Friday, May 06, 2011

Change of Season (1) - End of the World?

Many Christians believe that we are getting close to the second coming of Jesus and the end of the world. Those who believe that the end of the world is near tend to believe that we have entered the “end times” or “last days”. They are right to think that we are getting close to a season change, but because they do not understand the times and seasons, they are looking for the wrong event. The problem is that most Christians just assume that God’s plan has the following steps.

Jesus ministry =► Church age =► End times =► End of World

This outline is incorrect. It produces confusion about what is happening in the world.

Firstly, the end of the world is not the next big event on God’s timetable. He has many things to do before his plans for this earth are complete, so the end of the world is a long way off. A far more important and more significant epochal event is much closer.

Secondly, a season called the “end times” is never mentioned by the scriptures as part of God’s plan. The only place where the words “time” and “end” are used together is in Daniel 12:9.
Daniel has asked, if he would see if he would see the things that he prophesied.
Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up
and sealed until the time of the end.
Daniel’s was told not to expect his vision to be fulfilled during his life time, as they were for a time way in the future. This time is called the time of the end. This leaves a big question: the end of what. The answer can be found in the content of Daniel’s vision. He did not see the world coming to an end, so it is not the world that is ending. Daniel sees the end of the season when empires dominate the world. He also sees the end of the season when his people are shut out of God’s blessing. It follows that when Daniel refers the time of the end, he is not referring to the end of the world, but to the end of the times of the Gentiles.

3 comments:

Steve Scott said...

Ron,

The "last days" started about 2000 years ago with the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Blessed Economist said...

Steve
You are right about when the last days started.

The more important question is when the last days ended.

One possibility is that they are still going on, which makes this is an inordinately long season. This means that saying we are in the last days, as many Christians do, tells us very little about what is happening now, because the things that things the NT ascribes to the last days must have been happening for 2000 years, so our time is not unique.

I take a differnt approach. I believe that the last days ended in AD 70, with the collapse of the Jewish system. They are the last days of the old order.

Steve Scott said...

Ron,

I haven't heard of the last days with reference to 70 AD, but I'm aware of "partial preterism" which places an emphasis on the destruction of the temple as it relates to some of Jesus' words. I tend to lean toward Jesus actually talking about things that will happen literally before "this generation" passes away. Fleeing to the mountains of Judea I see as quite literal. I think there is much to re-think for me as to when things happened or will happen.