“How long do you think the Signposts will take to play out?” I get this question a lot. There is one place in Scripture that gives us a clue – not a definite answer, but a clue.
Before heading down this path though, please remember I am personally against setting dates. That has always been shown to be an exercise in futility, and of course no one knows the day or the hour. Just look at the last Shemitah. It was like the Y2k no-show. But there is one place in Scripture that I believe puts a frame around the problem. The frame isn’t a direct answer, but just that, a boundary of sorts placed around the question because we never know with 100% certainty that we are interpreting Scripture correctly in many instances.
So with that said, if we ask ourselves how long will the Second, Third, and Fourth Signposts take, the answer could be in the months or in decades. How long would it take for Iran to run out, conquer the Mideast, Turkey and Egypt to counterattack, take the whole Mideast themselves, and then the great nation break into four pieces, and then a leader from one of the four pieces reconquer them and reunite them? Hmm. It could indeed be months, years or decades. And we know the Tribulation, the Seventieth Week should last seven years after that.
The First Signpost began in 1979 (or 1980 if you start counting at this point) with the appearance of the leader of Iraq who had a bow with no arrows, set on conquest (see Chapter 9 of Daniel Revisited). Here we are 36 years later waiting for the Second Signpost. (But I am also glad He gave us 36 years to figure it out, so we dull humans could “get it.”) I’ve been personally watching for the Second Signpost only since 2003.
But God does not leave us without an answer. Jesus tells us about all the things that are the signs leading up to the end, in answer to the disciples question in Matthew 24:3, “‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’”
In His answer, He mentions the Four Signposts in verses 4 to 8, the first part of the Tribulation in verses 9 to 14, the abomination in the middle of the Tribulation and the following persecution in verses 15 to 28, and finally His glorious return in verses 29 to 31. So Jesus covers the Signposts and the Tribulation. But look what He says after this in verses 33 and 34:
“Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”
I believe Jesus is telling us that a generation, one generation will witness all these things, and will indeed see all these things. One generation will see all these things from the delusion to the coming, from the start of the First Signpost to His return. The time Jesus is mentioning is not applicable to the years between generations, like twenty or forty years, but a generation’s lifetime. How long is that? We can use Scripture to support Scripture. Psalm 90:10 tells us a lifetime is seventy or eighty years. Let’s take the longer figure.
And there is one more factor here. The generation witnessing all these things was not born in 1979, for Jesus told us that when we see all these things happening we will know He is coming soon. If a person was awake to world events and conscientious, that might be at age eighteen. Newborn babies would not see the first events. And if that same eighteen-year-old person lives to be eighty and lives to see Christ’s return, Jesus could arrive as late as sixty-two years later, i.e. the year 2041. Backing up seven years for the Tribulation, that would place the end of the Fourth Signpost in 2034. (Hmm. Sixty-two years. Where else have we seen that age in Scripture? Maybe a king named Darius?)
So what does all this mean? This would mean that here in 2015 we have twenty years or so to go at most until the Signposts are over. And if a generation’s lifetime is only seventy, then hallelujah we are only looking at ten years.
Will the next three Signposts take only several months? Not likely. Will it take over twenty years? If we are interpreting Scripture correctly (and that’s a big IF), this is also not likely.
But it does look like we have several years to go – five, ten, fifteen, twenty. If the Rapture is pre-Trib, we have several years to go, at least, until we are taken. Up to twenty, if we are reading Jesus’ words correctly.
In any event, we must prepare for the long haul. Twenty, or even only ten, years is a long time. And they will be hard years. And as always, we should have the Second, and the Third, and the Fourth Signposts telling us how far along – roughly – we are in those years immediately ahead of us. If we are in 2025 and the Third Signpost is still going on, we have a few more years to go. Those of us in the USA need to prepare for the months-long bump that will occur when the dollar goes down at the start of the Second Signpost. But we all – throughout the world – need to be mentally and spiritually ready for the long haul after that. The world will be a very different place after the Second Signpost begins. Make sure you have plenty of oil for your lamp.