Ask A Pastor
By Rev. Scott Osenbaugh
The Healing Place (Nashville Assembly of God)
“The last days” — three words that can be huge debate starters, cause fears, incite worry, or invite happiness. For Christians, being in “the last days” means the soon return of Jesus to gather His Church (all the redeemed), and take them to where He is in glory. Of course, in that same scenario, for those who are not saved by Jesus Christ, the “last days” are just the prologue to times of judgment and suffering. So — are we right now in “the last days”, and how can we know?
This might shock some who read this, but according to the Bible, we’ve been in “the last days” since the days of the apostles! Revelation 1:3 tells us, “…the time is near.” What time? The end time — the last days were near when John wrote Revelation probably between 90 and 95 A.D. What causes skeptics to cough at such pronouncements is the unfortunate measuring of “near” by human standards. For us, if a time is “near”, it’s in a day or two, maybe a week or so, but not much more than that. But if we use God’s way of measuring time, a significantly different “calendar” comes to our attention. In 2 Peter 3:8, the apostle points out that to God, one day is like a thousand, and a thousand is like a day. The point of this is simple: God is not bound, like we humans, by time. He transcends time. Some theologians refer to Him as “timeless”, existing without being affected by time. What He sees as near and what we interpret as “near” are two different ideas.
It is easy to be lulled into a sense of complacency about “the last days” if it seems they just aren’t quite here — yet. After all, we might reason, there’s always tomorrow. Two thoughts on that are needed: (1) Not one of us knows if this day is our last one; and (2) Not one of us knows when Jesus will return. Whether we are in “the last days” or not is moot if someone dies without Christ; such a person is headed for judgment for unbelief. And with the understanding from the Bible that the return of Jesus will be “like a thief in the night” — unknown, unanticipated as to time — the motivation ought to be to be prepared — to be ready for His return, ready for whatever may happen immediately preceding that glorious event — by placing faith in Christ as Lord and Savior.
Jesus told us there would be wars and rumors of wars, but the end was not yet. It not being “the end” doesn’t preclude these days being “the last days”. It is a much better choice to have saving faith in Christ so that whatever comes, whether physical death or the difficult times prophesied about “the last days”, one is ready. I have no idea when Jesus will return, but this I do know — I am ready for His coming. Are you?