End of the Age: 2018?

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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, there seem to be indicators now that could  be signaling that the Great Tribulation, the return of Jesus, and the final Kingdom of God on earth (Matthew 6:10; Revelation 11:15) during the Millennium are almost at hand.


seven-year prophecy

The angel Gabriel told Daniel that, pertaining to Daniel’s people (Israel) and his holy city (Jerusalem), seventy “sevens” or “weeks” of years were decreed for the completion of specific events (Daniel 9:24), most or all of which have not  yet taken place.  The final segment of that seventy “weeks” of years commonly is referred to as the “70th Week.”

Most Bible scholars have felt that the 70th Week would commence with a covenant or accord involving many, including Israel, and would include other important events:

He will confirm a covenant with many for one “seven” [week of years], but in the middle [or midst] of that “seven” [week of years] he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.  And one who causes desolation will place abominations on a wing of the temple until the end that is decreed is poured out on him (Daniel 9:27).
A few years ago, many felt that a particular seven-year accord, as part of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and including Israel, could  have the prophesied 70th Week accord of Daniel 9:27.  The prophesy even says that the convenant would be with “many,” which did apply to the European Neighbourhood Policy.


European Neighbourhood Policy

In 2006, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was established.  Besides several European nations, many other nations signed onto the ENP; and Israel was the first non-European nation to sign on:

  • Algeria
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Egypt
  • Georgia
 
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Moldova
  • Morocco
 
  • Palestinian Authority of the
    West Bank and Gaza Strip
  • Russian Federation
  • Syria
  • Tunisia
  • Ukraine

The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument for Israel (ENPI: Israel) was established on October 24, 2006.  It covered the seven-year interval 2007 through 2013.


provisions for “peace”

Furthermore, it has been felt, by many, that the prophesied 70th Week accord or covenant would involve some type of provisions for “peace” (albeit failed), 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 (see the October 24, 2006 summary).


third temple

Some feel that God’s “sanctuary” or “dwelling place” (Ezekiel 37:26-28) will be a third temple standing in Jerusalem prior to the Messiah’s return, in which sacrifices and offerings will be stopped in the middle of the 70th Week, in accordance with 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  necessarily have to be a third man-made temple in Jerusalem for endtime prophecies to be fulfilled.

Furthermore, it seems exceedingly implausible that orthodox Jews would be able to construct a third temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which is under the control and authority of Islam.  One of the ultimate goals of radical Islam is the destruction of Jerusalem.  Most likely, then, if even one stone of a Jewish temple’s foundation were laid there, it probably would spark an immediate firestorm of controversy and a violent backlash by Islam against the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea.

Some will point to Jesus’ reference to the “holy place(Matthew 24:15) as evidence that a third man-made temple must be present at the end of the age, in which sacrifice and offering will be stopped, in fulfillment of Daniel 9:27.  This so-called “temple” also was mentioned by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and by John in Revelation 11:1.

However, in the latter two verses, a more precise translation of that word, from the Greek, is “shrine.”  The Islamic Dome of the Rock is a shrine, and it very likely stands where the first two temples stood.  Although the Dome of the Rock certainly would not be considered by God to be a “holy building,” the place where it stands on the Temple Mount still would be a holy place to God, as it has been for millennia.

Perhaps, then, the abomination that causes desolation of which Jesus spoke (Matthew 24:15) could be set up in the Islamic Dome of the Rock, which stands on ground that remains holy to God.  This would preclude the existence of a third temple that is man-made.  Most likely, the next temple to stand in Jerusalem will be the millennial Temple, built by Jesus after He returns.


anticipated prophetic events

According to Daniel 9:27 and related prophecies, it would seem that some notable events should  have taken place in the midst of the consecutive seven-year period, 2007 through 2013, had the ENPI: Israel been the prophesied agreement.  The middle of that period would have been during Passover week of 2010; yet none of the following anticipated events occurred at that time:

Therefore, the hypothesis that we had entered the 70th Week was abandoned by most, including myself.  However, over the past few years, another possibility has been suggested by some.  If this hypothesis is correct, the five anticipated events listed above may happen during Passover week of 2015.


possible “gap”

Maybe the prophesied seven-year period does not consist of seven consecutive, uninterrupted  years, as virtually everyone always has assumed would be the case.  Perhaps there is a “gap” of unspecified time, “wedged” into the 70th Week of years.  God always does things His way, and His thoughts and ways are far above ours (Isaiah 55:8,9).

There was a gap of several centuries between the time of the ancient prophets in Israel, predicting the coming of the Messiah, and the first coming of Jesus Christ.  Presumably, there 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), at the end of which Jesus will return to earth to rule and reign.

If we consider the seven annual Hebraic feasts, festivals, and holy days, we know that they do not all take place at the same time of year.  Three are clumped together in the month of Aviv or Nisan, with the fourth one seven weeks later in the month of Sivan, all in the Spring of the year (and were fulfulled by Jesus at His first coming).  The remaining three take place in the month of Tishri, which is in the Fall of the year (and will be fulfulled by Jesus at His second coming).  Thus, there is a lengthy gap between the first three and the fourth, as well as between the fourth and the last three.  So “gaps” are not unusual in God’s overall plan of the ages.

Perhaps, then, 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.  Moreover, in a football game, the battle and conflict typically peak during the second half, during which there also is the greatest anticipation and expectation of winning by both sides.

Likewise, the historical war between the forces of good and evil will culminate during the final 3½ years of this age.  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 after a gap of time.  This period of 3½ years was referred to by Daniel and by John as “a time, times and half a time” (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 12:14), or “1 year + 2 years + ½ year” = 3½ years.  At the beginning of this period, the Antichrist or “lawlessness one” will be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8).  He will blaspheme and slander God and will oppress the saints of God for “a time, times and half a time” (Daniel 7:25) or 3½ years, which also is 42 months (Revelation 13:5,6).


seventy years

With all of this in mind, it may be worth contemplating some possibilities.  Let us consider ancient Israel, which served and was held captive by Babylon for seventy years.  While in captivity, the Jewish prophet Daniel perceived, from the writings of the prophet Jeremiah, that the captivity would last seventy years (Daniel 9:2; 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.  Most would agree that “Babylon the Great” will be associated with the endtime kingdom of the Antichrist and, ultimately, will be destroyed (Revelation 14:8, 16:19, 18:2).  It will be vanquished by Jesus, the Son of God, following His return to earth.

Now, ever since Israel became a modern nation in 1948, it has been mostly a secular nation.  The Jewish temple, after having been destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., has not been rebuilt.  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 be a period of “Babylonian captivity” for Israel that ends in 2018?  If so, then let us look at what might  turn out to be some significant dates.


significant dates

Firstly, there is no doubt in my mind that Jesus’ future fulfillment of Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement will be His second advent back to earth, in conjunction with the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet.  Thus, I am convinced that the final day of the 70th Week will fall on a Yom Kippur.  This was a day filled with bloody sacrifices in ancient Israel (Leviticus 23:1-34).

The Yom Kippur on which Jesus returns to earth will be a bloody mess as well, with a great deal of the blood of Israel’s attackers being shed (Isaiah 63:1-6; Joel 3:9-13; Ezekiel 38:22; Revelation 14:18-20, 19:15).  The day that Jesus is treading the winepress of God’s wrath may turn out to be the bloodiest day in history.

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.  Now, September 19, 2018, is the day of Yom Kippur.  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.  (Since, in fact, Yom Kippur begins at sunset on September 18, then the count actually is closer to 1,263½ days).

Potentially then, in view of this time frame, April 5, 2015, could  mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation.  With October 24, 2006 marking the establishment of the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument for Israel, and possibly the beginning of the 70th Week, it may have been that the first half of the 70th Week ended after 1,260 days on the Feast of Firstfruits = Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010.

Interestingly, then, it is possible that the first half ended on April 4 (of 2010) and that the second half will pick up again on April 5 (of 2015), with a five-year “halftime” span in between.  For more informaton that may support this five-year span of time, see A 5-Year Gap?  Suffice it to say, then, that if  the final 3½ years of this age begin in 2015, the five events listed in the anticipated prophetic events section should  happen during the Feast of Unleavened Bread: April 4-11, 2015.


eclipses and the Shemitah year

It is worth noting that during 2014 and 2015, 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 quite 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   Passover 
 Total Lunar Eclipse   Oct. 8, 2014   Feast of Tabernacles 
 Total Solar Eclipse   Mar. 20, 2015   Rosh Chodesh Nisan 
 Total Lunar Eclipse   Apr. 4, 2015   Passover 
 Partial Solar Eclipse   Sep. 13, 2015   Erev Feast of Trumpets 
 Total Lunar Eclipse   Sep. 28, 2015   Feast of Tabernacles 

It has been suggested by some that the lunar eclipses will foreshadow dire events for Israel.  Interestingly, the next Shmita or Shemitah (Sabbatical) year occurs from the Fall of 2014 to the Fall of 2015.  Moses told the Israelites that at the end of every seven years (the Shmita or Shemitah year), debts were to be canceled (Deuteronomy 15:1-3).  Furthermore, during the Feast of Tabernacles of that year, the law was to be read in the people’s hearing (31:10-12).

The only blood moon solar eclipse in 2014 and 2015 seen in Israel—as the people are outside dwelling in their booths (sukkot or sukkas)—will be on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, September 28, 2015.  See Blood Moons on Hebraic Feast and Holy Days.

It also has been suggested that the solar eclipses, during the period of four “blood moons,” will portend calamitous events for the nations.  Some are predicting the collapse of the U.S. dollar and stock market on or about September 13, 2015 (or Elul 29, 5775 on the Hebraic calendar), on which there also is a partial solar eclipse.  Watch a 2-minute slideshow about financial and economic crashes on Elul 29, or click on individual slides below:

       

       
2-minute slideshow

day of vengeance

Now, after the prophetic 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).  This will cause His vengeance to 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 span a year of time, with the Fifth Trumpet Judgment alone lasting five months (Revelation 9:5,10).  This year of God’s wrath upon an unrepentant world 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.


Pre-wrath Rapture

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.  Usually, this span of time (from the Feast of Trumpets of one year to Yom Kippur of the next year) 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 RaptureIf 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).


final gathering of Israelites

We know that Israelites and Jews returned to Israel after the seventy-year Babylonian captivity.  Likewise, whenever it is that Jesus descends to earth, He will gather Israelites and Jews, scattered throughout the earth, to Israel for the final time (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).

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 things will happen; these have not yet occurred, nor will they take place 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).

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.

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The Chronology of Revelation The Endtimes The Rapture
 
The Final Battles The Beasts The Creation
 
Who Is God? Was Jesus God? Good Thursday
 
God’s Covenant: with Israel or the Church?     End of the Age: 2018? 
 
 
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