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I’m hopeful that the past several articles on what happens after this life is over for us (individually and collectively) has been helpful. We need to think more about what does come after this life as a way to keep ourselves committed and energetic in the service of our Master. After all, the Lord didn’t give us all this information just to help fill out the Bible to proper number of pages or give it proper heft for an eternally important book; God's revelations to us about the hereafter are intended to motivate us. And the information of this last installment of this series on eschatology (study of the last things) is given to us by God as an important motivator during hard times in our Christian walk, and especially if we happen to be found alive during the last days of the “Last Days”. Let’s talk about the last days of the Last Days.

What do I mean by "the last days of the Last Days"? Well, the Scripture is clear that the Christian era is considered to the “Last Days” (Acts 2:17; Heb. 1:2; James 5:3). And when you consider the sweep of Bible history — the Patriarchal era (Adam to Moses), the Mosaic era (receiving the Law through Christ’s death on the cross), and the Christian era — the Christian era is the “last days”. But, of course, the Christian era has been quite long from a human standpoint, a little over 2000 years; so, to our way of thinking, these Christian era “last days” haven’t exactly been “the countdown”. But there will, naturally, be a some last days that will truly be a “countdown”. And the human question has always been, “And exactly when will these days be?”

Before I get any further into this study, do not get the impression that I am in any way making any sort of an attempt to predict the end of the world. Let me make it clear that the Lord left all vagueness and guess work in the dust, when He said, "But of that day and hour [of Christ’s second coming and the end of the world] no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." Matthew 24:36, NAS95. Yet sadly, there are still plenty of folks that try to discover the exact date of the Lord’s final end to this world; some of their flyers and claims fill a file folder in my file cabinet titled: “Religious Nuts” — yeah, I know, real professional — oh, well. But God tends to wait until things are so bad that His great patience can wait no more for judgment — think of Noah’s flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the destruction of Israel and Judah and Jerusalem. This is to say, simply, that God probably doesn’t have a date circled somewhere on His great calendar in the heavens; that the end will be less determined by an arbitrary terminal date set by God as it will be determined by the enormity of the earth’s sin, the lack of goodness in the world, and the nexus of man’s sinful choices that God has chosen as His final threshold of patient endurance (e.g., the level of depravity of “Babylon”, the killing of the witnesses (Rev. 11), the abomination of desolation (Mt. 24:15), whatever they may turn out to be).

Anyway, despite the fact that we will never know the day or hour of Christ’s return — that it will be a complete surprise to everyone — there are some general things that we can and should know for the sake of our souls. Jesus speaks of them in Matt. 24 and continues talking about them in Revelation: in the last days of the “Last Days” the world will become incredibly sinful (e.g., Rev. 18:5), Christianity will be almost completely extinguished (e.g., Rev. 11:7-13; Lk. 18:8), persecution will become stronger and stronger (e.g., 2 Pet. 3:3-7; Rev. 13:16-18), disciples of Jesus will defect to follow the world (e.g., Mt. 24:9-13). They will be difficult days, indeed!

And the whole point of the writing of Revelation seems to be anticipation of such “difficult” times (2 Tim. 3:1), not only in the latter portion of the first century in which persecution was growing, but also in the last days of the “last days”.

("Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.")" Revelation 16:15, NAS95.
And…
"I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, my people,
so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her.’"
Revelation 18:4-6, NAS95.

The essence was to say, “No matter how bad things look, that's only the way they look; that’s not the way they really are. Hang on tight, hang on with your fingernails, if you must, but hang on. Things are going to look terrible, like all is lost, but it is not! God wins, and you want to be on the right side, when Armageddon (a metaphorical reference to a battlefield in which the good guys are terribly outnumbered) happens.” The point for us is simply this, we do not know when it will happen, but we must get ready, stay ready, and remain ready through even the worst of situations.

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