Would you please explain the meaning of the terms, "latter days," "last days," "time of the end," "end of the world," "day of the LORD," "in that day," and the "time of Jacob’s trouble."


When trying to understand Biblical prophecy, it is critical that we are familiar with the meaning of certain key prophetic phrases. For instance, all these terms listed in the Question have a FUTURE prophetic application. This means that when we read a passage in the Old or New Testament, which uses one of these phrases, we should recognize that the passage refers to the future!

Here is an overview of the meaning of these phrases:


When we come across the term “the latter days” (in Hebrew, “acharith” for “latter”), we are being introduced to events which will happen at the end of this age or present civilization, including the first resurrection or the “resurrection of the just,” and the beginning of the Millennium.

After a powerful Spirit being had given Daniel an important vision, he told him, in Daniel 10:14: “Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the LATTER DAYS, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.” Ancient King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream once, and Daniel told him, in Daniel 2:28: “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the LATTER DAYS.” The events pictured in his dream would culminate in the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God here on earth (Daniel 2:44-45).

We read in Jeremiah 23:20: “The anger of the LORD will not turn back Until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the LATTER DAYS you will understand it perfectly.”


When we find the term “the last days,” as used in several translations, including the Authorized Version and the New King James Bible, we should realize that this term–and its meaning–is closely related to the term, “the latter days.” In the Hebrew, the words for “last” are either “acharith” (same as for “the latter days”) or “acharon,” and in Greek, the word is, “eschatos.” This phrase describes basically the same time period as the term, “the latter days.”

We read in Isaiah 2:2-4 about the time of the Millennium, when God HAS established the Kingdom of God on this earth. It says: “Now it shall come to pass in the LATTER DAYS [Authorized Version: “LAST DAYS”; in Hebrew, “acharith” for “last”], That the mountain of the LORD’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.”

We read in Job 19:25 (Authorized Version): “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the LATTER DAY upon the earth.” In the Hebrew, the word for “latter” is “acharon,” so that the entire phrase can also be translated as “He shall stand at the LAST DAY upon the earth.”

We read in 2 Timothy 3:1: “But know this, that in the LAST DAYS perilous times will come…” The Greek word for “last” is “eschatos.” It is also used in John 11:24: “Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he [Lazarus] will rise again in the resurrection at the LAST DAY.”


When the term, “the time of the end,” is used (in Hebrew, “eth” for “time” and “qets” for “end”), it describes the end of this age, culminating in the return of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God here on earth.

We read in Daniel 12:4, 9, 13: “‘But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the TIME OF THE END; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase…’ And he said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the TIME OF THE END… But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.'”


Some translate the phrase “end of the age” in the New Testament as “end of the world.” In Greek, the word for “end” is “sunteleia,” meaning “full end.” The phrase actually refers to the end of this present age (in Greek, the word for age is “aion”), and the beginning of a better world or age to come, under the rulership of God.

We read in Matthew 24:3, that the disciples asked Christ: “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the END OF THE AGE [Authorized Version: END OF THE WORLD]?”

In Matthew 28:19-20, Christ promised His disciples to be with them “always, even to the END OF THE AGE.” And we read in Matthew 13:49-50: “So will it be at the END OF THE AGE. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”


The term “day of the Lord” refers to God’s end-time intervention in the affairs of this world, just prior to the establishment of His Kingdom here on earth, and it also describes events at and after Christ’s return. A full explanation can be found in our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the LORD.” Please also note our Q&A in Update #139 on the “difference” between the great tribulation and the day of the Lord.

Concerning the beginning of the day of the Lord, we read in Zephaniah 1:14-17: “The great DAY OF THE LORD is near; It is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the DAY OF THE LORD is bitter… that day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of trumpet and alarm Against the fortified cities And against the high towers. I will bring distress upon men, And they shall walk like blind men, Because they have sinned against the LORD.”

We also read in Zephaniah 2:3: “Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the DAY OF THE LORD’s anger.”

The day of the Lord describes the time when God begins to intervene in human affairs, but it also includes God’s rule from that time forward. We read in 2 Peter 3:10: “But the DAY OF THE LORD will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise [this will happen more than 1,100 years after Christ’s return, compare Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15; 21:1], and the elements will melt away with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”


When the terms “in that day” or “that day” are used, they refer to the time just prior to and at Christ’s return, and they also may include the time after Christ has returned. They are virtually synonymous with the term, “the day of the Lord.”

We read in Isaiah 2:10-12, 20-21: “Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be bowed down, And the LORD alone shall be exalted IN THAT DAY. For the DAY OF THE LORD of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty… IN THAT DAY a man will cast away his idols of silver And his idols of gold, Which they made, each for himself to worship, To the moles and bats, To go into the clefts of the rocks, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily.”


The term, “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” refers to the time of the beginning of the great tribulation, which is followed by heavenly signs and the beginning of the day of the Lord. While the day of the Lord is described, in its beginning stages, as the wrath of God, the great tribulation is described as Satan’s wrath against God’s people (compare Revelation 12:12-17). However, the great tribulation and the day of the Lord “overlap” for approximately one year; that is, the great tribulation begins about 2 1/2 years before the day of the Lord, but it
will be ongoing for approximately another year, together with the day of the Lord, until the return of Christ who will cut short the great tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22).

We read in Jeremiah 30:7-9: “‘Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE, But he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass IN THAT DAY,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘That I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; Foreigners shall no more enslave them. But they shall serve the LORD their God, And David their king, Whom I will raise up for them.'”

This is a prophetic passage regarding the modern descendants of the house of Israel or Jacob. To learn about their identity, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

Regarding the time sequence, let us notice Joel 2:30-31: “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, BEFORE the coming of the great and awesome DAY OF THE LORD.”

All these terms describe still future events. It is important that we understand them correctly, so that we can know what is prophesied to happen in our times.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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