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The 7000-Year Time Line
THE SHORT VERSION:
- 2 Peter 3:7 says the tribulation will be governed by the same word that was given to Noah before the flood.
- The word that was given to Noah was that the destruction of the flood was to commence after the righteous (Noah and his people) were delivered ... by entering the safety of the ark.
- Seven days transpired from the time they entered the ark until the floodwaters brought about the destruction of all life on the earth.
- In Daniel Chapter 9, the prophetic time-line is given in "seventy weeks of years". The first 69 weeks of years was the time between the command to rebuild Jerusalem until the birth of Jesus. The "time clock" stopped during the 2000-year "Church Age", leaving one remaining 7-year "week" which won't unfold until the return of the Messiah.
- The removal of the Believers at the Catching Away will turn that "time clock" back on, as God will then be dealing exclusively with the Remnant of Israel once again. Just as seven days transpired between the Righteous people's entering the ark until the destruction commenced (the Flood), that remaining 7-year "week" will commence when the Righteous are delivered by being Caught Away.
- At the end of that 7-year "week", the armies of the Antichrist will surround Jerusalem, and the Remnant of Israel will finally be delivered by the returning of Jesus - another "Catching Away", which has been confused with the Catching Away of the Body of Christ, which takes place immediately prior to the 7-year tribulation.
Is there a Rapture? This idea has caused some people to avoid "watching & praying" (Luke 21:36) and preparing for the prophesied Tribulation. Yet scriptures indicate that there is a deliverance of some kind.
Deliverance exists: but it could be in the "wilderness" of Revelation 12:14, not a "rapture".
"No man knows the day and hour" (Matthew 24:36), and no one knows exactly how all the details will be fulfilled. We know that "the days are shortened for the Believers' sake," whether by a "Catching Away" or a Supernatural Concealment. (Matthew 24:22, Luke 4:30).
In either case: we need to prepare AS IF we'll have to face the Tribulation. "The complacency of fools destroys them..." (Proverbs 1:32)
The idea that Christians don't need to prepare for the End Times is completely out of character with the entire Bible. Proverbs mentions "The prudent see danger and take refuge; But the foolish keep going and suffer for it." (PR 27:12) Watching, preparing, taking refuge: these are characteristics of the believer, and the Catching Away doesn't change that.
But it's equally important to know that God did not just leave us here to stand helplessly against the Tribulation. The Catching Away may not occur the way some Believers think it will, or according to their time-chart; Yet God's deliverance often comes as an unction in our spirits, to make a certain move at a certain time. Rapture or not, I know God has a way to get Believers out of a place of danger as long as they give ear to Him.
This article is intended to clarify the subject according to the scriptures most often used to support it. I present it with the understanding that the mind of God is unfathomable and we can never presume to know the details of His deliverance. But there can be no doubt that He WILL provide deliverance by one means or another -- just as there can be no doubt that we have to make all physical preparations that He makes available to us.
Faith Produces Deliverance
Hebrews 10:34 speaks of a "better and enduring substance" and the "promise" of being "caught up" at the return of Jesus. Hebrews 10:38 goes on to state: "the just shall live by faith." Hebrews 11:1 calls faith the SUBSTANCE of things that are hoped for.
By our faith, the Catching Away that is promised by God shall become "substance".
Hebrews 10:34 - 11:1 - for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. 35) Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36) For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 37) "For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. 38) Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him." 39) But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. 11:1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Jesus is returning, in this verse, to deliver the promise - the reward of "better and enduring substance" in heaven - for those who have persevered in doing the will of God. This occurs at the appearing of the returning Jesus in the clouds. This is not the Second Advent when Jesus returns to earth to establish his kingdom. This "appearing" of Jesus takes place prior to the full fury of the Tribulation
Hebrews 11:5 - By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, and was not found, because God had taken him; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
This is a form of "Catching Away, and it reveals something to us about the Great Catching Away that we are looking forward to. In Enoch's case, it says, "By faith" he was translated. So it was necessary for Enoch to be fully yielded to faith in God's ability and willingness to deliver him.
The Difference Between the "Catching Away" and the "Second Coming":
1 Thessalonians 4:16 - For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God...
Here the distinction is made: when Jesus appears in the sky to Catch Away his people, there will be great clamor accompanying the event. It will be noticed.
1 Thessalonians 5:2 - ...the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
But when the Day of the Lord comes - which is the Second Coming - that day shall come upon the unsaved people of the earth "as a thief in the night" - unexpectedly. These verses let us know that the Catching away will precede the Second coming.
Titus 2:3 - Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our savior Jesus the Anointed One.
The "Blessed Hope" is the expected Catching Away of God's people at the appearing of the returning Jesus in the clouds.
This verse speaks of a revival, in which those who have been weak in the faith "purify themselves" by this hope in the appearing of Jesus in the clouds to catch us away.
1 John 3:2,3 - We are now the Sons of God, and what we will be has not been revealed yet. But we know that, when he shall appear, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And every man that has this hope purifies himself, just as he [Jesus] is pure.
- The First Advent was the time when Jesus first walked the earth as a man.
- The "Appearing in the Clouds" is Jesus' appearance when he Catches Away his people. He does not return to the earth at this time.
- "Second Advent" is the time when Jesus returns to rule and reign on the earth.
The "Wrath of God"
1 Thessalonians 5:9 - For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation [deliverance from whatever threatens to harm us] through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One.
The Tribulation is called "The Wrath of God" (Revelation 6:16-17 - ...The wrath of the Lamb [Jesus] for the great day of his wrath is come...). So, since God has not appointed us to wrath, He has a means of delivering us from the wrath of the Tribulation. Either we are going to be removed by being Caught Up to Jesus in the air at his appearing...
...or we will be delivered by Revelation Knowledge from God and a special dispensation of Grace that will enable us to maneuver around the hazards of the Tribulation as the rest of the world endures God's wrath.
I Thessalonians 1:10 - And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he [God] raised from the dead - that is, Jesus: who delivered us from the wrath to come.
This portrays a Catching Away scenario of physical deliverance of the believers before the wrath comes - provided that they do not become entangled in the outlooks and activities of the world.
Luke 21:34-36 - Be careful that your spirits don't become overcome by sickness caused by indulgence, or drunkenness, or the anxieties of this life - so that the day will not come upon you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare to all they who dwell throughout the whole earth. Therefore keep watch, and always pray, so that you will be counted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.
We have to take it by faith that we will be delivered by whatever means God has prepared for us - just as any gift from God must be seized upon in faith. Revelation Knowledge from God will let us know exactly how we are to exercise that faith as the time comes upon us. It is not a "surprise" event to those who are saved (1 Thessalonians 5:4 - But you are not in darkness, so that day will not overtake you like a thief.) We shall know, by spiritual intuition, how to exercise our faith as the Catching Away draws near.
John 16:12, 13 - "I have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you into all truth, He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears [from God the Father], and he will show you what is yet to come."
This shows the manner by which successive generations of the church will have revealed to them what they need to know for the particular time that they are living in. Today, as we near the Tribulation, God is revealing things to us which make clear how we are to operate in this special time, and clarifies the events which will take place in our generation. Because of this, we can have confidence as we look ahead to "uncertain times", realizing that God will not leave us ill-equipped or uninformed for what we will have to do when those moments arise.
Jesus' Comments on the Catching Away
Matthew 16:27-17:3 - For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
28) Assuredly, I [Jesus] say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."
17:1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2) and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3) And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
* * *
The Six Days referred to in Matthew 17:1 represents the 6000 years between God's creation of man and the "Second Coming" of Jesus, when he establishes his Millennial Reign - completing a "7-Millennia" time period for the existence of this natural earth.
This vision of the prophets symbolizes the Resurrection of the Saints: (1 Thessalonians 4:16b-17 - ...the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air...). Moses and Elias were the "dead" who were "rising first". The disciples (and the Believers which were to follow) symbolized the ones still alive on the earth who will "meet the Lord in the air", since they were to be alive after Jesus' resurrection - they being alive after man was fully redeemed from the curse.
Verse 16:27 talks of the Second Advent when Jesus sets up his kingdom on the earth. But verse 16:28 talks of the Appearing in the sky to take up the saints before the wrath of God takes place. This is made clear by the next verse, 17:1, which uses the figurative Six Days to separate the "Second Coming" reference from the "Transfiguration" reference. This comparison is made more certain by the fact that Jesus and his disciples are talking to Old Testament prophets (Mt. 17:3). The disciples figuratively represent the Believers who will be alive at the time of the Catching Away, and the prophets represent the "dead in Christ" who will rise first. Also, Jesus here is transfigured into light (Mt. 17:2), which is how he will appear at the time he comes in the clouds to catch away his church:
Revelation 21:23 - [The New Jerusalem] had no need of the sun, nor the moon, to shine in it: for the Glory of God lights it, and the Lamb [Jesus] is its lamp.
The Six Days is an important reference here, because it represents the Time-Line of events leading up to Jesus Appearing in the clouds, and his Second Coming.
2 Peter 3:8 - But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day.
* * *
- 2000 years from Adam to Abraham
- 2000 years from Abraham to Jesus
- 2000 years for the Church Age, preceding Jesus' Second Coming
- (Total thus far: 6 "Days" [Representing 6000 years])
- The Millennial Reign of Jesus then completes the 7000-year history of this natural earth
Matthew 17:5 - ...a bright cloud overshadowed them, out of which a voice proclaimed, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased..."
In 2 Peter 1:18, it refers to this same event, saying:
And this voice, which came from heaven, we heard, when we were with him IN the holy mountain.
This "mountain" can be understood to mean "kingdom". No geographic location is given, nor the name of the mountain. And the only other places where Jesus is referred to as "shining as the sun" is in the New Jerusalem, and in heaven (Revelation 1:16 and 21:23). Also, in Matthew 16:28 (the verse which immediately precedes this Transfiguration account), Jesus says, "There are some who stand here who shall not taste of death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom," using that word "kingdom" as a figure representing the "holy mountain" where he underwent the transfiguration. This may have taken place in the New Jerusalem, or in a vision from heaven - both places where Jesus is described as "shining as the sun".
The Second Coming
By the "Same Word" Which Governed the Flood will the End-Time Events be Governed
In 2 Peter, chapter 3, we get a clearer picture of what goes on during the end-times scenario:
2 Peter 3:3-7 - Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." For this they willfully ignore: that by the word of God the heavens existed since long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and in the water. Also by water the world of that time was destroyed by being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth of this age are, by the same word,[which defined the characteristics of the flood] are reserved for fire, which is being held until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
"By the same word" that governed the flood will the coming Day of Judgment be governed. What was that word?
Genesis 7:1, 4, 10 - And the Lord said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your family, for I have seen you as Righteous before me in this generation." 4) For in seven days, I will cause it to rain upon the earth for forty days and forty nights... 10) And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
Now, Luke 17:27-28 compares the days of the Son of Man with the days of Noah. We get a clearer understanding of what that means by looking at the characteristics of "The Word" which governed the Flood in Genesis chapter 7 - and how that word reveals the characteristics of the Catching Away, the Tribulation, and the Second Coming:
Luke 17:26-27 - And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will also be in the days of the Son of Man. They ate and drank, married wives and were given in marriage up until the day Noah entered the ark, when the flood came and destroyed them all.
Who's "them"? The objects of God's wrath. The Godly were on the ark, delivered from the destruction of the flood. This is a reference to the Catching Away of the believers before the destruction of the Tribulation, "the wrath of God," takes place.
THE TIME LINE
Time Line: "Seventy Weeks". As mentioned in Matthew 17 and 2 Peter 3:8, (One day is with the Lord as a thousand years...), the earth is given a 6000-year period of existence from the time of its creation to the time of the return of Jesus. In Daniel Chapter 9, the "seventy sevens", or seventy-weeks of years, sheds some more light into this time-line.
In Daniel 9:24-27, "seventy weeks of years" are given to God's people to repent and receive deliverance from the greatest desolation the earth will ever know. This 70 weeks of years begins when the rebuilding of Jerusalem is decreed by the king. 483 years from that time, Jesus is crucified and resurrected, thus expending 69 of those "70 weeks of years".
[Permission to rebuild the Temple (by Cyrus) is historically dated at 538 B.C. Given the variableness of ancient record-keeping, and that the "70 sevens" was possibly a general dating by Daniel, this still places us reliably within the "age" in which Jesus walked the earth.]
The 2000-Year "Break"
This also stops the time clock
in those 70 weeks of years, as the Hebrews God is addressing in this prophesy of Daniel, cut themselves off from God's dispensation when they rejected his Anointed One. "After 62 weeks of years, the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing" - Daniel 9:26. This 62 weeks follows 7 weeks, totaling 69. As of the Crucifixion, Jesus is cut off from "God's people" by their rejection of Him. The remaining 7 years are put on hold for 2000 years (Luke 10:35, examined below)until the Body of Christ is Caught Away, which leaves Jesus "cut off" from the world, "having nothing" - having no representation on this earth. Then begins the events described in Daniel 9:26-27:
Daniel 9:24-27 - Seventy weeks are assigned to your people and to your holy city, to conclude transgression, and to end sin, and to rectify your wickedness, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to fulfill the vision and the prophesy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25) Know therefore and understand: that from the issuing of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the prince [Jesus] comes, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks [69 weeks of years total - the time between the giving of the command to rebuild Jerusalem until the time Jesus is crucified and resurrected].
Beginning in the last "week" of Daniel's prophesy, the Antichrist makes an agreement with Israel (verse 27) to establish peace with them for a seven-year period - but then breaks it after only three-and-a-half years.
The street shall be built again, and the wall - even in troublesome times. 26) And after sixty-two weeks [when the "time clock" is turned on again after the 2000-year church age] the Anointed One shall be cut off and have nothing [as the Tribulation begins, the people who make up the "Body of Christ" on the earth will be removed, leaving Him "cut off" from the world]: and the people of the prince who shall come [the Antichrist] will destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end shall come like a flood: until the end of this war, desolations have been decreed. 27) And he [the antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many [Israel] for one week. But in the middle of that week he shall order a stop to all sacrifices and offerings, and by an abundance of abominations he shall make the temple a desolate place, until the end that has been determined for him [the Antichrist] shall be poured out upon him.
STOPPING THE "TIME CLOCK"
The 2000-year Church Age stopped the clock on the Time-Line God had established as the period of time he would commune with the Jewish people, as those who had comprised the "Body of Christ" had replaced them in that special position with God.
Luke 10:30, 33-35 - And Jesus answered, "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 33) But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34) and he went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35) And on the next day, when [the Good Samaritan] departed, he took out two day's wages and gave them to the innkeeper, telling him, "Take care of him; and whatever additional expense you may have, I will repay you when I return."
The "Good Samaritan" is a figure of Jesus, who is extending God's compassion beyond the Jewish people (the first-chosen of God), by use of the non-Jewish "Samaritan" figure. He tends to the needs of of the one who was neglected by the Priest and the Levite - that man representing those followers of Jesus who were neglected and persecuted by the high religious authorities, represented here by the Priest and the Levite (Luke 10:31-32 - And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.)
The man is given two day's wages to take care of his needs until the Good Samaritan returns to free the man from any bondages of debt to the innkeeper. Understanding that a day is as a thousand years with the Lord (2 Peter 3:8), that represents 2000 years until the return of Jesus to free his people as the Tribulation of the "70th week" of Daniel's prophesy begins.
Although "no man knows the day and hour" of the End Times (Matthew 24:36), God has revealed many of the details of the Last Days to us throughout the Old and New Testaments for a reason. Clearly, He wants us to understand what the events of this world are leading up to - that Judgment and Deliverance will conclude this Age. It will allow us to more accurately read the signs of the times as they unfold before us. And it gives us both a warning and a hope that will enable us to maintain a connection to God that cannot be broken by the world's events.
© Hank McIntyre