Updated: May 15, 2019
There’s a saying I remember from years ago that went like this:
If you’re born once you’ll die twice,
but if you’re born twice, you’ll only die once.
I’ll just let you ponder that for a bit. Got it? If you’re born only once, that is, from your mother’s womb you’re going to die twice, a natural death first, and then after judgement, a spiritual death (Rev 21:8). Two deaths.
However, if you’re born twice, first a natural birth, and then later born-again spiritually, you’ll only ever die once – that is, a natural death (unless you’re alive to be Raptured). For you there’ll be no “second death” (Rev 20:6). Two births but only one death.
It’s a good little lead-up to evangelizing because it makes people think. A kind of spiritual puzzle. If someone doesn’t get it, hopefully they’ll ask you what it means, and hey presto – you’re off and running to witness about the need for the second birth in Christ. I’ve used it quite a few times.
In the same vein the other day I was pondering another puzzle, about the mish-mash of current Last Days teachings, and how confusing a lot of opinions there are about the Rapture, the Second Coming, etc. As I was thinking about it all, the Holy Spirit arrested my attention as if to say, “But what about THE last day?”
My mind went into top gear trying to recall that particular phrase “the last day”. I knew it rang a bell, so I looked it up in Scripture and of course there it was, repeated five times by Jesus.
This is the will of Him who sent me, that of all that He has given me I lose nothing but raise it up on the last day. John 6:39
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I myself will raise him up on the last day. John 6:40
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:44
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:54
He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. John 12:48
So, I got to thinking about what that LAST day would be like, not necessarily in terms of how it might happen or when, but along the lines of there’s actually going to be A DAY that is the very final one. Imagine that for a moment; after thousands of years of God working through His people, He will bring it all to a point, a conclusion on a final day appointed before eternity.
Through all the good and bad in the history of God’s dealings with us, there will come a point when it will all be concluded and come to a purposed ending, a culmination when all injustice, all wrongs, every falsehood and every corruption will be judged and dealt with. Quite an astonishing thought. Even a little scary.
John is the only writer in the NT to use the expression "the last day". It highlights a very significant fact, that Jesus the Messiah will be at work right up to the very last day, hour and moment of time (as we know it). That’s not just something we would want to happen, it’s also very comforting. Total justice will at last prevail.
So, this “last day” acts as a kind of glimpse into the celestial workings, opening to us the awesome truth of a day of final reckoning for all people. A time, “day” when everything will be gathered together in a designated “place” when the Great and Awesome Judge begins the judicial process that even the unsaved are vaguely aware of.
If we take the Jewish (and therefore Biblical) concept of time as a template, with a new day beginning at sunset (rather than our western idea of it being midnight or perhaps sun-rise), we come up with an intriguing thought. If Scripture refers to the “last day” then presumably this means that it begins at sunset, probably at the very start of a future Day of Atonement.
In the calendar of the Feasts of YHWH the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is the sixth feast and the most solemn and revered day in the Hebrew calendar. Hence this special day will most likely become the very “last day” of this present wicked dispensation. It will be a climatic finish to man’s rebelliousness when even the earth itself will be subject to awesome changes.
Isa 34:4 The valleys will be split, all the stars in the heavens will fall down, and the skies will be rolled up like a scroll. All their starry host will fade away like leaves withering on a vine, or fruit withering on a fig tree.
Rev 6:13-14 The stars in the sky fell to the earth like a fig tree drops its fruit when it is shaken by a strong wind. The sky vanished like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place.
Forget for a moment about “climate change”, this climatic change will be a universal upheaval of staggering proportions!
The “rolling up like a scroll” is in direct contrast to YHWH “stretching out the heavens like a curtain” (e.g. see Psa 104:2 and Isa 40:22). God who at the Beginning opened things up, will at the End roll them up and close them. He opens up and closes up. What lovely yet awesome imagery.
In Jewish teaching the Day of Atonement is recognized as the end of one time period in preparation for the beginning of another better one. Atonement is the day for the settling of accounts between God and man. It will literally be the very final day when all is brought before the Lord for a judgement.
When speaking of the resurrection, Paul writes that Christ will come with "those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power" (1 Cor 15:24)
He then goes on to speak of the resurrection of the dead in a form in which the righteous will be raised "imperishable". In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, in the last trumpet, for it shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Cor 15:52).
The New Testament encourages us by consistently reiterating the truth that when Jesus does return all evil will be finally defeated and the redeemed ones will know the fullness of life everlasting. But prior to that wonderful moment, a certain day, pre-ordained and determined by the Godhead, has been set.
Though God has overlooked those times of ignorance, he now commands everyone everywhere to repent, because he has set a day when he is going to judge the world with justice through a man whom he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead. Acts 17:30-31
So, brothers and sisters, despite all the increasing persecution in its various forms, all the media and political attacks that affront us, and the prophesied apostasy of many “churches” as they applaud things like same-sex marriage, and the lukewarmness of many believers, take heart. Remember that God our Father will take care of His own in these troubled times. Jesus repeatedly said that those the Father "has given" him he will "raise up at the last day".
All is according to plan. These are still days of opportunity, days when people can put their trust in the crucified and risen Lord and enter into salvation. Yes, a day has been set but until then we must be at work, and whether we’re physically alive when the Last Day comes or not, it will surely arrive right on time, precisely as purposed by our Father.
Hebrews tells us that "in these last days he (God) has spoken to us by his Son" (Heb 1:2) and Peter says that Christ "was revealed in these last times for your sake" (1 Pet 1:20).
The meaning clearly is that something grand and eternal had happened in New Testament times compared to what occurred in much earlier Biblical ages. Not only that, this same wonderful work of God is still gathering momentum, even in our age and will continue into the future unto the very “last day”.
The point these passages make is to declare that God is at work in our time, right here and now. As His people we’re to keep in mind that whatever happens in our lives and in the world around us, God is working out His grand purpose. In this spirit the psalmist prays, "Show me O Lord my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is" (Psa 39:4).
So, saints let’s redeem the time when and how we can, not being slack about the things of God, and looking forward with great expectancy when He shall come again. The “day” has been set – and it may not be that very far off.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus!
The Issachar Ministry