Meaning of "the Last Days"
The problem with most Christians is that when they hear “the last days” they automatically think of the days just before Christ’s return.
And the reason they think that is because the last days does mean the last days of human history just not the way most people think.
Generally speaking the last days refers to the entirety of the Messianic Age. The days of Christ’s Kingdom which began during His incarnation and continue today.
That’s because the days of Christ’s Kingdom are the last days of Redemption. Jesus has come, died, rose again, and ascended to the right hand of the Father where He will reign until all of His enemies are put under His feet which is Psalm 110:1, the most quoted verse in the NT.
Sometimes the last days is used to talk specifically about the last days of the Old Covenant. The last days before Jesus destroyed Jerusalem in AD70 through the Romans for rejecting and crucifying Him.
And the reason is the destruction of Jerusalem was the definitive proof Christ was seated at the right hand of the Father ruling over all things as King of kings and Lord of lords.
So the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 by the Romans showed once for all the days of the Messiah’s Kingdom and reign had come, hence the last days.
Let me give you just a few NT Examples:
Hebrews 1:1-2 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.
Hebrews says the last days are characterized by God speaking to us by His Son. He even says these are the last days, and the days he was talking about were the days he was writing in.
On the Day of Pentecost when Christ poured out the Spirit on the church as a sign that He was the promised Messianic King who, Peter said in Acts 2:16-17 “But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.”
Peter says this, Pentecost, was that, what was prophesied by the prophet Joel. The Holy Spirit is poured out on the church in the last days.
1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
John said the Antichrist is not one person but many, and that Antichrists were present in John’s day, and he even goes so far to say that it is the last hour.
One more. 2 Timothy 3:1-4 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
This is a favorite. You read this and say how can this not be right now. Look around. All the things he’s talking about are happening today!
This proves the last days Paul was talking about are the days we are currently living in.
But what does he say right after this? Avoid such people and they will not get very far for their folly will be plain to all.
Paul is saying the evil people of the last days are people Timothy Himself needs to avoid and people who will not get very far even though they are currently making Timothy’s ministry difficult.
Clearly, according to the NT the last days began with Christ’s incarnation and include the the entire Messianic Age. The time between Christ’s first coming and second coming.