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The Last Days

The Last DaysIn the Old Testament, many references are made to the “latter days” or the “last days”. Although these terms are often interchanged, they refer to different time periods. The latter days began at the feast of Pentecost when God poured out the Holy Spirit upon all believers, but since the nation Israel did not believe they were cut off, and their time of blessing was postponed. The last days begin with the last week of Daniel’s timetable when the clock begins running again for Israel’s last seven years. It overlaps with the latter days, and is technically the same time period on God’s calendar for Israel. This is the reason the ages relating to the Jews can be interchanged in prophecy.

For the conclusion of our study of the Old Testament, let us focus our attention on events that will occur during the last days. Emphasis will be upon events occurring during the last three and one half years, and will be in summary form since more details will be provided in our studies in the New Testament.

Before the prince, who was referred to in Daniel’s timetable, can enter into a covenant with Israel, they must be reconstituted as a political state (Jer.30:3-11). The United Nations did this in May of 1948. Sometime in the future they will enter into the covenant of peace with the false Messiah. Then for three and one half years there will be a time of peace with the nations before the Great Tribulation begins.

The Great Tribulation first revealed in Deuteronomy 4:29-30, brings the spiritual war between God and Satan to a climax. It was a time when Jeremiah (30:3-10) and Zechariah (Chapter 14)) foresaw the Gentile nations invading the Middle East and marching against Jerusalem. Ezekiel details this invasion with nations coming together in the Holy Land from the Four Corners of the world. Led by Gog from Magog (Russia), the nations engage in a struggle, which quickly escalates into a world war. From many Biblical descriptions, it appears to be a nuclear confrontation with its resulting holocaust. Jeremiah called it a day unlike any before, “the time of Jacob’s troubles”.

It is during this time, called “the day of the Lord”, that God will pour out His wrath upon the world. Ezekiel said that in the day that Gog comes against Israel, that God’s fury will be poured out, and in his jealousy and wrath He will bring about a great shaking in the land of Israel (Ezek. 38:18-19). Isaiah said: “For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and my year of my redeemed is come” (Isa. 63:4, NASB 1995).

When it seems that the whole world will be destroyed, suddenly God will send forth His son as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” and “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. He will “proclaim” the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn” (Isa. 61:2b, NASB 1995). Daniel said “I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming” (Dan. 7:13, NASB 1995). Zechariah said He would come and bring all the saints with Him, and then He would go forth and fight against the nations that had come against Israel (Zech. 14:3-5). Quickly, the war and destruction will be over and He will judge among the nations.

The judgments will be for both Jews and Gentiles, but they appear to be separate judgments. In Ezekiel we read these words where the judgment applies only to Israel. “And I shall bring you out from the people and gather you from the lands where you are scattered.” “I shall bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I shall enter into judgment with you face to face” “I will make you pass under the rod, and I shall bring you into the bond of the covenant; and I shall purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me”. (Ezek. 20:34b, 35, 37-38a, NASB 1995).

Each living Jew will be brought face to face with the Messiah. Each will be put to the test of receiving Him and declaring their intended obedience. The rebels will be judged and will go into Hell with the Devil. Zechariah tells us in Chapter thirteen that only one third of the Jews will be saved.

Note: For a very detailed discussion of the tribulation period you may want to read my study of the Tribulation in the book of Revelation (just click on Tribulation).