12. The last days.

There is a popular misconception that the last days are the closing moments of this age, whereas the Bible calls the entire Church age – the last days! When Peter stood up to address the bewildered crowd that had gathered on the day of Pentecost, this is how he rephrased (shown within brackets) the prophecy by Joel : ‘And afterward ( In the last days – Greek : eschatos means last or final ), I will pour out my Spirit on all people ( meaning even Gentiles ). Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants ( meaning even Jews), both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful (glorious) day of the Lord.’ (Joel 2 :28-31/ Acts 2:17-20)

The words ‘afterwards’ and ‘before’ signify a time frame within which these events would take place and Peter declared that it had begun on the day of Pentecost when the Spirit was poured upon the 120 in the upper room. The Apostles seem to have understood that the last days began with the dawn of the Church age and now we have reached the last hours of the last day. Interestingly, Peter wrote: ‘With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.’ ( 2 Peter 3:8-9) Joel was right in calling this period of time, the last ‘days’ because two ‘days’ or two thousands years have gone by since the outpouring in the Jerusalem and the Prophet Haggai was right too in prophesying : After two ‘days’ ( two thousand years) he will revive us, on the third ‘day’ ( third millennium ), he will restore us that we may live in His presence.’ ( Haggai 6:2)

Now that we have entered the third millennium, what are we to expect? Firstly, the outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh as prophesied by Joel and secondly, the ‘wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire, billows of smoke. The sun turning to darkness and the moon to blood’, before the second coming of Jesus. Obviously, we have no role to play in the manifestation of the signs and wonders but the outpouring of the Spirit requires our role in gathering and preparing the vessels, just as the 120 gathered in the Upper room and were constantly in prayer. ‘Therefore, prepare your minds for action, be self controlled …’ ( 1 Peter 1:13) ‘The end of all things is near. Therfore be clear minded and self controlled so that you can pray.’ ( 1 Peter 4:7)

The outpouring that began in Jerusalem has since been poured out upon many nations throughout the Church age and we will further witness the same before it finally culminates in Israel, as prophesied by Ezekiel : ‘When Gog attacks Israel, my hot anger will be aroused … I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains … I will make myself known in the sight of many nations … I will bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel … I will gather them to their own land, not leaving anyone behind …. I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.’ ( Ezekiel 38-39)

The ‘day of the Lord’ is a dreadful day for the world but it is a great and glorious day for the Church; for those who longed for his return. ‘He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.’ (Revelation 22:20)

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