2. PROPHETIC TIME SPANS
Bible prophecy is the news in advance. It is the Almighty telling humanity and the angel host what He is about to do or allow Satan to do. Studying Bible prophecy is like taking a look at the Diary of the Most High. When studied in conjunction with the sacred calendar, Bible prophecy is the most reliable evidence the church has that the Almighty is working to a divine timetable; one that is infinitely more reliable than the diaries and wall charts business managers use. Bible prophecy is also the LORD'S way of warning all mankind of approaching danger.
|2 Pet.1:19|| We have also a more sure word of prophecy;
whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth
in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise
in your hearts: 20: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the
scripture is of any private interpretation. 21: For the prophecy
came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake
as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.|
|Amos 3:7|| Surely the LORD GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth
his secret unto his servants the prophets.|
|Eze.33:11:|| Say unto them, As I live, saith the LORD GOD, I
have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked
turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways;
for why will ye die, O house of Israel? |
|Isaiah 24: 1|| Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and
maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth
abroad the inhabitants thereof. 2: And it shall be, as with the
people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master;
as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so
with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as
with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. 3:
The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the
LORD hath spoken this word. 4: The earth mourneth and fadeth
away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people
of the earth do languish. 5: The earth also is defiled under
the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws,
changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 6:
Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell
therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are
burned, and few men left.
verse 19: The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. 20: The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. 21: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. 22: And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. 23: Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
|Rev. 16:19||... and the cities of the nations fell...!
It is virtually impossible to imagine the devastation that will occur when these prophecies comes to pass. The very idea of the earth being 'utterly waste,' 'turned upside down' and 'reeling to and fro like a drunkard' is beyond human imagination! All the cities of the nations will then collapse in ruins and international trade will come to a shuddering halt. Yes, these are amazing prophecies and they are bound to happen at the 'appointed times' in the Almighty's calendar. This fact about 'appointed times' is repeatedly mentioned in the Scriptures. (i.e. Gen.18:14, Exo.9.5, 2 Samuel 24:15, Dan.8:19, 10:1, 11:35, Hab.2:3, Acts 17:31, Gal.4:2) Consequently when we study Bible prophecy in conjunction with the sacred calendar we are in fact looking at the 'Diary of the God of Israel.' We are being given a preview of earth-shaking events before they actually take place! The Most High is revealing His plans to us simply because the events that are about to occur concern the whole human race. In the books of Daniel and Revelation there are several prophecies involving exact periods of time. In this booklet these are referred to as Time Prophecies or Time Spans. They are:
Millions of Christians know little or nothing about these prophecies.
They have never heard a sermon about them or studied them. Of
the believers who have read them, the majority think that these
prophecies have already been fulfilled and, therefore,
do not concern the Christians living in our day. This is a tragic
mistake, because these Time Prophecies concern events
scheduled to occur in the days just prior to the return
of Jesus Christ. In other words, they concern all humanity - today!
Proof of this fact is given below.
No student of Bible prophecy will fail to recognise that current
world events perfectly match the Master's warnings recorded in
Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. The Saviour predicted that
just before his return to earth, there would be an increase in
wars, famines, disease epidemics, earthquakes, drought,
floods, high winds, sexual immorality, violence and
widespread unbelief. These signs are now evident
all over the world. They are proof that we have reached the
closing days of this age, the 'time of the end.'
Also notice that the time prophecies listed above are not
vague generalities, but exact periods of time. Important questions
are : What do they mean? When do they start? When do they
end? How do they concern me? You need to know the answers
to these questions; because drifting in blissful ignorance towards
disaster is certainly not for the sober minded.
A DAY FOR A YEAR
Before we attempt to answer these questions, let us first examine
a popular theory which says that in Bible prophecy one day
represents one year. Many Christian groups believe that these
time spans in Daniel & Revelation (the 2300, 1260, 1290, 1335
days) all represent years and that they have
all been fulfilled. For example the 2300 day prophecy of Daniel
chapter 8, they believe, is telling of a period of 2300 years;
and the 1260 day prophecy of Revelation 12:6 was 1260 literal
years: all in the past! Is this the case? Does one day in Bible
prophecy always represent one year? The answer is,
not always. A prophetic day equals a year only when the prophetic
language so implies, as it does in Numbers 14:34 and
Ezekiel 4:1-6. If the language does not give this clear
indication, as it does not in Dan.8:14, Dan.12:11-12, Matt.27:63,
Rev.11:3 and Rev.20:4-5, then a day is a normal day and
a year is a normal year.
How can we be sure that the time spans mentioned in Daniel 8 and Daniel 12 are literal days and not years? The answer is, we are plainly told by an angel messenger that this is the case; that the 2300, 1260, 1290 and 1335 day time prophecies will occur at the 'time of the end.'' Yes, we are told this fact. Here is proof.
The 2300 day Prophecy of Daniel 8
|Dan:8:17|| So he came near where I stood: and when he came,
I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand,
O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.|
|Dan.8:26||And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.|
The 1260,1290 & 1335 day Prophecies of Daniel 12
|Dan.12:8|| And I heard, but I understood not: then said I,
O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? 9: And he said,
Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till
the time of the end. 10: Many shall be purified, and made
white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of
the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.|
|Dan.12:13|| But go thou thy way till the end be: for
thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.|
This means that these prophecies, the longest of which is 2300
days (just under 6.5 years) will occur in about a seven
year period just before the Saviour returns to earth. I repeat,
the events predicted by these prophecies did not start in
the distant past thousands of years ago. Instead, they
will be understood and then fulfilled, as these texts clearly
say, 'at the time of the end;' and that time, dear
reader, has now arrived. In short, the day-for-a-year
principle does not apply to the end-time prophecies of Daniel
8 and 12; and placing them in the distant past is a serious
error. Not only is it wrong, but it is dangerous, because few
believers will trouble to study them if they think they have all
been fulfilled - when they obviously haven't.
Why, then, have some Christians placed these time prophecies
in the distant past and used the 'day for a year'
theory to explain them. The answer is because there is one
prophecy in the book of Daniel where a prophetic day does represent
one year and a prophetic week does equal seven years. That
prophecy is found in Daniel chapter 9. It is the '70 weeks
of years' prophecy concerning the return of the Jews from
Babylon to the Promised Land, the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem
and the death of the Messiah. In the prophecy recorded in Daniel
9 a day does equal one year. But not in the prophecies of Daniel
8 and 12. Remember this vital difference.
When comparing the prophecy of Daniel 8 with that of Daniel 9 we learn the following:
The 2300 day Prophecy of Daniel 8.
The 490 year Prophecy of Daniel 9
This prophecy concerns a period of time lasting '70 weeks of years.' Seventy weeks of years equals 490 years. (70x7 = 490 years)
As we can see the vision of Daniel 8 was given some 15 years
before the prophecy of Daniel 9. More importantly, the
starting dates of the two prophecies are over 24 centuries
apart. The 490 year prophecy started when the 'commandment
to restore and to build Jerusalem' went forth and ended
490 years later in the days of the Apostles. At its basic
level the prophecy of Daniel 9 has already been fulfilled.
It is past. But the 2300 day prophecy of Daniel 8 is still
future. It will start at the 'time of the end'
and end when the Messiah returns to earth and supernaturally
destroys the Antichrist 'without hand.' The 2300 day
prophecy is a 'high-level' forecast of the Antichrist's
attack on the heavenly sanctuary and the throne of God! When
that time comes, and it is very near, the 'little horn,'
the 'man of sin' will rise from the Abyss and
enter heaven itself. He will then defile the heavenly sanctuary
and dare to take over the throne of the Almighty GOD! This blasphemous
act, prefigured at its lower level by Absalom's rape
of his father's wives on the palace roof (2 Samuel 16:20-22) is
scheduled to take place in the very near future. See article
Who/What is the Antichrist?
Having incorrectly assumed that the day-for-a-year principle
applied to all the time prophecies in Daniel and Revelation,
some leaders have placed the 2300 day prophecy of Daniel 8
in the past. They believe it started in the 457 BC and ended
2300 years later in the mid nineteenth century. But that is an
error. One could hardly call 457 BC or even the nineteenth century
the end of the world!
The 1335 day Prophecy of Daniel 12 is also future. Daniel was told by the heavenly messenger that he would be raised from his grave at the end of this period (Dan.12:13); and we know that the resurrection takes place at the Saviour's return. (1 Thess.4:16-17) The next question is: If these prophecies have not already occurred, then when do they begin? The answer is: No one knows the exact year, but here is a vital clue to consider:
The last-day time prophecies of Daniel 8 and 12 all slot into periods of time between Feast days in the sacred calendar! Begin counting from a sacred Feast in one year and lo! 2300, 1260, 1290 or 1335 literal days later another sacred Feast occurs.
These exact counts of 2300, 1260, 1290 or 1335 etc. are not limited
to a single decade or century. They occur over and over again
throughout time, keeping step with the sun and the moon; which,
as we have already pointed out, were initially created
by God to highlight the mighty deeds He planned to perform on
His Feasts. At this very moment in time these exact counts move
within the sacred calendar like cogs within the wheels of a
divine wrist watch; moving that is, towards the appointed
festivals when the prophecies they are designed to measure
begin to occur. A few examples of exact counts which occur between
a Feast day in one year and another Feast some 2300, 1260, 1290
or 1335 days later are given at Appendix C.
We now have three vital clues concerning the Time Prophecies in Daniel and Revelation. They are:
Understanding these three clues will ensure that the obedient
followers of the Most High, the ones keeping Yahweh's Feasts,
will not be caught unawares by events at the crisis at the end
of the world which will be signalled by signs in the sun,
moon and stars. In other words, when a celestial display
coincides with a Feast day in the sacred calendar, (as promised
in Genesis 1:14) it will be a clear signal to the festival-keeping
church that one of those Time Prophecies has begun. That is the
point being made here. The reader is advised to study this section
again and again to fully grasp its significance.
SABBATICAL & JUBILEE YEARS
In Leviticus chapter 25 we are told that every seventh year is a Sabbatical year, a year of rest for the land. We are also told that every fiftieth year is a Jubilee.
|Lev.25:1|| And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,
2: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When
ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep
a sabbath unto the LORD. 3: Six years thou shalt sow thy field,
and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the
fruit thereof; 4: But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath
of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither
sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.|
Verse 9:Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. 10: And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. 11: A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. 12: For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. 13: In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.
A Jubilee is the 50th year; the year after the seventh sabbatical
year. A Jubilee is not the 1st year of the next fifty year
cycle. The Jubilee is a year in its own right. The next seven
year cycle begins on the 51st year. Put differently we may say
that there are two Jubilees in every century and 70 Jubilee
cycles total 3500 years not 3430 years. Any Jewish rabbi
will confirm this fact.
The Jubilee year is heralded the autumn before, on the Day of Atonement, by the blowing of a Yobel (shophar): the ram's horn trumpet. Lev.25:8-13. See passage quoted above. Close study of Leviticus chapter 25 reveals the following:
Sad to say, ancient Israel failed to recognise the lessons
from Yahweh's Jubilee blueprint. The nation seldom - if ever
- kept it as instructed. Nevertheless the Most High is keeping
to His appointed plan, and the spiritual realities to which a
Jubilee points (redemption, freedom, reconciliation
and miraculous growth) will be fulfilled when the
appointed time arrives and the redeemed slaves
of sin finally meet their heavenly Father and enter their
eternal inheritance. The Jubilee Year will be announced on a
soon-coming Day of Atonement with a trumpet blast from
heaven, as foreshadowed in the blueprint instructions given to
A JUBILEE SERMON
Can we identify a Jubilee Year? I believe we can, but not with absolute accuracy - yet. This is how we in SBS see it. According to Luke 3:1-21 Jesus was baptised by John in the 15th year of the Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea. Depending on which historian you believe, that was between the years AD 26 and AD 30. For the purpose of this booklet we'll say that the 15th year of the Emperor Tiberius was AD 28.
|Luke 3:1:||Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 2: Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3: And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.|
If you study Luke chapters 3 and 4 you will see that immediately after his baptism Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil (Luke 4:1-13). Then after 40 days he returned to Nazareth and entered the synagogue (verses 14-19). In the synagogue he was given the Scriptures to read and after finding the place he read from Isaiah chapter 61. That chapter tells of the spiritual realities to which a Jubilee points. It tells of how the Messiah would:
That sermon was preached in the 15th year of the Emperor
Tiberius; when the Saviour began his earthly ministry in
fulfilment of the prophecy.
A JUBILEE YEAR
Compare those spiritual realities with the directions listed
in Leviticus 25 and you will see that the 15th year of Tiberius
Caesar was in all probability a Jubilee year and the Saviour
was, in fact, preaching a Jubilee sermon! That is why
the Master stopped his normal work and invited his disciples
to give up theirs in order to proclaim the Gospel of
Salvation. He was, in fact, keeping the Jubilee command to
rest from his ordinary labours. The year in question was, as recorded
in Luke 3:1, the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar; which,
give or take a year or two, was AD 28. If AD 28 was a Jubilee,
then the next Jubilee would occur 50 years later in AD 78
and the one after that in AD 128. In other words the 28th and
78th years in every century are Jubilee years. Counting 2 Jubilees
to every century would bring us to the start of the 40th Jubilee
in the year 'about' 1978. Again I use the word 'about'
simply because historians differ as to which was the 15th year
of Tiberius Caesar.
TIME CYCLES OF 40s
Bible students all know that many events recorded in the Scriptures occurred in cycles of 40: 40 days, 40 nights, 40 years in the wilderness etc. We also know that many, if not all, Old Testament experiences have high-level spiritual parallels.
|1 Cor.10:11||Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.|
The word 'ensample,' in this context, means to 'prefigure a future person or thing.' In other words, Israel's bygone experiences, as recorded in the Old Testament, were types, shadows, examples, living blueprints and real-life dramas which prefigured realities scheduled to occur on a world scale in our day! One such reality is that Yahweh's people, like ancient Israel in the wilderness of Sinai, are also circling in the spiritual wilderness of human society; but this time it is for 40 Jubilees! The 40 Jubilee cycles are due to end in about AD 2028. Will time last that long? Will our wilderness wanderings last all of 40 Jubilees - till AD 2028? We think not, because the Master clearly told us that the time will be cut short.
|Matt.24:22||And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.|
This means that the Saviour could return before the 40th Jubilee cycle has run out - before AD 2028. How many years before that date we do not know. Indeed no one knows the exact time of the Saviour's return; any more than a midwife knows the exact moment of a child's birth, especially if a premature birth is involved.
|Matt.24:36:||But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.|
What we do know is that we are well into the 40th Jubilee since
Yeshua preached his Jubilee sermon in the 15th year of Tiberius
(AD 28). We also know that the 'time will be cut short.'
Moreover we know that when one or another of those Time Prophecies
is about to begin, the Almighty will signal the day, the season
or the year with signs in the sun, moon and stars.
How does Israel reckon a Jubilee?
The nation of Israel also reckons a Jubilee to be the 50th year; and that there are two Jubilees per century. But Israel considers that Jubilee years occur in the 15th and 65th year of every century. Jubilee years, according to their reckoning, began in the autumn of 1815, 1865, 1915, 1965 etc. Arthur Spier, a world-famous Jewish authority, in his book The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar says this about the Jubilee cycle:
"The 50-year cycle, or the Yobel (Jubilee) years. They were counted according to Maimonides, only as long as the Temple was in existence. Every 15th and 65th year in each century of the World Era are Yobel years, and the intermediary years represent the seven cycles of the Shemittah (release) years. 2815, 2865, 3815, 3865, 4815, 4865 would be examples of the Yobel years." (para C on page 225)
Stewarton Bible School agrees with Israel that Jubilee cycles are 50 years in length and that two Jubilees equal 100 years. But we have reservations about the Jubilee years being the 15th and 65th year of each century. Much rather would we go by the Saviour's Jubilee sermon in AD 28 and say that the 28th and 78th year of each century are Jubilee years.
NOTE: Israel is currently (1998) celebrating a civil
Jubilee to commemorate the 50 year-old State; which was officially
proclaimed a State on Friday 14th May 1948. Do not
confuse this civil Jubilee with the sacred Jubilee mentioned
THE SPIRITUAL JUBILEE CROP
All Yahweh's agricultural laws have spiritual applications. In other words, laws concerning animals and crops also concern us humans who are as 'sheep in the Almighty's flock' and 'plants in His garden.' Few believers realise that the last day, commandment-keeping church is in fact the 'spiritual Jubilee crop' to which Leviticus 25 is pointing. A Jubilee crop according to that chapter is:
Yahweh gave the Jubilee illustration or model to teach mankind a mighty spiritual lesson about His last-day church, the real Jubilee crop! If you carefully read Leviticus 25:18-24 you will see how that the spiritual Jubilee crop (the end-time church) would, with divine assistance alone, produce spiritual fruit for Yahweh's honour and glory. So I repeat:
Commandment-keeping believers of the last-days are the real Jubilee crop! With Yahweh's help we are about to proclaim the Truth that will bear the everlasting fruit of righteousness for His glory.
Publishing truth-filled literature is an initial step towards learning and reproducing Truth. Very shortly, however, the Holy Spirit, unaided by popular material or mechanical resources such as money, printing/copying equipment, TV, radio, the Internet etc., will multiply the spiritual harvest the Jubilee crop represents. The final work of proclaiming the Everlasting Gospel to earth's billions will be done in the last days by preachers who will themselves comprise the Jubilee crop! Like the agricultural Sabbatical and Jubilee crops of Leviticus 25 we will fulfil Yahweh's plan and finish His work on time - aided by His Spirit alone! Without the help of money, television, radio, video/cassette tapes, the printing press or the Internet, the Everlasting Gospel will be 'preached' to all the world just as it was in the days of the Apostles. That will be the real Jubilee Crop. We will literally 'preach' the Everlasting Gospel like it has never been preached in earth's entire history; and the work will be finished - on time!