Another mountain of church tradition that so often blocks the way of would-be Levelers is the end-time phrase, “the last days.” It’s time to bring it low so the path is level. Here’s the dilemma in a nutshell.
In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus refers to the tribulation of those days being signaled by the abomination of desolation and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. That happened in 70 AD, as the Apostles were establishing the Church. A few years later, the Apostle John describes himself in Revelation 1:9 as a “companion in the tribulation.” From Jesus’ description of the tribulation traits, we recognize them now in our own time: wars, rumors of wars, pestilence, famine, persecution—you get the picture.
Some Church traditions point to a future time of tribulation in the last of the last days, but no one seems to be able to pin down exactly when that starts. So how do we scale this hilly terrain? How do we reconcile all of these views? By looking at the most telling trait—at its true color and shape.
It’s revealed in Acts 2. It was prophesied into the earth in Joel 2:28-32. What distinguishes the last days is the outpouring of the Spirit. It began in the Upper Room with the apostles and disciples. It continued as the Church established a foothold on the earth.
Is the Spirit still being poured out today? If you answer yes, then you automatically know that we are still in the last days. If you answer no, then you need to find two to three clear Scriptures that specifically say the Spirit is no longer given to new believers.
The bottom line is that we have an important border piece of the prophetic puzzle: the extended nature of the last days. The last days coincide with the Church Age, which has lasted for almost 2,000 years! Chances are this answer to the dilemma raises more questions for you.
Glad you asked! We’ll tackle those questions when we next “gather together.” What other questions come to mind for you?