A Chronology of the End
A Chronology of the End
10 ,9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, blast off! As a child I remember watching the launching of several Apollo mission rockets. One thing that stuck out in my mind was that the launches operated on a precise timeline. Nothing happened by chance everything was done meticulously and precisely at the right time. God has a precise timeline too, a timeline of prophetic events in which nothing will happen by chance but will occur precisely at the right time. Already having established a clear picture of the things that will happen before, during, and after the 70th Week of Daniel, and in what order, we will now turn our attention to examining a more exact timeline of the events associated with the end times.
First let me establish the fact that no one knows the day or hour of Christ’s return at the rapture. This is a doctrine and truth that the Lord Himself gave us:
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
It is a fact that no one knows when the rapture will occur and the Day of the Lord will begin. But there are scriptural truths that allow us to assign chronological parameters for when the Day of the Lord may begin.
For instance, as already discussed, we know of several signs that will be given to us to let us know that His return at the rapture is imminent:
1. The great falling away.
2. The revealing of the antichrist and Abomination of Desolation.
3. The moon being turned to blood.
4. The sun being darkened.
5. The return of the prophet Elijah .
All of the events listed above precede the rapture, and will be signs to all who heed them that the time of Christ’s return to the clouds at the rapture is near. This is especially true of the sixth seal, which contains signs immediately preceding the rapture, where the sun is darkened and the moon is turned to blood. When we see these signs, we know that the time is very near, even though we do not know exactly when it will occur. It is possible that the rapture could occur within hours, minutes, or even seconds after the moon is turned to blood and the sun is darkened. We also know that the rapture will occur sometime between the midpoint of the last 7 years—when the antichrist will take over the world and the great tribulation begins—and Armageddon.
Other than these, are there any other scriptural truths that would allow us to further narrow down the time frame of the rapture? Yes I believe there is, and to help us answer that question, we first need to consider date parameters concerning the 69 weeks, 2 days, and the 70th week. We will discuss the 69 weeks first. An examination of the chronology of the sixty-nine weeks will show us how precisely God’s prophetic timing works. God told Daniel about the sixty-nine and seventieth weeks in a vision. That vision tells us that there will be seventy weeks of time from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to when the most Holy is anointed.
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Dan 9:24-26)
Sixty-nine of the seventy weeks in that vision have already transpired. The passage says that the sixty-nine weeks would run from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, including the wall and street, to “Messiah the prince.” The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was recorded in Neh. 2:1-6:
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it. And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.
We see here that the decree was issued in the month Nisan of the twentieth year of Artaxerxes. When did that occur? Over the years, many have debated the dating of the decree. There are several methods for dating the reigning years of kings. The most widely accepted year for the twentieth year of Artaxerxes and this decree is 444 B.C. Hoehner explains all of the various dating methods and how this date is arrived at in his work, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ:
In conclusion, the report to Nehemiah (1:1) occurred in Chislev (November/December) of 445 B.C. and the decree of Artaxerxes (2:1) occurred in Nisan (March/April) of 444 B.C. Therefore, Nisan 444 B.C. marks the terminus a quo of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9:24-27.
Nehemiah does not specify the exact day of the month of the decree. However, in Hebrew narratives, when a date is given citing just a month, it is assumed that it is the first day of the month. In addition, it was traditional for Persian kings to issue decrees on the first day of the New Year. The Persian New Year started on Nisan 1. Thus having established that the decree to rebuild Jerusalem most likely went forth on Nisan 1, 444 B.C., which is March 3, 444 B.C. (Gregorian), we can add sixty-nine weeks to that date and see what date we come to.
A “week” in this passage is referring to a period of seven years. Thus, we can calculate the following: 69 x 7 = 483 years. But we cannot just add 483 years to March 3, 444 B.C. because all years in the Bible coincide with a year length of 360 days, not the approximately 365.25 days that we now experience and on which our calendar is based. The Biblical 360-day year length is evidenced in the Genesis flood account, where the waters covered the earth for 150 days, which was equated to five months, (5 x 30 = 150), and also in Revelation where the antichrist is given authority to rule for 3.5 years, which is equated to 1,260 days (3.5 x 360 = 1260). It is theorized that the earth, as confirmed in Genesis, was originally on a 360-day rotation pattern. Many cultures indicate that, around 800 B.C., some great astronomical phenomena occurred to change the rotation from a 360-day rotation to our current approx. 365.25-day rotation. Therefore, to apply Biblical chronological information to our calendar system, we must convert any 360-day years to 365.25-day years.
Here is the calculation for the 69 weeks;
69 weeks x 7 years = 483 years x 360 days = 173880 days divided by 365 = 476 years 140 days – 119 days (for leap years) + 4 days (for leap centuries) = 476 years 25 days.
Thus, if we start with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem issued by Artaxerxes on March 3, 444 B.C. (Gregorian) and add 476 years and 25 days (69 weeks) you come to March 27, 33 A.D. (Gregorian). [Note: From this point forward, and as previously denoted, all dates will be given in Gregorian even though they will not be annotated as such. Also, in Hebrew reckoning, part of a day is counted as a whole day. Therefore, in our calculation, 3/3/444 B.C. was day one. This principle of inclusive reckoning will also be applied to all date calculations here in.]
So the 69 weeks ended on March 27, 33 A.D. What happened on March 27, 33 A.D.? That was Palm Sunday when Jesus Christ presented Himself as the Messiah and King of the Jews to the Jewish people and to the world. That fulfilled prophecy speaks significantly of the validity of the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, and that the Bible truly is God’s Word. That day in the Hebrew calendar was 9 Nisan. The next day was 10 Nisan, when Jesus cleansed the temple and had His confrontation with the religious leaders. That day is also when the leadership decided to kill Jesus, as found in Mark 11:18: “And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.” Tradition tells us that Nisan 10 is also the day when the Jews would select the Passover lamb that would eventually be slaughtered between 3 PM and 5 PM on the afternoon before the start of Passover, which always occurred on Nisan 14. It just so happens that is exactly the date and time that Jesus died, about 3 PM. on Nisan 14, the afternoon before Passover in 33 AD.
After the crucifixion on Nisan 14, 33 A.D. (Friday April 1, 33 A.D.) Jesus stayed in the tomb until early Sunday morning when He rose from the dead. “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils” (Mark 16:9). During the time Jesus was in the tomb, He fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread in that His sinless body did not decay. Jesus rose from the dead on 16 Nisan (April 3, 33 A.D.) the exact day of the Feast of First Fruits. Paul alludes to this fact in his statement: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20). The next feast fulfilled was the Feast of Weeks, better known as Pentecost. This feast occurred on Sunday, 6 Sivan (May 22, 33 A.D.), which was 50 days after the Feast of First Fruits. This feast was fulfilled with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, which was accompanied with signs and wonders. Many contend that the historical church period began at Pentecost, and I agree with their assessment. Pentecost was the birthday of the Church. The exact alignment of these events show how precisely God controls prophetic events and how He aligned major prophetic events with the Spring feasts.
In summary; the seventy weeks of Daniel started with the issuing of the decree of Artaxerxes on March 3, 444 B.C. and ended sixty-nine weeks or 476 years and 25 days later on March 27, 33 A.D. at the triumphal entry. There was then a gap of 57 days in which all four spring feasts were fulfilled, the last of which was Pentecost, which occurred on May 22, 33 A.D.—the start of the historical church period. I believe that the reason for the 57-day gap was likely to align the start of the historical church period with the Feast of Pentecost and to fulfill the four spring feasts outside of the sixty-nine weeks. Thus, it readily stands to reason that sixty-nine weeks have transpired for Israel and only one week is left, the 70th Week. But as we all know, the 70th Week, which is detailed in Revelation, as of the writing of this book, has not yet begun. Between the sixty-ninth and the 70th Week is the time that Israel has been rejected and is being disciplined by God.
The time in which Israel has been disciplined and rejected by God is the “two days.” Hosea 6:1–2 tells us about the two days.
Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. (italics mine)
This passage tells us that God has disciplined and rejected Israel for two days because of their sin. After the two days, God will revive Israel; and in the third day, He will raise them up, meaning that Israel will be made alive—that is, they will be saved. When did God “officially” reject Israel? Many believe that this began at the birth of the church, which occurred at Pentecost. Some say it occurred at the ripping of the veil. Others say it occurred at the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. Out of all of these, I believe the most probable is Pentecost. Thus, if we assume that Israel was rejected at Pentecost, the birthday of the church, the two days that Israel has been rejected would have started then. This period of time can also be referred to as the historical church period....