The term LAST DAYS as taught in the N.T. refers to the time of the end of old heavens and earth cosmological order epitomized in the Jewish Age and animal blood sacrifice system, not the end of time. It was the time of Christ, involving His first and second comings, which includes the transition period between AD 30 and AD 70 (Heb.1:2).
“16But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17And it shall come to pass in the LAST DAYS, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in THOSE DAYS; And they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:16-18; fulfilling Joel 2:28-32).
The LAST DAYS are the days at the end of the Jewish age, also called THIS AGE. Those days ended at the second coming Parousia ofChrist, concluding in AD 70. The resurrection and the judgments were completed in the LAST DAYS during the Parousia of Christ.
During the LAST DAYS there were perilous times for the first century saints. They suffered much persecution from the Jews and Romans, and many were killed (2 Tim. 3:1).
Many scoffers came forward in the LAST DAYS doubting that the Lord would come soon, but they were taken by surprise when the Lord returned in AD 66-70, and judgment was brought upon them (2 Pet. 3:3).
The apostle John wrote 1 John in c. AD 61 that the LAST DAYS were actually nearing the END and the time was so short that he told his readers that they were in THE LAST HOUR in 1 John 2:18, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know it is the last hour” (NKJV).
He knew what signs Jesus had given to him and to the other apostles regarding these Last Days (Matthew 24). And as John looked around at the signs occurring in his world, he knew the time of the ending of the Last Days was getting very, very close. So seeing the Last Days were about to end, he abandoned that term for the more imminent term “the last hour.”
John was warning his children, his followers, that the Last Days were about over! He was really encouraging them to hold on a little longer! They were so near to the ending of the Last Days that he said, “It is the last hour!” AND TO BE SURE THEY GOT HIS POINT, HE SAID IT TWICE IN THE SAME VERSE: “It is the last hour”! So, if in John’s day, c. AD 61, it was “the last hour” of the Last Days, it is impossible that 2,000 years later we are still living in the Last Days! If we are still in the Last Days, then no longer are we talking about just stretching out the Last Days for 2,000 years. Now we are talking about stretching out “the last hour” for 2,000 years. Untenable! No, the last days ended in AD 70 consummating with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Old Covenant temple.
After AD 70, we are now living in the “Age to Come,” which was the description given by Christ and the apostles before AD 70 for the time in which the New Covenant gospel spiritual Kingdom would be fully established and functioning forever on earth. Believers and unbelievers live physically on earth in this “Age to Come.” Sin is still present (Matt. 12:32), but salvation has been consummated by Christ and eternal life in the afterlife in heaven is secure for all faithful believers once they physically die and leave this world. The spiritual New Covenant Kingdom is also fully established, consisting of all born-again believers, who are still alive on earth.
一[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 15 Lesson 2 Revelation Last Days and The Judgment”]