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God’s Master Plan of 7,000 Years


Out of the eons of time and the many ages in which mankind has been entangled in this material world, God set into motion a plan designed to restore us to the spiritual balance and harmony within which we were created. Science teaches us that the Earth formed about 4.6 billion years ago and that man, modern Homo sapiens, probably appeared about 50,000 years ago. To get a perspective of this relative time frame, if the age of the Earth were scaled to fit a calendar year, then man appears just several minutes before midnight on December 31st . Further, our known collective knowledge of recorded civilization dates back to approximately 4,000 BC starting with the Sumerian culture in the Middle East. It is at this point in the vastness of time that the Bible begins the story of God’s master plan for the salvation of our souls, for our restoration by breaking our cycles of destruction and bringing us back into balance with the Creator.


The Issue of Creationism

Some who honor the Bible’s view of our history argue that it contradicts science and states that our world was created at the start of this plan, around 4,000 BC. This is an unfortunate misinterpretation of the sacred scripture arising from poor translations.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen 1:1 NIV). This is a simple straight forward statement about how our world was created with no date attached to this statement. In most translations the next verse is as follows, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” The translation of the primary verb as “was” ties this statement in time to the first verse. Verse 2 is followed by the forming of the specific aspects of the Earth and finally the creation of Adam. Introduced later is the time line that puts the creation of Adam at about 4,000 BC. And so arises the controversy of the original creation being at 4,000 BC, commonly called Biblical creationism, an interpretation put at odds with science.

However, it is important to notice in the NIV translation that a footnote to Genesis 1:2 for the verb “was” states: “Or possibly became ”. This is the proper translation, “the earth became formless and empty”, and is supported by other scripture. It is important because it separates the original creation in time from where the story picks up at about 4,000 BC, after some unspecified destruction of the surface of the Earth. Isaiah 45:18 states that God formed the Earth “to be inhabited”. He did not create the Earth to be “empty”, or “formless” as footnoted in the NIV version. The Hebrew word used here is the same one found in Genesis 1:2. Paul asserts in 1 Corinthians 14:33 that “God is not the author of confusion” (KJV). Job 38:4,7 states that the angels shouted for joy at the creation of the Earth. Returning to the beginning in Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew for “created”, bara, implies new and perfect, making clear that the Earth was created perfect and complete.1

The Hebrew words in Genesis 1:2 for “formless” and “empty” are used together in only two other places in the Old Testament, in Isaiah 34:11 and Jeremiah 4:23, both in reference to the day of the Lord, a day of judgment. The implication here is that Genesis 1:2 picks up after some judgment of the Earth, after some destruction of the surface of the Earth, at which point the spirit of God intervenes and reforms the surface. So we see that God’s perfect creation became void and formless at a later time. The original creation occurred at some distant point in time prior to 4,000 BC. In my opinion, the controversy pitting science against the Bible’s version of creation has been an unfortunate waste of energy, for the Bible is in complete harmony with the scientific view of the age of the Earth.


A Thousand Years is as a Day in God’s View

God's master plan for our redemption is patterned after the seven day week and the concept of the Sabbath. In the beginning, as told in Genesis 2:1-3, God worked for six days and then rested on the seventh day. He set it aside as a holy day. In Leviticus 23:1-3 and Exodus 20:8-11 the same pattern is set for man, that he labor six days and rest on the Sabbath. In Hebrews 4:8-9, God speaks of a future Sabbath rest for his people. 2 Peter 3:8-10 establishes the day of the Lord as a thousand years. Psalm 90:4 affirms that in God’s view a thousand years is as a day. Isaiah, in chapter 58 verses 13 and 14 speaks of future reward for honoring the Sabbath, the holy “day of the Lord” (RSV). Since the Sabbath is the seventh day (Exodus 20:10) and the future rest will last 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4), this implies that the six prior days represent 6,000 years. The total of seven thousand years is expressed most clearly in the non-canonical Book of the Secrets of Enoch , which is also called 2 Enoch .

And I appointed the eighth day also, that the eighth day should be the first-created after my work, and that the first seven revolve in the form of the seventh thousand, and that at the beginning of the eighth thousand there should be a time of not-counting, endless, with neither years nor months nor weeks nor days nor hours.
2 Enoch 33:1-2

This divine plan of the ages was understood by the early church fathers and expressed in their writings. Here are two examples.

He speaks of the Sabbath at the beginning of the Creation, "And God made in six days the works of his hands and on the seventh day he made an end, and rested in it and sanctified it." Notice, children, what is the meaning of "He made an end in six days"? He means this: that the Lord will make an end of everything in six thousand years, for a day with him means a thousand years. And he himself is my witness when he says, "Lo, the day of the Lord shall be as a thousand years." So then, children, in six days, that is in six thousand years, everything will be completed. "And he rested on the seventh day." This means, when his Son comes he will destroy the time of the wicked one, and will judge the godless, and will change the sun and the moon and the stars, and then he will truly rest on the seventh day.
Epistle of Barnabas 15: 3-5.
For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded. And for this reason the Scripture says: "Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their adornment. And God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works that He had made; and God rested upon the seventh day from all His works." This is an account of the things formerly created, as also it is a prophecy of what is to come. For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year.
Against Heresies by Irenaeus of Lyons, Book 5, XXVIII 3.

The understanding of the 6,000 years of mankind’s history before the Sabbath rest was also a part of Jewish tradition and recorded in the Talmud. Here it is further divided into three parts.

... The school of Eliyahu teaches: 'the world exists for six thousand years – two thousand of them tohu ["void"]; two thousand, Torah; and two thousand, the era of the Messiah. But because of our numerous iniquities many of these years have been lost’.
Sanhedrin 97a-97b

This concept of 6,000 years of recorded history followed by the 1,000 years of rest has been lost in most modern churches, but can be found in some. It is a cornerstone of the writings of Herbert W. Armstrong, whose ideas are preserved in the Philadelphia Church of God. In summary, the “creation week”, or more accurately the week in which this Earth was re-created by the Spirit of God after some period of destruction, is a prophecy of the ages of mankind’s known civilization. Each of the six days of creation represents 1,000 years and therefore a total of 6,000 years. The holy Sabbath day of rest represents the future Sabbath rest for God’s people, the “millennium” of the Messiah’s rule spoken of in the book of Revelation. Jewish sages further divide the 6,000 years into three ages which roughly correspond to the astrological ages of the great processional cycle of the sun through the zodiac. And so God’s master plan is also referred to as the plan of the ages.

Jewish tradition brings even greater clarity to the “creation week” story and the reference to the “Spirit of God” which moved upon the face of the Earth and re-created it. In referring to this passage from Genesis, the Midrash Raddah sees this as a reference to the Messiah.

... this was the “spirit of the Messiah”, as it is written in Is. 11:2, “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.”
Midrash Bereshith Rabbath 1:2 and Yalqut, Mechiri to Psalm 139:12
Also Pesikhta Rabbati 33 states that this is a reference to the “anointed king”.

This view of Genesis is in line with the New Testament references to Jesus (Yahshua), the son of God,  being the author of the world as we know it today and yet does not contradict that God (Yahweh), the Father, was the author of the original creation as described in Genesis 1:1.


The Jewish Calendar

The Jewish calendar is a record of the year of the world since the time of Genesis, when the world was void and formless. Therefore, it should tell us the number of years that have transpired in this cycle of civilization and how close we are to the end of its first 6,000 years. According to this calendar, the beginning of the year 2003 is the year 5763.

This calendar is determined from the Biblical record of time and, for elements beyond that record, from Jewish tradition. However, there is an error for the elapsed time from the destruction of the first temple to the destruction of the second temple, which comes from the rabbinic text called Seder Olam. It is short by a little over 160 years.2 Also, there is a difference of opinion on how to interpret the Biblical record for the time the Israelites spent in Egypt. The calendar uses the short sojourn of about 210 years. There is an interpretation of a long sojourn for 430 years which is favored by this author. With these adjustments, it would indicate we have arrived at the end of the 6,000 years.


The Sun of Righteousness Appears After 4 Days

There is further detail that has been made available from God’s master plan. Jewish tradition also states that the Sun of Righteousness, the Messiah, will appear on the fourth day. This is drawn again from the creation week where the sun is made on the fourth day and to various passages referring to the Messiah as the sun.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, ...” God made two great lights - the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. ... And God said it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the fourth day.
Genesis 1:14-19  NIV

Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. ... But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.
Malachi 4:1-2  NIV

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.
Isaiah 60:1-2  NIV

The two great lights of Genesis 1:16 are the sun and the moon. The Jewish sages understood this to be a Messianic allusion and commented on it in the Talmud as follows.

“Whose is this light which falls upon the congregation of the Lord?” and answers, “It is the light of the Messiah.”
Pesikhta Rabbati 62,1

This is the light of the Messiah, as is written in Psalm 36:10, “In your light, we see light”.
Yalqut Shimoni 56

Additionally, in Midrash Exodus Rabbah, it is stated “‘... only until the Sun appears’, that is, till the coming of the Messiah;” All these thoughts and references give rise to the Messianic interpretation of the creation week story that the Messiah, the Sun of Righteousness, will come sometime during the fourth day of the 6,000 years of our current cycle of human history, that is, some 4,000 years after the time of Adam.

The great prophet Daniel gives more precision to this general big picture by giving the exact time to expect the “Anointed One” in his prophecy of the 70 weeks of years found in chapter 9. This maps the time from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, given by Artaxerxes in 444 BC (Nehemiah 2:1-10), to the coming of the Messiah, the first 69 weeks. Jesus, who was the anointed one, came right on time and was cut off in 33 AD according to the prophecy.3 When one uses the Biblical time line starting with Adam, this is a total of about 4,000 years, for the model of the 7 days is not meant to be a precise measure down to the year, but a mapping of the passing of ages. So we see that the Messiah did indeed come at the end of the fourth day, which is also the start of the fifth day.


Our Resurrection After Two More Days

Let us step back and reflect again upon the big picture. We have seen that the 7 day creation week is a prophetic model of 7,000 years and that the Messiah would first appear after 4 days. Daniel pointed to the precise time but also let us know that the anointed one would be cut off, as history has recorded. Daniel's’ prophecy is not yet complete and tells us there will be a future time for the anointed one. God’s master plan makes clear that there will be 2 more days before the Sabbath rest, the seventh day, when the Messiah will rule for one thousand years.

When Jesus the Messiah was with us the first time, he taught us many things. Toward the end of his life, when it became clear to his disciples that he must suffer and die, they asked what would be the signs of his return. He told them that the temple would be destroyed and, through the image of the fig tree, a symbol for Israel, he let them know that Israel would die but then come back to life, as Ezekiel also foretold in chapter 37. This was a very important sign, for Jesus said that the generation to witness this event would not die out before he would come into his kingdom (Matthew 24:32-35; Mark 13:28-31; Luke 21:29-33).

After Jesus was cut off by crucifixion, the temple was destroyed in 70 AD. The kingdom of Israel came to an end shortly after that, which was also foretold by Daniel’s prophecy. Israel was not a nation for a long time, but in 1948 AD it was miraculously resurrected after almost 2,000 years. Here we see the 2 days pictured in God’s master plan, surely a key sign that we are near the time of the Day of the Lord, the 7th day. As told by Jesus, this will occur before the generation alive in 1948 passes away.

Hosea makes reference to these 2 days between the destruction of Israel and its restoration. The original kingdom of Israel, from the time of King David, was later divided and Israel became the Northern Kingdom. Hosea prophesied at a time when this kingdom was close to its end. He warned Israel about its unfaithfulness to God and that it would be punished. Soon the kingdom was conquered by Assyria. God promised to restore them if they repented and returned to obeying God. After describing Israel’s destruction and their subsequent carrying off to captivity, Hosea states the following.

He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.
Hosea 6:1-3  NIV

Often prophecy has two fulfillments, a major and minor, the minor being not a complete fulfillment. After Hosea’s time Israel was restored, but not with full independence. This was at the end of the 4th day and just before the coming of Messiah for the first time, the time of Jesus. This was the minor fulfillment and then, as stated, Israel was completely destroyed by the Roman Empire. It is this time to which Hosea refers and says they will be restored after 2 days, the 2 days in God’s master plan. For it is at the start of the 7th day that the faithful will live in the “presence” of the Lord, when the Sun will “appear” and there will be the outpouring of the “rain”, the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus was resurrected on the third day, so will the faithful be raised and resurrected on the third day after the destruction of Israel and the first coming of the Messiah.

Relative to the 7 prophetic days of God’s master plan, we see that the Messiah is set to come at the beginning of the 5th and 7th days. So the last 3 days of the 7 day week are the Messianic age. The Messiah comes briefly at the start of the 5th day to inaugurate the age and then returns for the entire 7th day to consummate the age of the Messiah. The two days between his appearing are the time when a group of the faithful, the elect, mature and develop in number, preparing the way for the Sun’s return to rule as king for the final day.


The Feast Days Reflect the Plan

God’s prophetic plan for our restoration is also encoded in His holy feast days. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:5-8 that Christ was sacrificed as our Passover lamb, showing us the way. We are to keep the feast and strive for lives without sin. This is a high calling, to live as Christ did. Yeast or leaven is symbolic of sin. The feast of unleavened bread is symbolic of our striving to live lives without sin, as shown by Christ who lived without sin and thereby was able to be the perfect sacrificial lamb.

Passover is symbolic of God’s master plan. The first Passover, as described in Exodus 12:1-20, occurred when the people of Israel spent their last night in Egyptian bondage. A lamb was slaughtered and its blood used to mark their door posts. The blood of the lamb would protect the Israelites from the angel of death who would pass over their houses. Within the unmarked houses, the first-born was killed that night. The next night the Israelites began their exodus from bondage and their journey to freedom and the promised land. Sin is what keeps us in bondage, in slavery from freedom, creating a separation from God. It is when we leave sin behind that we experience freedom and begin our journey to the promised land, toward restoration of our union with God.

In Exodus 12:1-20 and 13:4 God told His people through Moses that the current month, Abib, was to be the beginning of months for them. They were to count time anew. On the 10th day of the month they were to set aside a lamb which was to be killed on the 14 th day at twilight, sunset. Since Jesus is our Passover lamb and by using the symbology of a day for a thousand years in the master plan, we see this indicates four full days or 4,000 years between the time the Lamb is set aside, when the plan begins, and the time the Lamb, Jesus, is killed.  Notice also that the lamb is sacrificed at the end of the fourth day, for the Biblical day ends at sunset.

The 14th day of Abib is the Passover, when the Israelites slaughtered the lamb and used its blood for protection. They left Egypt the following evening, the 15th of Abib, to begin the Exodus. As a memorial to this event, the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on this day, a holy day, and is celebrated for seven days. This is suggestive of the 7 days of God’s master plan and the overall journey to finally come to the point of living without sin. In Jesus’ day, by tradition of the elders (John 18:28), the Passover meal was observed on the 15 th, a holy sabbath day.4 The prior day, the 14th, was known as Preparation Day, preparation for the sabbath. All the days of this feast time, from the 14th to the 21st, became known as Passover week.

By the law of Moses, a sheaf of the firstfruits of the harvest is waved before the Lord on the day after the weekly Sabbath, the first Sunday during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a feast of the first harvest. Also, a lamb without blemish is presented. (Leviticus 23:10-12.) On Sunday, Jesus was presented as he rose, which fulfilled this feast in every sense. In reflection of the bread without yeast, he lived without sin, showing us the way to resurrection. In reflection of the firstfruits of the harvest, he was the firstfruits of mankind, so there is the expectation of the rest of the harvest to follow.
 
For the week of Passover in the year that Jesus entered Jerusalem, celebrated Passover, submitted to God, was arrested, crucified and resurrected, and remembering that a Biblical day begins and ends at sunset, the events of Passover week occurred that year as follows:

14th of Abib - Passover & Preparation Day:     Thursday night & Friday daytime.
15th of Abib - Start of Unleavened Bread:        Friday night & Saturday daytime.
Since the first day of Unleavened Bread is a holy day,
this made the normal Sabbath a high holy day.
16th of Abib that year - Wave sheaf of Firstfruits:       Saturday night & Sunday daytime.            

The Passover lamb was set aside for four days. On the start of Preparation Day, the 14th of Abib, on Thursday evening after sunset, Jesus observed the preparation meal with his disciples. Together they observed the ritual of the Passover Seder without the lamb. It was an evening of teaching and instruction. Later, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus submitted to the will of God and committed to the path that would result in his sacrifice. That night he was arrested and so began his time in the belly of the beast.

In the early morning hours of the next day, Jesus was put on trail and convicted. Later this same day, still Preparation Day, he was put on the cross. Through the day as the Passover lambs were being sacrificed for the Passover meal that night, Jesus was sacrificed for all of mankind, fulfilling the Passover as the perfect sacrifice, a lamb without blemish. He was removed from the cross before sundown, which began the normal Sabbath and the Feast of Unleavened Bread which made it a high holy day (John 19:31).

The day after the Sabbath was the Feast of Firstfruits. After Jesus rose, he was seen in the morning fulfilling the meaning and intent of this feast day also, being the firstfruits and lamb without blemish presented before God. From the time that Jesus was arrested on Thursday night, two full days passed before he was resurrected and then presented as our firstfruits. This reminds us of the 2 days or 2,000 years of God’s master plan between the start of the 5th and 7 th days. Jesus rose on the third day, symbolic of the third day of the Messianic age when the faithful will be raised to rule with him, for the Lamb will return to rule as king (Revelation 5). Just a Jesus is the firstfruits, those faithful who rule with him, the elect, are the firstfruits of God’s spiritual harvest. The rest of the harvest of souls will come in during the millennium kingdom as God’s master plan of redemption comes to fruition and the law is written in all our hearts.

By the symbology of the feast days, the 7 days of God’s master plan can be summarized as follows. There are four full days between the time the Lamb is set aside and when the Lamb is sacrificed for us. There are two more days before the Lamb is resurrected, the first fruits of mankind acceptable before God and seen on the 7th day. The total of 6 days before the Lamb comes into his kingdom is also indicated at the transfiguration of Christ. In Matthew 17:28 Jesus tells his disciples that some will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. Six days later, in Matthew 17:1 Jesus reveals his true nature to three of the disciples when he is transfigured into a being of pure light.

The days of the master plan are hinted at in several places in the Bible. Another good example is the beginning of the gospel of John, ch.1:19-2:1. John the Baptist witnesses to Jesus being the Messiah over 4 days. On the fourth day Jesus takes a journey and is not seen until 3 days later. On the third day, after 6 days altogether, there is a wedding. This suggests the 6 days of the master plan before the wedding feast with God’s faithful people.

Another place to see the pattern of 6 followed by a 7 th rest is the command of a sabbatical year of rest for the land. In Leviticus 25:1-7 God commands that the land be worked for six years but then it be given a rest for the entire 7 th year. This pattern is further amplified in the year of Jubilee. After 7 sabbaths of years, seven times seven, there is proclaimed a year of liberty. The land is rested, captives are set free and ownership of land is returned. It is a jubilee! (Leviticus 25:8-55.) The concept of a 7th year of rest is truly important to God and echoed in His law. All of this should make clear that it is important to observe the weekly Sabbath on the 7th day, for this serves to remind us each week of the future sabbath rest of the 7th millennium.

The Sabbath is a concept that encompasses multiple perspectives of time. Depending upon the context, the sabbath can refer to the 7th day, the 7th year, or the 7th millennium. The Sabbath defines the 7th day, reminds in the 7th year, and will redeem in the 7th millennia.
 
Reviewing the pieces of God's master plan of 7,000 years, the plan began about 4000 BC when the Lamb was set aside. That was the time when our current cycle of civilization was beginning. After 4,000 years, the Lamb lived among us and then was killed. After 2,000 more years the Lamb will return to begin the day of the Lord, 1,000 years of peace under his leadership. At the end there will be a new heaven and earth, a place where death and time are no longer part of our existence.

The day of the Lord is a concept that captures the culmination of God’s master plan, the 7th day. Encompassed in this concept is the understanding of the 6 prior days leading up to the 7th day, the thousand years under the leadership and loving guidance of our Lord and master, Jesus the Christ. Additionally, it should be noted that when the Bible uses the phrase day of the Lord this can refer to either the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ or to the first day that will usher in this time period.

It is interesting to note that in Exodus 12 when time is counted anew, the plan begins on the 10th day of the new month. This suggests that man and his problems were around before this point, but the plan begins here. Given that the plan begins after some judgment of the Earth, implied is the existence of other civilizations before 4,000 BC.


The Issue of Imminency

There are many passages in the New Testament indicating that the second coming of Christ will happen soon. This has been referred to as the imminency of Christ’s return. Since almost 2,000 years have passed since the authors have made these statements, many have come to assume that the apostles expected Christ to return in their generation and therefore were wrong about this. I believe this is another misunderstanding of the sacred scripture’s words which has given rise to this view.

One example of these passages is Romans 13:12 where Paul states, “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.” A footnote to this passage in the NIV translation helps to clarify this situation.

The night. The present evil age. is nearly over; the day is almost here. A clear example of the NT teaching of the “nearness” of the end times (see Mt 24:33; 1Co 7:29; Php 4:5; Jas 5:8-9; 1Pe 4:7; 1Jn 2:18). These texts do not mean that the early Christians believed that Jesus would return within a few years (and thus were mistaken). Rather, they regarded the death and resurrection of Christ as the crucial events of history that began the last days. Since the next great event in God’s redemptive plan is the second coming of Jesus Christ, “the night”, no matter how long chronologically it may last, is “nearly over.” the day. The appearing of Jesus Christ, which ushers in the consummation of the kingdom.
Footnote to Romans 13:12  NIV

Notice that there is an understanding that the death and resurrection of Christ begins the “last days”, the beginning of the Messianic age. This perspective is seen again in the footnote to the start of the book of Hebrews.

In the past. Prior to Christ’s coming, in contrast to “in these last days” (v. 2), the Messianic era inaugurated by the incarnation (see notes on Ac 2:17; 1Ti 4:1; 1Jn 2:18).
Footnote to Hebrews 1:1  NIV

In the book of Acts, the author makes reference to a prophecy from Joel, “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” (Acts 2:17). Joel spoke of the coming of the early and latter rain. The rain is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The early rain is given moderately (Joel 2:28 KJV), and was given at the start of this age to the apostles on Pentecost, on the fiftieth day from Jesus' resurrection, and occurred at the time the author wrote. This was a taste of what is to come. The latter rain will be poured out on all flesh in the end times. Just as the rain strengthens the crops, so the Holy Spirit will strengthen us for the end times. The footnote to the passage in Acts further defines the Messianic age and marks the distinction between the “former” and “latter” days.

last days. ... In the passage quoted from Joel the Hebrew has “afterward” and the Septuagint “after these things.” Peter interprets the passage as referring specifically to the latter days of the new covenant (see Jer 31:33-34; Eze 36:26-27; 39:29) in contrast to the former days of the old covenant. The age of Messianic fulfillment has arrived. ...
Footnote to Acts 2:17  NIV

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
7th Day
Sabbath Rest
Day of the Lord

Former Days
Messianic Era
Latter or Last Days

The former days are the first 4 days of God’s master plan. This is the time when the covenant was given and written in stone. The latter or last days are the last 3 days of the plan. This is the time the covenant is renewed by sending the Messiah, the one who lives with the covenant in his heart and mind. (This is also called the time of new covenant, yet it is the same covenant renewed - an everlasting relationship with God.) It is the Messianic Era, the time when the Messiah will lead us to the fulfillment of the covenant, when God’s law will be written in all our hearts and minds (Hebrews 10: 15-18). This is the goal of God's plan. This will happen only under the guidance of our Lord for a thousand years. So the age of the Messiah begins with first coming of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that Peter witnessed at the start of the fifth day. It continues to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit we are yet to witness just prior to the Messiah's second coming and continues through his thousand year reign as king on the seventh day.

In 1 Timothy 4:1, 7 and 2 Timothy 3:1, 5 Paul speaks of things that will appear in the last days. On the surface it may seem that he is referring just to the end times but upon close examination he is speaking of his own time too. This again is made clear by the footnotes.

in later times. The time beginning with the first coming of Christ (see note on Heb 1:1). That Paul is not referring only to the time immediately prior to Christ’s second coming is obvious from his assumption in v. 7 that the false teachings were already present at the time of his writing.
Footnote to 1 Timothy 4:1  NIV

We see here that the phrase the “last days” alludes to the whole Messianic era and is first a reference to the last 3 days of the 7 day week of God’s master plan of salvation and redemption. The faithful ones who were closest to Jesus did not have the wrong impression of when the Messiah would return. They had the correct view and spoke in symbolic terms of God’s master plan. It is their true meaning that has been lost. Those who misinterpret the apostles words have created the doctrine of imminency to explain their misunderstanding of the sacred scripture.


The Three Perspectives of When

When Jesus answered the apostles questions as to the signs indicating his return, in addition to the sign of the fig tree, Jesus also made reference to Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks. He quoted Daniel’s description of the abomination that causes desolation (Matthew 24:15-16; Mark 13:14) which is from Daniel 9:27, the final week of the 70 weeks prophecy. This prophecy is further amplified in Daniel 12.

As stated previously, Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks is not yet complete. The prophecy will be complete when the most holy are anointed and there is an end to sin, which certainly has not happened yet. The first 69 weeks pointed to the Messiah’s first coming and stated that he would be cut off, which happened at his crucifixion. After this, the people of the prince of darkness come and destroy the holy city, Jerusalem, which occurred in 70 AD. The war between this prince and the Messiah continues until the end. (Daniel 9:26 KJV.) The war between these two will end at the second coming of the Messiah. Just before the end, the prince of darkness will make a covenant with Israel and the world which lasts one week of years or seven years. Since Daniel's’ prophecy is directed to his people and his holy city (Daniel 9:24) this agreement must also determine the status of Jerusalem. Half way through the seven years, the daily sacrifice will be removed and those who accept this abomination will eventually find their temples desolate of God's Spirit (Daniel 9:27).

When it comes to the issue of determining the time of the Messiah’s return, in my opinion there is no prophecy for which one can take a point in the distant past and calculate a certain number of days into the future. The closest one comes to this is the concept of the day of the Lord, which, as has been pointed out, is not meant to be a precise measure of time but a general mapping of the ages. As has been developed in this paper, this points to around the year 2000 AD but must be interpreted as being plus or minus a century.

As Jesus made clear, beyond that we must understand and watch for the signs as he described them. He discussed several general conditions that should intensify and many argue are being fulfilled today. These include false prophets, persecutions, wars, famine, pestilence, earthquakes and terrors. But he also included several specific signs.

The first is the return of Israel, the time when the fig tree puts forth its leaves again. This occurred in 1948 and surely is an important and significant sign. Jesus said that the generation to witness this event would not pass away before all things would be completed. This sign then narrows the range of the upper limit to about a half century past the year 2000 AD.

Lastly we will focus on Daniel’s 70th week. As of the start of the year 2010, it appears to me that this time period has not yet begun. When it does begin, it will map out the final days leading to the return of the Messiah and the blessed day when the righteous are resurrected and transformed (Daniel 12). At the time of the 70th week, the people of the resurrected fourth beast will help bring about the agreement with Israel that determines the status of Jerusalem and allows them to rebuild the temple of worship. This powerful beast will become a confederation of 10 kings or 10 nations who will give their power over to a little king, a religious king (harlot), after he subdues 3 of the 10 (Daniel 7; Revelation 13 & 17). This head of the beast is the infamous Antichrist who reigns for the second half of this seven year time period. This one will persecute the truly faithful and anyone who opposes the religion of this beast. This power will be broken only by the power of the Messiah upon his return (Daniel 2:44-45). For greater detail, please see Keeping Watch for the Start of Daniel's 70th Week.

Until then, beware of the Mark of the Beast. 666 represents the name of the Antichrist but it also represents 3 core alterations to God's true covenant that keep us in confusion. This has led to the division among the religions of the world and caused all to lose the essence of the Daily Sacrifice. Once one accepts this loss, it is an abomination to God because the loss of the true covenant leads to imbalances in the 4 aspects of our being: our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. As this grows, eventually one's body, one's temple, becomes desolate of God's Spirit and you become a beast. Without God's Spirit there is no integrity. As more and more people are affected, we reach the time when no one can buy or sell without being affected by the mark of the beast, without being affected by the consequences of lawlessness and lack of integrity. So it is important to seek to understand these corruptions of the true covenant.

In summary, the Bible offers three levels of perspective on the coming of the age of peace, the 7th day. First, the day of the Lord which is preceded by 6,000 years of our current cycle of civilization. This is represented below by the first line with 7 sections, one for each "day" of the plan, for a total of 7,000 years. The last section is the 7th day, the day of the Lord. Second, the generation to witness the resurrection of the nation of Israel will witness the resurrection of the faithful. This is represented by the next line below, whose end lines up with the start of the 7th day. Third, Daniel’s 70 th week, the final 7 years for the perfecting and anointing of the truly faithful. This is the third line below whose end also lines up with the start of the 7th day.




Witness to Promises Fulfilled

When fully realized and understood, God’s master plan is awesome, majestic and inspiring. The passage of time and perspective of history has brought clarity to the prophecies and their fulfillment. 2,000 years after the time of Adam, God made a covenant with a faithful man, called him Abraham and promised to make him the father of a great nation and to give him land for that nation. His descendants grew. These Israelites traveled to Egypt and became slaves there. Almost 650 years after the promise, God called another man, Moses, to help deliver His people from bondage. Through the blood of the lamb they received protection from the angel of death and were released from their bondage brought about by their sins. The Israelites left Egypt and while in the wilderness, Moses received the law which includes rituals of sacrifice to deal with their ongoing sin. Forty years later they entered the promised land and began its conquest, driving out the sin of idolatry. So some 700 years after the promise to Abraham, the Israelites realized the nation promised to them.

The Israelites reached their height under King David at about 1,000 BC. He was and is a type of the Messiah as king, who is yet to come. Over time, due again to sin and disobedience, the kingdom was divided in two and eventually each is conquered, the Northern Kingdom by Assyria and later the Southern Kingdom by Babylon. Jeremiah had warned them of the consequences of their actions. They would live in captivity for 70 years, a penalty for disobeying God’s command to free their brothers from debt-slavery every sabbatical year and for the sin of idolatry (Lev 26; Deut 15:12-15; 2 Chron 36:14-21; Jer 34:8-22). Toward the end of the 70 years of Babylonian captivity, the prophet Daniel prayed to God about Jeremiah’s prophecy and their desire to rebuild the temple. In answer to his prayer, Daniel received the 70 weeks prophecy which told of the decree to rebuild and pointed to the exact time of the Messiah. 1,000 years after the time of David, exactly at the time of the first 69 weeks of Daniel’s prophecy, 4,000 years from the time of Adam, and after the first 4 days of God’s master plan, the Messiah was given unto us!

Jesus fulfilled the will of God, then as prophesied by Daniel, was cut off and later the temple, holy city and entire nation of Israel was destroyed. Two more days, or 2,000 years, of God’s master plan have transpired and, as promised, the nation of Israel has been resurrected. We await the start of Daniel’s 70th week. Surely with all of this fulfillment for us to witness, we can be confident that God will complete all of His master plan to bring us back into spiritual balance. From my point of view, when I see and appreciate this perspective, I can not deny the presence, patient wisdom and guiding hand of our Almighty Creator.






Footnotes

1 Stated by Jack Van Impe on broadcast of 2/25/01 and in Mystery of the Ages by Herbert W. Armstrong p.59.

2 See web page: http://quicknotes.org/files/present/7000yearplan.pdf .

3 Calculation: -444 + (69x7 lunar years)(360 days / lunar year)(solar year / 365.25 days) + 1 = 33. The year that Jesus died is not known precisely, but 33 AD is a highly probable year and the one named by Josephus.

4 Pagan Holidays - or God’s Holy Days - Which? By Herbert W. Armstrong p.19.


Bibliography

Armstrong, Herbert W.  Mystery of the Ages.  Pasadena, CA.: Worldwide Church of God, 1985.
     (Rights now owned by Philadelphia Church of God, Edmond, OK.)

Armstrong, Herbert W.  Pagan Holidays - or God’s Holy Days - Which? .  Edmond, OK.: Philadelphia Church of God, 1957.

Barker, Kenneth, ed.  The NIV Study Bible, 10 th ed.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995.

Passover week detail drawn from the following web page:

    http://www.angelfire.com/super2/redhorse/Chaplain/FAQ/faq15.html

Talmid references drawn from the following web pages:

    http://www.kolumbus.fi/hjussila/rsla/OT/OT06.html
    http://www.hebroots.org/hebrootsarchive/9807/980715_d.html



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©2003, 2010 Collins Hamblen
First Posted: 06/15/03
Last Update: 03/07/10