Are These Days the Last Days?
Tom: Thanks, Gary. We have been going through Dave Hunt’s book, An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith. Today we will be discussing chapter 25, which asks the question: Are we living in the last days?
Now, Dave, first of all, what do you mean by the last days in this chapter?
Dave: Well, first of all, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been very specific in false prophecies. Christ “returned” way back in the 1800s; Armageddon was—the end of the world was coming and in 1914, they had a house, quite a large property that they’d built for the patriarchs, David and Abraham and so forth were going to come and live in this house in 1925. Then 1973 and 1975, and on and on it goes. So, they’ve been wrong so many times.
The Bible is never wrong, and the Bible is very specific. The last days—well, John tells us, “Now it is the last days.” We know it is the last days because there are many antichrists. Now he said, “We know antichrists will come” (this is 1 John:2:18), “We know antichrists will come.” The big guy is yet to come, but there’s a lot of little antichrists, and he goes on and explains in chapter 4 more of what that means.
So, apparently, the last days began with the rejection of Christ by His people. We are in an interim period between the 69th and the 70th week of Daniel, as the angel Gabriel explained to him. I think we’re in the last of the last days. The Bible uses “last days” in many ways. For example, Matthew:24:14, I think it is, says, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout all the world and then shall the end come.” Some people think that means the Rapture, so they think the gospel has to be preached everywhere before the Rapture.
But the Rapture is not the end, obviously. I think you read of the end in 1 Corinthians 15: “Then cometh the end when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to the Father.” So, that would be the end way down the line here, the consummation of all things. There are last days for Israel; there are last days for the church; the apostasy of the last days, and so forth. But we certainly are in the last of the last days, as far as the church age is concerned. We have all these signs out there.
Tom: Before you get into the signs, you begin the chapter talking about Peter’s address quoting Joel from the Old Testament. How is that significant with regard to the last days? He was saying something in his address that God would pour out His Spirit, but that wasn’t the last of the last days. How does that fit in?
Dave: Well, Joel talks about the last days. Peter confirmed that, and he said, you know, “It is written that in the last days I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams and so forth.” And then he said, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” So, whether that was just a partial fulfillment, which is often the case—there are double applications, and there is yet something ahead that will more fully fulfill this. Probably for Israel, there will be, just before Armageddon.
Tom: Now, Dave, let me pick up with Joel:2:30, because this is the part that Peter leaves out. He says, “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.”
Now there seem to be two things going on here. It almost sounds like Joel is talking about revival and Peter referring to that. But we have now great devastation, destruction.
Dave: Well, Jesus tells us of that in Matthew:24:29: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days”—so this is something after the great tribulation—“shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken,” and so forth. So, I believe what Peter left out was not fulfilled at that time. This is something yet future—the time of Jacob’s trouble, the great tribulation, and so forth, that Christ foretold, which the scriptures foretell, and Jesus gave some details about it. Amazing prophecy!
Matthew:24:22, where it says, “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.” Well, you couldn’t wipe out all flesh with bows and arrows and swords and spears, obviously, in those days—not even with the weapons of World War II, until they came up with a bomb, the atomic bomb, and we have even worse weapons now. So, Jesus is saying the day is coming when this world will have such horrible weapons if “I do not intervene and stop the destruction, there will be no flesh left.” Now, of course, that’s one of the indications that we could be really in the last of the last days.
Tom: Dave, but some might say, “Well wait a minute. Why couldn’t this be natural disasters? Why couldn’t this be God pouring out His wrath here as opposed to some kind of nuclear holocaust?”
Dave: Well, it doesn’t make sense—“except those days should be shortened.” If God is the one who is doing it, obviously, He can control it.
Tom: And Jesus wouldn’t step in to stop what God the Father is doing in His wrath. Right?
Dave: Right. Ezekiel tells us of this. Zechariah 12 tells us that Jesus comes to intervene, but that’s an amazing prophecy. Nobody could have understood that until the present day.
Tom: So, as I read through your chapter, one of the points of this chapter is that although there have been scoffers around, saying, “Well, this, you know, you keep looking for His coming, and they’ve been saying this from the get go.” Dave, some would say, “Yeah, but we have two thousand years. You were talking about the last days, and now it’s two thousand years later.” But the point you make in this chapter is that there are signs saying this is—that there was no generation before this that these signs could be applicable to this.
Dave: Yeah, all the signs have converged.
Tom: Can we go through those? You started with one.
Dave: Israel back in her land, of course, is one of them. She doesn’t have to be there for the Rapture. There are no signs, no preconditions, for the Rapture. Christ always could have come at any moment. The signs are for the Second Coming. Let’s just explain that very briefly. At the Rapture, He comes for His church, takes us to heaven. His feet do not touch the Mount of Olives. First Thessalonians 4, beginning at verse , “ . . . and the dead in Christ shall rise first: we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Obviously, this is what Jesus was talking about in John 14: “I’m going to go away and prepare a place for you. If I go away I’ll come again and receive you unto myself into my Father’s house of many mansions. . . . ”
So, it’s quite clear: at the Rapture He comes for His own, his bride, the church, and He does not come to this earth. We are caught up—there’s a resurrection, we are caught up to meet Him in the air, and then we go to be with the Lord, “. . . so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
At the Second Coming, His feet touch the Mount of Olives, no doubt about that. The angel—two angels, actually—told the disciples that. When Jesus ascended from the Mount of Olives, they said, “This same Jesus that you have seen go into heaven shall so come in like manner.” And Zechariah 14 says when His feet touch the Mount of Olives, He brings all the saints from heaven with Him.
So, if He brought all the saints from heaven with Him, He must have taken them up there—that’s the Rapture! They didn’t climb up there on their own; they have no way of getting up there. So, we have two events, actually—the Rapture and the Second Coming. Now, somebody says, “Well, but where does it say that?”
Well, where did it say there were two comings in the Old Testament? You couldn’t find it, no verse, but you couldn’t put in one event and one time frame what the Old Testament said. It said the Messiah would “rule on the throne of His father David; of His kingdom and peace there would be no end.” Yet, it said He would be cut off out of the land of the living. He is coming as a Lamb to die. No, He is coming as the Lion of the tribe of Judah to execute judgment. So, you had to know that there would be two comings.
Tom: Right. Dave, just to add to that, you’re talking about prophecy here, and these signs that you’re talking about, these are prophetic signs. Now if all—right down to the last detail—all of the prophecies with regard to the First Coming happened in every way, then we can have some confidence that these prophecies that we are going to talk about are going to take place just as they did for the First Coming.
Dave: Absolutely. So, these signs—well, in fact, chapter 24:33: “So likewise ye when ye shall see all these things know that it [that is, His coming] is near, even at the doors.” In fact, anybody would know that the Second Coming is about to occur. Revelation 19 says the Antichrist knows. He goes out with his armies to meet the Lord coming back from heaven! So, you would know, absolutely. But go to verse 44: “Therefore, be ye also ready, for in such an hour as you think not, the Son of man cometh.” Now, that couldn’t be the same event.
So, the Rapture, He comes as . . . it surprises everyone! And in Luke:12:35, somewhere around there, He says, “Let your loins be girded, your lights burning. Be ready to greet your master.” And He says, “Watch and wait and be ready, for such an hour as you think not.”
Tom: And so, this is imminent, any time.
Dave: Any moment, the Rapture could occur. [But] the Second Coming—all the signs have to be fulfilled.
Tom: Now you mentioned the return of the Jews to their land, the restoration of Israel, which was prophesied, many prophecies, but Ezekiel certainly talked about that. So, that took place in 1948, incredible prophecy.
Dave: That’s one of many.
Tom: Then you mentioned the Antichrist. Could that have happened before? There had been John . . . you quoted John, “There are many antichrists.”
Dave: Well, Revelation 13 very clearly says that this Antichrist will control all banking and commerce with a number. That’s an amazing prophecy. You couldn’t have understood that. Today, of course, we live in a day when that is possible. In fact, we are moving in the direction where that will be the case. So, once more we have a prophecy that we have seen fulfilled in these days. We have apostasy today like we have never seen before in the history of the church. We have professing Christians who are not Christian. We have almost two billion professing Christians in the world today, almost a third in the world’s population. Most of them are not Christians—they bring reproach upon the name of Christ. We’ve written a number of books about that. We have pastors who don’t even believe in God, Catholic priests and bishops and pastors, Protestant pastors and ministers. You have an ecumenical movement that is preparing for this world church that the Bible foretells.
Tom: Dave, let me just jump in here a second. When you say something like that, I know the hair stands up on some people, or people turn off their radio. But, we’ve said this before—it’s very simple. If you are a Christian, you say and do what Jesus taught. You have God’s Word, and so it’s not a tough criterion for deciding . . . if somebody claims to be a Christian, but they are contradicting Jesus’s own words and His book. . . .
Dave: Well, you have the Jesus Seminar—biblical scholars, they claim to be. They don’t believe that the Bible tells us what Jesus said and did. They sit around and vote about it. You had the Peter Jennings TV special, you remember? “Search for the Historic Jesus,” and he has so-called Christians, Catholic priests among them, and Protestant theologians. They don’t believe what the Bible says. They overlook the eyewitness record of people who were there, inspired of the Holy Spirit and recording it, and they’re out on some kind of a search. So, if the Bible doesn’t tell us who Jesus is, who is He?
Tom: And, again, the point—call yourself anything else. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but don’t call yourself a Christian. Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed,” so anyway . . .
Dave: Right. Very, very clear what the Bible says, and we have . . . well, you have to have an authority. We haven’t been there; we don’t know what lies beyond the grave and so forth. If God has not spoken and this is not God’s Word, then forget it! But these guys don’t believe that, and yet they are the leaders in seminaries. There is an increasing skepticism. I mean, you could take, for example, Harvard: it began in 1636 to train evangelical ministers. Totally atheistic today—all of our original universities were Christian. You know, the YMCA, the YWCA—they are not Christian anymore but they started out that way.
So, we live in an apostasy, and then the ecumenical movement—the pope is gathering all religions together. This has never occurred in the history of the world, the history of the church. Never! And the big move today is, let’s all unite, get all the religions together. You just had the largest gathering of religious leaders at the United Nations a year ago. Then you have the intent of the world to unite. In fact, I think we’ve probably talked about it, I remember the advertisement in Scientific American by Lockheed. They had a picture of the Tower of Babel, and they said, “We are undoing the Babel effect with our computers,” because God said, “Whatever they imagine, they will be able to perform.” And their imagination is evil. He confounded the languages and scattered them.
Now, the big thrust today, everywhere, is we must all speak the same language, and we must all unite, the world has to unite. So, we have a movement that you can’t stop, the multi-national corporations are a large part of it. This world is fast becoming one world, and the framework is all there for a man to step in and take control.
And again, I don’t know whether we’ve talked about it on this program, but I believe there’s only one event that could unite the world; that is the Rapture. When . . . I don’t know how many, a hundred million, fifty million even—that’s a very small percentage of two billion who claim to be Christians—if there are fifty million real Christians and they suddenly vanish in the Rapture, that would create terror like we can’t even imagine. Who took them? Where did they go? Why wasn’t I taken? Will I be next? Whoever took them, are they going to come back for me? you know. And, the world would be united against a common terror that they don’t even understand. Nothing else could possibly unite them, and I believe it’s at that moment that the Antichrist arises, or very shortly. Within hours, the United Nations is meeting in an emergency session. They don’t know what happened, and this man could very well be, he would say, in touch with an intergalactic council, and it’s some rogue civilization that snatched . . . You know, we believe this sort of thing today. It’s entirely possible—not just science fiction—and he’s negotiating to get them back. And in the meantime, you take his mark. That will be the pledge that you won’t be taken. He’s working to prevent this. People would line up . . . I’m not saying this is the scenario, but we live in a day when that scenario could very well be lived out.
Tom: Dave, one of these signs is that the Antichrist—he will be worshiped. So now we have, as another sign, in these days in which you would expect science to have taken over, materialism to have taken over—we have a new spirituality, and people are going to worship this man. Jesus said, “Watch out that no man deceives you.”
Dave: Well, we have very intelligent people worshiping gurus from the East—at least I thought they were intelligent, as highly educated.
Dave: This man, who 2 Thessalonians:2:4 says “. . . will sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” You would think nobody would believe that sort of thing—maybe some mystics off in India. No, we have the whole idea today, or a great deal of mankind is involved in self-realization, to realize that we really are God. We even have Charismatics teaching that we are little gods and so forth. So, it’s a very short step for this man—if he would have a display of power, as the Bible says he would, the power of Satan, to do lying signs and wonders—it would be a small step to believe that this man is God, and the whole world will worship the dragon, it says, Satan, and we are very close to that.
Tom: Dave, we just have about a minute-and-a-half left. At the end of the chapter you talk about “How then should we live?” This really affects . . . the whole point of you having a chapter like this is what message we are to present to the world in view of all of this. What would that be?
Dave: Well, Peter tells us, 2 Peter 3, “Seeing then that all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be? In all holy conversation and godliness.” I believe the time is very short. Well, then, I don’t have time to clean up my act. I don’t have time to “maybe some day get around to witnessing to someone.” There should be some sense of urgency for us, and the scripture says, 1 John 2, that we “not be ashamed before him at his coming.” We want to glorify our Lord. We want to live for Him and serve Him. We want to live for eternity. This life is very short. It’s not only short because we might die, and you could possibly put that off—go to a low-fat diet or whatever, you know, maybe extend your life span a few months, but when the Rapture occurs, there is no putting off of that. Now that is going to happen when Christ comes back. So I think that there is a real sense of urgency for holiness in our lives, living for the Lord, and witnessing for Him.
Tom: And pointing out that we are sinners—that we are accountable. And I think that really runs against the grain of what we are hearing in the church. It’s all sort of “positive,” but there are things that people have to address—sin in their life. And the only one who can deal with that sin is our Lord, which He did on the cross, fully—He paid that penalty.
Dave: The first event after the Rapture is the Judgment Seat of Christ, where we will all appear, and our works will be reviewed and many of them will be burned up by fire. He will wipe the tears from our eyes, it says. Well, may God help us to live as He would have us live and in the way that would make us happiest the last 30 seconds of our lives.
Tom: Right, because salvation is in Him, it’s not by our works. Those are for rewards and to please Him, who has done it all for us.
Dave: As the scripture ends, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”