When was the last time you heard a "last days" sermon from the Old Testament?

When most pastors preach a sermon on the end times they usually start with the Olivet Discourse Matthew 24Mark 13 and Luke 21) or the Book of Revelation. For years the focus on end times discussions has remained in the New Testament. Unfortunately that results in our teachers only giving us the end of the story. When reading a story, it makes sense to start at the beginning, rather than at the end and try to figure out the story from there. Yet the study of the "last days" in most churches today has us doing this very thing. I did that, too, for years, until I finally decided to start at the beginning of the book.

Here are seven Old Testament passages that I've come across in my studies that are crucial to understanding the "last days" that you will rarely hear pastors preach on in today's churches:

1. Jacob's Prediction of the Last Days:  Would you believe the first mention of the "last days" is in Genesis 49?  "And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days ( NKJV)."  Ironically, the first  passage in the Bible that speaks of the last days  is in the first  book of the Bible and not the last. This passage speaks of the last days of the twelve tribes of Israel.

2. Moses' Warning to the Israelites: In Deuteronomy 31:29, Moses tells the Israelites: "For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands” (NASB). This verse is in the context of Deuteronomy 28-32 and Leviticus 26. God is establishing the Covenant with His people. God promises His people both coming blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Study your cross references and you will find many fascinating connections to the New Testament -- particularly  Romans 9-11 and  the book of Revelation. From this passage you will begin to see that the last days spoken of in Deuteronomy 31:29 are speaking of  the last days of the Old Covenant not the last days of the earth.

3. Jeremiah's Prediction of the Last Days. Jeremiah 30:24 says: "The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back, until He has performed and until He has accomplished the intent of His heart; in the latter days you will understand this (NASB)." Jeremiah 30:24 speaks of judgment coming upon His people, and it  is also the context for Jeremiah 31. Jeremiah 31 contains several fulfilled prophecies at  the first advent of Christ. For example, Jeremiah 31:15 is a prophecy fulfilled in Matthew 2:16-18. Jesus is born under law (Galatians 4:4), at the end of the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant is ending with Christ’s birth, and the New Covenant is at hand with the beginning of His ministry. In writing to Jews, the author of  Hebrews says in chapter 1:1-2:  "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world." The things “spoken of long ago to the fathers and prophets” are the passages that we are outlining here. If you study these verses carefully, against current thought, the last days of the Jews and their Covenant were upon them. These references begin to line up with the last days of the Old Covenant, not the last days of the world.