Ask Norm!

By Norman S. Edwards

From SVM – Winter 2016 – 1

Hello Norman,

Here is something to think about…

“They” say Jesus would come after 2000 years and that 200 0   years have come and gone, so where is He? Maybe the 2000 years should be reckoned from his death and resurrection rather than from his birth. In that case we are getting close. We still can’t know exactly because there is much debate over what year he died. Was it 30 or 31 A.D.? Those are the two best choices I think, though there are some who say otherwise. Regardless we are very close now.

Also, I’d say the 7 sevens and 62 sevens [of Daniel 9] ended at the birth of Jesus when the angels proclaimed his birth so the shepherds and also Simeon and Anna prophesied about him when he was brought to the Temple because of the law of rituals. That’s when he first came to the temple and was proclaimed the Messiah. The 69 weeks ended then. His ministry was the first half of the 70th week and Israel is awaiting that final ½ week. So close now!

Peace and Love,

 

Jean

Dear Jean,

I remember wondering if our prophetic chronologies should be reckoned from Christ’s death as well. I first wondered about it back in the 1970s when it was not very popular to wonder about it. Now, it makes sense to more people.

After all, the Bible says, “A good name is better than precious ointment, And the day of death than the day of one’s birth (Ecclesiastes 7:1). Indeed, Christ’s willingness to lay down His life for us gave him the “name above all names” (Philippians 2:9) and he was anointed with precious ointment at his death (Mark 14:3-8). His death was first foreshadowed then later commemorated each year on the Passover for most of history (1 Corinthians 5:7). We do not have a day that was clearly set apart to foreshadow his birth.

I am not at all opposed to reading prophecy and speculating about its fulfillment. In general, I believe in a seven thousand year plan of God. But if Jesus Christ did not claim to have figured out prophecy, what makes me think I will?

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only (Matthew 24:36, ESV).

Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority” (Acts 1:6-7).

While we might like to know when Christ is going to return, we can happily know that the Father is keeping this a secret and working it out for the benefit of everyone. If Satan or evil men could figure out the timing of God’s plan, whether through their own cleverness or by spying on those given His revelation, they would attempt to foil it. But since they do not know, they will continue to work their evil until God calls for Christ’s return. The Scriptures themselves appear to indicate that there will be a last-minute alteration to God’s plans:

“And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).

While it seems sensible that there would be less than 2000 years between the death of Christ and His return, it is difficult to utterly prove that from Scripture. The general principle of one day equaling 1000 years is found in 2 Peter 3:8, but it may not be exact. For example, it would seem sensible to find exactly 2000 years between creation and the flood and 2000 years between the flood and Christ, but the Biblical chronology does not indicate this.

To make matters more uncertain, the Bible does not say that Jesus was “exactly 30” years old when he began his ministry, but “about thirty” (Luke 3:23). The Greek hosei, translated “about” is a word used for approximation. It is used to describe the 5000 people that Jesus fed—the number was not exact. We could be several years off in either direction. Bottom line: we do not know when the “end” will come, but we can stay busy doing His work now, and trust that He will work out the details. A prior article Active Waiting on the Day of the Lord (SVM Fall 2012) provides insights on how to keep busy while we wait for His return.

 

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