Dear Wake Up Family,
Throughout the years, we have frequently received a question that goes like this: “Larry Wilson said that <insert date here> was a date of interest for the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Since that date has passed, what did he say the next date will be?” Some ask the question because they are studying the timing of events of the Great Tribulation, and others just want a new date! In this and an upcoming newsletter, I will give you an easy method to calculate these dates of prophetic interest for yourself. Unfortunately, I will be unable to provide a deep Bible study because of space limitations, but I will provide some background information about prophetic time study, the difference between time study and date setting, important considerations when studying Great Tribulation events, and information you can use to calculate future dates of interest.
Perhaps the most cynical accusation detractors made about Larry throughout his ministry was that Larry was a “date-setter.” Larry was passionate about prophetic timing because, from the deepest core of his being, he loved Jesus, and was anxious for Jesus to end this sinful world and return to be with the people He has redeemed. Larry studied the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation and, over the years, developed an interpretive structure to explain prophetic timing. Daniel and Revelation provide so many prophetic dates that it is nearly impossible to consider the prophecies without having dates enter the picture. A prophecy student must determine how 70 weeks, 2,300 days, time, times, and half a time, 5 months, 1,260 days, 1,335 days, 3½ days, and other time periods fit their interpretation of prophecy. Bible prophecy students have varying perspectives about prophetic dates including, (a) they are irrelevant to understanding prophetic meaning, (b) they apply to the past, not to the future, or (c) they are worthy of serious study. Obviously, Larry believed that a scholar could not study Bible prophecy without considering how prophetic time periods fit into the larger elements of Bible prophecy. Many detractors distorted Larry’s passion for Jesus’ soon return and his study of prophetic timing and falsely accused him of setting dates.
Sadly, the most vocal detractors never seriously researched the basis for his conclusions.
Before I begin describing how Larry calculated “dates of interest” for the beginning of the Great Tribulation, understand that any projections of future dates are speculative and based on certain assumptions that may be unreliable. For example, in the past 20 years, Larry identified four previous dates of interest that passed without incident. If these dates came and went, why did Larry keep identifying future dates of interest? Did he have reasons for continuing to entertain future dates despite the negative reactions he received? While other Bible students may disagree with Larry’s conclusions, he did have a logical basis for identifying dates of interest. Here are a few of the underlying assumptions and some resources you can use for further study on each assumption.
1. The Bible identifies a week as an important element of literal, ceremonial, and prophetic timing. The Old Testament begins with the first week (Genesis 1:2–2:2), identifying a seven-day period from Sunday through Saturday. Later, God established a week of seven months for Israel’s ceremonial or religious year after the Exodus. Israel celebrated all its feasts, from Passover to the Feast of Tabernacles, within this seven-month ceremonial year. God also designated a week of seven years based on the seven-day weekly cycle. Every seventh, or sabbatical, year, Israelites were to cancel all debts and free all their slaves. (Deuteronomy 15) The seventh day of the weekly cycle was a day of rest, the seventh month was a time of atonement, and the seventh year was a sabbatical year of freedom and rest for the land. (Leviticus 26:34)
God also established a week of seven years totaling 49 years called the Jubilee Cycle (Leviticus 25:8–55). When this 49-year period was complete, Israel celebrated year 50, the first year of the next 49-year cycle, as a year of Jubilee. Not only was the land to receive its rest on the 50th, or Jubilee year, but the land was also to be restored to its original owners (Leviticus 25:10). So, beginning with the second year of the next Jubilee Cycle, the original owners recovered full ownership of the land. Remember this detail when we calculate future dates of interest for the second coming.
The Bible does not specifically address a week of millenniums. However, I can identify several interesting relationships between the literal, ceremonial, and prophetic weeks described previously and a week of millenniums. 1 Peter 3:8 says, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” A person reading this text might first think that if God is infinite, a thousand years of time for Him is like a day would be for us. However, if God has established weeks of days, months, and years, could Peter be describing a week of millenniums? Revelation 20:4–6 identifies a 1,000-year period when the saints will rule with Christ and sinners will remain in the grave.
The Bible and history document about 6,000 years, or six millenniums, between creation and today, so the seventh millennium is nearly here. Like the seventh day of creation, the seventh millennium is a time of rest. Like the seventh ceremonial month, Christ has atoned for His people and removed the sins of the saints. Like the seventh day in the week of years, the land will receive its rest for the seventh millennium. Finally, like the Jubilee Year, Satan will no longer have a claim to earth, and Jesus, the rightful owner, will take possession of earth with His saints, who will serve as priests and kings. (Revelation 5:10)
Interestingly, Israel’s ceremonial week of months, week of years, and weeks of seven years all began on Nisan 1. If we apply the same logic to the week of millenniums, we should expect that the seventh millennium will begin on Nisan 1 as well. We may expect Nisan 1 will be a new month, a new year, and a new millennium. However, Nisan occurs once every calendar year, so we must consider other building blocks to establish a date of interest. (For an in-depth study on the weeks, read the booklet Great Clocks from God.)
2. The Great Tribulation Will Last for 1,335 days. Daniel 12:11–12 says, “From the time that the daily sacrifice [the service at heaven’s golden Altar of Incense] is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.” (insertion mine) I will briefly address three elements regarding timing in this text. This verse is only relevant for those who are living in the time of the end. (Daniel 12:9) The one who lives at the end of 1,335 days will receive a blessing, and for me, the greatest blessing I could ever receive would be to meet Jesus when He returns. If time study is not important, why did Jesus notify us of the 1,335 and 1,290 days? Obviously, Jesus gave us the 1,335 days because we need to identify when this time period starts. We also know from the verse that 45 days before the 1,335 days end, on the 1290th day, Satan will implement the abomination causing desolation, or universal death decree.
The abomination that causes desolation is a reference to a future universal death degree that occurs on the 1,290th day after heaven’s daily corporate sacrifice for fallen man ends. If the Lord saw fit to tell His final generation that an abomination causing desolation would occur 1,290 days from a starting date and His people would be blessed 1,335 days from the same starting date, He must have expected his last-day prophecy students to identify the beginning dates for these prophecies.
The Bible describes an amazing parallel between the universal death decree that will occur during the Great Tribulation and a similar decree that Artaxerxes issued during Esther’s day. (Esther 3:7, 13) Today, the Jews celebrate the holiday of Purim to recognize the time during the month of Adar when Esther’s people, the Jews, were saved from a death decree. During certain years, the date of Purim and the 1,290th day of the Great Tribulation fall on the same date as a full moon.
We now have several data points we can use to identify dates that may work for the beginning of the seventh millennium. Since Nisan 1 is the first day of the Jewish day, month, and weeks of seven years, the new millennium may begin on Nisan 1, which is day 1,335 of the Great Tribulation. Nisan 1 needs to fall on a Monday, the day the land is fully restored to its original owners. Finally, day 1,290 of the Great Tribulation, which falls during the month of Adar, should occur at the time of a full moon. In an upcoming month, I will present another data point that we can use to identify the appropriate years for future dates of interest. If you can’t wait for the rest of the story, here is a link to materials for personal study.
Until next time,