Understanding the Times
I believe that:
God created the heaven and the earth out of nothing.
God is working out his plans for the world
God determines the rise and fall of nations.
Jesus death on the cross was a victory the principalities and
powers in the heavenly places.
Jesus rose from the dead and seated at the right hand of God.
Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords
The Holy Spirit is moving on the church in a special way
The Holy Spirit gives his people gifts of power and healing
Jesus will return at the end of history.
I also believe that we need to understand the times in which we are living.
We need to understand what God is doing. If we do not
understand the times and what God is doing, we will not know what to do.
A general consensus has developed among Christians that we are in the
"end times" or the "last days". Most
Christians believe that Jesus is coming soon. Many well-known
preachers and teachers are saying that we are in the "last
days". However, despite its popularity, there are several
problems with this view.
Jesus was quite emphatic that even the angels do not know the
date of his coming Only the Father in heaven knows
when he will return (Matt 24:36). Therefore, it is dangerous
to say that we know when Jesus is coming.
Therefore, it is not surprising that those who predict the
second coming have a strong track record of being wrong.
Christians in nearly every age have believed that they were living
in the last days and that the second coming was near (eg Martin
Luther). Subsequent history has always proved that they were
wrong. Even in our own time, the end-time prophets have
constantly postponed their timetables. I can remember when
Jesus was expected to come in 1988, a generation after the
establishment of Israel. That prediction seems foolish now,
as does many of the Y2K prognostications.
It may come as a surprise to many Christians that, although many
books and Christian novels have been written about the "end times", the
expression is not used in the Bible. The Bible teaches that the last
days are finished (follow the link to see
what the Bible says). We need a more biblical
understanding of what God is doing in the world.
The belief that Jesus is returning soon has made the church very
present-orientated. If the end is very close, there is no point in
investing in activities that have long-term benefits. The greatest
hope of most Christians is to escape the world, when Jesus
Hold on!! The modern world is also present-orientated
and escapist. When the church and the world are thinking the same,
isn't something wrong. Has the church been captured by the
spirit of the world?
Christians, who count on Jesus to come soon, are living
dangerously. If he does not come soon, they will be
disappointed. They will not be ready for
what lies ahead. (See the parable of the foolish virgins, Matthew
I believe that the second coming may still be a long way off (see the
God has far greater works, that he wants to do through his church here
on earth. I am preparing for a long-term victory, after a
long-term (and perhaps intense) battle. My hope is in the Holy
Spirit and what he will accomplish here on earth through the
Church. I am not looking for an escape from the world.
However, I am also ready to meet with Jesus, if he does come soon.
Here I will outline Gods plan, identifying the times
and seasons, mentioned in the Scriptures in a way that is easy to
understand (follow the link for a summary). You
may find these ideas hard to accept. However, don't close the
page. I challenge you to read on and check whether
what I say lines up with the scriptures.
(I will also challenge some of the many unbiblical
teachings, which are uncritically accepted by Christians.)
End of the World?
Many Christians believe that we are getting close to the second
coming of Jesus. Those who believe that the end of the world is near
assume that we have entered the “end times” or “last days”. They
are right to think that we are getting close to a change of season, but
because they do not understand the times and seasons, they are looking
for the wrong events.
Most Christians assume that God’s plan has the following steps.
Jesus ministry>> Church age>>
End times>> End of
This outline is wrong. It has caused widespread confusion.
Firstly, the end of the world is not the next big event on God’s
timetable. He has many things to do before his plans for this earth are
complete, so the end of the world is a long way off. Other epochal
events are more important and much closer.
Secondly, the expression “end times” is not used in the
scriptures. Seeking the “end times” is a distraction that has
prevented God’s people from understanding his plans.
Times and Seasons
The Bible teaches that God has determined times and seasons. Paul told the Christians
in one of his Churches that he did not need to speak to them about times and seasons, as
they already understood them (1 Thes 5:1). He also sets the times and boundaries for all
nations (Acts 17:26). We need to understand the times in which we are living
The NASB translates the word "times" as "epochs". The word
"epoch" is derived from a Greek word, which means pause. It is used to describe
the breaks between the acts of a play. In Gods plan each new season is started by an
epochal event which marks the end of the old season and the beginning of the new one. God
breaks in and changes the "state of the play" and starts a new stage of history.
The key epochal events in the Old Testament were the flood, the tower of
exodus, the Kingship of David and the Exile. The incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection
and ascension of Jesus was the ultimate epochal event that marked the beginning of the New
God is sovereign and he has a plan. He is not working by trial and error. He knows the
beginning from the end. Each interaction builds on the previous one and moves history
towards the ultimate goal.
The Rock and the Mountain
The New Testament age has two main parts.
During the first part, the focus is on the church. The Bible refers to this period
as a "Rock". During the second stage, the Kingdom of God grows to
fulfilment. This stage is likened to a "Mountain" (see Rock and the Mountain). We are now getting
close to the transition from the rock to the mountain.
Most Christians will be surprised to learn that we are still in the first half of the
New Testament age. However, we need to understand that God has
plenty of time.
The New Testament age consists of five seasons: three during
the first part (rock) and two during the second part (mountain). The five
seasons are as follows:
The Last Days (Heb 1:2)
Times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24)
Time of distress (Dan 12:1; 8:19;11:36)
Kingdom of God (Luke 11:2;Rev 11:15)
Little Time (Rev 20:3)
These seasons of vary in length. The first and the last are very short. The second season is much longer.
The third quite is quite short. The fourth will be really long.
Including the Old Testament age, there are six seasons on
earth, followed by the rest of
eternity, a total of seven seasons . This parallels the six days of
creation followed by the day of rest. Sevens are
more important than thousands in God's plan.
Nine epochal events mark the transition from one to season to another.
Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70)
1 to 2
Fullness of Israel
Collapse of Human Government ends 3
Man of Lawlessness
4 to 5
The transition from the third to the fourth is marked by four
epochal events. This is also the transition from the Rock to the
There is a very clear time line.
The seasons and epochal events are described in detail below
The Destruction of Jerusalem
The first epochal event in the New Testament era was the Destruction of Jerusalem in AD
70. This event put the final ‘nail in the coffin’ of the Old
Jesus predicted this event in Matthew 24:1-35, Mark 13:1-31 and Luke 21:5-33. Most
Christians believe these verses describe events before the Second Coming. This is not
true. To understand these verses, we must note the question that Jesus was answering. The
disciples had commented on the glory and beauty of the temple. Jesus said that the time
would come when not one stone would be left standing on another. The disciples could not
believe this would happen; the temple was the centre of their world. Jesus gave them the
signs that would lead up to this event.
An idolatrous sacrifice would be made in the temple. Jesus said
that when this happens all Christians
should flee Jerusalem. The Christians in Jerusalem (eg Barnabas) sold their property
because they knew it would soon become worthless (Acts 4:36). In A.D.70 a Roman army
surrounded Jerusalem and started a terrible siege. The Jewish historian Josephus described
this time and it was a terrible tribulation. Conditions were so severe that mothers ate
their babies to survive. Jesus' awful prophecies were fulfilled. However,
Christians who had heeded Jesus warning left the city before the siege began and fled to
the safety of the mountains. (See the Jesus
Big Prophecy, Earthquakes
and Wars, Sun and Sky
The Last Days The First Season
The forty-year season between the ministry of Jesus and the destruction of
Jerusalem is called the Time of the New Order. Hebrews 9:10 says that the temple
sacrifices applied until the time of the new order. The death and resurrection of Jesus
marked the end of the Old Testament age and the beginning of that new order.
The new order had two consequences.
Firstly, the role of Jerusalem in Gods plan was redundant. The temple had been
the centre of sacrifice; but now Jesus death on the cross put an end to sacrifice forever.
Jerusalem had been the throne of the King of Israel. Now Jesus had been ascended to sit at
the right hand of God as King of the whole earth. Christians have been appointed as kings
and priests (Revelation 1:7).
Secondly, God established the church do his work in the world.
The time of the new order is also called a time of punishment (Luke 21:22). The
Jews had rejected Jesus. The destruction of Jerusalem was a judgment on the city that had
crucified the Son of God. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Jews were scattered among
The Bible gives us another name for the season between the ministry of Jesus and
the destruction of Jerusalem. This name for the time of the new order is surprising. Many
readers will find this hard to accept, as I did. This season is called "The Last Days".
The Times of the Gentiles The Second Season
What Season are we in now?
The Destruction of Jerusalem marked the beginning of Times of the Gentiles. In Luke 21:24,
Jesus said that Jerusalem would be trampled until the Times of the Gentiles are fulfilled
(cf Rev 11:4). Jerusalem is still being trampled by other nations. The epochal event that
ends this season has not yet occurred so we are currently living in the Times of the
Paul explains the reason for the Times of the Gentiles in the book of Romans. In Romans
10:21 he describes Israel as a disobedient nation. Although a few have been saved, as a
nation they are shut off from God. They have been hardened (11:25), enemies of the gospel
(11:28) committed to disobedience (11:31) and broken out of the vine (11:17).
This is the reason why the battle has been so hard for the last two millennia. Part of
the team is missing. The church is not complete so it has not been functioning at full
When Jesus died upon the cross, the devil was totally and fully
defeated. He was cast out of heaven (Rev 12:13) and can only continue to
function on earth if he can deceive people into rejecting the gospel.
However he does have one last legal right on earth. Because Israel is
under judgement (Matt 23:39), Satan has had the right to execute its
judgement by working evil that will affect them. Furthermore, because
the Jews had been scattered among the nations, he has been able to work
in all the nations.
Whenever, Satan wants to do great evil in a nation, he incites it to
attack the Jews and then he has a greater authority to do his work. For
example, Satan incited both Hitler and Stalin to attack the Jews. This
enabled him to do great evil through them.
The rejection of Israel has also given Satan a legal right to
continue workin in the world, despite his defeat. Because he has had this
freedom work in the world, the Kingdom has not come to its proper fulfilment.
We can expect the
rise and decline of the Kingdom to continue until the times of the Gentiles are finished.
However, when the Jewish judgment comes to an end, Satans last legal
authority on earth will be gone. His power to do evil will be severely curtailed. The end
of the times of the Gentiles will bring a rapid decline in evil and open the way for an
equally rapid advance of the Kingdom of God.
What is the next epochal event? This is something that we really need to know, if we are
to understand the times in which we live.
The Four Horsemen -
Next Epochal Event
I believe we are close to the end of the Time of the Gentiles and moving into the Time
of Distress. However, the events that indicate the start of this time are described in the Book of Revelation. The birth pangs or
epochal events that mark this change of season are
the Four Horsemen of Revelation 6.
We will soon see the events marking the beginning of the Time of Distress.
These are not a sign of the second coming or the rapture, but the do
lead up to the
Fullness of Israel and the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
Time of Distress the Third Season
The season that follows the Times of the Gentiles is the Time of Distress.
Daniel was told that during a Time of Distress for the nations, multitudes from his nation
would receive salvation (Dan 12:2,3). It is also described as a time of wrath (Dan 8:1;
11:36). The time when the Holy Spirit is poured out on Israel will come
at the end of a time of great
trauma on the earth. Many nations will be attacking Israel. There will be disasters around
the world. Therefore, this short period at the end of the Times of the Gentiles which
leads up to the Fullness of Israel is called the Time of Distress. However, although it is
a difficult time, God will also pour out his Spirit during this time. Moreover, because
God is merciful, it will be cut short; it is only half a time.
Instead of looking for an
escape, as many Christians are, we should:
Pray for the calling of Israel
Prepare for a tough time, as Satan will not give up without a fight and many Christians
will be persecuted.
Be open for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Raise up a prophetic voice that understands these times, that can speak out against the
nations and prepare Israel to receive her deliverance and salvation.
We should not look for the Second Coming or rapture during this time of distress. To do
so, would only lead to disappointment.We can be encouraged that the Time of Distress is a very short
more detail about the Times
of Distress follow this link.
Fullness of Israel -
The epochal event that follows the Time of Distress is called the Fullness of Israel (Rom.11:12). Traditionally, this
event has been called the "calling of the Jews". However "fullness" is
the biblical term, so I prefer it. The Bible is clear that the Jews have not
"stumbled beyond salvation" (Rom.11:1-11). They have only been shut out for a
time. They will eventually come back under the blessing of God. The Jews will be
"grafted into the vine" (11:23) and "saved" (11:26), because their
"calling is irrevocable" (11:29). The Fullness of Israel will not just
bring blessing to them, it will mean "riches for the world" (11:12) and
"life from the dead" (11:15).
The important question is how the Fullness of Israel will come about. The key
to this is understanding that their problem is "seeing".
Romans tells us that their
eyes have been blinded so
they cannot see the truth and their hearts have been hardened in part (11:25). To come to
salvation their spiritual eyes will have to be opened.
Zechariah 12: 10 speaks of a time when God will pour his spirit out on Israel so that there
eyes will be opened and they will see Jesus as he really is. Ezekiel 39:29 says that God
will no longer hide his face from Israel, but will pour out his Spirit on the house of
Israel. A great outpouring of the Spirit will bring about the Fullness of Israel (not the
Second Coming of Jesus).
This will bring about a time of great blessing "riches to the world"
(Romans 11:12). Satans last authority on earth will be gone and he will be routed.
This is not a change in game plan. The Jews receive salvation like everyone else, by
repenting and believing in Jesus (Mat 23:39).
The Fullness of the Jews is the epochal event that marks the end of the Time of Distress.
The Kingdom of God - the Fourth Season
The next season after the Time of Distress is the Kingdom
of God. Once the fullness of the Jews come in, the team
is complete. Satan will have lost his power, so a time of great victory for the church
. Daniel has a vision of the Ancient of Days, God, and
one like a son of man coming into his presence (Dan.7:9,13,14). This is the ascension when
Jesus entered heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father. He was given a Kingdom
that would never end.
Dan.7:18,22,27 describes a subsequent period when the saints possess the Kingdom.
Sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed
over to the saints, the people of the Most High. This is a picture of people of God being
given authority to establish his Kingdom. The game plan is still the same. The
Kingdom advances rapidly by the proclamation of the word of God in the power of the Holy
Spirit. (Look here for a full description of the Kingdom
In Ephesians 1:9,10, this season is called the Times
of Fulfilment.. At first glance this appears to be a reference to the Second Coming. However,
the event is the mystery, which God purposed in Christ. In Ephesians 3:10, this mystery is
explained as the church achieving victory over the rulers and authorities (the mystery is
not the Second Coming).
During the season of the Kingdom, all God’s promises will be fulfilled.
Our mandate to fill the earth and manage it
will be completed. Our commission to
make disciples of all nations will be successful. The glory of the
Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab 2:14).
How long will the times of the fulfilment of the Kingdom last? The Bible does not say.
However, this is is one of the two very long seasons. If the times of the gentiles go for 2000 years, the times of fulfilment could last
at least as long, or longer. This is Gods best season, so it is unlikely it will be cut
According to Rev. 7:9 there will be a great multitude in heaven, for more than can be
counted. The angels have been counted and there are thousands of millions of them. There
will be far more Christians than angels. Currently there are only about a billion
Christians on heaven and on earth, a number equivalent to the population of China (which
can be counted). Considerable more time will be required for this great multitude of
people to be brought in.
God is a gracious God. By the time that this season is complete the number of those
saved will far exceed the number who have been lost a far more respectable score.
The Man of Sin - Epochal Event
The coming of the Man of Sin will end the
Times of Fulfilment of the Kingdom of God. He is described in 2 Thes 2. This man is not the beast
of Revelation, nor is he the antichrist. He is a man who leads a rebellion against God at
the end of the age. He will be destroyed at the Second Coming of Jesus.
The Little Season The
The season ushered by the man of sin is called the "little season" or
"Short Time" Rev (20:3). God will release Satan for one last
time. God is so gracious that he even gives Satan one last chance to
repent. However, he will not take this opportunity, and will go out to
do evil. This season of evil will be very short, so it is referred to as
half a time.
Jesus Appearance - Final Epochal Event
The short time will be cut short by the Parousia of the Lord
Jesus Christ. His appearance will light up the sky from one end to another. Those who
believe him will be caught up to be with him in the air. The elements will melt and the
heavens and earth will pass away.
The Parousia will usher in the final judgment. All men will be raised to stand before
Jesus the Judge. Those who belong to him will go to live with him for eternity.
Understanding the Times
I believe we are now close to the end of the Times of the Gentiles and moving into the
Time of Distress. We will soon see the events leading up to the Fullness of Israel. This
will be a testing time, but it is also a time of great opportunity. Instead of looking for
an escape as many Christians are, we should:
Pray for the calling of Israel
Prepare for a tough time
Seeking the anointing of the Holy Spirit
Raise up a prophetic voice that understands these times
Prepare to possess the Kingdom of God
Prepare for the Challenge of establishing the Kingdom of God.
We should not look for the Second Coming or rapture during this time of distress. To do
so, would only lead to disappointment. Instead we should be looking for the time when the
saints possess the Kingdom. This will be the most glorious time in all of New Testament
history. What a privilege to be part of this great victory.
information is set out more fully in a book called Times