John labels false teachers in the church as “antichrists,” and their deceptive teachings confirm that the “last days” have commenced.
The term “antichrist” occurs only in the second and third letters of John, and he applies the plural noun to deceivers that are causing dissension in his congregations. Their very presence constitutes irrefutable evidence that the “last days” have commenced. These troublemakers are “antichrists” and forerunners of the “Antichrist” who is to come.
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The New Testament warns of a future apostasy caused by deceivers that will precede the day of the Lord.
The New Testament warns repeatedly and consistently that before Jesus arrives at the end of the age the church will find itself under assault from within by deceivers. And before the “day of the Lord” comes, his disciples will be confronted by the “man of lawlessness,” a figure linked inextricably to the coming “apostasy.”
Continue reading THE COMING STORM
The commencement of the “last days,” the time of fulfillment, began following the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus.
When we hear the term “last days,” quite naturally, we assume it refers to the final short period of history just prior to the return of Jesus in glory. This is a logical assumption. Yet, the New Testament presents this period as the era of fulfillment that began with the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus. In him, the “ends of the ages” have come upon the people of God.
Continue reading A NEW AGE DAWNED
The outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost signaled the arrival of the “last days” – Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:17-21.
The application of the prophecy from Joel in Acts links the outpouring of the Spirit to the commencement of the “last days.” For the book, the Spirit’s activity and presence in the church are programmatic and foundational for its existence, from the Day of Pentecost until the return of Jesus.
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In the interim between Christ’s ascension and return, God has granted humanity the opportunity to repent.
In his second epistle, Peter explains the apparent “delay” in the return of Jesus from heaven. God is characterized by mercy and has no desire for anyone to perish. But the apostle even contends that the conduct of the church may “hasten” that day’s arrival. The relationship of men with God is dynamic, not static, and He responds eagerly to repentance.
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Jesus declared that the “end” will not come until this gospel of the kingdom is proclaimed to all nations.
When the future return of Jesus is discussed, the question naturally arises – What “signs” will precede it? Will its proximity be marked by wars, earthquakes, and other catastrophes? Fortunately, Jesus provided a definitive answer to this question – The completion of the church’s mission to testify to the whole earth.
Continue reading WITNESS TO ALL NATIONS