The Timing and Sequence of Key Events
To the Church about the Church
The book of Revelation is written to the Church, for the Church, and about the Church. Most of the book deals with the key role the Church will play during the last three and one-half years of the age in God’s eternal plan to demonstrate His wisdom through her to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Identifying key players and properly ordering the timing and sequence of events is crucial to understanding the role and destiny of a Church brought to full power and authority to walk as Jesus walked in corporate world-wide demonstration of the true gospel.
Confusing key players and events blurs understanding of this role and destiny. Once again, Satan’s clear intent is to confuse the Church about her role on earth during this period of time by convincing her that she won’t be around, having no reason and purpose to remain on earth.
It is important to understand that Scripture says that not until the final three and one-half years of the age will the true gospel be preached world-wide. That is not to say that previous efforts have been fruitless, because it is obvious the Holy Spirit is working today and has been working throughout the age to convert sinners. There has always been a remnant on earth who have walked in the footsteps of Jesus. The work of the Holy Spirit today seems to be expanding exponentially world-wide. Perhaps we are very near to or even in the initial outflow of the prophesied great outpouring of the Spirit that will usher in the last and greatest harvest of the age. However, the true gospel of the Kingdom, not in words but in power, is not yet being preached world-wide the way Peter and Paul preached it. The Church will be largely unable to preach the gospel in this fullness of power before that time, because Scripture indicates that the Spirit will not be poured out in fullness until that time. This degree of power and authority does not come until the midpoint of the final seven years, concurrently with Satan being thrown out of heaven to earth. It is this outpouring of the Spirit that launches the ministry of the two witnesses and empowers the saints left on earth to overcome Satan by the Blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and by loving not their lives unto death.
We think of effectively preaching the gospel in terms of stadiums filled with thousands. At the end of the age, however, when Christians will be persecuted and hated as criminals, spreading the gospel in any such manner will be forbidden. The account of the end of the age in the gospel of Mark implies that it will be as we stand under arrest before governing officials that the message of the gospel will go forth to the whole world. Our response during these times of persecution will be our witness of the true gospel. God will empower the saints to live sanctified, peaceful, and abandoned lives in the midst of furious persecution. This will be of greater witness to the unsaved than our words. The gospel will be demonstrated by how we live and die more than by what we say. The witness of today is often feeble, because we do not live what we say. Our lives are often a direct contradiction of the power of the gospel. Perhaps that is partly due to the lack of persecution which has always seemed to be the nutrient that causes the Church to flourish. But those times are changing.
More space is devoted to the last three and one-half years of the church age in the book of Revelation than to all other periods of church history combined. This period of time reveals the calling and destiny of the Church and identifies the standards of a Church brought to maturity in Jesus Christ. It defines the finish line of the race we are called to run. It establishes the vision without which we will perish. God has seemingly concentrated much of His plan to demonstrate His wisdom through the Church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places into the last three and one-half years of this age. During this short period of time, the ultimate destiny of the Church on earth, and the reasons for which she was created, will be fulfilled and demonstrated.
That is not to say that we can sleep until the start of the final three and one-half years. These are, at the very least, days of preparation. The time lines of these events seem somewhat blurred, as if the initial stages of judgment and glory are already at hand. The oceans and freshwater are already on the way to being polluted and unable to support life in many areas as if the judgment trumpets affecting these waters can be heard tuning up in the background. The prophesied great outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the midpoint of the final seven years seems to be gushing forth from cracks in the dam presently holding it back. The messengers of the end of the age are upon us. Regardless of the literalness or blurring of these time lines, the final three and one-half years of the age, as described in the book of Revelation, are the focal point of the vision of the Church at the end of the age. Regardless of the absolute timing of these events, these events establish the nature of that with which we must be concerned. I believe these time lines are absolute in the sense of the fullness of these prophesied events; however, I believe God in His mercy is also allowing a buildup of the preliminaries and initial stages of these events so that people wake up and repent. His judgments, ultimately, are redemptive. It is His will that none should perish.
The timing and sequence of events relative to the Church during this final three and one-half years of the age are the subject of our investigation. Teachings which remove the Church from the prophetic Scriptures involving the last three and one-half years of the age destroy all vision of the race we are called to run and finish. We have seen that God created all things in order to demonstrate His wisdom through the Church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places, and this demonstration will be largely fulfilled during the last three and one-half years of the age.
Removing the Church from this most crucial period of her destiny is to render null and void the eternal plan of God for His Church through which He will be glorified by all creation for eternity. Removing the Church from these times is one of the most grievous doctrinal errors that could ever be taught, and plays directly into the hands of the enemy of our souls. The vision of the Church must be restored!
"Father, would You release revelation in this area. Would You wake us up and give us a vision of eternal things and of the destiny of Your Church at the end of the age through which You will demonstrate Your wisdom and be glorified for eternity. Would You give us a passionate love for Your glory such that we might become noble vessels through which You can demonstrate Your wisdom and glory to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places at the end of this age. Father, we pray to derail every effort of Satan to keep Your Church deceived about these things."
I worked for the Forest Service one summer in Oregon doing survey work for logging roads. At the beginning and periodically along every survey route (usually miles in length), we would establish benchmarks which were solid reference points (usually big nails driven into exposed roots or stumps). We could never make too big an error if we routinely referenced short sections of the surveyed route back to the benchmarks. These were the foundation reference points for the entire survey and kept us from losing a lot of time should an error creep into our work.
After we established our first benchmark at the start of the survey, we would then measure and sight out with a long tape measure and a survey scope to a distant survey point along the route, which would have been previously laid out with survey ribbons. When that point was established, we would record it and sight and measure out to a second point. After so many points, we would establish a second benchmark. Then we would sight back to the first benchmark and check to see that the loop would close. Then we would go on from the second benchmark to a third and so on until the route was completed. Perhaps it was symbolic that this was being done in the wilderness. The route had been walked out before and marked with orange ribbons where it should generally go, but we had to work out the details.
My own attempts to understand the prophetic Scriptures have proceeded in much the same way. Initially a few things seemed obvious, and I established these things as benchmarks and started from there. I thought that this might be one way to approach a study of the destiny of the Church during the last three and one-half years of the age. These are some of the benchmarks and survey points that I hacked out along my way. I hope this will be helpful to you. It is not in any way intended to be a comprehensive study of end-time events, but it does represent the foundation points that I believe the Lord has revealed in my own study relative to this message of restoring the vision of the Church. It would be helpful if the reader were already familiar with such concepts as Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, the parallel of Jesus’ warnings in Matthew 24 to the seven seals of Revelation, and had already struggled to understand the book of Revelation. I don’t have space to fully develop the background for all of these areas. Any good prophecy book will discuss these things. Although most of the material on the shelves is pre-tribulation in nature, it is still useful to gain a background for what is discussed here.
Benchmark #1: The Great Tribulation is Over by the Sixth Seal
For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short (Matthew 24:21-22).
But immediately after the tribulation [the great tribulation of Matthew 24:21] of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken . . . (Matthew 24:29).
These events involving the sun, moon, and stars match exactly the events of the sixth seal as described in Revelation 6:12-14. This can only mean that the seals prior to the sixth seal have been, in part, describing that great tribulation. This conclusion is supported in that the great multitude who show up in heaven in Revelation 7:14 after the sixth seal is opened, but before the opening of the seventh seal, are said to have come out of the great tribulation. The great tribulation would seem to be cut short by the startling events of the sixth seal.
This is a very important benchmark, because it establishes the entire framework of the timing of events of the book of Revelation. Jesus defined the great tribulation as that tribulation taking place after the abomination of desolation is revealed (Matthew 24:15). From Daniel 9:27 and 11:31, we understand that the abomination of desolation is revealed at the midpoint of the final seven years of the age, or three and one-half years before the end of the age. So by the sixth seal, conditions are already well into the last half of the final seven years of the age, because by the sixth seal, according to the words of Jesus, the great tribulation at the hands of antichrist is over.
Point 1: The spin-off from this is that most probably the breaking of the fourth seal and the persecution which results is revealing the reign of the antichrist and his false prophet, which begins at the midpoint of the final seven years. The fifth seal martyrs are then a direct result of that persecution.
Benchmark #2: The Trumpets Occur Late in the Last Three and One-Half Years of the Age
If the sixth seal takes place well into the last three and one-half years of the age, this automatically places the trumpet judgments (which follow the seals) even later in the last three and one-half years of the age. The plain wording of Scripture indicates that the trumpet judgments follow the seals. Perhaps the best indication of this is that the martyrs at the fifth seal are told to wait a little longer before God’s judging and avenging begins. God’s judging and avenging have, therefore, not yet begun at the fifth seal. The martyrs of the antichrist persecution are crying out to God from under the altar, "When will You avenge our blood?" The makeup of the sixth and seventh seals indicate that the beginning of the judging and avenging of God is in the form of the trumpet judgments and does not begin until the first trumpet is sounded.
Point 1: Since the sixth trumpet defines the end of the witness period of 1260 days of the two witnesses of Chapter 11, it follows that this 1260-day witness period of the two witnesses takes place during the last three and one-half years of the age. That is supported by the fact that their period of witness ends just before the blowing of the seventh trumpet, which by its very nature suggests the end of the age. It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that the 1260-day witness period of the two witnesses coincides with the last three and one-half years of the age.
Point 2: The seventh trumpet which sounds at, or very near, the end of the last three and one-half years of the age is almost assuredly the last trump that Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 15:52 as the trumpet sounding the harvest (rapture). This can be concluded because the harvest described at the end of Revelation Chapter 14 follows the three and one-half years of warfare between the antichrist and the saints. The events following the blowing of the seventh trumpet describe the rewarding of the saints and the destruction of the ungodly. These events match the makeup of the events of the Day of the Lord which are consistent with other passages describing the harvesting or gathering of the saints.
Benchmark #3: The Little Book of Daniel is the Little Book of Revelation
As mentioned previously, during a particularly strong visitation of the Holy Spirit one evening, I received a distinct impression that the little book of Daniel Chapter 12 was the same little book opened by the angel in Revelation Chapter 10. We must test all things with Scripture, however, and discard anything which does not match. In this case, Scripture matches with the impression, as the content of the little book of Daniel, which deals specifically with the last three and one-half years of the age, matches the content of Scripture immediately following in Revelation Chapter 10, which also deals with the last three and one-half years of the age. This would support the three and one-half year witness period of the two witnesses as being the last three and one-half years of the age.
Benchmark #4: Everything after Revelation Chapter 10 Deals with the Last Three and One-Half Years of the Age and Beyond
Much of what is presented in the later chapters of the book of Revelation is actually a zoom-in description in greater detail of what has been briefly covered in the earlier chapters. As we have seen, the great multitude of Chapter 7 are said to have come out of the great tribulation, so the events of the great tribulation must be associated with some of the five seals prior to the sixth seal. However, Chapters 13 and 14 describe in much greater detail the events of the great tribulation. Much of the book, therefore, has to be flashback and overlay. Understanding the book of Revelation becomes very confusing if the sequence of events is assumed to be laid out in a single series even as the chapters are laid out. The age has already come essentially to a close by Revelation 10:7.
Things seem to progress sequentially through the seals and trumpets up until the end of the age in Chapter 10. Then everything stops and the last three and one-half years are explored over and over again in more detail from different viewpoints as the details of the little book of Daniel are presented. The layout of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse in the gospels is the same way. Jesus lays out sequentially the course of events up to the very end of the age at Matthew 24:14, and then stops and goes back over the last three and one-half years in more detail. When the angels tell John in Revelation 10:11 that he is to prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings, that is indication of the start of the flashback. What follows is the last three and one-half years being described again and again from different perspectives.
Benchmark #5: Chapters 11, 12, 13, and 14 Repeatedly Cover the Last Three and One-Half Years of the Age
The witness period of the two witnesses of Chapter 11 is concluded to be the last three and one-half years of the age, as it ends just before the sounding of the seventh trumpet. The three and one-half year period the woman of Revelation 12 spends in the wilderness is then also concluded to be the last three and one-half years of the age. It begins with attempted persecution by the antichrist as he is revealed at the midpoint of the final seven years. The three and one-half year period of persecution of the saints of Chapters 13-14 is also concluded to be the last three and one-half years of the age. It also begins with the revealing of the antichrist and ends at the seventh trumpet just before the bowls of wrath are poured out. All periods of time identified in the book of Revelation as 1260 days, 42 months, or three and one-half years, are identified as the same period of time and as the last three and one-half years of the age. They are all revelations from the little book of Daniel 12, which deals specifically with the last three and one-half years of the age.
• Chapter 11:1-14 deals with the 1260-day witness period of the two witnesses. It is the first vision given after the little book of Daniel is opened.
• Chapter 12:1-14 deals with the simultaneous venture of the woman into the wilderness for three and one-half years.
• Chapter 13:1-18 deals with the antichrist and the simultaneous forty-two months of authority he is given over the saints.
• Chapter 14 deals simultaneously with at least a portion of the last three and one-half years from the time at which the 144,000 first fruits are seen in heaven until the harvest at the end of the age.
Benchmark #6: Revelation Chapter 14 Contains the Trumpet Judgments
Close inspection of Revelation 14 reveals that six trumpet judgments are described and are listed as taking place before the harvest at Revelation 14:14.
And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice; "Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters" (Revelation 14:6-7).
The heaven, the earth, the sea, and the springs of water are the subject of the first four trumpet judgments, though not in that exact order. Since these four things are mentioned in conjunction with the coming of God’s hour of judgment, the logical conclusion is that these are indeed the first four trumpet judgments. The fifth trumpet judgment is torment of those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads, and it correlates with the torment of those who accept the mark of the beast in Revelation 14:9-11. The sixth trumpet judgment of the two hundred million man army from the east matches Revelation 14:8 which is the destruction of Babylon the Great described also in Revelation 17:16-18 and the whole of Revelation 18. Two hundred million soldiers marching from the east resulting in the death of one-third of the earth’s population involves issues larger than the relatively small population of Israel. The economic and power structure of the entire planet is in turmoil. Although the order is shuffled, the identification of six distinct judgments identified with the coming of God’s hour of judgment --- which just happen to match the makeup of the first six trumpet judgments --- cannot be just coincidence. These must indeed be the trumpet judgments. This conclusion is supported by the outpouring of the bowls which immediately follows in Chapter 15.
Point 1: And yet, amidst these apparent trumpet judgments and after the great tribulation has ended, there are saints who remain and are called to persevere unto death.
Point 2: The great multitude from all tribes, tongues, nations and peoples of Revelation Chapter 7 cannot have shown up in heaven before Revelation 14:6, because they must have already had the gospel preached to them (and this must have been world-wide) in order to be saved. But they must have shown up by the start of the trumpet judgments of Revelation 14:7. So the sixth seal logically must fall between Revelation 14:6 and 14:7. The 144,000 first fruits who show up in heaven at Revelation 14:1 must have then arrived there sometime before the opening of the sixth seal.
Point 3: By the time of the harvest of Revelation 14:15, six trumpet judgments have taken place. The harvest is consistent with the events that take place at the blowing of the seventh trumpet. What remains of God’s judging and avenging are the bowl judgments, which immediately follow. Those who show up in heaven before the harvest at Revelation 14:15 are either first fruits, or martyrs, or those who have died by natural causes.
Benchmark #7: The Great Multitude at the Sixth Seal are Martyrs, not Raptured Saints !
This is a major point of concern, as many believe that the great multitude at the sixth seal is the raptured Church. There is danger in teaching the timing of the rapture too early in the sequence of end-time events. If the great multitude are martyrs rather than raptured saints, then those who find themselves not raptured before the beginning of the trumpet judgments may be shaken to learn that they must continue to endure. I believe there is sufficient Scriptural evidence to conclude that these sixth seal saints are martyred rather than raptured saints.
And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also (Revelation 6:9-11).
Point 1: God’s judging and avenging of the martyrs’ blood has not yet begun at the fifth seal. This supports, as previously mentioned, the conclusion that the trumpets and seals do not overlap, for God’s judging and avenging of their blood does not seem to begin any earlier than at the first trumpet judgment. The sixth seal is stated in Revelation 6:17 as the indicator of the beginning of the day of God’s wrath, and that wrath only begins when the seventh seal is broken and the trumpet judgments begin.
Point 2: The fifth seal martyrs are told that between the time when they are being addressed and when God’s judging and avenging would begin, more of their fellow believers are to be killed. The next group to show up in heaven before that judging and avenging begins would then logically be those additional who are to be killed. The great multitude that shows up in heaven before the seventh seal is broken and the trumpet judgments begin fits exactly that description.
Point 3: The verses stating that they shall hunger and thirst no more, and that neither the sun nor heat shall adversely affect them anymore, and that every tear shall be wiped from their eyes, suggests that they have endured these things in the great tribulation. It is a solemn note to understand that these things will be necessary in order to conform these saints, who perhaps will be many of us, to the worthiness required to enter the Kingdom of God. This may be the most applicable prophecy for the majority of the Church alive at the end of the age. We may be reading of ourselves in these very Scriptures.
And one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and from where have they come?" And I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne shall spread His tabernacle over them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes" (Revelation 7:13-17).
Point 4: Another reason why I do not believe these are raptured saints is that Scripture indicates that the main harvest does not take place until the time of the seventh trumpet. Once again we need to be reminded that Jesus said that those who endure to the end, that end being the harvest, will be saved. Since we have already concluded that the seals and trumpets are sequential, those who show up in heaven following the sixth seal and before the seventh seal cannot be the same as those harvested at the seventh trumpet. The plain sense of Scripture is that the trumpets are held in check until the 144,000 of the tribes of Israel are sealed and the great multitude that no one could count from the great tribulation appears in heaven. It is the killing of this required number of additional saints that brings on the time when God begins His judging and avenging of their blood by the trumpet judgments, the beginning of His wrath. The first-fruits group at Revelation 14:1 are only listed as 144,000, whereas the multitude of the sixth seal is a great multitude which no one can count. This multitude without number is not the first fruits, nor is it the general harvest. Therefore the multitude is concluded to be Christian martyrs who are the fulfillment of the prophecy of Revelation 6:11. And these are apparently not the last of the Christian martyrs, for there are more to be killed between the time of the sixth seal and the seventh trumpet harvest.
And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’" "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them." And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head, and a sharp sickle in His hand. And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Put in your sickle and reap, because the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe" (Revelation 14:13-15).
And the seventh angel sounded [the seventh trumpet]; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, "We give Thee thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who wast, because Thou hast taken Thy great power and hast begun to reign. And the nations were enraged, and Thy wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to give their reward to Thy bond-servants the prophets and to the saints and to those who fear Thy name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth" (Revelation 11:15-18).
We have seen that the 1260-day witness period of the two witnesses does not end until the events of the sixth trumpet are finished, and that this witness period matches the last three and one-half years of the age during which time the antichrist is given authority over the saints. The end of that period of time coincides with the blowing of the seventh trumpet. Those harvested at the end of Chapter 14 are seen immediately in heaven in Revelation 15:2 having emerged victoriously over the beast and the great tribulation. After this, the seven plagues are poured out. The content of the seventh and last trumpet matches with the events of the last trumpet that Paul refers to in conjunction with the rapture.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed (1 Corinthians 15:52).
This certainly sounds like the time of reward of the bondservants the prophets, the saints, and the small and the great. Some will argue that Paul couldn’t know about the trumpets since the book of Revelation hadn’t been written yet, but Paul didn’t need to wait for this revelation until the book of Revelation was written. Paul received revelation directly from the Lord.
Benchmark #8: There are Two Phases of God’s Wrath
And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished (Revelation 15:1).
If the bowls are the finish of God’s wrath, then the wrath of God must have started prior to the bowls. Phase 1 is the beginning of God’s wrath in the form of the trumpet judgments. Many of God’s elect will still be on earth during the trumpet judgments but will remain untouched by God’s wrath, even as the Israelites were untouched by the plagues which went on around them in Egypt. This phase ends with the harvest at the seventh trumpet of Revelation 14:15. Phase 2 begins right after that with the pouring out of the bowls of wrath. There are still those remaining on earth who will repent and be saved during Phase 2, and they would correspond to the gleanings harvested at the sixth bowl.
Point 1: I believe Scripture suggests the trumpet judgments may be centered in the Middle East in order to directly influence Israel. Scripture says judgment is first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. The one-third of the earth affected by the seven trumpet judgments seems chosen so as to impact Israel most directly. The sixth trumpet judgment appears to be an army from the east marching towards Jerusalem. This would explain why the 144,000 bondservants from the tribes of Israel are sealed just before the start of the trumpet judgments so as to pass through them unharmed.
Benchmark #9: Seven Seals, Seven Trumpets, Seven Years
There is indication that the events of the seven seals detail the last seven years of the age. I was walking one day asking the Lord about the timing of these things, and I heard these words come out of my mouth, "seven seals, seven trumpets, seven years . . . " Once again, that would not constitute reason for establishing doctrine, but it seems to correlate with Scripture.
And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, [one week of years or seven years] but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate (Daniel 9:27).
If this is the antichrist, then he will appear as a covenant maker at the beginning of the final seven years, and this matches the makeup of the first seal. A rider shows up on a white horse, but it definitely isn’t Jesus. This isn’t THE RIDER on the white horse of Revelation 19. This an impostor. He is a peacemaker but He is not the Prince of Peace, therefore his peace will be a temporary and false peace. The confusion often associated with identifying the rider on the white horse of the first seal is representative of the actual confusion that will result when he is revealed in the flesh. Many will mistakenly think he is the Christ. He will come as an angel of light. The first warning Jesus gave to His disciples in Matthew 24 was to beware of false Christs. The additional warnings He gave line up with the seals in the book of Revelation, and it is very likely, therefore, that His first warning lines up with the first seal. The rider of the first seal is revealed for what he really is at the three and one-half year point, and this would agree closely with the revealing of Death and Hades at the fourth seal if the seals were laid out year for year. If the seven seals represent seven years, then the seventh seal would be the last of the seven years, a year of God’s increasing trumpet judgments upon the earth. The fifth trumpet is five months in length, so the trumpet judgments are boxed in to being more than five months but significantly less than three and one-half years in duration.
For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion (Isaiah 34:8).
Will the day of the Lord’s vengeance, which seems to begin at the sixth seal and lasts through the seventh bowl, be one year in length?
Point 1: Many believe that Daniel 9:27 is referring to Jesus, and that He is the one making or confirming the covenant. This split-week approach holds that the first three and one-half years of the final seven years elapsed during Jesus’ time of public ministry, and the remaining three and one-half years take place at the end of this age. There is some logical basis for this if only Daniel 9:27 is considered. But there are other Scriptures that shed additional light on the matter of who the he of Daniel 9:27 is.
And from the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1290 days (Daniel 12:11).
If we back up from this verse in the text to Daniel 11:31, there we will find the description of the regular sacrifice being abolished and the abomination of desolation being set up. I drew a line and an arrow in my Bible at Daniel 11:31 noting that from this point on, there will be 1290 days. What is in view here is obviously the last three and one-half years of the age.
And forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation (Daniel 11:31).
The him who does this is not Jesus. You can clearly see that by reading about him and what he does in the verses immediately preceding Daniel 11:31. If this him is not Jesus but the antichrist, and this him sets up the abomination of desolation and stops the sacrifice three and one-half years before the end of the age, then who is logically the he of Daniel 9:27 who is described as doing the very same thing in the middle of the final seven years? Do Jesus and the antichrist both stop the sacrifice and set up the abomination of desolation at the midpoint of the final seven years? Does the midpoint of the final seven years occur twice, once two thousand years ago and again at the end of the age? I don’t think that is a logical conclusion based on the information given in Scripture. Therefore I believe the final week of the seventy weeks of Daniel will be played out at the end of the age in one seven year chunk of time, the last seven years of the age.
Point 2: It is after the sixty-two weeks that the Messiah is cut off, not after sixty-two and one-half weeks, which would be the case if Jesus’ public ministry were considered the first three and one-half years of the last week of Daniel’s seventy weeks.
Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined (Daniel 9:26).
Point 3: I believe Scripture further indicates in Daniel Chapter 8 that the 70th week of Daniel is the final seven years of the age.
Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, "How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?" And he said to me, "For 2300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored." . . . "Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end." . . . "And he said, "Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end." . . . And in the latter period of their rule, when the transgressors have run their course, a king will arise insolent and skilled in intrigue. And his power will be mighty, but not by his own power, and he will destroy to an extraordinary degree and prosper and perform his will; he will destroy mighty men and the holy people . . . He will even oppose he Prince of princes, but he will be broken without human agency. And the vision of the evenings and mornings which has been told is true; but keep the vision secret, for it pertains to many days in the future (Daniel 8:13-14, 17, 19, 23-26).
This is clearly referring to the antichrist. And these 2300 days, which are 220 days short of seven years, discuss the abomination of desolation being set up in the holy place during the final period of the indignation. There is only one final period of the indignation, and that’s the period of the indignation at the end of the age beginning at the midpoint of the final seven years of the age. The reason the vision is for 2300 days and not 1290 days is because it includes the time of the regular sacrifice as well as the time from when the abomination of desolation is set up until the holy place is restored. I believe this could be indicating that restored temple sacrifices may start 220 days after the beginning of the final seven years of the age. Evenings and mornings locks in the 2300 as days and not years, as it is an Old Testament term for the "evening and morning" sacrifices. If the antichrist comes as a peacemaker and a covenant maker seven years before the end, it is logical to consider that part of that covenant agreement might allow the long-awaited rebuilding of a new Jewish temple and the resumption of regular temple sacrifices.
We need to understand from these Scriptures that the main harvest, or the rapture, is presented consistently as coming very near the end of the last three and one-half years of the age --- at the end of the age to which Jesus said we must endure. It would seem to come at the seventh trumpet just before the bowls of wrath are poured out. It appears that most of the Church is going to remain on earth during the trumpet judgments, because the seventh trumpet lines up with the end of the age and seems to describe the rewarding of the saints. This is still consistent with "not being appointed to wrath," because when God’s wrath fell on Egypt, His chosen people were "not appointed to wrath." It went on around them but did not harm them. That was the point of the blood on the doorposts.
If it doesn’t work out this way and the rapture comes sooner, that will be just fine. But we shouldn’t count on it coming any sooner. If we settle in our hearts that it’s going to come just before the pouring out of the bowls of wrath just like Revelation Chapters 14 and 15 suggest, we will be in the best state of mind to endure to the true end of the age. However, let’s not get so caught up in the details of the timing and sequence of all of these events that we take our eyes off Jesus. Let’s not let our doctrines become stumbling blocks if things don’t work out the way we expected. Ultimately, Jesus said that He would come at an hour that we did not expect, so we are all going to be surprised one way or another when He comes.
If we keep our eyes on Jesus, keep the vision of the Church in mind, and keep filled to overflowing with the oil of the Holy Spirit, rapture timing will take care of itself and no timing of event will cause us to stumble. Remember, the end of this age is going to be a time of our light shining forth in the midst of great darkness. We should expect to walk with great anointing through the midst of this, crushing Satan underfoot in the process. There are those spoken of in Daniel who will lead many to righteousness during these times and will shine like stars forever.
Let’s get from this a freshening of hope, a strengthening of our faith and trust, and a fresh revelation of God’s all-consuming love for His Church. I had a dream many years ago, even before I was saved, of Jesus returning in the sky. In my dream, I was longing for a change, because I was tired of the world as it was. What if it were all true and He was actually coming back? I looked up into the sky as if my eyes were being drawn to a spot . . . almost as if I was creating it in my dream because I wanted it so badly. All of a sudden, there He was, a small burst of light but getting bigger quickly. I can’t express the emotion I felt even in the dream. It was like a floodgate broke open and everything was suddenly beautiful. My spirit surged in an explosion of joy! All troubles and wars and distress were forever done with and replaced with a feeling of total satisfaction and joy. I woke up.
Now that is worth waiting for! And it’s really going to happen. I think it may have been a vision as well as a dream. I can remember the joy and expectation I used to have as a child during the Christmas holidays, childish though it may have been. That joy and expectation fizzled as the years and the world took over. But the real reason for that childish Christmas joy is nearly upon us! We will all be as joyous children on the day He returns. There is reason for our faith and hope and trust!
"Come quickly, Lord Jesus!" The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come!"