People regularly quote Second Timothy Three: “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.” And Paul outlines much of the difficulties going on in the Roman Empire at the time. And people say, “These are difficult times! Paul must not have been talking about first century Roman Empire, but about twenty first century America (or Europe, or whatever).
Paul offering pastoral advice to his young protégé. He’s writing from prison, which means he’s writing in AD66 or AD67. And he’s telling Timothy, “Here’s how to pastor this kind of person (verses 8-15, same chapter).
So If Paul is telling Tim how to pastor these people, then “the last days” that he’s talking about in AD67 must be AD70, when the Jerusalem was destroyed, when the temple was destroyed, and most importantly, when the genealogies (which showed who was qualified to be a priest or even a Levite) were burned. Destroyed. Gone forever.
That was the “Last Days” that Paul was writing about. It’s not about now. It’s about the end of the Law.
Why in Heaven’s name would the apostle write pastoral advice for how to relate to a situation that was exactly what was going on in his day that minute, but give advice that would be about an event that wouldn’t happen for twenty centuries? That’s just silly.
Of COURSE he was writing to what was going on in Tim’s ministry right then.
So here’s the real question:
Given that the Law of the Old Covenant is dead and gone, given that the “Last Days” talked about in the Bible are generally about “the last days of the Old Covenant,”
HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE.
Note: this is not a place to argue about whether you agree that the last days are behind us. This is an “If – then” question:
If the evil things and the “difficult times” that the New Testament writes about have already happened, what do we do with our lives?
That’s the question that really matters. If we’re going to focus on the days ahead, let's focus on what’s important.
Perhaps, if the age of the Old Covenant is gone, and particularly if it is as obsolete as Hebrews 8 tells us it is, we should live fully exploring the Better Covenant, and spreading the news that the law no longer rules and the reign of heaven has come just as Jesus said.
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