Seldom do I go online that I am not reminded by various articles or postings by Christians on social media that we are living in the last days. Are we really? I want to answer that with a resounding, yes, we are. But I also want to qualify that answer with another question, “According to scripture, what period of time makes up the last days?
In his first epistle, the Apostle John wrote, “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” (I John 2:18).
We need to remember that John’s epistle was written well before 100 A.D. And in this letter, he tells us that it is the last hour. How did he know that it was the last hour? Because many antichrists had appeared.
Are we really living in the last days? Yes, we are, but the last days according to the Bible is that period of time between Christ’s Ascension and His Second Coming. Which means that the entire history of the Christian Church has been and will be played out in the last days.
Rather than playing guessing games as to when Christ will return, Jesus simply calls His people to occupy until He does return. To occupy entails a lot more than just taking up space. To occupy is a call to be faithfully about our Master’s business until He returns. Luke 6:37 says, “Blessed are those servants whom the master will find on the alert when he comes.” Luke follows that verse with these word from the Savior, “You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect” (Luke 6:40).
What is our Master’s business? One old hymn states it very clearly, “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying” or “Go therefore and make disciple of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
When one is serving in the military, and is given a direct order, they are called to follow that order until another arrives to take its place. Matthew 28:19-20, is Jesus last direct order to His church. And obeying that order is what is to occupy us until He returns.
Is He coming back? O yes, He’s coming back! And we are now 2000+ years closer to that day than when John wrote his epistle. Jesus could return tomorrow. Are you ready? John said that there will be those who will shrink away in shame at Christ’s appearing (I John 2:28) because they were not ready. But what if Jesus does not return for another 100 years? Then we are called to be about His business until He does return or takes us home through the natural process of death.
In that regard, some will continue to say, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (I Peter 3:4). Peter also responds to this by telling us that there is a reason that Jesus has not returned yet, he wrote, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (I Peter 3:1).
The angels who spoke to the disciples in Acts 1:11, said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
One day Jesus is returning, He won’t be late, He won’t be early. He will be right on time. And until He does return, we have a job to do, a commission to obey. Let’s not get distracted.