Meaning of the Last Days

Why do some theologians refer to the entire time from the first coming of Christ to his return as "the last days?"

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Paul says in 2 Corinthians and Ephesians 1, he uses a term that often appears in business documents for a down payment. He says that we have received the first installment of our future inheritance by receiving the Spirit. We have received a foretaste of the future world, because we're not just expecting a future resurrection and a future Messiah, a future king, but we're expecting a king who has already come, who has already been raised from the dead and, therefore, for us, we have a foretaste, and we need to live like a people of a future age. We need to live for the future in this present age to let the world have a foretaste of what heaven is going to be like.

Answer by Dr. Craig S. Keener

Dr. Craig S. Keener is the F.M. and Ada Thompson Chair of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary.