What is the Last Day?
It is a little difficult to find out exactly what our Lord meant by ‘last day’.
It’s probably one of the ‘hidden things’ (secrets) which God has reserved for Himself as the verse declares:
“The things hidden are to Jehovah our God, and the things revealed are to us and to our sons — to the age, to do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)
I’m caught between ‘two possibilities’:
1. ‘Last Day’ refers to the ‘last day of the current age’.
2. ‘Last Day’ refers to the ‘last day at the end of the “ages of Ages” ’.
Indeed, our Lord encourages us to ‘study’ the Word but we must be careful to ‘rightly divide’ the ‘Word of Truth’:
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Both of the interpretation above can fit well into the verses below without any inconsistency nor contradiction even to the other parts of the Bible.
The key verses in which they occur with regards to the ‘Will of God’(as our Lord spoke) are:
“And this is the will of the Father who sent me, that all that He hath given to me I may not lose of it, but may raise it up in the last day;” (John 6:39)
“and this is the will of Him who sent me, that everyone who is beholding the Son, and is believing in him, may have life age-during, and I will raise him up in the last day.’” (John 6:40)
Let us now look at both interpretations separately and see how the verses in John 6:39 – 40 actually implies the “salvation of all” by the “Will of God” through the working of Christ alone.
The ‘last day’ refers to the ‘last day of the current age’.
In John 6:39 – 40, Christ declares that He will ‘raise it up’ (verse 39) and ‘raise him up’ (verse 40) on this ‘last day’. In other words, ‘all’ (= ‘all things’ will be ‘raised up’at the ‘last day’.
On this ‘last day’ (verse 39),Christ then proceeds to ‘highlight’ this ‘raising up’ for ‘believers’,who upon being ‘raised up’, they get the ‘reward’ of ‘age-during life’ in the next ‘age to come’ (verse 40).
In detail, verse 39 is the general occurrence of the ‘raising up of all’ on this ‘last day of the current age’.
What follows after that is judgment. This is written in various Scriptures that the Judgment will be held at the ‘end of our current age’:
1. ‘As, then, the darnel is gathered up, and is burned with fire, so shall it be in the full end of this age; the Son of Man shall send forth his messengers, and they shall gather up out of his kingdom all the stumbling-blocks, and those doing the unlawlessness, and shall cast them to the furnace of the fire; there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of the teeth. ‘Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the reign of their Father. He who is having ears to hear — let him hear.’
(Matthew 13:40 – 43)
2. ‘so shall it be in the full end of the age, the messengers shall come forth and separate the evil out of the midst of the righteous, and shall cast them to the furnace of the fire, there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of the teeth.’Jesus saith to them, ‘Did ye understand all these?’ They say to him, ‘Yes, sir.’ And he said to them, ‘Because of this every scribe having been discipled in regard to the reign of the heavens, is like to a man, a householder, who doth bring forth out of his treasure things new and old.’ (Matthew 13:49 – 52)
3. Even the disciples ‘knew’ that Judgment will come at the ‘end of the age’. That is why they asked,
‘And when he is sitting on the mount of the Olives, the disciples came near to him by himself, saying, `Tell us, when shall these be? and what [is] the sign of thy presence, and of the full end of the age?’
4. That is why our Blessed Saviour assured us that He will be there with us (believers) ‘until’ the end of the age (not forever – simply because after that we will be with Him; He ‘highlighted’ being with us ‘always’ until the end of the age because believers who are born are still on earth and have to accept His presence with them by ‘faith’ without ‘seeing Him’. Note that ‘all the days’ (sometimes inaccurately translatedas ‘always’ – ignoring ‘word to word translation’) used in the verse below also proves that there is a notion of ‘time’ and also that ‘Christ signified an end to His ‘invisible’ presence of Him whilst we (the believers) are still on earth’):
“And having come near, Jesus spake to them, saying, `Given to me was all authority in heaven and on earth; having gone, then, disciple all the nations, (baptizing them — to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all, whatever I did command you,) and lo, I am with you all the days — till the full end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:18 – 20)
5. There is only ‘one Judgment seat of Christ for all’ as this recorded as follows (note that the deceiving lie that there are ‘two judgments’, one for the ‘believer’ and the ‘other for the non-believer’ is a ‘lie’ simply because ‘no verse’ in the Bible ever said that there are ‘two judgments!’):
‘for all of us it behoveth to be manifested before the judgment seat of the Christ, that each one may receive the things [done] through the body, in reference to the things that he did, whether good or evil;’
(2 Corinthians 5:10)
Note that “each one” = “every man” (means all men; not ‘some men or believers only’).
6. This judgment of ‘all men’ is described in the Book of Revelation:
“And I saw a great white throne, and Him who is sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven did flee away, and place was not found for them; and I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and scrolls were opened, and another scroll was opened, which is that of the life, and the dead were judged out of the things written in the scrolls — according to their works; and the sea did give up those dead in it, and the death and the hades did give up the dead in them, and they were judged, each one according to their works; and the death and the hades were cast to the lake of the fire — this [is] the second death; and if any one was not found written in the scroll of the life, he was cast to the lake of the fire.”(Revelation 20:11 – 15)
7. Note that the ‘duration’ (time) of the punishment for the men who are thrown in the Lake of Fire is not mentioned in the verses above. This time period of ‘how long’ they are to be punished is revealed in Scripture elsewhere, namely for an age (one ‘future’ age only after the current one):
‘And these shall go away to punishment age-during, but the righteous to life age-during.’
8. The punishment (chastisement) intended by Christ is with a ‘purpose’ for the ‘betterment’ of the wicked ones being punished. That is why the word ‘pruning’ in Greek, (kolasin is used to describe the punishment in Matthew 25:46). Cruel punishments using Greek words such as torture (timoria) are not employed by Christ here. Note that in Revelation 14:10 we find that the ‘torment’ in the fire is done in the presence of the ‘Lamb’ and His ‘Holy angels’. The very fact that the words ‘holy’ and ‘Lamb’ are employed here indicates that such a punishment is ‘reformatory’ and ‘not sadistic’ in nature. Purposeless sadistic torture is not ‘holy’ nor does it agree with the nature of the ‘Lamb’ to inflict ‘sadistic torture’ by the choice of words used. The Great Physician, Lord Jesus Himself, administers ‘painful medicine’ (you may say) through the fires in order to ‘destroy evil’ in the ‘wicked’.
‘he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, that hath been mingled unmixed in the cup of His anger, and he shall be tormented in fire and brimstone before the holy messengers, and before the Lamb’ (Revelation 14:10)
9. However, the outcome of ‘judgment’ in the ‘fire’ (1 Corinthians 3:13) is clear, namely, one’s work may be ‘destroyed’ but he himself ‘shall be saved’, even so by ‘fire’(1 Corinthians 3:15) as the verses below declare:
‘Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.’ (1 Corinthians 3:13)
‘If of any the work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; and himself shall be saved, but so as through fire.’
(1 Corinthians 3:15)
Let us now return to John 6. We can infer the following under interpretation 1 together with the rest of Scriptures:
(i) On the ‘last day of our current age’, ‘all’ are raised up (John 6:39).
(ii) Judgment follows and sentences are read out. (Revelation 20:11 – 15)
(iii) The wicked are thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11 – 15)
(iv) The righteous attain the ‘reward’ of ‘age-during life’ in the ‘age to come’ after the Judgment Day having ‘escaped’ the ‘fire’ and the ‘wrath of God’.(John 3:16; Luke 18:30; Matthew 25:46; John 5:24)
(v) The time period (duration) for the chastisement of the wicked is recorded to be ‘one age only’ (for men as in Matthew 25:46) and ‘ages’ (at least two ages or more – for Satan and his hosts – to the ages of Ages –Revelation 20:10).
(vi) This ‘raising up’ of believers and the ‘wicked’ is the ‘all’ in (John 6:39) with the intention of the ‘Will of God’ that the Son ‘Will lose nothing’ (John 6:39). This means that the punishment & reward meted out through Judgment is with the ‘good intention’ of God to arrest our course of ‘sin’. Thus ‘none’ will perish nor be ‘lost’ forever. Some translations render the phrase ‘Son will destroy nothing’ instead of ‘Son will lose nothing’ simply because the ‘root word’ in Greek for ‘lost’ (as even used in the parable of the lost sheep) is the same/similar (linked) word to the one for ‘destruction’ (destroy).
Suppose now that the ‘last day’ refers to the ‘last day at the end of the “ages of Ages”’.
Why is there a ‘last day?’
Simply because the plan of the ‘Salvation of all’ is fulfilled at the ‘end’ signified with this ‘last day’. Probably that’s why our Lord often exclaimed that He is the ‘Beginning (Alpha) and the End (Omega)’.
The Lord signifies that He’s in ‘full control’ from the start (beginning of the Ages) and will continue to be so until the finish (end of the Ages) which were created & framed by Him (Hebrews 1:2 & Hebrews 11:3)
“in these last days did speak to us in a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He did make the ages;” (Hebrews 1:2)
“by faith we understand the ages to have been prepared by a saying of God, in regard to the things seen not having come out of things appearing;” (Hebrews 11:3)
Through these Ages, Christ fulfills the ‘Will of God’ in ‘time’ to ‘save the world’ (John 3:17) so that ‘none shall perish’ (absolutely – 2 Peter 3:9) by bringing about the ‘restoration of all things’ (Acts 3:21) through the ‘reconciliation of all things’ (Colossians 1:20) having made Peace through His Blood of His Cross.
Without Christ’s Death on the Cross and His Resurrection, this ‘restoration’ & ‘reconciliation’ of ‘all things’ bringing about the ‘salvation (saving) of the whole world’ will not have been possible at all.
Indeed, if Christ has not died, then there is no salvation in this world.
A common fallacy is refuted here: Many falsely argue that “if God is going to ‘save the world’, than Jesus need not die on the Cross what!”. Wrong! The truth is this: If Christ did not come into the world and die for ‘all’ the ‘sin of the whole world’ (to take it away – “…Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” in John 1:29), we will remain in ‘sin’ and ‘death’ with no hope of salvation at all.
Fortunately, it doesn’t end there. The converse happened and it’s true: Since Christ came into the world and died for ‘all’ our sins (the singular ‘sin of the world’ – meaning ‘all sin’ of the ‘world’ in John 1:29 above), it implies that He will save the World (changing the ‘maybe’ in John 3:17 into a ‘be’ fulfilling the ‘Will of God’ perfectly).
Those principles highlighted earlier are all true regardless whether interpretation 1 or 2 is correct and both of these support Christ centered universalism perfectly.
Returning to our focus in John 6, we can thus safely infer the following based on interpretation 2 together with the rest of Scripture:
(i) Judgment occurs at the ‘end of this current age’ (Matthew 13:40 – 43) and it’s described in (Revelation 20:11 – 15).
(ii) The righteous go into age-during life (in the age to come for believing in Him) while the rest of the wicked are punished in the Lake of Fire for a duration of ‘one age’ for men and ‘ages’ for Satan and his hosts as explained prior.
(iii) Note that Satan and his hosts will be punished for a ‘longer’ period than that of men. In particular, he will be punished to the ‘ages’ (subset) of the overall ‘Ages’ (set) which are created & framed by God:
“and the Devil, who is leading them astray, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where [are] the beast and the false prophet, and they shall be tormented day and night — to the ages of the Ages.”
(iv) This is where interpretation 2 comes in. At the ‘end’ of the ‘ages of Ages’, when all punishment (Justice) has served its purpose, the ‘last day’ arrives. On this ‘last day’ at the ‘end’ of the ‘ages of Ages’, Christ the Redeemer has given His Word that He will ‘raise all up’ (not some or believers only), in order that ‘none shall be lost anymore’ implied by the phrase ‘I will lose nothing’ (John 6:39).
This ‘lose nothing’ means that (in context) of ‘all’ mentioned in this verse, Christ ‘saves all’ agreeing with the rest of Scripture. John 6:40 just ‘highlights’ the ‘same thing’ but with respect to ‘believers’. Indeed, John 6:40 (under this interpretation) tells us that Christ first gives ‘age-during life’ to ‘believers’ in the ‘age to come’ and at the ‘end’ of the ‘Ages’, they don’t ‘die’ nor ‘expire’ (after the reward of ‘age-during life’ is ‘over’) but rather are ‘raised up’ at the ‘last day’ too to fulfill the ‘Will of God’!.
Immortal life is only conferred at the ‘end of the Ages’ (strictly speaking) because only then has the ‘last enemy, death been destroyed’ (1 Corinthians 15:26) correlating with (2 Timothy 1:10) where it clearly states that ‘immortality & life’ is only available relative to ‘death being abolished’! (talking about context). That is why it is often remarked by universalist Christians that, “All death will be destroyed because it is the ‘enemy’ (not friend) of God whether there be a second death, … to a millionth death, all death will be destroyed by Christ! eventually in ‘time’ after it has fulfilled its purpose’. Indeed, there shall come a time when ‘there shall be no more death’ (Revelation 21:4) in the coming ages when our Lord Who sits on the Throne maketh ‘All things new!’ (Revelation 21:5) fulfilling the will of God, where in the end (note the word ‘end’ in 1 Corinthians 15:24), God will be “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28) fulfilling His Will to ‘save the world’ through Lord Jesus Christ alone (His Son)!
Indeed, that why Lord Jesus will not chase any of the ‘all’ (all things) when they will come to Him… in time… as the verse says, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37). Indeed, Jesus is the most misunderstood Person in all history!