There are various expressions in the Bible referring to the so-called end times. The New World Translation uses terms like “the last days”, “the time of the end”, the“conclusion of the system of things”, as well as the expression under examination here: “The final part of the days.” There are nine occurrences in the prophets of the expression “in the final part of the days.” A brief examination of each is here presented.
For the most part, these terms appear to be interchangeable. As an example, the New World Translation renders Daniel 10:13-14 as follows: “But the prince of the royal realm of Persia was standing in opposition to me for twenty-one days, and, look! Michael, one of the foremost princes, came to help me; and I, for my part, remained there beside the kings of Persia. And I have come to cause you to discern what will befall your people in the final part of the days, because it is a vision yet for the days to come.”
The verses above are the introductory remarks of the angel who was preparing Daniel to receive the comprehensive prophecy of the king of the north and king of the south. Later on in the context of the prophecy, however, the enlightening angel used the expression “time of the end”—as opposed to “the final part of the days.” This would seem to indicate that the time periods are the same.
At Daniel 8:19 the Watchtower Society’s New World Translation uses a similar expression referring to“the final part of the denunciation,” which the scripture also equates with “the time of the end.” That verse reads: “Here I am causing you to know what will occur in the final part of the denunciation, because it is for the appointed time of the end.”
So, “the appointed time of the end” is the period when Jehovah issues his judicial denunciation of the entire system—beginning, though, with his own house first.
Jewish scribes translated the Hebrew and Aramaic Scriptures into Greek some two centuries before Christ. The Greek version is called the Septuagint, meaning seventy in Latin, (LXX) since seventy scholars engaged in the work. In the several places in Daniel where the expression “the time of the end” appears in the New World Translation the Greek word that was used in the Septuagint is “synteleia.” Jesus also used the word “synteleia,” which the Watchtower translates from the Greek as “conclusion of a system of things.” Since it has already been established that the final part of the days and the time of the end are the same thing, the conclusion of the system of things must likewise be the same time period. In the 13th chapter of Matthew Jesus likened the conclusion of the present system to a harvest.
Jesus explained that during the harvest he shall send forth his angels and they will uproot weed-like Christians; removing every lawless person and every stumbling block out from Christ’s kingdom (congregation). Although Jehovah’s Witnesses have been led to believe that Christ’s powerful angels already accomplished the harvest back in 1918, the presence of countless stumbling blocks and faithless persons in the midst of the organization ought to dispel that notion. Since it is indisputable that no such harvest has taken place the variously phrased time periods of the end connected with the harvest period could not possibly have begun yet. (See chapter: The Harvest)
Nowhere is that truth more starkly apparent than in the second chapter of Daniel. That is where Daniel was brought before king Nebuchadnezzar to interpret his dream pertaining to the immense image and the kingdom stone. Here is what Daniel said to the king in regard to his dream: “However, there exists a God in the heavens who is a Revealer of secrets, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what is to occur in the final part of the days.”
What exactly is to occur in the final part of the days? Most of Jehovah’s Witnesses can quote Daniel 2:44 by heart, so there is no need to reproduce it here. Also, it hardly seems necessary to point out the obvious fact that God’s kingdom has not crushed and put an end to all the kingdoms of the earth yet either; which is exactly what Daniel was inspired to foretell would occur in the final part of the days.
According to the book of Daniel “the final part of the days,” would seem to be the tumultuous period of transition from human rule to God’s rule.
The prophetic 2nd Psalm similarly foretells that the nations will be thrown into a great tumult, and in response to that globe-rocking turmoil, they will unitedly take a stand against God’s appointed King. Jehovah’s Witnesses have long supposed that the First World War was the beginning of the tumult foretold in Psalms. However, verses 4-7 would seem to indicate that the tumultuous period has not begun yet; that’s because Jehovah destroys the nations as an immediate and direct response to their banding together against him. As an example, we read in verse five: “At that time he will speak to them in his anger and in his hot displeasure he will disturb them, saying: “I, even I, have installed my king upon Zion, my holy mountain.””
The Watchtower teaches that the banding together of the nations has been in evidence since the establishment of the League of Nations in 1919. But the Psalm says “at that time”—meaning at the time of their banding together against God’s kingdom—Jehovah will “speak to them in his anger.”Since many decades have passed since the tumult of WWI and the setting up of the long-since defunct League of Nations, and Jehovah has still not disturbed the nations by his intervention, we can only conclude that the reason is because Jehovah has not yet installed his heavenly king.
Isaiah 2:2-4 and the parallel in Micah are often-cited prophecies; also considered by Jehovah’s Witnesses to be undergoing fulfillment at the present time. That’s where we also find the expression “in the final part of the days.” Those verses read: “And it must occur in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it all the nations must stream. And many peoples will certainly go and say: “Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem. And he will certainly render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.”
The Watchtower insists that the modern religious movement of Jehovah’s Witnesses fulfills the prophecy by exalting “true worship” above all other forms of worldly religion. The Bible education work currently sponsored by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is assumed to be the means by which God instructs people in his ways, as a specific fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.
Furthermore, Jehovah’s Witnesses suppose that their not accepting military service is the direct result of God’s instructing the nations in the ways of non-violence. But let us reason upon the facts. Consider the following questions: In what way has the worship of Jehovah God been exalted above all other forms of religion? Does the mere existence of a religious association dedicated to Jehovah necessarily mean that the form of worship Jehovah’s Witnesses espouse has been vindicated before the world as true worship? Certainly, the original Christians practiced the true faith. Was Christianity exalted above all other religions back in the first century? If not, why not?
The Watchtower frequently cites the presumed rapid growth of Jehovah’s Witnesses as proof of the fulfillment of the prophecy that foretells that people from the nations will “stream” to the house of Jehovah. However, in the United States from 1990-2000, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not even ranked among the top ten “Christian” religions in terms of percentage growth.
Isaiah’s prophecy also foretells that God “will certainly render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples.” But if Christ began ruling the world in 1914, rendering Jehovah’s awesome judgments among the nations and setting matters straight, why then are the nations and peoples of the world in much more of a mess now than before 1914? Is Christ’s rulership so ineffectual that after almost a century of his rule the world more desperately needs a messiah now to set matters straight than ever before?
Of course, the Watchtower’s interpretation is that God has already set matters straight among the peoples of the nations who have become Jehovah’s Witnesses. But, if God has already set matters straight among Jehovah’s Witnesses, why are there still so many faith-destroying stumbling blocks and evils in the midst of Jehovah’s Witnesses? Ironically, the very idea that God has already set things straight is one of many erroneous teachings that beg to be set straight!
The opening chapter of Isaiah indicates that there are serious issues between Jehovah and his people; that his own people are the very ones who need to be set straight. We read in Isaiah 1:18: “Come, now, you people, and let us set matters straight between us,” says Jehovah. ‘Though the sins of you people should prove to be as scarlet, they will be made white just like snow; though they should be red like crimson cloth, they will become even like wool.”’
It is worth noting that even though Jehovah’s Witnesses presume to have the full measure of God’s forgiveness, the Watchtower’s Isaiah commentary offers no comment whatsoever on how the verse might have applied to the Watchtower Society—not even in 1918-19 when Christ supposedly set things right in the house of God. Furthermore, Isaiah’s prophecy of God’s setting matters straight has to do with instructing his people in the ways of peace, so as to ultimately put an end to war. And while it is true that Jehovah’s Witnesses have personally applied some measure of Christ’s peaceful teachings in their lives, the symbolic beating of swords into plowshares has had very little impact on the world. Yet, the prophecy says: “Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.”
Jehovah’s intent and purpose is to bring peace to this war-wracked planet. But, so what if a tiny percentage of the world’s population refuses to learn war anymore when the vast majority of mankind is more than willing to slaughter their brother? Is it reasonable that Jehovah would be glorified as the great Peace-maker simply by instructing a relative handful of people in the ways of peace while the multitudinous nations are allowed to ignore God’s kingdom and continue to war against each other? The absurdity of the Watchtower’s interpretation will be evident to all of Jehovah’s Witnesses when the next world war erupts in the near future.
There are three occurrences of the expression “in the final part of the days” in the book of Jeremiah—two of them being nearly identically worded passages.
The context of the 23rd chapter of Jeremiah has to do with God calling his shepherds, priests, and erring prophets to account for abusing and misleading his sheep. For example, the chapter starts off with these words: “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasturage!” is the utterance of Jehovah. Therefore this is what Jehovah the God of Israel has said against the shepherds who are shepherding my people: “You yourselves have scattered my sheep; and you kept dispersing them, and you have not turned your attention to them. Here I am turning my attention upon you for the badness of your dealings,” is the utterance of Jehovah.”
Consistent with all other prophecies, Jeremiah reveals that the source of spiritual rebellion against God emanates from the earthly headquarters of God’s organization. Jeremiah 23:15 reads: “For from the prophets of Jerusalem apostasy has gone forth to all the land.”
Jehovah’s cure for the institutionalized apostasy is to deliver a withering blow and then, afterward, regather a chastened remnant. The 5th verse goes on to say that Jehovah will install a righteous descendant of David to shepherd his scattered flock of sheep. That means that the 23rd chapter of Jeremiah is really a messianic prophecy with an application to Christians living at the time of Christ’s arrival.
This portion of Jeremiah indicates that God judges the spiritual shepherds of his people during “the final part of the days.”
The 30th chapter of Jeremiah similarly foretells that Jehovah will establish a righteous kingdom under “David.” But instead of God’s fiery judgment upon the mal-treating shepherds, the 30th chapter of Jeremiah focuses on the spiritual recuperation that will come to God’s reclaimed congregation. In the final part of the days, God’s people are both stricken and recuperated, as Jeremiah 30:17 indicates:“For I shall bring up recuperation for you, and from your strokes I shall heal you,” is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘For a woman chased away is what they called you: ‘That is Zion, for whom no one is searching.'”
The other reference in Jeremiah to “the final part of the days” is found at Jeremiah 48:46-47, which says: “‘Woe to you, O Moab! The people of Chemosh have perished. For your sons have been taken as captives and your daughters as captives. And I will gather the captive ones of Moab in the final part of the days,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘Down to this point is the judgment upon Moab.'”
It is interesting that Moab ceased to exist as a nation. There was no re-gathering of the captives of Moab. However, Moab has prophetic significance, as is evident in the fact that Moab is listed as one of the nations that escapes the king of the north during the time of the end. In Jeremiah’s prophecy, Moab may well represent non-anointed persons who heed the command to “get out of her, my people,” during the final part of the days.
At Ezekiel 38:16 is another passage: “And you will be bound to come up against my people Israel, like clouds to cover the land. In the final part of the days it will occur, and I shall certainly bring you against my land, for the purpose that the nations may know me when I sanctify myself in you before their eyes, O Gog.”‘
The attack of Gog “in the final part of the days” is an immediate precursor of the war of Armageddon. Needless to say, no such development has taken place yet. Again, indicating that “the final part of the days” is still in the future.
Lastly, the expression is found at Hosea 3:5, which reads: “Afterwards the sons of Israel will come back and certainly look for Jehovah their God, and for David their king; and they will certainly come quivering to Jehovah and to his goodness in the final part of the days.”
Hosea’s prophecy compliments the prophecy in Jeremiah concerning “David,” which, of course, is a reference to Jesus Christ after his arrival.
In conclusion, the final part of the days is a concluding period of time, exactly as the expression implies, during which Jehovah disciplines and refines his people and afterward brings the world into judgment with himself. Reasonably, the final part of the days is not a multi-generational era. It is certainly not decades in duration. It is a relatively short period of time measurable in days.
Contrary to the Watchtower’s teaching, the world-ending finale known as the final part of the days has not commenced yet. But let us not suppose that the great tempest of Jehovah is far off either.