God – The Master of Timing
Last month I presented several issues dealing with prophetic time periods and related time study principles. They can be summarized in the following way:
- The operation and importance of the Jubilee Calendar in Bible history and prophecy
- How the 18 apocalyptic time periods harmoniously support the Great Week Theory which suggests a 7,000 year history for the existence of sin
- Some apocalyptic time periods are reckoned in day/year units and other time periods are reckoned in literal time.
I believe a proper understanding of prophetic time periods serves at least two purposes. The first purpose is to identify our chronological position in God’s plan, and the second purpose is to help each of us affirm our prophetic faith. These two purposes work together.
If believers can see where they are chronologically within God’s great plan to restore the human race to their Edenic home, they will have a deep sense of confidence and anticipation in God’s timely behavior. Studying apocalyptic time periods and God’s scale of time enhances our understanding of God’s movement and purpose as He deals with humankind. For me, it is very assuring to know where we are in God’s marvelous timing. It has strengthened my faith, even when current events appear to be less than dramatic.
It is so easy to grow spiritually careless or negligent when nothing prophetically significant is taking place. This is why Jesus repeatedly warned us to stay on our toes, watching and waiting. I do not believe the ten virgins went to sleep in the midst of some great excitement. (Matthew 25:1-13)
The arrival of the bridegroom was delayed and they all grew bored and weary of waiting (since nothing was happening). Although nothing of shocking prophetic importance has happened since 1798, we should have a great deal of peace and joy as we reflect upon the things that God has revealed to His children. “He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth the Lord God Almighty is his name.” (Amos 4:13) “He [Jesus] said, The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.” (Luke 8:10)
Jesus says two important things in this last verse: First, God’s secrets are revealed to His children because they can only see truth through “the eyes of faith.” Second, Jesus taught many important spiritual concepts using parables because they require a level of understanding that the carnal heart cannot comprehend. (1 Corinthians 2:14) When using parables, Jesus was able to present wonderful truths for “truth seekers” without unnecessarily offending those people who could not understand.
18 Apocalyptic Time Periods
For the sake of Day Star subscribers who have joined us this month, let me briefly review last month’s issue, and outline the 18 apocalyptic time periods that are found in Daniel and Revelation. (The word “apocalyptic” is emphasized because an apocalyptic time period is a time period that belongs to an apocalyptic prophecy. This point is made because there are other time periods mentioned in Daniel and Revelation that do not belong to an apocalyptic prophecy.
For a few examples, see Daniel 4:16; Daniel 10:3 and Revelation 2:10.) I should also point out that although there are 18 apocalyptic time periods mentioned in Daniel and Revelation, there are actually 14 different time periods. The difference between 14 and 18 prophecies (as I explain them) is because some time periods are identified more than once.
God carefully designed and created the prophetic time periods and each one needs to be chronologically located on a time line by students of Bible prophecy. As I said last month, I take this privilege and responsibility very seriously. The asterisks below indicate five of the 18 time periods I believe were fulfilled prior to 1994. From my study, I have concluded that the remaining 13 time periods will occur after 1994.
(Note: These 18 time periods are not to be confused with the 18 Apocalyptic Prophecies. Instead, I am discussing 18 specific time periods.)
- * 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 – 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 (punctilliar 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)
*Fulfilled prior to 1994
To “predestine” an event or a time period is to pre-decree the event or time-period. Since God is omnipotent, He can pre-decree an event, a process or a time period and make it come to pass. While we are discussing the subject of predestination, I should emphasize how the Bible presents a balanced perspective on this subject. God does predestine events, processes and time periods and each of these directly affect the lives of people. (Acts 17:26) However, the Bible also clearly states that God does not predestine the eternal destiny of any person. Rebellion against God or submission to God is a matter of personal choice. (John 3:16)
God pre-decreed every apocalyptic time period and this predestination has fascinated me for years. Prophetic time periods remind me of the class bell during my high school days, signaling that one class ended and another class began. The bells or chimes would signal the appointed time. In the same way, God is like the registrar who set the master clock before the school year began. (Acts 1:7) Just as each bell marks the daily progression of the school year, the fulfillment of each prophetic time period in the Bible indicates Earth’s timely progression toward the fulfillment of God’s plan to restore man to Eden.
The Father Has Set . . .
Notice this text: “He [Jesus] said to them [His disciples]: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” (Acts 1:7) This text is sometimes misused by individuals who do not want to concern themselves with the timing elements of end-time prophecy.
They reject the importance of such study and often justify their attitude with this text. This is most unfortunate. Look again at the text and read it carefully. It says two important things: First, Jesus’ statement implies that the Father has set time and dates by His own authority (omnipotence).
Second, Jesus says the Father did not want His disciples to know that certain pre-decreed events were in the far distant future. Certainly, such knowledge would have destroyed the disciples’ enthusiasm for spreading the gospel and their hope in His promised return. Imagine what would have happened if Jesus had told them that He would not return until after 1999?
On another occasion, Jesus said to His disciples, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” (John 6:12) Do these statements mean that Christians will never hear all that Jesus wants to reveal? Do these statements mean that no one will ever know the dates and times the Father has set? Not at all.
There is a time for everything and a time when every purpose and truth under the sun will be understood. (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Jesus promised His disciples that revelations regarding the future would be coming. He promised, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; He will speak only what He hears [from me], and He will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13, insertion mine)
Every student of prophecy knows that very important information for Earth’s final generation was sealed up in the book of Daniel. “He [Gabriel] replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:9)
This text indicates that at the time of the end, new information will come from the book of Daniel. Indeed, I have found this to be the case. Within the book of Daniel, I have discovered four rules that govern apocalyptic interpretation. One of the rules concerns prophetic timing and this rule unlocks a number of mysteries found in apocalyptic prophecy. This rule states that God reckons apocalyptic time periods by the presence or the absence of the Jubilee Calendar. (The four rules of interpretation are discussed in the booklet, The Mysteries of Daniel.)
God is Always on Time
Another point that fascinates me about God’s timing is His punctuality. God is always on time. Notice this text: “At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt.” (Exodus 12:41, italics mine) Did you notice how the 430 years were measured “to the very day?”
The next verse always makes me smile, “Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come.” (Exodus 12:42) The words, “Because the Lord kept vigil” are most encouraging.
This verse means that even though generations come and go, God never grows careless or indifferent about His promises. (Genesis 15:13) On the contrary, the Lord Himself delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage right on time, to the very day. (It is my understanding that the 430 years reach from the day when Joseph’s brothers sold him into Egypt as a slave until the very day of the Exodus.)
When one considers all that God had to do through Moses to get Pharaoh to let His people go, it is amazing how God delivered the nation of Israel on the very day He intended. What does this say about God’s interest in punctuality? What does this say about God’s omnipotence?
Captives for 70 Years
There are many examples of God’s punctuality in the Bible. Three amazing Bible stories that build confidence in the precision of God’s timing follow. God told Jeremiah that Israel’s captivity in Babylon would last seventy years. “This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25:11)
And sure enough, when the seventieth year of captivity had been fulfilled, the Jews were set free right on time. Notice what the Lord did: “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you may the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up [to Jerusalem].” (2 Chronicles 36:22,23)
Tested for 70 Weeks
The second story concerns the appearing of Messiah. God gave this particular prophecy to Daniel during the Babylonian captivity, and He actually told Daniel when Messiah would begin His long awaited ministry on Earth! He also told Daniel when Messiah would bring an end to the sacrificial system that had been used since Adam and Eve sinned. (Daniel 9:27)
Understand the importance of this prophecy from the perspective of ancient Israel. The coming of Messiah meant that God’s Kingdom would be established on Earth. (Zechariah 12:9-13:6) It was God’s original plan to set up His Kingdom on Earth at the end of the 70 weeks. (Daniel 9:24)
This was a conditional promise that God would establish His kingdom on Earth if Israel passed the 69 weeks test. In other words, the exiled Jews must honor God’s covenant when they returned to their homeland. The appearing of Messiah after the passage of 69 weeks was, to ancient Israel, the equivalent of what we now call the Second Advent. (For an in-depth presentation on “Plan A” and “Plan B,” see the October 1998 Day Star issue, “What Changed at the Cross?)
As recorded in Daniel 9, God revealed to Daniel that Messiah would appear 483 years after a decree was issued to restore and rebuild the ruins of Jerusalem. (Daniel 9:25) Although God foreknew there would be four decrees regarding the reconstruction of Jerusalem, the specific decree that God wanted Israel to use as a starting point to count down the 69 weeks had a unique timing consideration that distinctly separated it from the other decrees. With God, timing is everything! The Bible record indicates that four decrees were made. They are:
- The decree of Cyrus in 536 B.C. – Ezra 1
- The decree of Darius in 519 B.C. – Ezra 6
- The decree of Artaxerxes in 457 B.C. – Ezra 7
- The decree of Artaxerxes in 444 B.C. – Nehemiah 2
In last month’s Day Star, I presented why the third decree in 457 B.C. is the only decree that satisfies the specifications of the prophecy. To make it simple, the third decree is the only decree in God’s Jubilee Calendar that occurs during the first year of a Jubilee cycle. This is why the 69 weeks of Daniel 9:25 is “spelled out” as “seven weeks and sixty two weeks.” (69 x 7 = 483 years)
The “seven weeks” period mentioned in verse 25 is one complete Jubilee cycle of 49 years (a day of the week represents one year, so seven weeks equals 49 years). The 457 B.C. decree is the only one that satisfies this prophecy because it was given at the commencement of the 21st Jubilee cycle. (God initiated the Jubilee Calendar at the time of the Exodus.)
When 69 weeks had expired, Jesus appeared at the Jordan River for John to baptize Him in the first year of the 70th week (A.D. 27)! (Luke 3) God’s timing is perfect!
An interesting parallel exists here. The first year of a Jubilee cycle is also the 50th year of the previous cycle. Because this is true, the prophetic significance of the decree in 457 B.C. becomes very great. (Leviticus 25:10) During a Jubilee year, God freely returned the land to its original owner. Here the parallel can be seen.
God also intended to freely restore the land to the nation of Israel after the 70 weeks of years, just in time for the year of Jubilee.
Notice the Precision
At the very beginning of the Jewish year in 457 B.C. (Spring, 457 B.C.), God moved upon the heart of King Artaxerxes and prompted him to decree that Jerusalem should be rebuilt. Further, he proclaimed that the land of Israel should be restored to its original owners! Notice the timing details recorded by Ezra:
“I [Ezra] assembled them [those among the exiles returning to Jerusalem] at the canal that flows toward Ahava, and we camped there three days. When I checked among the people and the priests, I found no Levites there.” (Ezra 8:15 )
“There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him. So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” (Ezra 8:21-23)
“On the twelfth day of the first month we set out from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way. So we arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested three days.” (Ezra 8:31,32)
” . . . this Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. Some of the Israelites, including priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers and temple servants, also came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him.” (Ezra 7:6-9)
When assembling the pieces of the story outlined above, the following information becomes clear. God moved upon the heart of Artaxerxes to write a decree to begin rebuilding Jerusalem on or about the first day of the first month of Jubilee Calendar. (The first day of the first month is called Nisan 1.
The Passover lamb is slain on Nisan 14). As mentioned earlier, this particular first day of the first month in the Spring of 457 B.C. marks the beginning of the twenty-first Jubilee cycle since the Exodus! In other words, the timeliness of this decree is incredible.
The decree was written on or about the first day of the Jubilee year and given to Ezra who then assembled a host of exiles by the Ahava Canal by the ninth day of that month. To his great dismay, not one Levite wanted to go back to Jerusalem. (Does this say anything about preachers?)
Consequently, Ezra was delayed for three more days so he could round up some Levites. Eventually, the group arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month and after resting for three days, Ezra called a meeting and read the proclamation of the king.
(Note: The 2,300 evening and morning (2,300 years) prophecy of Daniel 8:14 also began at the same time as the 70 weeks, thus the 2,300 years came to an end in the Spring of 1844. For more information on this prophecy see the August 1998 Day Star and the article titled “The 2,300 Days.”
From all of this information, two profound timing issues surface. First, God moved the heart of King Artaxerxes to issue the “Messiah decree” right on time in 457 B.C. In the same way, God moved on the heart of King Cyrus to release the Jewish Nation. They had been held as slaves for seventy years. The ways of God are beyond comprehension! He can put favor in a king’s heart, even those who claim they do not serve Him or do His sovereign will! What does this say about His omnipotence?
What does this say about His punctuality? Second, the Bible (as well as history) confirms that Messiah appeared during the first year of the seventieth week after the 69 weeks had expired. Jesus began His ministry, right on time, just as predicted. “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law.” (Galatians 4:4)
These three stories the Exodus, the 70 years of captivity and the appearing of Messiah at the appointed times give me great confidence that God is very careful about keeping vigil. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not share one more example of God’s punctuality that removes all doubt!
Jesus Died on Time
You may already agree with me that God faithfully keeps vigil. He has pre-decreed 18 apocalyptic time periods and each one has either passed or will surely come to pass. Most of you may know that for many years there has been some dispute about the actual date of Jesus’ crucifixion. I have seen suggested dates ranging from A.D. 26 to A.D. 40. However, in recent years, research has been able to reduce this span of speculation. Religious scholars now place it between A.D. 30 and A.D. 33.
The actual date turns out to be Friday, April 7, A.D. 30. Here is how this date can be proven:
- The first day of the first month (Nisan 1) of the new year in God’s Jubilee Calendar begins with the sighting of the crescent of the first new moon after the Spring Equinox. In other words, there was a three step process to determine when New Year’s Day occurred. To mark the beginning of a new year, the Jews:
- waited for the Spring equinox, then
- waited for the sighting of the crescent of the new moon, then
- declared the first day and first month of the new year.
(See chart below.)
This three step process may seem laborious to us today, but there were a number of reasons why God had it calculated this way. First, no universal calendars existed in those days. Every nation had its own calendar and historical records were impossible to follow.
However, by observing a solar/lunar calendar (notice this is a visually observed calendar), the record of time was perfectly measured. Even more, the solar/lunar calendar ensured that Spring and Fall crops were always planted on time.
This feature may seem insignificant, but it is the very thing that ensured the first fruits from the barley and wheat crops would be ready when offered at the time of the appointed feasts.It is a well known fact that God required Israel to observe the Passover on the 14th / 15th day of the first month (Nisan), which was always midway through the monthly lunar cycle.
This meant that Passover always enjoyed a full moon. Further, God required Israel to have a celebration 12 or 13 times a year, at every new moon (That’s right, sometimes there were 13 New Moon feasts in a year.)In His wisdom God combined monthly social celebrations with careful time reckoning to preserve the unity of Israel as well as the record of time. (Hosea 5:7; Colossians 2:16) (Following letters tie in with chart on previous page.)
- A. Spring equinox (on or about March 22)
- *When the crescent of the new moon is seen (sometime between March 23 and April 22). This establishes the first day of the first month of the new year. (The crescent is usually seen during the second night after a totally dark new moon.)
- Passover Nisan 14,15 Full moon / mid-month
- Daniel 9:25 indicates that Messiah would appear 69 weeks from the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. The record from Luke 3:1,21 reveals that John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River in A.D. 27. Jesus was about 30 years of age. The time period between 457 B.C. and A.D. 26 is 483 years inclusive (69 weeks).The 70th week of seven years began in A.D. 27 and Jesus began His ministry that year after John baptized Him. 457 B.C. is a Jubilee year and Jubilee years are always Sunday years. Therefore, we can conclude that A.D. 27 was a Sunday year also.(See chart below.)
Death of Jesus – Middle of 70th Week
Weeks of Years Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sab 68th Week 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 69th Week 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 70th Week 27 28 29 30 31 32 33
- The prophecy in Daniel 9:27 indicates that Messiah would die in the middle of the 70th week. The middle day of the week is Wednesday. Therefore, the year of Christ’s death has to be A.D. 30 (a Wednesday year) because 457 B.C. and A.D. 27 are Sunday years.Passover always occurred on a full moon, because the 14th day of the month is half way through a lunar cycle.(See following chart.)
. . . Week 69
. . . Week 70
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 457 456 455 454 453 452 451 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 69 Weeks – Complete Weeks
(69 X 7 = 483 Years)
- If Jesus died at Passover in A.D. 30, then a full moon should confirm this fact and eliminate A.D. 31, 32 and 33 as possible years for His death. According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, the Spring equinox in A.D. 30 occurred on Wednesday, March 22 at 10 p.m. (plus or minus one or two hours). At 6 p.m. that same evening, a new moon (a totally dark moon) also occurred.The first crescent of the new moon would have been sighted in Jerusalem on Sabbath (during Friday evening) making March 25 New Years Day of the Jubilee Calendar. Therefore, a full moon occurred 14 days later on April 7. We know the Passover lamb was always slain on the 14th day of Nisan, which happened to be Friday, April 7, A.D. 30.Notice God’s precision.As the High Priest was about to slay the paschal lamb in Jerusalem at the 9th hour, an angel rent the great curtain in the temple from top to bottom.The angel exposed the empty inner room of the temple called the Most Holy Place. The Ark of the Covenant was not there and neither was the Shekinah glory.The room was as dark as the core of Judaism. Meanwhile, outside the city gates, the Lamb of God, the Covenant Maker Himself, died at the appointed hour for the slaying of the paschal lamb.Legend says the great curtain (about four inches thick) was torn and when this happened, it was so disruptive to the Passover service that the process of slaying the sacrificial lamb was never accomplished.If this is true, it seems very fitting because the Lamb Himself had suddenly ended a ceremonial system that began nearly 4,000 years earlier with Adam and Eve.
- Spring equinox (Wednesday, March 22, A.D.30 – Julian) = Adar 28 – Jewish
- *Crescent of the new moon is seen on Sabbath, March 25, A.D.30 = Nisan 1 – Jewish
- Nisan 14 = Friday, April7, full moon
- Lamb slain at 9th hour, Friday afternoon
Is it little wonder that Paul wrote, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6) All of this information tells me that God is very careful about the measurement of time. He is punctual and He is faithful. I believe the Bible indicates the Father set the date for Christ’s return to Earth long ago!
Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36) Obviously, the Father already knows the day and hour of Christ’s return. It is only reasonable to conclude then that the 18 prophetic time periods are harmonious with the date the Father has set.
These and many other wonderful illustrations confirm that God’s timing is perfect He knows no haste or delay. He is able to bring about or accomplish anything, at any time. Such is the power of omnipotence.
God is both purposeful and intentional in all that He does. Because of this, I believe there are several reasons why God predestined 18 apocalyptic time periods in the Bible. Here is a list based on my observations:
- If we correctly place the 18 time periods on a time-line, then we can locate our chronological position within God’s master plan of restoring man to Eden. We can also verify what has happened in the past and prepare for what is coming in the future. Another interesting point is this: When all 18 time periods are aligned, the Great Week Theory (7,000 years for the existence of sin) appears to be true.
- During the dark and lonely hours we will experience during the Great Tribulation, the knowledge of God’s precise timing will be very encouraging as we stand firm in faith. Knowing there will be an end and approximately when it will happen will be a great morale booster to the saints. The saints will often repeat the assuring words, “Hang on! It won’t be long now!”
- As I said earlier, my study has concluded that five time periods have been fulfilled prior to 1994. Notice that each time period listed in the following list, is much longer than the life span of any person:
* 1. – Time, times and half a time (saints persecuted 1,260 year Daniel 7:25)* 2. – 2,300 evenings and mornings (2,300 years until the temple is restored Daniel 8:14)* 3. – 70 weeks (490 years determined upon the Jews Daniel 9:24,25)*13. – 1,260 days (woman fled into the desert for 1,260 years Revelation 12:6)* 14. – Time, times and half a time (woman fled into the desert for 1,260 years Revelation 12:14)These time periods were not recorded for the benefit of those individuals who would live during that span of time. Rather, they were given for those people who would live after they occurred, so the last generation could determine that they were near the end of God’s allotted time for sin. In other words, the final generation is the only generation that needs to know that it is the last generation.
- God uses repetition to help us correctly identify the placement of certain time periods. For example, I find the following time periods are references to the same time period, namely the Dark Ages A.D. 538-1798:
* 1. – Time, times and half a time (saints persecuted 1,260 years Daniel 7:25)* 13. – 1,260 days (woman fled into the desert for 1,260 years Revelation 12:6)* 14. – Time, times and half a time (woman fled into the desert for 1,260 years Revelation 12:14)
- In a similar way, I believe the following time periods are references to the same time period that will occur in the future, namely the Great Tribulation:
4. – Time, times and half a time (power of the holy people broken at the end of Daniel 12:7)10. – 42 months (Gentiles trample on the holy city Revelation 11:2)15. – 42 months (the beast persecutes the saints Revelation 13:5)
- God used two prophetic time periods to span over the date of the cross. In other words, to demonstrate to the world that His Jubilee Calendar did not cease at Calvary, God created two time periods that commence prior to the cross and expire after the cross. They are:
* 2. 2,300 evenings and mornings (until the temple is restored Daniel 8:14)* 3. – 70 weeks (determined upon the Jews, Messiah crucified Daniel 9:24,25)Both of these began in 457 B.C. The 2,300 years extend to Spring, 1844 and the 70 weeks extend down to Spring, A.D. 34. Contrary to what many pastors teach, God did not abandon the Jubilee Calendar at the cross. If He did, then there would not be a 70 weeks time period. The result would have been only 69 1/2 weeks.
- The time period of the Great Tribulation is a maximum of 1,335 literal days. I say maximum because Jesus revealed that this time period would be cut short or no flesh would endure to the end. (Matthew 24:21,22)There is also a special blessing promised for those individuals who endure to the end. Daniel 12:12 says, “Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.” What special blessing awaits these survivors? They will be privileged to see a once-in-a-universe display of Christ’s authority:
- He will capture the beast and the false prophet.
- He will destroy the wicked people living at the end and resurrect the righteous dead.
- He will call the living righteous people up to the sky to personally join Him there!
It is very interesting how all of the prophetic time periods pertaining to the Great Tribulation harmoniously fit within a 1,335 day time-frame. (Keep in mind that my chart uses the full 1,335 day model because no one knows just how much time has been reduced from the Great Tribulation time period.)
- The following future time period should impress everyone with God’s punctuality. Notice what the Bible says about time period number nine. “And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.” (Revelation 9:15) God keeps track of time, even down to the “very hour!”
- Another interesting feature exits about the 42 months mentioned in Revelation 11:2 and 13:5. God’s method for reckoning time is different than ours. A month to our Creator is one lunar cycle one new moon crescent to the next new crescent. (This may come as a surprise to some people, but God does not use the calendar we use today that was created by Julius Caesar in 45 B.C.)Notice how this simple fact works out in Scripture: “The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” (Revelation 13:5-8)This text points forward to a time when the saints will be persecuted for 42 months. In other words, I expect this time period to be a maximum of 42 lunar months. Further, it makes sense that this forthcoming persecution will commence on or about the time of a new moon because the timing is given as months, not days.
- Another interesting feature is found in the time period of the Two Witnesses which is 1,260 days in length. This time period works out to be exactly 180 weeks. (1,260 / 7 = 180) Because this time period is recorded as days in Revelation 11:2, I do not expect this time period to commence on a Sunday, otherwise, it would have been described as 180 weeks.
Remember the 70 weeks of Daniel 9? That time period was identified as 70 weeks rather than 490 days because that time period began with a Sunday year in the Jubilee Calendar (457 B.C.) and ended with a Sabbath year in A.D. 33. So, it could be accurately calculated as 70 full weeks.
However, the 2,300 evenings and mornings of Daniel 8:14 commence at the same time as the 70 weeks, but they are identified as days because 2,300 days = 328 weeks plus 5 days. In other words, the 2,300 days time period is identified this way because the time period cannot be stated in full weeks!
By now I’m sure you can detect that I am interested in the names of the time periods. The name of each time period says something very important about God’s placement of that time period. For example, we know the bodies of the Two Witnesses lie in the street of the Great City for 3.5 days.
What does this suggest?
First, 3.5 days is exactly half of seven days. Since the Two Witnesses prophesy for 1,260 days, this half-week period must follow the 1,260 days. Why did God pre-decree 3.5 days? Does this time period indicate the first half of a week or the last half of a week? Does God mean 3 days and 4 nights or 3 full days plus half a night? I do not have a good answer for these questions.
More study is necessary. However, the Scripture indicates that this time period is connected to God’s vindication of the 144,000 servants. I cannot think of a more dramatic scene than the 144,000 being called up into the heavens in a blazing show of glory and power, as the wicked murderers helplessly watch.
What would it be like to kill someone in a violent rage, only to see God resurrect them a short time later and take them to Heaven?
Much more could be said about the 18 apocalyptic time periods, but if you have understood this presentation so far, you have done well. In closing, I would like to recap four essential points:
- God is omnipotent and omniscient. By virtue of this fact, He has set times and dates. He has also predetermined the appointed length and placement of each prophetic time period.
- God is punctual. His plans know no haste or delay. When the appointed time arrives, God is there to do whatever He must do to accomplish His purposes.
- A proper understanding of the prophetic story and location of each of the 18 apocalyptic time periods provides a panoramic view of God’s timing and plans that were conceived before the world was created. There is great joy and astonishment when beholding God’s handiwork.
- During the Great Tribulation, knowledge of God’s timing will prove to be a great source of comfort for those individuals who patiently endure 42 months of suffering for Christ’s sake. Knowing the duration of coming events will prove to be a constant source of encouragement, especially during a time when despair is everywhere and the question of survival looms ominously before the entire world.
It was said earlier that God intentionally placed the 18 prophetic time periods in the Bible for several purposes. I believe each purpose for the remaining time periods is about to be fulfilled!