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Biblical Terms for the Coming End of Man's Age

Some biblical terms have a considerably broader application than the 3-½ year time of crisis immediately preceding Jesus Christ's return.

The Last Hour

The apostle John, writing in the first century, used the expression "the last hour" in referring to his day: "Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour" (1 John 2:18).

Like others in his day, John likely thought Jesus Christ's return was imminent (Acts 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18). But God has a considerably different perspective of time. A day with Him is like 1,000 years and 1,000 years as one day (2 Peter 3:8; compare Psalm 90:4).

John did warn us to be on the lookout for "antichrists," a term used for any professing to be like Christ but actually working against Him. A trend that began in John's day will continue to the time of the end, when this false representation of Jesus Christ and His teaching will grow worse.

The Latter Times

Paul, Peter, John and Jude use the terms last days, last time and last times to describe the final part of man's era. Paul warned Timothy that some Christians would leave the truth of God at the time of the end. He called this general future period the "latter times": "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith" (1 Timothy 4:1).

End of the Ages

Hebrews 9:26 uses the phrase "end of the ages" to depict the period from Jesus' sacrifice to His second coming. Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us: "God … has in these last days spoken to us by His Son."

Last Times

Notice Peter's words: "He … was manifest [visible] in these last times for you" (1 Peter 1:20). John says: "Little children, it is the last time [because] many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last time" (1 John 2:18, King James Version).

Note that Jude also uses the term "last time": "… Remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit" (Jude 17-19).

The Latter Days

The expression "latter days" (Daniel 10:14) can include the "time of the end" (Daniel 11:35), a period leading up to and including the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21). The context of these words and phrases reveals their meaning.

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