Biblical Terms for the Coming End of Man's Age

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Biblical Terms for the Coming End of Man's Age

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This can lead to some confusion should we try to force these terms into a strict end-time-only usage.

The Last Hour

The apostle John, writing in the first century, used the expression “the last hour” in referring to his day: “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18 1 John 2:18Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
American King James Version×
).

Like others in his day, John likely thought Jesus Christ’s return was imminent (Acts 1:6 Acts 1:6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
American King James Version×
; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Why comfort one another with these words.
American King James Version×
). But God has a considerably different perspective of time. A day with Him is like 1,000 years and 1,000 years as one day (2 Peter 3:8 2 Peter 3:8But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
American King James Version×
; compare Psalms 90:4 Psalms 90:4For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
American King James Version×
).

John did warn us to be on the lookout for “antichrists,” a term used for any professing to be like Christ but actually working against Him. A trend that began in John’s day will continue to the time of the end, when this false representation of Jesus Christ and His teaching will grow worse.

The Latter Times

Paul, Peter, John and Jude use the terms last days, last time and last times to describe the final part of man’s era. Paul warned Timothy that some Christians would leave the truth of God at the time of the end. He called this general future period the “latter times”: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith” (1 Timothy 4:1 1 Timothy 4:1Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
American King James Version×
).

End of the Ages

Hebrews 9:26 Hebrews 9:26For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
American King James Version×
uses the phrase “end of the ages” to depict the period from Jesus’ sacrifice to His second coming. Hebrews 1:1-2 Hebrews 1:1-2 1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
American King James Version×
tells us: “God … has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.”

Last Times

Notice Peter’s words: “He … was manifest [visible] in these last times for you” (1 Peter 1:20 1 Peter 1:20Who truly was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
American King James Version×
). John says: “Little children, it is the last time [because] many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:18 1 John 2:18Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
American King James Version×
, King James Version).

Note that Jude also uses the term “last time”: “… Remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit” (Jude 1:17-19 Jude 1:17-19 17 But, beloved, remember you the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. 19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
American King James Version×
).

The Latter Days

The expression “latter days” (Daniel 10:14 Daniel 10:14Now I am come to make you understand what shall befall your people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.
American King James Version×
) can include the “time of the end” (Daniel 11:35 Daniel 11:35And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
American King James Version×
), a period leading up to and including the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21 Matthew 24:21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
American King James Version×
). The context of these words and phrases reveals their meaning.

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