenant was about to end. The author drew a clear corollary for us. In vs. 18 – 20, Moses, the forerunner, the type of the Savior, brought the first testament (covenant) establishing it with the blood of calves and goats.
23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once In the end of the world (ages) hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (KJV)
Jesus was manifested (appeared) in the first century A.D., therefore the “end of the world (ages)” was in the first century A.D. The new covenant was established with a holier, higher, purer blood; the blood of our savior, priest, and king – Jesus.
The new covenant replaced the old covenant which had been handed to the people by Moses. We have then a clear explanation of what was ending. It was the old covenant that was ending. “These last days“ were the last days of the old covenant and the Mosaic sacrificial laws.
Heb. 10: 9: “…He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second.” And,
Heb. 7:12: “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.”
Are we still under the old covenant, the old sacrificial Law? No, we are not. Most Christians recognize that Christ’s death on the cross took that old law out of the way. Therefore, we are not still in “these last days!” So, then when did the last days end?
Heb. 9:28 promised the Hebrew Christians, to whom this letter was written, that Jesus would appear a second time. Has Jesus appeared even once to us? NO. Who had already seen him in the flesh?
Only those in the 1st century AD had seen him, had touched him. They were the ones who were promised a second appearance. It was a promise to that generation of His birth, death, and resurrection for a second appearance to them, to those who saw Him in the first century A.D.
Heb. 10:25 was exhorting these Christians to hold together, to not forsake the assembly, even more “as ye see the day approaching.” As who saw? Us or them?
What day? After encouraging them to continue to hold to the promises, after all the suffering they had endured, after the reproaches and the spoiling (destruction) of their goods, to not fall away, to have patience, Heb. 10:37 told them,
“For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”
A promise made to a suffering people, persecuted by the Jews and the Romans, losing all of their worldly possessions, cast off by family and friends alike, means nothing to them if it takes two thousand years to fulfill! What comfort is that? How merciful is God to promise those in the first century A.D. that if they held fast it was shortly coming to an end, if it didn’t happen in their lifetime?
Hebrews Chap. 8 was discussing the sum, in that Jesus is the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 7), a heavenly Priest whose offerings are in the Heavenly tabernacle, which is built by God.
Heb. 8:4, ““For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law.”
As compared to the earthly tabernacle built by men under the direction of Moses who received the instructions from God; the earthly tabernacle, the earthly sacrifices of the old covenant, the practices of the Mosaic law were still being practiced by the Jews at the temple in Jerusalem at the time of the writing of Hebrews in AD 60 to AD 65. This places the time of these words spoken to the Hebrew Christians before the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem.
Heb 8:13, “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”
Present tense “is ready”; present tense when spoken and recorded in the first century A.D. to the Hebrew Christians. Past tense for us today. The new covenant was about to replace the old covenant in the first century A.D.
“These last days” spoken of in the New Testament, the days in which they were living were the last days of the Old Covenant!
Something happened in their lifetimes to end the “last days”, to end the old covenant, to take away forever the earthly priesthood, and practices and sacrifices of the old law, which old sacrifices, in light of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, had since become anathema.
Hebrews Chapters 7 through 10 discuss in detail the perfection of the blood sacrifice of Christ, how it offers eternal redemption; that the blood of calves and goats could not obtain redemption for the people. The purity and perfection of His sacrifice established the new covenant. How then can the old continue in the face of the better Heavenly spiritual tabernacle?
I submit to you that the old tabernacle, the old priesthood, the old sacrifices of the old covenant had to be fully taken out of the way. The end of the old covenant, the end of the ages, the “last days” began with the pronouncements from John the Baptist, were nailed to the cross with Jesus’ death, and were completely abolished with the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
Consider carefully, then, the current erroneous, but prevailing views of a future temple, a future 1,000 year reign, and a future apocalypse, and why certain agents are fomenting this erroneous belief, at the same time they are sneering at the people who fall into that false belief. It is not according to Scripture, and if it is not of God, it must therefore be of the devil.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6
Everyone calling for the end of the world, and providing the dates for all hell to break loose is either generating this lie, or has fallen into it. This is a new concept for many. This study will be taken a few steps at a time to slowly explore the internal evidences that “these last days” spoken of in the New Testament have already occurred! I hope you will continue reading the rest of this series, Parts II – X of It’s Not The End of The World.
(Expanded and edited May 28, 2018).