Bible Timetables Pinpoint Our Day
THE Supreme One of the universe, Jehovah God, does all things at the right time, at a time that results in the greatest good possible for his loyal servants. His time for action, however, may not be specifically known beforehand to anyone but himself.
Speaking of the day for the execution of divine vengeance, Jesus Christ, when a man on earth, said: “Concerning that day or the hour nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32) But do his words mean that God’s servants on earth have no way to determine at what point they are living on the stream of time?
This could not be the case, as Jehovah is not a God who leaves his people in the dark. The inspired prophet Amos declared: “The Sovereign Lord Jehovah will not do a thing unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) On numerous occasions God made known in advance the precise time for certain events to occur. Abraham’s descendants knew that they were to experience liberation after four hundred years of affliction. (Gen. 15:13-16) Messiah was to appear sixty-nine weeks of years “from the going forth of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem.” (Dan. 9:25) In view of such prophecies involving specific time periods, might our day be similarly marked?
A long-range prophecy of Jesus Christ indicates that this is indeed the case. After foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, Jesus Christ said: “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled. . . . And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”—Luke 21:24-27.
Thus the close of the “appointed times of the nations” was to be followed by the unexpected revelation of Jesus Christ. He will then make manifest his power and glory in a stupendous act against all opposers of his kingly authority. This is evident from Jesus’ later admonition: “Keep awake, then, all the time making supplication that you may succeed in escaping all these things that are destined to occur, and in standing before the Son of man.”—Luke 21:36.
Is there any way to determine the start of the period that culminates in Christ Jesus’ destruction of all enemy elements? Yes, other scriptures enable us to do so.
In the apostle Matthew’s account (Mt chapter 24) of Jesus’ prophecy about the overthrow of Jerusalem, we find references to the Bible book of Daniel. Can we find in that book information to establish the length of the “appointed times of the nations”? The evidence is that we can.
A PROPHETIC DREAM
In the fourth chapter of the book of Daniel there is a record of a divine revelation given in a dream to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The whole purpose of this dream and its fulfillment was that “people living may know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that to the one whom he wants to, he gives it and he sets up over it even the lowliest one of mankind.”—Dan. 4:17.
Accordingly, what befell Nebuchadnezzar in fulfillment of his dream was evidently prophetic of something that pointed to God’s bestowing rulership on the “lowliest one of mankind.” We know that, in God’s due time, he did select Jesus Christ to receive such rulership. Jesus proved himself to be “mild-tempered and lowly in heart.” Also, those who refused to exercise faith in him held Jesus in low esteem.—Matt. 11:29; Isa. 53:3.
But how did what befell Nebuchadnezzar point to the time when the “lowliest one of mankind,” Jesus Christ, would receive rulership over the world of mankind?
SEVEN PROPHETIC TIMES
Like the tree that he saw in his dream, Nebuchadnezzar was cut down from his position as world ruler for “seven times,” or seven years. As the years of prophetic time were reckoned as consisting of twelve months of thirty days each, those “seven times,” or seven years, amounted to 2,520 days.a During that period Nebuchadnezzar was deprived of his sanity and, like a beast, ate grass. At the end of this time he regained his sanity and his throne. It was then as if the tree seen in his dream had begun to sprout, the restraining bands having been removed.—Dan. 4:20-37.
Since Nebuchadnezzar occupied the position of world ruler by God’s permission, his being deprived of that position must have been symbolic of something relating to the exercise of divine sovereignty. The same aspect of matters is involved in Jesus Christ’s reference to ‘Jerusalem’s being trampled on.’ How so? In that Jerusalem was at one time the capital of a theocratic government, the city from which kings of the royal line of David ruled. These kings were said to sit on “Jehovah’s throne.” (1 Chron. 29:23) Hence, with its destruction and the exile of its monarch in 607 B.C.E.,b Jerusalem as representing God’s sovereignty began to be trampled on.
Does this mean that the end of the symbolic “seven times” would see the restoration of a theocratic kingdom in the city of Jerusalem, with a descendant of King David on the throne? No. After the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians no king of the Davidic line ever again ruled as king at Jerusalem. The permanent heir of King David, Jesus Christ, indicated that his kingdom would instead be heavenly, saying: “The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” (Matt. 4:17) He did not expect to rule from earthly Jerusalem but revealed that this city would cease to have any special recognition from Jehovah God.—See Matthew 23:37, 38.
This being the case, the end of the “appointed times of the nations” was to witness Jesus Christ’s receiving royal authority over the world of mankind, not as a king on an earthly throne in the city of Jerusalem, but as a heavenly king.
When was this to be? At the end of the “seven times” of 2,520 prophetic days from the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. It was not until more than six centuries after that initial destruction of Jerusalem that Jesus Christ appeared on the earthly scene as King-Designate. Therefore, the prophetic 2,520 days must actually cover a period of many centuries. The Bible itself provides the key for determining their exact length, saying: “A day for a year.” (Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:6) This means that the 2,520 prophetic days ended 2,520 actual years from the desolation of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. When would this be?
From October 607 B.C.E. to October of 1 B.C.E. is 606 full years; from October of 1 B.C.E. to October of 1 C.E. is one year; and from October of 1 C.E. to October 1914 C.E. is 1,913 years. Adding these figures (606 + 1 + 1,913), we get 2,520 years. So the “seven times” ended in October 1914 C.E., and it was then that, though invisible to human eyes, Jesus Christ received rulership over the world of mankind.
START OF THE “LAST DAYS”
Furthermore, in 1914 C.E. the world entered its “last days,” an unprecedented time of anguish of nations before the destruction of the entire ungodly system of things. Describing what conditions would be like even among professed Christians, the Bible says:
“Know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power.”—2 Tim. 3:1-5.
Have you not seen these very things? And historians are in general agreement that 1914, the year in which World War I broke out, was a great turning point in history. Observed Professor D. F. Fleming of Vanderbilt University:
“More and more historians look back upon World War I as the great turning point of modern history, the catastrophic collapse which opened the way for others, perhaps the final one.”
Truly, from 1914 onward conditions have become more critical earth wide. We are well along in the “last days,” and the destruction of all wickedness at the hands of Christ Jesus is very near.
Are you taking positive steps to prove that you are on the side of the King Jesus Christ? That is what Jehovah’s Christian witnesses are striving to do in more than 200 lands. They would be glad to conduct a free home Bible study with you regularly so that you might learn God’s requirements for surviving the “last days” and gaining life under his righteous kingdom by Christ.
a Confirmation for this is found in other parts of the Bible. Revelation 11:2, 3 shows that a period of “forty-two months” is “a thousand two hundred and sixty days.” This means that one month is thirty days long (1,260 ÷ 42). Also, Revelation 12:6, 14 reveals that 1,260 days amounts to “a time and times and half a time” (three and a half times), or “three years and a half” (New English Bible). Hence, “seven times,” or seven years, would equal 2 × 1,260 days, or 2,520 days.
b Regarding the reliability of this date for Jerusalem’s destruction, see Aid to Bible Understanding, pp. 339, 348.
[Graph on page 163]
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SEVEN PROPHETIC TIMES
606 YEARS 1913 YEARS
607 B.C.E. 1 B.C.E. 1 C.E. 1914 C.E.
End of This System
Within One Generation