When somebody asks me, "Are we in the last days?" I would think that what they mean is, "Are we in the time prior to the Rapture of the Church or the second coming of Jesus Christ?" These are two distinct events.
You cannot just say yes or no. So I will say, "Yes, and I don't know."
We have been in the last days since the first advent of Christ. And so the Scriptures tell us that we are to be living in the spirit of diligence and of vigilance from the time that Jesus departed this planet in clouds of glory until he returns. But when people ask me, "Are we living in the last days?" I think they are asking if we "Are we living in the last minutes of the last hour of the last day?"
So the question is, "Do I think that the return of Jesus is close; is it on the horizon?"
When Luther went through all of the turbulent upheaval of the Christian church in the sixteenth century, he was convinced that the fragmentation of the church at that time was heralding the return of Jesus. But Luther was wrong in that respect
Jonathan Edwards, living in the middle of the eighteenth century, shortly before this nation was formed as a republic, reflected on the way in which religion had declined from 1620 to 1750. He was convinced that the world was going to the dogs and that it was running out of time, that Jesus was going to come any minute. Edwards, too, was wrong.
I can say without a doubt, however, that we're about 450 years closer to it than Luther was and 235 years closer to it than Edwards was. There is a lot of "Stuff" going on in the world todayand that tells me a couple of things.
- First, in the days that we are living as Christians, we need to spending time in God's Word develpoping our personal relationship with Him; making sure our house is in order.
- Second, we need to be rebuilding walls that have been torn down; making sure God's House is in order.
As Nehemiah told those rebuilding the walls, to work with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other. That would be equal to us reading the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other.