Future Time

Future Time

After reading Pastor Stephen Bohr’s long paper, I find that he certainly makes a number of valid observations. Setting time for future, as yet unfulfilled dates, always makes me uncomfortable. We should warn the world of what is coming and be ready to announce the significance of events when they happen. But Stephen also is inaccurate in a couple places.

He states, “There is no clear example in Bible prophecy where a literal time-period points forward to another literal time-period of equal length such as the fourteen years of feast and famine in Egypt.”

Ironically, he has just cited the first example! Joseph could relate to Pharaoh’s dream precisely because he had personal family experience with those 14 years: his father had worked 7 years for Leah (7 years of plenty, a “feast” that gave him 6 sons) followed by 7 years for Rachel (a “famine” that only gave him two). While there was no stated “prophecy” declared at the time of Jacob’s 14 years of labor for Laban, they served as a model for a future prophetic dream that provided understanding and guidance for Joseph and rescue for the then known world.
Other examples of literal time periods of equal length pointing forward to matching literal time periods are the notorious 3½ years of Elijah’s drought terminated by the execution of Baal’s prophets that match the 3½ years of Christ’s witness from the Fall of AD 27 to the Spring of AD 31 ending with His sacrificial death and then matched again by the following 3½ year period as the disciples witnessed and “confirmed” (Heb 2:3) the words of Jesus punctuating the very end of the 70 weeks with the stoning of Stephen. Death always marks the end of the (dare I say) “prophetic” 3½ year-time periods. The “deadly wound” terminated the 3½ times-42 months-1260 “day” reign of the Little Horn power in 1798. But the wound is healed and will rise to power again, only to be ultimately slain by the 10 kings in Revelation 17 who eat her flesh and burn her with fire. Will this occur at the end of a literal 3½ year period? We may one day discover that it has. Time will tell.

Stephen continues,

“Furthermore, there is no example of a symbolic period pointing forward to a future literal period. In the Bible, shorter and literal time-periods point forward to longer and symbolic time-periods. In Apocalyptic prophecies, there is a day-standing-for-a-year-principle but not a year-standing-for-a-day principle.”

Yes, in Apocalyptic prophecies composed of symbolic beasts with wings and horns, flying scrolls, and stones with eyes, etc. But literal time fulfillments are replications of literal time events experienced by literal people in literal places. The time periods expressed at the end of Daniel 12 are not found in an Apocalyptic setting. There are no beasts, wild or sacrificial, acting out a symbolic scenario. It may be significant that the figure 1335 was not included in the revised and “corrected” prophetic chart of 1850 designed by James and Ellen White.

But wasn’t 508 AD significant? Yes, the newly-baptized Catholic Clovis, king of the Gauls, pushed the Sabbath-keeping Arian Visigoths out of France and down into Spain, the first of three horns to be removed by Rome. “From the time the daily shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up.” Two choices: 1) either the desolating abomination is set up at the same time as the daily (which leaves unspecified any ending event), or 2) the daily is (either taken away or elevated) and 1290 days later the abomination is set up. Choice no. 1 makes the Papacy the abomination; choice no. 2 identifies atheistic France and ultimately atheistic Communism as the abomination. In the historical setting of 508 and 1798, both are quite plausible. Is there also yet a “daily” and desolating abomination? The daily, continual, perpetual is also the Sabbath and it will be taken away! When? Time will tell.

Christ came “to fulfill all righteousness” Matt 3:15. Like Joseph, he was sent down into Egypt at a young age. He spent 40 days in the wilderness even as Moses spent 40 years there enduring the sentence for Israel’s unbelief. Isn’t that a period of years fulfilled by an equal period of days? Jonah was three days in the belly of the whale; Christ was three days in the heart of the earth, delivered into the hands of evil men. Again, this is a literal time fulfilled by literal time. If literal time can be fulfilled by prophetic time, and literal time and be fulfilled by literal time, then the only argument that prophetic time cannot be fulfilled by literal time is that “it has never happened before.” That is an argument by silence, the weakest of all arguments.

The bidirectional equivalence of year-day-year was noted by Peter when he said that with the Lord “one day is as a 1000 years and a 1000 year is as one day” 2Peter 3:8. Revelation 11 is an Apocalyptic revelation of the two witnesses, two candlesticks, the Old and New Testaments, which testify in sackcloth for 42 months or 1260 days (years) or 3½ times. Then they are slain and their bodies lie in the streets for 3½ days (years), easily demonstrated as the period of time during the French Revolution when religion was banned, Bibles were burned, churches were desecrated, beginning with the Reign of Terror until the Declaration of Religious Tolerance act was published. Ellen White confirms: “It was in 1793 that the decrees which abolished the Christian religion and set aside the Bible, passed the French Assembly. Three years and a half later a resolution rescinding these decrees, thus granting toleration to Scripture, was adopted by the same body.” Great Controversy p. 287

Thus Revelation 11 demonstrates both 3½ periods coexisting within the same broader time frame. The 1260 years had not yet ended, the 1260 literal days of the French Revolution came at the very end and precipitated the deadly wound to end the longer prophetic period.

There does not appear any reason why significance may not someday be identified with events and their timing that correlates with previous Biblical time periods. This has happened before and it may happen again. Only time will tell. So watch and be ready, every day, for “today is the day of salvation.”

Grace and peace be unto you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of the Father in truth and love. 2 John 3

Gary Hullquist