The first paragraph of Hebrews reveals that Paul believed he was living in “the last days.” Scripture employs two expressions about the future that have different meanings. The prophets used the expression “last days” or “latter days” to talk about the future in general (Deuteronomy 4:30-31; Jeremiah 23:20). The prophet Daniel used a second expression, “the time of the end,” to talk more specifically about the last days of earth’s history (Daniel 8:17, Daniel 12:4).
Read Numbers 24:14-19 and Isaiah 2:2-3. What did God promise He would do for His people in the “latter days”?
Several Old Testament prophets announced that in the “latter days” God would raise up a King who would destroy the enemies of His people (Numbers 24:14-19) and who would attract the nations to Israel (Isaiah 2:2-3). Paul says that these promises were fulfilled in Jesus. He defeated Satan and, through the proclamation of the Gospel, is attracting all the nations to Himself (Colossians 2:15, John 12:32). In this sense, then, “the last days” have begun because Jesus has fulfilled God’s promises.
Our spiritual fathers died in faith. They saw and greeted the promises from “afar,” but did not receive them. We, on the other hand, have seen their fulfillment in Jesus.
Let’s think for a moment about God’s promises and Jesus. The Father promised that He would resurrect His children (1 Thessalonians 4:15-16). The wonderful news is that He initiated the resurrection of His children with the resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:20, Matthew 27:51-53). The Father also promised a new creation (Isaiah 65:17). He has begun to fulfill that promise by creating a new spiritual life in us (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15). He promised that He would establish His final kingdom (Daniel 2:44). He inaugurated that kingdom by delivering us from the power of Satan and installing Jesus as our ruler (Matthew 12:28-30, Luke 10:18-20). This is only the beginning, however. What the Father began to do in Jesus’ first coming, He will bring to completion at the second.
|Look at all the promises God fulfilled in the past. How should this help us to trust Him for the promises not yet fulfilled?|