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When is the "last day" that is referred to in the book of John? The Rapture? The Second Coming? A series of "last days'?

John 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day

John 6:40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day

John 6:54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

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13 Answers 13

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Genesis 1:3 And God said, “Let there be light,”a and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day,” and the darkness He called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

The first day is the beginning of light and physical time. The last day is the end of physical time.

The Bible talks about "last days" (plural) with multiple meanings:

Gen 49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.

Isa 2:2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts

The Bible speaks of a future last day (singular) with only one meaning.

Jhn 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day

Jhn 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

The last day is the day of resurrection and the end of physical time.

John 5:28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.

For us, the last day is the end of physical time and the beginning of a new experience of eternal time.

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  • "The last day is the day of resurrection and the end of physical time." Indeed. And, that day coincides with our own last day as we step into timelessness -- our journey out of physical time into the eternal Presence of God. +1.
    – Xeno
    Jun 8 at 1:15
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John 6:39
And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

John 6:40
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:44
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:54
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 11:24
Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

John 12:48
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Jesus uses this term εσχατη ημερα (last day) in these verses in the singular indicating a last day, not last days. Throughout the book of John, the word ἡμέρα (day) is used some 30 times. Twenty nine of these times it is indicating a day in the usual sense, that is a 24 hour period with sunrise and sunset. In John 8:56, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad." Here from the context you can see that ἡμέρα indicates time, but the context declares that.

There are several things that Jesus declares will occur on this last day:

  1. the resurrection of those that believe on Jesus, that he may give them everlasting life, according to his Father's will

  2. the judgement of those that reject Jesus and receive not his words (John 12:48)

This judgement must of necessity occur after the resurrection of those that reject Jesus.

When is this last day?

Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

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  • Welcome to BH. Up-voted +1, good answer. Appreciated. Please see the Tour and the Help as to the purpose and the functioning of the site.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 3 '20 at 10:12
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Perhaps the last day is that day following which there is no more night.

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    This question was flagged as being 'low quality' (presumably because of its brevity). I disagree. Up-voted +1. A very thought-provoking answer. (Is the reason for the 'sun becoming as sackcloth' and the 'moon turning to blood' because - behind them both - is a glorious, unceasing light shining from beyond (and then overwhelming) the blackness of space ? Your answer much appreciated.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 3 '20 at 10:06
  • If upon a certain day the sun never sets, then obviously this is an endless day because night is the thing that differentiates between one day and another. If we have an endless day, of course it is the last and ever- remaining day. This corresponds to Rev.22-5. From this we may conclude that the last day is the everlasting day of eternity. Also we find in Zach. 14:7 - "And there shall be one day, which is known to our Lord, not day or night, and in the time of the evening, it shall be light." Aug 3 '20 at 15:49
  • to Nigel: If the Sun is consistently a metaphor for Christ, the light of the world; and the moon, because it reflects the sun's light onto the earth is a metaphor for the Church, then the darkening of these two heavenly bodies is an analogy for the apostasy of the Church and the obscuring of the Gospel (by whatever means.). The Medieval Exegetes all concur in this interpretation. There may well be other very good insights concerning these metaphors as well. Whether or not the material sun and moon will be darkened cannot be determined but by history. Aug 3 '20 at 15:54
  • to Nigel: . The bloody moon represents by analogy the guilt of the Church in its Apostasy when Christ is crucified again by the unbelief of His own people. Aug 3 '20 at 16:04
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The last day in John refers to the second coming and the universal resurrection of the dead. It is the time in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29).

"Why does He continually dwell on the Resurrection?" asks John Chrysostom (4th c.).

Is it that men may not judge of God's providence by present things alone; that if they enjoy not results here, they become not on that account desponding, but wait for the things that are to come, and they that may not, because their sins are not punished for the present, despise Him, but look for another life.

Now those men gained nothing, but let us take pains to gain by having the Resurrection continually sounded in our ears; and if we desire to be grasping, or to steal, or to do any wrong thing, let us straightway take into our thoughts that Day, let us picture to ourselves the Judgment-seat.

Homily XLV on the Gospel According to St. John

It does not refer to any kind of so-called "rapture", which is a doctrine completely foreign to the Church Fathers.

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1 Thessalionians 4:13-18 gives an excellent answer to the question, "when are the last days" Jesus is referring to in John ch.6. This is the rapture of the church (Christians alive as well as dead) not to be confused with the second coming of Jesus at the end of the 7 year tribulation period.

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  • Welcome to BH.SE! It would be great if you added the verses you cite into the answer as an edit. Check the site tour to see how the exchange works.
    – Frank Luke
    Oct 13 '17 at 16:23
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Could the last day be the day of the Lord mentioned in 2 thess2:1,which cannot come till there is a falling away and the man of sin be revealed?

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  • Welcome to this site! You may notice from examining other questions that a degree of research is helpful. Do take the tour. If you can quote in full the scripture text you are enquiring about, that would be good. Also, if you can enlarge on this 'falling away' and the revealing of 'the man of sin', those who might not be familiar with such biblical phrases would be encouraged to consider answering. A more fulsome question will attract more fulsome answers!
    – Anne
    Feb 1 '19 at 17:56
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I believe that the Last day refers to Jesus Himself. I think He is the last day and that took place at the cross when He paid for the sins of everyone that he came to save, and He said that Of All that the father gave Him He would not loose any. He told Martha and Mary when they said they knew that their brother would be raised on the last day, I am the resurrection, in other words I am the Last day. That's my thoughts guided by the Holy Spirit For many years now and He has not changed my thoughts.

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Jesus is The Last. Which means he will not leave any behind, lest they not be restored into The Spirit.

The Last Day means the end of the world of the old self.

The Bible does not say The Rapture nor The Second Coming.

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  • Welcome to BHSX, Peter, so glad to have you with us. Please take the tour to get yourself familiar with the site. Enjoy ! hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour
    – sara
    Nov 17 '19 at 13:44
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We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. [2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV]

Also thief on the cross told today you will be with me in paradise.

These verses seem to indicate that there is no lapse of time between our death and our presence with our Savior.

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  • Welcome to BH Community. The" last day" in the texts of the question refers to the day our resurrected body united with soul/Spirit, and is in the future. 2 Cor. 5:8, Paul speaks "the last day of an individual" and "soul/spirit" will be with our Savior without time-lapse. The text(s), in the context, should be the first source of the clues to the question.
    – Sam
    Jul 12 '20 at 22:32
  • Welcome to BH. Please see the Tour and the Help (both below, bottom right) as to the purpose and the functioning of the site. I have edited only to show how you can highlight a quotation and I have paragraphed for you as well. Please feel free to roll back the edit if you wish. The question is about the last day and I think you need to edit and cover that aspect.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 13 '20 at 5:29
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A day doesn't mean necessarily at 24 hour period. "The Day of the Lord" is the time period of testing that could be 7 years (70th week of Daniel) or 3 1/2 years the last half called the Great Tribulation. Here are examples of scripture where the time listed is not just meant to be literal time as we know it. Hosea 6:2, Psalm 90:4, Isaiah 34:8, Daniel 9:27, Is. 61:2, Luke 13:32.

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    Welcome to BH Community. The "last day" in the context Jesus refers to is a specific day at which day He will raise them up, not a period of times as you allude. That "last day" will be the day our bodies be called out of the grave to unit with our spirit. The word ἀνίστημι (to arise) Paul used to refer the resurrection of our Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 6:14). The expression, the "context is king" is a rule to keep in mind for interpretation of the Scripture.
    – Sam
    Aug 23 '20 at 0:58
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The "last day" is referring to day 50 in the count from the wave offering during the days of Unleavened Bread unto Pentecost, the 50th day. (see Leviticus 23) This day Christ will return and resurrect the saints as the wrath of God is about to be poured out on the God rejecting peoples of the world

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  • Welcome to Bible Hermeneutics SE and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others.
    – agarza
    May 29 at 12:58
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It's astounding how many comments in this forum have extracted their biblical view of "the last day" based on their pre-suppositional understanding of the resurrection, and often based on the secret rapture doctrine.

Every "last day" phrase used by Jesus in John chapters 6 & 12 is biblically defined as the last 24 hours, "sunrise to sunset". You cannot stretch it to mean anything else. Which means, the resurrection/rapture, happens on the last day of history and includes judgment day. All of the incidents of "the last day" in John 6:39, 40, 44, 54 and John 11:24, John 12:48 can only be interpreted as the last day of history, after which is no more time. You cannot insert a rapture doctrine into these verses without being dishonest or deceived while trying to defend a doctrine that has been seriously flawed and distorted for over two hundred years.

And to wrap up, the first resurrection is represented in being buried and raised to new life with Christ (as symbolized in baptism), therefore the second death has no power over believers who are now kings and priests, reigning with Christ and seated in heavenly places. There is only ONE physical resurrection, and it is on the last day. There is only one judgment day and it is on the last day. If so, then the rapture doctrine happening during history is false.

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  • Welcome to Bible Hermeneutics SE and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others.
    – agarza
    Jul 13 at 3:12
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John 6:39, 40, 44 & 54 When Jesus used the term “the last day” in these verses, He is referencing the Rapture because He is speaking about people that believed in Him and all Christians are raised up at the Rapture, not the Second Coming.

KEY TO UNDERSTANDING Only Jesus knew of the Rapture when He was saying these words. Jesus used the phrase “raised up at the last day”, to assure the disciples (and all Christians) that they will have eternal life. Jesus is specifically referring to the Rapture, which is the last day of the Church Age. However when Jesus used this phrase, the Church Age had not yet begun and the disciples were unaware that there would be an event such as the Rapture. Therefore as opposed to explaining the Rapture, He is simply assuring them that they will be raised up and they will have eternal life at an upcoming date.

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  • Can you support this answer with historical references, citations to historical works of arguments from linguistics? As it stands, this answer appears to be an unsupported statement of opinion rather than a hermeneutic analysis. Dec 15 '17 at 12:21

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