Mankind has been asking the same question for centuries or more. How long will these things be? When will be the time of the end? Asking “how long” or “when” is a common event in Scripture. David asked how long in Psalm 6:3. Isaiah asked how long in Isaiah 6:11. Habakkuk asked how long in Habakkuk 1:2. The disciples asked Yahshua (Jesus) when in Matthew 24:3. The saints at the end of time ask God how long in Revelation 6:10. More examples could be given.
Today is no exception. More and more sources, both religious and secular, contain inferences or direct statements that we are nearing the end of this earth’s history. Recently a well-known preacher was preparing his flock for the end of the world on May 21. Can we know where we stand? God has always had a plan, he declared the end from the beginning (Is 46:9-10). Moreover, he wants us to know his plans, so that we might be secure when things all around us seem anything but secure. He promises that he will do nothing without declaring it to his servants, the prophets (Amos 3:7). That is a clear sign that he wants us to know what is to come. Paul also confirms this in 1 Thessalonians 5. He assures us that because we know the times and seasons, we are not to be caught off guard at the second coming.
But those who do not know the times and seasons will be caught off guard, so clearly we have a mandate to study these end time prophecies. God is not honored by an ignorant Christian. Yet trying to sort out the myriad symbols and interpretations of prophecy is a confusing and fearful endeavor, so much so that many so-called Christians just bury their heads in the sand and don’t even try to understand. We are told to study to show ourselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15).
There are many reasons why Bible prophecies are either disregarded or interpreted with such widely varying differences. The visions and explanations given were written such as to be concealed until the latter days (Daniel 12:4). They also often build upon visions given elsewhere, so a thorough study of every image must be made to get a correct understanding. Scripture also says things like “he who has ears, let him hear”. Not everyone who hears the words was meant to understand them, which is likely still true today.
Another reason that understanding end time prophecy is such a challenge for many people is that they think that most Old Testament prophecies have already happened, and they don’t look at them from an end time perspective. What we often forget is that God is smarter than we are, and that He can unfold history in such a way that prophecies can have several applications. Often a single prophecy will have as many as three applications: one that applied to the early Israelites at the time of the Exodus, one that applied to the earthly ministry of Jesus or the early church after his resurrection, and a final fulfillment that will apply to the last generation on earth. Many Bible scholars recognize this concept when studying Matthew 24, where the single answer Jesus gave his disciples to the “how long” question applied both to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and also to the end of the world just prior to his second coming.
The main way to know if the unfolding of a Biblical prophecy is an application or the final fulfillment is in seeing if every single detail is completely fulfilled. In an application, many of the pieces of the puzzle will be there, but one or two pieces don’t quite fit. Only when every last detail has been fulfilled exactly as stated can an event be said to be the final fulfillment of that prophecy.
Some of the most specific prophetic visions that reveal what shall be at the end of time are in the last several chapters of the book of Daniel. Yet many people disregard much of them, thinking they no longer apply to our world today. For example, much of Daniel’s vision in chapter eight appears to have been fulfilled back in the days of Alexander the Great. So while many of the aspects of Daniel chapter eight did apply during days long since past, we must not discount the specific statement in Daniel 8:17 that this vision is for the time of the end. Looking at it with fresh eyes may help you realize how these words still have value in the world today.
Upon much study, which will unfold in a series of articles over the next several weeks, we’ll be studying these visions to see how they may apply to our world today, and give some idea of what to expect in the coming months and years. Some of it may be frightening, but in the end, we must remember that God and his faithful people will be victorious and enjoy eternal life.
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An Overview of the Timelines of Prophecy (Part 2)
When studying Bible prophecy to gain an understanding of the timing of final events, the book of Daniel is a good place to start. Beginning with his vision in chapter seven, and continuing throughout the rest of the book, Daniel lays out the final events and timelines that are essential to studying the close of this earth’s history. There are events that must happen before the final timelines start ticking, and there are several specific timelines sharing what is happening after that kick-off event has occurred. As you study these prophecies prayerfully, you will find that these pre-requisite events could already be underway, and we could soon be entering the final 2300 day prophetic time period.
The vision in chapter seven introduces the end time players (four great beasts). The vision in chapter eight introduces events that lead to the final timeline (the war between the ram and goat, and the abomination of desolation, which begins the 2300 day timeline.) Chapters nine and ten recount Daniel’s prayer of repentance for the sins of God’s people, and as he was praying, the angel Gabriel came to give him understanding. Chapters eleven and twelve expand on the earlier visions based on the understanding given by the heavenly messenger.
When putting all of this together, a framework of events is formed. The goat and ram engage in a battle that is deadly for the ram. The goat’s notable horn is broken, and four come up to replace it. From one of them arises a little horn. This little horn power is going to commit an act that Scripture calls the abomination of desolation, and from that point, the final 2300 days begin (Daniel 8:14). At the abomination of desolation, the 1290 day prophecy also begins (Daniel 12:11). There is also a time period of 1260 days that will end when the 2300 days end (Daniel 12:7). There is an additional 70 week period of time that is set apart during these 2300 days, and a period of 1335 days that ends just shortly after the 2300 days end. So you can see that there is much happening during this time.
The 1260 day period is the second most often mentioned time prophecy in Scripture, being spoken of seven times. (The most often mentioned time period is three days, which was most notably the time period of the True Messiah as given in Matthew 12:40.) The seven verses that talk about this 1260 day period are found in Daniel 7:25 and 12:7, and in Revelation 11:2, 11:3, 12:6, 12:14, and 13:1. The time period is referred to in three different terms: 1260 days, 42 months, and “a time, times, and half a time” (where time equals one year, and times equals two years). It is this time period that is described as a time of trouble such as never was. When you consider the trouble that this earth has seen, including the second world war with the holocaust and nuclear bombs, we know that there is great tribulation yet to face before the much anticipated promise of Isaiah 64:4. “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the ye seen, God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.”
Some people don’t believe that the final time period will last the full 1260 days, based on the passage in Matthew 24:22 that speaks of days being shortened. While some theorize that this refers to the number of days in the various timelines, if the timeline is not going to be the number of days mentioned repeatedly, then what was the purpose of the timeline in the first place, and why was that time period repeated so frequently? Others theorize that this refers to a change on earth where the 24 hour day becomes much shorter, with 16 hours being mentioned as a possibility. However, for the earth to increase its revolution by such a high percentage, it would require a cataclysmic event which would throw off gravity, likely hurtling us all into space. And even if we did remain on the earth after such an event, how would our body’s circadian rhythm and the rest of nature adapt to such a dramatic change? More likely, it is the severity of the events in those days that God mercifully alters.
As one of my favorite Bible teachers says, we need to put down our interpretations of prophecy in pencil, as understanding can change with unfolding events. But this we do know: our God is in control!
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End Time Events – The Location and Players (Part 3)
The visions in Daniel 7 and 8 lay out the participants of the final events leading to the second coming of Jesus. Although some of these visions have applied to events in history (such as Alexander the Great), we are specifically told that these events apply to the end of time (Daniel 8:17). Just like Matthew 24 is understood to have been a dual prophecy, we need to look for future fulfillment of Daniels’s visions as well.
How might Daniel 8 apply to us modernly? The location is given of Shushan, Elam, and the River Ulai. While these names may not appear on our modern atlases, the regions where those names once applied still exist. When comparing ancient names with modern names, the location of this vision is shown to be the Persian Gulf region. We’re also told that ships from Cyprus afflict Asher (which is now known as Iraq). Considering the military bases located on the islands of Crete and Cyprus, these ships could be naval or airships that come from the UN coalition forces stationed there.
There are two animals, a ram and goat, in this vision. Beasts in Bible prophecy often represent political powers, and horns represent the driving force of that political power. If we know that the location is the Middle East, and that the goat crosses the whole world from the west without touching down to attack the ram, we can extrapolate that the goat represents western powers (such as the United States, Britain, and the UN multinational forces) who are attacking the ram (the Middle Eastern Muslim power bloc). If this prophecy applies to us today, these two powers will engage in mortal conflict, during which the ram will be completely destroyed, and the main strength of the goat will be broken.
In order for the entire Medo-Persia/Middle Eastern region to be destroyed, the conflict is going to have to be much more serious than that which we currently see playing out in the Gulf region. Perhaps it is this event that was shown to Zechariah in chapter five of his visions, which looks a lot like thermonuclear war. Here we see a flying scroll with a basket lifted into the air with lead, and two “women” in the midst of it. What is interesting is that the Hebrew word translated women is a three letter word spelled (in Hebrew) aleph, shin, and hey. These exact letters, with different vowel pronunciations, also spell the word for fire. When we read this vision using the translation of fire instead of woman, we see a picture of a flying scroll (the dimensions given roughly equating to the size of scud missiles) with short wings that lift up the basket of lead into heaven with two fires coming out. We know that lead is used to encase nuclear bombs. Might this vision be of a two-stage nuclear rocket? A few chapters later (Zechariah 14:12) we’re told of a plague where the flesh consumes away while people are standing on their feet, their eyes and tongue consume away. Compare this mental image to photos of people with severe radiation burns after the atomic bombs that ended WWII, and you’re likely to see many parallels.
Daniel 8:25 says that this power “by peace shall destroy many”. One way this could play out is if the war is devastating enough that the world is desperate to end it by giving up individual sovereignty and formulating a one world government. There is already some precedence for this international unity following war, considering that the League of Nations arose from the first world war, and the United Nations arose from the second world war. What might arise from a third world war, one that is fought with nuclear weapons? Albert Einstein is credited with having made the statement, "I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Clearly he anticipated great destruction from the next world war. Should such a scenario play out, it would not be surprising if the majority of the world was willing to give up national sovereignty to prevent it from happening again. Could the power who ushers in so much tribulation for God’s people be associated with this one world order? You can view online studies with much more detail of Daniel’s prophecies at www.lightedway.org. Click on the link for “studies” across the top, and in the options that come up, select “Prophetic Timelines in Daniel”.
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Identifying the Goat and Little Horn (part four)
Continuing our walk through the end time prophecies of Daniel, next we’ll consider the identities of some of the beasts in Daniel 7 and elsewhere. There is a lion with eagle’s wings, a bear, a leopard, and a fourth dreadful beast, along with a little horn that also arises. In the earlier fulfillment of this prophesy, these beasts are identified in Daniel 8. But since we are told in Daniel 8:17 that this vision is for the time of the end, we should also expect to see a fulfillment of these beasts in the final days.
Although this prophecy was written more than 2500 years ago, these same animals identify modern nations today. The United States is represented with an eagle, Great Britain with a lion, and Russia with a bear. The word translated leopard, a large feline, is the Hebrew word spelled (in Hebrew) nun, mem, resh. This word is also the Hebrew word for other large felines, including the tiger, according to the NTC’s Hebrew and English Dictionary. Modernly, the nation of China is associated with a large feline, the tiger.
Prior articles in this series already identified the ram in Daniel 8 as the Muslim nations, and the goat as the US/UN coalition. This interpretation is further supported as a multinational coalition in Revelation 13:2, which then describes an animal as being part feline, bear, and lion. Notice at that point the eagle is no longer mentioned, which fits with the notable horn of the goat having been broken. The goat in Scripture is representative of the lost people, such as when Yahshua separates the sheep from the goats at the end of time (Matthew 25:32-33). What power in the world uses the goat head as their image today? This symbol has been adopted by the powers behind the new world order, and prominent members of such groups (such as the Trilateral Commission, Illuminati, etc) have been photographed making the hand symbol for the goat head. The goat head five pointed star also appears in the logo for some of these groups. Could it be that once the ram is destroyed and the main strength of the goat is broken, the new world order will be ushered in? The religion of the new world order is the luciferian false Christianity, that preaches the “other Jesus” we are warned about in Scripture. This Jesus is not a Torah keeper as was the True Messiah, but rather has his system of counterfeit worship days and practices, masquerading under the guise of Christianity.
We may have clue to this that is often overlooked from Matthew 24:5: “For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” People often read this as though the people who come are saying that they are Christ, as if the text read “many shall come saying they are Christ and shall deceive many.” But could it not also be saying “many will come in my name, saying that I, Yahshua, am Christ, but then go on to teach things that are not according to my Father’s way, and shall deceive many”? Could this actually be a warning that many will come in the name of Jesus, saying that Jesus is Christ, but beyond that, are in actuality deceiving many? We are told in Matthew 7:23 that in the final judgment, many who had claimed to work in his name will be told, “I never knew you, depart from me, ye who work iniquity.”
This deception also ties in with the identity of the little horn. Scripture gives ten different clues about this entity’s identification, and when studied collectively, there is only one power on earth today that fits the ten clues. The little horn arose out of the fourth beast, which we know from history and Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 as being ancient Rome. It arises from the ten horns after the ten horns arose. It uproots three kingdoms (which we know from history were the Herulis, Ostrogoths, and Vandals). It is different from the other powers, which were political only, not a blend of political and religious. It was also stouter than the other horns. It would speak blasphemy against the most high (blasphemy, as defined in Matthew 10:30-33, is claiming to be God). It would wear out the saints, bringing persecution to God’s people. This power thinks to change times and laws, such as the weekly and annual Sabbaths of Scripture, which are the only time-related laws of God. This power reigned for 1260 years in its first reign, and although some of its power has been restored today, it will have the maximum level of power restored for 1260 days in the final reign. This should be enough clues for you to seek out the identity of this beast for yourself. What religious/political power based in Rome has a history of standing in the place of God, persecuting its opponents, and takes credit for changing the times of worship?
Stay tuned next week, when we’ll consider the act that sets the timelines into motion, the abomination of desolation. Meanwhile,you can view online studies with much more detail of Daniel’s prophecies at www.lightedway.org. Click on the link for “studies” across the top, and in the options that come up, select “Prophetic Timelines in Daniel”.
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The Abomination of Desolation (part five)
When Yahshua (Jesus) tells us the signs of his second coming, he quotes Daniel by telling us, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place … for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (See Matthew 24:15-21 for complete quote.) Daniel 12:11 tells us that this abomination that maketh desolate will start the 1290 and 2300 day timelines, so recognizing it is very important to understanding Bible prophecy of the very end of time. But what does this phrase mean, and how will we recognize it when it happens? The following word study gives us some Biblical clues.
The Hebrew word used for “abomination” in Daniel is Strong’s # 8251, shiqquts, defined as: disgusting, filthy, idolatrous. This word appears approximately 25 times throughout the Old Testament. The overwhelming majority of the time that the word abomination is used, it is linked with idols, other gods, or some type of worship that displeases God. A sampling of uses of this word are found in Deuteronomy 29:17 (context: idols); 1 Kings 11:5 and 7 (Solomon turned to other gods); 2 Kings 23:13, 24 (King Josiah put away mediums, images, idols, abominations). It appears several times in the book of Jeremiah, 7:30 (set abominations in my house…to pollute it), 13:27 (lewdness, whoredom, abominations), 32:34 (abominations in the temple). It is also used frequently in Ezekiel: 5:11 (defiled my sanctuary), 7:20 (images of their abominations); 20:7-8 (abominations of his eyes, idols); 37:23 (idols, detestable things).
Here are more examples of abominations being linked with breaking God’s law: Deuteronomy 23:17-18: Bringing a whore into house of YHVH (breaking a statute that falls under the adultery command), Deuteronomy 24:4: Former husband not to remarry former wife who was married to another husband in the interim (adultery), Deuteronomy 25:14-16: False weights and measures (stealing); Deuteronomy 27:15: Graven image (idol). Again, all of these are examples of broken commandments being called an abomination.
Often the things called abominations involve not just the breaking of one of God’s Commandments, but breaking them as a form of false worship. Examples: Deuteronomy 7:25-26: graven images of false gods are an abomination. This is breaking the command against graven images, done as a form of worship to a false god. Deuteronomy 12:31: every abomination which God hates, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.” This is breaking the command against murder and offering blood sacrifices, done as a form of worship to a false god. Deuteronomy 17:1-5: The gist is about sacrificing something with blemishes, transgressing God’s covenant, serving other gods, and worship of the sun or moon. This is breaking the command to have no other gods before Him, done as a form of worship to a false god. Deuteronomy 18:9-12: Do not the abominations of the surrounding nations: make son pass through fire, use divination, observe times, witchcraft, consult familiar spirits or the dead. This is breaking the command to have no other gods before Him, by consulting false gods.
Time and time again, various forms of false worship, or breaking of God’s commands in the form of worship to false gods, is called an abomination.
Now let’s do the same thing and look at the word desolate, which in Hebrew is Strong’s 8074, Shahmem. It is used approximately 80 times, and is most often translated as “be astonished”, “desolate”, “desolations”, “destitute”. It is also translated a few times as “waste”, “destroy”, “wondered”. The definition of shahmen in Strong’s is: to stun, grown numb, devastate, stupefy, make amazed, astonish, make desolate, destroy, make waste, wonder. It is used several times in Leviticus 26 (example, verse 22). The context of the word is that disobedience to the law of God (His statutes and judgments) results in the desolation of your land, your cities, and your sanctuaries.
Following are some of the things that are called desolate, astonished, etc. as translated from the same Hebrew word. Time and again, the desolation comes as a result of broken commands. Ezekiel 33:28: God lays the land most desolate, because of idols, murder, adultery (all commandments). Ezekiel 35:12-15: Israel is laid desolate because of blasphemies, boasting against God (taking God’s name in vain). 1 Kings 9:8-9 & 2 Chronicles 7:21-22: Israel is cut off because they forsook God and took hold of other gods and worshipped them (having other gods before Him.) Isaiah 42:14: Those who trust in graven images and call them gods will be destroyed (false idols). Jeremiah 18:16: Lands will be made desolate because God’s people have forgotten him and turned from ancient paths to other gods (having other gods before Him.) Jeremiah 19:8: God will make the city desolate and cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, verse 15, because they have hardened (stiffened) their necks that they don’t hear His words (murder and having other gods.)
So what we have seen is this: Most of the things called abominations in scripture are related to the breaking of God’s commands, often by worshipping false gods. Most of the reasons things are laid desolate are because of failure to honor God and breaking his commands. Therefore, it seems reasonable to conclude that the abomination which maketh desolate will involve the breaking of God’s commands done in a way that is worship to a false god, and done in manner that many will consider astonishing or amazing.