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6  How Long Is the End-Time To Run
Before Jesus' Return?

"For in just a very little while,
'He who is coming will come and will not be late.' "
Hebrews 10:37 (NIV)


Let us begin to tackle the above question by first considering the following aspect:

Section A.  How Long Has the End-Time Lasted Already?

This is a more straightforward issue than the question posed for the chapter, as it is purely a matter of history. If we can get the answer to this simpler problem, it may give us the necessary boldness to attempt the hard part. We all know that many people have come a cropper over the question of when Jesus will return, which might make us wary. Yet we must still press on! Why? Because if God's Spirit, the Scriptures, and the circumstances combine to tell us something then it may not be wise to ignore it.

So let us see if we can confirm the idea touched on in the two previous chapters as to when the End-Time began.

Did the End-Time Begin in 1948?

The rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948 was recognized as being the most conclusive Sign yet of the End-Time. The writers of the book The Late Great Planet Earth demonstrated this. Homing in on this one crucial Sign, the authors accordingly put the probable start of the End-Time at 1948. As a result of this work, the thinking of a great many Christians was enlightened. They started to say, "Well yes, it looks like we really are in the End-Time right now." (This book, already mentioned in chapter 4, is highly recommended. The writers do a super job of opening up the Prophecies for everyone.)

^   As they point out, the very fact that Israel was reborn at all is a remarkable fulfillment of Prophecy. The Scriptures state that Israel was to undergo two periods of dispersion; then the Jews would share in a great reunion. For example in Isaiah:

And it shall come to pass in that day,
That the Lord will set His hand again the second time
To recover the remnant of His people,
That shall remain from Assyria, and from Egypt,
And from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam,
And from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
And He will set up an ensign for the nations,
And will assemble the dispersed of Israel,
And gather together the scattered of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
Isaiah 11:11-12 (JPS)

[writer's italics]
This Prophecy was made before Assyria took the Northern kingdom of Israel into captivity (which happened in about 722 BCE), and more than 100 years before the Southern kingdom of Judah was conquered and most of her people taken captive to Babylon.

After 70 years in Babylon, the exiled Judeans were allowed to go home. Then almost 2,500 years after this first return, God permitted the second great "recovery" that the Scripture predicts. And as we know, in 1948 - after the horrors of the Holocaust - the independent state of Israel was declared. For a nation to exist long ago, disappear, and then be re-formed - what an Expression of God's Faithfulness! (Perhaps to make it clear, it should be repeated: The writer is not saying that the violence that accompanied this rebirth was what a Loving God would have decreed. That Jews were determined to create a refuge for their persecuted people was a natural outcome of a tragic history. That this determination resulted in Arabs and Jews going to war was a further tragedy.)

But let us all be encouraged by this thought: It was after the people had returned from the Babylonian exile that the Messiah came to this Earth - born of Mary in Bethlehem. And after this second return to Israel, what? Surely we have further grounds for expecting His Return in Glory!

What About Earlier Signs?

Maybe we should look earlier than 1948? Remember, the End-Time is that time in which the world is being prepared for the Coming of the Messiah. Any world-scale event that occurred prior to 1948 should surely be considered then, as potentially belonging to the "end of the age." Should we not look hard at WWI in this context?
^   1.  WWI: The 1914-18 war was termed a "world" war with justification. We already looked in chapter 4) at the scale of this cataclysmic shock to the world; however in the context of the present chapter we should look again at Jesus' Warning:
"The nations and kingdoms of the earth will rise against each other
... all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come."
Matthew 24:7-8 (TLB)
Surely this Scripture puts a confirmatory stamp on the idea that WWI did indeed mark the beginning of the End-Time? Was 1914 not the watershed between an age of relative stability and faith, now gone, and the apocalyptic years - a time of "moving and shaking"? (Notice there are Hints in Scripture that God is not sitting comfortably above while this is going on: "and the powers of the heavens will be shaken." - Matthew 24:29 [NAS 1975].)

Chart 6-1. Wars With 5 Million or More Participants(2)
Wars to Which More Than 5m People Went

2.  Liberation of Jerusalem - 1917: As we saw in the previous chapter the Holy City was freed (from Turkish rule) 3 to 3½ years after the start of WWI. In terms of God's Plan for the Earth, this too was an Event of global significance. For Jerusalem is the "city of the great King" Matthew 5:35).

We get an idea of how much God cares about Jerusalem and about what happens to her, from the following Prophecy in Isaiah:

As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem;
defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.
Isaiah 31:5 (KJV)

From our vantage point this is a very clear Prophecy about how the Holy City was to be liberated. For in 1917 it was fulfilled - in every detail!

What actually happened was that the Royal Flying Corps had gained supremacy in the skies over Palestine. " 'As Birds Flying' was indeed a new and outstanding feature of that historic campaign ..."(3-1) The other three elements were also fulfilled: "Defend" - the air and land battle for Jerusalem raged over a period of forty days, but the city herself was never attacked! "Deliver" - even so, the Turkish troops were impelled to evacuate Jerusalem, and on December 9, 1917, the people of the Holy City were delivered. "Preserve" - despite heavy Turkish counterattacks, the Royal Flying Corps had ensured that not a single shell was fired at the city's people or its historic buildings!

The motto of the No.14 Squadron that played the major part in this air action later became:

I spread my wings and keep my promise.

Is it not astounding - the Faithfulness with which this Prophecy was brought to fruition?

^   3.  Russian Revolution and Our Lady of Fatima: These two other key events of 1917 are also covered in the previous chapter. However, both of these events have likewise had effects that went around the world. Two points should be made in this context. First, it is suggested that - in terms of changing our collective attitude - the call for a return to faith, as issued at Fatima, will be much more influential in the long run than any number of armed revolutions.

Secondly, the idea was put forward in chapter 5 that all three significant events of 1917 are linked. The call by our Lady for prayer for Russia is another link in this chain. And please see the next item: "Radio," for yet further linkage.

4.  Radio: Available to the armed forces in WWI, radios began to be used in people's homes shortly afterwards. For instance, in Britain, the BBC was formed (as a private company in 1922 - it became a public corporation in 1927). These days the BBC broadcasts to the world in more than 30 languages(3-2). Demonstrating once again that God is not left behind by our modern science! there is a Prophecy:

He will send a signal to the nations far away, whistling to those at the ends of the earth, and they will come racing toward Jerusalem.
Isaiah 5:26 (TLB)

If you think of the sound that you get when a radio is tuned off-station, then the aptness of this Prophecy comes through.

Let us recall that in 1917 the nations began "racing toward Jerusalem." First Britain and her allies, also reinforcements for Turkey from her fellow-Axis nation, Germany. But after WWI, with the Balfour Declaration and the freeing of Jerusalem from Turkey, Jews in many nations of the globe could begin to see their hopes of a return to the Land becoming a reality.

(Also, is it not reasonable to expect that, on Messiah's Return, a very different "racing toward Jerusalem" could take place? Perhaps another, and a glorious example of the way there can be multiple Fulfilments of a Prophecy.)

5.  The Great Pyramid: Already introduced in the last chapter, the Pyramid's Prophetic Timeline also speaks of the End-Time. We have seen that the start of the "Grand Gallery" marks the date of Jesus' Crucifixion. At the other end (the top end) of the Grand Gallery the date corresponds to 1914 CE. This point in the Pyramid is called the "Great Step." What an encouraging name to be associated with the End-Time!
(See below for a further note on the Timeline.)

6.  The Jews As Forerunners: This item (in its initial form), was added by the writer on August 12, 1997, which was a special day in the Jewish calendar - namely the 9th day of the month of Av, or "Tisha b'Av." This is a solemn day, a day of prayer and fasting and mourning.

Why? Because so many terrible things have happened in Jewish history on this day. Tisha b'Av was the day in 586 BCE when the first Temple was destroyed, and was again the day in 70 CE when a fire was set that destroyed the Herodian Temple. In 135 CE, Betar - the last Jewish stronghold of the Bar Kokba rebellion - was overrun, on Tisha b'Av(4).

^   Later, Tisha b'Av marked two separate expulsions of Diaspora Jews from their countries of residence. That day in 1290 was blighted by the expulsion of Jews from Britain, and the same day in 1492 was the final deadline for Jews to get out of Spain.

Does this have any relevance to the End-Time, and its beginning in 1914? It certainly does - in 1914 Tisha b'Av fell on August 1. On that very day Germany declared war on Russia - WWI was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. We now see the extent to which WWI paved the way for WWII, and the deadly Final Solution. Knowing that the start of WWI has been given a place in the Jewish calendar of suffering, we may grasp the vision of an intertwined destiny for all of us. We begin to gain an awareness of how the sufferings of all of us have a link with the anguish of the Jewish people. In many ways and over many years, they have been taken along a harder road than most of the rest of us have trodden.

(Please see the Notes[5] for a further comment on how the Jews have served the rest of humankind - and may have made a startling difference to our level of safety and security!)

7.  1914 - The End of Seven "Times:" You may recall the unique and humbling thing that happened to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (as recorded in Daniel 4)? He was cast out of his palace and spent seven years grazing the fields, like an ox. At the end of this period he was received back, restored to his monarchy, and was clearly a much better man then - being able to "honour the King of heaven" (vs.37).

One strange detail (in this whole strange episode!) was that Scripture doesn't say seven "years," but uses a different term: "let seven times pass over him" - Daniel 4:16 (KJV). If in Daniel 4 we were only concerned with the seven years of correction Nebuchadnezzar underwent, wouldn't it just say seven "years"? It has been pointed out (in the booklet The time to favor Zion is come![6]) that the "seven times" wording corresponds to the Prophecy given in Leviticus 26:23-24 (KJV):
And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things ...
Then will I also ... punish you yet seven times for your sins.
This Prophecy refers to the whole nation, and it is apparent to us now that the time-period envisaged is not seven years. The key to the timescale is found in Ezekiel 4:6 (KJV), "forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year." Here we see a case where a day can stand, in "Bible code," for a year. Now if the Ezekiel "code" of a day for a year is applied to the above Levitical Prophecy, then "seven times" would be: seven years-worth of days, at the rate of a day for a year. That is:
7 x (12 months x 30 days [by the Hebrew calendar]) years
= 7 x 360 years = 2,520 years
The above booklet (The time to favor Zion is come!) shows how this 2,520 years was given its place in history. Its beginning was in 607 BCE(7). This was the year that Israel became a vassal state in Nebuchadnezzar's empire. (Israel at that time consisted of the remaining Southern nation, comprising the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.) Going forward seven "times," or 2,520 years from 607 BCE brings us to 1914 CE! This period of seven times corresponds to the suffering by Israel of a period of Gentile dominion. 1914 saw the start of WWI; it was in this catastrophe that the yoke of the Gentiles was largely loosed: Turkish rule over Israel was ended. Surely the end of this momentous "seven times" was an epochal event marking the start of a time of great potential - the End-Time.

^  Conclusion to Section A.

What we are being shown, this writer believes, is that 1914 was decreed by God as the year when the Enemy would be allowed to start shaking the world. This is evident from Prophecy - fulfilled in a way that is plain to see. The encouragement that the people on Earth received three years later, in 1917, should mean a lot to us. And while there has been a lot of pain and grief since 1914, we can also take comfort on two other counts:

Firstly, the End-Time must end soon. Secondly, this process God has sanctioned is to make us tender, so that we can take our proper place in the Kingdom which is to follow. The good result of a "shaking" - is this not hinted at, in the following Scripture?

"Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap."
Luke 6:38 (NAS 1975)

[writer's italics]

Section B.  How Long from the End-Time's Start to His Return?

If we accept, as the writer hopes most of us do by now, that the End-Time has been going on for more than 100 years, then this is a great help. Because it enables us to see how close we are to the finish line - how near to fulfilling the timespan given to us by Christ Himself, for the End-Time as a whole. We need look no further for the answer.

Our Lord's Measure. After giving us so complete a description of all the End-Time Signs (as quoted earlier, in chapter 4), Jesus leaves us with the following wonderful yardstick as to duration:

"Believe me, this generation will not disappear
until all this has taken place."
Luke 21:32 (PME)
It's very nice, isn't it, to have the wisdom of hindsight? For there must have been many people in our Savior's audience who got the wrong idea, who took for granted that only their own generation was being spoken of. But hindsight makes it clear to us that the words "this generation" can also refer to a future people - the generation living in the days when the End-Time would come. He was speaking to us, then.

Incidentally, later writers in the New Testament sometimes reveal a belief that the End-Time was upon them already, in those days:

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.
I John 2:18 (NAS 1975)
^   John made a reasonable inference based on the evidence - plenty of antiChrist characters blighting the world of his day. But now "we know" that the conditions were not all met, Israel was not reborn, and it was not the time. The patience and faith of humankind would be tested for a lot of years before the End-Time finally arrived.

Jesus was putting a limit on the End-Time when He gave the statement taken from Luke 21 above. People alive on Earth at the start of the End-Time would not all have passed away at its close. In other words, all the trials ("all this") would have to be completed within the lifespan of some people. A number of those born before August 1914 would still be with us at the close of the End-Time.

The year that would seem to be the maximum point on the scale is 2033. And if the Return were to be at this maximum year, by then some would have to be at least 120 years old. Which does seem unlikely, doesn't it? The writer confesses this is a mystery, and he may not have it right.

Scripture and history both tell us that God wants the time of Jesus' Return to be a surprise when it comes. In this respect, all will be in the same boat: believers and non-believers alike. "Wait on the Lord" would seem to be the watchword. (Please see chapter 10 for a further caution about any attempt to predict the year of His Return.)

The November 11, 2005 - Armistice Day - commemorations of the 1918 close of WWI were reported by the Guardian newspaper. Included was an account of Britain's oldest WWI veteran, 109-year-old Henry Allingham[8]. (As noted here on November 12, 2005. But by a later date - January 16, 2010 - all of the British WWI veterans had passed on. However Jesus' Words above - in I John 2:18 - remain true. Therefore, we can be encouraged, and realize that His Return is closer today than when those Words were first written.)

This timespan is confirmed by those Scriptures that give us the analogy of a clock - ticking away until God's Kingdom is made manifest. The above verse from John's epistle calls the End-Time the "last hour." So does this next verse, in effect:

"... I also will keep you from the hour of testing,
that hour which is about to come upon the whole world ..."
Isn't this verse inviting us to consider the period of waiting between Jesus' Coming 2,000 years ago, and His Return, as a day? If we divide 2,000 years into 24 parts, then each of these "hours" would last just over 83 years.

The following chart was done when 2000 CE seemed to be the year most likely for our Lord's Return. It worked fairly well, on the basis of 2000 CE, since it yielded a date for the start of the End-Time of September 1916 - differing by just two years and a month from the actual start date of August 1914. But now we are reminded that it wasn't until the Crucifixion that God's Power to save was opened up to the world as a whole. At Jesus' Rising began a new era - in which the Gospel is to be preached "to every creature." Prior to the Cross, Salvation was focused on the Jews, who were singled out as an example of how to worship God (please see John 4:22).

Jesus underwent the Crucifixion in 33 CE, and not at the beginning of that particular millennium. So now the 2,000 years of waiting is pushed back 33 years to 2033 CE. And subtracting that same "hour" of 83.33 years yields a date of September 1949. What is significant about this date? Well, the previous year - 1948 - Israel declared her independence, an event which was very important from an End-Time viewpoint. But since 1949 is nowhere near 1914 - the End-Time start year - we are left with a bit of a puzzle.

So the chart running to 2000 CE - the change of millennium - simply illustrates what the situation would have been if our Lord had returned in that year. The chart has been left in this webpage as just that: a graphic example marking the period from the start of one signal millennium to another, 2,000 years later.

Chart 6-2. The Period Since His Birth - Shown As 24 "Hours."
(Note: The chart begins with 1 BCE because the Great Pyramid Timeline
gives a date for the Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem of September 29, 2 BCE[9].
Further link - back to material above on Timeline.)

24 'Hours' Since His Birth

By the way, can we not feel that God is treating us as mature people when we are asked to view 2,000 years as a day? Bearing in mind that this is more like the way our Father views time:

For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday
when it is past ...
Psalms 90:4 (KJV)
Summary

Our Lord's Prophecy would now seem to point to an End-Time duration of between 102 and 119 years. This is the amount of time set aside for this great period of world preparation for His Return. The final "hour" references in Scripture support this reading. And we now know that a span of say 40 years, which had been suggested, is too small because the End-Time has been with us that long, plus 62 additional years.

So we should have a good degree of confidence in saying that from the start of the End-Time until His Return is also meant to be somewhere between 102 and 119 years. There is only one rider to this, but it is an important one. As mentioned above, it is the possibility that we will extend the time by our actions or by our inaction - please see chapter 10.

Once again, if we accept that this final great testing phase did in truth begin in 1914, adding 102 and 119 years respectively means we are looking at a year in the range 2016-2033. Scripture states that we cannot know the exact date, as shown in the next chapter. So we have to be this imprecise about the year.

And the great good news for our day is that we have all reached a vantage point (presently 2016); the world has already undergone almost all of the End-Time years needed for His Return. If we are receptive to Jesus we can know and be sure that this testing time is largely over!


Chapter 6 Notes

    1. Reserved  
^  2. Chart 6-1. Wars With 5 Million or More Participants. Sources:
Imperial War Museum, London - letter to the writer, 8 December, 1993,
Bruce Quarrie, Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature
(Yeovil, England: Patrick Stephens, 1992),
Philip J. Haythornthwaite, The Napoleonic Source Book (London: Arms and Armour, 1990),
G. Elliot, Twentieth Century Book of the Dead
(London: Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, 1972),
J. David Singer and Melvin Small, The Wages of War 1816-1965 - a Statistical Handbook
(New York: J. Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1972) ISBN 0-471-79300-0,
A. G. Enock, This War Business (London: The Bodley Head, 1951),
Encyclopædia Britannica (Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 1993),
B. R. Mitchell, European Historical Statistics 1750-1975
(London: Macmillan Reference Books, 1980).
^  3-1. 'As Birds Flying' over Jerusalem (London: Covenant Books, 1991).
^  3-2. BBC World Service: https://www.facebook.com/bbcworldservice/info/?tab=page_info
^  4. Sources for Tisha b'Av history included the following publications and web sites:
Eliyahu Kitov, translated from the Hebrew by Nathan Bulman, The Book of Our Heritage
(Jerusalem: Feldheim, 1968),
Encyclopædia Britannica (Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 1962),
A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust""
This webpage is now missing. It was at: "http://fcit.usf.edu/holocaust/default"
Now pending a replacement.
Beyond the Pale: Nazism and the Holocaust -
This original webpage is still available; not being secured, can't be shown.
It was known as: "http://www.friends-partners.org/partners/beyond-the-pale/english/46.html"
^  5. The effect of the Holocaust on the global population of Jews was dreadful:
Total Jewry was slashed from 16.75 million people in 1939 to about 11 million in 1946
(Encyclopædia Britannica [Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 1962]).
This reduction amounts to a cut of one third plus 1 percentage point = 34.3%.
When we compare this toll with the following Prophecy in Revelation, we find a remarkable match:
"It was by these three plagues,
the fire, the smoke and the sulphur coming out of their mouths,
that the one third of the human race was killed."

Revelation 9:18 (Jer.)
We may find, when all the facts are known, that the Jews' sacrifice of one third of their number has served to substitute for a huge penalty which would otherwise have been visited on humankind as a whole.
^  6. Bible Students Congregation of New Brunswick, NJ,
The time to favor Zion is come! (Bible Students Congregation, 1994).
^  7. (Above booklet and) Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, 4th edn.
(Indianapolis, Indiana: Kirkbride Bible Co., Inc., 1964).
^  8. "Millions honour war dead" - article in The Guardian (London)
https://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/nov/11/secondworldwar.uk
^  9. E. Raymond Capt, The Great Pyramid Decoded
(Muskogee, OK: Artisan Publishers, www.artisanpublishers.com, 1971).

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