What do we know from other examples – in scripture or life – that substantiates a definitive time frame?
Allow me to point something out; a date slipped by us quietly and got ignored, September 13, 2015. It marked not only the end of the Shemittah year, but the beginning of the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashana. Is it possible that Elul 29 on the Jewish calendar was also the beginning of the seven-year period that culminates the Fiftieth year, the year of Jubilee – the time of restoration of all things; that will happen when the Messiah returns to earth. Coincidentally, Jesus as the Messiah, will return physically to earth at the end of the “Tribulation” to do just that – put everything right. If this is a Jubilee week, then we are in that seven-year period as we speak. Because the end of time concludes with God’s wrath being poured out, there is that possibility that we are already seeing that happen.
We have the two witnesses who stand in the streets of Jerusalem for 1260 days.
So when do the two witnesses show up? Scripture is not clear on that.
Do we have any clues? Certainly.
These two witnesses cause the rain to cease; call fire down from heaven, and cause the same plagues to come upon the earth that Moses brought upon Egypt.
Revelation 11:6 ESV They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.
At the end of their time here, God allows them to be killed. The two witnesses will then lie dead in the street for three days, but will be raised again to life, just as Jesus was.
Revelation 11:7-9 ESV And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, (8) and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. (9) For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb,
The one thing that is definitive about this is the 1260 day time frame. Outside of that we have nothing that tells us when they show up except for the association with their being killed and that is related to the entrance of the false prophet.
It is the prophecies of Islam that shed a tremendous amount of light on this subject. Islam expects their own version of Jesus to show up and bring everything under the control of Sharia. To have everything under one religious leader is what Islam desires and is called a global caliphate. The resume of the false prophet begins with him being a Jew of the lineage of Aaron, and he will be a priest with access to the temple. This character/false prophet will pledge allegiance to the Mahdi (when he comes). This Mahdi seems to be the Antichrist we understand from scripture, and leader of the global Caliphate. It is rather obvious that many will be deceived, and aspects of this deception would be that he performs wonders, just as Jesus the Messiah did, and now the two witnesses have done. God’s witnesses stopped the rain, now he will make it rain.
Islam calls this man, “Isa Ibn Maryam (Arabic: عيسى بن مريم, translit. ʿĪsā ibn Maryām; English: Jesus, son of Mary), orJesus in the New Testament, is considered to be a Messenger of God and al-Masih (theMessiah) in Islam”,i the enforcer of Sharia.
Scripture tells us that this person – the false prophet, will cause all to worship the beast [this is probably the Mahdi, but since the beast is not clearly defined it could be the fallen angel/demon we call Allah.] Regardless, it will be the bloodiest time the earth has ever seen.
I already touched on this verse earlier, but it does hold a time frame within it.
Daniel 7:25-27 ESV He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. (26) But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. (27) And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’
1260 days is the equivalent of = time, times, and half a time, or 3½ years. BTW: Islam has but one goal, and that is to change times to match theirs.
“and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering.”
Daniel 9:27 ESV And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”
“He” is the Antichrist.
Strong or firm
it does not matter.
“he will make a firm covenant with the many”
great number, abundance
“ for one week”
A numeral. It is what it is.
Daniel 9:27 LITV …And in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease. …
This literally means, in the midst of two parts. Jump back to Daniel 7: 25-27 and you get what appears to be a detailed description of the second half – time, times, and half a time, or 3½ years.
Daniel 7:24-25 ESV As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. (25) He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.
If you were to use Daniel 7:24-25 as the limits for establishing a time frame, you still have a problem because you cannot prove who the “he” is, nor when he comes on the scene. Since we Americans have a Muslim President, which has turned his back on Israel and taken the side of those attacking Christians, it is much easier to believe that we are already in the seven-year period.
I cannot change what God has decreed, and if it is to be a precise 7 years, then so be it, but there are so many things that I read in scripture for which we do not have a definitive answer for, therefore it is possible that we are in the seven-year period we love to call the tribulation. This period is clearly laid out as the time of God’s wrath, and that has a defined distinction from tribulation, which Jesus told us is an integral aspect of the Christian life.
We, as followers of Christ are reprieved from God’s wrath because Jesus took the punishment we deserved upon himself. In addition, since we, the church, are in Him and he is no longer subject to punishment, then “we are not destined for wrath” either.
Jesus told the disciples, numbering in the thousands at this point, that he will come again and receive them to himself, minus the wrath part. This is the rapture/Harpazo that we long for.
How then could we be in the seven-year period, a time of wrath, expecting Him to rescue us, while all this other stuff is going on? Part of the answer lies in Jesus response to the disciples, and we find that in Matthew 24. The question asked was really very specific: When will the temple be destroyed and when will you come back as the Messiah we have looked for.
Because Jesus arrival as the Messiah comes at the end of the time of wrath, then it is proper to respond to his disciples in a way that describes the events surrounding his return. With that in mind, what did he say, because we will use his responses as potential markers indicating that we are either in that period or closer than we thought.
Matthew 24:4,5 ESV And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. (AMP) For many will come in (on the strength of) My name [appropriating the name which belongs to Me], saying, I am the Christ (the Messiah), and they will lead many astray.
The implications are that Jesus takes this very serious, and therefore we should as well. Are people being deceived today? Absolutely. Is there the potential that the deception could be greater? Absolutely. Because it says that the elect will deceived we are talking about Jews.
Most versions say, “For many will come in my name”. We tend to interpret this to mean that people will be passing themselves off as Jesus. Fortunately we have translations like the Amplified which tells us that they will come in the strength of the Messiah’s name, Jesus. I have told you that Islam is looking for a Jesus as well. This will not be his name, they call him Isa bin Mariam (Jesus the son of Mary – they can handle that but not god, for god to them is Allah and Allah would never have touched a woman). This person may try to represent himself in this way, but the most convincing aspect will be the signs he performs. Jesus of the bible performed his fair share of miracles, and many of the crowds that gathered around him came only because of the miracles. It will not be any different in the last days.
Matthew 24:6 ESV And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.
Constant warfare in the Muslim impacted nations, rioting in the streets, police being assassinated, oh, and don’t forget the mass murders and terrorist acts that seem to be a daily event on the news.
Matthew 24:7 ESV For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
All these things are happening as you read this. Oklahoma, a state which though very familiar with tornadoes, had rarely experienced an earthquake, but is now the leader in earthquakes for the nation.
Since these are a description of times associated with Jesus return as the Messiah, is it possible that we are within that period? I believe the answer is yes. Most will argue from the terminology of tribulation that we are not and cannot be, simply because God is supposed to save us tribulation. I told you that tribulation is the hallmark of our relationship with Christ, however, wrath, coming from God, is not, so you have to make a distinction.
As you try to define the oddities you find in the Revelation and other apocalyptic books, what do you use as the basis for your answers? I ask because it does not seem as though anyone seems to know. Oh sure, plenty of people have answers, but when you read their answer it does not make sense.
Surely you have heard that, scripture interprets scripture; so then, it is possible that the answers are right there in the Word of God.
Good, and free resources are out there. If you have a computer you can download a program called E-sword. It comes with enough information to do what any college graduate can do – research. Lacking a computer, but having a bible and nothing else, then you are going to have to do what Daniel did and read. Read Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Isaiah. You should be getting the picture because they are all interrelated. The Apostle John wrote to Jewish Christians – believers that understood the importance and symbolism he spoke of. Whether you have a computer of not, you are going to need do word searches (at least pay attention to trigger words such beast and day of the Lord), and don’t be afraid to look up even the simplest of words in the Strong’s concordance. Why? Because the simplest of words can have the deepest of meanings in the Hebrew or Greek (something we, in the western world miss). It will alarm you to find that the translators severely weakened an act or statement by choosing one phrase over the other.
Have you ever sat in church and heard the speaker say, this word in Hebrew means precisely this. Well I have, and I have a problem with that, because when you look the word up for yourself, you find out that the word has variability to it. Does that make God look bad? Not at all. It merely shows that God has the ability to deliver life changing freedom to us, even if it is garbage. It also shows that God has the ability to adjust to the circumstances; evidence of that is found in the story of Jonah and his calling to Nineveh. Truth be known, Jonah hated the Assyrians – I wonder why, and desperately wanted God to obliterate them. However they repented at Jonah’s message. (It is quite possible that his appearance played a big role in their reactions.) So God’s choice to be variable allowed him to relent. Note that word relent. It is not repent, as though God made a bad decision, nor does it mean that they are off the hook. It merely meant that because they backed away from their violent ways for the time, that God backed away from his choice to destroy them. In time they went back to their old habits and God brought judgment against them. Remnants of Nineveh were found in the mounds outside of Mosul Iraq not that long ago. So God did bring the judgment declared.
So what is my bottom line on this seven-year period? It may well be exactly as we presume, but God is running the clock and all creation will come into compliance with that. I do know that a time of punishment from God is coming upon this earth, and it will exceed the evil that men will continue to do. However, Jesus taught us that we have a hope, and that hope is that followers of Christ will rule and reign in eternity with him. There is a day coming when all this grief and pain will end, and I can that assurance now by making Him/Jesus the Lord of my life.