On this last day of the year 2017 it seems appropriate to speak of the last day as defined in the scriptures.
If we begin with a faulty premise, then all of our conclusions will be wrong. Many people have been taught to believe that “the end” referenced in the Bible was speaking of the end of the physical world, and that the “last day” spoken of repeatedly in John chap. 6 speaks of one final day in which all life on earth will come to a stop, and God would judge the entire world all on the same day.
This view, this perception is not scriptural.
For centuries men have reasoned that since the physical world is still here, and that since people are still being born, still live their lives on earth, and still die; that since life continues on, then that “last day” and “the end” has not yet happened.
The reason for this false conclusion is the unwillingness or inability to stay with the context of the prophesies in God’s word. Over the centuries, men have taken the prophesy of Daniel out of context, and do not pay attention to some very key details. One error, one misunderstanding will lead us down the wrong path to a whole slew of other errors continually compounding them until we have the mishmash of personal interpretations that are being taught today as traditions of men.
The Last, or Latter Days
Gen. 49:1, “And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” (KJV) or as in Young’s
“And Jacob calleth unto his sons and saith, `Be gathered together, and I declare to you that which doth happen with you in the latter end of the days.” (YLT)
This is the first appearance of the use of “the last days” or “the latter days” in the scriptures. Holding true to His unchanging nature (Psa. 89:34; Mal. 3:6; Heb. 1:12), the meaning of the scriptures is the same from the Old to the New Testaments. We can then know that the original meaning within a prophesy will continue to be the same meaning for that word or phrase the next time God used it in prophesy.
Carefully then, we identify the last days in Genesis c.49. Jacob was speaking to his sons on his death bed. He was telling his sons, the patriarchs of the tribes of Israel what would befall THEM in THEIR last days. In the context of these blessings, Jacob prophesied the last days of each of the tribes of Israel.
Therefore, the last days referred to were the last days of the tribes of Israel.
Notice now the last days of Judah in vs. 8-12,
“8 Judah! thou — thy brethren praise thee! Thy hand [is] on the neck of thine enemies, Sons of thy father bow themselves to thee.
9 A lion’s whelp [is] Judah, For prey, my son, thou hast gone up; He hath bent, he hath crouched as a lion, And as a lioness; who causeth him to arise?
10 The sceptre turneth not aside from Judah, And a lawgiver from between his feet, Till his Seed come; And his [is] the obedience of peoples.
11 Binding to the vine his ass, And to the choice vine the colt of his ass, He hath washed in wine his clothing, And in the blood of grapes his covering;
12 Red [are] eyes with wine, And white [are] teeth with milk!” (YLT)
The sceptre or rule would remain with Judah / Judea until the Seed, that is Christ came. Verses 11 and 12 identify the judgment characteristics of Christ’s coming which are shown again in the wine press of the battle in Rev. 14:19-20; 19:15 and His red eyes with the anger kindled against the wicked in Rev. 1:14 and 19:12.
Tying the last days of Judah to the manifestation of Christ defines “the last days” as the time in which the law passed from Judah to Christ which happened at the cross of Christ. Therefore the last days were the days in which Christ was manifested on earth during the first century A.D, and in which He was crucified.
The prophesy of the latter days from Balaam in Num. 24: 12-14, 17-19
“12 And Balaam said unto Balak, Spake I not also to thy messengers which thou sentest unto me, saying,
13 If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the Lord saith, that will I speak?
14 And now, behold, I go unto my people: come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days.” …
[“This people” were the Israelites, and “thy people” were Balak’s people…the Moabites.]
“17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.
18 And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.
19 Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.
Balaam was speaking a prophesy of many years into the future – “not now; not nigh” – of what would happen in the latter days. During the latter days the Star of Jacob and the Sceptre of Israel would rise and be given dominion. This was the prophesy of Christ’s manifestation during the latter days, which confirms the same meaning understood from Gen. 49:10.
The last days were identified as the last days of the tribes of Israel, and the last days of the Judeans / Jews. They were never used in scripture to mean the last days of the end of the world. There is much more scripture that confirms this definition and usage in prophesy. See all ten posts of It’s Not The End of The World which discuss when the “last days” occurred.
The End of Days
Daniel had been reading the books of Jeremiah, specifically Jer. chap. 25 and 29 which told of the time God would allow the remnant of Israel to return and to rebuild Jerusalem.
“9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.
10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.
11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (KJV)
“10 For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” (KJV)
So, Daniel begins and sets the background in Dan. 9:1-2,
“1In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” (KJV)
We understand then that Cyrus had already defeated Babylon, and that Chaldea was already in the hands of the Medes. The first kingdom of Daniel’s vision in chap. 7 had already fallen to the second kingdom. And in vs. 3 Daniel begins praying, repenting of not only his sins, but for the sins of his people Israel.
His prayers were for his people and the holy city that was called by God’s name, the Jews and Jerusalem.
“17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.
18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.
19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.“
Gabriel came to Daniel and begins by telling him in vs. 23:
“At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.”
The context and subject matter of Daniel’s prayer was for the time of the end of the desolations of Jerusalem. Daniel wanted to know when the seventy years would be finished, and when they would be allowed to return home and to rebuild Jerusalem. The entire prayer was about the end of the desolations of Jerusalem.
Gabriel continues and lays it all out in vs. 24:
“ Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”
The subject matter has not changed. The context is still speaking of “the end of the desolations of Jerusalem.” Gabriel gave Daniel the time frame, literally seventy sevens of years. This was by way of correcting Daniel, because he had asked a question he did not understand.
Daniel had thought he was asking about the return to rebuild Jerusalem at the end of 70 years as he understood from the books of Jeremiah. But, his question to God was phrased in the context of “the end of the desolations of Jerusalem.”
Isn’t that just like us, to ask a question in such a way that is not technically what we really wanted to know? God sent Gabriel with the answer to Daniel’s exact question…”the end of the desolations” of Jerusalem. Even though Daniel did not thoroughly understand what he had asked, God still answered the question.
Not seventy years, Daniel, but seventy sevens of years. The time determined was 490 years for “the end”… the end of the desolations of Jerusalem.
Confirming this in the very same sentence Gabriel verifies the people of this prophesy – “…upon thy people and upon thy holy city…”
“Thy people” were Daniel’s people, those of Judah and the remnant of Israel. “Thy holy city” was Daniel’s holy city…Jerusalem. The entire context of this prophesy from Dan. chap. 9 through chap. 12 concerned Daniel’s people and Daniel’s holy city.. the Jews and Jerusalem.
The context of this entire prophesy was about THE END OF THE DESOLATIONS OF JERUSALEM. It was not setting up an “end of the world” scenario.
Everyone who has presumed in the traditional teachings of men, and in many commentaries that “judgment day” has not yet happened because life has continued on, have stepped out of context, and gone beyond the subject matter of the scriptures.
Daniel 7:7-8 prophesied of the 4th beast and its ten horns, that they were cast down. The ten horns belonged to the 4th beast, the 4th kingdom. In the same time frame, Dan. 7:9-10 continues,
“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” (KJV)
When the Ancient of days – God – sat on His throne, judgment began. The entire description of vs. 9 and 10 are judgment language. So, judgment was to begin when the ten horns of the 4th beast were thrown down. But we cannot stop there. Because in vs. 13-14 –
“13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.“ (KJV)
This was the prophesy of the ascension of Christ. It is confirmed in the explanation given to Daniel in the rest of the chapter where vs. 23-24 that the ten horns of the 4th kingdom / beast were ten kings of that kingdom, and in vs. 26,
“26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” (KJV)
Dominion of Christ’s kingdom was prophesied to be established legally at the ascension of Christ to the Ancient of Days.
Judgment shall sit… judgment day was to come during that 4th kingdom, the same 4th kingdom when Christ would ascend to the Father. Christ fulfilled this during the 1st century AD at His ascension into the clouds in Acts. 1:9. Christ’s ascension in the 1st century A.D. assuredly pinpoints that 4th kingdom. That 4th kingdom therefore was the world-power that ruled during the 1st century A.D. which was the old Roman empire.
That this also ties to the appearance of Christ (the Lamb) as though just slain in Revelation 5:6 again ties the prophesy of Revelation to the same time period – the first century A.D.
“The end” in Dan. 7:26 was when dominion would be transferred from the world power of that 4th kingdom, and from the lawgiver in Judah to Christ at His ascension. The judgment would sit – that is judgment would begin at the same time when the dominion of the world power of that 4th kingdom would become the dominion of Christ’s kingdom. It is still the same time period during the 1st century A.D.
After telling Daniel specifically what would happen within that 490 years unto the desolations of Jerusalem, Gabriel continues in chap. 10 confirming in vs. 14,
“ Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.”
Again, “thy people” were Daniel’s people – the Jews. The context is still concerned with the events that would happen to the Jews in the “latter days”… or “the end” which were still a long time off from Daniel’s days.
In chap. 11, Gabriel tells of about 400 years of events that would transpire as his people rebuilt Jerusalem during “troublesome” times while the kings of the north – the Seleucid dynasty of Syria / Mesopotamia from Alexander’s fall – and the kings of the south – the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt march back and forth in front of Jerusalem in their attempts to conquer each other.
They occasionally took time out to sack Jerusalem while they marched past it. (For a good history of Daniel 11 see chapters VIII and IX of The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation by Philip Mauro, 1921 here)
Another source for the correlation of secular events foretold in Dan. c. 11 can be found here
The history of Dan. 11 was still within the context of the “end of the desolations of Jerusalem”. Therefore all of Dan. c. 11 concerned the events surrounding and affecting Jerusalem.
And in chap 12. still discussing the same subject – the end of the desolations of Jerusalem -the question in vs. 6,
“…How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” (KJV)
The answer was in vs. 7,
“and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.”
“The holy people” were still Daniel’s people – the Jews. Daniel did not understand and asked the question again in vs. 8. He was told in vs. 11-13,
“11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.“ (KJV)
Again, many read the last verse and jump to a conclusion that is outside the subject matter. Which “end” has to be determined from within the specific prophesy. This prophesy was still concerning the end of the desolations of Jerusalem. “The end of the days” were the end of the 490 years from Dan. 9:24, as the prophesy details the time of the coming of the Messiah and the end of the daily sacrifice in the temple at Jerusalem.
The end of the daily sacrifice in the temple at Jerusalem occurred during the 1st century A.D. The 1260 days was defined as “from the time that the daily sacrifice” was taken away, or stopped and to the time that “the abomination that maketh desolate” was set up.
Luke defined the abomination of desolation. Luke 21:20,
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” (KJV)
Luke c. 21 was the parallel of Matt. c. 24. The counterpart was Matt. 24 :15.:
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)” (KJV)
Christ tied the armies that encompassed Jerusalem to the same abomination spoken of in Dan. 12:11 quoted above. The time frame is clear, and the abomination that made Jerusalem desolate, which was the subject of the Daniel’s question.. the end of the desolations of Jerusalem… was the Roman army during the siege of A.D .70 when Jerusalem fell, and the temple was destroyed!
Therefore, 1260 days ended at the time the Roman armies laid siege to and conquered Jerusalem. “The end” of the desolations of Jerusalem was the destruction of that temple in A.D. 70, and as Dan. 12:2 stated,
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
Therefore, the judgment that sat in Dan. 7:26 was the very same judgment that Christ said He would bring back with Him in Matt. 25:31 – 46 when He separated the sheep from the goats, and is the very same judgment that began at His ascension to the Father in Rev. 5:6, and was the same judgment in which Daniel would stand in his lot at the “end of days”.
The misguided conception of men that have continually taught the “last day” was an end of time judgment day have not stayed within the scriptures which clearly teach that the “last days” were the end of the desolations of Jerusalem. Matt. 22:1-14 clearly links the judgment to the destruction of the city, which city was Jerusalem.
Desolation – complete destruction: Daniel chap. 9-12, Matt. 24:15, Mark 13:14, Luke 21:20.
“Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Matt. 23:38
God had left that temple, and it was no longer His house.
“And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.” Rev. 17:16
“And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.” Rev. 18:19
They were all discussing the end of the desolations of Jerusalem. The prophesies of Daniel cannot be stretched past the first century A.D. The world views of both the historicist perspective and the futurist perspective are not keeping within the context of the prophesy for “the end of days”.
For more discussion here see the posts for “Daniel and the End Times” and “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel chap. 9” at the right margin.
The Last Day of John chap. 6
Even still, many will point to “the last day” of the gospel of John where Christ was speaking of raising those who had fallen asleep when He came the second time to that generation (Heb. 9:28).
“39 `And this is the will of the Father who sent me, that all that He hath given to me I may not lose of it, but may raise it up in the last day;
40 and this is the will of Him who sent me, that every one who is beholding the Son, and is believing in him, may have life age-during, and I will raise him up in the last day.’“ (YLT)
All of the scriptures must comport with each other. One scripture may not be used to develop a belief that disagrees with the teachings to be found in any other scripture.
In Heb. 9:27 it is recorded that all men must die, and then judgment. Look at how this verse is translated in the KJV vs. the YLT.
“ And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (KJV)
“ and as it is laid up to men once to die, and after this — judgment,“ (YLT)
The article “the” in the KJV is not in the original Greek. The same verse from the Interlinear translation reads,
“And in as much as it is apportioned to men once to die after more over this [to face] judgment.”
The English translators of the KJV read their belief system into the translation and added the definite article “the” where it was not indicated in the original Greek.
If we will but recognize it, the concept of judgment occurring at each individual’s death has always been indicated in the scriptures.
Gen. 25:8, “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.” (KJV)
Gen. 35:29, “ And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.” (KJV)
Gen. 49:33, “And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.“ (KJV)
The Lord speaking to Moses, Num. 27:13,
“ And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered.” (KJV)
We are given a picture of the realm of Hades in Luke 16:22-31 with the beggar in the comfort of Paradise, or Abraham’s bosom (gathered unto his people), and the rich man in torment in Hades Tartarus, with the huge gulf which separated the two areas so that no one could cross over between them.
The beggar was judged and sent to the section of Hades called Paradise, or Abraham’s bosom when he died. He was not waiting for all men of all generations to have lived and died before facing his own judgment. Accordingly, the rich man was also judged at his death and sent to torment in Hades Tartarus.
We all are born, must live our lives according to God’s will and we will all suffer physical bodily death. At our death, we face our last trump and our judgment. This is a continuing process established from old.
The last day of John chap. 6 had a two-fold meaning. The first was the last day of the “end of the days” or the end of the desolations of Jerusalem from Daniel when Daniel would stand in his lot (Dan. 12:13).
That Daniel would be standing indicated he was resurrected. Standing with his lot indicated standing in an orderly arrangement with his people. Because he had “rested” and was standing with his people, Daniel had faced judgment at his death. There was no question of facing another judgment, but only of separation out of Hades.
“31 `And whenever the Son of Man may come in his glory, and all the holy messengers with him, then he shall sit upon a throne of his glory;
32 and gathered together before him shall be all the nations, and he shall separate them from one another, as the shepherd doth separate the sheep from the goats,
33 and he shall set the sheep indeed on his right hand, and the goats on the left.
34 `Then shall the king say to those on his right hand, Come ye, the blessed of my Father, inherit the reign that hath been prepared for you from the foundation of the world;“ (KJV)
Those who had rested, or died and had been gathered to their people were resurrected at the last day of the end of the days of Jerusalem. This is confirmed in the parable of the wedding feast in Matt. 22:1-14 when the judgment was depicted as occurring at the wedding feast immediately after the destruction of the city (Jerusalem) of those who had killed the King’s son (Christ).
So, that last day was the second resurrection [Christ’s was the first resurrection] and was when all those souls who had previously died from all the ages before were released from the prison of Hades. This is sometimes called the general resurrection.
There can be no further judgment of those collective dead. They were either taken home to heaven, if they were counted worthy; or they were cast into outer darkness (Matt. 22:13).
After the judgment that fell upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and the destruction of the temple, Christ continued sitting in judgment. This was the full and complete establishment of His kingdom as promised from all of the gospels which began at His crucifixion in AD 30-31.
He has continued to reign at the right hand of the Father ever since His ascension. Judgment of all the world is the essence of His reign and His kingdom now. He rules the nations with a rod of iron (Rev. 2:27;12:5; 19:15), and He reigns over the entire world in judgment. His eternal kingdom is in place now; it is above all earthly kingdoms, and is everlasting (2 Pet. 1:11).
Under the gospel of Christ, and under His judgment we face our own last day at our individual bodily death.
Rev. 14:13, “…Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” (KJV)
From henceforth, meaning after that judgment battle against Jerusalem was completed that life continued. Our final resting place is determined by our obedience or our rebellion to Christ, as we are either in Christ or we are not (Gal. 3:26-29).
The last days of the New Testament scriptures were the last days of the end of the old Mosaic sacrificial covenant, and the end of the remnant of the tribes of Israel, because Christ’s sacrifice replaced that old covenant system (Heb. 8:13).
The last day of John. c. 6 was the last day of the end of the desolations of Jerusalem when it was destroyed in A.D. 70.
See the previous posts for “The Gathering of The Elect” and “The Resurrection in Three Parts” at the right margin.
All bold emphasis is mine. Best wishes for a blessed and Happy New Year to all.
Further reading on Hades, Paradise, and Tartarus: here