In human history, as narrated for us in the Bible, there were a few colossal events with worldwide significance that marked major eras. God’s majestic creation week launched the human story. The great flood, which only Noah’s family endured, was the end of an era and a new beginning, though human civilization soon turned sour and violent. The formation of a special family through Abraham and Sarah might be called the Age of the Patriarchs. The exodus and giving of the covenant through Moses on Mt. Sinai ushered in the era of God’s intense focus on the nation of Israel.
The last of the great ages began with the coming to earth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Scripture calls this era the last days: “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe” (Hebrews 1:1,2).
All of God’s saving work has now been completed in Christ. Nothing remains but to set the Spirit loose through Word and sacraments to touch as many people as possible before the final trumpet is sounded. “Last days” can also hint at the very end of history, as the physical universe will begin to disintegrate immediately prior to the triumphant return of Christ the Judge.
The next era will be life in heaven itself. Are you ready? Are you excited?