Time Has An End

by Harold Camping
Family Stations Inc.


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As we are proceeding with our study of the unfolding of the timeline of history, we constantly are making reference to numbers that God has recorded in the Bible. These numbers are placed in the Bible by God and, therefore, are to be very seriously considered. We must not gloss over them as if they have little or no importance. Therefore, before we continue our study, we should pause to learn how God uses numbers in the Bible. Given the spiritual principle that we are to compare spiritual things with spiritual (I Corinthians 2:13), and given the fact that the whole Bible and all that it declares is an integral part of the spiritual message, we know we must search the Bible to discover how God uses numbers.*

These numbers are placed in the Bible by God and,
therefore, are to be very seriously considered.

Moreover, we must carefully consider God’s use of numbers in the Bible because it is the numbers in the Biblical text that have especially given cause to a mistrust of the Bible. For example, there is probably no other body of Biblical citations that has done more to seem to invalidate the authority of the Bible than those pertaining to the duration of the reigns of the Hebrew kings.

We read, for example, in one citation (II Kings 8:26), that Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign. Yet in another citation (II Chronicles 22:2), we read that he was forty-two years old when he began to reign. Many more of these kinds of apparent errors can be cited in connection with the reigns of these kings.

The result of these apparent contradictions and errors is that a great many theologians have concluded that the numbers of the Bible are not accurate and are not to be trusted. These theologians have concluded that perhaps the numbers are not accurate, not because they are not accurate in the original


* We must be careful not to confuse an activity called "numerology" with the study of the numbers of the Bible. Numerology has to do with assigning number values to the Hebrew or Greek letters and adding together the number values of Bible words in an attempt to arrive at a hidden Bible message. Numerology has no Biblical validation and is not related in any sense to anything written in this book.  

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manuscript, but because a scribe may have made an error in transcribing a later copy. In any case, these apparent errors associated with the numbers of the Bible are very obvious and, therefore, many theologians have concluded that we cannot trust any numbers of the Bible.

After all, numbers are words and the whole Bible consists
of words. If some words of the Bible are not to be trusted,
then how can we trust any words of the Bible?

This conclusion concerning the apparent inaccuracies of the numbers of the Bible attempts to destroy the authority of the whole Bible. If the ancient copies, from which we obtain our present Bible, are inaccurate insofar as the numbers of the Bible are concerned, then how can they be trusted concerning any part of the Bible? After all, numbers are words and the whole Bible consists of words. If some words of the Bible are not to be trusted, then how can we trust any words of the Bible? We thus can understand why so many Bible scholars do not trust the Bible. They like what they read when it pleases them, but a passage that does not please them can be easily set aside in their minds as inaccurate and thus having no binding authority.

Unfortunately, this undercurrent of mistrust is far more in place than we might think. So many preachers and teachers of the Bible stress that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God, yet, in practice, they subject themselves to the authority of the Bible only when it appears to agree with the theological ideas that they themselves or their church hold. But when the Bible appears to disagree with their theological position, the Biblical citation in question is disregarded or modified in their thinking so that it does agree with their theological position. This kind of conduct is often consciously or unconsciously fostered and encouraged because they, at some time in their studies, have read commentaries that suggest the possibility of scribal error, particularly in connection with the numbers of the Bible.

There are no errors or real contradictions in the Bible. The whole Bible in the original languages is completely trustworthy. This includes every word whether it is a number or some other word.

The only errors that may be found will be those resulting from a faulty translation into our present languages or because inferior Greek texts were used in translating the New Testament. Wonderfully, the King James translation has used the correct Greek copies.

An example of a passage that appears to have been incorrectly written is that of the age of King Ahaziah at the time he began to reign. It appears that  

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a scribe, while copying the original language, made an error so that a wrong number now occurs in the Bible. In II Kings 8:26, the Bible reports that he was twenty-two years old when he began to reign. But in II Chronicles 22:2, the Bible reports that he was forty-two years old when he began to reign.

Actually, there is no contradiction. The solution is that, in the first instance, God is teaching that Ahaziah was indeed twenty-two years old when he began to reign. In the second citation, God is teaching that he began to reign forty-two years after the kingly dynasty of Omri, of whom Ahaziah was a descendant, began. (For a full discussion of these apparent discrepancies, the reader is invited to obtain free of charge the book The Perfect Harmony of the Numbers of the Hebrew Kings from Family Radio.)

Each and every word, even each letter of each word, in the
original languages was precisely what God desired.

We must bear in mind that the Bible was crafted by God. Each and every word, even each letter of each word, in the original languages was precisely what God desired. Because He is God, He could have designed the Bible so that any 6-year-old child could clearly understand each and every teaching that God wished mankind to understand.

But God purposely wrote the Bible so that it would be difficult to discover many truths of the Bible. Jesus declares in Mark 4:11-12:

And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

In Proverbs 25:2, He further declares:

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

God declares in I Corinthians 2:11-14:

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man
 

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which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

God purposely wrote the Bible to foster unbelief in the hearts
of those who do not want the salvation of the Bible.

As we examine these citations, we begin to understand that God purposely wrote the Bible to foster unbelief in the hearts of those who do not want the salvation of the Bible. For them, the Bible appears to contain errors, contradictions, and many things that apparently have no relationship to truth.

This, I believe, is the reason that the numbers that relate to the chronology of the kings of Judah and Israel appear so frequently to be in error.

But when we adopt Biblical principles, namely, that we are to trust that every word in the Bible in the original languages is God-breathed, that we are to compare Scripture with Scripture, and that we are to pray for wisdom, asking that the Holy Spirit will lead us into truth, then these supposed errors and contradictions will be eliminated. If they are not eliminated, it means that we must patiently wait upon God because ultimately, they will be eliminated. This is so simply because the Bible is the Word of God.

Emphasis must be made once more: In trying to understand a difficult passage, we must never countenance the thought that perhaps a word of a phrase has been accidentally or purposely altered by a scribe in transcribing from one copy to another. We can rest assured that not only did holy men of God speak as God the Holy Spirit moved them (II Peter 1:21), but also God protected His Word so that it would be available in its pure form to succeeding generations (John 17:13-21; Acts 1:8; Romans 16:25-27).

Numbers May Convey Spiritual Truth

We must keep in mind that numbers are words and therefore should be studied and defined like any word in the Bible. That is, if we wish to know the  

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meaning of a word, we should locate that word wherever it can be found in the original language of the Bible. By examining the context of each place it is used, ordinarily, it is possible to know the meaning of that word as it is used in the Bible. Thus, for example, we can learn from the Bible that the word “grace” may be defined as “God’s free gift of salvation.” Occasionally, some help in understanding a word used in the Bible may come from a non-Biblical source. However, the ideal source is the Bible.

Frequently, words have more than one meaning. The Hebrew word “yam,” for example, is translated as the word “sea” and as the word “west” in addition to several other ways, depending upon the context.

Frequently, words can be understood in a literal physical manner and also to signify spiritual truth. For example, the word “lamb” can refer to an animal, the offspring of a sheep, but it can also refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God who was offered, as the only sacrifice completely pleasing to God, to take away sins (Hebrews 9:11-14; I Peter 1:18-19).

We must remember that numbers are words and the same rules apply to numbers that apply to words. We, therefore, discover that a number can be understood in various ways. Following are the most common ways the Bible uses numbers:

  1. Numbers can be used to measure the passage of time. For example, Israel was in Egypt for 430 years (Exodus 12:40).
  2. Numbers can be used to describe a group of people, objects, things, etc. Thus, we read that there were eight souls on the ark (I Peter 3:20).
  3. Numbers can be used to describe the size of an object. For example, the ark was 300 cubits long and fifty cubits wide (Genesis 6:15).
  4. Numbers can have a literal, physical application and at the same time also have a spiritual or symbolical application. For example, we read in John 21:11 of 153 fish that were caught. This was the literal number of fish that were caught but the number 153 also has a definite spiritual application, as we shall presently learn. At times, the spiritual application will be readily seen, and at times, it may be hidden from our understanding.
 

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  1. In some instances, in a particular context, a number may haveonly a spiritual or symbolical meaning.

For example, Peter asked Jesus the question in Matthew 18:21:

. . . Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

And Jesus answered in the next verse:

Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Now, 70 x 7 = 490. Was Jesus teaching that when we have forgiven someone 490 times, we can then stop forgiving that person? We know that the number 490 is not being used in that fashion because the rest of the chapter teaches that we are to forgive each other as Christ has forgiven us. We know that Christ does not forgive just 490 sins, but when He forgives individuals for whom He died, He forgives all of their sins (Mark 2:5-12; John 8:10-11; Colossians 2:13).

The numbers 70 and 7 are conveying the spiritual truth
that our forgiving is to be completely perfect which means
we are never to stop forgiving.

Therefore, we must understand that the numbers in the expression 70 x 7, in this context, are conveying the truth that there is to be no limit to the number of each other’s sins that we are to forgive. The numbers 70 and 7 are conveying the spiritual truth that our forgiving is to be completely perfect which means we are never to stop forgiving.

Another illustration is recorded in Psalm 105:8, where God declares:

He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.

The translators incorrectly translated the Hebrew word for “generation” as a plural word. However, in the original Hebrew, it is a singular word. Thus, the verse should read “the word which He commanded to a thousand  

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generation.” But that does not make any apparent sense. What kind of a generation is a thousand generation? Only when we realize that the number 1,000 can spiritually mean that which is complete does the sense of the verse become clear. God’s commands are to a complete generation. The generation that God has in mind, based on the word “covenant” which is found in this phrase, must include all the peoples of the earth. Psalm 105, verse 7, shows this:

He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.

Likewise, when we read Revelation 20:2-7 we learn that Satan was bound for a thousand years. But when we carefully study everything in the Bible that relates to the binding of Satan, we learn that 1,000 years no doubt covers the whole period of time from A.D. 33 to A.D. 1988. This obviously is a much larger period of time than a literal 1,000 years. Therefore, even as was the situation in Psalm 105, the “a thousand” of Revelation 20:2 is a synonym for the word “complete” or “completeness.” Satan was bound for the completeness (1,000 years) of God’s timetable for his binding.

  1. Frequently, large numbers can be broken down to smaller significant numbers to expose the spiritual significance of the larger number.

Larger numbers in Scripture have spiritual significance, but that significance often may not be seen until the number is broken down into its smaller significant numbers. The combination of these smaller numbers may convey two or three or more statements of spiritual truth agreeing completely with all that the rest of the Bible declares. This again highlights the magnificent nature of how God has written the Bible.

We have already observed how God has displayed His use of the factors of a larger number to teach spiritual truth (Matthew 18:21 [490 = 70 x 7]). (See also Leviticus 23:15-16; 25:8.) Now we cite, as examples of the many in the Bible, two large numbers given in Scripture whose combination of factors convey rich spiritual truth.

In John Chapter 21, by means of a historical parable, God describes all of those who will become saved during the latter rain. This is the time when there will be the final salvation period during which all those who are still to become saved will become saved. It occurs during the second part of the Great Tribulation which will immediately precede the end of the world. God describes these who are to be saved as 153 fish that were caught in a net that did not break and which were brought to land without being in a ship. The number 153 equals 3 x 3 x 17.  

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Presently, we will learn that the number 3 signifies God’s will or purpose and the number 17, if it has spiritual meaning, signifies Heaven. Therefore, the 153 fish signify that it is the purpose (the number 3) of God to bring to Heaven (the number 17) all of those who are to be saved during the Great Tribulation.

Incidentally, only the numbers 3 and 17 are the basic factors of the number 153. 153 is also a product of 9 x17, but 9 is the product of 3 x 3, so again we arrive at God’s purpose signified by the number 3. 153 is also a product of 51 x 3, but 51 is a product of 17 x 3, so again we observe the spiritual meaning of Heaven signified by the number 17. A larger number may have different combinations of factors, but it is only God’s use of numbers in the Bible in all of its contexts that dictates the spiritual meaning of any of these numbers. It is a thing of beauty and wonder to see how God, even in numerical expressions, reveals important spiritual truth for us to know!

A second large number is found in Acts 27:37 where God speaks of 276 individuals who were aboard a ship that was totally wrecked in a severe storm. However, all 276 people were saved. The number 276 breaks down into the numbers 12 x 23 or the number 3 x 2 x 2 x 23. Spiritually, it can be shown that the destroyed ship represents the end of the Church Age. The number 276 spiritually represents that it was God’s purpose (the number 3) that those who are to continue to bring the Gospel (the number 2) would be rescued from the judgment (the number 23) that destroyed the ship (the local churches).

The Numbers of the Bible Do Not Appear by Happenstance

As we study the Bible, we occasionally notice that in the recording of certain historical events, a number appears to be featured. This is true, for example, of the numbers in connection with the accounts of the crucifixion of Christ. Remember, there were 3 crosses (Mark 15:27), 3 denials by Peter (Mark 14:66-72), 3 apostles were with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:33), Jesus prayed 3 times in the Garden (Mark 14:32-41), the words “JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS” were on the cross in 3 languages (John 19:19-20), 3 groups of men — the chief priests, the elders, and all the council — wanted Him killed (Matthew 26:59), etc. Included are some larger numbers that feature the number 3. For example, 30 pieces of silver were paid to betray Him (Matthew 26:15), and there were 3 hours of darkness, from the sixth to the ninth hour (Matthew 27:45).

Is the development of these events that surround the crucifixion of Christ — recorded so that the number 3 is repeatedly in view — accidental or incidental? Or is God, by the use of the number 3, conveying a great spiritual message that every thing that happened in connection with the crucifixion of Jesus was  

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altogether in accordance with God’s unmistakable purpose and sovereign will?

Similarly, we find the number 23 featured in places in the Bible where the judgment of God is definitely in view. For example, in Daniel 8:14, God teaches that the sanctuary and the host would be trodden underfoot 2,300 days. In I Corinthians 10:10, God speaks of a plague that killed 23,000 individuals in one day. That this is focusing on the number 23 as a number of judgment can be quickly understood because in Numbers 25:9, the Bible records that there were 24,000 killed in the plague. There is no contradiction between these two accounts. It is obvious that of the total number of 24,000 killed in the plague, 23,000 were killed in one day and that means an additional 1,000 were killed in a second day. However, God is particularly associating the number 23 with His judgment on sin. We thus learn that the number 23 can convey the spiritual meaning of God’s judgment or God’s wrath.

If we look at many numbers of the Bible, therefore, we can see that they may be conveying spiritual truth as well as teaching simple numerical value.

The number 2 is used frequently to describe those who bring the Gospel. Jesus sent the 70 out “two and two” (Luke 10:1). Revelation Chapter 11 describes the 2 witnesses who were killed and then again stood on their feet to bring the Gospel. In Acts Chapter 13, Paul and Barnabas were sent out together as the first missionaries. Thus, if the number 2 has symbolical or spiritual meaning, it would identify with those who are to bring the Gospel or who are the caretakers of the Bible.

The number 4 identifies with the whole world. The Bible speaks of east, west, north, and south (Psalm 107:3). It speaks of 4 winds (Matthew 24:31) and 4 corners of the land (Ezekiel 7:2). Thus, if the number 4 has any symbolical or spiritual meaning, it would identify with that which is universal or worldwide.

But the number 4 is also used to convey universality in the sense of going all the way to the end. For example, Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead 4 days before he was raised (John 11:15-17). King Jehu’s dynasty was allowed to continue through 4 kings (II Kings 10:30; 13:1, 9-10; 14:16, 29; 15:8-12). Israel came out of Egypt in the 4th generation after being afflicted 400 years (Genesis 15:13-16). Abraham bought a burial ground for his wife Sarah for 400 shekels (Genesis 23:15) because she represents all true believers all the way to the end of time who expect with Sarah to receive their resurrected bodies. In all of these instances, the use of the number 4 indicates the extremity or the end of a period of time, even as it is used to point to the end of the world which is worldwide (II Peter 3:10).

The number 5 very frequently identifies with salvation or judgment. Christ had to experience judgment to bring salvation so we are not surprised that  

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both judgment and salvation identify with the number 5. The number 5 appears in the Bible both as ½ which is .5 and as 5 or 50 or 500 or 5,000, etc. We immediately think of the temple tax which was .5 shekel (Exodus 30:13), or of the 5,000 who were fed by Jesus (John 6:10-13), or of the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-2), etc. Thus, if the number 5 has any symbolical or spiritual meaning, it would be that of salvation or judgment.

If the number 6 has any symbolical or spiritual meaning, it probably would identify with work. Jesus worked 6 days to create the universe (Exodus 20:11). The number 666 of Revelation 13:18 identifies with the unsaved who essentially are working to get right with God.

The number 7 is used throughout the Bible in the sense of a completed cycle (7 days, 7 years), or in the sense of perfect completeness. For example, earlier we looked at forgiveness to be 70 x 7 times.

The number 9 is 3 x 3. Therefore, symbolically or spiritually, it would signify purpose.

The number 10, like the number 100, or 1,000 or 10,000, etc. signifies completeness. The Bible speaks of 10 coins (Luke 15:8), 100 sheep (Luke 15:4), 1,000 years (II Peter 3:8), 1,000 generations (Deuteronomy 7:9), etc. Thus, if the number 10 has any symbolical or spiritual meaning, it would be that of completeness.

The number 11 is frequently used in the Bible to convey the idea of defective fullness. For example, there were 12 tribes (actually thirteen tribes) of Israel, but after David pridefully numbered Israel, God speaks of 11 tribes (I Kings 11:31-32). When Judas Iscariot, who was one of the 12 apostles (John 6:70- 71), took his own life after he betrayed Jesus, there were 11 apostles left. Immediately, another apostle was chosen to bring the total back up to 12 (Acts 1:13-26). There are 11 millenniums from Creation to the first coming of Christ (see Chapter 9 of this book). But His coming is not complete (in that sense, defective) until He comes on the last day to finish all of His work that He has planned for mankind and this world (I Corinthians 15:24).

The number 12 is used frequently to signify the fullness of whatever is in view. There were 12 tribes and 12 apostles, the Holy City is spoken of as 12,000 furlongs by 12,000 furlongs by 12,000 furlongs (Revelation 21:16), etc. Thus, if the number 12 has any symbolical or spiritual meaning, it would be the fullness of whatever is in view. The numbers 7, 10, and 12, are, therefore, very similar to each other in signifying spiritual truth.

The number 13 symbolically or spiritually signifies super fullness. Ordinarily, the Bible speaks of twelve apostles, but in actuality there were 13. The 13th was the Apostle Paul who insisted under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that he met all of the qualifications of the original twelve (I Corinthians 9:1-2; 15:8-9;  

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II Corinthians 12:11-12). The Bible ordinarily speaks of twelve tribes of Israel but in actuality there were 13 (Genesis 49:1-28; Numbers 32:33; Joshua Chapters 16 and 17). The universe has existed for slightly more than 13,000 years (see Chapters 2 and 3 of this book). Thus, if the number 13 has any symbolical or spiritual meaning, it identifies with “super fullness”.

Curiously, we see this concept identified with the age of the earth. We have learned that the Old Testament era from Creation to the birth of Christ is almost exactly 11,000 years (11,006 years). We also can easily misunderstand the opening verses of Revelation Chapter 20 which speak of Satan being bound for a thousand years after which the end of the world would come. And 11,000 years + 1,000 years = 12,000 years, which symbolically identifies with complete fullness of time. But the New Testament era is about two thousand years. Therefore, the total time is very close to 13,000 years (13,023 years to be exact). And thus, we see again the concept of super fullness identified with the number 13.

The number 17 is found in several places that identify with Heaven. For example, during the last 17 years of his life, Jacob lived under the complete safety of Joseph who was a portrait or type of Christ at the time he was used of God to save his family from starvation (Genesis 47:28). Jeremiah paid 17 shekels for a piece of land in Israel as a sign that God would again bring Israel into the land; the land signifies the eternal kingdom of God (Jeremiah 32:9). Thus, if the number 17 has any symbolical or spiritual meaning, it would be that of Heaven.

The number 37, like the number 23, signifies God’s judgment. Noah was in the ark for a total of 370 days at the time God’s judgment was on the earth (Genesis 7:11; 8:14-18). The army of Sennacherib that was destroyed by God in one night numbered 185,000 (II Kings 19:35). 185,000 = 5 x 37 x 1,000. The number 666, which is the number assigned to the unsaved who are under the judgment of God (Revelation 13:18), when broken down into significant numbers, is 3 x 6 x 37. Thus, if the number 37 has any symbolical or spiritual meaning, it would be judgment.

The number 40 is used repeatedly in the Bible to signify testing. Moses was 40 days on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:18). Israel failed the test of his absence and made the golden calf (Exodus 32:1-4). Israel was 40 years in the wilderness. They failed the test because almost none of them became saved (Hebrews 3:17). Jesus was tested 40 days and 40 nights by Satan (Matthew 4:1-2; Luke 4:1-2). Wonderfully, He did not fail the test (Matthew 4:3-11; Luke 4:3- 14). Thus, if the number 40 has any symbolical or spiritual meaning, it would be that of testing.

The number 43 surfaces from time to time. For example, Israel was in Egypt for 430 years. The end of the 430 years brought judgment upon Egypt but  

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freedom (a picture of salvation) to Israel. Thus, if the number 43 has any spiritual or symbolical meaning, it would be, like the number 5, that of judgment or salvation.

The following is a summary of probable meanings of the numbers set forth above.

Number
    Symbolical or Spiritual Meaning
2
    Caretakers of the Bible
3
    God’s purpose
4
    Universality or going all the way to the end
5
    Salvation or judgment
6
    Work
7
    Perfect completeness
9
    Purpose
10
    Completeness
11
    Defective fullness
12
    Fullness
13
    Super fullness
17
    Heaven
23
    Judgment
37
    Judgment
43
    Judgment or salvation

These comments about God’s usage of numbers do not in any way insist that this, then, is the basis of recognizing the high possibility that A.D. 2011 may indeed be the year of the end of the world. If it were true that not a single number in the Bible conveyed any spiritual truth, the conclusions set forth in this study identifying with the unfolding of God’s salvation plan would not change at all.  

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However, it is true that as we understand God’s use of numbers in the Bible, we do have increased evidence that the timeline of history we have projected to A.D. 2011 has a great possibility of being correct.

. . . the numbers God has used in the Bible can have spiritual value,
that is, they can be used of God to teach spiritual truth.

Now that we have learned that the numbers God has used in the Bible can have spiritual value, that is, they can be used of God to teach spiritual truth, we shall also learn that in the Calendar of History, major milestones are separated from each other in such a way that spiritual truth shines forth.

For example, Israel was in the wilderness 40 years, from the year 1447 B.C. to 1407 B.C. As we learned, the number 40 spiritually signifies testing. In Deuteronomy 8:2 we read:

And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

This verse clearly teaches that the 40 years Israel was in the wilderness was a period of time set by God for Him to test them (see also Numbers 14:33-34). By this verse, we are assured that the duration of a time period set forth in God’s Gospel Calendar can be used to emphasize spiritual truth.

Again, we have learned that Abraham was seventy-five years of age when he came into the land of Canaan and that he died at the age of 175 years (Genesis 25:7). We have learned that the land of Canaan symbolically represents the eternal kingdom of God. We have also learned that the number 10, 100, or 1,000 can spiritually signify completeness. Additionally, we know from the Bible that Abraham represents all of those who are true believers (Galatians 3:29). Thus, the 100-year period from the year 2092 B.C., when Abraham entered the land of Canaan, until the year 1992 B.C., when Abraham died, signifies the completeness of eternal life for all those who become saved.

Fact is, God has structured the unfolding of His salvation plan so that as we discover the Calendar of History, we find two major principles to be in place:

  1. The Gospel milestones in the unfolding of history are not in any sense haphazard or at random.
 

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  1. Frequently, the time duration between significant milestones convey important spiritual truth.
We should test these principles. We shall do so by listing a number of the significant milestones and then checking to discover if there is any possibility of spiritual meaning in the time segment between these milestones.

Time Intervals Can Convey Spiritual Truth

The following is a list of some of the milestones we have already uncovered as we have been studying the timeline of history. Additionally, three milestones are listed that we will come to later as we continue in our progress through time all the way to the end of time.

1. 2092 B.C. Abraham arrives in the promised land, Canaan, which externally typifies the kingdom of God.
2. 2067 B.C. Sodom and Gomorrah are completely destroyed.
3. 1877 B.C. Jacob and his family are commanded to leave the promised land, Canaan, and go to live in Egypt.
4. 1447 B.C. Israel as a nation leaves Egypt at the time that God’s judgment falls on Egypt. All of the firstborn of Egypt are killed.
5. 1407 B.C. Israel crosses the Jordan River and enters Canaan, which externally typifies the kingdom of God.
6. 1047 B.C. Israel becomes a monarchy.
7. 1007 B.C. David becomes king of Israel.
8. 931 B.C. The kingdom of twelve tribes is divided into two kingdoms, Judah (two tribes) and Israel (ten tribes).
9. 709 B.C. Israel is destroyed by the Assyrians.
10. 609 B.C. Judah begins a time of great tribulation. During this time, Judah loses its independence and becomes first a vassal of Egypt and then a vassal of Babylon.
(continued)  

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11. 587 B.C. Judah and Jerusalem are destroyed by Babylon. All the remaining Jews are commanded to leave Judea and live in Babylon.
12. 539 B.C. Babylon is conquered by the Medes and Persians.
13. 391 B.C. The last writing of the Old Testament.
14. 7 B.C. Jesus is born. Beginning year of first Jubilee period.
15. A.D. 29 Jesus is announced as the Lamb of God.
16 A.D. 33 Jesus is crucified. Church Age begins.
17. A.D. 1988 Church Age ends. Beginning year of the Great Tribulation (see Chapter 10 of this book).
18. A.D. 1994 Beginning year of second Jubilee period.
19. A.D. 2011 Probable end of the world.

These milestones did not occur in a random or haphazard manner. It can be shown that they are interrelated to each other in a definite pattern. We can see this pattern when we break down the intervals between these various events into their significant numbers. Remember, we learned that numbers can have spiritual meaning.

Two numbers will always signify judgment if they are used in a spiritual or symbolical way. They are the numbers 23 and 37. Additionally, there are two numbers that, depending upon the context, may signify either judgment or salvation. They are the numbers 5 and 43. Surprisingly, a great number of the time intervals between these important milestones feature these numbers of judgment.

For example, in the year 2092 B.C., Abraham came into the promised land of Canaan. It was the land that externally represented the kingdom of God. Yet 215 years later, in the year 1877 B.C., his grandson Jacob was commanded to leave the land of Canaan and go to Egypt. This was a portrait of God abandoning the external representation of the kingdom of God, in this illustration, the land of Canaan, to Satan. The number 215 can be factored or broken down into the significant numbers 5 x 43.

Again, for example, in the year 2067 B.C., Sodom was destroyed, and in the year 587 B.C., Judah was destroyed. Judah is linked to Sodom by the language of Ezekiel 16:46-48 where we read of Judah:  

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And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters. Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways. As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters.

Samaria, which was the capital of the ten tribes (Israel), is called the older sister, and Sodom is called the younger sister. These three, Judah, Israel, and Sodom, are linked together in that they came into destruction because of their wickedness. They are also linked together by the mathematical factors of the numbers that represent the time intervals between the dates of Sodom’s destruction and Judah’s destruction.

The time interval between Sodom’s destruction in 2067 B.C. and Judah’s destruction in 587 B.C. equals 1,480 years. The number 1,480 can be broken down to the significant numbers 4 x 10 x 37 or 2 x 4 x 5 x 37 or 2 x 2 x 2 x 5 x 37. Spiritually, the number 1,480 thus can be understood that in the end (4) of these nations, there will be complete (10) destruction (37). Or, in the end (4), Judah, which was the caretaker of the Bible (2), comes under the judgment of God (5 and 37). Or, it could be understood to say that it is God’s purpose (3 “2s”) that Judah, which had been the caretaker of the Bible (2 x 2 x 2), would be brought under judgment (5 and 37).

In similar fashion, we should take note of the following time intervals that also feature God’s judgment upon Israel either as the twelve-tribe nation or upon Israel and upon Judah after they were divided into two nations. Please note that repeatedly, the numbers of judgment, 23, 37, and 43, come into view.


1. Year 1877 B.C. Jacob commanded to leave the promised land and to live in Egypt.
 Year 587 B.C. Judah commanded to leave Jerusalem and to live in Babylon.
1,877 - 587 = 1,290 years = 3 x 10 x 43

2. Year 1447 B.C. First born of Egypt killed and Israel delivered from captivity.
 Year A.D. 33 Christ as the firstborn killed to provide deliverance to those who are to become saved.
1,447+ 33 = 1,480 years inclusive = 2 x 2 x 10 x 37

3. Year 1047 B.C. Twelve tribes of Israel become a monarchy.

(continued)  

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  Year 587 B.C. Israel ceases to be a monarchy. Jerusalem is destroyed. 1,047 - 587 = 460 years = 10 x 2 x 23

4. Year 931 B.C. Israel becomes two nations. One is called Judah. One is called Israel.
 Year 709 B.C. Nation of Israel destroyed by Assyria. 931 - 709 = 222 years 222 = 2 x 3 x 37

5. Year 609 B.C. Nation of Judah becomes a servant first of Egypt and then of Babylon. Judah’s seventy-year period of tribulation begins.
931 - 609 = 322 years 322 = 2 x 7 x 23

6. Year 587 B.C. Judah destroyed by Babylonians.
931 - 587 = 344 years 344 = 2 x 2 x 2 x 43

When we project the Biblical milestones into the future, we discover that three years come into great prominence and that the numbers signifying judgment continue to appear. The years are:

A.D. 1988. End of the Church Age. Beginning of the Great Tribulation (see Chapter 10 of this book).
A.D. 1994. Beginning of second Jubilee.
A.D. 2011. Probable date of the end of the world.

When we examine time intervals that link these dates to earlier significant dates, we take note of the following:

  1. In the year 587 B.C., Judaea, which in the Old Testament externally typified the kingdom of God, was destroyed by Babylon. Yet, those who were driven out of Judaea and Jerusalem were to pray for Babylon and seek its spiritual welfare. We read in Jeremiah 29:4-5 and 7:

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; and seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.
 

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Likewise, in A.D. 1994, a similar situation prevailed throughout the world. The true believers had been driven out or had been commanded to come out of the churches. However, they were sent into the world as ambassadors to pray for and seek the spiritual welfare of the world.

Moreover, in 587 B.C., the land of Judaea had been forsaken by God and would continue to be forsaken by God throughout the seventy years of the tribulation of that day. In the same manner, the churches of our day have been forsaken by God and will continue to be forsaken by God all the way to the end of the present Great Tribulation, which will continue to the end of the world. Thus, we are not surprised to find a significant time interval between the years 587 B.C. and A.D. 1994.

The time interval between 587 B.C. and A.D. 1994 is 2,580 years. Remember, there is no year 0. Therefore, to determine the number of years from an Old Testament date to a New Testament date, the years are added together and one year is subtracted. Thus, when we add 587 B.C. to A.D. 1994, we obtain 587 + 1,994 - 1 = 2,580 years. The number 2,580 breaks down into the significant numbers 3 x 2 x 10 x 43 or 3 x 4 x 5 x 43 or 12 x 5 x 43.

Please note that the number 43, which can signify both salvation and judgment, is featured. In A.D. 1994, indeed, judgment continues on the local churches while salvation begins again throughout the world outside of the churches.

  1. In A.D. 33, the Church Age began. In A.D. 1988, the Church Age came to an end. 1,988 - 33 = 1,955. The number 1,955 breaks down into the significant numbers 5 x 17 x 23. The number 17 signifies Heaven; the number 23 judgment. Thus, these significant numbers corroborate the statement of II Corinthians 2:15-16, where we read:

For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

  1. The interval of time between A.D. 1988 when the Great Tribulation likely began and A.D. 2011, which probably is the year of the end of the world, is 23 years. 2,011 - 1,988 = 23.
  2. The year Christ experienced the judgment of God on behalf
 

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    of all of those He came to save was A.D. 33. The year that God will judge the unsaved and sentence them to eternal perdition is probably A.D. 2011, the likely date of the end of the world. 2,011 - 33 = 1,978 years. 1,978 factors into 2 x 23 x 43.
  1. 5. We will discover that the first part of the Great Tribulation period is 2,300 days. 2,300 = 100 x 23.
  2. 6. The time from Creation to the Flood that destroyed the world in Noah’s day was 6,000 + 23 years.
  3. 7. The time from the Flood to A.D. 33 when Christ came under judgment for sin was 5,000 + 23 years inclusive.
  4. 8. The time from Creation, in the year 11,013 B.C., until the end of the world, most likely in A.D. 2011, equals 13,000 + 23 years.

Significantly, in each and every one of the important time intervals
listed above, the time interval has one or more of the four numbers
that are frequently associated with judgment.

Significantly, in each and every one of the important time intervals listed above, the time interval has one or more of the four numbers that are frequently associated with judgment. Remember, those numbers are 5, 23, 37, and 43. The time periods listed occurred in past history and, therefore, actually have taken place. However, we cannot help but notice how similar the projected time periods that end with the A.D. years 1988, 1994, or 2011 are to the actual time periods of the past. Is all of this coincidental or is it an indication of God’s careful plan for the unfolding of His Gospel program?

We must remember that none of the years shown above are developed in an effort to make the numbers that signify judgment, for example, become evident. Each and every one of the years of the past that are shown and those that are projected into the future have been set forth with no regard or concern for the spiritual or symbolical meaning of any of the resulting time periods.

To say it another way — and it is not superfluous to repeat this statement — if it were true that not a single number in the Bible conveyed any spiritual truth, the conclusions set forth in this study that identify with the unfolding of God’s salvation plan would not change at all.  

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The time periods shown above, as well as elsewhere in this study, do emphasize that we can know that the unfolding of God’s salvation plan is not at all in a haphazard, random, capricious manner. They clearly demonstrate that the unfolding of history was carefully preplanned and structured by God. Moreover, it indicates that the numbers in the Bible are extremely important if we are to have any understanding of the timing of the history of the world all the way from the beginning of time to the end of the world.

The same God who gave us the Bible also set up the laws that
govern the movement of planets and stars. These laws are
expressed as numbers that were carefully designed by God.

If secular scientists paid no attention to numbers as they attempted travel to the moon or to the planet Mars, they could never achieve any success. The same God who gave us the Bible also set up the laws that govern the movement of planets and stars. These laws are expressed as numbers that were carefully designed by God. Likewise, the history of the world as it relates to the unfolding of God’s salvation plan is expressed by numbers that have been carefully included in the Bible text.

It might be noted that there are many other indicators of the careful preplanned character of the unfolding of God’s salvation program in which the numbers of judgment (5, 23, 37, 43), are not featured. A few examples follow:

  1. 1. Abraham, of whom all true believers in Jesus Christ are spiritually called the seed (Galatians 3:29), was circumcised in the year 2068 B.C. (Genesis Chapter 17). At that time, God’s salvation promises were re-emphasized. Exactly 2,100 years later, in A.D. 33, the certainty of those promises is seen as Jesus literally endures the wrath of God to fulfill those promises for the heirs of salvation (Galatians 3:29 - 4:7). The number 2,100 breaks down into the very significant numbers 3 x 7 x 100.
  2. 2. Abraham was seventy-five years of age when he came into the promised land, the land of Canaan. He died at the age of 175 having lived 100 years in the land of Canaan. Thus, God emphasized the principle that believers live in the kingdom of God for the completeness (100) of God’s plan, that is, eternally.
  3. 3. The last written entry of the Old Testament part of the Bible
 

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    was made in the year 391 B.C. We will discover that in the year 7 B.C., Jesus was born. He is the very Word of God. From the year 11,013 B.C. until 391 B.C., holy men of God spoke as God the Holy Spirit moved them. But in 7 B.C., Christ, the very Word of God, appeared in the flesh. We read in John 1:14:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    It surely seems very significant that the duration of time between 391 B.C. and 7 B.C. is 384 years. Amazingly, the number 384 breaks down into 3 x 27 or 3 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2. We have learned that the purpose or will of God is frequently signified by the number 3. We have also learned that the number 2 spiritually can signify the caretaking of the Word of God. We also have learned that the number 7 signifies complete perfection. Please note that the number 384 has the number 2 multiplied 7 times. Thus, in the number 384 (3 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2), we find these three very significant numbers. It was God’s purpose (3) that the Word, who is the Lord Jesus, would finally come in the flesh as the Caretaker of the Gospel, indeed, the very essence of the Gospel (2), in the complete perfection of God’s timetable (7 “2s”).

It is also quite amazing to learn that there is a very significant relationship between the years 391 B.C. and A.D. 2011, which is the date of the probable end of the world. We do know that at the end of the world, Christ will again speak very literally as He comes with a shout, with the voice of the Chief Messenger, who can be no one but Christ Himself. We read in I Thessalonians 4:16:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.

As indicated above, the word “archangel” is improperly translated. Christ is not an angel. He is the Messenger of the Covenant (Malachi 3:1).

Moreover, at the end of time, Christ will be speaking as the Judge of the earth, as all of the unsaved are brought into judgment.  

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Significantly, the period of time between 391 B.C. and A.D. 2011 equals 2,401 years. 391 B.C. + A.D. 2011 = 2,402 - 1 = 2,401 years. Amazingly, the number 2,401 breaks down into 7 x 7 x 7 x 7. Thus, two very important numbers are featured, the numbers 7 and 4. The number 7 indicates perfect completeness. The number 4 (4 “7s”), as we have learned, speaks of the end or the utmost extremity. Indeed, Christ will have spoken in complete perfection at the end of this world.

Many more examples showing the unfolding of God’s salvation plan could be given. A few additional examples are indicated on the time chart set forth at the end of this book.

While we are speaking of numbers, we might also take note of the number of times events are interrelated by the number 1,000. We should note the following:

  1. Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, was born in the year 2007 B.C. Exactly 2,000 years later, in the year 7 B.C., Jesus, who is the eternal King of Israel, was born.
  2. In the year 1007 B.C., David, a great type of Jesus, became king of Israel. Exactly 1,000 years later, in 7 B.C., Jesus, the eternal King of Israel, was born.
  3. In the year 967 B.C., Solomon began the building of the temple in Jerusalem. The construction of the temple points to the building of the spiritual temple of God which consists of all the true believers. Thus, the laying of the physical temple foundation was pointing to, and was spiritually fulfilled by, Christ becoming the spiritual foundation of all the true believers (I Corinthians 3:11). To become the foundation of the spiritual temple required that Christ pay for all of the sins of those He came to save. In the year 967 B.C., Solomon began the building of the physical temple. Exactly 1,000 calendar years later, in A.D. 33, Christ became the foundation of the spiritual temple by completing all that was involved in His cross experience. 967 + 33 = 1,000 calendar years (1,000 actual years inclusive).
  4. The year 7 B.C. signaled the beginning of the first Jubilee (the proclamation of the Gospel to the world). Exactly 2,000 years later, in A.D. 1994, the second Jubilee began as God began his final program of saving “a great multitude, which no man
 

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    could number” (Revelation 7:9) during the time of the Great Tribulation.
  1. 5. Creation occurred in the year 11,013 B.C. On the first day of creation, God said “Let there be light”(Genesis 1:3). This declaration anticipated the fact that the light of the Gospel would go into all of the world. Exactly 13,000 years later, A.D. 1988 identifies with the end of the Church Age and the beginning of the Great Tribulation. During the first part of the Great Tribulation, there would be the half hour of silence in Heaven (Revelation 8:1). Immediately following this half hour of silence, the second Jubilee period began which will probably end seventeen years later in A.D. 2011.

It is indeed curious and possibly significant that many milestones
found on the timeline of history ending with A.D. 2011 are very
interesting and possibly very important in that they may help us
further tie the whole program of history together.

It is indeed curious and possibly significant that many milestones found on the timeline of history ending with A.D. 2011 are very interesting and possibly very important in that they may help us further tie the whole program of history together. For example, we will discover that the probable duration of the Great Tribulation will be 23 years. The fact that the number 23 signifies judgment fits exceedingly well. Likewise, we will discover that 2,300 days is the time duration of the first part of the Great Tribulation when there was the half hour of silence in Heaven (Revelation 8:1).

Likewise, we will find that the 17- year period of the final harvest that takes place during the second part of the tribulation fits perfectly inasmuch as it is during these 17 years that a great multitude which no man can number is being saved (Revelation 7:9-14).

Curiously, as we have already noted, the precise 1,955 years of the Church Age factors into the significant numbers 5 x 17 x 23 = 1,955. The effect of bringing the Gospel to the world is stated in II Corinthians 2:15-16:

For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And
 

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who is sufficient for these things?

The Gospel, which is the Law of God, both damns people to the eternal wrath of God and saves people by providing eternal life. This is illustrated in the expression 5 x 17 x 23 = 1,955. Remember, the number 5 signifies both judgment and salvation, the number 17 signifies Heaven, which is the result of salvation, and the number 23 signifies judgment.

Earlier, we commented that there were 1,978 years from the cross to the probable end of the world. Remember, the number 1,978 factors into 2 x 23 x 43. Earlier, we learned that the number 2 signifies those who are the caretakers of the Bible. We also have learned that the number 23 signifies God’s judgment. Furthermore, the number 43 can signify salvation or judgment. Therefore, we can see in the number 1,978 that at the end of time, those who have been caretakers of the Bible will end up either under God’s eternal salvation or under eternal judgment.

We must be impressed by God’s use of the
numbers of the Bible.

We must be impressed by God’s use of the numbers of the Bible. Let it be emphasized again that no date or milestone in the timeline of history that we have set forth in this study has been prompted by any desire whatsoever to develop number relationships that may have spiritual or symbolical meanings. The Calendar of History that has been set forth in this study is based solely on Biblical information without any regard for the spiritual meaning that may be inherent in the numbers that result.

However, it cannot be coincidental or accidental that
the number patterns that the Bible reveals are
so beautifully interrelated.

However, it cannot be coincidental or accidental that the number patterns that the Bible reveals are so beautifully interrelated. They surely should further encourage us that God’s Timetable of History is indeed almost to an end.

We have spent a little time learning about the accuracy and importance of God’s use of numbers. Before we continue down the highway of time, we  

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should also take a moment to emphasize another aspect of Bible prophecy that is frequently grossly misunderstood. It is God’s use of parables.

Christ Spoke in Parables

We have been continuing our journey through time as it is viewed in the light of the unfolding of God’s grand salvation plan. Repeatedly, we have indicated that historical events recorded in the Bible were pictures or portraits of some aspect of God’s salvation plan. Actually, we can think of the Old Testament as a picture gallery, with each picture representing some aspect of God’s salvation plan.

We should, therefore, pause for a moment to show the solid Biblical basis for understanding the Bible in this way.

The extremely important principle that must be kept in
mind as we search the Bible for any kind of truth
is that Christ spoke in parables.

The extremely important principle that must be kept in mind as we search the Bible for any kind of truth is that Christ spoke in parables. We read in Mark 4:11:

And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables.

Jesus added in Mark 4:34:

But without a parable spake he not unto them . . . .

The principle that Jesus, the Author of the Bible, spoke in parables cannot be too strongly emphasized. Only by a clear understanding of this principle can a large part of the Bible be understood. Jesus explained why He wrote in parables. We read in Mark 4:9-12:

And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is
 

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given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

God is explaining to us that He purposely wrote the Bible so that those who are without the kingdom of God, those who have not been given spiritual ears to hear, those whom God does not intend to convert because they are not chosen of God to salvation, will remain completely ignorant of many of the truths of the Bible. To assure this, God has written much of the Bible as historical parables which those who have not been given spiritual ears cannot understand. They can understand the historical reality of the Biblical statement, but they cannot understand the spiritual message that is hidden within the statement.

For example, the nation of Israel was given the ceremonial
laws which are all like parables . . .

For example, the nation of Israel was given the ceremonial laws which are all like parables or metaphors. The observance of these laws should have pointed them to the coming Messiah (Christ) to save them. They, however, looked only at the physical observance of these laws as the key to their salvation. Thus, for example, they rigorously offered burnt offerings and kept the seventh-day Sabbath. But they perished because of their unbelief (Romans 9:31-33). They did not at all see the spiritual Gospel hidden within those laws.

Amazingly, we find that most churches have adopted a man-designed hermeneutic (method of Bible interpretation) that blocks them from understanding many portions of the Bible.* Their hermeneutic is altogether contrary to the Biblical teaching that Christ spoke in parables about which we are reading in Mark Chapter 4. It blocks them from understanding such great truths as the end of the church age, the Great Tribulation, the latter rain, etc. Their false hermeneutic virtually forces them to remain in their local congregations under the judgment of God. It is indeed remarkable that so many theologians and Bible teachers are trusting in an un-Biblical, man-made method of Bible interpretation that locks them out of the kingdom of God.


* For a full discussion of this, the reader is invited to obtain a free copy of Wheat and Tares, available from Family Radio.  

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Because these theologians and church leaders have implicit trust in the man-made method of Biblical interpretation which they have been taught in the seminary they attended, they are convinced that the method of Bible interpretation taught in this book is heresy. They also warn their followers that this is so. Thus, entire congregations remain in spiritual darkness. It is absolutely imperative that we never try to understand the Bible through the filter of any manmade principles. To do so, effectively removes God as the supreme and only authority who rules over His Word, the Bible.

A parable, simply stated, is an earthly story with a heavenly or spiritual meaning. It is like a metaphor or a simile.

A parable, simply stated, is an earthly story with a
heavenly or spiritual meaning.

Because Jesus identifies Himself completely as the Word of God and indeed is God Himself, we, therefore, would expect that when God wrote the Bible, He constantly would use parables. That is, He would hide important spiritual truth in stories or in historical events. We see this in God’s utilization of the ceremonial laws to point to spiritual truth. For example, the burnt offerings, the blood sacrifices of the Old Testament, were physical earthly activities pointing to or illustrating the spiritual truth of Jesus enduring the fires of Hell, of shedding His blood (that is, giving His life), that sinners might be saved. Thus, He was announced by John the Baptist as the Lamb of God. Jesus, of course, was not literally a lamb; He was the fulfilment of the ceremonial activity that pointed to or was represented by the Passover lamb as well as by the various burnt offerings or blood sacrifices in which lambs were sacrificed.

Likewise, we read in Isaiah 14:4 where God is apparently speaking of the king of Babylon, and He says:

That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!

However, if we continue to read this chapter, we discover God is not speaking of any historical king of Babylon. Instead, He is speaking of Satan. The citation of Isaiah Chapter 14 shows this as it continues in verses 12-15:

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the
 

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nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

God is speaking of Lucifer, who is also called Satan, as the king of Babylon because in the Bible, the nation of Babylon externally represented all of the kingdoms of this world who are ruled over by Satan. Therefore, Satan is externally typified or represented by the king of Babylon.

Because Christ spoke in parables and is, Himself, the Word of God, we can understand why this kind of presentation of truth is found here in Isaiah Chapter 14. Once we understand this principle, that God constantly utilized parables or metaphors or similes, much truth can be discovered in the Bible that otherwise would remain hidden.

Parables and The Book of Jeremiah

The Book of Jeremiah is a much larger example of Jesus speaking in parables. When we read it carefully, we will know that while most of this prophetic book is using the names of Old Testament nations, people, and cities, in actuality, it is pointing to the spiritual reality of the unfolding of God’s salvation plan that identifies with the time of the Great Tribulation that concludes with the return of Christ and the end of the world.

For example, when we carefully examine Chapter 25 of the Book of Jeremiah, we will find language that assures us that we are on the path of truth. In Jeremiah 25:2-5, we read that God is addressing Judah and Jerusalem, warning them to turn from their evil ways so that they could dwell in the land for ever and ever. We read there:

The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened. And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, Turn ye
 

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again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever.

The phrase in verse 5, “land . . . for ever and ever,” is an immediate clue that God is using parabolic language. The Bible is absolutely clear that this earth in its entirety will be destroyed by fire when Jesus returns at the end of the world (II Peter Chapter 3). Thus, the phrase “the land . . . for ever and ever” must be understood to be the kingdom of God which the true believers occupy eternally. Eternally, the location of the kingdom of God will be in the New Heavens and the New Earth. Thus, by use of this statement, God is warning the reader to look for the deeper spiritual meanings in the Jeremiah Chapter 25 message to Judah and Jerusalem.

Verses 11 and 12 of Jeremiah Chapter 25 further illustrate the principle that Christ spoke in parables. These verses say:

And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.

In these verses, God uses the phrase “perpetual desolations.” The Hebrew word translated “perpetual” is a word that signifies “eternal.” Thus, this phrase could be translated “eternal desolations.” Immediately, we sense this verse is speaking about eternity future after this world has been destroyed.

But these verses indicate this everlasting desolation of the king of Babylon (also called the land of the Chaldeans) was to begin at the end of seventy years. Because everlasting desolation is to begin at the end of this world’s existence, we wonder how the time of seventy years fits in. We have learned that historically, this seventy-year period began in the year 609 B.C., the year Israel’s last good king, King Josiah died in battle. This seventy-year period was the time of tribulation that followed the time of his death. During this seventy-year period, first Egypt, and then Babylon, ruled in Judaea and Jerusalem. However, in the year 539 B.C., Babylon was conquered by the Medes and Persian.

But following the year 539 B.C., Babylon was not eternally desolated. The city of Babylon still existed 200 years later, during the days of Alexander the Great. Thus, the prophecy of Jeremiah 25:11-12, which speaks of everlasting  

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desolation immediately following a period of seventy years, must be understood metaphorically. We must recognize that God is using parabolic or metaphorical language. That is, we are to look for the spiritual or Gospel application even though God is using actual literal historical names and events to illustrate and represent the Gospel application.

. . . we are to look for the spiritual or Gospel application
even though God is using actual literal historical names and
events to illustrate and represent the Gospel application.

Let us look at a couple more verses in Jeremiah Chapter 25 before we outline the spiritual application being portrayed in this chapter.

The next verse is Jeremiah 25:13, which reports:

And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations.

This verse says something very remarkable. It is teaching that all the information that God has given the prophet Jeremiah to write in this Book of Jeremiah is prophesied against all the nations. That is, the Book of Jeremiah is not concerned with a few nations, it is concerned with all the nations of the world. That we have correctly understood this is evidenced by a further disclosure in verse 26 of this chapter. There we read, after God had named many kingdoms that were in existence at the time Jeremiah was writing:

And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.

The phrase “all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth” assures us that God is speaking of the entire world. It is the entire world that will be under judgment when Christ returns at the end of the world.

The spiritual Gospel focus of the whole Book of Jeremiah
is on the worldwide events that would occur as
the world comes to an end.
 

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Now we can understand why God said in verse 12 that Babylon would end up in everlasting desolation. Now we can understand why verse 5 spoke of Israel dwelling in the land forever and ever. God has written the Book of Jeremiah in the context of nations and historical events that were occurring in Jeremiah’s day. But the spiritual Gospel focus of the whole Book of Jeremiah is on the worldwide events that would occur as the world comes to an end.

Therefore, as we carefully analyze anything and everything we read in the Book of Jeremiah, we discover that with few exceptions, the message is ultimately focused on the spiritual events occurring in our day, during which time we have come so close to the end of the world.

We now can know that references to Jerusalem, Judah, Israel, Canaan, and the temple, etc., which existed during the time of the Old Testament, externally represented the kingdom of God. However, in our day, it has been the local churches that have externally represented the kingdom of God. Therefore, the local churches are called Jerusalem, Judaea, the temple, etc. Thus, the local churches of our day are being warned by the prophecies and warnings set forth in the Book of Jeremiah.

As we indicated earlier, we might think of the Old Testament particularly, and to some degree also the New Testament, as a series of picture galleries. These true historical events recorded in the Bible are word pictures designed by God to illustrate important spiritual principles and future events that would take place as God unfolded His salvation plan.

As we are now learning, we must realize that most of what we read in the Book of Jeremiah, is speaking of the churches and the world that exist today. Thus, it is of particular importance to us today. The experiences of Judah, Babylon, etc., reported in the Book of Jeremiah, are as fully relevant to us today as any New Testament book. Fact is, they are as fully relevant as today’s newspaper. The following principles should be kept in mind:

  1. Babylon, Chaldea, and Sheshach are all synonyms that are speaking of Satan and his kingdom, which includes all of the unsaved of the world.
  2. Egypt, Assyria, Philistines, etc. also refer to the kingdom of Satan.
  3. Judah, Israel, Jerusalem, Tyre, Zidon, etc. normally refer to the local churches of our day although in certain instances, these names may refer to the eternal body of true believers.
 

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  1. Edom, Esau, Bozra, Esau, Mount Seir, etc. are names that refer to the unsaved within the local congregations.

Because the Book of Jeremiah clearly teaches that the revelations given to Jeremiah definitely apply to the whole world of our day, we may expect the same is true of the other prophetic books of the Bible such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, etc. We will see this as we look at representative verses in the Bible that address the issue of the Great Tribulation which the church and the world are now experiencing.

As we continue our study, we will look at many additional verses of the Bible that we can understand once we have learned the principle that Christ spoke in parables. Because He is identified as the Word of God (John Chapter 1), we will understand that these verses were written as parables or metaphors.

Now, however, we shall return to the unfolding of God’s timeline of history as we examine the next great milestone, the birth of Jesus.


Chapter 7 Table of Contents Chapter 9