Friday, August 28, 2020
First, I’m not foolishly setting a day and time for the Lord’s return, for “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angles of heaven, but My Father only” (Matt. 24:36). But I am pointing you to a slim season of time in which to find God’s safety and provision, because “you, brethren, [believing God] are not in darkness, that this Day should overtake you as a thief” (1 Thess. 5:4).
Attacks on the church increase. Churches are closing. Terror reigns in cities here and abroad. World War 3 looms very real, as does an EMP strike. Fiat currencies will soon be replaced by the Great Reset. Famine is advancing. Police-state lockdowns are coming. Gene-editing, beast-technology is here. COVID-19 was created to kill. And because all these moving parts, chaos and much more are difficult to track, I suggest that you create a seven to eight-year countdown calendar that you can identify the slim season of time of Lot’s day, Gen. 19:12–29, when needed.
Let me explain. Because we don’t want to be unprepared like the five foolish virgins of Matt. 25:1–13, and we don’t want to be rebuked by the Lord Jesus for being unable to discern the signs of the times, Matt. 16:3, we must use God-given end-time truths that inform, provide and protect us from catastrophes to come. That’s accomplished by believing and then applying the testimony of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. If you love Christ enough to do those two things, it will help prepare you and your loved ones to find God’s place of safety and provision for 1,260 days, the last 42 months, the last 3 1/2 years of what Jesus called the “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21).
It’s believed by most students of eschatology that the “covenant with many” (Dan. 9:27) is made by the Antichrist – a time consisting of 7 years called the tribulation. That time is divided in half: 1,260 days + 1,260 days, or 42 months + 42 months, or 3 1/2 years + 3 1/2 years. The number of days are according to God’s Hebraic calendar of 360 days per year, not our Gregorian calendar of 365 days per year, which, incidentally, was changed by none other than the Vatican in 1582.
While I agree that THE “covenant with many” may well indicate the beginning of the tribulation, it seems to me too nebulous as to whether or not it’s THE ONE, given the fact that we have now had numerous peace deals going back to the days of U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the Camp David Accords of September 17, 1978. Only time will tell once THE ACTUAL “covenant with many” is made as to whether or not it’s really THE ONE that begins the seven-year tribulation.
With that said, there’s a more SURE way of knowing that the 7-year tribulation has actually begun, which is crucial to identifying the slim season of time we have of finding God’s place of safety and provision for the last 1,260 days, or 3 1/2 years of “great tribulation”. Christ promised His elect a conditional “escape” from the great tribulation, and it’s NOT the pre-trib rapture! It’s similar to ancient Israel’s first Passover, Exo. 12:22–23; see also Isa. 26:20–21, and 27:1.
Here’s how we can know for CERTAIN the 7-year tribulation has begun: “I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth” (Rev. 11:3). This is the first half of the tribulation, and from the time their testimony begins until their death, will be 1,260 days, but 3 1/2 days later they are raised to life, “And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them” (Rev. 11:12). This, then, is the slim season of time saints have to find God’s safety and provision for the next and final 1,260 days!
Imagine the works of those two witnesses during the first half of the tribulation: “If anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire” (Rev. 11:5–6).
The prophecy of those two witnesses, from their first day, signals the start of the seven-year tribulation consisting of 1,260 days + 1,260 days. The slim season of time at the middle of the tribulation is the ONLY time wise saints have to make their conditional flight to God’s place of safety and provision for the last 1,260 days of “great tribulation”. Jesus spoke of this time at Matt. 24:15–28 and Luke 17:20–37. And in Luke’s narrative Jesus speaks these ominous Words: “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). Because her heart yearned for Sodom where her sons-in-law and earthly possessions were, more than God’s provision, she turned from God’s command and, sadly, Lot’s “wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Gen. 19:26).
When the middle of the tribulation arrives, the time will have come for wise saints who are “counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36), to flee, and be led to God’s place of safety and provision, just as He led Lot and his wife and daughters. But we must NOT be like Lot’s wife who disobediently loved the things of this world more than the safety and Word of the Lord, because if we do, neither will we, like Lot’s wife, find God’s place of safety and provision from the coming destructions of the great tribulation when Satan and his angels are cast out of heaven and to the earth, Rev. 12:7–12.
At the middle of the tribulation Satan and his angels are thrown to earth having great wrath for they know their time is short. Then Antichrist’s mark of the beast is issued and no one may buy or sell unless he has the mark. But God has a conditional escape for His prepared “wise virgins” (Matt. 25:1–13), to eat and be nourished at His banquet for 1,260 days. At that slim season of time “the woman [“the freewoman” of Gal. 4:21–31; the watching and prepared Church] fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days” (Rev. 12:6, ~ 14), “and the door was shut” (Matt. 25:10)! This occurs 3 1/2 years before the rapture, because at the rapture “we who are alive and remain shall be caught up” (1 Thess. 4:17; but literally, just mere moments before that, “we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51–52).
As for the countdown calendar, in the likely event of the loss of power and news sources during the first half of the tribulation, you should be equipped now with a printed calendar for the years ahead. That calendar will allow you to track the number of days from the start of the tribulation to the center point, when the time has come to flee to the provision and safety of God for the last half of the tribulation. But without knowing the tribulation start, one could easily lose track of the days accompanying the first half of the tribulation. A calendar prepared in advance would greatly assist that effort. God’s provision for His elect saints is altogether holy and amazing!
Marlin J. Yoder