The Appointed Time


By Matt Leasher

 

 

 

Students of Bible prophecy are very familiar with the phrase “the appointed time” as it appears in the Bible over thirty times in various accounts.  In almost all of them it is the Lord that is the “appointer” and the “time” is usually speaking of the end times.  With that said, it would be wise for us to examine the times that we are living in to see if we are indeed living in the appointed time of the end. 

“And he said, “Look I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be.” (Daniel 8:19)

In the verse above, the angel Gabriel had just given Daniel a prophecy about the Medo-Persian and Greek Empires that would culminate in the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes who became the most accurate prefigure of the end times Antichrist in the way that he persecuted the Jews, stopped the daily sacrifices, and desecrated the temple by erecting an altar to Zeus and sacrificing a pig on it.  All of this was still in Daniel’s future, but is now in our past.

The angel Gabriel is now telling Daniel that this will happen again in the latter time of the indignation.  Jesus confirmed Gabriel’s warning in His Olivet Discourse when speaking about the Great Tribulation when He said:

“When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16 and Mark 13:14)

The abomination of desolation that Jesus is warning about is prophesied to take place at the half-way point of Daniel’s 70th week, (a.k.a. the time of Jacob’s trouble), and it involves a third Jewish temple to be standing in Israel. 

Although the temple itself has not been built yet, all of the things associated with the temple are in place and ready to go right down to the utensils and priestly garments.  The push for the rebuilding of the temple has been so strong that many people had reported seeing a CGI preview of the temple on the Temple Mount last month in Google Map searches.  As if it was mysteriously already there!

Nevertheless, we have seen Israel re-emerge as a state in our generation in 1948 and reclaim the city of Jerusalem in 1967.  This in itself tells us that we are living in the appointed time of the end, for all of the end-time Messianic prophecies would require the Jewish people being back in their land and in possession of their holy city.

Furthermore, according to Psalm 90:10 a generation seems to be 70 years in relation to the average lifespan of a person, (see also Isaiah 23:15).  Ancient Israel spent 70 years in Babylonian captivity and next year, modern Israel will have been back in their homeland for 70 years! 

It is also interesting that many Bible prophecy students have pointed out that the Feasts of the Lord given in Leviticus 23 are actually “appointments”.

“These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.” (Leviticus 23:4)

Jesus fulfilled the first four appointments by being our Passover lamb, our sinless Unleavened Bread, the Firstfruit to resurrect from the dead and sending His Holy Spirit on Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) to usher in the Age of Grace that we are currently living in.  Christ fulfilled each of these first four Feasts on the exact day that they were ordained by the Lord to be observed on.

Knowing that Christ was right on time with the first four Feasts, it is only sensible to think that He will be right on time with the next three Feasts that are set in the autumn. These last three Feasts are associated with the harvest and there are four months between Pentecost, (the last Feast that Jesus has already fulfilled) and the Feast of Trumpets (the next Feast yet to be fulfilled). 

These four months are the summer months when the crops are ripening for the autumn harvest and it represents the current Age of Grace we are living in where the Holy Spirit filled church is at work leading people to salvation through Jesus Christ.  Jesus hinted to His disciples about this period of harvest ripening when He said:

“Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35)

In the context that Jesus said this, He was speaking to the disciples about doing the Lord’s work that others had already started and that the fruit that is to be harvested are actually people being led unto eternal life.  We know this from the next verse:

“And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.” (John 4:36)

The Scriptures have several agricultural analogies to the harvesting of souls and the end-times as well as divine regulations concerning the land of Israel, especially Jerusalem.   

Many prophecy watchers believe that 1967 was a Jubilee year.  A Jubilee year occurs every fifty years and requires that the land go back to their original owners, (see Leviticus 25:8-17).  In 1967 the Jews got Jerusalem back, and in June of 2017 Israel will be celebrating its 50th anniversary of that event!  However, the rightful owner of that land is the Lord Himself (Daniel 9:19), and when He returns He will sit on His throne in Jerusalem and reign for a thousand years.

With that said, if this year is a Jubilee year, then perhaps the Lord will begin to redeem His land which would mean that the Tribulation period could begin this year!  While we can’t know for sure if this is indeed a Jubilee year, it would be wise for us all to be watchful!

While on the subject of Jerusalem, it is noteworthy to mention that Jesus said Jerusalem would be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24). 

The phrase “times of the Gentiles” is a dispensational term and refers to when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem in 586 BC and is outlined in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream vision of a statue made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and iron mixed with clay, which represents the Gentile kingdoms that would rule and dominate over Jerusalem until Christ comes in glory and wipes them out forever resulting in the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth!  (see Daniel 2:31-45)

The different metals of the statue represented Babylon as the gold, Medo-Persia as the silver, Greece as the bronze, Rome as the iron, and the one yet to come of iron mixed with clay that many believe is the revived Roman Empire in the form of the European Union under an Islamic Caliphate! Currently we are seeing a surge of Islamic migrants invading Europe, however, just as iron doesn’t mix with clay, the Islamic insurgence taking place in Europe isn’t going very well.  How that continues to transpire remains to be seen.

There are several other details given throughout the book of Daniel concerning the domination of each of the Gentile powers revealed in Daniel chapter 2.  The “times of the Gentiles” will continue until the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation.  Even though Israel is currently a sovereign nation they are not a world empire as they were before the Babylonian conquest. 

In fact, Israel has been under the regulations of the UN since 1948 and as of the time of this writing they have been recently instructed to halt settlements in the eastern Jerusalem section that they acquired in 1967 and are being strong-armed to agree to a two state solution to give that land to the Palestinians. 

 

Much of this was orchestrated by the Obama Administration as their time of office winds down.  How all of this pans out when Trump takes office is yet to be seen but according to Joel chapter 3, one of the primary reasons that Christ is going to judge the nations is because they divided up His land!

“I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there, on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up my land.” (Joel 3:2)

The apostle Paul also declared that God had appointed a day in which He would judge the world.

“He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man who He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)

Not only was Christ’s judgment of the world pre-appointed but the entire Old Testament is a prophetic precursor to the incarnation of Jesus Christ into the world. The Lord had self-appointed a time that He would put on human flesh and enter into His own creation to redeem us from our sins.  The apostle Paul expressed this in his letter to the Galatians when he wrote:

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)

Paul’s use of the phrase “the fullness of time” seems to be telling us that a certain dispensation of time had to be fulfilled before the Son of God would come into the world, hence – a divine appointment!  This implies that there is a predetermined scripted course of events that God has in place for us to know our position in history – or rather His story!

In fact, Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” and then from verse 2 down to verse 8 it gives a list of all of those purposes starting with a time to be born and a time to die. Everyone of our lives has a purpose and no one is an accident!

“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.” (Acts 17:26)

Even the very boundary of where you were born was predetermined!  I don’t know about you but that brings great comfort to me to know that with all that has transpired throughout the history of the world, the King of Creation had considered the time and place of the birth of little ole me! 

 

And it even goes deeper than that.  According to Ephesians 1:3-5, the Lord had already known those that would spend eternity in heaven with Him even before He created the world!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Ephesians 1:3-5)

After taking in the beauty of that Scripture verse, it should be no surprise to us that Christ’s redemptive sacrifice was also preordained before the foundation of the world as recorded by the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1:20 and by the apostle John in Revelation 13:8.  And according to Hebrews 1:2 we are living in the appointed time of that revelation, known as “the last days”! 

When Daniel finished writing his prophecy, he was instructed to “shut up the words and seal the book” (Daniel 12:4), but John was given the opposite instructions: “do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand” (Revelation 22:10).  The reason for the difference is because Jesus had not yet fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning Himself when Daniel was given his vision of the end times.

John’s prophecy is primarily the revelation of Jesus Christ, not just the revelation of future events, because until Christ had accomplished the preordained will of the Father there could be no fulfillment of prophecy.

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)

This is also the reason that the Old Testament prophets could not see the church or the church age in their visions.  Their prophetic visions were focused on the condition of Israel in their time, and the condition of Israel in the end-times.

One example of this is the fact that Daniel had no vision of the twenty four elders in the throne room of heaven but the apostle John did. Many people (including myself), believe that the twenty four elders represent the church and since Daniel’s vision was given to Him before Calvary and Pentecost he could not see it for he would not have understood it. 

Daniel was already shaken up and confused with what was already revealed to him, but the angel Gabriel told him to seal up the words of the prophecy because a “wise” group of people that would be living in the last days would understand it.

“And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” (Daniel 12:9-10)

This in itself is a prophecy, for unless a person is born again and has the discernment of the Holy Spirit and the diligence to study the Scriptures, it would be very difficult to understand Bible prophecy.  However, the times that we are currently living in have made the books of Daniel and Revelation make more sense as the days progress.  Between the increase of technology and current world events, we are clearly living in the appointed time that Gabriel told Daniel the prophecy was given for.

Another clear sign that we are living in the appointed time of the end is the infamous Gog-Magog war described in Ezekiel 38 and 39.  This is a prophecy about a coalition of nations that come against Israel “in the latter years.”  When the ancient names of the nations are converted over to their modern equivalents we see that Russia (Magog), Iran (Persia) and Turkey (Meshech, Tubal and Togarmah) are all currently allies.  Especially Russia and Iran.  Every day this prophecy continues to solidify!

Isaiah chapter 17 is a prophecy about Damascus, Syria and that it will become a ruinous heap overnight.  This also has never happened in the long history of the city.  We’ve been watching this bloody civil war in Syria rage on for the last five years and Russia has become deeply involved.  It is beginning to seem as though Ezekiel 38-39 and Isaiah 17 may be fulfilled together or not far apart from each other.  And probably very soon!

Lastly I’d like to point out that on January 15th there will be a meeting of 70 nations in Paris to discuss the future of Israel.  Just the headline alone screams of Biblical proportions.  This echoes the prophecy of Zechariah 12:3 as it says:

“And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” (Zechariah 12:3)

Not only does this Paris meeting of 70 nations discussing Israel’s future reflect on many end-times prophecies but I find it very interesting that it was 70 nations that had originally descended from Noah’s three sons that began the world population as we know it today as outlined in Genesis 10.

 

The purpose of the Genesis 10 table of nations isn’t given so much as to outline the beginning of the nations as it is to bring the reader from Noah to Abraham in a genealogical sense.  Now it just so happens that 70 nations are convening to discuss the future of the nation that came out of Abraham to begin with!  This is a manifestation of the old saying, “what comes around goes around.” 

There are so many signs that we are living in the appointed time of the end that the prophecy related news is coming almost faster than I can write this article!  I’ve always believed that as the end of the age approaches, the end-time prophetic events would speed up in frequency and we seem to be certainly seeing that. 

 

Even the end of the Bible ends with Jesus saying “Surely I am coming quickly” Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”

(Habakkuk 2:3)