This article includes:
- Discussion of the definition of eschatos
- Discussion of the derivative word "Eschatology"
- Discussion of phrase "The Last Days"
- All the NT uses of Eschatos
- Discussion of phrase "last days" or synonyms in the Old Testament
- All the OT uses of Eschatos in the Septuagint = Lxx
- The Last Days - A B Caneday
Eschatos can refer to the lowest status or "last place" (Mt 19:30)
Eschatos indicates the meaning “last” in the sense of a final stage in a process. For example, in Rev 15:1 the “last seven” plagues of judgment against the earth are declared to be the completion of God’s wrath against the wickedness of humankind.
Eschatos can indicate the final element in a significant series.
Mounce writes that eschatos can refer specifically to Jesus’ return on “the last day” or more generally to the period of time between His (Christ's) first and second coming."
In his Second Epistle Peter exhorted us to be aware "that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming?" (2 Pe 3:3,4-note). In this context the mockers are not referring to the first but the Second Coming of Christ. It follows that the last days began with Christ's first coming and will extend to His Second Coming.
In summary, the last days are the time period between the First and Second Comings of our Lord Jesus Christ. This time period overlaps with the so called "church age."
Eschatology (eschatos + logos - the "last word") refers to the last things or final events in God’s relationship with history and creation. In short, eschatology is teaching about the "end times" or more literally the doctrine of last things. A modern dictionary definition defines eschatology as "a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of mankind." Another secular dictionary says this term relates to "the end of the world" which is a somewhat "bleak" outlook! Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary states that eschatology is "the study of what will happen when all things are consummated at the end of history, particularly centering on the event known as the Second Coming of Christ." Unger says that eschatology is a "theological term employed to designate the doctrine of last things, particularly those dealing with the second coming of Christ and the events preceding and following this great event."
The Zondervan Encyclopedia gives us a good perspective regarding the significance of eschatology (or why believers should know prophecy) writing that "
It is hardly possible to overestimate the importance of eschatology to Christian faith: life without faith is empty, and faith without hope is impossible. If the “eschatology” of modern science—death for the individual, death for the species, death for the entire system of wheeling suns that we call the universe—is the only truth by which we can live, then indeed “let us eat, and drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” The Christian, however, does not believe that death is the last word. For him the resurrection of Jesus Christ has robbed death of its victory and brought hope and immortality to light. It is the content of this hope that the Christian doctrine of eschatology sets forth. (Silva, M., & Tenney, M. C. The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume 2, D-G. The Zondervan Corporation)
John MacArthur observes that "The last days are days of fulfillment. In the Old Testament the Jew saw the last days as the time when all the promises would be fulfilled. In these days Messiah would come and the Kingdom would come and salvation would come and Israel would no longer be under bondage. In the last days promises would stop and fulfillments begin. That is exactly what Jesus came to do. He came to fulfill the promises. Even though the millennial, earthly aspect of the promised Kingdom is yet future, the age of kingdom fulfillment began when Jesus arrived, and it will not finally be completed until we enter into the eternal heavens. The Old Testament age of promise ended when Jesus arrived." (MacArthur, John: Hebrews. Moody Press)
One of the more notable uses of eschatos is when it is coupled with hemera (day) to give us the well known phrase "last days." See preceding discussion for the "when" of the last days. As noted above eschatos means "last" in time, last in a series, the final stage in a drama. Eschatology then is the study of the "last things", especially the times preceding and culminating in the Second Coming of the King of kings (Rev 17:14-note, Rev 19:16-note). Indeed, the return of our Lord Jesus Christ is the final (eschatos) stage of the drama, the consummation of the history ("HIS-story") of the world! The phrase "LAST DAYS" (eschatos hemera) is found in both the NT and the OT (Specifically in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT.) See below for discussion of the prophetic significance of the 20 great OT passages that use "eschatos hemera", "last days".
As noted above, ESCHATOS describes the very DAYS in which we are living and which began at the First Coming of Christ, for "in these LAST DAYS (God) has spoken to us in His Son" (Heb 1:2), "in the LAST DAYS God says 'that I will pour forth My Spirit upon all mankind" (Acts 2:17), in the LAST DAYS difficult (dangerous, hard, troublesome) times will come (2 Timothy 3:1), "it is in the LAST DAYS that you have stored up your treasure" (James 5:3) and "in the LAST DAYS mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts and saying 'Where is the promise of HIS COMING?'" (2 Peter 3:3-4). Indeed, HE IS COMING AGAIN, for He Himself promised that we "will see the Son of Man COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory" (Mt 24:30), a promise which was repeated by John who declared "BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen." (Rev 1:7-note). Father, hear our cry - "Maranatha" ("Our Lord Come!"). Amen (1 Corinthians 16:22)
Eschatos is an adjective used to modify a number of nouns in the New Testament -
- Money ("last cent" - Mt 5:26, Lk 12:59);
- the state of one's soul (Mt 12:45, Lk 11:26, 2Pe 2:20),
- a place "in line" so to speak (Mt 19:30, 20:16, Mk 10:31, Lk 13:30, cp Mt 20:8, 14),
- the day of resurrection of believers (Jn 6:39, 40, 44, 54, 11:24);
- judgment day of unbelievers (Jn 12:48); how to be "first" (Mk 9:35, Lk 14:10);
- Christ (the last Adam - 1Co 15:45);
- the last trumpet associated with our bodies being changed in the twinkling of an eye (1Co 15:52);
- the time of the Second Coming (1Pe 1:5);
- the last plagues which complete the outpouring of God's righteous wrath (Rev 15:1-note, Rev 21:9-note)
- death as the "last enemy" (1Cor 15:26) who will "at last" be destroyed forever (Hallelujah!)
The Greek word Eschatos "has a variety of meanings depending upon the larger frame of reference: farthest extent in space, final element of time, and last piece of money." (The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary 2:576)
NIDNTT writes that "The adjective eschatos, attested from Homer onwards, is a superlative form derived from the prep. ek/ex, out of, away from, and originally designated the person or thing that was furthest outside (ex). Spatially it meant the place furthest away (e.g. Hesiod, Theog. 731, the utmost ends of the earth), temporally the last events of a series (e.g. Hdt., 7, 107), materially the extreme, rarely the highest (e.g. Libanius, Orationes 59, 88, greatest wisdom), mostly the lowest place in order of rank (e.g. Plato, Tht. 209b; Diod. Sic. 8, 18, 31, the most miserable of men)… The Gk. language uses the term eschatos to designate the end-point of a continuously conceived succession of circumstances… In qualitative respects eschatos designates an extreme positive or negative intensification (Pindar, Ol. 1, 113, the highest reaches its peak with kings; Plato, Rep. 361a, greatest injustice; Gorgias 511d, extreme danger). (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
What happens in the last days (the following observations are derived solely from the passages which use "eschatos")?
- There is a pouring forth of God's Spirit (Acts 2:17);
- There will be difficult, dangerous, perilous times (2Ti 3:1);
- Mockers will come (2Pe 3:3, cp Jude 1:18),
- God has spoken (past tense) in His Son (Heb 1:2, cp "last times" 1Pe 1:20);
- Treasure will rust (Jas 5:3).
- Last Day(s), Latter Days, Last Times by Leon Morris - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology
- Are We Living in the Last Days? - John Weldon - interesting
Eschatos - 52x in 47v - Eschatos is translated in NAS = end(1), last(46), last of all(1), last man(1), last men(1), late(1), remotest part(1).
Matthew 5:26-note (For context see Mt 5:23-25) "Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent (a small Roman coin).
Comment: In the ancient world debtors were jailed till the debts were paid. Reconciliation should be made today. If there is any bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, hatred (or any other sin) that is separating you from someone, you need to "pay up the last cent" so to speak!
John MacArthur: The basic teaching is plain and unmistakable: we are to make every effort, with no delay, to make our relationship right with our brother before our relationship can be right with God and we can avoid chastening. (MacArthur, John. Matthew. Chicago: Moody Press)
Beloved, this verse begs the question, a serious, sobering question - Is that any other individual made in the image of God with to whom you "owe a debt?" Jesus thought this issue was so important to our spiritual life that He included it in the disciple's prayer "forgive us our debts as (just like, in the same manner) we forgive those who trespass against us." (Mt 6:12-note) And then of all the points in this great prayer, the one to which He gave extra attention was forgiveness (Read His "exposition" in Mt 6:14-15-note)
Matthew 12:45 "Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation."
Matthew 19:30 "But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.
Matthew 20:8 "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.'
Matthew 20:12 saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.'
Matthew 20:14 'Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.
Matthew 20:16 "So the last shall be first, and the first last."
Matthew 27:64 "Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last deception will be worse than the first."
Mark 9:35 Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."
Mark 10:31 "But many who are first will be last, and the last, first."
Mark 12:6 "He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'
Mark 12:22 and so all seven left no children. Last of all the woman died also.
Luke 11:26 "Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first."
Luke 12:59 "I say to you, you will not get out of there until you have paid the very last cent."
Luke 13:30 "And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last."
Luke 14:9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give your place to this man,' and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. 10 "But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you.
John 6:39 "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."
John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:54 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Comment: In the previous four passages in which Jesus repeats the phrase "on the last day", clearly accentuates the eternal security of every believer's salvation. Glory!
John 7:37-note Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. (Context tells what believers are to "drink" - Jn 7:38, 39! Not water but the Spirit!)
Comment: At dawn during the Feast of Tabernacles the priests took water from the Pool of Siloam in a golden vessel and brought it to the temple. As they approached the Water Gate the trumpets sounded “a short blast, a long one, then another short one. At the morning offering the water along w. wine was poured on the altar from two silver bowls. Perhaps at this time Jesus stood and cried out w. a loud voice (Edersheim, The Temple, 281f).
John 11:24 Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."
John 12:48 "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.
Acts 1:8-note but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
Acts 2:17 'AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,' God says, 'THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;
John MacArthur - The term the last days is a common Old Testament expression (cf. Isa. 2:2; Jer. 23:20; 49:39; Ezek. 38:16; Hos. 3:5; Micah 4:1). It denotes the time when Messiah would come to set up His kingdom. That there would be two comings of Messiah, separated by a long intervening period, was not clearly understood in the Old Testament. The two comings, however, can be inferred from the two purposes for Messiah’s coming set forth in the Old Testament. On the one hand, the Old Testament teaches that Messiah would come as the Suffering Servant, to die for the sins of the world (Isa. 53). On the other hand, it also teaches that Messiah would come in glory to set up His kingdom (Isa. 9:6). (Ed: See basileia for discussion of 3 basic meanings of "Kingdom")
The first coming of Christ ushered in the last days. First John 2:18 says, “Children, it is the last hour.” Peter writes that Christ “has appeared in these last times for the sake of you” (1 Peter 1:20). The writer of Hebrews informs us that God “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:2), and “now once at the consummation of the ages [Christ] has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (9:26). The last days have thus lasted nearly two thousand years. During that time, God has graciously called Gentiles to salvation and chastened Israel for her unbelief.
The complete fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy awaits the coming of the Millennial Kingdom. On the Day of Pentecost, and indeed throughout the church age, God has given both a preview and a sample of the power the Spirit will release in the kingdom. Believers in the present age have a foretaste of kingdom life. In the millennial kingdom, God will pour forth of [His] Spirit upon all mankind, since all who enter the kingdom will be redeemed. (See Matt. 24:29–25:46 for the evidence that only redeemed people will enter the Millennium.) During the church age, God pours His Spirit into believers (cf. Titus 3:5–6). In the kingdom there will be perfect peace (Isa. 9:7); peace rules now in the hearts of believers. In the kingdom, Christ will reign (Luke 1:33); He reigns now in the hearts of His people. In the kingdom, Christ will judge all men (Acts 17:31; 2 Tim. 4:1); now He judges His people through the Spirit’s convicting ministry in their lives. What will ultimately come to full fruition in the kingdom began to be seen at Pentecost. (from Acts 1-12 Commentary - see also his sermon Acts 2:14-21 - Peter's Sermon: Explaining Pentecost)
Acts 13:47 "For so the Lord has commanded us, 'I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.'"
1 Corinthians 4:9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
1 Corinthians 15:8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
Comment: The last in a "series" - The apostles were brought out to make the grand finale
1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
Comment: "By separating it and drawing special attention to it, emphasis is placed on the fact that the reign of Christ is not complete until death is conquered; everything is still in process.” (1 Corinthians. Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament).
In 1Cor 15:24 at the end of the Millennial Reign, Christ "delivers up the (Millennial) kingdom to the God and Father." Christ "must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet" (1Cor 15:25) which is accomplished at the end of His Millennial reign which then is followed by the Great White Throne Judgment at which time "death and Hades" are thrown into Gehenna, the Lake of fire (Rev 20:14-note), so that then the last enemy death is abolished! Hallelujah to the King of kings!
1 Corinthians 15:45 So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
2 Timothy 3:1-note But realize this, that in the last days difficult (dangerous, hard, perilous - demon of Mt 8:28 was "dangerous") times will come (literally "will stand", will set in, will be at hand).
MacArthur - This phrase refers to this age, the time since the first coming of the Lord Jesus. (Study Bible)
KJV Study Bible - The last days began with the birth of Christ and will culminate in Christ’s return to the earth to set up His kingdom.
ESV Study Bible - Paul’s reference to the last days (Gk. eschatais hēmerais) puts the present evil situation in solemn eschatological (or “end times”) perspective. As Acts 2:17 indicates, “the last days” began with the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost (see also note on 1 Tim. 4:1). Thus Paul’s prediction of times of difficulty that will occur in “the last days” is already beginning to be fulfilled, even in the present situation.
Ray Pritchard comments on the phrase "the last days" noting that it "has at least three meanings. It can apply to the entire period between the first and second comings of Christ. Since Christ could have come at any time, the entire church age can be called the “last days.” It also applies to unique periods of spiritual testing that occur at different times in different places. Finally, it obviously applies to the last few weeks and months and years preceding our Lord’s return to the earth. I find it helpful to think in terms of labor pains. A pregnant woman knows when she is about to give birth by the frequency and severity of her labor pains. In the same way, the various things that Paul lists in the first few verses of II Timothy 3 will always be present in some form, but will increase dramatically near the end of the age. Are we in the “last days?” No matter how you define it, the answer is yes. And we may indeed be living in the final days before the return of Christ to the earth. (2 Timothy 3: Perilous Times)
Hebrews 1:2-note in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
In these last days is rendered variously as - "at the end of these days" (DNT), "But now in these final days" (NLT), "at the end of the present age" (Phillips), "in the last of these days." (Wuest)
The meaning of Hebrews 1:2 is that at the very termination of the times in which God is speaking to man, He speaks, not through the prophets, but in His Son, Who is "the Word" (Jn 1:1-2). So the writer of Hebrews is referring to the incarnation of God's Son at His First Coming. It follows that this is when the last days began. Luke utilizes the same time phrase writing that "in the last days God says that "I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind" (Acts 2:17), a prophecy from Joel 2:28 which was partially fulfilled at Pentecost, at the birth of the Church. Obviously Pentecost is related to the First Coming (and then the ascension) of Christ. We can therefore conclude that the last days were inaugurated by the First Coming of Christ.
MacArthur Study Bible - Jews understood the “last days” to mean the time when Messiah (Christ) would come (cf. Nu 24:14; Jer 33:14–16; Mic 5:1, 2; Zec 9:9, 16). The fulfillment of the messianic prophecies commenced with the advent of the Messiah. Since He came, it has been the days” (cf. 1Co 10:11; Jas 5:3; 1Pe 1:20; 4:7; 1Jn 2:18). In the past God gave revelation through His prophets, but in these times, beginning with the Messiah’s advent, God spoke the message of redemption through the Son. heir. Everything that exists will ultimately come under the control of the Son of God, the Messiah (cf. Pss 2:8, 9; 89:27; Ro 11:36; Col 1:16). This “inheritance” is the full extension of the authority which the Father has given to the Son (cf. Da 7:13, 14; Mt 28:18), as the “firstborn” (see note on v. 6). world
Spurgeon - Saving the best for last is always God’s rule. “You have kept the good wine until now” (John 2:10). Prophets are a very blessed means of communication, but how much more sure, how much more condescending is it for God to speak to us by His Son! Jesus is God’s own Son. What do I know about that wondrous truth? If I were to try to explain it, and to talk about the eternal filiation, I would only conduct you where I would soon be entirely out of my depth, and very likely I would drown all that I could tell you in floods of words. Deity is not to be explained, but to be adored. The sonship of Christ is to be accepted as a truth of revelation, to be apprehended by faith, though it cannot be comprehended by the understanding. There have been many attempts made by the fathers of the Church to explain the relationship between the two divine persons, the Father and the Son. But the explanations had better never have been given, for the figures used are liable to lead into mistake. Suffice to say that, in the most appropriate language of the Nicene Creed, Christ is “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God.” He is co-equal with the Father, though how that is, we do not know. He stands in the nearest possible relationship to the Father—a relationship of intense love and delight, so that the Father says of Him, “This is my beloved Son” (Matt 3:17; 17:5; Mark 9:7). Indeed, He is one with the Father, so that there is no separating them, as He Himself said, in reply to Philip’s request, “Show us the Father”; “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:8, 11).
ESV Study Bible - Since God has spoken finally and fully in the Son, and since the NT fully reports and interprets this supreme revelation once the NT is written, the canon of Scripture is complete. No new books are needed to explain what God has done through his Son. Now believers await his second coming (Heb 9:28) and the city to come (Heb 13:14).
James 5:3 Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!
Comment: Do not a suggestion of irony, for the treasure in mind is not their riches, but the misery that awaits them. What are you storing up for yourself? Treasure on earth or heaven? Where is your heart? (Mt 6:19-21-note, Mt 6:24-note)
1 Peter 1:5-note who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Comment: The word "time" is kairos which signifies the fit or appointed time or moment. The idea is that this is the last in an order of time. In this context, this is the appointed time when our inheritance is fully completed by the last episode of redemptive history (Mt 25:34).
MacArthur: Christians possess some of the benefits of salvation in this life, but the great fullness of redemption is yet to come. God has promised unfathomable glories in the eternal perfection of heaven that will one day be the conscious experience of every believer. He is the source of the believer’s inheritance; it came because of His mercy and by the gracious means of the new birth; and it remains perfect and eternally secure, a reality all believers can fix their hope on. (MacArthur, J.. 1 Peter. Chicago: Moody Publishers)
1 Peter 1:20-note For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you
Comment: Last times is a synonym for the last days, the time period between the first and second comings.
2 Peter 2:20-note For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.
MacArthur explains why it will be worse - those who understand the truth and still turn away will face far greater judgment than those who have never heard (cf. Matt. 10:14–15; 11:22–24; Mark 6:11; Luke 12:47–48). (2 Peter and Jude: The MacArthur NT Commentary).
2 Peter 3:3-note Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,
Comment: Little wonder that they scoff! There denial of Jesus return facilitates as it were, their self gratification. As Paul summed it up "There is no fear of God before their eyes!" (Ro 3:18-note). See Jude's warning where "last time" is synonymous with last days. (Jude 1:18).
1 John 2:18-note Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.
Comment: Last hour is a synonym of last days or latter days.
MacArthur on last hour - The last hour refers to the present evil age, one of only two ages—along with the age to come—that the New Testament outlines (cf. Matt. 12:32; Mark 10:30; Eph. 1:21; Heb. 6:5). The last hour began at the first coming of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 10:11; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 1:1–2; 9:26; 1 Peter 1:20), and will end when He returns. (The age to come encompasses all of the future, including the millennial kingdom, the thousand-year earthly reign of Christ when righteousness will prevail in the world [Isa. 9:6–7; 11:2, 6–9; 30:23–26; 35:2–6; 45:22–24; 65:18–23; 66:13; Ezek. 34:25; 47:12; Joel 2:28–32; Amos 9:13; Zech. 14:16–21; 1 Cor. 15:24–28; Rev. 20:4; cf. 2 Sam. 7:16; Matt. 19:28; Rev. 3:21; 5:10].) (1, 2, 3 John: The MacArthur NT Commentary).
Jude 1:18-note that they were saying to you, "In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts."
MacArthur - The technical phrase the last time refers to the period between Christ’s first and second comings (cf. Acts 2:17; Gal. 4:4; 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; 1 Peter 1:5, 20; 1 John 2:18–19; James 5:3).(2 Peter and Jude: The MacArthur NT Commentary).
Revelation 1:17-note When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,
Revelation 2:8-note "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:
Revelation 2:19-note 'I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.
Revelation 15:1-note Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished.
Revelation 21:9-note Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."
Revelation 22:13-note "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
Eschatos is frequently in the LXX in a phrase "first to last" which summarizes the deeds of kings- 2Chr 9:29 Solomon, 2Chr 12:15 Rehoboam, 2Chr 16:11 Asa, 2Chr 20:34 Jehoshaphat, first to last, 2Chr 25:26 Amaziah, 2Chr 26:22 Uzziah, 2Chr 28:26 (Ahaz) acts; 2Chr 35:27 (Josiah)
The Septuagint (LXX) Greek translation of the Hebrew OT repeatedly uses virtually the same Greek words (eschatos = last + hemera = day) to describe the last days, a term that any Jewish reader should have been familiar with. In the OT the term last days most often foretold of the coming "Great Tribulation" (Mt 24:21-note) and/or the establishment of Messiah's earthly (millennial) kingdom. In all of the following Old Testament passages the Hebrew time phrase is translated by the Greek words eschatos (last) and hemera (day) The actual Greek phrase is ep eschaton ton hemeron which is literally "last days." Below is a summary of all the Old Testament passages that use eschatos in an eschatological sense.
NIDNTT summarizes the sense of eschatos as used in the Septuagint translation - Yahweh will make it possible for his people to turn back (Hos. 3:5). He will destroy his enemies (Jer. 23:20; 30:24). The nations will come to Jerusalem and receive instruction from Israel (Isa. 2:2ff.; Micah 4:1ff.). Salvation will penetrate “to the end of the earth” (Isa. 48:20; 49:6). Here the local significance has a universal eschatological function. In all this Yahweh will reveal himself as holy (Ezek 38:16, 23). However much the individual pictures of salvation presented by the various prophets differ, the expectation of a comprehensive age of salvation “at the end of the days” brought in by Yahweh himself is common to them all. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
See A B Caneday's article "The Last Days" below.
Genesis 49:1 Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, "Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what will befall you in the days to come (Hebrew - aharit; Lxx = eschatos hemera = last days [ep eschaton ton hemeron]).
Comment: The days to come is more literally "the latter end of the days." While not everyone agrees with this interpretation, Jacob's phrase appears to be very compatible with what will happen to the 12 Tribes of Israel in the last days just before Messiah's Second Coming. Certainly the book of Revelation speaks of events which are related to the 12 Tribes (See Rev 7:4-note) in the "last days."
John MacArthur on Genesis 49:1 - "The key expression leading into the poetic content of Jacob’s prediction for each son often signifies the last days in prophetic literature (Isa 2:2; Ezek 38:16) or points more generally to “the latter days” (Dt 4:30; 31:29), i.e., in the sense of “in subsequent days.”
In another place MacArthur adds that "Throughout the Pentateuch, “the latter days” refers to the time when Messiah will establish His kingdom (see Ge 49:1, 8–12; Nu 24:14–24; Dt 32:39–43)."
Believer's Study Bible (Criswell) - "In the last days" is clearly a reference not only to the future but also to the closing period of history. The author of Hebrews said the "last days" began with the coming of Christ (Heb. 1:1, 2).
Keil and Delitzsch - As Isaac in his blessing (Gen. 27) pointed out prophetically to his two sons, by virtue of divine illumination, the future history of their families; “so Jacob, while blessing the twelve, pictured in grand outlines the lineamenta of the future history of the future nation” (Ziegler). The groundwork of his prophecy was supplied partly by the natural character of his twelve sons, and partly by the divine promise which had been given by the Lord to him and to his fathers Abraham and Isaac, and that not merely in these two points, the numerous increase of their seed and the possession of Canaan, but in its entire scope, by which Israel had been appointed to be the recipient and medium of salvation for all nations. On this foundation the Spirit of God revealed to the dying patriarch Israel the future history of his seed, so that he discerned in the characters of his sons the future development of the tribes proceeding from them, and with prophetic clearness assigned to each of them its position and importance in the nation into which they were to expand in the promised inheritance. Thus he predicted to the sons what would happen to them “in the last days,” lit., “at the end of the days” (ἐπʼ ἐσχάτων τῶν ἡμερῶν, LXX), and not merely at some future time. אַחֲרִית, the opposite of רֵאשִׁית, signifies the end in contrast with the beginning (Deut. 11:12; Isa. 46:10); hence אחרית הימים in prophetic language denoted, not the future generally, but the last future (see Hengstenberg’s History of Balaam, pp. 465–467, transl.), the Messianic age of consummation (Isa. 2:2; Ezek. 38:8, 16; Jer. 30:24; 48:47; 49:39, etc.: so also Num. 24:14; Deut. 4:30), like ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν (2 Pet. 3:3; Heb. 1:2), or ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις (Acts 2:17; 2 Tim. 3:1).
Charles Ryrie - in the days to come refers to Israel's future in dual perspective: the period of their occupation of Canaan, and the time of the coming of Messiah. Sometimes the expression refers to Israel at the end of the tribulation period (Deut. 4:30; Ezek. 38:16), sometimes to the history of Gentile nations (Da. 2:28), and sometimes to the present church age in its entirety (Heb. 1:2) or at its conclusion (2 Tim. 3:1; James 5:3). Jacob's pronouncements in Gen. 49 included both prophecy (Ge 49:1) and blessing (Ge 49:28).
NET Note (NET Bible translation = "in the future") - The expression “in the future” (אַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים, ’akharit hayyamim, “in the end of days”) is found most frequently in prophetic passages; it may refer to the end of the age, the eschaton, or to the distant future. The contents of some of the sayings in this chapter stretch from the immediate circumstances to the time of the settlement in the land to the coming of Messiah.
Armerding - Having thus surveyed the chapter (Genesis 49) as a whole we may now consider in greater detail those portions of it which have to do particularly with Messiah, namely, those parts in which Judah and Joseph are presented. That these parts do have in view the age of Messiah is quite generally held by conservative Bible scholars. It is indicated, we believe, in the expression, “the latter days” (v. 1). Commenting on this expression Keil says that this “in prophetic language denotes not the future generally but the last future, the Messianic age of consummation.”6 According to Delitzsch the expression refers to “the future which forms the close of the course of history. The notion is eschatological, but limited by the horizon of the speaker.”7 Gesenius refers to it as a “prophetic formula” which means “in the future time, in the last days.”8 It occurs also in Numbers 24:14, Deuteronomy 4:30 and 31:29, and about a dozen times in the Prophets. In each case the definitions given above would suit the context well. (The Last Words of Jacob: Genesis 49 - Carl Armerding: Bibliotheca Sacra: BSAC 112:448 Oct 1955)
Numbers 24:14 "And now, behold, I am going to my people; come, and I will advise you what this people will do to your people in the days to come (Lxx = eschatos hemera [ep eschaton ton hemeron])."
Comment: The Jewish reader should have been familiar with Balaam's last and greatest prophecy regarding Israel and the Messiah as Balaam informed King Balak (Nu 24:14) "what (Israel would) do to (his) people in the days to come (= the last days)" going on to foretell of the Messiah, saying "I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near. A Star shall come forth from Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise from Israel… One from Jacob shall have dominion… " (Nu 24:17, 24:19)
Keil and Delitzsch comment on this verse - "On “the end of the days,” see at Gen. 49:1." (see above)
Keith Matheson - "“the latter days” (Num 24:14; Deut 31:28–29; cf. Gen 49:1), a time when God will send a king from the tribe of Judah." (SBJT, Volume 14)
Deuteronomy 4:30 "When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days (Lxx = eschatos hemera [ep eschaton ton hemeron]) you will return to the LORD your God and listen to His voice.
Context: of Dt 4:30 is Jehovah's most solemn ("call heaven and earth to witness against"!) judgement through His prophet Moses regarding the future fate of His (disobedient) Chosen People:
26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you shall surely perish quickly from the land where you are going over the Jordan to possess it. You shall not live long on it, but shall be utterly destroyed.
27 "And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you shall be left few in number among the nations, where the LORD shall drive you. (Ed: Fulfilled in 10 tribes removed by Assyrians in 722BC and Judah and Benjamin removed to Babylon in 586BC as well as in Israel's dispersion after her rejection of Christ prior to the Nation being reborn in May, 1948.)
28 "And there you will serve gods (Ed: You want idols, not Me - I will give you what you want! That is personally my greatest fear when I commit a presumptuous sin against God - that He may say "Okay, you want it. Go for it!" That would be horrible!), the work of man's hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.
29 "But (Ed: Blessed term of contrast!!!) from there you will seek the LORD your God (Ed: Do you see His mercy? No man seeks for God, so for them to even seek for Him, He must put that desire in their heart. Now they still have the responsibility to follow through and "seek for Him" -- this is a great mystery to me - God's sovereign provision, man's responsibility), and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. (Ed: Try accomplishing this in reliance on your natural strength, the Old Man!)
30 "When (Ed: This is a key time phrase! Notice it is made more specific by the phrase "in the latter days" - so this is a prophecy that speaks of the "end times" prior to Messiah's return) you are in distress (KJV = "in tribulation" - Hebrew word tsar - 06862 - see study of related noun tsarah) and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and listen to His voice.
31 "For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.
Comment: In the Septuagint the last phrase of Dt 4:29 is "in your affliction" (Lxx = thlipsis = same word used by Jesus to describe the "Great Tribulation" in Mt 24:21) (See Daniel's seventieth week).
Bible Knowledge Commentary: “The later days (Dt 4:30) may refer to any time after the initial dispersions, but the ultimate reference is to the time when the Lord Jesus will return to earth to establish His 1,000-year kingdom (Rev. 20:4). At that time a repentant Israel will finally seek the Lord… look for Him with all her heart and… soul and will obey Him (Dt 4:29). (Bolding added)
John MacArthur on "latter days" - Lit. “the end of days.” Moses saw in the distant future a time when repentant Israel would turn again to the Lord and obey Him. Throughout the Pentateuch, “the latter days” refers to the time when Messiah will establish His kingdom (see Ge 49:1, 8–12; Nu 24:14–24; Dt 32:39–43).
Deuteronomy 8:16 "In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end (Lxx = eschatos hemera [ep eschaton ton hemeron]).
Comment: The phrase "in the end" in English translation of the Septuagint is literally "in the last days." While it is conceivable that this passage could refer to Israel's future and the good that God will do to them at the termination of the Great Tribulation, it is difficult to be as certain about this passage as some of the others in this list.
J Vernon McGee comments: At the “latter end,” in the future Millennium, God promises to make Israel the leading nation with earthly blessings. God has not promised that to the church, my friend; so don’t appropriate that promise for yourself. The Lord Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2–3). The hope of the child of God today is that Christ is coming to take us out of this world. The hope of Israel is in this world. That distinction is of utmost importance. If you try to mix these promises, it will cause utter confusion. Too many so-called theologians use a blender. They put the whole Bible into a blender, and they really mix it up! If you let the Bible stand as it is, you will see that God is very specific when He makes promises. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Deuteronomy 31:29 "For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days (literally - "the end of days" Lxx = eschatos hemera [ep eschaton ton hemeron]), for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands."
MacArthur comments: “The latter days” (lit. “at the end of the days”) referred to the far distant future. This was the time when the king would come from Judah (Ge 49:8–12) to defeat Israel’s enemies (Nu 24:17–19). Here it is revealed that it would also be a time when disaster would fall upon Israel because of evil done, thus bringing the Lord’s wrath. The description of God’s judgment on Israel and the nations in this song can’t be limited to the immediate future of the people as they entered the Land, but extends to issues which are eschatological in time and global in extent, as the song indicates (32:1–43). (Bolding added)
Deuteronomy 32:20 "Then He said, 'I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; For they are a perverse generation, Sons in whom is no faithfulness.
Comment: The Lxx uses eschatos to translate end so that the English rendering of the Lxx is "will show what shall happen to them (Israel) in the last days (days is not in the Greek text though)."
Isaiah 2:2-note Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains (referring to Jerusalem), And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.
Comment: Isaiah (and Micah = Mic 4:1 is virtually identical to Isa 2:2) foretell of Messiah's glorious millennial reign in Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 23:20 The anger of the LORD will not turn back until (expression of time - should always cause you to pause and ask "What time is it?") He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart. In the last days (Lxx = eschatos hemera [ep eschaton ton hemeron]) you will clearly understand it. (Jer 23:20)
Comment: Jeremiah prophesied of the coming Great Tribulation (so named by Jesus), the "time of Jacob's distress" (Jer 30:7)
Jeremiah 30:24 The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back, until He has performed, and until He has accomplished the intent of His heart; In the latter days (Lxx = eschatos hemera [ep eschaton ton hemeron]) you will understand this."
Jeremiah 49:39 'But it will come about in the last days (Lxx = eschatos hemera [ep eschaton ton hemeron]) that I will restore the fortunes of Elam,'" Declares the LORD.
Ezekiel 38:8 "After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years (Lxx = eschatos heton [ep eschaton heton]) you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them.
Comment: This passage is yet future.
Ezekiel 38:16 and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It will come about in the last days (Lxx = eschatos hemera [ep eschaton ton hemeron]) that I shall bring you against My land, in order that the nations may know Me when I shall be sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog." (Ezekiel 38:16)
Comment: This passage is yet future.
Daniel 2:28-note "However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days (Lxx = eschatos hemera [ep eschaton ton hemeron]). This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed.
Comment: Daniel's comments here introduce his following description of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream followed by the interpretation. Note that the prophecy in Daniel 2:28-45 deals especially with what will happen to the major Gentile kingdoms of the world history (specifically the kingdoms that interacted with God's chosen people Israel). In Daniel 7, the eschatological writings deal in more detail with what will happen to Israel. Finally in Daniel 10-12 there is even greater detail of what will happen to the nation of Israel in the last days or the end times. Given the miraculous "rebirth" of Israel in May, 1948 after almost 2000 years of non-existence as a sovereign nation, it is hard to believe that some Christians make the absurd statement that God is finished with Israel and has transferred all His OT promises to the Church. Louis Berkhof was so convinced that God was finished with Israel that in 1947 in his famous book on Systematic Theology he flatly stated that Israel would never again become a nation state, (a belief that fit with his amillennial belief). Beloved, if God had been finished with Israel as a land and as a national entity, it is hardly conceivable that He would have gone to the "trouble" to rebirth the nation in a single day!
Daniel 2:29-note "As for you, O king, while on your bed your thoughts turned to what would take place in the future (Lxx = eschatos hemera = last days = [ep eschaton ton hemeron]); and He who reveals mysteries has made known to you what will take place.
Comment: Note that future is rendered last days in the Septuagint, referring to the time preceding and including the Second Coming of Christ (the Stone in Da 2:28).
Daniel 2:45-Note (one version of Lxx, but not Theodoret) Daniel 2:45 "Inasmuch as you saw that a Stone (Messiah at His Second Coming) was cut out of the mountain without hands (supernatural) and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold (Da 2:35-Note = "all at the same time… not a trace of them was found"!), the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future (Lxx = eschatos hemera [ep eschaton ton hemeron] = "upon the last days"); so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy."
Comment: Remember that 25% of God's Word was prophetic at the time it was intially penned. Therefore we dare not reduce our study of prophecy to that of a neglected "step child" lest we find ourselves unaware of the "signs of the times." Indeed, God "has made known" (Da 2:28, 29) to His children who have eyes to see and ears to hear "what the Spirit says to the churches" (cp Rev 2:7) regarding "what will take place upon the last days!"
Daniel 8:19-note He said, "Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.
Comment: "Final period of indignation" in Lxx is "ep eschaton tes orges" literally the "time of wrath." This is a difficult passage and it is best not to be dogmatic. Some see this as referring only to Antiochus Epiphanes, while some see this ancient foe to be a "type" of the future antichrist. Finally, some see a double fulfillment, partially fulfilled in Antiochus and finally fulfilled in the Antichrist. The difference between "type" and "double fulfillment" is minimal as both in some way see a prediction of the future Antichrist.
David Guzik comments: Some see this Antiochus and Antichrist connection, and some do not. Martin Luther wrote, "This chapter in Daniel refers both to Antiochus and Antichrist." John Calvin wrote, "Hence Luther, indulging his thoughts too freely, refers this passage to the masks of Antichrist."
Daniel 8:23-note "In the latter period of their rule, When the transgressors have run their course, A king will arise, Insolent and skilled in intrigue.
Comment: See interpretation of preceding passage.
MacArthur's comment: The far fulfillment sees Antiochus in Da 8:23–25 as prophetically illustrating the final tribulation period and the Antichrist. In such a view, the king here is also the “little horn,” as in Da 7:7; 8:9 and the willful king in Da 11:36–45.
Daniel 10:14-note (The archangel Michael was sent to Daniel to give him ) "Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people (Jews = Israel) in the latter days (Lxx = eschatos hemera [ep eschaton ton hemeron]), for the vision pertains to the days yet future.
Comment: Careful observation reveals that the last three chapters of Daniel (Da 10-12) comprise a single "vision" and must be interpreted as a "unit" in order for one to arrive at the correct interpretation. This section unequivocally refers to the yet future time that immediately precedes the return of the Messiah Who will deliver Zion, remove ungodliness from Jacob (Israel) at which time "all Israel will be saved." (i.e., all of those who by grace place their faith in Christ.) (Ro 11:25-note).
Hosea 3:5 Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days (Lxx = eschatos hemera [ep eschaton ton hemeron]). (Hos 3:5)
Comment: When will Israel come trembling to the LORD? Certainly this awaits a future fulfillment and the best "candidate" is at the end of the Great Tribulation and the inception of the Messianic Age. In a sense the last of Israel's "last days" will mark the beginning their "best days" as they prepare to enter the Messiah's earthly kingdom for 1000 years. David will be raised up to rule (Jer 30:9, Ezekiel 34:23-24, Ezekiel 37:24-note; cp indirect reference in Amos 9:11) under the greater David, the Son of David, the Messiah, Who will be King of kings (Viz, King over King David). While some theologians interpret the references to the resurrection and rule of David in the Old Testament as fulfilled in Christ, it is notable that Christ is never called "David." In fact Jeremiah prophecies that in days to come (future days, last days), God will raise up FOR David a Righteous Branch and He will reign as King (referring to Messiah Jer 23:5, 33:16 = note "a Righteous Branch OF David."). Furthermore, a normal reading of the plain text (Literal interpretation) is easily and most simply interpreted as literal (albeit resurrected) David! Can God do this? Certainly He can and He promises He will, whether we interpret the passages correctly or not!
Micah 4:1 (See comments above on Isaiah 2:2) And it will come about in the last days That the mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, And the peoples will stream to it.
Eschatos - 64v - Ge 33:2; 49:1; Ex 4:8; Lev 23:16; 27:18; Nu 2:31; 10:25; 24:14; 31:2; Dt 4:30; 8:16; 13:9; 17:7; 24:3; 28:49; 31:27, 29; 32:20; 34:2; Josh 1:4; 10:14; 24:27; Jdg 15:7; Ruth 3:10; 1Sa 29:2; 2Sa 2:26; 13:16; 19:11f; 23:1; 24:25; 1Kgs 9:26; 17:13; 1Chr 23:27; 2Chr 9:29; 12:15; 16:11; 20:34; 25:26; 26:22; 28:26; 35:27; Ezra 8:13; Neh 5:15; 8:18; Job 8:7, 13; 11:7; 18:20; 23:8; 42:12; Ps 73:17; 135:7; 139:4, 9; Pr 5:11; 19:20; 23:32; 25:8; 29:21; 31:25; Eccl 1:11; 4:16; 7:8; 10:13; Isa 2:2; 8:9; 37:24; 41:22, 23; 45:22; 46:10; 47:7; 48:20; 49:6; 62:11; Jer 6:22; 9:2; 10:13; 16:19; 17:11; 23:20; 25:32; 30:24; 31:8; 49:39; 50:12, 41; 51:16, 31; Lam 1:9; Ezek 35:5; 38:6, 8, 15, 16; 39:2; Da 2:28, 29, 45; 8:19, 23; 10:14; 11:20, 29; Hos 3:5; Joel 2:20; Jonah 2:5; Mic 4:1; Hag 2:9; Zech 14:8.
Genesis 33:2 He put the maids and their children in front, and Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last.
Genesis 49:1 Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, "Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what will befall you in the days to come.
Exodus 4:8 "If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign.
Leviticus 23:16 'You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD.
Leviticus 27:18 'If he consecrates his field after the jubilee, however, then the priest shall calculate the price for him proportionate to the years that are left until the year of jubilee; and it shall be deducted from your valuation.
Numbers 2:31 "The total of the numbered men of the camp of Dan was 157,600. They shall set out last by their standards."
Numbers 10:25 Then the standard of the camp of the sons of Dan, according to their armies, which formed the rear guard for all the camps, set out, with Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai over its army,
Numbers 24:14 "And now, behold, I am going to my people; come, and I will advise you what this people will do to your people in the days to come."
Numbers 31:2 "Take full vengeance for the sons of Israel on the Midianites; afterward you will be gathered to your people."
Deuteronomy 4:30 "When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the LORD your God and listen to His voice.
Deuteronomy 8:16 "In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.
Deuteronomy 13:9 "But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
Deuteronomy 17:7 "The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
Deuteronomy 24:3 and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife,
Deuteronomy 28:49 "The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand,
Deuteronomy 31:27 "For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the LORD; how much more, then, after my death?
29 "For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands."
Deuteronomy 32:20 "Then He said, 'I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; For they are a perverse generation, Sons in whom is no faithfulness.
Deuteronomy 34:2 and all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah as far as the western sea,
Joshua 1:4 "From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory.
Joshua 10:14 There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.
Joshua 24:27 Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be for a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD which He spoke to us; thus it shall be for a witness against you, so that you do not deny your God."
Judges 15:7 Samson said to them, "Since you act like this, I will surely take revenge on you, but after that I will quit."
Ruth 3:10 Then he said, "May you be blessed of the LORD, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich.
1 Samuel 29:2 And the lords of the Philistines were proceeding on by hundreds and by thousands, and David and his men were proceeding on in the rear with Achish.
2 Samuel 2:26 Then Abner called to Joab and said, "Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that it will be bitter in the end? How long will you refrain from telling the people to turn back from following their brothers?"
2 Samuel 13:16 But she said to him, "No, because this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you have done to me!" Yet he would not listen to her.
2 Samuel 19:11 Then King David sent to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, saying, "Speak to the elders of Judah, saying, 'Why are you the last to bring the king back to his house, since the word of all Israel has come to the king, even to his house?
12 'You are my brothers; you are my bone and my flesh. Why then should you be the last to bring back the king?'
2 Samuel 23:1 Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse declares, The man who was raised on high declares, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel,
2 Samuel 24:25 David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Thus the LORD was moved by prayer for the land, and the plague was held back from Israel.
1 Kings 9:26 King Solomon also built a fleet of ships in Ezion-geber, which is near Eloth on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom.
1 Kings 17:13 Then Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son.
1 Chronicles 23:27 For by the last words of David the sons of Levi were numbered from twenty years old and upward.
2 Chronicles 9:29 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, from first to last, are they not written in the records of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat?
2 Chronicles 12:15 Now the acts of Rehoboam, from first to last, are they not written in the records of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer, according to genealogical enrollment? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.
2 Chronicles 16:11 Now, the acts of Asa from first to last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.
2 Chronicles 20:34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first to last, behold, they are written in the annals of Jehu the son of Hanani, which is recorded in the Book of the Kings of Israel.
2 Chronicles 25:26 Now the rest of the acts of Amaziah, from first to last, behold, are they not written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel?
2 Chronicles 26:22 Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first to last, the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, has written.
2 Chronicles 28:26 Now the rest of his acts and all his ways, from first to last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.
2 Chronicles 35:27 and his acts, first to last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.
Ezra 8:13 and of the sons of Adonikam, the last ones, these being their names, Eliphelet, Jeuel and Shemaiah, and 60 males with them;
Nehemiah 5:15 But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people and took from them bread and wine besides forty shekels of silver; even their servants domineered the people. But I did not do so because of the fear of God.
Nehemiah 8:18 He read from the book of the law of God daily, from the first day to the last day. And they celebrated the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly according to the ordinance.
Job 8:7 "Though your beginning was insignificant, Yet your end will increase greatly.
13 "So are the paths of all who forget God; And the hope of the godless will perish,
Job 11:7 "Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty?
Job 18:20 "Those in the west are appalled at his fate, And those in the east are seized with horror.
Job 23:8 "Behold, I go forward but He is not there, And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
Job 42:12 The LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had 14,000 sheep and 6,000 camels and 1,000 yoke of oxen and 1,000 female donkeys.
Psalm 73:17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end.
Psalm 135:7 He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; Who makes lightnings for the rain, Who brings forth the wind from His treasuries.
Psalm 139:4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Proverbs 5:11 And you groan at your final end, When your flesh and your body are consumed;
Proverbs 19:20 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.
Proverbs 23:32 At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper.
Proverbs 25:8 Do not go out hastily to argue your case; Otherwise, what will you do in the end, When your neighbor humiliates you?
Proverbs 29:21 He who pampers his slave from childhood Will in the end find him to be a son.
Proverbs 31:25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.
Ecclesiastes 1:11 There is no remembrance of earlier things; And also of the later things which will occur, There will be for them no remembrance Among those who will come later still.
Ecclesiastes 4:16 There is no end to all the people, to all who were before them, and even the ones who will come later will not be happy with him, for this too is vanity and striving after wind.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning; Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.
Ecclesiastes 10:13 the beginning of his talking is folly and the end of it is wicked madness.
Isaiah 2:2 Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.
Isaiah 8:9 "Be broken, O peoples, and be shattered; And give ear, all remote places of the earth. Gird yourselves, yet be shattered; Gird yourselves, yet be shattered.
Isaiah 37:24 "Through your servants you have reproached the Lord, And you have said, 'With my many chariots I came up to the heights of the mountains, To the remotest parts of Lebanon; And I cut down its tall cedars and its choice cypresses. And I will go to its highest peak, its thickest forest.
Isaiah 41:22 Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place; As for the former events, declare what they were, That we may consider them and know their outcome. Or announce to us what is coming;
23 Declare the things that are going to come afterward, That we may know that you are gods; Indeed, do good or evil, that we may anxiously look about us and fear together.
Isaiah 45:22 "Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.
Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';
Isaiah 47:7 "Yet you said, 'I will be a queen forever.' These things you did not consider Nor remember the outcome of them.
Isaiah 48:20 Go forth from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldeans! Declare with the sound of joyful shouting, proclaim this, Send it out to the end of the earth; Say, "The LORD has redeemed His servant Jacob."
Isaiah 49:6 He says, "It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth."
Isaiah 62:11 Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth, Say to the daughter of Zion, "Lo, your salvation comes; Behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him."
Jeremiah 6:22 Thus says the LORD, "Behold, a people is coming from the north land, And a great nation will be aroused from the remote parts of the earth.
Jeremiah 9:2 Oh that I had in the desert A wayfarers' lodging place; That I might leave my people And go from them! For all of them are adulterers, An assembly of treacherous men.
Jeremiah 10:13 When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, And brings out the wind from His storehouses.
Jeremiah 16:19 O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, And my refuge in the day of distress, To You the nations will come From the ends of the earth and say, "Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, Futility and things of no profit."
Jeremiah 17:11 "As a partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid, So is he who makes a fortune, but unjustly; In the midst of his days it will forsake him, And in the end he will be a fool."
Jeremiah 23:20 "The anger of the LORD will not turn back Until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; In the last days you will clearly understand it.
Jeremiah 25:32 Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Behold, evil is going forth From nation to nation, And a great storm is being stirred up From the remotest parts of the earth.
Jeremiah 30:24 The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back Until He has performed and until He has accomplished The intent of His heart; In the latter days you will understand this.
Jeremiah 31:8 "Behold, I am bringing them from the north country, And I will gather them from the remote parts of the earth, Among them the blind and the lame, The woman with child and she who is in labor with child, together; A great company, they will return here.
Jeremiah 49:39 'But it will come about in the last days That I will restore the fortunes of Elam,'" Declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 50:12 Your mother will be greatly ashamed, She who gave you birth will be humiliated. Behold, she will be the least of the nations, A wilderness, a parched land and a desert.
41 "Behold, a people is coming from the north, And a great nation and many kings Will be aroused from the remote parts of the earth.
Jeremiah 51:16 When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain And brings forth the wind from His storehouses.
31 One courier runs to meet another, And one messenger to meet another, To tell the king of Babylon That his city has been captured from end to end;
Lamentations 1:9 Her uncleanness was in her skirts; She did not consider her future. Therefore she has fallen astonishingly; She has no comforter. "See, O LORD, my affliction, For the enemy has magnified himself!"
Ezekiel 35:5 "Because you have had everlasting enmity and have delivered the sons of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of the punishment of the end,
Ezekiel 38:6 Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops-- many peoples with you.
8 "After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them.
15 "You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army;
16 and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog."
Ezekiel 39:2 and I will turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel.
Daniel 2:28 "However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed.
29 "As for you, O king, while on your bed your thoughts turned to what would take place in the future; and He who reveals mysteries has made known to you what will take place.
45 "Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy."
Daniel 8:3 Then I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a ram which had two horns was standing in front of the canal. Now the two horns were long, but one was longer than the other, with the longer one coming up last.
19 He said, "Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.
23 "In the latter period of their rule, When the transgressors have run their course, A king will arise, Insolent and skilled in intrigue.
Daniel 10:14 "Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future."
Daniel 11:4 "But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them.
20 "Then in his place one will arise who will send an oppressor through the Jewel of his kingdom; yet within a few days he will be shattered, though not in anger nor in battle.
29 "At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before.
Daniel 12:8 As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, "My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?"
Hosea 3:5 Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.
Joel 2:20 "But I will remove the northern army far from you, And I will drive it into a parched and desolate land, And its vanguard into the eastern sea, And its rear guard into the western sea. And its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up, For it has done great things."
Jonah 2:5 "Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, Weeds were wrapped around my head.
Micah 4:1 And it will come about in the last days That the mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, And the peoples will stream to it.
Haggai 2:9 'The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,' says the LORD of hosts, 'and in this place I will give peace,' declares the LORD of hosts."
Zechariah 14:8 And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.
- SBJT: There is a lot of confusion regarding the meaning of the expression, “the last days.” What does the new testament teach about “the last days” and about how we should live in light of them?
A. B. Caneday (Professor of New Testament Studies and Biblical Theology at Northwestern College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.): Confusion persists concerning what it means to live in the last days. As with Christ’s first followers until after his resurrection, many today hold misdirected fascination concerning the “last days.” Not until Jesus’ resurrection from the dead did his first disciples have the proper bearings for living in the last days. Previously they drew a tight correlation between the end of life as they knew it and the end of all things. They supposed that destruction of the temple in Jerusalem would signal the end of all things (Mark 13:1–4; Luke 21:5–7). Likewise, today, despite Jesus’ corrective responses to questions his first disciples asked—“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?”—many remain preoccupied with looking for signs that the end is imminent. This is because many Christians suppose that living in the “last days” is determined by proximity or nearness to Christ’s second coming. This confusion persists despite several uses of “last days” or synonyms in the New Testament to indicate that Christ’s first coming, not nearness to his second advent, signals that we are living in the last days.
The Old Testament prophets spoke of the last days as lying in the dim and distant future (Jer 23:20; 49:39; Ezek 38:16; Hos 3:5; Micah 4:1). New Testament writers, however, portray the last days as already commenced. Several New Testament passages use the expression, “the last days” or an equivalent (e.g., Acts 2:17; 2 Tim 3:1; Jas 5:3). Perhaps no passage provides more definitional significance for “the last days” than Heb 1:1–2. This passage unambiguously indicates that Christ’s incarnate revelatory word inaugurates “these last days” by contrasting two time periods in which God spoke: of old by the prophets and in these last days by his Son. Likewise, other similar expressions—whether “the last hour” (1 John 2:18), “the end of the ages” (1 Pet 1:20); “latter times” (1 Tim 4:1); or “last time” (Jude 18)—all have Christ’s first advent as their beginning point of reference. So, it is evident that because Jesus’ advent fulfills Scripture’s expectation of the coming Messiah his advent also marks the end of one era governed by the old covenant and the inauguration of the new era with the arrival of the new covenant.
It is noteworthy that the New Testament distinguishes between the last days (plural) and the last day (singular). The last days entail the expansive timeframe inaugurated by Christ’s first coming that comes to a conclusion on the last day. The last day is the day of resurrection and of judgment, conceived of as the final day of the last days according to John’s Gospel (John 6:39, 40, 54; 11:24; 12:48).
This, then, is the New Testament’s eschatological frame of reference. This inaugurated last days frame of reference enables us to understand how the present and future dimensions of salvation are two distinguishable aspects of one indivisible whole. Scripture requires that we view salvation as eschatological, as belonging to the last day which commences the age to come (cf. Rom 13:8; 1 Thess 5:9; Heb 1:14; 1 Pet 1:5). The same is true of eternal life (cf. Mark 10:29–30; 10:17; Rom 2:6–7; Gal 6:8).
So, in a singular statement Jesus assures all who look to the Son and believe in him that he will raise them up “on the last day” (resurrection unto life eternal), and he underscores eternal life as a present possession (John 6:54; cf. 6:39, 40, 44, 46). Eternal life is our present possession because resurrection, which properly belongs to the last day and to the powers of the coming age (Heb 6:5), is already at work in this present age. Jesus makes this clear when he announces, “whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.… He has passed from death to life” (Jn 5:24). To pass from death to life means that resurrection power belonging to the coming age has already invaded the present. Jesus further explains when he says, “Indeed, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming and now is when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live” (Jn 5:25). Present resurrection unto life is but a foretaste of resurrection unto life in the last day, as Jesus goes on to explain, “Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good unto the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil unto the resurrection of condemnation” (Jn 5:28–29).
But how has resurrection and judgment already invaded this present evil age? Jesus clarifies the indivisible and unitary relationship between the not yet but future resurrection and the already present resurrection in his riddle: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even though he dies, shall live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (Jn 11:25–26). Likewise, Jesus underscores the indivisible and unitary relationship between the not yet but future judgment and the already present judgment when he says, “The one who believes in him [the Son] is not condemned, but the one who does not believe already stands condemned because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. This is the judgment: Light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light, for their deeds were evil” (Jn 3:18–19). As resurrection properly belongs to the last day, so does judgment. Nevertheless, just as Jesus Christ already gives life to the dead who hear his voice ahead of the day of resurrection, so also, ahead of the day of judgment Jesus announces the verdict of the last day, that those who do not believe in the Son already stand condemned while those who believe in him already stand not condemned (i.e, justified; Jn 3:18).
Rightly understood then, the gospel is God’s gracious proclamation of his last day verdict in the present era ahead of the last day. The cross of Christ Jesus is the advance portrayal of judgment’s condemnation on the last day. Likewise, the tomb, vacated by the resurrected Christ, is the advance portrayal of resurrection’s justification unto life on the last day. Christ Jesus already stood condemned for others, not for himself, and he was raised from the dead which constitutes his justification and appointment to be Son of God (1 Tim 3:16; Rom 1:4). Therefore, justification and resurrection unto life already belong to all who believe in the Son of God. Thus, all the blessings and powers of the coming age that we already know and enjoy are anchored in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Judgment, condemning Christ upon the cross, and resurrection, vindicating him by raising him from the tomb, constitute the invasion of God’s last day acts into the present age, and he makes us partakers of these.
Christ’s crucifixion and his resurrection establish the frame of reference for the last days in which we live as we await the dawn of the last day. He who appeared once for all time at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself will appear a second time to save all who eagerly await his coming (Heb 9:26–28). Here is the frame of reference, then, that enables us, in concert with New Testament writers, to affirm the immanence of the imminent, the presence of the future, or the already possession of what is not yet fully ours. Because of his first coming we already live in the last days as we eagerly await Christ’s appearing on the last day.