Note: This Wake Up Report! concludes my response to a question that was asked last month. (Read it by selecting this link.) The essence of John’s question was: "I would like to know, prophetically speaking, what is next? One expert says something and another expert says something else. Please break this down for me."
John, please consider the following parable: Three boys, Abe, Brian, and Charlie, stood in front of a clothing store display. Two shirts were on display in the window and the prices on the shirts were $30 and $50. Abe said, "If I had $100, I would buy both shirts!"
Brian replied, "I believe you could buy both of them for $60."
"The total for both shirts is $80," Charlie declared.
"That’s just your opinion," retorted Abe.
Brian agreed saying, "That’s right! No one really knows what the total is. One person says one thing and another person says something else. Who are we to believe?"
Charlie asserted, "The total price for these shirts is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of fact!"
Brian concluded, "A person can believe whatever he wants, but who can say what the truth is?" When the conversation ended without coming to an agreement, the boys went their separate ways. The truth was spoken, but two of the three boys (2/3’s) did not recognize it.
Taking the parable one step further, consider this: How can a person tell if a prophetic explanation is an opinion (a private interpretation) or a fact? Thus far, I have not directly answered your question because to the untrained ear, another response will appear to be just another opinion and when it comes to Bible prophecy, opinions are not particularly meaningful.
It is my hope that you will embrace the use of the rules and discover for yourself what comes next – prophetically speaking. Now that the book of Daniel has been unsealed (the rules discovered), Bible prophecy is not only easier to understand, but a chronological order can be determined! Last month, we discussed three issues:
1. Faulty rules of interpretation will produce faulty conclusions.
2. God sealed up the book of Daniel until the final generation arrives on Earth because God’s gift to the honest in heart is a greater understanding of truth. Those who love truth are willing to abandon traditions when greater truth comes along because for them, truth has greater value than tradition.
3. Finally, God has put a chronological sequence of prophetic events in the books of Daniel and Revelation. These events began to unfold about 600 B.C. will continue without interruption until the world is purified of sin – 1,000 years after the Second Coming. God also revealed eighteen spans of time (time periods) within the end time sequence so that people searching for truth can determine their chronological position within God’s plan.
Consistent Behavior Produces Rules
By God’s grace and through stumbling efforts, I discovered four self-evident rules in the book of Daniel during the 1980s. These rules govern all aspects concerning the interpretation of apocalyptic prophecy. (Apocalyptic prophecy is defined in this article as the unique prophecies contained in the books of Daniel and Revelation.
There are five types of prophecy in the Bible and each type of prophecy has unique rules of interpretation.) I did not make up these four rules. Rather, these are God’s four rules that govern His prophetic explanation of the future. I simply observed these four consistent behaviors within apocalyptic prophecy and I have distilled my observations into four rules. (This is similar to the work of physicist Georg Ohm. He studied the behavior of electricity and after he observed a number of consistent behaviors, he distilled his observations into a set of mathematical equations that we now call "Ohm’s law.")
I believe the discovery and validation of these four rules are what unseals the book of Daniel. These four rules control the interpretation of Daniel and Revelation. When properly applied, the books of Daniel and Revelation will make sense just as they read. These rules address four issues: chronology, fulfillment, the use of language, and timing.
According to these rules, there are five prophecies in the book of Daniel and twelve in the book of Revelation. When these seventeen prophecies are properly aligned with each other, they produce an amazing timeline. This timeline contains a sequence of more than 100 events that occur in chronological order. This timeline has been functioning for twenty-six centuries and it will continue to function until 1,000 years found in Revelation 20 end and Earth is made new.
Given the brevity of this article, we will examine Rule One. I have arbitrarily made the rule governing chronology "Rule One" because determining the order of events within the seventeen prophecies is "Job One!" Try this: Draw a time line and then place all of the events specified in Daniel and Revelation on this time line.
When you do this, you will be confronted with placing all the events in the correct chronological order. This is why I consider the first rule about chronology to be so important. This rule is stated as follows: "Each apocalyptic prophecy has a beginning point in time, an ending point in time and the events within each prophecy occur in the order given."
This rule is deceptively simple and it demolishes 2,000 years of prophetic speculation and tradition. Please give the following sentence a full five seconds of serious thought because the ramifications are huge: God has declared the order of events within each apocalyptic prophecy – if this is not the case, there is no way to determine chronological order within apocalyptic prophecy.
If God has declared the order of events within each apocalyptic prophecy and each apocalyptic prophecy is written in Scripture, then the Bible will reveal the correct order of events to everyone – just as it reads. If God has declared chronological order, then there is prophetic certainty instead of endless chaos and cancelling views.
On the other hand, if God has not declared chronological order, then everyone is permitted to define and create a prophetic order that accommodates his or her religious baggage. In fact, we see this process throughout Christianity today and the result is that there is no general agreement among Christians on the next prophetic event!
To resolve this problem, some church groups turn to external authority. This authority can be a founding father, a prophet, or even church tradition. There is a simple test that determines if a person uses external authority. Present the Word of God and notice the result. Jesus did this and He was considered a blasphemer because the Jews exalted religious traditions above the Word of God! (See Mark 7:8,9.)
Bottom line: If God has not declared chronological order in the apocalyptic prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, then it becomes impossible to factually determine the next prophetic event. On the other hand, if there is chronological order, then we can determine what event comes next. We have had twenty-six centuries of prophetic sequence since the book of Daniel was written.
Looking backwards from our day, the book of Daniel proves there is chronological order and the result is truly astonishing. This is good news because the final generation can know and understand a number of prophetic truths that previous generations could not discover! Remember, God’s greatest gift to the honest in heart is greater truth. During the Great Tribulation, God will separate the honest in heart (His sheep) from those who worship tradition (the goats) through greater truth!
Avoiding Internal Conflict
Last month, the following paragraph was included in my report: "There are time periods in Daniel and Revelation where a day should be translated as a year (for example, the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 are translated into 490 years), but there are other time periods where translation is not permitted.
For example, the 42 months in Revelation 13 and the 1,335 days in Daniel 12 are literal time periods. Because some time periods in prophecy are translated a day for a year and others are not, a valid rule is required to tell us when time periods should be translated and when they should not."
If we use a faulty rule that requires every time period in Daniel and Revelation to be literal or a faulty rule that requires every time period to be translated as a day for a year, the Bible will be put in a position of internal conflict (inconsistency). In other words, the Bible will not be able to speak for itself because Rule One, which governs chronological order, will be found in conflict with Rule Four which governs timing!
A valid rule of interpretation cannot have an exception, for if it did, who would have the authority to tell the world when the exception is permitted? Let me repeat this important statement. A valid rule will not force the Bible into a position of internal conflict. I emphasize this point because valid rules and valid conclusions are always in perfect harmony with God’s Word!
Perhaps a short demonstration would be helpful. Consider the chronological order in the following prophecy.* Rule One forces this prophecy to begin with Revelation 12:7 and it continues through Revelation 14:5. Remember, an apocalyptic prophecy is defined as having a beginning point and an ending point in time and the events within the prophecy must occur in the order given.
1. – Revelation 12:7-12 (A.D. 30) – There was war in Heaven on Resurrection Sunday. Lucifer and his angels were cast out of Heaven a second time.
2. – Revelation 12:13-14 (538-1798) – Then, the dragon (Lucifer) chased woman (God’s people) to the desert for 1,260 years (a time, times and half a time) According to Rule Four, this time period must be translated using a day for year because the Jubilee Calendar is in operation.
3. – Revelation 12:15,16 (1776 to the present) – Then, the earth helped the woman. God provided a place (the United States of America) where she could escape religious persecution.
4. – Revelation 12:17 (1798 to the present) – When the 1,260 years ended and the woman had not been destroyed, the devil became furious. Knowing that he will be given one last chance, he is preparing for a massive assault on the remnant of the woman during the Great Tribulation.
5. – Revelation 13:1 (Future) – When the world is reduced to ruins by God’s wrath (the first four trumpets), a beast with seven heads and ten horns will suddenly appear. This beast will be a crisis government. This government will be created by the religious and political leaders of Earth for the purpose of appeasing God so that His wrath will cease.
The seven heads represent the seven religious systems of the world. The head (religious system) that was wounded in 1798 was the Roman Catholic Church. When this beast (also called Babylon) forms, we can conclude that the pope will have a leading role. This is how the head that received the deadly wound in 1798 will be healed.
6. – Revelation 13:2-6 (Future) – Babylon (the crisis government) will be a hand-puppet of the devil. The devil will use Babylon to persecute the remnant of the woman for 42 months. Since Rule Four states this time period is not translated because the Jubilee Calendar is not in operation, the 42 months in Revelation 13:5 will be 42 literal months.
7. – Revelation 13:7-10 (Future) – The Bible clearly states that the saints will be conquered and defeated. Most of them will be killed or put in prison, and all inhabitants of the earth will obey the laws of Babylon – all, that is, except the saints.
8. – Revelation 13:11-18 (Future) – About two years after Babylon is created, the devil and his angels will be released from the Abyss to physically appear before the people of Earth during the fifth trumpet. (See Revelation 9:1-11.) During the sixth trumpet, the devil’s forces will kill a third of mankind (most, if not all, of the 144,000 will be killed), set up a worldwide theocracy, and implement the mark of the beast.
9. – Revelation 14:1-5 (Future) – Then, the 144,000 will be resurrected at the seventh trumpet and taken to Heaven on the 1,265th day of the Great Tribulation. They will be presented to God as the first fruits of the coming harvest.
John, I know my response is more technical than what you may have expected. However, it is necessary to understand four things before your prophetic confusion will end. First, opinions about the next prophetic event are meaningless. On the other hand, understanding the architecture of apocalyptic prophecy for yourself is priceless!
Second, when two-thirds of the world’s population hear the truth that comes from God’s Word, like the two boys in the parable at the beginning of this article, they will be unable to recognize the truth because they have no tools to distinguish between truth and error. Third, the unsealing of the book of Daniel changes everything in terms of understanding apocalyptic prophecy.
The time has come for long-standing traditions to be dethroned and truth exalted. History says this process always comes at a price. There will be rejection, ridicule, and persecution for those who love truth. God understands this and He has promised to compensate the faith of His children in due time.
The meek will inherit the earth! Finally, the Bible teaches that the next visible prophetic event will be a series of dramatic physical phenomena in the sky – including a global earthquake. See Revelation 8:5. These intimidating manifestations will be immediately followed by four horrific judgments from God. (See Revelation 8:6-12)
*Note: For a comprehensive discussion on these prophetic topics, please see my book, A Study on the Seven Trumpets, Two Witnesses and Four Beasts. For a discussion on the selection and ministry of the 144,000, please see pages 151-206 in my book, A Study on the Seven Seals and the 144,000.
These materials are freely available on the web. Please go to the topical index. Scroll down and look for the articles titled, "The 144,000," "The Seven Trumpets," "The Two Witnesses," and "The Four Beasts." For a discussion on the four rules of interpretation, please see the article titled, "The Necessity for Rules."