Politics & Prophecy: A Lawyer’s View of the End Times
by Gerald R. Thompson
A BRIEF TIMELINE OF THE END TIME
Prophetic Time References
Dan. 7:25 The saints will be given into the hands of the Antichrist for 3½ times. [literally a “time, times and a half a time.”]
Dan. 8:13-14 From the time the regular burnt offerings are stopped until the sanctuary is restored will be 2,300 days.
Dan. 9:25-27 From the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the sacrifices and offering are stopped will be 69½ weeks, or 486½ days. [Is God concerned with half a day? See Rev. 11:9. Half a day => sacrifices stopped at sunrise (a day starts at evening – “evening and morning are one day”).]
Dan. 12:6-7 It will take 3½ times until “the end of these wonders,” the endpoint of which will be “when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end.”
Dan. 12:11 “From the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.”
Dan. 12:12 “Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days.”
Rev. 11:2 The nations will trample the holy city for 42 months.
Rev. 11:3 The two witnesses will prophesy for 1,260 days.
Rev. 11:9, 11 The two witnesses will lay dead in Jerusalem for 3½ days.
Rev. 12:6 Israel will be nourished in the wilderness for 1,260 days.
Rev. 12:14 Israel will be nourished in the wilderness for 3½ times.
Rev. 13:5 The Antichrist will be allowed to exercise authority for 42 months.
There are two key markers which anchor the end times timeline, and which everything else seems tied to – these are: 1) the stopping of regular sacrifices; and 2) the Second Coming. This presents us with an initial problem – there haven’t been any regular sacrifices offered on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (where they would need to be made) since 70 AD. So before any part of the end times timeline kicks in, current status quo will have to be changed.
Daniel’s 70 weeks start off the timeline, because those 490 days essentially end with the stopping of regular sacrifices – the first marker. So of Daniel’s 490 days, 486½ days occur before the first marker. Something must happen – whether during the 486½ days or even before it – that causes the regular sacrifices to start back up. Something that has not happened yet. If we just stick with the time constraints the Bible tells us, my best guess is that sacrifices resume after the 490 days have begun, at some point in the rebuilding process.
Of course, something must also precipitate the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Why will that decree be made? It seems to assume Jerusalem will be attacked early on – before the 490 days of Daniel – although we know it will not be the final attack, because the people of the Antichrist will destroy the city near the end of the 490 days and the battle at Armageddon will come even after that. These, then are the events that will truly kick off the end times: a possible initial attack on Jerusalem, and a possible resumption of sacrifices on the Temple Mount. But the certainty of either of these as a trigger for the end times will only come when the decree goes forth and someone responds to it.
Now within the 490 days of Daniel, it will take 49 days for someone (an anointed one) – not Jesus – to initiate the rebuilding effort. That person will work for 62 weeks (434 days) to rebuild foundations (“squares and a moat”) and then he will be stopped. This effort, especially since at some point sacrifices will resume, will enrage the enemies of Israel. These enemy nations will undoubtedly call for mounting an attack. Someone, most likely the Antichrist, will broker a 7-day cease-fire (“a firm covenant with many”), ostensibly allowing the sacrifices to continue, but that cease-fire will be broken after 3½ days. At that point, Dan. 9 suggests the attack on Jerusalem will be allowed to begin and the regular sacrifices will be stopped.
Thus, there will be 486½ days from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until sacrifices are stopped. Daniel then gives us three time periods from the first marker going forward. The first is 1290 days from the stopping of sacrifices until the Abomination of Desolation is set up. The second is 1335 days from the stopping of sacrifices to a time of blessing. The third is 2300 days from the stopping of sacrifices until the sanctuary is restored.
I take the time of blessing as a reference to the Second Coming. Thus, there will be 45 days from the time the Abomination of Desolation is set up until the Antichrist is defeated. This 45 days is the worst of the worst, the “great tribulation” as referred to in Mat. 24, because it represents the height of the power of the Antichrist, who will proclaim himself to be God, right up until the moment Christ removes him from power. The next 965 days (2300 – 1335), after Jesus has returned, is the period of time it will take to rebuild the (Third) Temple – less than 3 years.
So I mark the Second Coming at 1335 days after sacrifices are stopped. We can work backwards from this second marker for a number of other key time periods. The scripture says the Antichrist will reign for 42 months, Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles for 42 months, and Israel will be nourished in the wilderness for 3½ times or 1260 days. All these must necessarily terminate when Christ returns – the Antichrist will be overthrown, Jerusalem will be freed, and Israel will no longer need to hide. So for most practical purposes, these three things will coincide or overlap at virtually 100%.
Depending on how you reckon 42 months (either 1260 or 1278 days), and depending on whether the destruction of Jerusalem comes at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week or in the middle of it, you have a gap of 60-82 days, more or less, between when the sacrifices are stopped and the beginning of the 42 month period when Antichrist reigns, Jerusalem is trampled, as Israel is nourished. And I can’t rule out the possibility that 42 months may be calculated on the basis of the Hebrew calendar (1240 days or so) adding another 20 days to the gap. Remember, we have 1335 days to account for, plus an additional 3½ or 7 days before sacrifices are stopped, which is more than 42 months in any event. What is happening during that period, and why don’t all these things start immediately in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week?
My best guess is that the destruction of Jerusalem does not occur in a day. Or perhaps, it takes that long for the Antichrist to consolidate power, or both. So it may actually take 60-82 days for Jerusalem to be fully destroyed, and the Antichrist to set up his kingdom.
We also know the two witnesses will prophesy for 1260 days, but this does not seem tied to either of our key markers. It makes sense that they will appear around the time the Antichrist takes power, but when they die and are left in the streets for 3½ days, this will presumably all happen before Christ returns. So, there may be 30 days (1290 – 1260) between when the two witnesses die and when the Abomination of Desolation is set up. But not necessarily – no one can say for sure.
It should be obvious from this discussion that I do not accept any of the biblical time periods given as days to means years. Daniel’s vision does not refer to 490 years, and none of the 1260, 1290, 1335 or 2300 numbers – each given as a number of days – actually means years. God knows how to tell time, and besides which there is no way to make days = years and have it work out historically.
Thus, as I see it, there is no seven-year Tribulation. The Tribulation is essentially the 1335 day period between our two key markers. Most of Daniel’s 70 weeks are not part of the Tribulation, but precede it. It’s the stopping of the sacrifices that marks the time of destruction and conflict, and this makes the most sense to my mind as to when the Tribulation will begin. And I don’t know why God can’t do everything He wants to do during the Tribulation in 1335 days. After all, the U.S. involvement in World War II was only 1347 days.
Is it possible that Daniel’s 2300 days mark the total length of the Tribulation (roughly 6.3 solar years)? Yes, but if that is the case, then how can the 1335 day marker – occurring in the middle of that 2300 days – be a time of blessing? Isn’t that exactly when (i.e., the second half of the Tribulation) when everything is supposed to get worse? How can that be a time of blessing? Unless, of course, the Tribulation isn’t really 2300 days long at all. But you can disagree – its OK.
And now, even though it still does not drive my overall prophetic analysis, I present my best guess as to a timeline of the end times for your consideration.