Where Are We in the Prophetic Timeline?
Here we are in the year 2020, according to the Gregorian Calendar, and as Christians, we greatly desire the return of Jesus Christ to finally bring peace, hope, and prosperity to the earth. What person in his right mind would not want such wonderful blessings?
Today we are surrounded by an array of troubles that point towards the possibility that we are very near the end of the age, and of Christ’s return. Yet, people at many times throughout history have likewise thought the world was in such travail, and mankind was about to perish from the earth … that surely Jesus would return during their lifetimes. Even in the year 70 A.D. shortly after the Messiah’s resurrection, when Titus invaded Judah and overthrew Jerusalem, some people thought the end of the age had arrived and Christ would return, for He had proclaimed,
“Assuredly I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:34-36; see also Mark 13:30 and Luke 21:32).
Lest anyone think that Christ was suggesting that the Tribulation and resurrection described in preceding verses was to occur within 30 to 40 years of that moment — since He said “this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” — notice that (1) He said immediately after this that neither He nor the angels knew when the return would occur, but only the Father, and (2) the word generation is the Greek word genea, usually denoting “an age.” Here we are still in this age, about 2,000 years after He said these words, and He has not returned.
So, what are we to look for to know that Christ’s return is imminent? Note what Jesus told the disciples on the Mount of Olives when they asked him, ”Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3).
“And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations [by the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3-12?], and then the end will come. Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, Look here is the Christ! or There! do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, Look, He is in the desert! do not go out; or Look, He is in the inner rooms! do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and, flashed to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.’” (Matthew 24:4-31).
Then in Matthew 24:32, immediately after the resurrection is mentioned, Christ told them that you know that summer is near when the fig tree branches become tender and, leaves emerge; in like manner will the signs appear that He had talked about to signal His return. Do we see some of these signs around us today? Take a look.
A. Natural plagues
1. Locust plagues in Africa and the Middle East
2. Bizarre weather events: record rainfall, intense storms, outbreaks of cold and heat
3. Major fires across Australia, California, parts of Europe, and elsewhere
4. Increasing frequencies and intensities of earthquakes, often in unusual places
5. Volcanic eruptions in increasing intensity
6. Major disease epidemics among people and animals: the worldwide Coronavirus epidemic and economic disruptions, the H1N1 swine flu, the African swine flu, the H5N1 and H5N8 bird flues
7. The specter of large asteroids striking the earth: Apophis destined to strike the earth on April 13, 2029
8. A solar minimum, and the near-complete absence of solar storms
9. Tree and plant diseases increasing: the emerald ash borer, for example
B. Man-made plagues
1. The continued powderkeg of the Middle East: Israel, Syria, Iran, and Egypt at odds
2. Ethnic, religious, and border wars in many countries
3. The Islamic invasion of Europe
4. China’s moves in many countries, especially Africa
5. Hong Kong’s resistance to Chinese influence
6. Development of nuclear, chemical, and biological weaponry
7. Chemical contamination of the atmosphere
8. 5G and other electromagnetic pollution
9. Robotics and artificial intelligence replacing human activities
10. Moral degeneration: family disintegration, crime, abortion, sexual deviancy, etc., taught in schools
11. Governments becoming more totalitarian and oppressive; the Constitution under assault
12. God, taken out of schools and government
This is only a partial listing of the many signs of the end time that Jesus cautioned us to note, but as time passed and mankind became more and more violent — like before the great Flood when “… the wickedness of man was great, and every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5) — conditions on earth would become so bad that …
“… then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).
A Look At End-Time Prophecy
With all of these events surrounding us, where then might we be along the prophetic time-scale? Let us first look at Revelation and see how these events are sequenced.
The Seven Seals
[Opened by Jesus Christ]
Seal 1. A white horse and the rider had a crown and went about conquering (Revelation 6:2)
Seal 2. A red horse and the rider took peace from the earth and brought on war (Revelation 6:3-4)
Seal 3. A black horse and the rider carried scales, and promoted famine (Revelation 6:5-6)
Seal 4. A pale horse and the rider caused 25% of the people on earth to be killed by famine, disease, war, and dangerous animals (Revelation 6:7-8)
Seal 5. The resting saints under the altar were given white robes and told to rest a while longer until others were killed as they had been (Revelation 6:9-11)
Seal 6. A great earthquake, the sun is darkened, the moon became red like blood, the sky was rolled up like a scroll, the mountains and islands were moved, and all people hid themselves in caves and in the mountains (Revelation 6:12-17)
At this point, the 144,000 from the tribes of Israel are sealed, and the great multitude from all nations and tribes are given white robes, having come out of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:4-17).
Seal 7. The Seven Trumpets
The Seven Trumpets
[Sounded by the seven angels who stand before God]
Trumpet 1. Hail and fire mingled with blood were thrown to the earth, and a third of the trees were burned up along with all of the grass (Revelation 8:7)
Trumpet 2. A great burning mountain (a volcano?) was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became as blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed (Revelation 8:8-9)
Trumpet 3. A huge meteor (Wormwood) fell upon the earth — its lakes and rivers — and many people died because of the bitter waters (Revelation 8:10-11)
Trumpet 4. The sun, moon, and stars are obstructed by a third (Revelation 8:12)
Trumpet 5 (Woe 1). A star (spirit being) from heaven fell to earth, is given the key to the bottomless pit, and opens it; thence ascends smoke like from a great furnace to darken the sun and atmosphere, and out of the smoke come “locusts” that have the power like scorpions. These “locusts” torment all of mankind, that do not have the seal of God on their foreheads, for five months. Their ruler is Abaddon (a destroying angel; Revelation 9:1-11).
Trumpet 6 (Woe 2). The four angels bound at the Euphrates River are released, and pave the way for a 2000,000,000-man military force that kills one-third of mankind, having “horses” that pour forth fire, (pur, “fire or lightning”) smoke, and brimstone (theion, “something flashing”), which may indicate tanks, planes, missiles, lasers, and other modern armaments, described in the terms John was familiar with. Those not killed still did not repent of their idolatry (Revelation 9:13-21)
Trumpet 7 (Woe 3). In the days of the sounding of this angel the mystery of God is completed (Revelation 10:7). This mystery is revealed in Colossians 1:26-27:
“… The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them, God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
The two witnesses prophecy in Jerusalem for 3 1/2 years are killed, and after 3 1/2 days are raised in the resurrection of the saints that is the culmination of this Seventh Trumpet (Revelation 11:11-12). There is a great earthquake in Jerusalem (Revelation 11:13).
The angel sounds, and “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15-16).
This trumpet corresponds with the Feast of Trumpets when the dead in Christ will rise and meet Jesus Christ in the air (I Thessalonians 4:15-17; I Corinthians 15:51-52), and all nations will finally be under the authority of Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:11-24).
The number 666 on the right hand or forehead is mentioned in Revelation 13:15-18 as a sign that will be required for people to possess in order to buy or sell … in other words to survive.
The Seven Bowls
[Poured out by the seven angels who stand before God]
Bowl 1. The bowl is poured on the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore struck the people who had the mark of the beast and worshipped his image (Revelation 16:2).
Bowl 2. The bowl is poured on the sea, and the water became like the blood of a dead man; all sea creatures died (Revelation 16:3).
Bowl 3. The bowl is poured on the lakes and streams over land, and they became like blood (Revelation 16:4).
Bowl 4. The bowl is poured on the sun, and it gave great heat (a nova?) and “scorched men with fire” (Revelation 16:8-9).
Bowl 5. The bowl is poured on the capital of the Beast power, and total darkness ensues; the people blaspheme God for their pains and sores (Revelation 16:10-11).
Bowl 6. The bowl is poured on the Euphrates River, which dries up to allow the arrival of the armies of the East to pass over. Unclean, demonic spirits control the dragon (Satan), the Beast, and the False Prophet, which communicate to the leaders of the nations to gather together at Armageddon (the Valley of Megiddo; Revelation 16:12-17).
Bowl 7. The bowl is poured out into the air, and a loud voice from the temple in heaven says, “It is done!” (Revelation 16:17). Thereafter come noises, thunderings, and lightnings, a mighty earthquake that divides Jerusalem into three parts, levels cities all over the earth, raises islands, lowers mountains, and generates a great hailstorm (Revelation 16:17-21). In spite of this people still, curse God.
Revelation 17 describes modern Babylon — a woman arrayed in scarlet and purple sitting on a scarlet beast having seven heads (seven kings) and ten horns (ten kings), sitting, on many waters, (peoples and nations).
Revelation 18 reveals the ignominious defeat and destruction of this Babylonian system.
Revelation 19 outlines the marriage supper of the resurrected saints, and the final destruction of the Beast and False Prophet and their armies.
Revelation 20 speaks of the millennial kingdom, ruled by Christ and the saints, and the second resurrection, of those who had never before been called, and finally the release of Satan and the demons after the 1,000 years, and their utter destruction.
Where Are We Along the Timeline?
So, we are left with the question of where we are, on the progression, of prophecy. Have we passed the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and about to enter the time of the Trumpet Plagues, as we see the portent of cosmic bodies destined to strike the earth in the near future? The asteroid Apophis is predicted to arrive on April 13, 2029, but unknown asteroids can appear at any time. Can society somehow hang together very much longer when family ties are shredded, marriage is relegated to history as a lost relic, couples cohabit rather than marry, and the food chain is threatened by the Coronavirus and other plagues coming that will be much worse?
How long will our society last if an EMP weapon is detonated over the United States and fries the circuitry of computers that control automobiles and trucks, the electric grid, and water sewage systems that enable cities to exist? Experience tells us that if our food and energy chains can be disrupted by something as simple as an order to close “non-essential” enterprises and practice social distancing, then what will happen if the electricity that powers our entire economy is cut off?
Special mention needs to be made of the approaching Grand Solar Minimum of the sun, which the earth is currently entering. This period of reduced sunspot activity correlates with a reduced magnetic field of the sun, a resultant greater cosmic ray flux entering the solar system, colder temperatures, more and stronger earthquakes, and volcanoes, and wars, famines, and pestilences across civilization.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is effectively forecasting a return to the Dalton Minimum, which occurred from 1790 to 1830, that produced the following effects … to name but a few (adapted from https://electroverse. net/Nasa-predicts-next-solar-cycle-will-be-lowest-in-200-years- dalton-minimum-levels-the-implications/).
(1) Like the deeper Maunder and Spörer Minimums preceding it, the Dalton Minimum brought on a period of lower-than-average global temperatures. The Oberlach Station in Germany, for example, experienced a 2C decline over 20 years, which devastated the country’s food production.
(2) The “Year Without a Summer” also occurred during the Dalton Minimum, in 1816. It was caused by a combination of already low temperatures plus the aftereffects of the second-largest volcanic eruption in 2000 years: Mount Tambora’s VEI 7 on April 10, 1815.
(3) The earthquakes and tsunamis that followed the Mount Tambora eruption killed tens of thousands of people living on the surrounding Indonesian islands. The news of Tambora’s eruption was initially not of much interest in Europe and the U.S., since the news was focused on the Napoleonic Wars and the Battle of Waterloo on Sunday, June 18, 1815, in which the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon Bonaparte at the expense of 65,000 men. Thus, major wars are associated with these solar minimum-related events like massive volcanic eruptions.
(4) Newspapers were preoccupied with the Battle of Waterloo up until the start of winter in 1815 when the weather turned decidedly whacky. By 1816, the climate was dominating headline news as both spring and then summer failed to arrive. For example,
(a) One Virginia resident recalled, “In June, another snowfall came and folks went sleighing. On July 4, water froze in cisterns and snow fell again … with Independence Day celebrants moving inside churches where hearth fires warmed things a mite.”
(b) Clothes froze on the line in New England, ice on ponds and lakes was reported in northwestern Pennsylvania in both July and August, and Virginia had frosts in August. The temperature occasionally got into the 90s, but then would drop to nearly freezing in just a few hours.
(c) Crops that had managed to sprout were frozen out in early June, replanted, and frozen again in July. Very few crops were actually harvested, and of those that were, the yields were very poor. In turn, food and grain prices skyrocketed. For example, in 1815 oats sold for $0.12 a bushel, but by the next year, a bushel would cost $0.92, nearly an eight-times spike.
(5) Across the world similar stories were reported:
(a) The potato crop in Ireland rotted in the ground, resulting in widespread starvation. This famine was not as severe as the notorious Great Famine in Ireland from 1845 to 1849, which was caused by the fungal organism Phytophthora infestans, but it was bad enough.
(b) In England, France, and Germany wheat crops failed, leading to bread shortages, food riots, and looting.
(c) Northern China was also hard hit, with thousands of people starving to death.
(d) In southern Asia, torrential rains triggered a cholera epidemic that killed many more.
The year 1816 went on to earn another, rather more morbid nickname, “Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death.“
We may be nearer to the time of the seals and trumpets than we realize. The Tribulation, ostensibly a seven-year period in which the last 3 1/2 years are called the Great Tribulation, could begin very quickly as we head into the 2020-2030 period. Those motivated by wealth and human power are alive and well, and will create chaos to try and overturn the Constitutional Republic of the United States, and, through the ruins of capitalism, bring about a totalitarian socialist/Communist state.
It is likely that we are entering, or have entered, the period of the Seven Seals. Some contend that we have been experiencing them for many centuries, and certainly during the great wars of the last century. The Seven Trumpets are a different story, and due to their obvious worldwide catastrophic implications have not yet arrived. Neither have the Seven Bowls, which will be poured out after the Seven Trumpets as God’s wrath upon the evil civilization of the Beast.
Babylon is alive and well. Are we primed and ready to withstand her onslaughts and be found unstained by her wiles?
“Watch, therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).