End of the Age: 2020?
Read an abbreviated version of this commentary.

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Read Ted’s other commentaries.
Quotes by Jesus are in orange.
The following explanation is recommended before continuing:
Anticipated Prophetic Events: Delayed 1-3 Years?

overview

Those who believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God have wondered, for centuries, when prominent end-time prophecies would be fulfilled.  People in virtually every generation have seen and experienced events making them think and feel that the end of the age was imminent.  So far, of course, this has not been the case.

Most people did not fully comprehend the prophesied events of Jesus’ first coming, even as they were taking place.  Likewise, any attempt to identify the exact timing and sequence of prophetic end-time events, relating to His second coming, only can be speculative and provisional.  Many things that we have learned about in church and elsewhere—pertaining to topics such as a third temple, the Rapture, the Final Battles of Gog/Magog and Armageddon, the Daniel 9:27 prophecy and other matters—most likely will not take place exactly the way we’ve always heard that they would.

Notwithstanding this, there may be indicators signaling that the onset of the Great Tribulation is very near.  Perhaps this dreadful and frightful period could commence as soon as Passover week, April 10-18, 2017.  If so, presumably, this age would culminate 3˝ years later in 2020, with the return of Jesus, with the final Kingdom of God and of His Christ coming to the earth (Matthew 6:10; Revelation 11:15-17) and with Jesus’ ruling and reigning as its King (Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 14:8,9) during the Millennium.  This commentary presents some possibilities.


seven-year prophecy

The 70th Week: Final 7 Prophesied Years
Click here to see a larger view.
The angel Gabriel gave Daniel a prophecy pertaining to Daniel’s people, Israel, and his holy city, Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24).  The full prophetic vision can be seen in Daniel 9:20-27.

Basically, seventy “sevens” or “weeks” of years (heptads in Hebrew) were decreed for the completion of specific events (Daniel 9:24).  Most or all of these events will not be accomplished or completed until the Messiah, Yeshua/Jesus, returns to earth to rule and reign.  The final portion of the seventy “weeks” of years is a “week” of seven years (a heptad  in Hebrew), commonly referred to as Daniel’s “70th Week” or the so-called “tribulation” period.

It seems that most Bible scholars would agree that the 70th Week would commence with a seven-year agreement or accord, confirming or strengthening a prior covenant, involving many nations—including Daniel’s people and holy city (Daniel 9:24), Israel and Jerusalem—followed by other important events:

He will confirm a covenant with many for one “seven,” but in the middle of that “seven” he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.  And one who causes desolation will place abominations on a wing until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. (Daniel 9:27—NIV)

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.  And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate. (Daniel 9:27—NKJV)

And he shall confirm a brit [covenant] with rabbim [the many] for one heptad [week of seven years]; and in the midst of the heptad he shall cause the zevach [sacrifice] and the minchah [gift offering] to cease, and on the kenaf [wing or overspreading] of the abominations is one making desolate, even until the complete destruction, a destruction that is decreed, shall be poured out upon the Shomem [Desolator, Destroyer]. (Daniel 9:27—OJB)
A few years ago, many felt that a particular seven-year accord that included Israel, known as the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), could  have been the prophesied 70th Week agreement of Daniel 9:27a.  The prophesy even says that the agreement would be with “many,” which did  apply to the ENP.


European Neighbourhood Policy

In the Fall of 2006, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)—also known as the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI)—was established for seven years: 2007–2013.  Besides several European nations, many partner countries signed onto the ENP.  Israel was the first non-European nation to sign on.

  • Algeria
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Egypt
  • Georgia
 
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Moldova
  • Morocco
 
  • Palestinian Authority of the
    West Bank and Gaza Strip
  • Russian Federation
  • Syria
  • Tunisia
  • Ukraine

The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument for Israel (ENPI: Israel) was established on October 24, 2006.  It covered the seven-year interval January 1, 2007, through December 31, 2013, with the middle year of that period being 2010.  Prior to this, Israel never had entered into a seven-year agreement with any other nation or nations.

One thing that was uncertain, though, was what prior covenant the ENP might have confirmed.  Some were suggested, such as one of the Oslo Accords, the Barcelona Process or the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EuroMed).  However, it was uncertain how the ENP might have confirmed or strengthened any of these accords.

Had the ENP (and accompanying ENPI: Israel) been the prophesied seven-year agreement of Daniel 9:27a, then other related prophecies (see the anticipated prophetic events section later) should  have taken place during the middle year of that period: 2010.  Yet, none of the anticipated events occurred at that time.

Therefore, the hypothesis that we had entered the 70th Week or so-called “tribulation” period was incorrect.  However another possibility for the prophesied seven-year accord has arisen since then: the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI).


European Neighbourhood Instrument

At the beginning of 2014, the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) went into effect for seven years: 2014–2020.  The same partner countries in the ENP (European Neighbourhood Policy) are members of the ENI (European Neighbourhood Instrument), except for the Russian Federation.  Cooperation with Syria currently is suspended, due to the unstable political situation there.

  • Algeria
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Egypt
  • Georgia
 
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Moldova
  • Morocco
 
  • Palestinian Authority of the
    West Bank and Gaza Strip
  • [Syria—currently suspended]
  • Tunisia
  • Ukraine

European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) 2014-2020
Click on the image above to see a larger view.

The European Parliament approved the European Neighbourhood Instrument on November 12, 2013.  It was endorsed by 618 votes to 53 votes, with 8 abstentions.

Parliament approves new European Neighbourhood Instrument
with more than €15 billion in funding for 2014–2020

Giving incentives and rewarding best performers, as well as offering funds in a faster and more flexible manner, are the two main principles underlying the ENI.  It continues the funding of the ENP with more than €15.4 billion.  The ENI is in effect for the 7-year period from January 1, 2014, through December 31, 2020.

As such, the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) could  be the seven-year (2014–2020) agreement that fulfills the prophecy to “confirm a covenant with many” for one “seven” (or “week” of years) in Daniel 9:27a.  If so, the covenant that the ENI confirms, strengthens, funds, enhances and advances is the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which also happened to be in effect for seven years (2007–2013).

The middle day of a regular week is Wednesday.  Similarly, the middle year of the “week” of seven years, from 2014 through 2020, is 2017.  If  the ENI is the prophesied seven-year accord, and if  the 7-year span from 2014 through 2020 is the prophesied 70th Week, then it would seem that this ongoing agreement would be broken with Israel in 2017.  Along with this should be the halting of sacrifice and offering and the abomination that causes desolation (Daniel 9:27bc) being set up in Jerusalem—most likely, during Passover week (April 10-18, 2017), as explained later in the significant dates section.  If so, law and order in the world could deteriorate markedly up to that point, and then it essentially should crumble and collapse after that.


provisions for “peace”

It has been felt, by many, that the prophesied 70th Week accord or agreement would commence with a “peace treaty” or at least involve some type of provisions for “peace” (albeit failed), involving Israel and a Palestinian state.  However, nowhere does Scripture indicate, specifically, that the 7-year agreement in Daniel 9:27 would be a “peace treaty.”

Indeed, though, Israel’s ENPI document (for the period 2007-2013) does contain peace-related phrases such as the following:

  • resolution of the Middle East conflict,
  • achievement of lasting peace in the Middle East, and
  • Israel and a democratic, viable, peaceful and sovereign Palestinian State living side-by-side in peace (see the October 24, 2006 summary).
The ENI is a confirmation, strengthening and increased funding of the elements of the ENP and the ENPI.  As such, it sustains hopeful expectations of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  In fact, though, such a man-made peace is unrealistic, idealistic and destined for failure, since Yeshua/Jesus is the only one who can bring and sustain such peace.


U.N. Security Council resolution 2334

On December 23, 2016, the United Nations adopted U.N. Security Council resolution 2334.  Of the 15-member council, 14 nations voted in favor of the resolution, with one abstention.

Permanent Members with Veto Power
NationVote NationVote
People’s Republic of China
France
Russian Federation
Yes
Yes
Yes
 United Kingdom
United States
Yes
Abstain
Non-permanent Members
NationVote NationVote
Angola
Egypt
Japan
Malaysia
New Zealand
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 Senegal
Spain
Ukraine
Uruguay
Venezuela
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

For the first time in almost four decades, the United States—the only nation to abstain from voting—failed to wield its veto power on behalf of Israel.  Had it done so, the resolution would not have passed.

The resolution states that the establishment of settlements by Israel has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”  It condemns “all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.”  It also demands that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”

It is in East Jerusalem that Israel’s holiest and most important sites—the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, and the Jewish Cemetery on the Mount of Olives—are located.  Also, the Jewish Quarter is in East Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed a firm response to the resolution.  He said, “Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. and will not abide by its terms.”  He also referred to the “peace” conference in Paris on January 15, 2017, as “useless.”  As noted in the Middle East Peace Conference Joint Declaration on that date, those attending the conference “welcomed international efforts to advance Middle East peace,” including the adoption of U.N. Security Council resolution 2334.

One paragraph of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument for Israel document from 2006, which still is in effect, reads this way:

Relations between the EU and Israel are also part of the Union’s wider efforts to contribute to a resolution of the Middle East conflict. The achievement of lasting peace in the Middle East is a central aim of the EU, whose main objective is a two-State solution leading to a final and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on implementation of the Road Map, with Israel and a democratic, viable, peaceful and sovereign Palestinian State living side-by-side in peace within secure and recognised borders and enjoying normal relations with their neighbours.

A portion of the final sentence is a virtual match with the ninth paragraph of U.N. Security Council resolution 2334:

Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders....

The 7-year European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), extending from 2014 to 2020, is a confirmation and strengthening of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) covenant, which includes Israel.  Looking at this map, it can be seen that there is a line from “PALESTINE” to the West Bank in Israel, which seems to imply that the ultimate existence of a Palestinian state should take place.

A “covenant” is considered to be a “pledge,” a “guarantee,” a “promise” or a “commitment.”  Looking at the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument for Israel, the U.N. could say that by signing this covenant, Israel pledged, guaranteed  and promised  that the formation of a Palestinian state, alongside Israel, would be achieved.  It was a commitment  that never happened.

Thus, with the passage of the U.N. Security Council’s anti-Israel resolution on December 23, 2016, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Israel could be forced, by the U.N., to accept the existence of this Palestinian state.  It could be said that the European Neighbourhood, including Israel, signed a covenant, the ENP, agreeing to this and then signed another agreement, the ENI, confirming that covenant.

Potentially, the passage of U.N. Security Council resolution 2334 could  have a profoundly devastating effect on Israel’s national security.  Most likely, this would begin in the region sometimes referred to as Judea, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which U.N. Security Council resolution 2334 refers to as “Palestinian territory.”

Conceivably, if Israel refuses to abide by the terms of this resolution, it could  result in Jerusalem’s being surrounded by armies, in its imminent desolation and in people fleeing the region of Judea (all included in the anticipated prophetic events section later).  In fact, Jesus said that all of these things would happen one day:

When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.  Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. (Luke 21:20,21)
Jesus also said that after the fleeing of those from Judea takes place (Matthew 24:16—KJV), a time of great distress known as the Great Tribulation would follow:
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. (Matthew 24:21,22—KJV)
A time of trouble, disorder, lawlessness, economic collapse, hyperinflation, famines, great earthquakes, chaos, anarchy, destruction and death will ensue, and it will last for 1,260 days (Revelation 12:6) = 42 months (Revelation 13:5) = 3˝ years.  All of this will have a devastating effect on the entire world, not just on Israel.


beginning of the 70th Week
(or skip to lunar and solar eclipses)

Commonly, it has been taught, by many Bible teachers and prophecy scholars, that three events should take place at or near the beginning of the final seven years, also known as the 70th Week:

  • a third temple being built in Jerusalem in which sacrifices and offerings will be made and, subsequently, will be forcibly stopped;
  • a “Pre-tribulation” Rapture, in which Christian believers will be caught up and away before the 7-year “tribulation” period; and
  • an attack on Israel by the hordes of Gog and Magog, as described in Ezekiel 38 and 39.
The next three sections explain why it is not  a requirement for these events to take place at or near the beginning of the 70th Week.

third temple

There are many who believe that there will be a third temple standing in Jerusalem prior to the Messiah’s return, in which sacrifices and offerings or oblations will be ceased in the midst of the 70th Week, in accordance with Daniel 9:27b (KJV).  Many also believe that a peaceful directive to build the temple will be part of the prophesied seven-year agreement, assumed by many to be a “peace treaty.”

However, Ezra 3:3-6 shows that numerous sacrifices and offerings were made on an altar even before the foundation of the second temple had been laid.  Thus, there does not  have to be a third man-made temple in Jerusalem for end-time prophecies to be fulfilled.

“Temple” vs. “Shrine”
Matthew 24:1 (Greek)


John 18:20 (Greek)


2 Thessalonians 2:4 (Greek)


Revelation 11:1,2 (Greek)


Click on the chart to see a larger view.
For instance, suppose a lamb were to be sacrificed on the Temple Mount by a zealous orthodox Jewish rabbi, maybe during Passover (which almost happened in 2010).  Presumably, this would spark a firestorm of Islamic opposition and trigger the command to refrain from any further sacrifice or offering.  Seemingly, a simple scenario like this could  fulfill the prophecy in Daniel 9:27b.

Another possibility might involve an order to cease praying at the Western Wall in East Jerusalem, which is a daily practice of many Jews.  Prayers are considered to be a sacrifice of thank offerings to God (Psalm 50:14, 119:108, 141:2; Hosea 14:2).  Banning Jews from the Western Wall could  be considered to be a cessation of sacrifice and offering.

It is exceedingly implausible that orthodox Jews would be able to construct a third temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which is under Islamic control.  One of the ultimate goals of radical Islam is the destruction of Jerusalem.

Most likely, then, if even one stone of a Jewish temple’s foundation were laid there, it would create a conflagration of controversy.  Presumably, it would result in an immediate, violent backlash by Muslims against the Jews in Jerusalem and in Judea.

Some, including Ernest Martin and Robert Cornuke, have attempted to show that Solomon’s and Herod’s temples stood at a location other than on the Temple Mount.  If so, this would seem to leave room for the possibility that a third temple might be constructed somewhere besides on the Temple Mount.  I remain unconvinced, though, that any temples in the past were located anywhere other than on the Temple Mount.

Some will point to Jesus’ reference to the “holy place(Matthew 24:15) as evidence that a third man-made temple must be present at the end of the age, in which sacrifice and offering will be stopped in fulfillment of Daniel 9:27b.  This so-called “temple” also was mentioned by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and by John in Revelation 11:1,2.

2 Thessalonians 2:4


Revelation 1:1,2

Click on an image to see a larger view.
However, in the latter two verses, a more precise translation of that word, from the Greek, is shrine ( or ).  To see 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and Revelation 11:1,2 in the Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, click on the images to the left or click here.  The word translated as shrine in these verses is not the same as the word that is translated as temple in Matthew 24:1 () and in John 18:20 ().  View the “Temple” vs. “Shrine” chart above, or click here for a larger view.

Interestingly, there already is a shrine standing on the Temple Mount: the Islamic Dome of the Rock.  Most likely, it surrounds the location of the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place (Hebrews 9:2,3; Leviticus 16:17), which were inside of the tabernacle and the first two temples that stood long ago (see Second Temple/Today).  Although the Dome of the Rock certainly would not be considered by God to be a “holy” building, the spot on the Temple Mount upon which it stands still would be a holy place to God.  Since the time of Solomon’s temple, this is the place where God’s Name, eyes and heart always have been and always will be (1 Chronicles 7:16).

Incidentally, we typically think of a “temple” as a building or edifice where God was or is worshiped.  However, another definition of “temple” is a place or location dedicated to the service or worship of God.  Thus, loosely speaking, the place on the Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock now stands could still be considered to be a “temple” even if no structure stood there, since it originally was the place or location dedicated to the service and worship of the one, true God.

Perhaps, then, the abomination that causes desolation (Daniel 9:27c), to which Jesus referred (Matthew 24:15), will be set up inside the Islamic Dome of the Rock, which stands on ground that continues to remain holy to God.  This would preclude the existence of a man-made third temple.

In fact, the language in the following verse seems to verify that the area on the Temple Mount, which constituted the outer court of the temple long ago, will be given to the Gentiles (non-Jews)—and, indeed, presently it is under Islamic control:

But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles.  They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. (Revelation 11:2—NIV)

But the court which is without the temple [shrine] leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. (Revelation 11:2—KJV)
Most likely, then, the next temple to stand in Jerusalem will be the millennial Temple, to be built by Yeshua/Jesus after He returns.

the Rapture

Besides believing that a third temple will be constructed at or near the beginning of the 70th Week, many also believe that a Rapture event will occur at that time.  In their view, this is when believers in Jesus will be caught up and away into heaven.  They believe that this will enable them to be protected from God’s wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9,10), which they feel will transpire throughout the entire seven-year period prior to Jesus’ return to earth.

I am absolutely convinced, however, that this perspective of the Rapture, known as the “Pre-tribulation” view, is flawed.  Firstly, the wrath of God will not  be poured out during the entire 70th Week, which should not  be equated with the Day of the Lord period.  Secondly, the Rapture will not be a “silent, unexpected” event (see Rapture not unexpected).  More information about the “Pre-tribulation” Rapture view can be found in the first few questions/responses of my Rapture Questions & Responses section.  I feel certain that the Pre-wrath Rapture view is correct, as explained in my two-part Rapture commentary.

So although I do believe that a Rapture of multitudes of people will happen, I am confident that it will not take place until some point during the final 3˝ years.  In fact, I think it is very likely that it will take place on a Rosh HaShanah = Feast of Trumpets, soon after the opening of the Sixth Seal, about a year prior to Jesus’ return to earth on a Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement.

Furthermore, God’s wrath will not encompass the entire 70th Week.  It is not until Revelation 6:15-17 that the terrified people of the world will realize that His wrathful vengeance are imminent.  The fullness of this wrath will commence with the opening of the Seventh Seal: the Day of the Lord.  Evidently, God’s “day of vengeance” and wrath will transpire over a year of time (Isaiah 34:8, 61:2, 63:4—see The Seventh Year).  More about this can be found in my day of vengeance section later.

Gog/Magog attack

It is believed, by many, that the hordes of Gog and Magog probably will attack Israel (Ezekiel 38:1-17, 39:1,2) at or near the beginning of the final 7 years.  If not at that time, it generally is felt that the attack certainly will take place prior to the final 3˝ years.  Also, most people believe that the battle to take place immediately upon Jesus’ return to earth will be the Battle of Armageddon.

For numerous reasons, I take issue with both of those views.  Although I feel it is likely that the hordes of Gog will begin its attack on Israel sometime during the final 3˝ years, I am convinced that the final Gog/Magog bloodbath will take place on the day that Jesus returns and treads the winepress of God’s wrath, with the Battle of Armageddon occurring 30 days later.

Firstly, a direct comparison can be made between the following passages, initially when the Gog/Magog nations are attacking Jerusalem and then when Jesus returns to strike down the nations:

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.  I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords.  Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you. (Ezekiel 38:3-6)

On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you.  I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals. (Ezekiel 39:4)

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and makes war. ... Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.  “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”  He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. (Revelation 19:11,15)
Secondly, a comparison can be seen between the birds and/or animals sent by God to feast on and eat the flesh of mighty men and other attackers who have been slaughtered.  The first passage, in Ezekiel 39, shows what will happen to the Gog/Magog attackers after they are destroyed; and the second and third passages, in Revelation 19, shows what will happen when Jesus returns:
Call out to every kind of bird and all the wild animals:  “Assemble and come together from all around to the sacrifice I am preparing for you, the great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel.  There you will eat flesh and drink blood.  You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth....  At the sacrifice I am preparing for you, you will eat fat till you are glutted and drink blood till you are drunk.  At my table you will eat your fill of horses and riders, mighty men and soldiers of every kind,” declares the Sovereign LORD. (Ezekiel 39:17-20)

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider [Jesus] is called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and makes war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.  He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. (Revelation 19:11-13)

I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.” (Revelation 19:17,18)
Many more details about the winepress of Gog/Magog and the Battle of Armageddon can be found in my Final Battles commentary, as well as in several email responses I have written here: Final Battles Questions & Responses.


lunar and solar eclipses

Blood Moon Tetrad: 2014-2015The years 2014 and 2015 were the first and second years of the seven-year run (2014–2020) of the European Neighbourhood Instrument, described in an earier section.  During those two years, there were four “blood red” lunar eclipses and two solar eclipses, all taking place on significant days on the Hebraic calendar.

It is very unusual for there to be even a couple of eclipses on Hebraic feast and holy days in one year.  More significantly, it is quite rare for six eclipses to take place on Hebraic feast and holy days during two consecutive years.  Perhaps, then, these were warnings by God to Israel that they had entered the 70th Week and that the dreadful time of Great Tribulation was very near.

Lunar and Solar Eclipses: 2014 & 2015
 Total Lunar Eclipse   Apr. 15, 2014   Passover 
 Total Lunar Eclipse   Oct. 8, 2014   Feast of Tabernacles 
 Total Solar Eclipse   Mar. 20, 2015   Rosh Chodesh Nisan 
 Total Lunar Eclipse   Apr. 4, 2015   Passover 
 Partial Solar Eclipse   Sep. 13, 2015   Erev Feast of Trumpets 
 Total Lunar Eclipse   Sep. 28, 2015   Feast of Tabernacles 

The only blood moon eclipse in 2014 and 2015 seen in Israel—as the people were outside dwelling in their booths (sukkot or sukkas)—was on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles = Sukkot, September 28, 2015.  See Blood Moons on Hebraic Feast and Holy Days.

DOW in 2015It has been suggested that the solar eclipses, during the period of four “blood moons,” portend calamitous events for the nations.  Possible examples, among many, were the notable drop in the U.S. GDP during the first quarter of 2014 and the severe 2015–16 Chinese stock market turbulence.

There was a substantial 10.7% decrease in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, from August 17 to August 25, 2015.  Also, in 2015, the market suffered its worst third quarter since 2011, as well as the only overall annual decline since 2008.

Total solar eclipse across the United States on August 21, 2017On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will pass across the entire United States, from Oregon to South Carolina.  The U.S. is the only country that is on the eclipse’s path of totality, which can be seen by observers in 12 states (and perhaps a tiny portion of 2 other states).

The last total eclipse that crossed the U.S., from coast to coast, was in 1918.  However, this is the first total eclipse that is exclusive to the U.S. in the nation’s history.  These two videos provide more information:

Everything You Need To Know
about the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

(video length = 1˝ minute)
       2017 Total Solar
Eclipse in the U.S.

(video length = 48 seconds)

2014, 2015 & 2016 warning signs

There seem to have been further warning signs in 2014, 2015 & 2016:

It may be that these events and the cosmic “signs from heaven” (perhaps the eclipses on the Hebraic calendar during 2014 and 2015) are examples of occurrences prophesied by Jesus to take place during the 70th Week:
“When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened.  These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”  Then he said to them:  “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” (Luke 21:9-11)

It has been suggested that the eclipses in 2014 and 2015 foreshadowed dire events for Israel.  In fact, as shown above, in the spring and summer of 2014, there were thousands of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel.  All of the rockets originated from the Gaza Strip.  In the fall of 2015, there was a wave of stabbing attacks on Jews in Israel by Palestinian assailants. In the fall of 2016, there were several days of Palestinian wildfire attacks on Israel, which resulted in a great deal of destruction.

In case all of these events were precursors to major prophetic events taking place in 2017 and beyond (not just in Israel. but worldwide), then other dire events can be expected to follow.  Presumably, these will include, but will not be limited to, the following:

  • governmental and economic collapses, currency devaluations and hyperinflation;
  • widespread panic, desperation, despair, chaos, anarchy and violence;
  • rebellions and revolutions; and
  • destructive and even cataclysmic terror attacks.


anticipated prophetic events

The dreadful period of Great Tribulation will commence in the midst of the 70th Week.  Jesus described that period of time this way:

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. (Matthew 24:21,22—KJV)
There are distinct and recognizable events that must take place just prior to the onset of the Great Tribulation period and the final 3˝ years.  Most likely, these events will occur during a Passover week, perhaps in 2017.  Further details about this are in my significant dates section later.  The events may not necessarily take place in the order listed:

Presumably, it is at this time that the identity of this “man of lawlessness” or Antichrist will be “revealed” (2 Thessalonians 2:3,6) to the general public.  He will be the one who confirmed a covenant with many for 7 years (Daniel 9:27a), and he very well may have done this behind the scenes, initially, to keep his identity hidden.  (The one confirming a covenant for 7 years was not  Jesus, as preterists and partial preterists suggest—see 70th Week: Alternate View.)  Some have suggested that this person could be an extremely wealthy man with an immense amount of influence.

After being revealed, he will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God and will proclaim himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).  Then, over the next 42 (lunar) months = 3˝ years (or “a time, times and half a time”), this “beast” will blaspheme the true God (who is not  Allah, the god of Islam) and will be given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation (Revelation 13:5-7; Daniel 7:25, 12:7).  He will be worshiped by all the inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s (Jesus’) book of life (Revelation 13:8).  His control and influence will extend from the day the abomination that causes desolation is set up until he is defeated, by Jesus, at the Battle of Armageddon: 1,260 days + 30 days = 1,290 days later (Daniel 12:11).

During the Great Tribulation, as much as a quarter of the world’s population will be killed, or perhaps death from several causes will increase greatly over a quarter of the world’s area (Revelation 6:7,8).  Amazing counterfeit satanic miracles, signs and wonders, which will deceive multitudes of people, will be seen (2 Thessalonians 2:9,10; Revelation 13:13,14).  It will be necessary to have the “number of the beast” also called the “mark of the beast” on one’s right hand or forehead to be able to buy or sell anything (Revelation 13:16-18)—perhaps due to complete economic failure—although its acceptance by anyone, evidently, will doom that person to extreme suffering (16:2) and even permanent damnation (14:9-11).


significant dates

There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus’ future fulfillment of Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement will be His second advent back to earth, in conjunction with the blowing of God’s Seventh Trumpet of judgment (Revelation 11:15-19), which is the same as the Great Trumpet (Isaiah 27:13).  Thus, I am convinced that the final day of the seven-year 70th Week will fall on a Yom Kippur.  In ancient Israel, this was a day filled with bloody animal sacrifices, performed by the high priest once a year (Leviticus 23:1-34; Hebrews 9:7).

The Yom Kippur on which Jesus—the great and sinless High Priest (Hebrews 4:14,15)—returns to earth will be a bloody mess as well.  In this case, the abundance of blood that is shed will be from Israel’s attackers.  In fact, the day Jesus is treading the winepress of God’s vengeance and wrath (Isaiah 63:1-6; Joel 3:9-13; Ezekiel 38:22; Revelation 14:18-20, 19:15) may be the single bloodiest day in human history.

The second half of the 70th Week will be 1,260 days (Revelation 11:3) + 3˝ days (11:9,11) = 1,263˝ days (rounding up to 1,264 days) in length.  Now, September 28, 2020, is the day of Yom Kippur.  If this turns out to be day #1,264 then, counting backwards, day #1 is April 14, 2017 (which happens to be “Good Friday”).  This day occurs during Passover week, which begins at sunset on April 10, 2017.  Since, in fact, Yom Kippur begins at sunset following September 27, 2020, then the count actually may be closer to 1,263˝ days.

Potentially then, in view of this time frame, April 14, 2017, could  mark the beginning of the dreaded Great Tribulation period.  So, suffice it to say that if  the final 3˝ years of this age begin in 2017, the six events listed in the anticipated prophetic events section should  take place during the latter portion of Feast of Unleavened Bread = Passover week: April 10-18, 2017, and perhaps a few days thereafter.

During Passover seders, a place-setting and an empty chair are provided for Elijah.  Long ago, this famous prophet in Israel was taken alive up to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11).  Providing him a chair at Passover meals is done in anticipation of his being sent by the Lord, one day, to prepare the way for the Messiah (Malachi 3:1), prior to the great and dreadful Day of the Lord (4:5).

There will be Passover seders on Monday and Tuesday nights, April 10 and 11, 2017.  Should Elijah (as one of the the two witnesses) happen to return to Jerusalem on one of those nights and begin his prophesying on Friday, April 14, 2017, presumably that would be the first day of the 1,263˝-day count up to the return of Yeshua/Jesus on Yom Kippur, September 27 or 28, 2020.

Perhaps 3˝ to 4 days after April 14, 2017, on April 17 or 18, is when the abomination that causes desolation will be set up in the holy place and armies will surround or attack Jerusalem, resulting in many people in Jerusalem fleeing to a mountain/desert region (Matthew 24:16-20; Mark 13:14-17; Luke 21:20,21), being cared for by God for 1,260 days (Revelation 12:6).  If  these events take place at that time, then that period of time would end with the return of Jesus on Yom Kippur, September 27 or 28, 2020.

Therefore, the 1,260 days of Revelation 11:3 and the 1,260 days of Revelation 12:6 may not  be exactly the same span of time, although they would mostly overlap.  The latter 1,260 days will begin with the setting up of the abomination that causes desolation.  The Battle of Armageddon will take place 1,260 days + 30 days = 1,290 days later (Daniel 12:11).  Then 45 days after that (Daniel 12:12), Jesus’ Millennial Temple most likely will dedicated during the festival of Hanukkah = Feast of Dedication.  Potentially, this would be on December 11 or 12, 2020, which would be 75 days following Jesus’ return to rule and reign on Yom Kippur.

The final 3˝ years of this age was referred to by Daniel and by John as “a time, times and half a time” (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 12:14), or “1 year + 2 years + ˝ year” = 3˝ years.  At the beginning of this period, the identity of the Antichrist or “lawlessness one” should be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8).  This human “beast” will blaspheme and slander the true God and will oppress the saints of God for “a time, times and half a time” (Daniel 7:25)—that is, for 3˝ years or 42 months (Revelation 13:5,6).

Yet, I leave open the possibility for a Mid-Tribulation Rapture to occur at the beginning of the final 3˝ years.  (See more details in “Is it possible that Jesus' parable about the ten virgins could indicate that there will be a Mid-tribulation Rapture?”)  This would be a catching up of a subset of believers, and it aptly could be referred to as a “Firstfruits Rapture” of believers, in keeping with Jesus Christ’s “firstfruits” resurrection from the dead on this day:

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)
If  such an event takes place, the most likely day would seem to be on the Feast of Firstfruits = Resurrection Day (often called “Easter Sunday”), April 16, 2017: the day commemorating Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.


day of vengeance

Now, after the prophetic Fifth Seal of the Heavenly Scroll is opened, the souls slain for the word of God and for their testimony will cry out for God to avenge their blood by judging the inhabitants of the earth (Revelation 6:9,10).  Following the opening of the Sixth Seal (6:12), terrified unbelievers will hide in caves and among rocks, suddenly realizing that the full force of the Lamb’s vengeance and wrath is at hand (6:15-17).  However, with the Rapture not unexpected by believers in Christ—who are not  appointed to suffer wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9,10)—they will know that their redemption, via the Pre-wrath Rapture event, is imminent.

Yeshua/Jesus fulfilled the Hebraic Spring Festivals/Holy Days at His first coming, and He will fulfill the Hebraic Fall Festivals/Holy Days at His second coming.  Most likely, the primary Rapture event (Matthew 24:30,31) will take place on one of the two days of the Feast of Trumpets (FoT) = Rosh HaShanah, but it will be a day and hour unknown until it happens (24:36). 

Isaiah 34:8, 61:2 and 63:4 appear to indicate that God’s “day” of vengeance will span a year of time (see The Seventh Year), during which the Seventh Seal will be opened and all seven Trumpet Judgments will be doled out.  The Fifth Trumpet Judgment alone will last for five months (Revelation 9:5,10).

That year of God’s vengeance and wrath could  begin as soon as September 30, 2019, which is the first full day of the Feast of Trumpets (FOT) in 2019.  About one year later, on September 28, 2020, is the first full day of Yom Kippur (FOT) = Day of Atonement.  This is when Jesus may return, at the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet, to set up His Kingdom and to rule and reign over the whole earth (Revelation 11:15-17; Zechariah 14:9).


final Popes

In the 12th Century, St. Malachy O’Morgair, the Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, had a prophetic vision of the 112 popes following Pope Celestine II, who died in 1144.  The descriptions of all 112 Popes are here: St. Malachy's Prophecy of the Final 112 Popes.  These are St. Malachy’s Latin descriptions (in italics) for the final five Popes:

  1. Paul VI (1963-1978): Flos florum, which means “flower of flowers.”  Paul VI’s coat of arms bore the image of three lilies.
  2. John Paul I (1978): De medietate Lunae, meaning “of the half of the moon.”  John Paul reigned for about a month—from half a moon to the next half moon.
  3. John Paul II (1978-2005): De labore Solis, or “from the labor of the sun.”  John Paul II was born during a partial solar eclipse (May 18, 1920).  There also was a rare “hybrid” eclipse on the day of his funeral (April 8, 2005).
  4. Benedict XVI (2005-2013): Gloria Olivć, or “glory of the olive.”  St. Benedict himself prophesied that before the end of the age, his Order, known also as the Olivetans, triumphantly would lead the Catholic Church in its fight against evil.  This pope was a conservative peacemaker, and the olive branch is a symbol of peace.
  5. Francis (2013-????): Petrus Romanus, or “Peter of Rome.”  It was predicted that this pope would reign during a time of extreme persecution of the Church.  He would feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the end of which the city of seven hills (seemingly, Rome) would be destroyed, and then the formidable Judge will judge His people.

Thus, Pope Francis could  be the final pope.  He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, so one might wonder how he could be considered to be Petrus Romanus or “Peter of Rome.”  In fact Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio) is of Italian descent because his father, Mario José Bergoglio, was an Italian immigrant to Argentina.

Also, Pope Francis named himself after St. Francis of Assisi, who was an Italian or Roman priest.  His original name was Giovanni di Pietro (Peter) di Bernardone or “Peter the Roman”; and, of course, St. Francis does reside at the Vatican in Rome.

Furthermore, Pope Francis has reaffirmed the authority of the Roman Pontiff over the Church.  He also has emphasized the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Faith and the Roman Catholic Church above all other religions and denominations, as well as its authority over all Christians and all peoples of the world.


seventy years

With all of this in mind, it may be worth contemplating an additional possibility.  Let us consider ancient Israel, which served and was held captive in Babylon for seventy years.  While in captivity, the Jewish prophet Daniel perceived, from the writings of the prophet Jeremiah, that the captivity would last seventy years (Daniel 9:2; Jeremiah 25:11).

Following the seventy years, God punished Babylon and its king (25:12-14).  More importantly, the exiled Israelites were brought back to the land of Judah, where God prospered them (29:10-14).  Furthermore, their temple was rebuilt after they returned (Ezra 6:3,15).

History tends to repeat itself.  Numerous prophecies in the Bible have had, and will have, multiple cases of fulfillment.  Most would agree that “Babylon the Great” will be associated with the end-time kingdom of the Antichrist and, ultimately, will be destroyed (Revelation 14:8, 16:19, 18:2).  It will be vanquished by Jesus, the Son of God, following His return to earth.

Now, Israel became a modern nation in 1948.  In 1949, a set of Armistice Agreements were signed between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria.  The year 1950 in Israel contained several important events for that new nation.  Here are a few of those events in 1950:

  • January 23 — The Knesset passed a resolution confirming Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and proclaiming that “Jerusalem is, and has always been, the capital of Israel.”
  • February 22 — Egypt and Israel signed a General Armistice Agreement at Auja al-Hafir, a town on the border between the two nations.  The Agreement defined the boundaries of the Gaza Strip as a neutral zone between the Muslim and Jewish countries, which had fought a war less than two years earlier.
  • March 6 — Iran extended diplomatic recognition to Israel.
  • April 4 — The United Nations Trusteeship Council formally approved the Statute for the City of Jerusalem, declaring that Jerusalem should be considered international territory and a demilitarized zone.
  • July 5 — The Knesset passed the Law of Return giving Jews, those of Jewish ancestry, and their spouses the right to migrate to and settle in Israel and to obtain citizenship.
  • November 1 — David Ben-Gurion presented his cabinet for a Knesset “Vote of Confidence.”  The Second Government of Israel was approved that day, and the members were sworn in.

Since its inception, the modern state of Israel generally has been a secular nation.  The Jewish temple, after having been destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., has not been rebuilt.  Moreover, as a whole, Israel has not acknowledged Jesus as God and Messiah; and on a spiritual or religious basis, the nation (as well as most of the world) is influenced more by the spirit of the antichrist (1 John 4:2,3) than by God’s Holy Spirit.

In effect, much of Israel has returned to bondage under “pagan Babylon,” perhaps again for 70 yearsthe amount of time that Israel was held captive in Babylon long ago.  Since 1950 + 70 years = 2020, could  this be a period of spiritual “Babylonian captivity” for Israel that ends in 2020, following the 70th Week or final 7 years of this age?


seven good and seven bad years

In ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh had two dreams.  One was about seven fat cows and seven scrawny cows, and the other was about seven full heads of grain and seven withered heads of grain.  God enabled Joseph to interpret the meanings of Pharaoh’s dreams:  There were going to be seven years of great abundance and plenty, followed by seven years of severe famine and scarcity (Genesis 41:25-31).

Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of collecting and storing food and grain during the seven abundant years.  This prolific amount of food and grain would be used to feed the people of Egypt, as well as the people of all the other nations that had not prepared for the seven years of extreme famine to follow (Genesis 41:33-57).

Evidently, Egypt was the only nation that prepared, during seven prolific years, for the seven years of dearth to come.  So Egypt was the only exception to the rule of all the nations who failed to prepare.

It may be plausible to consider that the seven years in which the European Neighbourhood Policy was in effect (2007–2013) should  have been years of gathering, saving and preparation for the seven years in which the European Neighbourhood Instrument is in effect (2014–2020).  However, I know of no nation that actively has been preparing.

Unfortunately, this includes the United States, which actually has done the opposite: added substantially to its national debt (now almost $20 trillion), as well as having implemented many very destructive and costly policies, such as Obamacare and immigration reform.  In 2015, Greece became the first developed country to fail to make an IMF loan repayment and is, essentially, bankrupt.  Nations such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, Venezuela, the territory of Puerto Rico and others are in similar situations.

As such, at a minimum, it might be prudent to begin accumulating items on the Adversity Supplies Basic Check List, in case the socioeconomic collapse of many nations is near.  Even the accumulation and storage of food and water, for extended periods of time, might be a good idea: Wise Food Storage.


20/20 hindsight

Following Jesus’ first coming, it was possible to look back at Old Testament Scriptures and find verses and passages predicting His birth, birthplace, lineage, suffering, death, resurrection, and other aspects of His life.  Some of these are included in my Chapter 3, Part II: Jesus: Fulfillment of Messianic Prophecies.  This is an example of “20/20 hindsight.”

I have written about 20/20 vision on my Visual Acuity page.  Perhaps, if  Jesus returns to rule and reign in the year 2020, we will have “20/20 hindsight” and be able to look back at all the countless verses and passages in the Scriptures, as well as news stories, to see information predicting the details and timing of His Second Coming.


final gathering of Israelites

We know that Israelites and Jews returned to Israel after the seventy-year Babylonian captivity.  Likewise, whenever it is that Jesus descends to earth, He will gather Israelites and Jews, scattered throughout the earth, to Israel for the final time (Isaiah 11:10-12; Jeremiah 16:14,15, 23:3-8, 31:7-10; Ezekiel 11:16-20, 28:24-26, 34:11-15, 36:24-28,33-38, 37:12-28, 39:25-29; Micah 4:6-8; Revelation 14:14-16).  Then they will know their Lord and God, and they will follow His decrees and laws forever.

Some feel that the aforementioned verses are indicative of Jews returning to the modern-day nation of Israel from 1948–1950 to the present.  However, it is only when Israel’s Messiah returns to Jerusalem that the following things will happen; these have not yet occurred, nor will they take place until  Jesus returns:

  • The Root of Jesse (Jesus) will stand as a banner for the people (Isaiah 11:10,12).
  • God Himself will reach out, gather, and assemble the scattered people (Isaiah 11:11,12).
  • The righteous Branch (Jesus), from the line of David, will reign wisely as King, doing what is just and right (Jeremiah 23:5).
  • No longer will Israel have malicious neighbors (Ezekiel 28:24), and the people will live in safety after God inflicts punishment on their neighbors who have maligned them (28:26).
  • God’s sanctuary (the millennial Temple), in which Jesus the King (Zechariah 14:9) will dwell, will be standing (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
  • Israel will know the Lord their God; He no longer will hide His face from them, and He will pour out His Spirit upon them (Ezekiel 39:28,29).

The timing of the return of our Lord, Savior, and Messiah—initially in the clouds at the Rapture and later back to earth—cannot be determined with complete certainty, at least until the final 3˝ years of this age (that is, the second half of the 70th Week) have begun.  However, with increasing anticipation and expectation, let us look forward to His return, in His perfect timing, to bring absolute righteousness and justice to the world.  There is no hope for humanity, nor for this world, other than in the only begotten Son of God, Yeshua/Jesus.

Ted’s Bible Commentaries
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Who Is God? Was Jesus God? Good Thursday
 
The Chronology of Revelation The Rapture The Endtimes
 
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God’s Covenant: with Israel or the Church?     End of the Age: 2020?    
 
 
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