“Now, once at the end of the ages, Christ has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb 9.24). The NT is peppered such language, indicating that the apostles and the first generation Christians were living in the “last days,” at the “end of the age,” and at the dawning of the “world to come” (see, e.g., Heb 1.2; 1 Pet 1.20; James 5.3; 1 John 2.18; Acts 2.16-17; Heb 2.3-5; 6.5; 1 Cor 7.31; 1 Pet 4.7). As moderns, we assume these verses must be referring to future events, because after all, we are here, and that means neither the world nor time have ended. And we therefore assume that the apostles must have been mistaken in their timing. Skeptics and liberal theologians have had a field day with that, and it has been one of the main reasons that they have rejected Jesus and the Bible as phony, for they know you cannot get around the multiple, straightforward assurances that the last days and the end of the age and the dawning of the world to come were occurring in the first century. In this sermon, I want to draw some biblical threads together so we can understand what the apostles meant when they said these things. I want to show you that if we are careful, prayerful Bible students, there is no need to for these things to upset us, for we will see that indeed the apostles were living in the last days (the last days of the OT, Jewish economy), they were living at the end of the age (the end of the OT age), and they were living at the dawning of the world to come (the dawning of the NT world governed by the ascended Lord Jesus Christ). And we will see that the apostles were not engaging in poetic hyperbole when they used such language, for when Jesus ascended to the throne of God, heaven and earth changed forever. Nothing will ever be the same.
Click the play button to listen to 'The Last Days, the End of the Age, and the World to Come' by Alan Burrow.