End of the Age: 2018?
Those who believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God have wondered, for centuries, when prominent end-time prophecies would be fulfilled. People in virtually every generation have seen and experienced events making them think and feel that the end of the age was near.
So far, of course, this has not been the case. However, are there indicators now that could be signaling that the Great Tribulation, the return of Jesus, and the Kingdom of God on earth (Matthew 6:10; Revelation 11:15) during the Millennium are at hand?
A few years ago, there was speculation by many that the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument for Israel, along with associated documents, could be part of the prophesied 70th Week accord of (Daniel 9:27). This ENPI for Israel was finalized in October 2006 and covered the seven-year interval of 2007 through 2013.
It has been felt, by many, that the prophesied accord or covenant would involve some type of provisions or stipulations for peace, involving Israel. Indeed, Israel’s ENPI document does contain peace-related phrases such as the following:
- resolution of the Middle East conflict,
- achievement of lasting peace in the Middle East, and
- Israel and a democratic, viable, peaceful and sovereign Palestinian State living side-by-side in peace.
According to Daniel 9:27 and related prophecies, though, some notable events should have taken place in the midst of that seven-year period, had we entered the final seven years of this age in late 2006 or early 2007. The middle of that period would have been in 2010; yet nothing significant happened during that year, such as the abomination that causes desolation being set up (Matthew 24:15) or armies surrounding Jerusalem (Luke 21:20). Therefore, that hypothesis was abandoned by most, including myself.
However, over the past few years, another possibility has been suggested by some. Maybe the prophesied seven-year period does not consist of seven consecutive years, as virtually everyone has assumed would be the case. God always does things His way, and His thoughts and ways are far above ours (Isaiah 55:8,9).
Perhaps, then, just as there presumably is a gap of almost two thousand years between the (7 + 62 =) 69 weeks of years (Daniel 9:25) and the 70th Week of years (9:27), there also could be an unspecified gap of time between the first and second halves of the 70th Week. This would be similar to how a football game consists of two halves, with a half-time break in the middle.
As such, it is conceivable that the first 3½ years of the 70th Week have transpired, leaving the last 3½ years yet to take place. This is the period, “time, times and half a time” (3½ years or 42 months), when the Antichrist will blaspheme and slander God and oppress the saints of God (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:5-7).
With this in mind, it may be worth considering some possibilities. Most would agree that "Babylon the Great" will be associated with the endtime kingdom of the Antichrist and will be utterly destroyed (Revelation 14:8, 16:19, 18:2). It will be vanquished by Jesus, the Son of God, after He returns to earth.
Now, ancient Israel served and was held captive in Babylon for seventy years, which had been prophesied before it happened (Jeremiah 25:11). Following the seventy years, Babylon and its king were punished (25:12-14). More importantly, the exiled Israelites were brought back to the land of Judah, where God prospered them (29:10-14). Furthermore, their temple was rebuilt after they returned (Ezra 6:3,15).
History tends to repeat itself, and numerous prophecies in the Bible have had and will have multiple cases of fulfillment. Ever since Israel became a modern nation in 1948, it has been mostly a secular nation; and the Jewish temple has not been rebuilt, after having been destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Moreover, as a whole, Israel has not acknowledged Jesus as God and Messiah; and the nation (and most of the world) is more under the influence of the antichrist spirit (1 John 4:2,3) than God’s Holy Spirit. In effect, Israel has returned to bondage under pagan Babylon, perhaps again for 70 years. Since 1948 + 70 = 2018, could this period of “Babylonian captivity” for Israel end in 2018?
If so, then let us look at what might turn out to be some significant dates. The second half of the 70th Week will be 1,260 days (Revelation 11:3) + 3½ days (11:9,11) = 1,263½ days, rounding up to 1,264 days. There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus’ second advent back to earth will take place on a Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement, in conjunction with the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet. Now, September 19, 2018, is the day of Yom Kippur (although it actually begins at sunset on September 18). If this turns out to be day #1,264 then, counting backwards, day #1 is April 5, 2015, which is the Feast of Firstfruits = Easter Sunday, during Passover week. Potentially then, in this time frame, April 5, 2015 (± a few days) could mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation.
Interestingly, it is during 2014 and 2015 that six lunar and solar eclipses will take place on significant days on the Hebraic calendar. It is very unusual for there to be even a couple of eclipses on Hebraic feast and holy days in one year, but it is exceedingly rare for six eclipses to take place on Hebraic feast and holy days during two adjacent years. Perhaps, in the midst of these “signs” in the sky, the Great Tribulation could begin.
Lunar and Solar Eclipses: 2014 & 2015
| Total Lunar Eclipse
|| Apr. 15, 2014
| Total Lunar Eclipse
|| Oct. 8, 2014
|| Feast of Tabernacles
| Total Solar Eclipse
|| Mar. 20, 2015
|| Rosh Chodesh Nisan
| Total Lunar Eclipse
|| Apr. 4, 2015
| Partial Solar Eclipse
|| Sep. 13, 2015
|| Feast of Trumpets
| Total Lunar Eclipse
|| Sep. 28, 2015
|| Feast of Tabernacles
Another thing to consider is that, after the Fifth Seal is opened, the souls slain for the word of God and for their testimony will cry out for God to avenge their blood (Revelation 6:9,10). His vengeance will be imminent after the opening of the Sixth Seal, when people are terrified that the wrath of the Lamb is about to begin (6:16,17). Isaiah 34:8, 61:2, and 63:4 appear to indicate that God’s “day” of vengeance will last a year, with the Fifth Trumpet Judgment alone lasting five months (Revelation 9:5,10). This year of time should include the opening of the Seventh Seal and all seven Trumpet Judgments, with Yeshua/Jesus returning to earth to rule and reign, at the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet, on a Yom Kippur (YK) = Day of Atonement.
I am convinced that the Pre-wrath Rapture event (Matthew 24:30,31) will take place on one of the two days of the Feast of Trumpets (FoT) = Rosh HaShanah, but it will be a day and hour unknown until it happens (24:36). From September 21, 2017 (FoT) to September 19, 2018 (YK) is within 2 days of a solar year. This span of time (from FoT of one year to YK of the next year) usually is not that close to a year. For instance, from September 14, 2015 (FoT) to October 12, 2016 (YK) is several weeks beyond a year.
Perhaps, then, the Messiah Yeshua/Jesus will appear in the clouds of the sky to catch away His elect on September 21 or 22, 2017, on the Feast of Trumpets, during the Pre-wrath Rapture. If so, a year later on Yom Kippur, September 18 or 19, 2018, He presumably would return to earth, to rule and reign, in conjunction with the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet (Revelation 11:15,17).
Whenever it is that Jesus descends to earth, He will gather Israelites and Jews, scattered throughout the earth, to Israel (Isaiah 11:10-12; Jeremiah 16:14,15, 23:3-8, 31:7-10; Ezekiel 11:16-20, 28:24-26, 34:11-15, 36:24-28,33-38, 37:12-28, 39:25-29; Micah 4:6-8; Revelation 14:14-16), just as they were gathered back to Israel after the seventy-year Babylonian captivity. Some feel that the aforementioned verses are indicative of Jews returning since 1948 to the modern-day nation of Israel. However, it is only when Israel’s Messiah returns to Jerusalem that the following will be true; these things have not happened, nor will they happen until Jesus returns:
- The Root of Jesse (Jesus) will stand as a banner for the people (Isaiah 11:10,12).
- God Himself will reach out, gather, and assemble the scattered people (Isaiah 11:11,12).
- The righteous Branch (Jesus) from the line of David will reign as King (Jeremiah 23:5).
- No longer will Israel have malicious neighbors (Ezekiel 28:24), and the people will live in safety after God inflicts punishment on their neighbors who have maligned them (28:26).
- God’s sanctuary (the millennial Temple), in which Jesus the King (Zechariah 14:9) will dwell, will be standing (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
- Israel will know the Lord their God because He no longer will hide His face from them, and He will pour out His Spirit upon them (Ezekiel 39:28,29).
Some feel that God’s “sanctuary” or “dwelling place” (Ezekiel 37:26-28) will be a temple standing in Jerusalem prior to the Messiah’s return, in which sacrifices and offerings will cease in the middle of the 70th Week (according to Daniel 9:27). However, Ezra 3:3-6 shows that numerous sacrifices and offerings were made on an altar even before the foundation of the second temple had been laid. Thus, there does not have to be a third manmade temple in Jerusalem for endtime prophecies to be fulfilled.
Whenever our Lord, Savior, and Messiah will return—initially in the clouds and later back to earth—cannot be determined with relative certainty, at least until the final 3½ years of this age (that is, the second half of the 70th Week) have begun. However, with increasing anticipation and expectation, let us look forward to His return, in His perfect timing, to bring absolute righteousness and justice to the world. There is no hope for humanity other than in the only begotten Son of God, Yeshua/Jesus.