Do All the Bad Things Happening in the World Mean We’re Living in the ‘Last Days?’

How often have you heard it said that we must be living in the last days because of all the bad things that are happening in the world? It’s been a standard claim among Christian prophecy prognosticators for centuries. Name any war, plague, natural disaster, earthquake, famine, or decline in morals and you will find prophetic speculators assuring eager disciples that their generation is the last generation.

The latest comes from someone named Jake McCandless, the head of Prophecy Summit Simplified. He’s the author of Spiritual Prepper: Tapping into Overlooked Prophecies To Prepare You For Doomsday.

I’m all for preparing for hard times, insecure times, economic trouble, and even war. Again, history is on our side. We’ve seen such things before. What I’m against is linking any of what’s happening today to some end-time prophetic theory. Most people have short prophetic memories. They forget or are ignorant of the fact that it was not too long ago the prophecy “experts” assured us that all the prophetic stars are lining up for “the end.”

McCandless said the following:

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“Just about a quarter of Scripture has to do with prophecy, and half of that has to do with the last days, the generation that will just precede the return of the Lord. People want that practical connection. What does this mean for me? How then should I live?

“I think it’s changing, but by and large, up until very recently, the church has not paid much attention to prophecy, the millennial generation especially. They kind of mock it and scoff, which of course the Word of God said would happen in the last days.” (WND)

McCandless assumes that our generation is “the generation that will just precede the return of the Lord.” This is not a new claim. There have been prophecy writers in every generation that claimed that their generation was the last generation. Tim LaHaye and Henry Morris argued that the World War I generation was the last generation.

Depending on which edition of LaHaye’s The Beginning of the End you read, the key dates are either the advent of World War I and the November 2, 1917, signing of the Balfour Declaration (the 1972 edition)1 or the world recognition by the United Nations of Israel’s statehood in 1948 (the 1991 edition).2

Hal Lindsey claimed that when Israel became a nation again in 1948, that 40 years later the so-called “rapture” would take place. He called that 40-year (1948 to 1988) generation “the terminal generation.”3 That was nearly 30 years ago.

A 1977 review of Lindsey’s book The Terminal Generation gets it right:

“Lindsey has unquestionably tapped the pervasive apocalyptic mood in American society. The realization is growing that we are living in a world of limits, not an open future. Unfortunately, neither Lindsey’s strained attempts at biblical interpretation nor his socio-political analysis will help people to understand their world and act in faith and responsibility. Lindsey and his readers might ponder the calm wisdom of 1 Peter 4:7: ‘The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers.’”4

The author’s use of 1 Peter 4:7 is interesting and most often misapplied. Peter wrote literally “the end of all things has come near.” He wrote this around AD 63. This end was near for his first-century audience. More than 1950 years have passed and “all things” — if “things” is a reference to the physical world — are still here. The apostle was describing the end of all things related to the old covenant, not the end of the space-time universe (Heb. 1:1-2; 9:26; Rom. 13:11; 1 Cor. 10:11; James 5:8; 1 John 2:18). “Near” does not mean nearly two millennia.

McCandless cites 2 Peter 3:3 and Peter’s mention of “scoffers” implying the passage refers to our day. It does not. These scoffer…

Read the rest of the story at Gary DeMar
  1. Tim LaHaye, The Beginning of the End (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1972), 165, 168. []
  2. Tim LaHaye, The Beginning of the End, rev. ed. (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1991), 1993. Emphasis added. For a side-by-side analysis of LaHaye’s change, see Richard Abanes, End-Time Visions: The Road to Armageddon? (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1998), 295. []
  3. Hal Lindsey with C.C. Carlson, The Terminal Generation (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1976). []
  4. John M. Mulder, “A Review of Hal Lindsey’s The Terminal Generation,” Theology Today 33:4 (January 1977). []

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