This is about the phrase “the last days” in Isaiah 2:2 and Acts 2:17.  When I first studied the Bible, I thought it referred to end times.  It didn’t make sense to me because if that’s what the Bible meant, then it seemed like a weird time to inaugurate the Church.  But since I didn’t know any better, I just took it in faith.  Fast forward many years and I’ve come to believe that the phrase actually means “the last days” of the Jewish age; in other words, the years between Jesus’ crucifixion and the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.  I’ve since opted for this view when I thought it may have some sort of connection with the phrase “these last days” in Hebrews 1:2.  I thought it was significant since the Book of Hebrews seems to anticipate the end of Judaism.  Obviously, that’s just my idea, but it seems compelling to me.  Please let me know your thoughts.


I believe you may be right.   For what it is worth, I do not agree.  My opinion is that “these last days” refers to the “church age.”   I believe it is the last period of dispensation before Jesus comes back and brings all things to completion.  The “last days” are right now.   It makes sense that the “last days” are, in fact, the last days (in other words, now).   When the Hebrew writer says “in these last days he has spoken to us” the “us” to whom he is speaking is the church, not the unrepentant Jews.  So the ones who are in the last days are those of us living since the death and resurrection of Jesus.  When Peter tells the crowd at Pentecost that the “last days” mentioned in Joel 2:28-32 have arrived, he is not speaking in context about the end of Judaism, but of the start of the Church.  Also, if you look at Isaiah 2:2 it is a prophecy of things which have already happened.  The New Covenant has already gone out from Jerusalem, and many nations have already come to the kingdom (Isaiah 2:3).  It is hard to see that this could be a description of the end of Judaism.  Therefore, I believe that right now–the time when the Kingdom of God has been revealed in the Church–is the “last days.”

Having said that, I believe that your interpretation is not ruled out.  It makes some sense as the Hebrew writer makes his comment right at the very end of the Jewish dispensation–immediately before the destruction of Jerusalem.  Further support to your theory (even though I do not agree with it) can be found in Hebrews 8:13 in which the Hebrew writer tells us that the first covenant is in its last days.  Bottom line, both Acts 2:17 and Hebrews 1:2 are written at a time when the Old Covenant was literally in its last days.  To me your explanation makes some sense.  Even if I do not agree I find it to be interesting.

What I can say is that whether your understanding is correct or whether my understanding is correct, the common evangelical premillennial interpretation that the “last days” refer to some future time of Armageddon and the rapture and the millennial reign of Jesus is certainly false.   I honestly do not know if you are right, but I am sure you are right to reject the premillennial doctrine that the kingdom will be inaugurated at a future date when Jesus comes back.  Like both Jesus and John said, the Kingdom of God was “at hand,” not at some future date thousands of years in the future.  And like the Hebrew writer implied, he was writing during “these” last days.  For him, the last days were not at some future time.  I would say that what you discovered is that the premillennial interpretation that the “last days” are still in the future is not correct, but I would suggest for your consideration a slightly different interpretation, which is that the last days began at Pentecost and will end when Jesus returns, bringing in the new heaven and the new earth

John Oakes

Comments are closed.