Truth, Understanding, Insight

Times Appointed Part 1

20th August 2009, mgh,hej


1) Latter Days and End Time

God that made the world and all things therein.. has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; (Acts 17:26)

In the Bible there are many predictions relating to the 'end time' or 'last days', or 'latter days'. All these terms refer to a period of time preceding the open revealing of the power of the God of Israel, Yahweh, to the nations. We must be wary, however, as the God of Israel's judgements on ancient Israel and Judah resulted in a few 'end times', or 'last days', of the Jewish nation.

The phrase 'last day' always refers to the resurrection and the judgement (John 6:39,40, 44, 54, 7:37, 11:24). There is one reference to 'latter day'

For I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: Job 19:25

The redeemer elsewhere refers to Yahweh (Isaiah 43:14), so Job here says Yahweh will stand on the earth at this 'latter day'. Again this speaks of the open revealing of the power of God on earth.

The Bible is written with simple words. It needs to be approached with the simplicity of the words, but also with deductive intelligence. Isaiah condemns those in Israel who refused to read the vision saying it is sealed and can't be understood!

the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he says, I cannot; for it is sealed: (Isaiah 29:11)

Therefore what is to occur in the 'last days' can be understood. Fullness of comprehension, of course, will come when it is fulfilled.

In addition, we have been given some specific time periods, so that not only are we told what is going to happen, we have a reasonable idea of when it is going to happen. We are not told the exact hour or the day, or even the month of the 'last day', but we are given a general time period.

To understand the time periods related to Bible prophecy, passages need to be put together and a bit of history added.

That the times appointed can be understood is shown by those who have examined them in the past. A famous example is Isaac Newton. Recently many of his documents have been released. Newton shows he is familiar with other's understanding of the time periods in Daniel. He knew Joseph Mede, who thought that the 1260 years prophecy of Daniel 7 began in 476AD and would therefore end in 1736 with the establishment of the Millenium. William Lloyd had made a public announcement for the 1260 years to end in 1716, which clearly had passed by the time Newton wrote the following.

So then the time times & half a time are 42 months or 1260 days or three years & an half, recconing twelve months to a yeare & 30 days to a month as was done in the Calendar of the primitive year. And the days of short lived Beasts being put for the years of (long) lived kingdoms, the period of 1260 days, if dated from the complete conquest of the three kings A.C. 800, will end A.C. 2060. It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner. This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fancifull men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, & by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail. Christ comes as a thief in the night, & it is not for us to know the times & seasons wch God hath put into his own breast. (Newton, Yahuda MS 7.3 Fragments on the rise of the papacy, with draft fragments on Revelation)

We note two things. Newton wrote 'if dated' as if making a scientific proposition, and he notes it is the 'complete conquest', indicating that he knew his start date is the end of an era.

Newton examined the time periods of the Bible and postulated many start dates and never settled on an end date. For the 1260 period of Daniel 7 ending with coming of the Kingdom, he suggested start dates of 609, 774, 788 and 841 A.D (Cambridge University Library MS. Add. 9597). Newton wrote regarding 774 “the Pope gained his temporal Estate dominion by the grant of Charles the great & thereby became a king” (Keynes MS 5). Adding 1260 to 609 and 774AD gives 1869 and 2034. Newton wrote confidently of start dates but did not generally write down the end dates, as if unsure. In Newton's day (he died in 1727) nobody could see the end of the Papacy's dominance. He knew it was not for him to know the times. He looked to the time when the wise would understand (Daniel 12:10). However, by thinking about the times appointed Newton affirmed that he valued the political reality of the revelation given in the Bible and waited for its fulfilment.