Do time prophecies still have any relevance for Christians today? If so, how? We will explore these questions and more today in episode 34 of Adventology entitled: The Longest Time Prophecy
Podcast Transcript: Click HERE to Listen to Full Episode
I dont know about you, but most people I know these days chuckle or give a subtle eye roll when they hear someone trying to predict the future with any measure of certainty – especially when they are using the Bible as evidence.
Why is that?
I know for me personally I have lived through many predictions of the end of the world coming from both Biblical and secular sources.
Of course, none of those predictions or prophecies have come to pass – we are all obviously still here, But this then begs another question: Why are we, myself included, so viscerally affected by these propositions and why do we love the movies that dramatize them?
Could it be that our society has this nagging feeling that it can’t shake that something isn’t right in our world, that we are headed toward something undeniably cataclysmic and yet is unwilling to admit it because of what it would imply for how we live our lives today?
I suppose it will always be impossible to know exactly what everyone is thinking, but we can go back and examine what has happened in the past that has gotten to the place we are today:
The truth is that there are many “time” prophecies in the Bible, but what most don’t realize is that they have all already been fulfilled. According to the Bible we are now living in the time of the end – But that doesn’t help us in our present dilemma does it?
So, is there a way to be rightfully skeptical about modern time prophecy predictions without abandoning the Biblical record that such prophecies exist and that non-time specific prophecy concerning our day is still relevant?
In our last episode we actually began looking at the most repeated time prophecy in the Bible – the 1260 day/year time prophecy that is found in both the book of Daniel and also that of Revelation. In fact the time period is mentioned a total of 6 times! (42 months, time, times, and Half a time) That’s quite a lot when you think about it.
And so we have already seen how the time period refers to both the reign of the antichrist as well as his attack on the word of God – symbolized by the two -witnesses in Revelation 11. Then we also saw that at the end of the 1260 years in 1798 the word of God would be unleashed on the world – particularly the book of Daniel which was said to be sealed until the time of the end.
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.””
(Daniel 12:4 NKJV)
Unfortunately, by 1798 the Protestant Reformation had already splintered into many of the same denominations that exist today. What started with Luther as a cry to return to the Bible and the Bible alone was soon met with the start reality of human nature – we only progress in truth as far as our leaders take us
Denominations formed within Protestantism primarily because as God continued to shine light on the Scriptures – and more truth was revealed to his people – some refused to walk in the present truth and were content to remain in the truth they already had.
Jesus warned his disciples against this tendency to become complacent with the truth when we said:
“Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”” (John 12:35–36 NKJV)
I don’t know if you caught it, but this statement of Jesus really flys in the face of postmodernity in several significant ways.
Postmodernity says that truth is relative – meaning truth conforms to each of us rather than us conforming to it.
However according to this statement, not only does Jesus expect us to conform ourselves to the truth – but since truth is progressive rather than relative – even accepting “the truth” as a proposition isn’t enough – we must allow the truth to lead us further into more truth.
Progressive truth never contradicts prior revelation – however prior revelation – true as it may be is not “present truth.”
Therefore according to Jesus we can actually accept past truth and still be in darkness at the same time if we haven’t moved forward into “present truth.”
I dont know about you, but this concept blows my mind.
This means that the abstract concept of following Jesus (someone we cannot see) actually has a literal element to it.
Discipleship than is not intellectual assent to a creed or a certain set of fundamental beliefs – but it is dynamic walk – and that walk undeniably intersects both our mind and our heart.
As our mind sees/comprehends truth as we study God’s and as we sense the Holy Spirit convicting us to move forward to embrace it – our hearts must continually surrender to it.
Thus under this concept repentance is the continual process that moves us farther and farther down the narrow path of righteousness – the way as Jesus called it.
Thus the progressive principles of the Reformation:
“Sola Scriptura,” by Scripture alone
“Sola Fide,” by faith alone
“Sola Gratia,” by grace alone
…were to never end.
In the early 19th century this Protestant principle was once again to be tested as it had been in the life of Martin Luther – this time in the life of William Miller.
Just as Luther had unlocked the doctrine of Righteousness by Faith it was William Miller who finally unlocked the time prophecies in the book of Daniel. Specifically the longest one found in chapter 8:
“Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?”
And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”” (Daniel 8:13–14 NKJV)
In the prophecy the Holy One asks the question that up to this point that Protestant Reformation had been trying to answer.
When was Jesus finally going to come and restore his kingdom?
2300 days? According to rule of time prophecy we have already discovered a day stands for a year – so we are talking about a time prophecy that extends 2300 years into the future.
What other then the 2nd coming of Jesus could stand at the end of this prophecy – or so Miller and his followers believed.
So lets take a closer look at the prophecy itself.
It comes at the end of a progression of the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms just as our study of Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 have demonstrated (Check out episode 22 and 30).
⁃ Divided Rome/Europe/Little Horn
Now we have already seen how God uses the principle of repetition and enlargement through the book of Daniel. So it should not surprise to find the repetition again in Daniel 8.
“In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me—to me, Daniel—after the one that appeared to me the first time. I saw in the vision, and it so happened while I was looking, that I was in Shushan, the citadel, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai. Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no animal could withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will and became great.” (Daniel 8:1–4 NKJV)
Now we are introduced to another vision with a different animal – instead of a predator we have a ram – a male sheep. But notice there are some similar characteristics between this ram and one of the beasts from Daniel 7. Do you remember which beast in Daniel 7 had something that was raised up higher than the other? Think about that as we keep reading.
“And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power. And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns. There was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled him; and there was no one that could deliver the ram from his hand. Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven.” (Daniel 8:5–8 NKJV)
So here we are introduced to another beast – this time a he-goat and unlike the ram, which had 2 horns, this goat has only one – but it is a notable horn. Notice how quickly he moves across the earth, so quickly that in the vision his feet don’t even touch the ground as if he were flying. Then there is a confrontation that ensues between the goat and the ram and the goat attacks and defeats Ram soundly. But then we have another clue to its identity revealed to us. At the height of its power the large horn of the goat is broken and is replaced by four others.
Again we have a direct parallel between the goat here in Daniel 8 and one of the beasts in Daniel 7. Have you figured it out yet? What beast in Daniel 7 rose to power quickly by conquering one of the other beasts and then soon after was divided into four? Think about it.
Now let’s keep reading.
“And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered.” (Daniel 8:9–12 NKJV)
Now there is no new beast, but rather a little horn. So this little horn first conquers all the land that had been previously occupied by the four horns of the he-goat. We could call that a horizontal attack all over the face of the earth. But after that this little horn power sets its sights vertically and actually begins to heaven itself – even going as far as to attack the Prince of the host – himself (Obviously this is a reference to the antichrist we have already historically identified as the papacy).
And during his reign truth was cast to the ground.
Now let’s return to 2300 day time prophecy William Miller was so interested in decoding in the early 18th Century
“Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?” And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.””(Daniel 8:13–14 NKJV)
So then Daniel is told in his vision how long the truth would remain cast to the ground. The truth would not be restored – the desecration to God’s sanctuary – would not be cleansed until end of 2300 days. The obvious implication would be that after the 2300 days truth that had not been understood in its full significance would be bought the forefront and become prominently important.
What truth could be so important that God would make a prophecy about its restoration in the last days?
Well before we answer that lets review the sequence in Daniel 8 we have just studied:
3. Little Horn—horizontal
4. Little Horn—vertical
5. Cleansing of the Sanctuary
At first glance this sequence may seem like it has little or nothing in common with the sequence we found in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7, but let’s allow the Bible to continue to be its own divine interpreter amen?
Now some of you may have already been able to identify all the symbols in the vision just by comparing the clues that were given here in Daniel 8 with the ones we already discovered in Daniel 7, but let’s continue reading the chapter and see if we can confirm your suspicions.
“And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.” The ram which you saw, having the two horns—they are the kings of Media and Persia.” (Daniel 8:16–17, 20 NKJV)
The angel tells Daniel that the vision refers to the time of the end. So we can already see that any interpretation of this time prophecy that does not lead us to the time of the end would be a false interpretation!
Ok let’s keep reading.
“And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.” (Daniel 8:21–22 NKJV)
So the goat represents Greece…
From here on out it becomes quite simple to interpret the rest of the symbols. If the Ram = Meda-Persia And the Goat = Greece then the little horn here has to represent the two phases of Rome – the pagan or horizontal phase followed by the spiritual or vertical phase when it turns into the antichrist.
Then just as in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 the next step in the progression has to be judgment.
It makes sense – right?
The cleansing of the sanctuary has to be referring to the judgment because the result of the cleansing of the sanctuary is the restoration of truth that had been cast to the ground.
And if there is going to be a judgment there has has to be a universal truth or law to judge the nations by – otherwise how could anyone of us know the standard by which we will be judged by.
And of course there is a direct connection between the law of God and the sanctuary of God. In fact in the Most Holy place – where the presence of God dwelt – there was only 1 piece of furniture: An Ark. And in the ark what do you find? The original tablets containing the Ten Commandments that God wrote with his own finger.
This makes sense chronologically too when we go back to Revelation 11 – (that we studied in our last episode).
When did the word of God become immortalized or untouchable? After 1798.
This was the time of the end that Daniel predicted would give rise to the unsealing of his book.
This was when William Miller started studying this 2300 day prophecy about the cleansing of the sanctuary.
And what do we find at the end of that same chapter in Revelation?
“The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”
Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple.” (Revelation 11:18–19 NKJV)
And there you have it.
A judgment scene in Revelation that parallels the more detailed one we found in Daniel 7 – which reads:
“I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire;
A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened. (Daniel 7:9, 10 NKJV)
As you can see – this judgment is all about the cleansing the sanctuary – cleansing the books that have been opened, deciding each case one by one beginning with the dead and eventually moving along to the living.
Interesting in the New Testament the preaching of the gospel is intimately connected with this judgment. For when both are finished the same event takes place: The 2nd coming of Jesus.
Thus it should be no surprise that the text in Revelation that speaks of the fulfillment of the gospel commission Jesus gave to his disciples also speaks of this pre-advent judgment.
“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come;”
(Revelation 14:6–7 NKJV)
In the last days the acceptance or rejection of this gospel is the determining factor of where are names are written in heaven when it is all said and done.
For once the sanctuary is cleansed it is cleansed for good.
Those who are in are in and those who are out are out.
Revelation 22 speaks of this graphically starting in verse 14 when it says:
“Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”
(Revelation 22:14–15 NKJV)
As you can see this is serious business
Now we didn’t have time today to actually pinpoint the beginning and ending point of this prophecy – you will have to wait for our next episode to find that out – but for now once again I think it is obvious that this study should cause each of us to do a little soul searching.
Have I accepted the gospel of life?
Am I walking in the light?
Am I willing to keep walking in the light as God continues to shine truth into my life?
Have I accepted the Ten Commandments as a revelation of God’s will for my life?
These are questions I must ask of myself daily – especially as I look around and see the signs of the soon coming of Jesus all around me.
This is what this podcast is all about.
There has never been a better time then the present to make a decision to oder your life in harmony with the light of heaven while it still shines because if we procrastinate this decision there will come a day when we look for the light again and will discover instead that the light has passed and that we are left in outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth as Jesus forewarned
Be Ready for Jesus!
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17 NKJV)