Understanding the Last Days- When is the End? Teaching Thursdays

Understanding the Last Days- When is the End? Episode 31

Teaching Thursdays With Kevin Morris

How someone understands the last days says a great deal of their Bible interpretation method. It is a concept that ends in disagreement between dispensationalism and covenant theology. Today we will discuss how Scripture uses that controversial term and how we should understand the last days as a result.

What are the Last Days?

Hebrews 1:2, 1 Peter 1:20, Acts 2:16

The Difference Between Chronology and Eschatology

A difference in view of the “last days” concept is what differentiates dispensationalism and covenant theology as systems. The author of the book of Hebrews and the apostle Peter define the advent of Christ as the inauguration of the “last days”. According to Scripture, the last days are seen as the fullness of time between Christ’s first coming and His return.

The “last days” does not designate the end of the world as much as the unfolding of redemptive history.

This Reality Takes Place Within the So Called Church Age

Dispensational Theology identifies the church age as a distinct age from when the Old Testament prophecies will be fulfilled. In essence, the era of the New Testament occurs during a pause button effect on prophecy. But is this accurate?

For one, Peter includes the reality of the church within the reality of the last days by his use of Joel (Acts 2:16). This passage in Acts highlights our previous discussion about meaning and interpretation. To strengthen the point, the book of Acts is Jesus’ own hermeneutic on display. At the end of the gospel of Luke (Luke 24), Jesus instructs the disciples to see how the Old Testament relates to Him. In the book of Acts, we see the disciples put that interpretation method into practice. (i.e. “The law and the prophets” are frequently cited in Acts).

The Fullness of the Gentiles

Romans 9-11

One Israel According to Promise- Romans 9

This section brings together our previous four weeks of discussion about the Israel/Church distinction and the literal interpretive method. This chapter keys in on the issue of Israel’s composition being a matter of promise, not ethnicity. Because God’s electing purpose is found in the promised seed (Christ), God’s purpose of election (the reality of our salvation) remains the same throughout redemptive history. There is no other way of salvation or time period of salvation outside of what is revealed and demanded in “the last days”.

One Way and Time to Be Saved- Romans 10

For starters, Romans chapter 10 is 21 verses long and 12 of them are Old Testament citations. That’s significant! What proposition and argument is being made by the use of these citations?

  1. Righteousness found in Christ alone

  2. The emphasis on “all”

  3. The way of salvation

  4. The method of salvation

The important note is that Paul demonstrates this method of salvation for “all” by citing the same passage of scripture in Joel (Romans 10:13) that Peter cites (Acts 2:17). This shows that the preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:14-15) is the way that this will come to pass. Further, “all” designates the ethnic groups who will be affected. Lastly, Joel shows that this reality is happening within the last days, the same time frame in which the church belongs to.

One Fulfillment in the Last Days- Romans 11

That final truth from Romans 10 is settled in what Paul says in Romans 11 concerning Israel. This final truth is described as the mystery that is revealed to us about Israel’s partial hardening and the “fullness of the Gentiles.” Dispensational Theology sees that phrase as designating the end of one dispensation (church age) and the beginning of another (millennium) where this reality of Israel will be fulfilled. Our previous analysis of Romans 9 and 10 shows that this reality is within the same time frame, not a distinct one.

Next week, we will begin a discussion on the doctrine of the millennium, which in my view is the chief issue of disagreement of dispensationalism and any other system of theology.

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