St Athanasius On the Incarnation [46

THE LAST DAYS

As we began to see in the preceding chapter, the period spoken of in the Bible as "the last days" (or "last times" or "last hour") is the period between Christ's birth and the destruction

Jerusalem. The early church was living at the end of the old age and the beginning of the new. This whole period must be considered as the time of Christ's First Advent. In both the _Old and New Testament, the promised destruction of Jerusalem is considered to be an aspect of the work of Christ, intimately connected to His work of redemption. His life, death, resurrection, ascension, outpouring of the Spirit, and judgment on Jerusalem are all parts of His one work of bringing in His Kingdom and creating His new Temple (see, for example, how Daniel 9:24-27 connects the atonement with the destruction of the Temple).

Let's consider how the Bible itself uses these expressions about the end of the age. In 1 Timothy 4:1-3, Paul warned:

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

Was Paul talking about "latter times" which would happen thousands of years later? Why should he warn Timothy of events which Timothy, and Timothy's great-greatgrandchildren, and fifty or more generations of descendants, would never live to see? In fact, Paul tells Timothy, "If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ" (1 Tim. 4:6). The members of Timothy's congregation needed to know about what would take place in the "latter days," because they would be personally affected by those events. In particular, they needed the assurance that the coming apostasy was part of the overall pattern of events leading up to the end of the old order and the full establishing of Christ's Kingdom. As we can see from passages such as Colossians 2:18-23, the "doctrines of demons" Paul warned of were current during the first century. The "latter times" were already taking place. This is quite clear in Paul's later statement to Timothy:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come; for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so also do these resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith (2 Tim. 3:1-8).

The very things Paul said would happen in "the last days" were happening as he wrote, and he was simply warning Timothy about what to expect as the age wore on to its climax. Antichrist was beginning to rear its head.

Other New Testament writers shared this perspective with Paul. The letter to the Hebrews begins by saying that God "has in these last days spoken to us in His Son" (Heb. 1:2); the writer goes on to show that "now once at the end of the ages He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb. 9:26). Peter wrote that Christ "was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for you who through Him are believers in God" (1 Pet. 1:20-21). Apostolic testimony is unmistakably clear: when Christ came, the "last days" arrived with Him. He came to bring in the new age of the Kingdom of God. The old age was winding down, and would be thoroughly abolished when God destroyed the Temple.

How To Survive The End Of The World

How To Survive The End Of The World

Preparing for Armageddon, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Strikes, the Zombie Apocalypse, and Every Other Threat to Human Life on Earth. Most of us have thought about how we would handle various types of scenarios that could signal the end of the world. There are plenty of movies on the subject, psychological papers, and even survivalists that are part of reality TV shows. Perhaps you have had dreams about being one of the few left and what you would do in order to survive.

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