18 Prophetic Time Periods
Every now and then, the Holy Spirit leads us to a point in our understanding about God’s will and His Word which requires us to take a stand that friends or loved ones may not receive well. (Matthew 10:37, 38) It continues to amaze me how God tests our faith and not our knowledge!
The Bible reveals that the testing of our faith develops perseverance. (James 1:3) I mention this text because James 1 is a very encouraging chapter for me. James says, –“Consider it pure joy” when you find yourself in a testing situation. (James 1:2) With this in mind, I would like to share a story that I hope will be a source of encouragement.
Although the story may seem a bit complicated in places, take your time as you read it and see what you think.
The Importance of 1994
As you may already know, I believe the chapters of Daniel and Revelation contain 18 apocalyptic prophecies. This also means there are 18 apocalyptic time-periods within Daniel and Revelation. (I consider an apocalyptic time-period to be a interval of time or a moment in time that belongs to an apocalyptic prophecy.)
For many years I was puzzled by these 18 time-periods because I suspected they were quite important to understanding the prophecies. About nine years ago, I published my findings on these time-periods for the first time and ever since, I have received a great deal of criticism.
Perhaps the “lightning rod” of my discoveries is the importance I place on 1994. I will be the first to say that 1994 is not found in the Bible (for that matter, neither are other prophetic milestones of A.D. 30, 538 or 1798). Let me make this clear, no prophecy terminates in 1994, and no prophecy began in 1994. Yet, and as strange as this may sound, I find this date to be highly important because several themes in the Bible appear to converge around 1994.
The importance of 1994 is not seen on the surface, and in fact, the importance of 1994 does not become clear until several problems have been identified that involve the study of prophetic timing. Many of my critics have superficially read portions of my work and consequently, have misrepresented my views on this topic.
Most of them accuse me of setting dates for the Second Coming or the commencement of the Seven Trumpets. These claims are false. I have never set a date for the Second Coming of Jesus or the commencement of the Seven Trumpets. Every time I am confronted with this assertion, I simply ask the critic for the reference and date of the publication to which he is referring, and that usually silences the accusation. There is no reference and there is no date. The Bible clearly shows that no one knows that day or hour. (Matthew 24:36)
I certainly do not know the date and I have never claimed to know the date of the Second Coming, or for that matter, any future prophetic event.
The trouble regarding 1994 stems from prejudice, gossip, ignorance, or the lifting of some of my statements out of context. As a living author, when someone “quotes me,” I can quickly distinguish between those individuals who have done an appropriate amount of research from those individuals who wish only to denigrate me or my work.
I have seen the intent of my words twisted and distorted many times. I have often been slandered and misrepresented with defamatory intent. To this day, I continue to be amazed at how few of my critics (many of which hold doctorate degrees) can accurately represent my views, even though I try to be as plain spoken as I know how.
In fact, my forthrightness probably contributes to the problem. Before 1994, I plainly said that I anticipated the commencement of the Great Tribulation in 1994. To be fair to my critics, I can see how such a statement could be regarded as “time setting” if this were a single and unqualified statement.
In this same light, I can also see how the Bible can be made to say something it does not say at all! Notice this text: “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)
Does this text predict that the devil, the beast, and the false prophet will be tormented in the lake of burning sulfur day and night forever and ever? Yes, very plainly but only if you limit your research on this topic to this one particular verse.
Obviously, the Great Tribulation did not commence in 1994. It is still coming and my anticipation remains unchanged. I believe the global earthquake that marks the commencement of the Great Tribulation will occur any day now. (Revelation 8:5)
The underlying issues that prompted me to declare how I anticipated the commencement of the Great Tribulation in 1994 have not changed! Although it is a moot point now, I still believe that certain prophetic time-periods could not commence until the day/year method of reckoning time expired. (More about this in a moment.)
Time proves all things and my anticipation that the Great Tribulation would begin in 1994 was premature. But let me hasten to say that my anticipation has not lessened, and in fact, is at a higher level than ever before. The Great Tribulation is imminently forthcoming. Revelation is about to be fulfilled!
Is my expression of anticipation the same thing as date setting? Your answer depends to a great extent on what you want to see. How would you respond if someone asked you, “Do you anticipate Jesus will return within the next 20 years?” If you answer “yes,” would your anticipation make you a 20-year “time-setter?” Not hardly.
Among the honest in heart there is a clear distinction between time-setting and time-study.
Notice this text and please read it twice: “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.” (1 Peter 1:10-12, italics mine)
Peter insists that the Holy Spirit is directly responsible for prompting the prophets of old to find out the time and circumstances of Christ’s first appearing! If this were true for the first advent, then what is the problem with time-study concerning the second advent?
As I said, most of the criticism I have received stems from either prejudice or a poor understanding of the issues involved in the study of prophetic time-periods. Although I have written on this topic several times, I thought it was time to review it again and discuss the importance of 1994 from our vantage point of June 1999.
18 Apocalyptic Time-Periods
Before we go any further, I have prepared a list consisting of 18 apocalyptic time-periods that I have found in Daniel and Revelation. Obviously, God Himself carefully designed and created each time-period. The challenge for every Bible student is to correctly place each time-period chronologically.
I take this privilege and responsibility very seriously. The asterisks in the list highlight five time-periods I believe were fulfilled prior to 1994. The remaining 13 time-periods, I believe, will occur after 1994.
- (*) → Time, times and half a time (saints persecuted – Daniel 7:25)
- (*) → 2,300 evenings and mornings (until temple restored – Daniel 8:14)
- (*) → 70 weeks (determined upon the Jews, Messiah crucified – Daniel 9:24, 25)
- → Time, times and half a time (when completed, power of the holy people broken – Daniel 12:7)
- → 1,290 days (from the end of the daily to the setting up of the abomination – Daniel 12:11)
- → 1,335 days (blessed is the one who waits for and reaches this day Daniel 12:12)
- → Half hour of silence (at the opening of the 7th seal – Revelation 8:1)
- → 5 months (length of torture upon those not having the seal of God – Revelation 9:5)
- → Hour, day, month and year (punctiliar event when war begins – Revelation 9:15)
- → 42 months (Gentiles trample holy city Revelation 11:2)
- → 1,260 days (Two Witnesses empowered for this length of time Revelation 11:3)
- → 3.5 days (bodies of Two Witnesses lie in the street Revelation 11:11)
- (*) → 1,260 days (woman fled into the desert Revelation 12:6)
- (*) → Time, times and half a time (woman fled into the desert Revelation 12:14)
- → 42 months (persecution of saints Revelation 13:5)
- → One hour (ten kings join with beast Revelation 17:12)
- → One day, one hour (Babylon’s destruction begins Revelation 18:8, 19)
- → 1,000 years (Satan in the abyss Revelation 20:2)
(*) Indicates fulfillment prior to 1994
Each Time-Period is Appointed a Place
Why did God put apocalyptic time-periods in Daniel and Revelation? Are they of little importance or are they very important? Can a person study Jesus’ return and ignore the placement of these time-periods? How crucial is the study of prophetic timing? What is the difference between time-study and time-setting?
When searching for truths, Bible students are faced with such issues and the placement of every prophetic time-period in Daniel and Revelation is no trivial task. If God is purposeful and intentional in everything He does, we have to consider these prophetic time-periods to be just as important as studying Matthew or Acts.
Before we delve into the 18 time-periods and their meaning, perhaps some information about my personal experience and process of discovery that produced my conclusions about 1994 may be helpful. After studying Bible prophecy for about 12 years, I concluded in 1984 that certain prophetic time-periods in Daniel and Revelation had to be reckoned in literal time and other time-periods had to be calculated in day/year units.
This was not an easy conclusion for me to consider because the church I attended was adamantly opposed to this concept. When I finally allowed myself to accept this conclusion, I knew that I had separated myself from my church (later, I formally withdrew my membership).
By 1984, I knew a large number of Christians had already accepted the necessity of two methods of reckoning prophetic time. People who believe that the 70th week is still future, calculate the 70th week to be seven literal years because God sometimes reckons a day of the week to represent a literal year. (Note: The day/year method for reckoning time is introduced in Leviticus 25 and I find it to be a valid method for calculating the 70 weeks in Daniel 9.)
People who believe in the pre-trib or mid-trib rapture also understand the 42 month time-period in Revelation 13 is a literal time-period of 42 months that will occur during the 70th week. In other words, pre-trib believers believe that day/year reckoning and literal time reckoning operate simultaneously.
However, a closer look at their arrangement of end-time events reveals that they allow the 70 weeks in Daniel 9 to be the only day/year prophecy in Daniel and Revelation all other time-periods are reckoned as literal. Pre-trib believers also claim that 16 of the 18 time-periods are in the future.
The two time periods they place in the distance past are the 2300 days of Daniel 8 and 69 of the 70 weeks in Daniel 9.
Since I had independently concluded that a number of time-periods were in the future, I took a closer look at the pre-trib view widely promoted in the early 70’s by Hal Lindsey and other Christian authors. However, I rejected Lindsey’s method of reckoning time for the same reason I rejected the consistent use of the day/year principle.
With each view I found the claims of fulfillment to be unsatisfactory. The primary reason I rejected the pre-trib rapture method of time reckoning was due to the treatment of Daniel 7, 8, 9, and Revelation 12. Historical records and prophetic specifications should align with distinction and clarity and the pre-trib explanations for these prophecies were totally unsatisfactory to me. God is not trying to obscure the truth, rather He is trying to expose the truth!
Further, I found the pre-trib idea of a “church age” and the claim of the Jews returning to Israel in 1948 as a prophetic fulfillment to have no apocalyptic merit whatsoever. When Lindsey separated the 70th week from the 69th week and placed it in the future, he was merely supporting a private interpretation popularized by Dr. C. I. Scofield around the turn of the century. In other words, I find no Biblical basis for this method of reckoning time. Instead, it seems logical to me that the 70th week occurred right after the 69th week and history easily confirms the specifications given in Daniel 9.
Forcing or Manipulating
Prior to 1984, I had accepted the idea, for the sake of consistency, that all prophetic time-periods in Daniel and Revelation had to be reckoned in day/year units, that is, a day in apocalyptic prophecy must always represent a literal year. For example, the 42 months of Revelation 13:5 translated into 1,260 years because 42 months of 30 days equals 1,260 days. Since a day equaled a literal year using this method, the total time represented 1,260 years.
However, as I continued to use the day/year method of reckoning, I kept running into problems. When the 1,260 year time-period is used in Revelation 13:5, it frustrates the obvious reading, flow and meaning of the whole chapter! In other words, putting a 1,260 year time-period in Revelation 13 is a lot like putting your car in a bathtub to change the oil.
Possible perhaps, but nonsense. I came to see that I was either forcing very long time-periods in every passage of Scripture that contained a future prophetic time-period or manipulating the Scripture to support some conclusion I wanted to see.
I accepted the day/year concept in the early 70’s because the day/year method of reckoning time was historically accurate when used in Daniel 7, Daniel 9 and Revelation 12. Back in those days, I was not acquainted with all 18 prophetic time-periods. So, based on what I knew at the time, it seemed reasonable to me that if the day/year method of reckoning prophetic time was accurate for certain portions of a prophecy, then it should be used to calculate every prophetic time-period.
Thus, the consistent use of the day/year concept satisfied me for some time. (It seems incomprehensible to me now, but for some reason I never considered the 1,000 years of Revelation 20 to be 365,000 years 365 days per year x 1,000 years.
I do not know why my thinking was inconsistent on this point, but I do remember treating the 1,000 years in Revelation 20 as 1,000 literal years.) By 1984 though, my study of the 18 prophetic time-periods in Daniel and Revelation had matured far enough to see how the constant use of the day/year method of reckoning time created numerous insurmountable problems.
When I would examine the methods of reckoning time used by authors like Hal Lindsey, I would also come away empty handed. Even though I was convinced that a change in my own thinking was necessary, I did not like the alternatives offered by either the pre-trib or day/year expositors.
The problem that gnawed at me was this: “If the day/year method of reckoning prophetic time is appropriate in some cases and literal reckoning is appropriate in some cases, how do you decide, outside your own opinion, which method of reckoning is required?” This is a very important question to me because interpretation should not be a matter of personal opinion.
Every time I reflect back on those early days, I smile. God is so gentle and patient with us and He certainly does reward those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) I was determined, by God’s amazing grace, to make sense of Daniel and Revelation. I decided that if it took a life time, I would persevere.
As I said before, the single issue that finally forced me to abandon the consistent use of the day/year principle and the simultaneous use of day/year and literal methods of reckoning time was the poverty of evidence that was so often offered to demonstrate a fulfillment of prophecy. In other words, when I closely examined all 18 prophetic time-periods, using either a constant day/year method of reckoning or Lindsey’s method of simultaneous day/year and literal methods, the alleged fulfillment never made any sense.
At the bottom of my research was this conviction: I believed that if the time was right, God would not hide or make an important fulfillment obscure nor would He make the Scriptures impossible to figure out. I also knew that until the appropriate time for understanding came, Daniel remained sealed.
Until it was opened, no one could discover the whole truth on prophecy. Truth is not complicated once it is known. After all, God wants us to understand the books of Daniel and Revelation at the time of the end, does He not? (Daniel 12:4,9)
For a while, I was quite confused sitting at a dead-end street and my enthusiasm to study prophecy was tested. Finally, I decided to start over. The idea occurred to me, why not separate the prophecies into three groups. In the first group, apply the day/year method to those prophecies where the historical fit is obvious and easy to understand. In the second group, place the time-periods that use literal time and the historical fit is easy to understand.
Then the third group would contain those prophecies that seemed beyond understanding. In other words, divide and conquer! After much study, I realized that Bible prophecy has enough history embedded within it to give every student a solid footing on valid methods of interpretation.
In fact, the rules of interpretation were sealed up in the book of Daniel until the time of the end. (Daniel 12:4,9) At the time of the end, we can look back on enough fulfilled prophecy to grasp the rules of interpretation which help us produce the right answers! Using the three-group approach, I found Daniel 7, Daniel 9 and Revelation 12 to be in the past.
There is sufficient historical data to easily confirm the use of the day/year method of reckoning for each of these time-periods. I further found that Daniel 12, Revelation 9, 11, 13, 17 and 20 conform very easily to literal timing. The problem, of course, was what to do with the remaining prophetic time-periods. I did not know where the line of demarcation was; the line separating day/year reckoning from literal reckoning.
From my study, however, I became convinced that day/year reckoning and literal reckoning did not operate simultaneously. I was also convinced that a consistent use of day/year reckoning was not appropriate either.
By 1989, I stood in no-man’s land. On one side stood the historicist method of interpretation which claimed that the day/year approach is the only valid way to reckon the 18 prophetic time-periods. On the other side, the pre-trib method promoted a simultaneous operation of day/year reckoning and a literal reckoning as appropriate.
There I stood, differing with both groups. I knew that because my conclusions were different, they would be regarded as a cherished or private interpretations by both groups. As I prayerfully continued to study, I looked for a rule in the Bible that clearly demonstrated how God reckons time in Daniel and Revelation.
Then in 1990, a concept began to develop which, by God’s grace, may be an answer to this most pressing question.
Note: The term “private interpretation” refers to a conclusion that does not conform to valid rules of interpretation. In other words, a private interpretation is a conclusion based on nothing more than man’s opinion. Whether it is the opinion of one person or ten thousand people echoing the same opinion, it does not matter. A private interpretation is not a valid Biblical interpretation. When it comes to prophetic interpretation, every conclusion has to be validated by using the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible. The harmony that comes from the sum of all the parts is a most compelling testimony to the veracity of truth.
The Jubilee Calendar
In 1987, I attended a small prophetic conference in Ohio to hear what others were saying about Daniel and Revelation. No one at the conference seemed concerned with the timing problems that I mentioned above, so I was somewhat disappointed.
As I look back on it now, every person at the conference had a private interpretation. No two people agreed on anything. Everyone was trying to convince the others that his or her view was the right view. It was quite an experience. However, there was a portion of one presentation on the Jubilee Calendar that piqued my interest.
The presentation was not very substantial or conclusive, but it did introduce me to a new idea.
Prior to attending this meeting I considered the Jubilee Calendar to be a function of numerology. In other words, I thought that studying the Jubilee Calendar was a waste of time. For example, the number seven is used through the Bible in very interesting ways, but to build sweeping theological concepts out of the number seven was balderdash to me!
Nevertheless, I listened and learned two things that I did not know. First, I learned that the Jubilee Calendar was a simple method created by God to mark and measure the passage of time. Second, it was clear that the Jubilee Calendar was built upon the perpetual pattern of the weekly cycle, that is, each day of the week in God’s calendar represents a literal year.
Just as God gave man a seven-day cycle with six days to do all his work and then rest on the seventh day (Genesis 2:1-4, Exodus 20:8-11), so God gave Israel a seven-year cycle for the land. For six years they were to cultivate and harvest the land, but during the seventh year, the land was to have its rest. (Leviticus 25:1-7)
These ideas were very interesting, but I thought the Jubilee Calendar had nothing to do with my research until about a year later.
During 1988 and 1989, I discovered five things that nearly blew my socks off! I began to research the Jubilee Calendar because I had a question about the 70 weeks in Daniel 9. I was curious to know if the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 were synchronous with a pre-existing weekly cycle established by the Jubilee Calendar at the time of the Exodus.
In other words, I wondered if the 70 weeks were synchronous with a weekly cycle already in operation or were the 70 weeks just a 490-year period. While researching this question, I discovered that the Jubilee Calendar was a recurring cycle of 49 years. There is a lot of dispute among (and between) Jews and Christians whether the cycle is actually 49 or 50 years.
However, I discovered mathematical proof in Ezekiel 4 that confirmed each cycle is 49 years in length. I also learned that there were seven weeks in each Jubilee cycle, with each Jubilee week having seven days so a Jubilee cycle was 49 years in length.
The 50th year of Jubilee occurs simultaneously with the first year of the next Jubilee cycle. This means the 50th year Jubilee celebration always occurred on a “Sunday year,” which is also the first year of the following cycle. Even more, I also discovered that the 50 days for Pentecost was also a pattern of the Jubilee Calendar. After seven full weeks, the 50th day always falls on a Sunday, the first day of the week.
Next, I discovered that the Babylonian captivity was precisely 70 years in length because this is the precise number of Sabbath years that had been violated by Israel and Judah over a period of 430 years. (Leviticus 26:34; 2 Chronicles 36:21; Ezekiel 4:4-8) (Note: There are eight sabbatical years in each cycle of 49 years; seven Sabbath years plus the Jubilee year. See chart below.)
Then, I discovered that the 70 weeks in Daniel 9 were not just any 490 years! On the contrary, the 70 weeks in Daniel 9 are precisely synchronized with God’s Jubilee clock that started ticking two weeks before the Exodus. (Exodus 12:1) This fact explains why the 70 weeks are broken down into periods of seven weeks (one Jubilee cycle), plus 62 weeks, plus the last week.
In other words, God foreknew that four decrees for the reconstruction of Jerusalem would be given, but the 70 weeks mentioned in Daniel 9 could only begin with a decree that occurred at the beginning of a Jubilee cycle.
This is the only way there could be “a seven” of 49 years, then the 62 weeks of 434 years. Indeed, 457 B.C. is the only decree that occurred at the beginning of a Jubilee cycle and exactly 69 weeks (483 years) later, Jesus began His ministry precisely on time when John baptized Him in the Jordan River in A.D. 27. God’s timing is marvelous!
Then I discovered that God followed a predictable pattern using increasing units of time as He dealt with Israel. In other words, the first time God tested Israel, He tested them with one unit of time would they keep His Seventh-day Sabbath? (Exodus 16:4) Unfortunately, Israel failed.
The next time He tested them, He tested the leaders of Israel for 40 days. (Numbers 13) Israel failed again and that generation had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years a year for each day they failed! The next time He tested them was during a period of 430 years which contains exactly 70 Sabbath years. (Leviticus 26:34; Ezekiel 4:4-8)
Israel failed miserably and went into Babylonian captivity as an atonement for the 70 Sabbath years they had violated. The last and final test for the nation of Israel was for 70 weeks (490 years). (Daniel 9:24-27; John 1:11-14) Israel failed and God revoked His covenant with the nation of Israel as trustees of the gospel. (Matthew 23:38; Ephesians 2; Galatians 3:28,29)
|Sabbath Day →||→ 40 Days →||→ 70 Sabbath Years →||→ 70 Weeks of Years|
Finally, after making all these discoveries, I was amazed to learn that the precise length of time between the Exodus and the end of the 70th week is exactly 30 Jubilee cycles (1437 B.C. – A.D. 33 = 1,470 years)! In other words, the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 are the last 10 Jubilee cycles that God granted to Israel. Is this just a coincidence?
If so, it is an amazing one. This incredible information forced me to take a closer look at God’s movements! Notice the consistent increase in each increment of each test that God put before Israel: The Sabbath day > forty days > seventy years > seventy weeks of years. Then, time ran out for Israel (as a nation) at 30 Jubilee cycles (A.D. 33). As we all know, Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70.
Suppositions and Harmony
Since God used larger and larger units of time for each test, I began to wonder if there might be even larger units involved in Gods plans for mankind. For another year I studied and worked on this progression and then one day, the following ideas came together.
Try to follow each supposition:
1. – Let us assume for a moment that the 1,000 years mentioned in Revelation 20 represent a sabbatical rest for the land (Earth). In other words, let us assume for the sake of discussion that Jesus returns at the end of 6,000 years of sin and the 1,000 years in Revelation 20 is the 7th millennium or sabbatical millennium for Earth. This parallel is found in the 7th year of rest that God routinely required for the land.
2. – Keeping this information in mind, let us continue. We know that God granted Israel precisely 30 Jubilee cycles of time to accomplish His purposes. What if God granted the Gentiles exactly 40 Jubilee cycles of probationary time? (The Bible mentions “the times of the Gentiles” in Luke 21:24, but it does not say anything about how many years are involved.) If there is a total of 70 Jubilee cycles for Jews and Gentiles, then 70 Jubilee cycles would extend from the Exodus in March 1437 B.C. to March 1994! (See Part 1 of the chart on the following page.) This possibility seemed reasonable to me for three reasons. First, I had become convinced that the 2,300 evenings and mornings of Daniel 8:14 were to be reckoned according to the day/year method. This forces the 2,300 days to be terminated in 1844 and if this is true, the Jubilee Calendar must operate until 1844. (See Part 2.) Further, the 2,300 days time-period is called “evenings and mornings” because it is not 329 full weeks but actually 328 weeks and 5 days. On the other hand, the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 are given in weeks because they are 70 full weeks. Adding weight to this conclusion, I realized that the time, times and half a time of Daniel 7 is 1,260 years (A.D. 538 – 1798). This time-period begins long after the cross, but terminates prior to 1844. (See Part 3.) Again the point is made, the Jubilee Calendar has to be in operation between A.D. 538 and 1798 because that 1,260 days time-period is 1,260 literal years.
As I continued in my study, I arbitrarily picked 70 Jubilee cycles because the number seventy seems to indicate finality or completion. Notice how the number 70 is used in the following examples: 70 years is the span of a man’s life (Psalm 90:10); Moses appointed 70 elders over Israel (Exodus 24:9); God killed 70 men for looking into the Ark of the Covenant (1 Samuel 6:19); Israel was in Babylon for 70 years because they violated 70 Sabbath years (2 Chronicles 36:21); and I have already mentioned the 70 weeks of probationary time in Daniel 9.
The number seventy is 10 x 7. Notice how the numbers 7 and 10 are used in the Bible. For example, the most serious day of the religious year in the Old Testament is the Day of Atonement and it occurred on the 10th day of the 7th month; the dragon in Revelation 12 is God’s greatest foe and it has 7 heads and 10 horns; and the beast in Revelation 13 is the saint’s greatest foe and it also has 7 heads and 10 horns. I realize these examples do not prove anything specifically, including the presence of 70 Jubilee cycles, but they do suggest an interesting pattern.
I realize that some scholars insist that the Jubilee Calendar terminated at the cross. This cannot be true because if it were, the 70 weeks mentioned in Daniel 9:24 would not be 70 weeks! In other words, if Jesus died in the middle of the 70th week, then He died on a Wednesday year (A.D. 30) which is during the middle of the week.
If the Jubilee Calendar came to an end at the time of His death (as many pastors claim), then the prophetic time-period would only be 69 ½ weeks in length and we know this is not true! The time-period is specified as 70 weeks. So, it is quite evident that the Jubilee Calendar and thus the day/year method of reckoning continues past the cross.
(Note: I find that Jesus died on April 7, A.D. 30. This date is determined by a combination of data: (a) According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, a full moon occurred on Friday, April 7, A.D. 30. Passover was always celebrated on a full moon, the 15th day of the first lunar cycle after the Spring Equinox. (b) The year of the crucifixion had to be A.D. 30 because it is the Wednesday or middle year of the 70th week.
Christ began His ministry in A.D. 27 (Luke 3:1), exactly 483 years (69 weeks) after Artaxerxes gave his decree in 457 B.C. (Ezra 7))
Given these suppositions, discoveries and the harmony found within, let us assume the Jubilee Calendar comes to an end in 1994, making the day/year principle obsolete. What would happen? All prophetic time-periods that occur after 1994 would be reckoned by God as literal time!
3. – What if 13 of the 18 prophetic time-periods are literal time-periods? What impact would this have on the prophetic stories told in Daniel and Revelation? A perfect harmony of all 18 prophetic-time-periods occurs! The prophecies become self-evident in their meaning.
So, when I put all of the “what ifs” on the table for consideration, a simple explanation and harmony became evident. About 1991, I concluded that if God established the Jubilee Calendar and thus the day/year method as a reckoning of prophetic time, then it would come to an end in 1994. If God limited the number of Jubilee cycles to a total of 70, then 1994 marks the end of the day/year method of reckoning and all of the time-periods in Daniel and Revelation occurring after 1994 would be reckoned in literal time.
By aligning the time-periods that were yet future, I arrived at the conclusion that 1998 would be the first possibility for the 6,000th year because the Great Tribulation appears to be a maximum of 1,335 days. (Matthew 24:22) This conclusion seemed reasonable to me, but reason alone is not enough. I began to test the big picture to see if there was complete harmony throughout Scripture on this point of conjecture and the results were astonishing.
Bible only Refers to About 7,000 Years
Here is some supporting evidence that suggests the Jubilee Calendar was terminated in1994:
1. – If the record of time in the Bible is reliable, the Bible only describes a period of about 7,000 years. When a Bible student compiles the genealogical records in Genesis, the historical records of Israel in the Old Testament, and the prophetic time-periods of Daniel and Revelation using the day/year and literal reckoning as introduced above, the Bible only refers to a total of about 7,000 years (this total includes the 1,000 years of Revelation 20). I say about 7,000 years because Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden for a certain amount of years before they sinned and there is also a 20 year margin of error in measuring the elapsed time between Adam and Jacob. This margin of error stems from the fact that we cannot know the exact number of years in 21 generations between Adam and Jacob. The offspring of each patriarch was not likely born on his father’s birthday, so a maximum 20 year margin for error is necessary. In other words, Adam may have been 130 years and 11 months when Seth was born. Seth may have been 105 years and 2 months when Enosh was born and so on.
2. – The idea that the world in its present form will endure for a total of 7,000 years has been around since the 5th century. I believe Augustine was the first to introduce this theory. The theory of 7,000 years for Earth’s existence has been labeled “The Great Week Theory.” This title reflects the idea that seven days of Creation week were a pattern for a millennial week of seven 1,000 year periods. In other words, God has foreknowledge. He foreknew the rise and eventual destruction of sin. Therefore, He established the seven-day weekly cycle at Creation, representing 7,000 years from the point when sin would arise until its destruction. This idea is supported somewhat by the fact that the final prophetic time-period in the Bible is exactly 1,000 years. (Revelation 20) Why did God choose 1,000 years? Are there other time-periods 1,000 years in length? The theory suggests that God specifically defined and established the 1,000 year time-period in Revelation 20 as a necessary measurement of time to complete “The Great Week.” Since the devil is chained and cannot tempt the nations and since the Earth is void and uninhabited during the 1,000 years, the land will rest from the affliction of sin during the 7th millennium just as the land rested every 7th year in Old Testament times. Even more, God Himself will be able to rest from the suffering of sin in His universe. This theory also has some indirect substance behind it for the Bible does say that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years. (Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8) Consider the fact that both David and Peter penned their words years before Revelation 20 was written.
3. – Let us assume the following rule to be true: God reckons apocalyptic time-periods by the presence or absence of the Jubilee Calendar. Therefore, if you use the day/year method of reckoning between the Exodus in 1437 B.C. and 1994 because the Jubilee Calendar is operating and if literal reckoning is used for the prophetic time-periods that occur after the Jubilee Calendar expires in 1994, then the 6,000th year since sin began is sometime between 1998 and 2017 (20 year margin for error). Do not forget, the literal time-periods in Daniel and Revelation that are still future need to be added to the 1994 date. (1994 plus 1,335 literal days for the Great Tribulation equals 1998, the earliest possible date for the 6,000th year). A couple of unknown, but limited numbers, also support this general time-frame. First, we do not know how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden before they sinned, but we do know that Adam and Eve were 130 years of age when Seth (their third son) was born. Let us suppose (and there is no way of knowing for sure) that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden about 100 years before sinning. Second, as I said before, we do not know the amount of cumulative error in the genealogical records between Adam and Jacob, but we do know it to be 20 years maximum. If we pull all this information together, the genealogical data, historical data and prophetic data, we are able to produce the chart below:
|Adam to Flood||1,656 Years|
|Flood to Exodus||989 Years|
|Exodus in 1437 B.C. to 1994||3,430 Years|
|1994 plus the 1,335 days of Daniel 12 for the Great Tribulation = 1998|
|Total from Adam’s Creation to 1998||6,079 Years|
If we subtract (100?) maximum years in the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve sinned, and add (20?) for the maximum amount of error in counting the generations between Adam and Jacob, then 1998 appears to be our first strong candidate for the 6000th year since sin began.
Notice the math used is not precise, but according to my calculations, the 6,000th year appears to occur between 1998 and 2017 with the mid-point of 2007 being the strongest candidate. Obviously, 1998 is now history and we are half way through 1999. Perhaps Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden 80 or 90 years. Maybe my adjustment for cumulative error is wrong. If Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden for 120 years, it would change the 6,000th year from 2017 to 2037.
No one can say just how long they were in the Garden nor can we know what the cumulative error actually is. We just have to test various combinations to see what satisfies a best guess.
Scenario After the Fall
We do know that Cain and Abel were born to Adam and Eve after they were expelled from Eden. We also know that the two boys became mature enough to provide their own sacrifices. A possible scenario for this time sequence could be as follows: Adam and Eve lived in the Garden for about 80 years before they sinned.
After they were expelled, Cain and Abel were born, as well as some sisters. (Cain took one of his sisters as a wife when he had to leave home.) When Abel turned 30 years of age (the age at which one became a priest, Genesis 41:46; Luke 3:23), he began to offer sacrifices. Cain, the elder, had been conducting his own sacrifices since he had become 30, but he became jealous of his younger brother Abel when God accepted Abel’s sacrifices.
Cain evidently became jealous because God did not favor the sacrifices of the firstborn as Cain thought He should. (Hebrews 11:4; Genesis 4:4) Let us suppose that Cain was about age 40 when he killed Abel who was about 30. The Bible says that Seth was born to replace Abel when Eve was 130. This scenario allows enough time (50 years) for the birth of other offspring (females) as well as living in the Garden about 80 years before sin.
Obviously, any number between 80 and 120 years could easily satisfy this scenario.
4. – I am impressed that God continues to deal with man using increasing units of time. I have already mentioned the first four units of time God gave Israel.
Now, consider the last two:
|The Sabbath day → forty days → 70 Sabbath years → 70 weeks → 70 Jubilee cycles → 70 centuries for sin.|
If God designed the termination of the day/year method of reckoning because 70 Jubilee cycles were fulfilled in 1994, and if the remaining apocalyptic time-periods are reckoned as literal time, then the rest of the prophetic story fits very easily within a time-frame of 70 centuries or 7,000 years for sin. Is this another coincidence? If it is, it is certainly another marvelous one.
5. – In light of the above possibilities, this last point may be the best point of all. Read and consider three separate texts in Revelation before I present the last point. I find these three texts to be intimately related and they are highly important regarding the timing issue:
The first text comes from Revelation 8:2-6: “And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets . . . Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.”
The second text comes from Revelation 7:1-4: “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.” The last text comes from Revelation 10:1-6: “Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion . . . Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, There will be no more delay!”
In brief, these three texts align and say the following:
- – At a specific point in time, the seven angels who stand before God’s throne are given seven trumpets. (Revelation 8:2) Incidentally, I find these seven angels are given seven bowls of wrath later on.
- – As four of the seven angels are about to commence their destructive work, Jesus tells them to wait until His servants, the 144,000, are sealed. (Revelation 7:2)
- – When the 144,000 servants are sealed, Jesus cries out, “There will be no more delay!” and then the angels with the trumpets commence with their destructive works.
From these three selections of text, I conclude the following. In March 1994, at the close of 70 Jubilee cycles, probationary time runs out. God’s patience with Earth has reached its limit. But, as Revelation 7:2,3 indicates, a delay is mercifully announced.
The angels who had been given power to harm the Earth are told to wait until the 144,000 are sealed. Later, Jesus shows the sealing is finished when He says, “There will be no more delay!” At that point, the censer in Revelation 8:5 is cast down (this event in Heaven is marked by lightning, thundering, rumblings and a global earthquake on Earth), then the angels begin to sound their trumpet judgments.
These texts bring us to the question of timing. When are the seven angels given the seven trumpets? (Revelation 8:2)
Since the trumpet judgments are end-time events, this would suggest the angels are given their trumpets at the end-time. In addition to this, the trumpet judgments represent God’s wrath, although mixed with mercy. Is there a precedent within God’s mercy that is related to timing? Yes! God gave the antediluvians 120 years. God gave Nineveh 40 days to repent.
God gave Israel a total of 30 Jubilee cycles with a special opportunity/warning during the last 70 weeks of that time-frame. Did God grant the Gentiles 40 Jubilee cycles? Perhaps so and if He did, then a total of 70 cycles of patience has been granted to mankind. Has the time come for God’s judgments? Yes! “If God does not send judgments soon,” evangelist Billy Graham has said, “He will owe Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.” Have God’s judgments started? No. Why? The Bible reveals that the angels have been told to wait until the 144,000 are sealed. (Revelation 7:1-3)
My point is that it seems fair to conclude that the seven angels were commissioned in 1994 for deeds of great destruction, but have been put on hold until the 144,000 are sealed. This means we are in a waiting period or a delay that could end any day now.
There is no text in the Bible that says 1994 is an important prophetic date. There is no text in the Bible that says all 18 time-periods are to be reckoned in day/year units or literal units or even a mixture of these two methods.
God is the Author of prophecy and since God knows the end from the beginning, I conclude that all the prophetic pieces in the Bible must be correctly aligned to obtain a panoramic view of God’s plan for saving man. In fact, it is our privilege and responsibility to study these matters. I believe all 18 time-periods are important and when rightly assembled, produce a marvelous picture illustrating God’s tireless vigil over man. (Exodus 12:42)
Do not be misled on this point, God is watching over us. In next month’s issue, I will present some marvelous lessons to be gained from them. Remember, with God, “Timing is everything!” In closing, notice these two verses: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” (Galatians 4:4, italics mine) “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6, italics mine)
This is the point: If Jesus were born on time and died on time, then it seems logical that He will return on time. I believe so. “But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:4,5)