1. Are we living in the last days? If we are, what does the Bible say about the last days?
a. Is 2:2-4 2 In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. 3 Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
i. This passage says that the last days will be a time of peace
b. Mt 24:1-7 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
i. This passage tells us the complete opposite!!!
c. How do we make sense of this?
i. It has everything to do with having a braai
1. At a braai there are three groups of people:
a. Those who smell the meat cooking
b. The one who does the cooking
c. Those who eat the meal
2. Those who smell the meat cooking won’t necessarily taste it because they aren’t invited. This group is like the prophets who ‘smelled’ what the last days would be like, but they didn’t experience it
3. the chef has a ‘taste’ but that doesn’t satisfy until he has the meal.
We have a taste of the last days, but it will only reach fruition when Jesus returns
d. We live in a tension of the Kingdom of God ‘already’ (a taste) being here, while at the same time, ‘not yet’ being (completely) here.
! 2. Some verses to back this up
i. Already: Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
ii. Not Yet: 1 Co 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
- Redemption i. Already: Eph 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
ii. Not Yet: Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
- Adoption i. Already: Ro 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
ii. Not Yet: Ro 8:23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
- Justification i. Already: Ro 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
ii. Not yet: Ga 5:5 But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.
3. What do we learn from this?
a. God doesn’t have a problem with this tension
b. We can understand why “Kingdom Now” and “Word of Faith” doctrines are so popular
i. Kingdom now / Dominion Theology
1. God lost control of the earth when satan convinced Adam and Eve to sin
2. God is now needing us to reclaim the earth from satan
3. therefore, we need to have Christians in parliament etc
ii. word of Faith doctrine
1. typified by ‘name it and claim it’ / health and wealth theology
2. Faith is expressed by what we say and not so much by who we believe in
4. What’s the point?
a. Don’t be led astray
i. Focussing on one extreme leads to a lopsided Christianity:
1. focussing on ‘already’ only leads us to believe that everything MUST go well for every Christians. Suffering and Sickness are not for children of God
2. focussing on ‘not yet’ only leads us to not trust God for healing or breakthrough. We could be tempted to think that it is God’s will for us to not be healed.
ii. A correct understanding is “because of the ‘already’ we experience the power of the resurrection; because of the ‘not yet’ we identify with Christ in his sufferings.
b. Don’t be discouraged
i. Because you are struggling, it is not because God has forgotten you .. I’ts because we are living in the ‘not yet’