The phrase ‘time of the end’ typically refers to the return of Christ after the seven year tribulation period.
Previous columns have detailed the atrocities of Antiochus Epiphanes of the Seleucid Empire, who is referred to as king of the north in the book of Daniel. Antiochus was the precursor of the future king of the final world kingdom, i.e. the anti-Christ.
Recall that some of the Jews would not bow down to him at the expense of their lives.
“And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.” Daniel 11:35
This verse reveals such suffering and oppression of the Jews in the 2nd century BC will be experienced up to the ‘time of the end’ because it is still for the ‘appointed time.’
‘Time’ in the above refers to the ‘right’ or ‘proper’ point in time on the linear time span.
We’ll see shortly that the ‘time of the end’ can refer also to the end of the world system as we know it. The term ‘appointed time’ means a ‘pre-determined time.’
The ‘time of the end’ is also a significant teaching in the New Testament. Jesus’ disciples were very interested in the time Jesus would return to establish His kingdom.
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying… ‘What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’” Matthew 24:3
‘End’ does in fact mean ‘termination.’ Interestingly ‘end’ in this context is from the Greek (aion)which is the same word used for ‘age.’ Therefore, each age has an ending, except the new heaven and new earth.
Jesus addressed the disciple’s question relative to the end of the current age.
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled, for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Matthew 24:6
Wars are to be expected during the present age, but they do not define the ‘end.’ In fact Jesus said that such things were just the beginning of sorrows. The use of ‘sorrows’ describe the pain experienced in childbirth. When such pain begins it will accelerate until the birth occurs.
Then Jesus provided a glimpse of when the end would take place.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14
The final worldwide preaching of the gospel is described in the Revelation.
“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth – to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people – saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come…’” Revelation 14:6-7a
The Bible reveals many ‘signs of the times’ provided for man to recognize the reality of prophetic Scripture but skeptics were not convinced. Recall Jesus’ words to the Pharisees and Sadducees when they asked for a sign of Jesus’ authority.
“He answered and said to them, ‘When it is evening you say, “It will be fair weather for the sky is red.” And in the morning, “it will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.” Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.’” Matthew 16:2-3
And while many ‘signs of the times’ were listed by Jesus as He described future events such as in the Olivet Discourse, many signs were provided hundreds of years prior.
Consider the following prophetic message given to Daniel relative to the mid-point of the future tribulation.
“And he (anti-Christ) shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints…and shall intend to change times and law…” Daniel 7:25
The Hebrew for ‘change’ means to ‘alter’ or be ‘diverse,’ while ‘times’ imply appointed times such as Jewish or Christian holidays.
Is there any such movement in America today?
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