I’ve noticed various opinions regarding the term “the last days” amongst Christian circles: The first group claims the last days are already upon us. These are the ones who seem to anticipate Jesus’ coming at any moment. And yet there is another group of Christians I’ve noticed who tend to roll their eyes at such assumptions, claiming that every generation of Christians has said the same. After all, the Bible warns us that in the last days there will be much suffering. This kind of destruction has continued throughout the centuries. So what does the Bible say about the last days, and how can we prepare for the second coming of Jesus?
What Are the Last Days?
You may have heard those end-of-time predictions by Christians who have foretold a specific date and time in which Jesus is sure to return. This never fails to amuse me, especially since the Bible states we do not know the specific day or hour of His return (see Matthew 24:36). But is predicting Jesus’ second coming the same as claiming that we are living in the last days?
Not exactly. “The Last Days” doesn’t necessarily refer to a set amount of time; after all, God uses a different measurement for time than us humans. 2 Peter 3:8 says, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”
We are, in fact, living in the last days. Each day draws us closer to the second arrival of our King.
If we want to know whether or not we are living in the “end of times,” let’s become aware of the signs and warnings provided for us in Scripture. We can specifically take note of the condition that the world will be in at the time of His return, described in 2 Timothy 3:1-5:
“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.”
Wouldn’t you agree that the times we are living in today could fit that description?
As the evil increases in the last days, so will God’s spirit:
“‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams” Acts 2:17.
I love how author Don Finto, in his book The Handbook for the End Times, describes the last days. He explains how one of Jesus’ parables paints the perfect picture of what it will be like during this time.
In this parable, found in Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus illustrates the Kingdom of Heaven by describing how it is “like a farmer who planted good seed in his field” (verse 24). But during the night, the enemy snuck and planted weeds among the wheat. Therefore, both the weeds and the grain grew alongside of each other simultaneously.
Referring to this parable, Don Finto said, “The ‘people of the evil one’ will flourish, mature and ripen into the wickedest, the most lustful, the most terrorizing, the most idolatrous, the most selfish generation in the history of the world. But at the same time, the ‘people of the Kingdom’ will mature, flourish and ripen as we move into our destiny of becoming the most powerful, godly, miracle-working, radiant body of believers the world has ever known. Both growing side by side until the end!”
What Must Happen before the Events of Revelation Take Place?
In the last days, we know that…
The Good news will be preached throughout the earth:
“And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come” Matthew 24:14.
There will be wars and rumors of wars:
“And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately”Matthew 24:6.
There will be false messiahs and false prophets:
“Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones” Matthew 24:23-24.
“Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come” John 2:18.
There will be signs in the sky:
“‘Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken” Matthew 24:29.
There will be those who mock the promise of Jesus’ coming:
“Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created’” 2 Peter 3:3-4
People will receive the Mark of the Beast:
“He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666” Revelation 13:16-18.
People will turn away from true faith and embrace demonic teachings (which sounds similar to the popular New Age teachings of today):
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons...” 1 Timothy 4:1.
There will be terrifying disasters and miraculous signs:
“There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven” Luke 21:11.
Christians will be hated, and many will turn away from Christ and turn against each other:
“Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other” Matthew 24:9-10.
Sin will be widespread:
“Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold” Matthew 24:12.
What Apocalyptic Texts Can Best Prepare Us for the Last Days?
The Greek meaning of apocalypse is to uncover, reveal, or disclose. Our eyes need to be opened so we can remain alert, viewing the world’s events from God’s perspective. We can do this by learning eschatology—studying the apocalyptic texts in the Bible that can best prepare us for the last days.
To begin, it’s important that we remain aware of what is to occur in the Great Tribulation. This is covered in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. The book of Revelation provides us an in-depth glimpse of the destruction to come.
There is much apocalyptic literature in the Old Testament as well:
Isaiah chapters 24 – 27 and 33 describes a mythological vision regarding the days leading up to Christ’s return.
The book of Daniel is prophetic as well, specifically Daniel’s visions included in chapters 7 – 12.
Amos contains symbolic visions concerning judgment, which you can read about in chapters 7 – 9.
Micah prophecies judgment against Israel and Judah, but then it changes its tone and prophecies hope and restoration amongst God’s people during Christ’s millennial reign.
Zechariah 9 – 14 contains visions and prophesies regarding the second coming of Jesus and the restoration amongst God’s people.
Joel contains poetry and imagery that focuses on coming disaster and judgment on Jerusalem, followed by a time when God’s presence will be released and bring forth restoration amongst His people.
Jeremiah contains predictions of both judgment and hope for Israel and the entire world in chapters 26 – 51.
Ezekiel, in a similar manner, contains visions, parables, and allegories that illustrate coming judgment and restoration amongst Israel and all of God’s creation.
We can also refer to the parables Jesus taught, such as the one involving weeds and wheat (Matthew 13:24-30 and 36-43). Other parables that can further our study of eschatology include the Parable of the Householder (Mark 13:32-37), the Final Judgment (Matthew 25:31-33), the Parable of the 10 Bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13), the Parable of the Three Servants (Matthew 25:14-30), and the Parable of the Sheep and Goats (Matthew 25:31-46).
How Must We Live in the in-between Times?
It’s vital that we study Scripture and apply its principles to our daily lives. We are to remain firm and steadfast in our faith in all seasons, even if it costs us persecution and rejection.
Time is ticking. Christ could return at any moment. Let’s use our gifts to further the Body and spread the Gospel, all for the sake of preparing this world for the coming of our King.
God is not coming for a lukewarm Bride or a systematic, legalistic church—one that looks clean on the outside but is filthy on the inside. Rather, He is coming for a Bride that is pure and on fire for Him (see Revelation 19:7). We are to be “ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matthew 24:44).
1 Thessalonians 5:2,6-8 reminds us of the importance of staying awake and alert:
“For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night … So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.”
Let’s be a voice for Christ and stay informed on global and national current events, viewing them from God’s perspective. (The Victory Channel News is my go-to source for trustworthy news provided from a biblical perspective.) Matthew 24:32-33 illustrations why it’s important to remain aware:
“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door.”
Lastly, we are to endure until the end, because Matthew 24:13 says, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
As destruction and evil escalades, those of us who are in Christ can cling to the truth that Jesus has already defeated the darkness. We don’t need to be afraid because John 16:33 says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” The world may appear unpredictable, but these events are not random; in fact, they have already been foretold in the Bible.
And what else has been foretold? The fact that, when Christ returns, the enemy will be destroyed once and for all.
Trust me: On that day, it’s not going to be “the end of times” for His bride; rather, it will be the dawn of a new day. A day that will mark the very beginning of our utopia, our eternity, with Christ.
To quote the beloved Billy Graham, “I have read the last page of the Bible. It is all going to turn out all right
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Ekaterina Simonovajpg
Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who wrote her debut novel when she was sixteen. She is now a multi-published author of both fiction and non-fiction inspirational yet authentic books for teens, including her latest release, LOVE YOUR SELFIE (October 2020, Ellie Claire). Tessa's passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as a Literary Agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PursueMagazine.net. She is guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 128 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, teaching at writing conferences, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is to connect with readers is on her mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: www.tessaemilyhall.com.