Studies in Revelation
The Last Days - Part 1
Shortly after our conversion, most of us are introduced to the topic of “the last days.” Theories abound in every religious denomination and organization, some so outlandish, that we are definitely challenged to sift through the confusion in order to discover the truth. To be blunt about it, this too is another “theory” based on my own understanding of scripture. Is it true in its interpretation? I will simply present it and let you be the judge.
In Part Six of this series I introduced an illustration of the golden lampstand which was found in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of Moses which gives us a pattern which helps us understand what the apostle Peter referred to as “the last days” in Acts 2:17. As this illustration shows, the baptism of the Spirit which the apostles received in Acts 2:4 was the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Pentecost as indicated by Acts 2:1. Now, let’s go to Acts, Chapter Two, and Joel, Chapter Two, and consider what Peter said in regard to what took place in the upper room.
Acts 2:16-17 (KJV)
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.…
Joel 2:28 (KJV)
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh…
Our passages from Acts 2 are Peter’s words from the book of Joel, while our passages from Joel 2 are the Lord’s words to Joel. Do you see the difference? Joel said, “And it shall come to pass afterward” while Peter said, “And it shall come to pass in the last days.” Friends, this is not a contradiction. Rather, Peter simply changed “afterward” to “last days,” prompted by the revelation of the Holy Spirit which he received a short time before this.
“This is that,” Peter said, which should leave no doubt that the “last days” were now beginning with the outpouring of the Spirit of God. Since Peter was speaking by revelation of God’s Spirit, I believe that the “last days” was not just an open-ended reference to an indefinite number of days which would follow, but more specifically a reference to the spiritual fulfillment of the “days” consisting of the Day of Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles. Consider what Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians, Chapter 10, in regard to Moses and Israel long ago.
1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 11 (ESV)
1 I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things took place as examples for us… 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.
In regard to Moses and Israel Paul tells us, “Now these things took place as examples for us,” and again, “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” The “end of the ages,” my friends, which I believe correlates with the “last days.” Also consider the following concerning the instructions of the Tabernacle which God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.
Hebrews 8:1-5 (NIV)
1 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest (i.e. Jesus Christ), who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle (made up of people or “living stones”) set up by the Lord, not by man. 3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he (i.e. Jesus Christ) were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. (And now, here we go) 5 They (i.e. the priests on earth) serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."
Do you see it folks? The Tabernacle of Moses was a “copy and shadow of what is in heaven,” hence the reason “Moses was warned” when he was about to build it, for the “pattern” he was given would speak of spiritual realities that would be relevant in the ages to come. As mentioned, our golden lampstand was found in the Holy Place of the Temple of God which was surrounded by the Outer Court of the Tabernacle in Moses’ day.
So let’s look at my illustration once more to help with our understanding of the “last days.”
In this illustration, note that the seven branches of the lampstand represent several things. First, the seven churches of Revelation along with the seven prophecies, trumpets and bowls as indicated at the right side. Secondly, our seven branches also typify the three great Feasts of Israel beginning with the Feast of Passover which includes three segments; Passover, Unleavened Bread, and the Sheaf of Firstfruits. This is followed by the second feast, known as the Feast of Pentecost. Finally, we have our third and final feast, which is called the Feast of Tabernacles, also consisting of three segments; the Day of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Day or Feast of Tabernacles proper.
Also note where I have placed a faint overlay of the cross which coincides with the structure of the lampstand, the vertical beam with the central branch and the horizontal beam with the branches on the left and right side.
As for my title of “Three Days and Three Nights”? This is taken from Matthew 12:40.
Matthew 12:40 (NKJV)
40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
As we considered in Part Six, our “three days and three nights” not only refer to the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection, but also to the prophetic fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles which culminates at the seventh or final branch of our lampstand. Our seventh branch correlates with the end of the age and the resurrection from the dead which we’ll get into later in this series. As noted, this is just “half a time” or “day” only since there is no space which follows this final branch.
Beloved, there are three feasts consisting of seven segments, and it’s quite important to note that these three feasts centered on the harvests of barley, wheat, and fruit, respectively. In other words, the three great Feasts of Israel, along with their seven segments, reflect the divine and universal principle of sowing and reaping or seedtime and harvest. When we consider sowing and reaping in light of what Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians, Chapter 15, verses 35 through 58, we will find that it accurately describes the process of resurrection, the most important concept that we, as believers, should understand. This brings us to the following from Galatians, Chapter 6.
Galatians 6:7-10 (NKJV)
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
What do we read? “God is not mocked,” for whatever we sow, we will reap, and as verse 9 and 10 show, it is not so much about what we say, but about what we do. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all.” This aligns perfectly with the fact that Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14, 16; NKJV). As we see, our “light” is our “good works,” so again, “Let us do good to all.”
So, we have three feasts with seven segments. And what is the spiritual meaning of three? “A complete witness” as well as “resurrection.” What is the spiritual meaning of seven? “Spiritual completion” or fulfillment, showing that God’s purpose is fully accomplished in the prophetic work of these three great feasts. When we add our three with our seven, we have ten. Here’s what Stephen Jones wrote about its spiritual meaning.
"Yod is a closed hand. Because ten is also the number of the law, which brings divine order, it signifies “the works of the law.”
As we wrote earlier, the number eight indicates a new beginning, a new birth in a believer. Nine is visitation and manifests the Holy Spirit’s leading, training, and judgment (learning to discern right and wrong) in the life of the believer, and acts as a witness against the unbeliever to expose the secrets of his heart.
Ten is the number of divine order being reestablished one way or another through the judgment of the law (as pictured by the Ten Commandments). In other words, it manifests the actual sentence of the law which follows the gathering and presentation of the evidence. After the Holy Spirit has revealed the evidence to expose men’s hearts (i.e., number nine), the Judge reveals the law. That is, he pronounces the sentence (i.e., number ten) according to the law.
Ten is the number that portrays that time of judgment when men either receive reward or come under divine judgment. One way or another, the law must be fulfilled and the divine order reestablished.
The tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is the yod, which means a deed or work. Because ten is also the number of the law, as seen in the Ten Commandments, the yod became a symbol of “the works of the law” (Rom. 3:20). The meaning of the number ten is based upon the divine law, because as Revelation 20:12 and 13 say, all will be judged “according to their deeds.”
No doubt, God’s wisdom is exemplified in the fact that we have seven segments defined in three feasts, typifying “the works of the law,” i.e. “divine order being reestablished one way or another through the judgment of the law.” This brings us back to our illustration from Parts Four and Five of this series.
Here we have our seven Spirits of God, and like our first illustration, we also have our seven churches and our three Feasts of Israel; Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. What does our central branch symbolize? “Righteous judgment,” also typified by the central branch of the cross which represents our Lord’s precious sacrifice and judgment for our sins (See 2nd Cor. 5:21).
Now, in Revelation 2:26-28 and 3:21, scripture tells us that Christ is even now at the right hand of the throne of God, ruling with a “rod of iron,” revealing that it is our precious Savior who has been and is even now reestablishing divine order through the judgment of the law as the “life-giving Spirit” which He is; see Matthew 5:17-20 and 1st Corinthians 15:45. This being true, and in keeping with the fact that the three Feasts of Israel denote the divine and universal principle of sowing and reaping, we see that everyone, beginning with the “house of God,” are judged according to our deeds; see 1st Peter 4:17. All of us, without exception, reap what we sow, as we pass through the “times” and “seasons” of His divine purpose.