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Signs and Wonders - Right Before the End? #35054
Sun Jan 28, 2007 7:57 AM
Sun Jan 28, 2007 7:57 AM
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Robin Offline OP
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And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions... (Joel 2:28)


Quote
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams (Acts 2:17)


Question:

For at least the past 150-200 years many people have been convinced that they were living in "the last days". But is that what is actually being said in the Scriptures quoted above? That right before the second coming, prophetic dreams and visions will be happening again?

One answer (please add your own!):

Peter is quoting the prophecy of Joel in Acts 2:17. Peter says, "this is the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy!" So Peter must have been alive in "the last days," right?

We see other references to "last days" being described in present terms by first century writers! The writer of Hebrews says "in these last days God has spoken to us in His Son... (Hebrews 1:2)," and the Apostle John wrote, "Children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour (1 John 2:18)." (oh by the way, that's the verse just before the one I quoted earlier - "they went out from us, but they were not really of us..." - the ideas are connected. But that's a whole 'nother issue.

From these Scriptures we get the idea that "these last days" and "the last hour" were about 2,000 years ago! Or at the very least the "last days" were already underway that long ago.

The term "last days" and "last hour" do not necissarily refer to the end of the human race on earth, but often the term refers to the last days of the Old Covenant! Jesus said that terrible judgment would fall upon His own generation. He said that God would send that single generation" prophets and wise men and scribes" whom they would kill and crucify and persecute from city to city, in order that "upon you may fall the guilt of all righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah... Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation (Matthew 23:34-36)." See also Matthew 16:28 and 24:34.

The Last Days began with Christ's advent and ended, at least in the sense of the Old Covenant, in 70 A.D. when Jesus' Olivet prophecy (Matthew 23-24) was fulfilled (though some elements remain yet future). The siege and destruction of Jerusalem was so awesome that it took about 8 months to bury all the dead and burn the weapons of war. Blood ran up to the horse's bridles in the streets of Jerusalem at the peak of the slaughter of thousands of Jews by the Roman army.

The Charismatic gifts ended after 70 A.D. when the warnings they signified had come to pass. The Temple destroyed, animal sacrifice permanently ended, and the last vestiges of the Old Covenant were swept away. From then until Christ's second advent, there are no charismatic gifts. The "last days" are the last days of the Jewish Old Covenant - and the "first days" of the New Covenant, in which Israel was hugely multiplied by the addition of Gentile believers to the covenant.

There are other good answers to the question of "what are 'the last days' really?" Obviously in one sense they were already underway when the New Testament was being written. Yet in another sense, what was "last day" about days that came and went nearly two millennia ago?

Jesus said, "I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:40,44,54)" referring to believers. I know a lot of believers who have died physically and are still dead. So obviously there is a "last day" yet future.

But since Peter on the day of Pentecost said, "this ("that you see and hear") is that about which the prophet Joel wrote (quoted), it isn't possible to conclude that signs and wonders will reappear "right before the Second Coming."

Peace out,
Robin

Re: Signs and Wonders - Right Before the End? [Re: Robin] #35055
Sun Jan 28, 2007 8:54 AM
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Robin,

I also remember back in those days that when I criticized any of their "signs" the pat answer was, "Don't you think God is powerful enough to do miracles?" I always answered them with, "God is powerful enough to do the impossible but the question is not 'What can God do' but 'What does God do'".

Sola Scriptura!

Denny

Romans 3:22-24


Denny

Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." [John 6:68]
Re: Signs and Wonders - Right Before the End? [Re: Adopted] #35056
Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:30 PM
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There are also those that say that the devil can perform signs and wonders as well.. so we were supposed to sort out who actually performed the sign or wonder (that didn't actually happen anyway.)
Michele

Re: Signs and Wonders - Right Before the End? [Re: MHeath] #35057
Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:14 PM
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MHeath said:
There are also those that say that the devil can perform signs and wonders as well.. so we were supposed to sort out who actually performed the sign or wonder (that didn't actually happen anyway.)
Michele

I remember being taught that there were some who had "the gift of discernment" who could tell us whether a "word" or a sign was really from God or not. But then, how did anyone know they were telling the truth?

Scripturally, though, it was called "discerning spirits," not discernment, and the difference is profound. The sign gift of discerning spirits was the ability to "see" (or discern) angels or other stuff in the spiritual realm. An example would be Stephen's vision as he was being stoned to death, or Elija's prayer for God to open Elisha's eyes to see the angelic army protecting the two of them (2nd Kings 6:16-17).

Discernment is the inheritance of every Christian, and it has nothing to do with seeing angels and other visions. It is the inward familiarity of the regenerate with their Father. Jesus described it this way:
Quote
...the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him because they do not know the voice of strangers (John 10:3-5 NASB, emphasis mine).

And that's why we're here. We followed His voice to this place of safety, having fled from the voice of strangers. Praise God for His gift of discernment!

-Robin

Re: Signs and Wonders - Right Before the End? [Re: Robin] #35058
Wed Jan 31, 2007 6:11 AM
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Robin said:

We see other references to "last days" being described in present terms by first century writers! The writer of Hebrews says "in these last days God has spoken to us in His Son... (Hebrews 1:2)," and the Apostle John wrote, "Children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour (1 John 2:18)." (oh by the way, that's the verse just before the one I quoted earlier - "they went out from us, but they were not really of us..." - the ideas are connected. But that's a whole 'nother issue.

From these Scriptures we get the idea that "these last days" and "the last hour" were about 2,000 years ago! Or at the very least the "last days" were already underway that long ago.

The term "last days" and "last hour" do not necissarily refer to the end of the human race on earth, but often the term refers to the last days of the Old Covenant! Jesus said that terrible judgment would fall upon His own generation. He said that God would send that single generation" prophets and wise men and scribes" whom they would kill and crucify and persecute from city to city, in order that "upon you may fall the guilt of all righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah... Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation (Matthew 23:34-36)." See also Matthew 16:28 and 24:34.


I was always under the impression that, for the most part, the last days were from the time of Christ until His second coming. So, we are still in the last days even now. I realize you alluded to the fact also. I do agree that the last days may have different meanings or more than one meaning (for example, a current and future one) depending on the passage. I guess what I'm saying is that I think we are living in the last days now and have been for the past 2000-odd years. It does not necessarily mean that Christ's return is imminent.

Quote

remain yet future). The siege and destruction of Jerusalem was so awesome that it took about 8 months to bury all the dead and burn the weapons of war. Blood ran up to the horse's bridles in the streets of Jerusalem at the peak of the slaughter of thousands of Jews by the Roman army.


I really have a hard time believing that blood ran up to a horse's bridle. There may have been enough splattering around that a horse's bridle was soaked with blood, but "ran" signifies a river which is quite a different story. Do you have references for that?

John

Re: Signs and Wonders - Right Before the End? [Re: john] #35059
Wed Jan 31, 2007 7:24 AM
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john said:

I was always under the impression that, for the most part, the last days were from the time of Christ until His second coming. So, we are still in the last days even now. I realize you alluded to the fact also. I do agree that the last days may have different meanings or more than one meaning (for example, a current and future one) depending on the passage. I guess what I'm saying is that I think we are living in the last days now and have been for the past 2000-odd years.


Yes in an important sense we are still in the last days. But this present time is better described, I believe, as "the millennium" (not a literal period 365,000 24-hour days give or take for leap years) than "the last days."

The Apostle John wrote "hear the words of the prophecy and heed the things that are written it, for the time is near (Rev 1:3, 22:10) and I am coming quickly (3:11, 22:7, 12). Quickly can mean suddenly - but "the time is near" means exactly that.

Quote
I really have a hard time believing that blood ran up to a horse's bridle. There may have been enough splattering around that a horse's bridle was soaked with blood, but "ran" signifies a river which is quite a different story. Do you have references for that?


To be fair, a Roman bridle wasn't the thing that went in the horse's mouth, but something that ran around the horse's belly. And also to be fair, the reference in Revelation 14 could certainly refer to the Second Coming rather than to the events of 70 A.D. in Jerusalem. The Jewish historian Josephus described a massive slaughter there in which blood gathered in places to that depth.

I am not saying that the Second Coming took place in 70 A.D.!! That would be heresy! But obviously whatever terrible judgement-coming of Christ was to come in "this generation" (Matthew 23:36 and 24:34 - see also 16:28) happened just as Jesus said it would.

I believe we should count the "last days" in such passages as Joel 2 and Acts 2 and Hebrews 1 etc as the period between the Lord's ascension and the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70, and "the last Day" as the time yet future when the Lord returns to catch away His bride and judge the earth. This is orthodox preterism. It has been the doctrine of the historic Christian religion for most of it's nearly 2,000 year history. Most Charismatics have never heard of it.

In my own Charismatic days I thought that all Christians believed in the "left behind" scenario. It's all I had ever heard. But in fact, the idea of a secret "rapture" separated by years of time from the Second Coming is a very recent teaching, little more than a hundred years old.

The reason that orthodox preterism makes such a difference when it comes to Pentecostalism is that the things that were signified by the sign gifts have already come to pass, thus the sign gifts have no validity beyond their fulfillment.

Please post any questions about eschatology in the Theology Forum - but before doing so, be sure to have a look at the articles on eschatology right here at the Highway. This site has an awesome library!

-Robin

Re: Signs and Wonders - Right Before the End? [Re: Robin] #35060
Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:20 AM
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Robin said:
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john said:

I was always under the impression that, for the most part, the last days were from the time of Christ until His second coming. So, we are still in the last days even now. I realize you alluded to the fact also. I do agree that the last days may have different meanings or more than one meaning (for example, a current and future one) depending on the passage. I guess what I'm saying is that I think we are living in the last days now and have been for the past 2000-odd years.


Yes in an important sense we are still in the last days. But this present time is better described, I believe, as "the millennium" (not a literal period 365,000 24-hour days give or take for leap years) than "the last days."


I'm not so sure I agree that the present time is better desribed as "the millennium" than the last days. I do agree that we are living in "the millennium" from the amillenial point of view (being that time between Christ's first and second coming). I also think that time is the last days. I'm not sure I would use one to the exclusion of the other.

Quote

Quote
I really have a hard time believing that blood ran up to a horse's bridle. There may have been enough splattering around that a horse's bridle was soaked with blood, but "ran" signifies a river which is quite a different story. Do you have references for that?


To be fair, a Roman bridle wasn't the thing that went in the horse's mouth, but something that ran around the horse's belly. And also to be fair, the reference in Revelation 14 could certainly refer to the Second Coming rather than to the events of 70 A.D. in Jerusalem. The Jewish historian Josephus described a massive slaughter there in which blood gathered in places to that depth.

I am not saying that the Second Coming took place in 70 A.D.!! That would be heresy! But obviously whatever terrible judgement-coming of Christ was to come in "this generation" (Matthew 23:36 and 24:34 - see also 16:28) happened just as Jesus said it would.


Don't worry, I never entertained the thought that you were implying the Second Coming took place in 70 A.D. Thanks for clarification about the Roman bridle and locations of the blood. If that is the case, then I think it's very possible.

Quote

I believe we should count the "last days" in such passages as Joel 2 and Acts 2 and Hebrews 1 etc as the period between the Lord's ascension and the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70, and "the last Day" as the time yet future when the Lord returns to catch away His bride and judge the earth. This is orthodox preterism. It has been the doctrine of the historic Christian religion for most of it's nearly 2,000 year history. Most Charismatics have never heard of it.


I think it may be a case of the passage having a present meaning (at the time) and a future meaning. I do think the last days in Acts 2 and Joel 2 may have been looking at the period from Christ until A.D. 70, but it also has relevance to the present last days. You may be interested in Calvin's take on Acts 2:14-21 (and Joel)
http://www.biblestudyguide.org/comment/calvin/comm_vol36/htm/ix.iii.htm

For example,
Quote

Therefore, this word prophesy doth signify nothing else save only the rare and excellent gift of understanding, as if Joel should say, Under the kingdom of Christ there shall not be a few prophets only, unto whom God may reveal his secrets; but all men shall be endued with spiritual wisdom, even to the prophetical excellency. As it is also in Jeremiah,

"Every man shall no longer teach his neighbor; because they shall all know me, from the least unto the greatest,"


In Calvin's opinion, the "prophecy" isn't even prophecy as we consider Bible prophecy, but just understanding of the Scriptures and spiritual wisdom. If you take this point of view, then the desire to confine the meaning of the passage to only period of years from Christ until A.D. 70 disappears. I think for people coming from a charismatic background where this passage is so often applied to actual prophecy produces a reaction in which one wants to confine the verse only until 70 A.D. to combat the misapplication of it by the charismatics. But, in doing so, you miss out on the larger meaning of the verse. Of course, we can debate what kind of prophecy is actually meant in the verse. Calvin isn't always right.

As for the "Last Day" and the "last days", I wasn't at all trying to imply that the Last Day was the last days or that the last days were the Last Day. I think the difference in the two is pretty clear (or at least that they aren't the same thing).

John

Re: Signs and Wonders - Right Before the End? [Re: john] #35061
Wed Jan 31, 2007 3:40 PM
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That was a very thorough and thoughtful reply, John, thanks for that.

There are other arguments for cessation, of course, besides the 70 A.D. thing. And it's apparent that at least in one legitimate sense we are living in "last days."

In His care,
Robin


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