SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Monday September 2, 1996

The cross as central to final events
(Acts 2:14-24)

What days did the first coming of Christ inaugurate?

In the New Testament the final events of this earth's history are presented in three dimensions past, present, and future. The term last day or last days has reference to past, present, and future time. Christ launched the last days by His first advent (Heb. 1:2; 1 John 2:18). Those last days are present and about to culminate in the "last day" (John 6:39, 40). Christ came as the "last Adam" (1 Cor. 15:45), providing a new beginning for the race and launching the gospel age that culminates in the new earth (Revelation 21).

What does prophecy tell us will come in the last days? Acts 2:17-21; compare Joel 2:28-32.

The Holy Spirit was bestowed at Pentecost (Acts 2). But the signs in the sun, moon, and stars did not take place then. The signs in the natural world were fulfilled for the first time in the past two centuries (Matt. 24:29). These signs will be repeated just before Christ comes (Joel 3:15; Isa. 13:9,10; Rev. 6:12, 13; Ezek. 32:7, 8).

The events of Pentecost and the end time, separated from each other by nearly two millennia, are referred to as the "last days." Thus, the "last days" are synonymous with the Christian Era, or the time of the new covenant (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:8; 12:24).

Why is this age called the "last days"? John 19:30. (See SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 974.)

Christ's victorious cry, "It is finished," made eternally sure Satan's ultimate destruction. Calvary means Satan, sin, and sinners are finished. Time lingers longer so the onlooking universe can understand issues involved in the great controversy and so that others on earth can come to Christ (2 Peter 3:9). But at the cross the decisive battle took place. Events in the world, particularly final events, unmask the fury of the defeated foe. He is causing havoc. But he has lost! "Finished!" is written over all his evil schemes. They cause damage but cannot change the outcome. As we look at final events, we must do so in the light of the final event-Calvary.

Describe the importance of Calvary for your spiritual-life.