Pentecost and the Last Days

The outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost signaled the arrival of the last days, the age of fulfillment . In the book of  Acts , the application of Joel’s prophecy to the Day of Pentecost links the outpouring of the Spirit to the commencement of the “ last days .” In this book, the activity of the Spirit beginning on that day is essential for understanding the rapid spread of the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome, and from Pentecost until the arrival of Jesus in glory - [ Waterfall Sunset - Photo by  Luke Vodell  on Unsplash ].

The Quickening Spirit

There is no life without the Spirit of God, and His Spirit creates, animates, sustains, and restores all life .  To his disciples, Jesus declared that “ the Spirit makes alive  [‘quickens’] . The flesh profits nothing. The words which I have spoken to you are spirit, and they are life. ” His words echo the scriptural principle that life and the “ Spirit ” are inextricably linked. The “ flesh ” is not inherently evil, but it has no life without the spirit that is given by God - [ Photo by Sean Robertson on Unsplash ].

New Heavens and Earth

The arrival of Jesus in glory will usher in the Day of the Lord, the final judgment, and the New Creation .  In his second epistle, Peter addresses the growing weariness of some Christians due to the apparent “delay” of the promised “ arrival ” of Jesus. This has created an open door for false teachers and critics to exploit. Instead of all the expected terrestrial and cosmic upheaval reflected in the church’s teachings about the future, daily life is continuing as it always has - [ New Heavens and Earth - Photo by Jeff Nafura on Unsplash ].

Final Events

In explaining the future resurrection, Paul lists the key events that will precede or coincide with the arrival of Jesus at the end of the age .  In his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul outlines the events that will occur at the “ arrival ” or ‘ parousia ’ of Jesus, one of several Greek terms applied by him to Christ’s return. But regardless of which term he uses, Paul always speaks of one future “ coming ,” “ revelation ,” or “ appearance ” of Jesus - [ Cemetery Sunrise - Photo by Ayanna Johnson on Unsplash ].

The Dead Rise First

Paul reassured the Thessalonians regarding the participation of dead saints in the arrival of Jesus from heaven – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 .  In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul reassures the congregation about the participation of saints who die before the ‘ parousia ’ in the glories of that day.  BOTH dead and living saints will assemble to “ meet ” him, and thereafter, all the saints will be with Jesus “ forevermore .” Paul wrote these words in response to sorrow over the deaths of fellow believers - [ Cloudscape - Photo by Kaushik Panchal on Unsplash ].

Christianity's Forgotten Hope

Central to the hope of the early church was the bodily resurrection of the dead at the return of Jesus in glory .  The biblical faith is forward-looking and integral to its teachings on salvation is the future resurrection of the dead, an event integral to the arrival of the New Creation. And in the New Testament, this hope is linked to two events: the past resurrection of Jesus and his future return at the end of the age. Moreover, salvation remains incomplete without it - [ Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash ].