Tag Archive | "Judgment Day"

A Deathbed Prophecy and 200 Million Horsemen

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And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.  Revelation 9:16


If you were a Family Radio listener in the months preceding May of 2011, you most likely heard Mr. Camping discuss the number found in Revelation 9:16: two hundred thousand thousand.  Of course, a thousand thousand is one million, so this number can be stated as 200 million.


Mr. Camping thought it very likely that this was the actual, total number of persons God had saved out of the entire human race.  Is it possible Mr. Camping was correct?



An Idea From the Old Testament


Notice something about the verse.  After the number, we find the words “and I heard the number of them.”  Why would God add those words to the verse?  Mr. Camping realized that God was calling our attention to the number, because there was something special about it.


When we read the verses describing the vision in which the number appears (Revelation 9:13-21) and compare those verses with others in the Bible, we see that the vision is all about the resurrection and rapture on the last day.   This event will be a judgment, especially against “the third part of men” (Revelation 9:18).  To a great extent, this third part will be members of local congregations of Christian churches all over the world.  The 200 million are those (God’s “army”) who bring this judgment.


Mr. Camping understood this and taught about it.  Based on his understanding, he concluded that 200 million was very likely the actual number of people God had saved.  He even used this number to estimate the likelihood that any individual might be one of the elect (one out of 70, assuming that half of the 200 million would be alive when the Lord returns, and based on an estimate of 7 billion people for earth’s population).  However, there is another explanation for the unusual words at the end of Revelation 9:16.


In many Psalms and in a couple of verses elsewhere in the Bible, we find the word “Selah.”  For example, we find the word in Psalm 87:3:


Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.


The concordance identifies “Selah” as Strong’s number H5542: “celah,” and states that it’s “a technical term, probably showing accumulation, pause, or interruption.”  If we accept the premise that God put every word in the Bible for a good reason, then we have to conclude that whenever He uses “Selah,” He is calling our attention to whatever precedes it.  He wants us to think about what we have just read.


That is how we should understand the words “and I heard the number of them.”  It is like God’s use of “Selah.”  He is calling our attention to the number because there is something special about it.  However, the fact that He is calling our attention to it does not mean it is a literal number.  It means that He wants us to think about it.


When we read the book of Revelation, we find that it consists almost completely of a series of visions the apostle John had when he was on the island of Patmos.  The book has a brief introduction up to verse 8, and in verses 9 and 10 we learn where John is and why he is there.  From then on, the book describes one vision after another.  Occasionally, we read the words “and I saw” or “and I heard,” or something similar.  Otherwise, the book is entirely about John’s visions.


For example, the vision in which John sees a rider on a white horse (in Revelation 6:2) is God’s way of telling us that He sent His people out from Jerusalem in 33 A.D. to go all over the world with the Gospel.  There was no literal white horse with a rider spreading the Gospel.


As another example, notice something about the visions described in Revelation 20.  Here we find the words “thousand years” in several verses, but this thousand isn’t always the same length of time.  In a couple of verses it refers to eternity, but in no case does it mean a literal one thousand years.


There are many other numbers in the book of Revelation; but, like the visions, the evidence is that none of the numbers can be taken literally.  For this reason, we must conclude that the “two hundred thousand thousand” cannot be the actual number of people God has saved.



A Misleading Translation


Part of the difficulty we have in understanding Revelation 9:16 results from the way the number has been translated.  When we check a concordance for the original language for “two hundred thousand thousand,” we find that the King James translators gave us a very misleading translation.


The original Greek is (phonetically) “dyo myrias myrias.”  The word “dyo” is Strong’s number G1417.  It’s used 135 times, and in every other case it’s translated as two, or both or twain.  In other words, it’s the number two.  The word “myrias” is Strong’s number G3461.  That word is translated as ten thousand, or innumerable multitude.  It’s the word that gives us our word “myriad,” going from Greek to Latin and then to English, according to the dictionary.


In fact, other translators have given us a better translation of this verse.  In the Revised Standard Version, we find Revelation 9:16 translated like this:  “The number of the troops of cavalry was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number.”  In other words, God is telling us that there are two big groups.


We also find the word “myrias” used in Revelation 5:11:


And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;


Here, the “ten thousand times ten thousand” is “myrias myrias.”  Verse 9 of Revelation 5 tells us that these “angels” were redeemed “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”  So it appears that, like the horsemen of Revelation 9:16, we have in Revelation 5:11 another picture of all the elect.  Notice also something very important about Revelation 5:11: it’s the word “and.”  In other words, God is showing us that there are two groups, but one is much bigger than the other.   One group is ten thousand times ten thousand, and the other is thousands of thousands.


Amazingly, we find another picture of these two groups in Revelation 7.   We read there that the number of those who are “sealed” is “an hundred and forty and four thousand” (Revelation 7:4). This number is broken down into twelve thousand from each of twelve tribes (Revelation 7:5-8).  Mr. Camping identified the significance of the number 12 as the fullness of whatever is in view, and the number ten (or one hundred, or one thousand) as the completeness of whatever is in view.  So the number 144,000 carries the meanings of completeness and fullness.  Now read Revelation 7:9:


After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;


This is a second group.  Continuing on in the chapter, we learn that this second group – the great multitude – came out of a great tribulation (verses 13 and 14).  Clearly, the great multitude is pictured as being much larger than the 144,000.   And so we again see two groups, one greater than the other.  Does this remind you of anything?




Feast of First Fruits and the Big Harvest


You may have learned that the annual feasts God commanded ancient Israel to observe give us a picture of God’s salvation plan.  In Leviticus 23, we find that one of these feasts is called the feast of firstfruits (Leviticus 23:10-22).  (It’s also called the feast of Pentecost – a word that comes from Greek and means fiftieth day.)  This feast was observed when the first harvest was gathered.


A few months later, at the time of the second and larger harvest, another feast was observed (Leviticus 23:39).  From many verses in the Bible, we know that a harvest is associated with people whom God has saved.  The feast of firstfruits is a picture of the first and smaller group of people, and the second harvest feast represents a larger group.  In fact, God even confirms this way of understanding the feasts by what we read in Revelation 14:3-4.  There, the 144,000 are called “the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.”


And so we have two Old Testament feasts picturing two groups of God’s children, just as we see in Revelation 5:11, Revelation 7 and Revelation 9:16.  Additionally, the feasts picture one group as being larger than the other; this also matches what we find in Revelation 5:11 and chapter 7.



A Prophecy about Ephraim and Manassah


Besides these two feasts, God gives us in the Old Testament yet another picture of two groups of people whom He has saved.   We find it in Jacob’s prophecy.   In Genesis 48:1-2, we read:


1 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2 And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.  


Jacob was dying.   His son Joseph learned about it and went to see him with his two sons.  In order that Jacob might bless them, Joseph presented his sons to his father in such a way that Jacob’s right hand could easily rest on the older boy’s head, and his left hand on the younger.  The older boy was Manasseh, and it was expected that he would receive a better blessing than his younger brother, Ephraim.   Genesis 48:14 tells us what happened:


And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.


Jacob surprised his son: he crossed his arms so that his right hand rested on Ephraim’s head and his left on Manasseh.  Joseph wanted to correct this situation, as we read in Genesis 48:17-18:


And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head. 18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.


It’s important to understand that God was directing all of these events.  He made sure that Joseph would be there with his two sons before Jacob died, and he made sure that Jacob would bless Joseph’s sons just as he did.  This blessing is found in verses 19-20:


And his father refused, and said, I know it , my son, I know it : he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. 20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.


Do you see what is going on here?  God is using Ephraim and Manasseh as pictures of the two groups we read about in Revelation.  Manasseh, the older brother, is a picture of the 144,000 or firstfruits harvest.  And Ephraim, the younger brother who matures at a later time, is a picture of the great multitude or big harvest of souls.


Before Jacob died, he also made prophecies about each of his sons.  We will see that one of these prophecies gives us additional insight into the significance of his grandsons – Manasseh and Ephraim.



A Curious Difference Between Two Lists


And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.

Genesis 49:1


Jacob, whom God named Israel, had 12 sons.  In Genesis 49, we find a prophecy about each of them.  This may have happened on the same day as Jacob’s prophecy concerning Ephraim and Manasseh, or very soon afterwards.  It’s possible that Joseph made the arrangements to bring all of his brothers to his father’s bedside immediately after Jacob blessed the boys.  After all, Joseph was in a position to do that, and it may have been done very quickly.


When all the sons were there, Jacob mentioned each one and said something about that son – and it wasn’t something good in every case.  Here is a list of the sons about whom Jacob made a prophecy:



Simeon and Levi (together)











The descendants of these men became the 12 tribes of Israel (see 1 Chronicles 2 and following chapters).  You may remember that Revelation 7 also has a list like this.  There, we read that 144,000 of the children of Israel are “sealed” before a time of God’s judgment (Revelation 7:3-4).   Then, we find a list of the tribes of Israel.  Here is the list of names we find there in verses 5 through 8:















If you compare the two lists, you will see that – aside from the fact that the names are in a different order – there is a difference in one name.  Jacob’s son Dan is missing in the list from Revelation, and he has been replaced by Manasses or Manassah.  Why would God do that?  Did someone make a mistake?


Of course the answer has to be something else.  First, we need to read Jacob’s prophecy about Dan.  We find it in Genesis 49:16-18:


Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. 17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. 18 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.  


This does not sound unfavorable to Dan in any way.  So we actually have two problems: why did God drop Dan from the list of Jacob’s sons, and why did He replace Dan with Manassah?


In addition to these questions, we need to know why Ephraim doesn’t appear in the list.  According to Jacob’s prophecy, Ephraim would be greater than Manassah.  Yet we don’t see his name in the list.  In fact, Ephraim’s name appears only once in the entire New Testament, and that’s in John 11:54.  There it’s the name of a city near the wilderness where the Lord Jesus went to be with His disciples and away from the religious authorities.


We already know part of the answer to these questions.  We’ve seen how God reveals that there are two big groups He has saved.  In Jacob’s prophecy, they are pictured as Ephraim and Manassah; and in Revelation they are called the 144,000 and the great multitude.  By including Manassah’s name in the Revelation 7 list of tribes, God is linking Manassah with the 144,000 and showing us that this group is the fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy about Manassah.  In other words, Manassah is the 144,000.  Therefore, Ephraim is the great multitude.


There is still one question remaining: why did God pick Dan as the one to drop from the list of tribes in Revelation?  In order to answer that question, we need to go back to the book of Revelation.



  Pictures of the Rapture and Resurrection


In the book of Revelation, we find the resurrection/rapture pictured in a couple of different ways.  In the passage that includes our verse about the 200 million horsemen, we find it pictured as a great army of terrible creatures unleashed against mankind to kill “the third part of men.”  The horses are described as having tails that are “like unto serpents.”


In Revelation 16, we find another picture of the resurrection and rapture.  There, we see God’s series of judgments pictured as vials of wrath being poured out on the world.  The vision associated with the pouring out of the sixth vial is a picture of the resurrection and rapture.  Notice how God portrays this event as a great battle at a place called Armageddon.  It’s a battle with the “kings of the earth” (Revelation 16:14), who are gathered together by Satan (Revelation 16:13-14).


This “battle of Armageddon” is also pictured in Revelation 19, where we read about God’s armies (Revelation 19:14) coming to destroy the world’s armies.  The birds are called to gather so that they “may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of might men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great” (Revelation 19:18).


Besides these pictures of the resurrection/rapture in Revelation, we also find something interesting about it in Luke 11:31-32:


The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.  32 The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.


Here, the Lord Jesus is talking about the last day.  Notice how these verses show that those who are resurrected are condemning the unsaved.  They reveal that the queen of Sheba (see 1 Kings 10:1-10) and at least some of the people of Nineveh (see Jonah 3:5) were saved.  When they rise up in the resurrection on the last day, they will “condemn” the unsaved.  That doesn’t mean that there will be any speeches!  Rather, it shows that God considers the resurrection to be a judgment against the unsaved.


In these passages from the Bible, we have seen that God associates several ideas with the resurrection and rapture.  First, it’s a judgment against the unsaved; and it’s a judgment especially against the “third part,” which represents the official, Christian organizations claiming to represent God’s kingdom today.


We have also seen that the elect on the last day are pictured as being in some way like a serpent.  They have a power to “do hurt” (Revelation 9:19).  And we have seen that all the elect together are pictured as an army that will destroy the world’s armies and their horses.


Keeping all these ideas in mind, once again read Jacob’s prophecy about in Genesis 49:16-18:


Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. 17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. 18 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.


Do you see how they match?  Notice also verse 18:  “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.”  By studying many other Bible verses, we know that the rapture and resurrection will occur immediately before the end of the world.  That will be the day when God’s elect inherit their new body, designed to last forever.  It will be the completion of their salvation.  And so we have the answer to our last question: the 200 million horsemen represent Dan.  That’s why God deleted him from the list of tribes in Revelation.  In Jacob’s prophecy, Dan is a picture of everyone God has saved, rising up on the last day in the resurrection and rapture.





We have seen that Revelation 9:16 reveals God’s plan to save two large groups of people.  In several places in the Bible, the first group is pictured as the firstfruits and as 144,000, the second as the larger harvest of ancient Israel’s two harvest feasts and as a “great multitude.”  In some other verses, God applies spiritual numbers to these groups, such as thousands of thousands, or ten thousands of ten thousands.


God tells us about the two groups in several ways, even as far back as the time when He gave us the book of Genesis.  In Genesis, we find Jacob’s deathbed prophecy, which he spoke hundreds of years before his descendants had multiplied into the 12 tribes of Israel.  Even there, we see the two groups pictured by Jacob’s grandsons.  Interestingly, in all of the ways the two groups are pictured, there doesn’t seem to be any reference to people saved before Jacob’s time.


We know that both Abel and Seth were saved.  And of course Noah (and his family), Abraham, Isaac, Joshua, Caleb and some others were saved, based on what we read in the Bible.  Undoubtedly, others were also saved before Jacob passed away.  However, we must conclude that the total number saved before Jacob’s time was relatively small in comparison to the number saved afterwards.


The number saved before Jacob’s time, plus the numbers in each of the two big groups God has saved, are represented in Revelation 9:16:  “twice ten thousand times ten thousand” (Revised Standard Version) and are pictured in Genesis by Jacob’s prophecy about Dan.  Back in 2011 and perhaps now, that number was understood to be the actual number of persons God had saved out of all humanity.  However, we have seen that this number must not be taken literally.  In Deuteronomy 29:29, God tells us:


The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.


God reveals that  – like the date for His return and the end of the world – the exact number of people He has saved is one of His secrets.



The Feast of Eternity

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If you read the book of Zechariah, you’ll find that it mentions only one of the annual feasts God commanded ancientIsraelto observe: that’s the feast of tabernacles.  Why should there be an emphasis on that particular feast?


In Leviticus 23, we find the names of the annual feasts and times when they were to be observed.  The feasts are called “holy convocations” or meetings (Leviticus 23:4).  In that chapter, you’ll see that the people were commanded to observe all the feasts.  No one feast is more important than any other.  That’s why it’s curious to find only the feast of tabernacles mentioned in the book of Zechariah. 



The Annual Feasts and God’s Salvation Plan


You may know that God used the annual feasts to illustrate truths associated with His salvation plan.  It was back in 1447 BC, whenIsraelcame out of slavery inEgypt, that God instituted the annual feasts.  The first feast thatIsraelobserved was the Passover (Leviticus 23:5) with the days of unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:6).   The Israelites were commanded to kill a lamb on the Passover (Exodus 12:5-6).  The killing of a lamb pictured the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus, and it was during Passover in 33 AD that He was crucified. 


There’s another annual feast that was clearly fulfilled during the New Testament, and that’s Pentecost.  That feast is also known as the feast of firstfruits (Leviticus 23:10).  It was celebrated around the time when the first harvest was brought in from the fields.  In the New Testament, it was on Pentecost in 33 AD that God began the church age (Acts 2:1).  The Biblical timeline discovered by Mr. Harold Camping shows us that the church age lasted until 1988.  For 1,955 years, God used local congregations of Christian churches to represent His eternal kingdom, just as He once used thekingdomofIsraelto represent it in ancient times.  The people whom God saved during the church age are pictured as “firstfruits.”  In this way, the feast of Pentecost has been fulfilled.


The next annual feast we find in Leviticus 23 is called the feast of trumpets (Leviticus 23:24).  There is great evidence that this annual feast was also fulfilled during the New Testament, but it took some detective work to understand how it was.  By carefully piecing together time clues found in the Gospels, it has been determined that John the Baptist announced the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God on the feast of trumpets in 29 AD (John 1:29).  That was the beginning of the Lord’s public ministry, which ended about three and a half years later at the cross.  The feast of trumpets was also fulfilled a second time.  That happened more recently when the Lord began the “latter rain” in 1994.  During that period, which lasted until 2011, God saved a great multitude of people all over the world.


There is one more annual feast that was fulfilled during the New Testament era, based on Biblical evidence.  In Leviticus 23:27, we read about that feast.  It’s called the Day of Atonement.  Although the Bible doesn’t give the date when the Lord Jesus was born, by piecing together clues found in the Gospel accounts we can say with a high degree of certainty that the Lord Jesus was born in the year 7 BC on the Day of Atonement.


As you continue reading Leviticus 23, you will find that there is only one other time of the year when God required an annual feast to be observed.   In Leviticus 23:34, we read:


Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.


Until the feast of tabernacles passed uneventfully last year, it was widely expected that we would see it fulfilled with the rapture and the end of the world occurring then.  The timeline revealed that all the other feasts had been fulfilled.  God was clearly showing us that He would complete the Biblical timeline during the feast of tabernacles, wasn’t He?  That was a logical and completely reasonable conclusion at the time.  However, we must now reevaluate it.



The Feast of Tabernacles in the Book of Zechariah


It’s very curious the way the feast of tabernacles appears in the book of Zechariah.  For one thing, it’s the only feast mentioned in that book.  Also, it’s really emphasized there in a strange way.


The book of Nehemiah also emphasizes the feast of tabernacles (Nehemiah 8:14-18); but there, it’s an actual historical account.  The people inJerusalemat that time had returned from captivity.  The younger people among them would have been the first generation born there after the return.  The book of Nehemiah tells us the people learned that God’s law required observance of the feast of tabernacles, and kept it for the first time in many years.  In Nehemiah 8:17, we read about this:


And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.


But in the book of Zechariah, it’s a different situation altogether.  There, we find the feast of tabernacles mentioned three times.  All three occurrences are in chapter 14 (verses 16, 18 and 19), and all three are set in the context of eternity.  Zechariah 14:12 helps us understand the time setting:


And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.


This verse and verses 13-15 tell us about the last day and judgment against the unsaved.   Although the end of the unsaved is described here in a terrifying way, the verse is actually consistent with an understanding that God will simply speak the universe out of existence, mercifully dissolving everything in an instant.  The verses that follow verse 15 tell us about the new heavens and the new earth.   Now, notice how verse 16 mentions the feast of tabernacles, and what verse 17 states:


And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.  And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.


When we read verse 17, we can easily get the impression that there will be alive at that time some people who will not keep the feast of tabernacles.   They won’t go up toJerusalemwhen the feast is to be observed, and so the Lord won’t give them any rain.  Is that the meaning of this verse?


Let’s look at the next verse mentioning the feast of tabernacles.  In Zechariah 14:18, we read:


And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.


Here we see that same idea: those who will not keep the feast of tabernacles will have no rain and will suffer a plague.  Finally, in verse 19 we read:


This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.


Here again, the feast of tabernacles is mentioned; and here again, we find the idea of punishment for those who won’t observe the feast.  To help us understand the way God has written these verses, let’s consider some other interesting verses. 



Not What You Might Think


In John 6, we read about an occasion when people who heard the Lord Jesus preach followed Him to the other side of theSea of Galilee.  When they found Him, He told the people not to labor “for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you… “(John 6:27).  The people then asked Him what they should do, as we read in John 6:28:


Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?


 In the following verse, the Lord answered them:


Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.


When we read the Lord’s answer, we can easily get the impression that a person can be saved by believing in the Lord Jesus, because then he or she will be doing the work that God wants a person to do.  However, look closely at the Lord’s statement: “This is the work of God.”  When a person believes, it is the work of God – it’s work God has done. 


The original Greek words also support this understanding.  Two different words for “work” are used in these verses: “ergazomai”  (G2038) and “ergon” (G2041).  The first word is used for work that a person can do, as in the words “that we might work.”  The second is used for work that God has done, as in “the works of God.”  Therefore, these verses are actually consistent with a truth we find throughout the Bible.  Namely, that God must do all the work to save someone.  Even a person’s belief – if it’s the saving kind of faith a person needs – comes from God.


Another situation that can easily be misunderstood is found in Luke 17.  Toward the end of that chapter, we find the Lord Jesus telling His disciples about the last day.  Then, in Luke 17:36-37, we read:


Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.


Notice the question that was asked, and the way the Lord answered it.  The Lord had been telling His disciples how one person would be taken and the other left.  The disciples wanted to know where the one taken would go.  As an answer, the Lord told them about eagles gathering where the body is. 


Based on the Lord’s answer, you might think that those taken away on the last day will die.  It seems that there will be dead bodies wherever they are taken.  However, from other verses in the Bible we know that the ones taken are actually those who have been saved: they will be taken up in the rapture.  It is those who are left behind that die when they are annihilated with everything else.  This truth actually helps us understand the references to the feast of tabernacles in Zechariah 14.  Verse 19 is the last of the three references:


This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.


This verse reveals that the unsaved aren’t keeping the feast of tabernacles after the last day.  However, it’s not because they are rebelling against the Lord.  It’s because they aren’t there!



This Picture Completes Our Understanding


When we consider how the feast of tabernacles is pictured in the book of Zechariah, we can gain new insight into the Biblical timeline.  Since May 21, 2011, many people have questioned the timeline and begun to doubt its accuracy.    The reason for this is not only because May 21, 2011 passed uneventfully.  It’s also because October 21, 2011 passed uneventfully.  That was believed to be the last day of the feast of tabernacles, and it was believed to be the very end of the timeline.


Many numerical patterns, generated from time intervals between key dates in the timeline, pointed to 2011 as the year of supreme importance in God’s salvation plan.  Consequently, it was widely believed that the Bible pointed to the Lord’s return in that year.  However, when we reconsider some of the verses leading to that conclusion, we find that the Bible does not give us time information about the date of the Lord’s return.  In fact, in many verses (such as Matthew 25:13) the Lord Jesus clearly told His disciples that they would not know the date. 


We also see this truth supported in Revelation 10:4:


And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.


There, the Lord tells us that something concerning end-times will not be revealed.  It is something that the Seven Thunders uttered, and it concerns the end of time (see Revelation 10:5-6).  Throughout the Christian era, no question has been of more importance than that concerning the date of the Lord’s return.  In view of Revelation 10:4, no one should continue insisting that we will know that date.


Yet the Bible really did point to 2011.  The reason of course is that God ended any possibility of salvation last year.  If you still doubt this, consider the verses that tell about the sun being darkened.  We read about that in Joel 3:15, Isaiah 13:10, Mark 13:24 and other verses. 


Why would the Lord emphasize the end of salvation if it continued until the last minute?  Obviously, He won’t be saving anyone when He is about to command the resurrection to start; but the Bible tells us to seek the Lord while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6).  In this and in other ways, God shows us that salvation has already ended before the last day – the day on which the Lord returns.


Perhaps the best known verse concerning the end of salvation is Matthew 24:29:


Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  


This verse tells us that salvation ends right after the great tribulation.  Now read the next verse, Matthew 24:30:


And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.


Because of the words “And then,” many expected the Lord’s return to follow immediately after salvation had ended; so there was great certainty among many that the Lord would return on May 21, 2011.  However, we need to be careful when we see the word “then” in the Bible. 


Sometimes, it can refer to the time that was previously mentioned.  That’s how it was understood last year; and so it was believed that Matthew 24:30 was teaching that the Lord’s return would follow as soon as salvation had ended.  However, the word “then” can also indicate the passage of time, so that there is a period after the time that was previously mentioned.  This period continues until the next event.  For example, in Matthew 26:14-15, we read:


Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,  And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.   


Notice the word “then” in verse 14.  These verses are telling us what Judas did after the Lord was anointed with “very precious ointment” (Matthew 26:6-13).  We don’t have any reason to believe that Judas went out the door as soon as that happened, and ran to the chief priests.  Rather, it’s clear that he went to them sometime afterwards; but we don’t know how much time passed until he went.   


The Greek word translated as “then” in Matthew 26:14 is “tote” (Strong’s number G5119), the same word used for “then” in Matthew 24:30.  So we have good support for our understanding that the Lord’s return doesn’t occur immediately after salvation has ended.  Rather than dismiss the timeline, we can now see where we misunderstood it.  The appearance of the feast of tabernacles in the book of Zechariah greatly helps to clarify the situation for us. 





God revealed a great deal of new information over the last few years.   Much of it concerns time.  We now know, for example, that the six days of creation took place in the year 11,013 BC.  This is precious knowledge.  Sadly, so many people in Christian churches today have rejected it.  They believe that the earth is billions of years old – although they see the hand of God guiding evolution.  These dear people might not be quite so deceived as atheists or agnostics.  Nevertheless, they are deceived. 


We also know that God indicated He would reveal new information near the end of time, so that “the wise” (Daniel 12:9-10) would understand.  In fulfillment of this, God allowed us to know the date by which He would end salvation.  This was necessary in order for His people to warn the world about it. 


We should not insist that more information about God’s timing must be revealed.  God has already given us what was needed, just as He indicated He would.   The Bible showed that there would be new information coming about end-times, but it does not tell us that we will know the date of the Lord’s return.  In fact, it indicates the opposite – that we will not know it.


Related to this misunderstanding of the timeline is the belief that we will see the feast of tabernacles fulfilled by the Lord’s return on a date that God will reveal to us, because it is the only annual feast that has not yet been fulfilled.   We have seen that all the other annual feasts have been fulfilled on dates that we know; and so this thinking carries over to the feast of tabernacles.   


The annual feasts do show us a picture of God’s salvation plan; but there is no reason to insist that the last of the annual feasts, the feast of tabernacles, must be fulfilled here on earth.  The book of Zechariah helps us to understand the situation.  So we can now return to the original question: why does this book of the Bible emphasize the feast of tabernacles?  God’s reason appears to be that the book of Zechariah shows us how the feast of tabernacles will be fulfilled.  It will complete the salvation plan, but it won’t be fulfilled according to the calendar in a predictable way.  It will be fulfilled in eternity.



The Error of Harold Camping

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Have you read Mr. Camping’s book 1994?  I never did.


Prior to 2011, I read and studied all of his other books, but this one was unavailable when I began to listen to Family Radio in 2002.  I didn’t secure a copy of it until a few months ago.  What I have found in this book has been startling and extremely enlightening.


I decided to share this information for the sake of others like myself who may have misunderstood exactly how it was determined that 1988 was the year that the Great Tribulation began.  It saddens me to know that this lack of understanding has caused some to become adamant in the belief that an 8400 day countdown to Judgment Day began in that year.  It did not.


Until recently, I believed that as Mr. Camping was studying the scriptures over the years 1994-2011, he was continuing to receive previously unknown Biblical understanding about the timeline and its meaning.  As I sat under Mr. Camping’s teachings from 2002-2011, listening to the Open Forum nearly every night, and reading his books in order as each one was published, beginning with “The End of the Church Age,” I came to that conclusion very naturally and almost without thinking. I say “almost” because I had learned of the unsealing of the little book spoken of in Daniel 12:9 through the Open Forum.  Every evening as well as in each book, he used phrases such as “God has a timetable for revealing the understanding of truth recorded in the Bible” and “as God opens our eyes to truth.”  So I ASSUMED that Mr. Camping was publishing these books as this was happening, AS HE WAS LEARNING the information.


Certainly Mr. Camping did nothing to dissuade anyone from reaching that conclusion during those years.  His words very directly insinuated that he was teaching things he hadn’t known previously.  But also, I had the reality of my experience.  In 9 years, I’d NEVER heard him speak of certain subjects before their nearly simultaneous publication in a new book.  So I don’t believe this assumption was entirely my fault.


Yet, in reading the book “1994?,” I have learned through Mr. Camping’s own words that this was not the case at all.  Nearly everything he taught in the years I listened were things he believed and taught in 1992 when that book was published.


For example, I never heard him speak about the year 2011 as the probable final year of history on the Open Forum until 2004.  I didn’t think he knew the exact year since previously he had always discussed the end only as being “during our lifetime in all likelihood.”


I never heard him speak about the 7000 years between the Flood and the end of the world until late 2004 on the Open Forum and in the subsequent publishing of the book “Time Has An End.”  When I did hear him discuss this 7000 years, he did so by calling it a “proof” which backed up everything we had learned up to that point.


I never heard him discuss Solomon and his concubines until somewhere in 2007-08 as near as I can recall.  When he taught the study through the Alameda Fellowship videos and began to teach it on the Open Forum, I believed that he had just learned this information.


I never heard him mention Homosexuality as a “sign of the end” until he published that book just before 2011.  The only discussions I had ever heard him give regarding homosexuality were on the Open Forum and then it was only in response to caller questions where he would describe it as being “no different than any other sin.”  But he said nothing about it being a significant sign of the end times.


And certainly, I never heard the phrase “cry out to him for mercy” until early 2010, shortly before the Family Radio (FR) billboard campaign began.


But I have discovered that ALL OF THESE THINGS were discussed in the book “1994?.”  So, I’m sure that people who’d read it must have known these were NOT new ideas and understandings.  But I did not.  By the time I started listening in June of 2002, this book was no longer offered by FR and these particular things were not being discussed on the Open Forum Program, nor were they discussed in the books “The End of The Church Age” and “Wheat and Tares.”


Of course, I DID hear many callers to the Open Forum ask Mr. Camping about his failed prediction and the book “1994?.”  I heard his explanations regarding the question mark in the title, etc.  I heard him say that his error resulted from placing too much emphasis on one verse which he said he misunderstood because God had not opened his eyes to the Latter Rain period which would come after the 2300 evening mornings spoken of in Daniel 8:14.  And most important, I heard him defend the failure and the new date by saying that he’d noted the year 2011 in that book as another possible end date.  Like many, I accepted that explanation and I didn’t investigate it myself.


Simply put, his explanation was not the whole truth.  He did not give the year 2011 as just “another possibility.”  The ONLY context in which Mr. Camping discussed 2011 in the book was to note it as being 7000 years from the Flood date and to use it as the year from which to begin his calculations to find the starting date of the Final Tribulation!  He never indicated to his audience that 2011 had been the basis for his 1994 failed conclusion and yet, IT ABSOLUTELY WAS and certainly he knew it as he answered those questions.


Let me explain how 1994 and 2011 failures are connected:


In “1994?,” Mr. Camping already taught that the Bible says that the world would continue for exactly 7000 years after the Flood and then it would be destroyed.  So, using the timeline’s 4990 BC Flood placement, he did the arithmetic and calculated that end of the world HAD to take place in the year 2011.  Since he knew that the Final Tribulation takes place in the closing years of the earth’s history he knew that it ALSO would need to conclude in the year 2011.  Further, he had determined that God had ORIGINALLY planned a specific length of time for this Final Tribulation, but according to Daniel 8:13-14 and Matthew 24:21-22, He intended to shorten that time period to 2300 days for the sake of the elect.


Having already fixed the Great Tribulation’s shortened length at 2300 days and having already fixed its end and the destruction of the world at 2011, he began a search for the start date of the “original tribulation.”  From there he could simply add 2300 days to find the year that the “shortened tribulation” and the world would end. The only way he could do that would be to speculate as to how long God had “ORIGINALLY” intended the Tribulation to be, subtract that number of years from 2011 to locate the original beginning year date and simply add 2300 days to determine the end.  The equation looked like this:


(7000 year End of the World as 2011) – (Original Full Great Tribulation Period)  = (Start of Original Great Tribulation) + (2300 day Shortened Tribulation Period) = End of the World


He taught that the length of this tribulation period could be ONLY ONE OF 4 POSSIBILITIES which were each periods of time which typified the Final Tribulation.  The book details the process by which he concluded that these 4 possibilities were 70 years, 23 years, 3.5 days, or 42 months.   With this in mind, he began to plug these possibilities through the equation:


(7000 year End of the World as 2011) – (Possibility 1,2,3,or 4 as the Original Full Great Tribulation Period)  = (Start of Original Great Tribulation/End of Church AGE) + (2300 day Shortened Tribulation Period) = End of the World




First, he decided that 3.5 days and 42 months were both too short and should be considered “symbolic” because neither period of time was long enough to fit even the shortened 2300 day tribulation length he’d ALREADY DETERMINED.  So he discounted those possibilities. Still considering the other 2 possibilities as “literal” time periods, he then plugged 70 years into the equation and found that it would result in a year which had already gone by.


(2011) – (70 years) = (1941) + (2300 days) =1947.


With the 70 year possibility now discounted, this left only the final choice of a 23 year length for God’s Originally Planned Final Tribulation.  The equation was as follows:


(2011) – (23 years) = (1988) + (2300 days) = 1994 End of the World


When 1994 failed, it should have been immediately suspected that 1988 failed as the Start of the Great Tribulation right along with it, but instead, a “spiritual” reason was given to explain it.  This is when the “half hour of silence in heaven” was ADOPTED as the meaning of the 2300 evening mornings of Daniel 8:13-14.  BUT THE EQUATION WAS LEFT INTACT!  The reason it was left intact is that it was already seen that the other 3 patterns simply COULD NOT FIT and there were no other possibilities left that he could see!  So while it may still be true that the Great Tribulation is a period of 23 years, it could not have begun in 1988.


Here is why:


1)  If it is true that the last day of the world is exactly 7000 literal years from the Flood (the basis for which 2011 was chosen to begin the equation), then the Flood could not have occurred in the year 4990 BC since the world did not end in 2011.  THIS WOULD MEAN THAT THE CALENDAR IS WRONG and we have no way of knowing for certain when those 7000 years began or when they will expire.  So we would have no reason or Biblical authority to begin calculating backwards from 2011 to arrive at 1988 as the End of The Church age and the start of the Great Tribulation.


2)  If it is true that the calendar is correct, then it CANNOT be true that the Bible is telling us that the world will end precisely 7000 literal years post-Flood in the year 2011 AD because we know that it did not end!  THIS MEANS OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE 7000 YEARS IS WRONG.  So we would have no reason or Biblical authority to begin calculating backwards from 2011 to arrive at 1988 as the End of the Church Age and start of the Great Tribulation.


3)  The two statements above CANNOT both be true at the same time.  Once 2011 passed without the end of the world, it became Biblically IMPOSSIBLE to adhere to the belief that 2011 is 7000 years from the 4990 BC Flood AND ALSO adhere to the belief that the Church Age ended in 1988, beginning the 8400 day Great Tribulation which results in a post-May 21, 2011 Judgment Day WITHOUT BELIEVING A LIE.


4)  So this is the bottom line.  The explanations and computations Mr. Camping gave on pages 494-497 of the book “1994?” clearly demonstrate that the 1988 calculation for the start of the Great Tribulation was entirely based on a pre-determined understanding that world was to be destroyed in 2011 AD.  When the world did not end in 2011, God demonstrated that this conclusion is faulty and 1988 was NOT the first year of the Great Tribulation.




When 1994 failed to be the end of the world as Mr. Camping believed, he simply moved back to what he believed was God’s ORIGINAL EXPECTED 23 year Tribulation duration ending in 2011, 7000 years after the flood.  He deduced a spiritual meaning for the 2300 days of Daniel which sadly left the faulty 1988 calculation intact.  It doesn’t appear that he ever revisited his original studies after the 1994 failure to check for errors beyond the 2300 days.


Finally, it doesn’t matter what we may eventually learn regarding the correct meaning and/or time application of the 7000 years, the length of the Great Tribulation, or the dates for either.  The fact is that Mr. Camping’s calculation for 1988 as the End of The Church Age/Start of the Great Tribulation has been invalidated with the passing of 2011.  Subsequently, there is absolutely NO BIBLICAL BASIS to conclude that the world has entered into a “Judgment Day” defined by a period of “no salvation.”  This doctrine must be given up as a spiritual “high place” and “another god.”  On pages 142-143 of “The End Of The Church Age… And After”, Mr. Camping wrote:


“If we trust in any doctrine that is not firmly taken from the Bible, then we are trusting in our own minds.  In that event, our minds and the individuals who designed that doctrine is our god.  Any time any doctrine is taught that is not altogether based upon the Bible, it is a spiritual high place, it is the worship of another god.”


I would also like it to be known that throughout “1994?,” Mr. Camping repeatedly went into great Biblical detail to prove that there is no possibility whatsoever that the world may continue for a single day beyond the saving of the very last elect soul.  He provides much scriptural support for that particular conclusion since his teaching on Matthew 24:21-22 formed the entire basis for the ability to search for the day of Christ’s return.  In fact, he taught quite thoroughly that the only purpose for this world to continue or for believers to be here on the Earth is in order to fulfill God’s magnificent salvation program.  He taught that the bounds of this physical world are determined completely by that plan.  Once the last soul is saved, this world must end according to God’s own Word given in Deuteronomy 32:8 and other verses.  Having learned that, I am doubly surprised by his “temporary” descent into the “5 months of torment/no salvation” doctrine and the “post May 21 no salvation error.”


The man-made ideas of “feeding sheep” and a “Judgment Day over the whole world in which there is no longer any hope of souls becoming saved” came about only AFTER AND IN RESPONSE TO the failure of May 21, 2011.  But, ANY doctrines which are based on the conclusion that 1988 was the start of an 8400 day Great Tribulation simply CANNOT be true since they are entirely based upon a foundation that has been demonstrated to be irrefutably impossible and absolutely incorrect.


If we lived in a world where men had perfect Biblical understanding, Mr. Camping should have been the first to comprehend this error.  If we lived in a world where men made perfect decisions, he would not have removed “1994?” from the FR website immediately after the prediction failed as he did his other books after 2011 failed.  I believe those decisions did much to allow error to multiply and has significantly slowed correction.  And finally, if we lived in a world where men were able to perfectly examine their own hearts, those of us who believed that Christ would come May 21, 2011 would be quicker to admit to ourselves and to others that we failed to “check out” what Mr. Camping taught (as he encouraged us to do) as thoroughly as we claimed we had, beginning with a brutally honest review of the book “1994?”


Thank you for reading.  I sincerely pray that you will not receive this note as an attack on Mr. Camping.  As he was always the first to say, he is a man with feet of clay as any other, though I thank my God always for him and the FR ministry, and for directing their hearts into the love of God’s Word and the desire to share the Gospel so that Christ might seek out and save His lost sheep.  By God’s grace and mercy, my family and I have been unspeakably blessed by their labors.


I pray also this information will be as helpful to you in your walk with Christ as it has been to me.  Please feel free to share the note if the Lord so inclines your heart.  May God, in His merciful longsuffering, forgive our errors and comfort the hearts which sorrow over them.   And may He be pleased, in His infinite pity, to continue to reprove us, correct us, and lovingly lead us to our heavenly home.


Jude 1:24-25:


24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,


25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.  Amen.



God’s End-Time Mercy Revealed in Pictures from the Unsealed Book

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In the book of Revelation, we read about a series of visions seen by the apostle John.  These visions reveal a major portion of God’s salvation plan.  We don’t get a complete picture of the plan from these visions.  That is, they don’t cover all of human history from start to finish; but they do portray different phases of God’s plan during New Testament times.


One reason it so difficult to understand these visions is that they are not all in chronological order.  However, there is a portion of the book of Revelation where visions are in chronological order.  It is the portion concerning the unsealing of a book sealed with seven seals.  We first learn about this book in Revelation 5:1:


And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.    


Only the Lord Jesus can unseal this book.  As He removes the seals one by one, we see a sequence of visions.  This sequence has a well-defined beginning.  It starts with the opening of the first seal (Revelation 6:1-2).  We will see that the vision associated with the first seal shows the start of the church age on Pentecost day in 33 AD.  The sequence ends with the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:15).  Seven visions associated with the sounding of trumpets follow the opening of the seventh seal (see Revelation 8:1-2).   The seventh trumpet is the last to sound, and that vision pictures the end of the world, which is the last day.


Besides the fact that there is a clear beginning and ending in the sequence, we find additional evidence that these visions are in chronological order.  For example, in Revelation 8:13, we read that the last three trumpets sound after the first four:


And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!


Notice the words, “yet to sound.”  Another verse indicating that the visions show events in order of time is Revelation 11:14:


The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.


This verse tells us that there are three “woes,” and that the third and final woe comes after the second one.  The woes are associated with the visions for the seal openings and trumpet soundings, and also relate to seven plagues that result as each of seven angels pours out a vial of wrath.  Once we see the chronological order in these visions, we can understand something of great importance about the time immediately before the last day, and about God’s mercy.



The Seven Seals Open


You may recall hearing or reading about some New Testament dates of major importance, besides May 21, 2011.  Here is a table of those dates and their significance.


May 22, 33 A.D. The church age begins.


May 21, 1988 Church age ends; great tribulation begins.


September 7, 1994 The first part of the great tribulation ends and the second part begins; start of the latter rain, in which God saved many people outside the churches (the local congregations); judgment against the churches.


May 21, 2011 The great tribulation and latter rain have ended; there is no longer any hope of salvation from this day until the end of the world.



Mr. Harold Camping discovered these dates after many years of painstaking Biblical analysis.  Before May 21, 2011, it was believed that a great earthquake and the Rapture would occur on that date.  However, the fact that those teachings were incorrect does not mean we should dismiss all the dates as being incorrect.  In fact, further study of the Bible confirms them and everything else that has been taught about them.


When we refer to the Biblical timeline, we are referring to these dates – as if they’re marked on a line representing the flow of time.  The timeline allows us to understand time settings for visions associated with the opening of the seals.



             May 22, 33 A.D.                    May 21, 1988         May 21, 2011


                                                     September 7, 1994



The first four seals deal with the Church Age.  From the timeline, we know that the Church Age began on Pentecost day in 33 A.D.  So, when we read Revelation 6:2 about a rider on a white horse, that “he went forth conquering, and to conquer,” we know that we are seeing a picture of the elect at the beginning of the Church Age (see Romans 8:37 – the Greek word used there for “conquerors” is a compound of the Greek word used for “conquering” and “conquer” in Revelation 6:2).  Also, recall that the Lord Jesus told His disciples that they would be His witnesses “to the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  Therefore, the rider on the white horse represents one of God’s elect, going off to do just that: to be a witness for the Lord throughout the world during the 1,955 years of the Church Age.


We know that problems began almost immediately for new Christians during the Church Age.  As the second, third and fourth seals are opened, we read about a rider on a red horse, then another on a black horse and yet another on a pale horse.  Here we are seeing pictures of the various problems that the local congregations experienced throughout the Church Age, from start to finish.  The time setting for the opening of the first four seals is 33 AD.


Next comes the fifth seal.  We’ll come back to that one a little later.  First, let’s look at the opening of the sixth seal.  That’s in Revelation 6:12.  We know from the timeline that God ended the Church Age in 1988.  That year is the next date in the timeline after 33 AD, so the timeline has advanced by 1,955 years to reach that date.  The end of God’s use of the local congregations to save anyone is the event pictured by the opening of the sixth seal.  We know that the sixth seal corresponds to 1988 because Revelation 6:13 tells us about a fig tree:


And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.


We know that nationalIsraelis identified with the fig tree; that the modern nation ofIsraelwas established in 1948; and that God uses the number 40 to have a spiritual meaning of testing.  The image of the fig tree being shaken fits perfectly with the year 1988, because that year marked 40 years after the birth of modernIsrael.


The opening of the sixth seal has been understood incorrectly as a picture of the final end to salvation.  That event is described in Matthew 24:29.   However, there’s a big difference between the descriptions in Matthew 24:29 and Revelation 6:12-13.


We know that Matthew 24:29 is telling us about May 21, 2011, because of the words “immediately after the tribulation of those days.”  That’s not the case in Revelation 6:12-13.  The descriptions of signs in the heavens are similar, but there is a big difference between them: Revelation 6:13 mentions a fig tree, but Matthew 24:29 doesn’t.  When we see how everything fits together to verify the timeline, we can be sure that the sixth seal was opened in 1988 – at the end of the Church Age!


Knowing the time setting for the sixth seal helps us place the time setting for the opening of the fifth seal.   In Revelation 6, from verse 9 to verse 11, we read about the vision associated with the opening of the fifth seal.   There, we read that John saw under an altar “the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.”  They ask, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”  This is a picture of those true believers who were martyred.  They are waiting for the final day.  That will be the day of the Rapture, when all the true believers receive their glorified bodies.


In answer to their question, they are told to “rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”  The fellow-servants of those martyrs were “killed” on May 21 of 2011, based on Revelation 11:7.  In the eyes of the world, the elect have been discredited because they warned the world that a great earthquake would occur with the Rapture on May 21, 2011.  Therefore, we can place the time setting for the fifth seal on or before May 21, 1988 – before the opening of the sixth seal.


We can now return to the sequence and consider the opening of the seventh seal.  We read about that in Revelation 8:1.  That verse tells us about “silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.”  What could this mean?


We know that there is joy in the presence of the angels whenever someone is saved (see Luke 15:10).  The silence in heaven fits with our understanding from the timeline that God stopped saving people from May 21, 1988 until September 7, 1994.  The opening of the seventh seal illustrates the consequence of judgment that followed opening of the sixth seal.


Once we understand that the opening of the sixth seal is a picture of God’s judgment in 1988, everything falls into place for us and we can see how visions that follow it agree perfectly with the timeline.



Table: The Seven Seals Open


Opening of …


First Seal



White Horse



33 A.D. (Pentecost)

Second Seal Red Horse 33 A.D. or soon after
Third Seal Black Horse 33 A.D. or soon after
Fourth Seal Pale Horse 33 A.D. or soon after
Fifth Seal Souls asking “How long…?” Precedes Sixth Seal
Sixth Seal Signs in the heavens May 21, 1988 (approximately)
Seventh Seal



Silence in heaven; trumpet soundings by seven angels follow the opening of the seventh seal. May 21, 1988


In Revelation 8:3-4, we read about the prayers of the saints, and that these prayers “ascended up before God.”  In these verses, God is showing us that the period of silence in heaven had ended; this was the period of the latter rain, when God saved a great multitude of people.  The time setting for those verses is September 7, 1994.


We then read about seven angels with trumpets.  The first four angels sound their trumpets, and it’s the sound of judgment against the “third part.”  The third part is identified with the local congregations.  The time setting is still September 7, 1994.  That was the feast of trumpets, and that’s when the first four trumpets sounded.


Even though the latter rain began on that date, it was also a time of judgment against the churches.  Arrival of the latter rain meant God was again saving people throughout the world; but this time He was saving people everywhere except in the churches!


After the first four angels comes the sounding by the fifth angel.  The result is a swarm of locusts upon the earth (Revelation 9:1-3).  This period lasts for five months according to Revelation 9:5, and fits perfectly into the timeline.    We know that sounding of the fifth trumpet corresponds with May 21, 2011.


What are the locusts and what are they doing?  We find that the locusts have power or authority to torment those men “which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.”  Notice that they cannot hurt “the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree.”  In other words, they do not hurt the elect.


Revelation 9:5-6 tell us that their torment is like that of a scorpion when it strikes a man; and that in those days “shall men seek death, and shall not find it.”  That sounds very gruesome, but it should remind us that the Lord Jesus died for the elect.   Romans 6:4 helps us understand what all this means:


Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.


This verse tells us the kind of death that men will seek.  It is the “death” that comes by baptism into Christ’s death.  It is the death that brings salvation and eternal life!  In other words, during the five months men who want to be saved cannot be saved because the time for salvation has ended.  So we can now understand that the locusts are people who are bringing the Gospel.  But the Gospel can no longer save anyone during the five months.  There is no hope for anyone who hears the Gospel during this period, only a reminder of the law’s penalty.   That penalty is death for everyone who is not saved.


We need to understand that the five months associated with the period of the locusts are not five literal months.  Like every other number in the book of Revelation (except possibly for the number of horsemen in the great army, found and emphasized in Revelation 9:16), the five months must be understood as a spiritual period of time.  It represents the time after May 21, 2011 and continues until the last day.


Table: The Seven Trumpets Sound


The trumpets begin sounding when the smoke of incense and prayers of the saints ascend up before God (Revelation 8:4).  This begins the latter rain.   The first four trumpets sound together.


Sounding of … Vision When


First Trumpet Signs in heaven and September 7, 1994
Second Trumpet earth signifying (Feast of Trumpets)
Third Trumpet judgment against the  
Fourth Trumpet third part (churches)  
Fifth Trumpet Locusts tormenting men for five months May 21, 2011

(end of salvation) 

Sixth Trumpet Great army of horsemen (The Rapture) The Last Day
Seventh Trumpet End of the world The Last Day




Continuing with the trumpets, in Revelation 9:13 we read that the sixth angel sounded.  The verses that follow tell of a great army of 200 million horsemen bringing judgment on the unsaved. The sounding of this trumpet is associated with the Rapture.  The great army represents all of God’s elect – those who are alive immediately before the Rapture as well as all those who have died in the Lord during the entire time of earth’s existence.  Because of the way the number is emphasized in Revelation 9:16 (“I heard the number of them”), God may be revealing here the actual number of all those He has ever saved.


We know that the Rapture and the end of the world will both occur on the same day.  That is the last day, as we read in John 11:23-24:


Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.  Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.


Both the sixth and seventh trumpets will sound on the last day.  However, we have learned that God will not reveal this date to us.


We read about the seventh angel sounding the trumpet in Revelation 11:15.   That’s where we read that “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”  There’s a lot more to the book of Revelation after this verse; but as far as the earth’s history is concerned, that verse marks the end.



“Woe, Woe, Woe”


With the trumpet visions in mind, we can now begin to consider the three woes.  Right after reading about the first four trumpets sounding, we read in Revelation 8:13:


And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!


Notice that the word “woe” appears three times.  Also, notice something about the timing of the trumpets.  In the verse preceding the above verse – that is, in Revelation 8:12 – we read that the fourth angel sounded his trumpet.  Therefore, the above verse is telling us that the fifth, sixth and seventh trumpets had not yet sounded at that time (they are “yet to sound”).  Clearly, the last three trumpets sound after the first four.


We read about the first woe in Revelation 9:12:


One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.


This verse tells us that there are three woes; also notice that it comes right after the passage about the locusts.  Starting from Revelation 9:2 and continuing up to Revelation 9:11, we read about those locusts.  The very next verse, Revelation 9:12 above, tells us “One woe is past.”  It shows us that the first woe is identified with the fifth trumpet – the period of the locusts – and extends from May 21, 2011 until the last day.  After the fifth trumpet sounded, two trumpets remain and two woes also remain.


Notice something important.  After Revelation 9:12, in which we read about the first woe, the trumpet sequence continues and we read about the sixth angel sounding the trumpet.  The sixth trumpet identifies with the Rapture.


There’s only one other verse about these three woes, and that’s Revelation 11:14.  (Revelation 12:12 also contains the word “woe,” but that verse is telling us about Satan’s defeat after the Crucifixion.)  Here is Revelation 11:14:


The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.


This verse follows several verses telling us about two witnesses.  In order to identify the event pictured by the second woe, we need to understand the events pictured by the verses telling us about those two witnesses.


We already suspect that the second woe is identified with the sixth trumpet, which has to do with the Rapture; but we don’t find it mentioned in the verses about the sixth trumpet.   Instead, we find the second woe in a different chapter, after the verses about the two witnesses.  Before continuing with the woes, we need to take a detour to examine the vision concerning the two witnesses of Revelation 11.



The Two Witnesses and the Last Two Woes


As we read about the two witnesses, we find that this vision covers different periods of time.  When we apply the timeline to the vision, we can understand when each part occurs.


Here are the first two verses of chapter 11, Revelation 11:1-2:


And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.   But the court which is without the temple 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.


In the second verse above, we read about the first time interval: 42 months.  This equals three and a half years.  God frequently uses the number three and a half to represent the first part of something.  It is one half of a seven, and we have learned that the number seven has a spiritual significance: it represents the perfect fulfillment of God’s purpose.  Notice that during the 42 months, the “holy city” is “given unto the Gentiles” and “tread under foot.”  The timeline tells us that no one (or almost no one) was saved from May 21, 1988 until September 7, 1994.  That was the first part of the great tribulation.  It identifies with these 42 months, and comes after the church age has ended.


The next verse introduces the two witnesses.  Revelation 11:3-4 states:


And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.   These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.  


Notice that the two witnesses represent God’s elect.   They are identified as olive trees and as candlesticks (for example, see Luke 8:16; it’s the same Greek word for “candlestick” – Strong’s number 3087).  Here we find another period of time: 1,260 days.  That also represents 42 months, each of 30 days; so we have another “three and a half.”  Then, in the two verses that follow, we read about the power of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:5-6).  The timeline shows us that the end-time period during which God’s people prophesied with power began September 7, 1994 and ended May 21, 2011.  That was the second part of the great tribulation, and was the time of the latter rain.  It was a time when God used the proclaiming of His word to save a great multitude.


The next period of time in this vision about the two witnesses is found in the next couple of verses.  In Revelation 11:7-9, we read:


And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.   And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.  And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.


Here we see another “three and a half,” because that’s the length of time in days that the dead bodies of the two witnesses are “in the street.”  Using the timeline, we know that that this period represents the five figurative months (Revelation 9:5) from May 21, 2011 to the last day.


In the eyes of the world, God’s people were shamed (the ‘beast” was permitted to “kill them”) because of their warning that May 21 would begin Judgment Day.  Even though Satan was no longer ruling in the churches after May 21, his kingdom – which is the world – is still here; and so is he.  He can still exercise his evil influence in the world.   That’s why we continue to need the whole armor of God, so that we may withstand his influence until the end and stand “in the evil day” after we have “done all” (Ephesians 6:13).


May 21, 2011 truly did mark the end of God’s time to save anyone, but there was no physical evidence of that: no Rapture, no great earthquake, and no physical sign of any kind.  In the eyes of the world, God’s people were all wrong about May 21, 2011.  Of course, that was completely under God’s control: He didn’t allow it to be well known among His people that the Rapture would not happen until the last day, so they have been shamed in the world’s eyes.


Now notice what happens to the two witnesses three and a half days after they were “killed.”  Read Revelation 11:11-14:


And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.   And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.   And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.   The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.


These verses tell us that at the end of three and a half days, the two witnesses “ascended up to heaven in a cloud.”  That’s the Rapture!  The three and a half days identify with the five months of Revelation 9:5, and end on the last day.  That will be the day of the Rapture.


After reading that the two witnesses ascended to heaven, we read about a great earthquake.  Revelation 11:13 declares:


And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.


These events identify with the second woe, and are a result of the Rapture.  Remember, the Rapture brings judgment.


There is further support for us to understand that the earthquake of Revelation 11:13 identifies with the sixth trumpet.   Notice the words “gave glory to the God of heaven.”  This might remind you of Joshua 7:19, in which Joshua says to a man named Achan: “My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.”  A short time later, we read “allIsrael stoned him with stones” (Joshua 7:25).


When we read about the last two woes in Revelation 11:14 (“The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.”) we can understand the second woe to be the ascension of the two witnesses and the judgment it brings (which is the Rapture and the sixth trumpet) and the third woe to be the end of the world (which is the seventh trumpet, as described in Revelation 11:15-19).


Based on 1 Corinthians 15:52 (the dead shall be raised “at the last trump”), we can say that the sixth and seventh trumpets will sound together.  This makes sense because we know that only one day remains for everything else to be fulfilled – the last day.   So we see that the second and third woes are respectively the same events as those pictured by the sixth and seventh trumpets: they are the Rapture and the end of the world.


The “woes” give us an alternate way of understanding the final events in God’s salvation plan.  In them, God is showing us different views of the same future events.  Using the vision about the two witnesses, the woes take us along a different path; yet we end up at the same place.  Recall that after reading about the first woe, we then read about the sixth trumpet – which we know to be a picture of the Rapture.  When we again picked up the trail of the woes (Revelation 2:14), we found that it was right after the Rapture of the two witnesses and right before the seventh trumpet.  The woes verify the trumpets!


Table: The Three Woes


Woe  Vision When


First Woe Same as the fifth trumpet May 21, 2011

(end of salvation)


Second Woe The Two Witnesses ascend to heaven, and other signs (The Rapture)


The Last Day
Third Woe Same as the seventh trumpet


The Last Day


In the New Testament, it’s the same Greek word (Strong’s number 3759) that’s used whenever we read the word “woe” or “woes.”  It’s an exclamation that always seems to be associated with the wrath of God (for example, read Luke 6:25).  The locusts (fifth trumpet), which are the first woe, certainly show us a picture of God’s wrath.  We also see it in the army of 200 million horsemen (sixth trumpet) and the end of the world (seventh trumpet).


Amazingly, visions associated with the pouring out of vials of wrath in Revelation’s chapter 16 agree with the sequences we see in the trumpet visions and the woes.  If you read the vials-of-wrath visions in reverse order, you will find that the seventh vision corresponds with the end of the world (see Revelation 16:17: “It is done”); the sixth corresponds with the Rapture (the battle of Armageddon); the fifth corresponds with the time of the locusts (darkness in the beast’s kingdom and men “gnawed their tongues for pain”); and the first four correspond with the first four trumpets (showing judgment against the local congregations).  So we see further confirmation of what the timeline now reveals: judgment and blessing during the latter rain that began in 1994; the end of salvation in May of 2011; and the Rapture on the last day.



Two Pictures of Our Day


Of all the visions associated with the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the three woes, two of them are of great relevance for God’s people today.  The first one has to do with the two witnesses.


Recall that the two witnesses prophesied for a period of 1,260 days (Revelation 11:3).  We know this number is not to be understood literally, but spiritually.  It represents the second part of the great tribulation – the period of the latter rain, beginning on September 7, 1994.   That was the time when the Lord saved a great multitude all over the earth, and it lasted until May 21, 2011.


After the two witnesses “finished their testimony” (Revelation 11:7),

they were “overcome” and killed.  Then in Revelation 11:12 we read that they ascended to heaven.  We know that is a picture of the Rapture.  However, notice that they are not taken up to heaven immediately after they die.  There is a period of three and a half days when their dead bodies are “in the street” (Revelation 11:8) because people won’t allow them to be buried (Revelation 11:9).   This period of three and a half days matches the time after May 21, 2011 and continuing until the last day.


In His mercy, God has revealed – in this vision and in other ways – that His people will remain on earth after they have completed their task of warning the world of Judgment Day.  As far as the world is concerned, those who warned the world about Judgment Day have been completely discredited and shamed.  The world won’t let them forget about it: they won’t let the bodies be buried!  And so these verses are an excellent picture of the situation in which many of God’s people find themselves today.


Notice also how God helps us to understand John’s vision of the two witnesses by what we read in Revelation 10:10-11:


And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.  And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.


Some people may think these verses are telling us to continue preaching the Gospel to the whole world until the last day, even to those with absolutely no desire to hear it.  Is that what these verses mean?  John was told to eat the little book.  It was as sweet as honey, but it made his stomach bitter.  It’s very significant that this vision of the little book comes just before John hears about the two witnesses.


A new understanding of God’s word is always welcome by any one who loves it; and so the little book was, for the apostle John, as sweet as honey.  However, in his stomach it was bitter.  In fact, the message proclaimed to the world during much of the latter rain – that Judgment Day was approaching and that no one could be saved after May 21, 2011 – was indeed a bitter message.


John’s “little book” and the command God gave Him fit perfectly with our understanding that God wanted the world to know when salvation was about to end.  John was in no position to “prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.”   He was apparently an old man, confined to theislandofPatmos(Revelation 1:9).  The evidence is that God’s command to “prophesy again” was intended for end-time believers who would know when God was about to end salvation.


The vision about the little book helps us understand that the two witnesses represent those who brought the Judgment-Day warning to the world during the latter rain; and the vision of the two witnesses in turn shows us that God’s people would be shamed in the world’s eyes and remain on earth, patiently waiting for the Rapture, even though the time for salvation was over.


God has also provided a second picture showing that His people will remain here after May 21, 2011.  The vision associated with the fifth trumpet is that second picture.   The locusts represent people who bring the Gospel after Judgment Day has begun.  In this vision, we read that men shall seek death and shall not find it (Revelation 9:6).  This verse is telling us about unsaved people who seek the atoning death of the Lord Jesus during this time.   They seek it because they want to be saved; but they cannot find it because the Gospel no longer has power to save.


The time of the locusts continues for five figurative months, until the sixth trumpet sounds.  We have seen that the sixth trumpet corresponds with the Rapture, which we know will happen on the last day.  Therefore, the time of the locusts lasts from May 21, 2011 until the last day.   Here again, God reveals that His people remain on earth even after salvation has ended.  An understanding of these visions can bring great comfort to anyone who hoped for the Rapture on May 21, 2011.  They show God’s mercy to His people.



We Can See God’s Mercy When We Understand The Visions


In addition to seeing God’s mercy in the two visions picturing our day, we can also find it revealed in other ways.  Recall that the sounding of the sixth trumpet will signal the Rapture, and the seventh trumpet will signal the end of the world.  However, according to 1 Corinthians 15:52, the Rapture will happen when the last trumpet sounds:


In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.


How can we reconcile these verses?  The answer is obvious.  The sixth and seventh trumpets must sound together.  This means events of the last day must occur very rapidly.  There will probably be a moment of fear for the unsaved, but no suffering.  The resurrection and Rapture should start and finish very quickly, and then the universe will cease to exist.


There is even more reason to expect the end to come very quickly and mercifully.  As we read about the visions associated with recent timeline events that have already passed (e.g., the sixth seal and the first five trumpets), we read about terrible signs in the heavens and on earth.  We also read about great fear and suffering as men witness these events.  For example, read Revelation 6:15-17 in the passage describing what happens when the sixth seal is opened:


And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?


We know that there were no physical signs whatsoever when this event happened.   There was nothing out of the ordinary to see or hear, and there was no terror or suffering resulting from it.  The same is true for other Biblical milestones that have already passed, according to the timeline.  We should keep this in mind when we read about visions describing the last day.


Visions associated with the sixth and seventh trumpets, the second and third woes, and the sixth and seventh plagues are all concerned with the last day.  Those visions include slaying of the third part of men, a great earthquake, and a great hail.  However, based on what we have learned from timeline dates that have already passed without notice, we should expect the last day to end without such awful events.   We know that the Rapture and resurrection will happen then, and that God will end this universe; but He can do that without a great earthquake or any of the other terrible events described in Revelation.  How then can we understand such verses, and why did God give us such terrifying descriptions of timeline events?


A good reason may be God’s use of fear to restrain evil among men, and to motivate His children to spread the Gospel.  Verses telling us about terrible disasters and about men trying to hide from the Lord certainly inspire fear.  Indeed, God could make the last day a terrible one.  But the evidence from the Bible is that it won’t be.


Perhaps, when we read about men in fear, suffering from great plagues such as those described in the visions we have considered, we should think of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.  According to that parable, when the rich man died he was able to see Lazarus in heaven.


From many verses throughout the Bible, we know that there is no life after death for anyone who has not been saved.  When an unsaved person dies, it’s as if that person never existed.  There is no consciousness or suffering for that person ever again; so we know that a dead man cannot see anything from the grave.  What, then, is God teaching us in that parable?


Think about the dead man’s reaction when he sees Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom.  God appears to be showing us that the man would be in sorrow if he could know his fate and see the blessings he will never inherit.  If the rich man could see what God has prepared for His children, typified by the beggar named Lazarus in this parable, then he would indeed be very sorrowful to know that those blessings will never be his.


We can understand some of the visions described in Revelation in a similar way.  Men cannot see God’s anger at their sin and against the local congregations; but if they could, and if they had known what God was doing as each date in the timeline arrived, then they would have been very much afraid.



More Reasons to Expect A Merciful Last Day


When we read about the last trumpet sounding (1 Corinthians 15:52), we might think there will be a super-loud blast on an actual trumpet, and that the resurrection and Rapture will begin then.   However, there is a better way to understand the meaning of that verse.  In Revelation 1:10, we read:


I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,


Notice how the Lord’s voice is compared to a trumpet.  There are other verses that also lead us to understand that the trumpet soundings we read about in Revelation have to do with God’s spoken command.


Even from the beginning of the Bible, we read that God spoke everything into existence. For example, in Genesis 1:3, we read:


And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  


As we continue reading the creation account, we find that plants, animals and man appeared out of nothing as the Lord spoke them into existence.  Based on this, we should expect that – when the time comes – God will simply speak the universe out of existence.  Isaiah 51:6 is a verse that points to the universe ending this way:


Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.


Of course, when something waxes old, it increases in age.  If you have ever had a favorite shirt or other garment that you used for a long time, you probably noticed areas where it became very thin.   In time, there is less and less of that garment.  It slowly disappears as it ages.  God tells us the end of the universe will be like that, only it will happen quickly.


It is true that other verses tell us the universe will end in fire.  We find that in 2 Peter 3:10 and 12, and it’s a terrifying thought.  However, other verses help us understand something about the way God uses the idea of fire.  Notice what we read in Jeremiah 5:14:


Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.    


Here, God is speaking to the prophet Jeremiah and saying that Jeremiah’s message to the people – which was actually God’s message -will be like fire coming out of his mouth as he speaks.  This reminds us of the two witnesses who prophesied for 1,260 days.   Revelation 11:5 states:


And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.  


God’s words are also compared to a sword, as in Revelation 1:16:


And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.




God’s words bring judgment to the unsaved.  It’s as if the Gospel is a sentence of execution against the unsaved, to either cut them down with a sword or consume them by fire.


Yes, the Bible does tell us the universe will end in fire.  But it also tells us that God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).  In other words, the universe will be destroyed by fire; but He is the fire!


God tells us that He is merciful.  Based on many verses, we have good reason to hope His mercy will extend to our unsaved loved ones when He ends this universe; and that there will be no suffering whatever on the last day.





In John’s visions of the two witnesses and of the locusts, God reveals that His people remain on earth even though salvation has ended.  It makes sense that God didn’t allow His people to know this before May 21, 2011, or to know that there wouldn’t be a great earthquake.  If He had, they would not have had such a great feeling of urgency to warn the world about Judgment Day.


God has also allowed us to understand that the terrible physical events described in these and other visions concerning end-times must be understood as pictures of His judgment.  Except for the Rapture and the disappearance of this universe – which will be very real events – the evidence is that there will be nothing out of the ordinary between now and the last day.


Just as there were no disastrous events to be seen when the church age ended, or when the latter rain began, or when salvation ended, we should expect God to be merciful on the last day too.   We can expect the Rapture and resurrection to be over very quickly, and the end of the world to also happen very quickly as God speaks the universe out of existence.


We know how terrifying natural disasters can be from eyewitness accounts of those who have survived them.  Great earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, tornadoes and hurricanes can be amazingly powerful.  Undoubtedly we will have more of these events if the Lord continues to tarry.  However, they should not be interpreted as the phenomena described in the book of Revelation.  Those visions are spiritual pictures of what God has done throughout the New Testament period, continuing up to our day.  Except for the Rapture and resurrection on the last day, we should not expect any supernatural events to precede the end of this world.  The Bible indicates there won’t be any!


It was apparently a misunderstanding of the book of Revelation, more than for any other reason, that led many to think May 21, 2011 would be the day of the Rapture and of a global earthquake.   After all, like the book of Daniel, the book of Revelation deals very obviously with end times.


We know that some numbers from the book of Daniel are to be understood literally.  For example, the 1,335 days of Daniel 12:12 fit exactly into the timeline: that’s the period of time from the day the Lord began His earthly ministry on September 26, 29 A.D. until the Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost in 33 A.D. on May 22.


Other numbers from the book of Daniel also fit into the timeline and verify it.  Therefore, it was reasonable to think that certain passages from the book of Revelation should also be taken literally.  It was thought that one of the great earthquakes mentioned there (Revelation 6:12) would be a real end-time earthquake, and that the five months mentioned in Revelation 9:5 should be understood literally.


We can now understand that those things must not be taken literally.  They are part of the spiritual pictures God has given us to reveal certain things about His salvation plan.  The same book of the Bible on which erroneous teachings were based now reveals God’s end-time mercy.  When we understand the book of Revelation’s chronology of visions in the seven seals and seven trumpets, we have great reason to hope for a very fast and merciful end to this world for our unsaved loved ones on the last day.




Date of Judgment Day – Confirmed!

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Undoubtedly many people remember that last year, around this time, they were hearing that God’s Judgment Day was about to come.   There were billboards throughout the world announcing it; and if you did any regular travelling in or near a city, you were most likely offered a tract about Judgment Day – possibly many times.  The date announced as Judgment Day was May 21, 2011.  As you know, May 21 came and went just as any other day.  There was nothing spectacular about it, and the world is still going on the same as ever.  Does this mean that the effort to warn the world about Judgment Day was all a big mistake?  There’s no doubt that there was a misunderstanding about the nature of that day, because there was no great earthquake or any other type of physical sign.  However, there is more to this than meets the eye. 

You may remember reading or hearing a Bible verse about the Genesis Flood given as proof that Judgment Day would begin on May 21 of 2011.  The verse has to do with the fact that last May 21 was the 17th day of the second month in the Hebrew calendar.  Jews the world over use that calendar, although it doesn’t follow exactly the same rules as the lunar calendar God instructed ancient Israel to use after they left Egypt (see Exodus 12:1-2).  Why is it important that last May 21 was identified with the 17th day of the second month in the modern Hebrew calendar?

When we read about the great Flood of Noah’s day in the book of Genesis, we find that it began on the 17th day of the second month according to the calendar in use at that time (in 4990 BC).  God calls our attention to that date, as we learn from Genesis 7:11:

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 

In the Flood, God destroyed all mankind with the exception of Noah and his family.  Only eight people out of the whole world survived.   Aside from the last day of the world, when God will destroy all the unsaved on earth as well as the earth itself, the Flood is the only other occasion when God brought physical judgment on the whole world. 

It’s important to realize that the verses about the Flood weren’t used to determine that last May 21 was a key date in the sequence of dates discovered by Family Radio’s Mr. Harold Camping.  Rather, the Flood’s connection to May 21 was discovered only after Mr. Camping had calculated that date.

When we read about the Flood, we are reading about an historical event; but that account can also be understood as a picture or parable of God’s Judgment.  We know from the Bible that God uses such pictures to instruct us about past and future events.  Therefore, the fact that the flood began on the 17th day of the second month was understood to be an important confirmation for May 21 as the beginning of Judgment Day.  

You might not know it, but the book of Esther is also an historical parable about the end of the world.  This was known several years before 2011; it was written about and discussed on many occasions by various Bible teachers heard over Family Radio.  Collectively, they have spent many hours looking into this book of the Bible during the last few years.  We may, therefore, think it’s amazing that we can still learn something new from Esther; but that is apparently what has happened.

Something New from the Book of Esther

If you’ve ever read the book of Esther, you might not have paid much attention to the dates recorded there.  Those dates, however, are very important.  The new information has everything to do with those dates.

God has shown us that we can understand His word, which is the Bible, only if and when He opens it up to our understanding; so we really shouldn’t be surprised when we learn something new from the Bible – even if it’s something that was right there in front of us all the time, like those dates from the book of Esther. 

What has been learned from Esther proves that we have correctly understood a major date in the discovered timeline of events in God’s salvation plan.  More proofs may yet be discovered as people continue searching the Bible; but this new confirmation is really special.  It is the sort of thing that should make us suspect that God has waited until now to reveal it so that He could encourage His people.

A Wicked Prince, an Evil Plot, and a Courageous Queen

In order to understand what has been learned, some background information about the book of Esther is needed.  The time setting for Esther is about two hundred years after the fall of Jerusalem, during the time of the Media-Persian kingdom.  Most of the events we read about in this book take place in and around the palace at Shushan.   

In the book, we read about a wicked prince named Haman.  The king has promoted Haman above all the other princes (Esther 3:1), and now Haman expects all the king’s servants to bow before him (Esther 3:2).  However, a man named Mordecai, who is a Jew, refuses to bow before Haman.  We read of Haman’s reaction to this in Esther 3:5:

And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. 

Haman decides not only to punish Mordecai, but also to destroy all the Jews throughout the kingdom (Esther 3:6).  The date for their destruction is determined by casting a lot (Esther 3:7).  Haman then speaks to the king, making the case that the Jews ought not to be permitted to remain in the kingdom (Esther 3:8-9) and should be destroyed.   The king agrees to allow Haman to determine what should be done about the Jews (Esther 3:10-11).   Haman then has the king’s scribes write a decree for the destruction of the Jews, and has it sent throughout the kingdom (Esther 3:12-15).   Notice that this happens on the thirteenth day of the first month.

Mordecai learns about the decree, puts on sackcloth and publicly displays his grief throughout the city, even near the palace (Esther 4:1-2).  Esther, who is queen, learns what Mordecai is doing and is grieved exceedingly.   In fact, Esther is Mordecai’s younger cousin and was raised by Mordecai (Esther 2:7).  Her Jewish ancestry, however, is unknown at the court (Esther 2:20).  To Esther, Mordecai must have seemed more like a father than a good cousin.  

Esther sends “raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him” (Esther 4:4).  Mordecai doesn’t accept the clothing, and so she sends one of the king’s chamberlains to speak with Mordecai (Esther 4:5).  Mordecai tells the chamberlain about the decree and gives him a copy of it, saying that Esther should go to the king and make a supplication for her people (Esther 4:7-8).  

The king’s chamberlain tells Queen Esther what Mordecai has said.  She then sends another message to Mordecai, telling him that if she goes into the inner court to see the king without being called, she will lose her life unless the king holds out the golden scepter to her (Esther 4:9-11).  Her message includes the detail that she has not been called to come in unto the king “these thirty days.”

In Esther 4:13-14, you can read Mordecai’s response to this message.  He tells her not to think that she will escape, being in the king’s house; and that, if she doesn’t speak, help will come from another place.  He ends his message to her by saying “and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther sends her reply to Mordecai, asking him to gather all the Jews present in Shushan and to fast for her for three days.  She says “and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish (Esther 4:16).”

After the time of fasting, Esther goes to see the king and finds favor in his sight (Esther 5:1-3).  Her petition to the king is that he and Haman should come to a banquet she has had prepared for that day (Esther 5:4).  At the banquet, the king asks Esther what her petition is.  Curiously, Esther asks the king to come with Haman the following day to another banquet that she will prepare for them (Esther 5:6-8).

When Haman comes home after the first banquet (Esther 5:10), he tells his friends and his wife how he is being honored by Esther’s invitations (Esther 5:11-12).  Nevertheless, he is upset at the sight of Mordecai (Esther 5:13).  His friends and his wife advise him to have a great gallows prepared, and to speak to the king the following day so that Mordecai can be hanged on it (Esther 5:14).  Haman is pleased by this advice, and has the gallows built.

That night, the king cannot sleep.  He orders a certain book of records to be brought and read before him (Esther 6:1).  During the reading, the king hears the record of a plot that had been made against him.  It had been discovered and reported by Mordecai (Esther 6:2).  The king learns that nothing has been done to honor Mordecai for his service (Esther 6:3).

At that same time, Haman has come to the court to speak with the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows (Esther 6:4-5).  Before Haman has an opportunity, the king – intending to honor Mordecai for his past service – asks Haman what shall be done for a man whom the king takes delight in honoring (Esther 6:6). 

Haman advises the king to have the man dressed in the king’s royal apparel, and a crown set on his head, and led through the city on the king’s own horse by one of the king’s most noble princes as it is proclaimed before him “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour” (Esther 6:7-9).   The king then commands Haman to do all those things to honor Mordecai, the Jew (Esther 6:10).

Haman manages to carry out the king’s command (Esther 6:11); but in Esther 6:12, we read about his state afterwards:

And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered. 

Haman tells his wife and his friends what has happened, and while they are yet talking the king’s chamberlains arrive to quickly bring Haman to the banquet Esther had prepared (Esther 6:14).

At the banquet, the king again asks Esther what her petition is.  He tells her it will be granted to her, even to half of the kingdom (Esther 7:2).  Esther then tells the king that her petition is for her life and the lives of her people (Esther 7:3).   She tells the king “For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish” (Esther 7:4).

The king asks Esther “Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?”  In Esther 7:6, we read Esther’s answer:

And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. 

The king, in anger, gets up and goes out into the palace garden (Esther 7:7).  Haman realizes that his life is in jeopardy and goes over to where Esther is reclining, even falling over her to ask for his life.  The king returns to see what he believes is Haman assaulting Queen Esther.  One of the king’s chamberlains points out to the king the great gallows that Haman had built for Mordecai’s execution, and the king orders Haman to be hanged on it (Esther 7:8-10).  

The New Proof

We are now ready to examine the new information by reviewing only a few verses.  Recall that the decree ordering the Jews to be destroyed was written by the king’s scribes on the 13th day of the first month (Esther 3:12).  The decree would have had a date on it.  Regardless of which calendar was used in the kingdom at that time, the date would have been the 13th day of the first month according to the Hebrew calendar of that day (the ancient Hebrew calendar differs from the modern one).

Next, we know that Esther told Mordecai she hadn’t been called to see the king “these thirty days” (Esther 4:11).   Esther knew about the decree (Esther 4:8) because Mordecai had given a copy of it to the messenger to be given to her; besides, Esther in all likelihood had heard about the decree even sooner than that because she was queen!  It is perfectly reasonable for us to understand her words “these thirty days” to mean that the date was now the same day of the month following the one on which the decree was issued.

The next thing we need to notice is in Esther 4:16.   Esther’s message to Mordecai, recorded in that verse, is that he and the other Jews of Shushan should fast for her for three days.  This was in the hope that the Lord would preserve her life and bless her effort to save the Jews when she appeared before the king.   After three days of fasting that began on the 14th day of the second month, the date would be day 16 in the second month. 

It was on that 16th day in the second month that Esther went to speak to the king (Esther 5:1-3).  She asks him to come with Haman to a banquet that day.  The king agrees to this (Esther 5:5).

At that banquet on the 16th day of the second month, the king asks Esther what her petition is.  She asks the king to come to another banquet – again with Haman – on the following day, and she tells the king she will make her request then. 

Early the next day, being the 17th day of the second month, the king orders Haman to honor Mordecai for a past service.  (Mordecai once learned of a plot against the king (Esther 2:21-23) and revealed it, possibly saving the king’s life.)  Ironically, Haman has just gone to the king to ask permission to have Mordecai hanged.  Haman never has an opportunity to ask the king about this, because the king orders Haman to take charge of honoring Mordecai.

It is at the second banquet, held later that day and still on the 17th day of the second month, that Esther accuses Haman and the king orders him to be executed.  Notice that the king’s chamberlain was able to see the gallows Haman had prepared some distance away, thus indicating that the sun had not yet gone down and that it was still the 17th day.  

Based on what we read in Esther 8, we can conclude that Haman was executed that same day: the 17th day of the second month.  Here is a summary of dated events leading up to and ending on that day.

Timeline Leading to the 17th Day of the Second Month


The decree to kill the Jews is written (Esther 3:12):


First month, day 13


Esther’s message to Mordecai that she hasn’t seen the king for 30 days since the decree (Esther 4:11); Esther asks Mordecai to fast with the Jews of Shushan for three days (Esther 4:16):


Second month, day 13


Esther goes to see the king (Esther 5:1) and asks him to come to her banquet with Haman that day (Esther 5:4).  At the banquet, she asks the king to come to her banquet the next day, again with Haman (Esther 5:8):


Second month, day 16


Mordecai is honored; Haman is executed (Esther 7:10): 


Second month, day 17


That’s the 17th day of the second month – the same date we find in Genesis 7:11! 

What Does It All Mean?

To fully appreciate this new information, we need to remember that Moses recorded the book of Genesis, with its account of Noah’s flood, long before the book of Esther was recorded.  We know from the book of Exodus and from Mr. Harold Camping’s work that the children of Israel left Egypt in 1447 BC.  Both books – Genesis and Exodus – are dated from that time. 

The final events in the book of Esther, on the other hand, have been dated to 391 BC.  Mordecai may have been the man who recorded that book somewhere around that time.  Over 1,000 years after telling Moses about the 17th day of the second month (as recorded in Genesis 7:11), God inspired the writer of Esther to record events just as it was done so that we would again find that date in God’s word. 

We must realize that the importance is much greater than just finding that date in the book of Esther.  When we read about Mordecai being honored on the 17th day of the second month, we are seeing a picture of something important: it’s a fulfillment of a stage in God’s salvation plan.  In Esther 6:7-11, we read how the king honored Mordecai.  Notice especially the crown in Esther 6:8:  

Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: 

The Hebrew word translated as “crown” in this verse is “kether,” Strong’s number H3804.  Besides this verse, it’s only used in two other verses in the whole Bible: in Esther 1:11 and in Esther 2:17. 

The first time it appears in the book of Esther, it is the word used for the crown placed on Queen Vashti.  In Esther 1, we learn that Vashti was queen before Esther became queen.  However, Vashti refused to come when the king summoned her (Esther 1:12); and so the king decided to choose another queen (Esther 2:4).

In Esther 2:17, we read that Esther was made queen and that the king “set the royal crown upon her head.”  Here again we see that Hebrew word “kether;” this time it’s used for Esther’s royal crown.   The third and final time that word appears, it’s used for the crown set on Mordecai’s head.  What might God be showing us in these verses?

When we compare these verses with some others in Esther, we get a glimpse of God’s salvation plan.  First, notice that the king made Esther a “great feast” when she was crowned queen (Esther 2:18).  Although we don’t read about a feast to celebrate Vashti on the occasion when she became queen, there should have been a great feast for her too.  We then read about a conspiracy against the king by two of the king’s chamberlains who were his doorkeepers (Esther 2:21).  This conspiracy apparently developed about the time Esther became queen (notice the words “in those days” in Esther 2:21).

After the conspiracy is discovered, we read about Haman’s promotion (Esther 3:1), and then later we see Mordecai in sackcloth and ashes (Esther 4:1) when he discovers the plan to destroy the Jews.

All of these events fit our understanding of God’s salvation plan and give us a glimpse of it.  First, we know that God had chosen ancient Israel to be His people.  God saved some of them, and for a time they were the external representation of His kingdom.  Then, He moved to the next stage of His salvation plan – the Church Age.  Notice how Vashti and Esther fit into this picture.   Vashti represents ancient Israel and Esther represents the body of believers saved during the Church Age.  The Church Age began on Pentecost Day after the resurrection and ended in 1988, based on the same analysis that led to the discovery of last May 21 as a key date.

Soon after Esther wears the crown, we read about the conspiracy by the two doorkeepers.  This appears to correspond with the end of the Church Age.  We then read about Haman’s promotion.  You might remember hearing that God allowed Satan to begin ruling in the local congregations when the Church Age was over. 

When Haman’s decree is made known, we read about Mordecai crying in sackcloth and ashes.  This appears to be a picture of God’s people in mourning before May 21, when they saw the end of salvation approaching.  We know that only a short time later, Haman was humiliated when he was commanded to lead Mordecai through the streets.  Mordecai wore the royal apparel and the royal crown that day – the 17th day of the second month.

Just as Vashti appears to represent the body of believers saved out of ancient Israel until God ended that relationship, and Esther to represent those saved during the Church Age, Mordecai – as he is honored and as he wears the crown – appears to be a picture of the last group of believers to be saved.   

Elsewhere in the book of Esther, Mordecai appears to be a picture of the Lord Jesus or the Holy Spirit; but when Mordecai wears the same crown that Vashti and Esther wore, he appears to represent those people God saved outside of the local congregations from the time the Church Age ended until Judgment Day began.   This certainly agrees with our understanding that May 21 marked the end of salvation.

That date also marked the execution of a man who represents Satan.  The Bible shows us that God will judge Satan near the end of time, although Satan won’t be destroyed until the world ends.   In Daniel 7:11-12, we read about God’s judgment of Satan:

I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.  As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.  

The book of Esther confirms that there is a delay between the time God judges Satan and then destroys him, as indicated in the above verses.  It does so by telling us that Haman’s ten sons are executed several months after Haman’s execution (Esther 9:1 and 9:10).

Also notice that in Daniel 7:13-14, we find that God’s judgment of Satan happens at the end of the world.  This too agrees with our understanding that the book of Esther’s final chapter shows us a picture of God’s judgment against all the unsaved on the last day.

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. 

 The story of Esther is well known to Jews today.  It culminates with a great victory by the Jews over those who plotted to destroy them.  It is this book of the Bible that established the days of Purim (occurring this year around the end of the first week of March), celebrated every year by Jews all over the world.  We read about these days in Esther 9:28:

And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed. 

The book of Esther is probably less well known among Christians than most Old Testament books.  Perhaps it’s because God’s name is not mentioned in it.  There is no mention of prayer or dependence upon God in the book, and Esther is never quoted or mentioned in the New Testament.  However, the book of Esther is the Word of God – just like the other 65 books of the Bible.   Therefore, it is worth reading with a prayerful request that God may reveal any other spiritual lessons it may contain.

The new information from the book of Esther should be a big encouragement to anyone who sacrificed or suffered persecution in order to warn the world about Judgment Day coming on May 21.  Some of these people are undoubtedly wondering if they made a mistake by being involved in that effort, despite the proofs about May 21 that were known back then.  This new information is another wonderful proof that God did indeed guide His people to that date and that He wanted them to warn the world about it.

Related Stories:


 Countdown to Judgment

May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!

Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?

It is Finished: God’s Final Warning

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part I

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part II

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part III

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part IV

Judgment Day: Less than One-Half Year Away

A Word of Warning

Signs of the Times

May 21, 2011: Judgment Day Scenario Unfolds

The Great Anticipation

The Great Disappointment II


October 21, 2011: End of the World!!!

October 21, 2011 – The First Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Not the Last!


Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?


The World Will End on December 28, 2011: The Proofs


December 28, 2011 – The End: New Revelations 


December 28, 2011 – The End: New Revelations

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When May 21, 2011 came and went just like any other day, those who had spent thousands of hours studying the Bible over the last number of years were in shock.  They had to reassess their understanding, thinking that the beginning of the Day of Judgment must have been only spiritual in nature.  Then the focus turned to October 21, and when that day also passed with no outward signs, there was complete consternation.  Since the timeline of history seemed perfect, and all of the proofs lined up wonderfully, these determined people concluded that there must be more to the story.

This study has followed the search for this missing piece at the very end of time.  For these dedicated people, it started to look like an awfully interesting coincidence that the Day of Judgment was exactly 5 months long, and Noah’s ark floated on the water for exactly 5 months as well.  Since Noah’s journey wasn’t complete, maybe if they could line up our calendar with his, they could follow along to see what was still in store for us.  Indeed, the calendars paralleled each other beautifully, and with an impressive list of proofs, they determined that the very last day had to be December 28, 2011, not October 21.

As a prosecuting attorney builds his case on as much evidence as he can find, so too we search the Bible for every piece of information that can support our argument for showing Truth.  Even so, that attorney will also search desperately for a motive, as that helps substantiate his position immensely.   The law of God is eternal, and so His principles continue as law into whatever worlds are in the Heavens.  For us, we can learn all that we need to know about those laws in the Bible.  There is only one set of rules, and the Bible teaches that God Himself must also follow these laws.  However, God is under no obligation to explain his actions to us.  If He is going to show us why He added 68 days to the end of earth’s calendar, it can only be because of His love and kindness toward the human race.

Before we can address the question of why the calendar was extended, we should tie up a few loose ends to solidify our adventure in Noah’s ark.  First, let’s take a look at the boat itself.  In Genesis 6:15, God is telling Noah exactly what the dimensions must be:  “…The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.“  A cubit is about 18 inches, so the ark was about one and a half football fields in length, and 45 feet high, the height of a 3 or 4 story building!  We know that the rain continued non-stop for forty days and nights.  At the end of that period, the water would be at its highest level throughout the earth before starting to recede, which was about 22 to 23 feet above the highest mountain tops:  “Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.” (Genesis 7:20).  In Chapter 8 verse 3, we read, “And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.“  God is telling us that after the forty day rain, the water level dropped over the last 110 days of Noah’s 5 months of floating on the water.  Continuing on:  “And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.“  (Genesis 8:5).  This adds another 74 days to the 110 days, or 184 total days that it took the water to drop about 22 feet from its highest point until the mountain tops were visible.  Assuming that the water receded at a fairly constant rate, the ark would have rested on the spot on Mount Ararat in about 8 to 9 feet of water.  Looking at Noah’s ark as a 45′ tall vessel, we would expect it to float over the land in 22 feet of water, but it would probably bottom out in only 8 or 9 feet of water.  This reasoning helps bolster our confidence that our findings concerning Noah’s schedule of events are accurate.

A definite point of confusion is how that we can know for sure that the 40 days that Noah waited before he opened the window followed immediately after the day the ark rested on the mountain.  In the Bible, the passage about the 40 days is positioned on the page after the mountain tops were visible, which was 74 days after the ark landed.  We can get some help on this by taking a closer look at the one window in Noah’s ark:  “A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof;…” (Genesis 7:16).  Noah had one small 18 inch square window, and we can clearly see that the door was on the side, but the window was in the roof.  The ultimate purposes of the window were for Noah to keep track of the day and night cycles to count days, and to allow the birds to check for land.  Since the roof had to be a solid waterproof component of the ark to keep out the pounding rain, Noah could not see what was going on outside at all.  Finally, as described in Genesis 8:13, Noah dismantled the roof and looked down at the ground for the first time.  This was 90 days after the mountains were above the water line, or 164 days after the ark rested.  Day 74 after the ark stopped moving, when the mountains appeared out of the water, was like any other day had been for Noah for some time.  There was nothing to signal him to immediately start counting off another 40 days of waiting.  We now know that day 74 was the day the dove landed, but Noah did not see that happen either, as he only knew that it did not return.

One final piece of old business is clarifying how we know that all of Noah’s months were 30 days each, as the Bible does not spell it out word for word.  One strong piece of evidence is that when we make that assumption, everything fits neatly into place.  We know that the 17th day of the 2nd month to the 17th day of the 7th month is stated as totaling 150 days, which at least averages out to be 30 day months.  Also, Genesis 8:14 declares, “And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.“  This was the last official day of the flood, which began on the 17th day of the second month in the previous year. Using 30 day months, we arrive at a total of 370 days, or (10×37).  Spiritually this represents complete (10) judgment (37), and so we have harmony with this supposition.  In addition, as with an algebra problem in school, there have to be some known constants to work with to solve for the unknowns.  God always seems to give just enough information so that eventually we can find Truth.

Now, getting back to this matter of an explanation of why God would add 68 days after the 5 month Day of Judgment, we have the whole Bible at our disposal for our search.  Since we can justify the end time calendar of events through the period of the 5 month Day of Judgment, we must first look at these months to give us some reason to continue yet farther in time.  Besides Revelation Chapter 9 and Genesis Chapter 8, there is one more place in the Bible describing a curious period of 5 months.  Luke 1:24-25 says:  “And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.“.  The context here is centered around Elisabeth, the wife of Zacharias, who was an upstanding priest who had just completed his scheduled duties in the temple.  These verses describe how Elisabeth hid in shame from the world for being pregnant.  However, there was no reason why Elisabeth should feel ashamed at all, as this was a legitimate pregnancy, and she had every right to bear a child.  This discrepancy should cause us to take special note, and realize that these verses must be a parable of something else.

It turns out that Elisabeth’s baby would grow up to be John the Baptist, the man who announced and baptized the Lord Jesus.  When we jump down to verse 41, we find that something interesting happened to this baby while it was still inside Elisabeth’s womb:  “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:“.  This is a clear message that John the Baptist, as a fetus, was given a new eternal soul, and the promise of salvation that goes along with it.  We have correctly realized for centuries that this teaches us that human life begins at conception, and that salvation is possible for babies before birth.  But could this somehow also lead to the answer we are searching for?  The answer is a resounding YES!

To put this all in perspective, we need to go back to Noah’s window one more time.  The word window is used 14 times in the Old Testament, and 13 of those times, the original Hebrew word means just that, a window.  But in Genesis 6:16, as God is relaying his instructions regarding the construction of the ark, this Hebrew word for window is entirely different.  It focuses on the light the window gives, and the root of the word goes back to the meaning of producing light from oil, a figure of anointing.  This window is a symbol of salvation, and we had already assumed that, as the dove flew out of it to the Promised Land.  But now we can see that Noah’s window leads to even more incredible consequences for us today, as God has so craftily hid this surprise information in the Book of Luke.

Elisabeth is a picture, or portrait of all of the women of the world who have conceived or will conceive on or after May 21, 2011.  She conceived “after those days,” and hid herself for 5 months, to hide her reproach among the world.  When the Day of Judgment began, the salvation process as we had come to understand it was finished.  This is essentially true for all of those conceived before May 21, as you are either in the ark or outside of it in a hopeless condition.  For these pregnant women who started a life on or after May 21, the world is basically saying to them, “How dare you bring a baby into the world with no more hope of salvation, destined to die with no chance for eternal life!”  But as we read Luke 1:25 again, God in his mercy is taking away that shame, in the only way possible.  And that way must be by offering the hope of salvation to every bundle of human life conceived on or after May 21.  John the Baptist is a portrait of those babies out of that group who were chosen and not forgotten by God.  Most of us hadn’t thought much about this rather large group of human lives, but the Lord Jesus Christ had planned to save some of them too, and the world couldn’t end on October 21 until they were safe and secure as well.

…then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.” (Genesis 8:9).  As Noah reached out through that window to pull his dove into the ark, so too the Lord Jesus will be reaching out when the window is opened for us on November 24, pulling baby doves into the ark as a final 34-day celebration of the miracle of salvation.  How could we ask for a more wonderful Thanksgiving!  We now know that the raven was released when the window opened, so the world will continue along, business as usual, with no outward sign of God’s handiwork once again.  But this time we can be certain, that 3 days after we are reminded on Christmas of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, His purpose (3) will be fulfilled perfectly.

Related Stories:

Countdown to Judgment

May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!

Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?

It is Finished: God’s Final Warning

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part I

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part II

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part III

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part IV

Judgment Day: Less than One-Half Year Away

A Word of Warning

Signs of the Times

May 21, 2011: Judgment Day Scenario Unfolds

The Great Anticipation

The Great Disappointment II

October 21, 2011: End of the World!!!

October 21, 2011 – The First Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Not the Last!

Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?

The World Will End on December 28, 2011: The Proofs

The World Will End on December 28, 2011: The Proofs

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But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:37).  Little did we realize how important these words in scripture would be, in comparing Noah’s adventure with his ark 7000 years ago to our situation today.  In carefully piecing together this chronology in Genesis Chapters 7 and 8, every verse offers at least one tidbit of spiritual meaning or physical evidence to help put together our puzzle.  Finally, all the pieces appear to be in place. 


In Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?, we started to look at May 21 and October 21, 2011 in relation to Noah’s calendar in his day.  The idea was to align the two calendars precisely, so that we could use his calendar to forecast the events and dates into our future.  The Flood in his day began on the 17th day of the 2nd month, the Bible says.  Our Day of Judgment, after working through the timeline of history, also began on the 17th day of the 2nd month in the Hebrew calendar of our day, which translates to May 21, 2011.  The Flood began in 4990 BC, and 7000 years later (subtract one year, as there is no year zero), we reach 2011.  God warned Noah that the water was coming within 7 days, and II Peter 3:8 sternly warns us that one day is as a thousand years.  We have interpreted this to mean that Noah’s 7-day warning is a 7000 year warning for us as well.  In trying to align the two calendars, the start of both judgment periods is the same day, exactly what we need.  The problem is that the next significant day in each calendar does not appear to correspond with the other.  The ark rested on a mountain top on the 17th day of the 7th month.  In our Hebrew calendar, that is October 15, 2011.  However, our 5 month day of judgment ends on the 23rd day of the 7th month, or October 21, 6 days later.  Without resolving or explaining this discrepancy, our progress is at a standstill.

To find the solution, we have to look at the warning itself:  “For yet 7 days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights;…” (Genesis 7:4).  In checking the original definitions of the Hebrew word for “yet,” it would have been better translated “within”.  That would mean that the day of the warning was day 1, and Noah had 6 more days before the raining began.  This is called inclusive counting, meaning you are counting off 6 days, but adding one more, the first day, to the count total.  There are many other examples of this given by God in the Bible, and it gives Him more flexibility.  If the Flood began on the 17th day, the warning would have been given on the 11th day of the 2nd month.  The “one day is as a thousand years” applies to the warning, and begins on the warning day, not the day the Flood began 7 (inclusive) days later.  The 11th day of the 2nd month in our day is May 15, and 5 months later lands perfectly on October 15, the day the ark rested in Noah’s day.  Thus, we have a path of 7000 years + 5 months to October 15.  When God repeats the warning to us again on May 15, we also have 7 inclusive days before judgment day begins on May 21, and that second trail ends on October 21.  If you are counting it by each day, you must remember that one path uses Noah’s 5 months as 150 days, and the other path uses our 5 months as 153 days.  To summarize, our mistake had been to apply the beginning of the 7000 years to May 21, not May 15.

Since October 15 is the 17th day of the 7th month in both calendars, we can continue with our exploration for Truth.  Noah’s calendar proceeds from that day, not the end of the Day of Judgment on October 21, which we would normally assume to be the stepping off point.  God has inserted just enough little pieces of confusion here and there to have made it historically impossible to figure out.

And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:…” (Genesis 8:6).  We have already established that this was 40 days after the ark rested, on October 15 (in our day).  Counting 40 days, we come to November 24, which is the 27th day of the 8th month in our Hebrew calendar.  Using 30 days per month for Noah, going from the 17th day of the 7th month to the 27th day of the 8th month also is exactly 40 days.  The perfect alignment of the calendars is now extended to November 24.  For us, the window will open as well, even if it is only spiritual in nature.

The section in Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End? concerning Noah releasing the birds after the window was opened needs to have the timing corrected.  When Noah opened the window on November 24, he would have released the raven to check for land.  Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End? incorrectly states that the date was November 23, and that Noah waited 7 days before releasing the raven.  A week later, on December 1, he released the dove because the raven did not return.  The dove would return December 8 with nothing.  Would Noah release the dove again on December 8, or was it even the same dove?  In Verse 8, explaining the first release of the dove, it says “a dove.”  But in Verse 10, describing the second release, the Bible says “the dove,” telling us that it was the very same bird.  Noah would obviously not have sent it back out immediately after being in flight for the better part of a week.  (There must have been lots of floating material on the water for the bird to rest on from time to time.)  Recall that in Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?, we found out how we know that the time period between events was 7 days.  So Noah sent out the dove for the second time on December 15, a week or more after it returned.  This time it came back that evening, with the olive leaf in its beak, telling Noah that tree tops were now visible.  He would send forth the dove the third time on December 22 in our day, and it would not return.  The Bible does not give day and month numbers for all of this bird activity, so we can only count the spacing between events to move forward in the calendar.

As we spoke about in Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?, back in Verse 5 the Bible informs us that on the first day of the 10th month, the tops of the mountains were visible above the water line, giving the birds a place to land.  Counting days using 30-day months from the 17th day of the 7th month when the ark rested, we get a total of 74 days.  Counting out the days on our calendar from October 15, the mountains were visible on December 28, 2011.  The dove was released the third time on December 22, and would have come back on Dec 29 for this 7-day pattern to perpetuate.  It fits within reason that after 6 days, on December 28, the dove was able to land on a mountain top and not have to return to the ark.

The raven is an unclean animal in the Bible, meaning it could not be used for food or religious ceremonies.  Unclean animals are a picture of the unsaved people of the world.  When Noah released the raven, it tells us that once the flood was over, sin would again proliferate on the earth.  The dove is a clean animal, and it represents all of God’s children safe and secure with Jesus Christ in the ark. The mountains can be a metaphor in the Bible of the Kingdom of God, and on December 28 the dove does reach the mountain tops.

As the Bible teaches us to break down verses and sentences to discover Truth, we have found all through the Bible that some numbers and their factors regularly point to truth as well.  The number 2 can represent those bringing the Gospel, 3 can mean God’s purpose, 4 points to the farthest extent of whatever is in view, and 7 can show perfect fulfillment.  Also, 13 leads us to the end of the world, and 17 is a number signifying Heaven.  Finally, for this discussion, 37 and 43 often refer to God’s wrath or judgment.

As with the precise year intervals between events as posted in the Bible throughout history, the day intervals between events during these last days are also remarkable.  From between both May 15 to October 15, and May 21 to October 21, the duration is 153 days, or (3x3x17), signifying God’s purpose (3) is a promise of Heaven (17) for His people during the 5 months.  October 21 to December 28 is 68 days long, or (4×17), meaning the farthest extent of this time (4) ends in Heaven (17).  How fitting that these are the final 68 days that God has added onto the 5 month Day of Judgment!  October 21 to November 24 is 34 days, as is November 24 to December 28, each breaking down into (2×17), or those bringing the Gospel attaining Heaven.  October 15 to December 28 is 74 days (2×37), from when the ark landed until the very end.  Another very good piece of evidence is the time of May 21, 2011 to December 28, 2011, 221 days, or (17×13), Heaven at the end of the world.  There are even a few more, which are worth discussing.  There are 6,321 days from the start of the latter rain on September 7, 1994 to December 28, 2011.  This breaks down into (3x7x7x43), or God’s purpose is the perfect fulfillment of his Judgment.  December 15 to December 28 is 13 days, and it indeed leads to the end.  December 1 to December 22 and November 24 to December 15 both each total 21 days (3×7).  November 24 to December 22, when the dove would leave the ark for the last time, is 28 days, or (4×7), a metaphor for perfect fulfillment at the farthest extent of time.  The incredible number of 7’s, 13’s and 17’s must speak for themselves, as that could never all happen by chance.

As has been shown already, all of the numerical proofs, as well as Noah’s day count of 74 days, point to December 28 as the end of it all.  However, there is one piece that does not corroborate.  When you look up the 1st day of the 10th month in a Hebrew calendar, the corresponding Gregorian day is December 27, not December 28.  We must remember, however, that Noah’s calendar with 30-day months had only 360 days, so the two calendars cannot remain parallel indefinitely.  From May 15 to November 24, God has positioned all of the important days to line up precisely, which is quite remarkable.  Whether the mountains were visible on the 27th or the 28th of December, the dove landed before he would have returned by the 7th day on the 29th.  It is possible that the last day could encompass part of the 27th as things happen around the world, but the very end has to be the 28th, not the 29th.  One possibility is that, as the Bible states, no man knows the day or the hour, so that God has the absolute say in the matter whether it is actually sometime on the 27th.  

We should be in absolute awe of the infinite wisdom of Almighty God.  Mr. Camping was 100% accurate in all of the dates, but God’s plan was not quite finished. 

Related Stories:


Countdown to Judgment


May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!


Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?


It is Finished: God’s Final Warning


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part I


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part II


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part III


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part IV


Judgment Day: Less than One-Half Year Away


A Word of Warning


Signs of the Times 


May 21, 2011: Judgment Day Scenario Unfolds


The Great Anticipation


The Great Disappointment II


October 21, 2011: End of the World!!!


October 21, 2011 – The First Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Not the Last!


Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?


Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?

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The Bible teaches that the Feast of Tabernacles was to be observed from the 15th to the 22nd day of the 7th month every year.  This Feast period is a celebration of the Bible, and points to the completion of the Gospel and the end of the world.  In 2011, the 15th day of the 7th month in the Jewish calendar is October 13, and so the Feast this year runs to October 20.

Most of Genesis Chapter 8 is an account of the events of the flood while Noah was on board his huge ark.  The flood is also a parable of the final destruction of the world, as referenced in II Peter Chapter 3.  In those passages, God is comparing the flood of Noah’s day to the destruction by fire at the end of time.  In Verse 8 we read “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.“  This Verse is forcefully written in its repetition and unique use of the language.  In Genesis 7:4, God tells Noah that he has 7 days until the flood waters begin.  Many believe that that means that we had 7,000 years from the date of the flood until the Day of Judgment began.  Using information from the Bible, we can show that the flood began in 4990 BC, which would put the day of judgment in the year 2011 (subtract one year because there is no year zero).

Genesis 7:11 tells us that the flood waters began on the 17th day of the 2nd month.  In 2011, that would translate from the modern Jewish calendar to May 21, 2011.  Revelation 9:5 and 9:10, in focusing on the end times, speak about a 5 month period, thought to be the duration of the “Day of Judgment,” beginning on May 21, and ending right at the Feast of Tabernacles.

And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the 150 days the waters were abated.  And the ark rested in the 7th month, on the 17th day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.” (Genesis 8:3-4).  Since the flood started in the 2nd month on the 17th day, God is teaching us that the months in Noah’s day were 30 days long.  They would have had to add an extra month every 6 years or so.  The parallel here is the 5 months, and in the times since Israel became a nation in 1407 BC, the 17th day of the 7th month is the 3rd day of the Feast of Tabernacles.  In 2011, that would be October 15.

The world did not end during the feast after the 5 month period, but Noah’s adventure continued as well.  The ark was now grounded, but the judgment process apparently needed more time.  In Verse 5, we read “…in the 10th month, on the 1st day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.“  From the 17th day of the 7th month, when the ark rested, to the 1st day of the 10th month is 74 days, using Noah’s 30 day months.  Counting from October 15, we arrive at December 28, 2011.

Following in Verse 6, Noah opened the window at the end of 40 days.  The question is, 40 days after what event?  He sent out a raven and a dove, but as Verse 9 describes, “But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth:…“, there was no available land yet.  Verse 6 follows Verse 5 in the Bible, but the bird trial had to have occurred before the 1st day of the 10th month, not after, or the birds would have landed on the mountain tops.  In actuality, Noah opened the window 40 days after the ark grounded, including the day it stuck on the mountain.  Counting from October 15 inclusively, that day referenced to our calendar today would be November 23.

Verses 7-9 read:  “And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.  Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark...”  It looks at first read like Noah opened the window and released the 2 birds November 23 (spiritually in our day).  However, Verse 10 gives us a clue otherwise.  “And he stayed yet other 7 days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;“.  “Other 7 days”?  This is the first mention of 7 days.  Noah must have opened the window November 23 and waited 7 days for a sign or something, probably on his Sabbath, filled with prayer for guidance.  Finally on November 30 he would have released the raven, an animal he couldn’t use for sacrifices or food.  When the raven did not return by Dec 7, he would have let the dove go.

Normal expectation would be to assume that the dove came back without any evidence the same day.  However, Verse 11 explains things to the contrary when the dove came back the second time:  “And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off…“  The first time the dove came back it had been closer to a week, Dec 14, than a single day, so Noah waited 7 days and sent it out again.  When you think about it, if a bird flew for a week straight, wouldn’t you give it a week’s rest? 

The dove was sent out the second time on our parallel date of December 21, and came back the same day in the evening with the olive leaf.  Noah knew the waters were abating, because now the tree tops were above the water.  Of course Noah would give it another 7 days for the land at the base of the trees to be exposed.  This time the bird did not return.  Verse 5 told us that the mountain tops were above the water line on December 28, and the dove would be departing December 28, explaining why it did not return.  This harmonizes with the 74 days counting back to October 15.  When the dove had earlier departed on December 21, land was not visible yet.

Verse 13 declares: “…in the 1st month, the 1st day of the month, Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.“  So, although Noah opened the window and used the birds to test the flood level sometime before the first day of the 10th month, he did not really see the situation for at least another 90 days.  In Verse 5, the saying “…were the tops of the mountains seen” is simply referring to flood level data, or what the dove saw, not what Noah actually saw.  This was an enormous craft, and although it wasn’t moving, he apparently couldn’t see much through the window.  This Verse could be placed in the Bible to explain all of this without there being any special significance to the 1st day of the 1st month.  The rest of the chapter, starting with Verse 14, appears to be more historical in nature in regards to the people and animals, etc.

Assigning modern dates to the events in Genesis 8, we can summarize his adventure and look for spiritual truth for us.  The ark rested on a mountain top on October 15, coinciding with the future Feast of Tabernacles, and then the window was opened November 23.  On November 30, the raven was released, and never returned to the ark.  On December 7, the dove was released, and after a week returned with nothing.  On December 21, the dove was again released, and came back with an olive leaf that evening.  On December 28 the mountain tops appeared, and on that same day the dove reached dry land.  The 74-day breakdown is 40 days (inclusively), then 5 periods of 7 days.

This information was all carefully hidden in the Bible until our day.  Is God explaining the end time sequence to us?  The fact that Verse 5 is out of sequence, and that there are some additional hidden 7’s should wake us up to carefully study these passages.  Will the doves finally reach dry land on December 28, 2011?  There is so much circumstantial evidence in the Bible pointing to 2011, not 2012, that this might be our best hope for Truth.

Related Stories:


Countdown to Judgment


May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!


Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?


It is Finished: God’s Final Warning


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part I


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part II


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part III


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part IV


Judgment Day: Less than One-Half Year Away


A Word of Warning


Signs of the Times 


May 21, 2011: Judgment Day Scenario Unfolds


The Great Anticipation


The Great Disappointment II


October 21, 2011: End of the World!!!


October 21, 2011 – The First Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Not the Last!

The Great Disappointment II

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Between 1831 and 1844, William Miller – a Baptist preacher later credited with founding the Seventh Day Adventist Church – predicted that Christ’s Second Coming would occur in 1843.  Prompted by followers to set a more specific date for Jesus’ return, Miller – using the Hebrew calendar year 5604 – refined his earlier prediction simply indicating that the Return would occur sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844.  A further revision, based on use of the Karaite Jewish calendar, led to extension of the date to April 18th.  In August 1844, Samuel Snow – a Miller follower or Millerite – propounded his own interpretation based on what he referred to as the “seven-month message,” extending the date of Christ’s return to October 22, 1844.  This final prediction spread like wildfire among the general public, already familiarized with Miller’s preaching during the preceding 13 years.  The passage of October 22 without event came to be known as “The Great Disappointment.”

Miller based his prediction on information in the Old Testament Book of Daniel.  Daniel 8:13-14 states, “Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?  And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”  Using an interpretive principle known as the “day-year principle,” Miller began dating these 2300 “years” with the decree by Artaxerxes I of Persia in 457 B.C. to rebuild and restore Jerusalem and its Temple.  Thus, his simple calculation that Jesus would return in 1843 or 1844.

Fast forward to 1970 when Harold Camping published The Biblical Timeline of History that he later refined and expanding in Adam When? Using genealogies from Genesis and a starkly different interpretative method than that employed by Bishop James Ussher in his landmark Biblical chronology published in 1650, Camping established the date for the Creation of the World as 11,013 B.C. and the Flood as 4990 B.C.  Using a combination of historical and Biblical sources, he calculated that the most logical date for the birth of Jesus was October 4, 7 B.C and for his crucifixion, April 1, 33 B.C.

Having created a timeline and determined the date of our Savior’s birth, Camping later turned his attention toward determining when that timeline would end.  Firmly believing in the Bible as the literal word of God and relying heavily on numerology as proofs of his theories, Camping initially determined that 1994 might be the date for Christ’s return.  In John 21:1-14, Jesus tells the disciples who were about 200 cubits out in the Sea of Galilee to throw their net on the right side of the boat, resulting in a catch of 153 fish.  Camping interpreted this to mean that 2,000 years would intervene between Christ’s First and Second Comings.  Since there are 2,000 years between Jesus’ birth (7 B.C.) and 1994 (note that there is no year 0 and hence you must subtract 1 from your calculations), Camping speculated that Jesus would return in 1994.

Although uncertain of his 1994 prediction, Camping later refined his analysis, and – comparing “Scripture with Scripture” and interpreting the spiritual meaning of Biblical events – established May 21, 2011 as the authoritative date for Jesus’ momentous return.  He further identified numerous Biblical “proofs” for this date.  These proofs relied heavily on the “spiritual meaning” that Camping applied to certain numbers – 3 representing “God’s purpose,” 5 representing “atonement” or “redemption,” 7 “spiritual perfection,” 10 or its multiples “completion,” 17 “Heaven,” and 23 “destruction.”  Included among these were that May 21, 2011 was exactly 7,000 years from the date of the Great Flood (4990 + 2011 – 1) and that there are 722,500 days between Jesus’s crucifixion and his return with 722,500 being the product of two repeating sets of spiritually significant numbers:  5 x 10 x 17 x 5 x 10 x 17.

Obviously, Harold Camping exerted a great deal of research, Biblical scholarship, and critical thinking into developing his theories.  Also, quite evidently, he – like William Miller and everyone else who have ever attempted to predict the world’s end – was wrong.  Does this mean that he should become the subject of derision and branded a “false prophet?”

Mr. Camping has been a source of controversy among Christians for more than two decades.  His views ultimately led to his excommunication by the Church with which he had been associated in 1988.  Coincidentally, he later determined from his Biblical scholarship that his excommunication coincided with what he refers to as the “end of the Church Age” in Christian history, the time at which the Holy Spirit left the Christian churches and Satan took over as their ruler.

Since that “revelation,” Camping has maintained that no one can be saved in the churches and that when Christ returns to Rapture his “elect,” those in the churches will be left behind.  Undoubtedly, this point of view has not been cheerfully embraced by the leaders and congregations of these churches.

Another thing that has been a source of frustration and consternation to those who would question Camping’s views is his absolute certainty in their rectitude.  On his call-in radio program “The Open Forum,” Camping has resolutely refused to entertain any questions conditioned on the possibility – no matter delicately stated – that his interpretations were incorrect.  His response has always been that to do so would be to deny The Bible and its truthfulness.

Like many before him, Camping confused his own interpretations with Biblical truths.  And, although he never suggested to anyone that they should make any personal or financial decisions based upon his predictions, one wonders how many did.  At the time of the Millerite’s Great Disappointment, there were reports that many of the “believers” had sold or given away their property in reliance on the belief that they would shortly be leaving this world.  I hope that that is not the case with Camping’s followers.

While Camping’s personal demeanor of certitude may have been divisive and his approach to interpretation seriously flawed, I believe that he has made a significant contribution to Biblical scholarship.  I also believe that, advanced in age, he will likely disappear from the limelight and that Family Radio will ultimately return to a more mainstream Christian message.

And, to those “true believers” that May 21, 2011 would be the date of Christ’s return, I offer the following consolation:  your efforts in promoting this message have not been in vain.  Your message, although inaccurate, has spanned the world, gained the attention of both mainstream and alternative media, introduced countless thousands to Christianity, and placed thinking about God squarely into the forefront of the minds of people worldwide sorely in need of His merciful intervention.  Countless others have delved seriously into the Word of God for the very first time in their lives.  Some of these will, undoubtedly, continue to read and study the Word.

And so, your “Great Disappointment” may produce great joy in Heaven.

Related Stories:

Countdown to Judgment

May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!

Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?

It is Finished: God’s Final Warning

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part I

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part II

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part III

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part IV

Judgment Day: Less than One-Half Year Away

A Word of Warning

Signs of the Times

May 21, 2011: Judgment Day Scenario Unfolds

The Great Anticipation

J-Day: May 21, 2011

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In spite of all the hoopla about a government shutdown, the need to balance the budget, Presidential birth certificates, and who shot Osama Bin Ladin, both the media and the White House have been eerily silent about J-Day.

The only hint I have seen of this prophesied event of the Second Coming of Jesus, to render judgment upon the world, has been in articles posted on writeonnewjersey.com, articles that have created a firestorm of controversy. Otherwise, the silence is deafening.  It boggles my mind that no one else is interested in this literally Earth-shattering prediction.  If it does come to pass and Jesus pulls the plug on us, there will be no need to worry about paying back our debts to the Chinese or even the banks underwriting our credit cards. You know, it almost sounds like heaven!

According to the sagacious Father Guido Sarducci, when the end comes you will have to pay for your sins.  At the final judgment, we will each receive an endowment of $15,000 dollars to pay for our sins.  Not much of an endowment, I’ll admit, but Father Sarducci preached to the faithful decades ago, before Chevy Chase was forced to make those awful “vacation” movies and before rampant inflation besieged us all.

The good Father also explained that each sin will be assigned a monetary value.  Small sins, such as self-gratification, or what the Church would call self-abuse, can cost a mere 35 cents. But depending upon how often you indulge yourself, that 35 cents can add up exponentially, running into hundreds if not thousands of dollars.  More serious sins, such as stealing or adultery, carry a heftier price.  And the ultimate sin — murder — can run into the millions.  So, you see, that $15,000 will not cover much if you have lived a wicked life.

What, then, will befall, the truly wicked if they cannot pay the piper?  Will they end up impaled or have strawberries growing out of their nether-regions, as do the pitifully damned in the paintings of Bosch?  Will they be forced to watch re-runs of “Charles in Charge?”  Will they be compelled to listen to Lindsay Lohan’s album, or worse, her incessant excuses to the judge?   Quake now with fear, for the answer is “No!”  The punishment will be far worse than you may imagine.

According to Father Sarducci, if you should run out of money, you will be sent back to Earth in order to increase your income (and in this economy, that sounds like hell to me).  However, you will not be returned as the same person you were when you quit this earth.  Wicked people return as nuns, sewer workers, or (shudder!) Star Jones.

Of course, if God turns out to be related to Charles Darwin, the Second Coming would herald a return to nature.  We could swing blithely through the trees in the canopy, gorging ourselves on fruits and veggies and crying, “Brad Pitt!” or “Angelina!” rather than “Tarzan!” or “Jane!” and alternately calling for Chunky Monkey ice cream and hot fudge sauce to go with all of those bananas.  In light of the economy, this might even be a step up for some, but certainly, not the end of the world.

So why isn’t the good news of our imminent demise being spread?  Is Big Oil or Wall Street trying to cash in before the s**t hits the fan?  Or is J-Day but a myth conjured up by certain religious leaders of the world in the hope of scaring their followers into donating their wealth as repentance?

Only time will tell, and we’re running out of time.  Forewarned, as they say, is forearmed.  On the 20th of May, if the White House or the news media interrupts your TV viewing with a special announcement before midnight, you can put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye! 

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