Every members and former members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo believe that we are living in the last days. I think most Christians believe the same thing. This world, this planet earth, will come to an end on the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is the judgment day.
Bro. Felix Y Manalo, respectfully, considered as the Messenger of God in these last days.
In this article we will explore the biblical “last days”. The bible is actually referring to the “last days” is the day when our Lord Jesus Christ is still on earth. If from the first century until now we are in the last days, when will the last days end?
The INC teaches that the beginning of the end (“the end” is the last day while the “last days” is the days before the end) started in July 27, 1914 when Bro. Felix registered the Iglesia Ni Cisto church to the Philippine Government, coincide with the outbreak of the World War I. The Church is using Matthew 24:6-8 referring to the wars, rumors of wars, earthquake, hunger and tribulations to support the claim. According to the Church doctrines the first world war is the beginning of the end or “ends of the earth” which is also the same as saying the beginning of the last days.
There is a problem using Matthew 24:6-8 to refer to our time. Jesus actually spoken those words in the context of Jerusalem destruction as He predicted in Matthew 24:2 and as explained in previous articles. The bible already hinted that at the time Jesus Christ is on earth, He is already in the last days.
Hebrews 1:1-2 (NKJV) – 1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
The author of the Hebrews is revealing multiple lessons in Hebrew 1:1-2.
He is speaking “in these last days“, the word “these” indicates physically or figuratively near so either they are already living in the last days or is about to come, very near.
In Hebrew 1:1 it says “God who at various times and various ways spoken to us by His Son…” – “spoken to us” meaning delivering a message through a messenger, His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is therefore considered here the messenger of the last days.
Peter says Jesus came during the last days.
1 Peter 1:20 (NKJV) – 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
Paul believed they were living in the end of the age, the Jewish Age, the end of the old covenant.
1 Corinthians 10:11 (NKJV) – 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
The “last days” therefore is referring to the end of the ages, the end of Jewish age, not the end of the world. The Jewish age ended when Jerusalem was destroyed by Roman armies in the first century as prophesied by Christ in Matthew 23:38, 24:2. The end of the age brought us, Christians to a new covenant. The new covenant is everlasting, it has no end.
Hebrews 13:20(NKJV) – 20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Understanding The “Last Days” From the First Testament
In Genesis 49:1, Jacob was talking to his sons, representing the twelve tribes of Israel.
Genesis 49:1 (NKJV) – 49 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Jacob pronounces what will befall to “you”, clearly the subject is Israel.
Numbers 24:13-14 (NKJV) – 13 If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the Lord saith, that will I speak? 14 And now, behold, I go unto my people: come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days.
Isaiah prophesied the last days referring to Judah and Jerusalem.
Isaiah 2:1-2 (NKJV) – 1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days [ last days] That the mountain of the Lord’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.
It is important to know that “Judah and Jerusalem” is often used in the First Testament to refer to the nation of Israel. I learned there are two or three types of usage of “Israel”, the National Israel and the spiritual “chosen” people of Israel. And there is also North Israel where Nazareth and Samaria are located, there is Southern Israel which is often refereed to as “Judah and Jerusalem” or sometimes simply “Jerusalem”.
In Deuteronomy 31:29, Moses referring to “And evil will befall you in the latter days“, the audience “you” in this text are the Moses people, the Israelite or Jews. The Jews are also known as Hebrews or the Israel people.
Deuteronomy 31:29 (NKJV) – 29 For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.”
In the first testament, clearly the last days always refers to the last days of Israel.
As a final though I think it is wrong to use of Matthew 24:6-8 to describe the end of the world is near, that we are racing against the time of the destruction of the world. The “signs” are taken from the context of the destruction of Jerusalem, not the world.
Additional thought: Is Christ really coming back at the last day?
Almost every Christians believe, even if we never heard it from the bible, Christ will come back and that is the end of the world, the judgement day. This is the very day that every member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo are longing for. There are some group of Christians do not believe the world will not end and Christ will not actually coming back.
Let us consider for a moment Jesus was speaking of the end of he world in Matthew 24. In Matthew 24:23-28, Jesus actually hinted us that we should not expect Him and if someone says he is back, do not believe it.
Matthew 24:23-28 (NKJV) – 23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
God says in Genesis, He will not destroy the earth again after the great flood in Noah’s time.
Genesis 8:21-22 (NKJV) – 21 And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. 22 “While the earth remains, Seed time and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.”
According to Hebrews 13:20 the new covenant is everlasting. According to Christ in Matthew 24:23-28 if you heard someone saying Christ has come do not believe it. According to Genesis 8:21-22 God will not destroy the world again. Is the world really going to end?
Something for you to think….