True Signs of the End of Time

In spite of the challenges described in the previous blog, the subject of End-time signs cannot safely be ignored. The same chapter in which Jesus says that no one knows the day or the hour (Matt 24:36) also offers indications as to when the coming is near (Matt 24:33). But what is Anear@ in actual time? A day? A year? A decade? A century? The author of Revelation considered Jesus’ coming to be near by 95 A.D (Rev 1:3; 22:10,12). So a Western chronological understanding of “nearness” is clearly false in light of the passage of 2000 years since the New Testament was written. From an Eastern perspective nearness seems to be much more a state of mind than a chronological fact.

But is there any sense that the coming of Jesus is chronologically nearer now than it was in the first century? Note Ellen White=s comment on the evidence in Matt 24:33, 36, “One saying of the Saviour must not be made to destroy another. Though no man knoweth the day nor the hour of His coming, we are instructed and required to know when it is near (GC 371, emphasis hers).” For Ellen White the coming was near because by her day the time prophecies leading to the Time of the End had been fulfilled.

Seventh-day Adventist students of Daniel and Revelation are aware that while the “last days” truly began in NT times, the Time of the End is a much more recent phenomenon. With the passing of the great time prophecies of Daniel and Revelation we are now living in the Time of the End. So these are not just ordinary times. The year 2000 is much closer to the End than the year 1000 was. We know that this world’s history is writing its final chapter. While we cannot know with certainty that this is the final generation, we certainly know that things can wind up very soon.

While current events should not be used to encourage date-setting in any of its forms, hard or soft, we are certainly living in times like those the Bible associates with the End. Knowledge is increasing with breathtaking rapidity (Dan 12:4 does not address that issue in general, but exponential increase of knowledge in all areas accompanies increased knowledge of the Bible). The internet and satellite broadcasting make it possible for the whole world to hear the gospel in a short time (Matt 24:14). Divisions among nations are increasing. Weapons of mass destruction are in increasingly unstable hands. Rebellion, profanity, perversions, and violence are increasing (2 Tim 3:1-5). The Bible says, “When these things begin to happen, get up, lift up your heads, for your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28, my translation). One could say that we are living in “end-like times.”

2 thoughts on “True Signs of the End of Time

  1. Chuck Springer

    Very insightful comments on how to interpret the Signs of the End. It is not hard to see how Daniel 12:4 is being fulfilled. Speaking of Daniel I do have a question. Daniel 7:22 says, “judgment was given to the saints of the most High”(KJV). Another version translates the same phrase, “and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High” (NKJV). When you look at the original Hebrew is one translation more accurate than the other or can the original be interpreted either way? Do you have any insights on this?

    Reply
    1. Jon Paulien Post author

      Chuck, the “trouble” with Hebrew is that it only has three prepositions, English has dozens. So the three Hebrew words have to carry the weight of all those nuances. The Hebrew “le” (short e) can mean simply “to” or “in behalf of, for”. The choice is up to the translator, considering the whole context. The Greek OT, which has 47 prepositions available, translates with an expression closest to the “to” of some translations. The “in behalf of” would come from the context of the Little Horn’s opposition to the saints. In contrast to the Little Horn’s judgment of the saints, God’s judgment is “for” the saints.

      Reply

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