“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.
Categories: Preparation, Signpost Theology, The Four Signposts
Very Interesting post Mark. I am 55 and since 1990 I have thought I’d see Christ’s coming. It is weird to see so many people going about their business with not a care in the world and think how all these lives will change and quickly. We need to gird and prepare our minds. Others will need us to help them emotionally and spiritually.
Good advice we get so impatient sometimes, even in this on going economic collapse we think it will happen right away, but its a process often long term.The only sure thing we will know time wise is possibly, the confirmation of 7 year covenant. And AC sitting in temple. As they say in army dig in and watch.
What do you think about the idea of the rebirth of Israel being the beginning of the last generation? Some people say that the end will come 70-80 years after the rebirth of Israel. Do you think this is correct?
Michael and Mike,
I’ve heard that, too. I believe it was the major motivator behind Hal Lindsey saying Jesus would return in 1988 (1948 + 40 years). But his is an interpretation of the same verse I wrote about – all these things will be seen by one generation. I thought it was Israel also because that’s what prophecy teachers said. But looking at the verse, what are the first things – they are “do not be deceived” and “there will be war”. Nothing to do with Israel. The fig tree mentioned later may not be Israel either, but a general recognition of the signs.
I believe Israel coming back is a fulfillment of prophecy, and itself supports other prophecies like the AC being in the Temple, but Israel does not apply here.
I do think that Israel is a key figure. Many people are deceived regarding Israel, not recognizing the return of the Jewish people to this land as an act of God to actively begin the things leading to the glorious and powerful return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many of the believers I know, especially among those who hold to a form of replacement by whatever name, do not see the return of the Lord coming in their lifetime, because they fail to recognize a BIG sign (kind of like Noah building his ark) that something big is pending. Judgment of evil and of evil-doers is an answer by God to the prayers of the saints for millennia.
The Balfour Declaration in 1917 actually stirred up the ire of the Islamic world, not to also sadly mention the Christian and the Jewish world! The spiritual powers-that-be in the heavenlies know that God is moving according to His Word and plan, and they are very active to take down as many with them as they can. Praise God that the Stone made without hands is going to come — at a time not expected, even though those with enough oil will be prepared, thankfully — and knock out and crumble all of the kingdoms of this world, and establish His Kingdom which will never end!
Merry Christmas, and a blessed 2016 in Messiah!
Maybe I was misunderstood. Israel is indeed huge in Bible prophecy if not the center of it all – all of God’s end times plans hinge around Israel. I was just saying that when Jesus was talking about one generation seeing it all, He started with “do not be deceived”, and not “Israel will become a nation.”
And I reject the idea that the church replaces Israel – its anti-Semitism manifesting itself in a subtle way.
And the reason this site does not seem preoccupied with Israel is simply because this site is preoccupied with the Signposts. And as you know the Signposts occur mostly in the Muslim realm; posturing among those nations for the right to lead the whole Muslim realm against Israel.
Merry Christmas to you too, Howard.
Thanks, Mark. And it’s good not to have “Israelitis”! What is interesting regarding Ps 90 and Israel is that, just as the Body of Christ is a corporate one new man, so Israel is a corporate nation/first-born son. Israel’s revival in 1947-48 brings her (the paradoxes of Scripture identities!) to her 70th birthday in 2-3 years, and to 80 around 2027-28. Who knows? Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Thank you for the post Mark, it made me harken back to a Scripture I often find myself “harping upon” regarding the fact that God “makes known the end from the beginning..” Isa 46:10
Almost all that is to come has been foreshadowed in the Old Testament narrative and anything that has not is obviously found in OT & NT prophetic references. I am wondering if the latest unprecedented level of strategic planning militarily between Iran and Russia (along with the Assad regime) is a major factor in emboldening the Second Signpost and Iranian invasion? Russia, the longtime facilitator of mostly friendly diplomacy with the Shiites and certainly Iranian Shiite leadership giving Iran the .. how can I say.. intestinal fortitude to pursue the Middle East invasion?
Just wondering if all this intimidation and punishment (economic, etc..) being inflicted by Russia on Turkey helps give Iran the green light to invade because the Russian Bear has its back and keeps Turkey and NATO at bay for a time? Is it possible that the forthcoming signposts (Iran invasion, Turkish coalition response) if they do occur are a type of proxy war between Russia backing Iran and NATO empowering Turkey? Certainly the prevailing thought from your Signposts message is structured around prophecy dealing with the major players being portrayed and those nations are Muslim/Middle Eastern peoples. Something that continues to bug me is the proverbial “draw a line in the sand” and its founding upon Antiochus Epiphanies being turned around in Egypt by the Romans. Does that scenario in a way play out again in some fashion? Although I am thinking ultimately that what/whom Russia and The West may consider “pawns” as far as these Middle Eastern nations/wars will eventually give birth to the Islamic Caliphate or Beast that turns the tables and utters “checkmate” to Russia and The West?
Israel indeed had to be back in the land for the AC to sit in the temple and also for AC to come against Israel in Ezekiel 38-39. I do find it interesting as far as timing that Ezekiel 37 talks about the restoration of Israel as a nation with the dry bones representing the whole house of Israel. Then the very next chapter is about Gog coming against the nation of Israel that has been brought back form the sword and gathered out of many nations. Kind of seems like the two events are meant to happen fairly close together.
How could such a monumental event occurring, signified by the appearance of this grandiose first horseman, Revealed by Jesus Christ to John, end up with the rider being found in a hole in the ground? The first signpost is Saddam Hussein who’s statue was torn down, kingdom destroyed, failed to rebuild Babylon, and hung by the neck? And you state Saddam is tied to the Shemitah, which we know now is false prophecy. “But I am also glad He gave us 36 years to figure it out, so we dull humans could “get it.” The only dull humans are those being swayed by this false interpretation.
” If we are interpreting Scripture correctly (and that’s a big IF), this is also not likely.” Out of context you admit to not interpreting scripture correctly. Is this a Freudian slip?
Your Signposts are looking a lot like the Blood Moons of Biltz, the Shemitah of Cahn, and,Erdogan is the antichrist of Shoebat. Tell us how to interpret this scripture?…I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
I am not judging you or condemning you. I am challenging your theory as invalid and unreliable. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the words of Jesus will never pass away.
Some good questions on a lot of people’s minds.
But remember after the Second Signpost strikes NATO may be made toothless because of the oil. And Europe’s banking system is in the same house of cards as America’s is. As I said in the book, militaries may be lean which is why even Albania’s help is appreciated.
I will show in my new book, and sooner in a post, why Dan 11:30 is past and why Dan 11:42-43 is Fourth Signpost – two completely different time periods.
Prophecy is tricky. And the bible can speak of one time period in one sentence and centuries later in the next. I believe Ezekiel 37 was the 1890s to 1948. Ezekiel 38 is at the return of Christ decades (hopefully only decades) later. I talk in my book why Ezekiel 38 is the second signpost. Joel supports this same position on Ezekiel 38.
Have you read my book? Have you read my posts? I don’t pay time to the blood moons, nor to Walid’s invalid arguments. I was proposing that the Second Signpost, the next sign, might happen at the same time as Cahn’s shemitah, but it didn’t. But the Signposts still stand. The book puts it all together. Only a solid preterist can argue with the book’s theory of interpretation. And as far as God’s word not passing away, the Signposts are based solidly on the simplest reading of Scripture with no tricks.
I concur with Mark in his response to you as he is by no means trying to “pull the wool over your eyes” or anyone else’s for that matter. Good grief… on the contrary… Mark is offering a smorgasbord for any Berean to dig his teeth into. For devout, scholarly Jews, and especially for the Rabbis, Scripture has more than one meaning. Peshat (literal meaning), Remaz (suggested meaning), Derush (meaning deduced by investigation) & Sod (allegorical meaning). The first letters of those words are the consonants of the word “Paradise”
(P R D S) When a Rabbi had succeeded in understanding/apprehending those four meanings in various Scripture it was said he experienced some of the joy of paradise. This is the beauty of so much of Scripture because it incorporates ALL of the meanings so why are Christians taking sides on only one of them so frequently and…. why is the literal interpretation under attack? Has anyone read or listened to prophetic exegesis from… let us say… the one who calls himself the… “Bible Answer Man?” Are you kidding me? This is why we need each other and to celebrate each one’s sphere of giftedness, lets embrace all the good from the Bible Answer Man and lets embrace Mark and being loving Bereans to both.
Thank you Mark, I have always cut off the past/future in Daniel 11 at verse 36 but always wondered if some previous elements in that chapter were also to be included. Looking forward to the new book !
Mark, something you wrote in this thread is confusing to me:
“Ezekiel 38 is at the return of Christ decades (hopefully only decades) later. I talk in my book
why Ezekiel 38 is the second signpost. Joel supports this same position on Ezekiel 38.”
Ezekiel 38 cannot be fulfilled at “the return of Christ” and also at “the Second Signpost”, which your book Daniel Revisited shows to be pre-Tribulation. I am familiar with Joel Richardson’s detailed anaysis of Ezekiel 38-39 spread over three entire chapters of his MIdeast Beast. Joe’s analysis refutes the idea that Ezekiel 38-39 could be fulfilled pre-Tribulation.
Let me attempt to answer your question. I think I may see where the confusion comes from. In chapter 12 in my book, I don’t say the events in Ezekiel 38 occur during the Fourth Signpost, rather, I say the nations listed in Ezekiel 38 provide the master list of nations to be part of Antichrist’s empire or to ally with him. And these nations make up the ten that join him during the Fourth Signpost.
So Ezekiel 38, which describes an event at the return of Christ, is discussed in the chapter on the Fourth Signpost, but is only used as a resource for the topic of the Fourth Signpost. Helpful?
Consider Matthew 24 v 32
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:”
This statement from the Lord leads on to verse 34
“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”
The fig tree is a direct reference to Israel (see parable of the fig tree Matt 21v 19). The summer is a direct reference to the tribulation (See Amos 8v1-3). The parable of the fig tree prophesies Israel’s destruction in AD 70, here our Lord is prophesying it’s return in 1948
I believe what our Lord says is that when Israel shall come back (“…and putteth forth leaves”) then the tribulation is near.
“…This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled”. This means that of the people who were alive when Israel came back (14 May 1948), at least one will be alive to see the Lord’s return.
I agree with you that date setting is pointless as we were not given a date. I think it more usefulto follow the signs.
That makes more sense to me. I am looking forward to reading your new book. To me, Joel Richardson and yourself, through books on Bible prophecy, have kicked open doors to understanding that can never be closed again.
I believe the jury is still out on the fig tree. Jesus may have used it as an example like the “red skies at night, sailors delight” elsewhere in the Gospels. The summer/trib comparison I also do not ascribe too; jury is still out.
But when Jesus says “all these things” He is still referring to the delusion first and His return, last. Perhaps the fig tree refers to Israel as a time rather than Israel itself, such as, saying that when you see Israel appear, watch for these signs. But the signs are still delusion to coming.
How is Daniel 11:30 past when Daniel 11:31 is about the abomination of desolation? Jesus even said in Matthew 24:15 speaking about the end times “when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet. He was obviously showing this was a yet future event. I don’t believe the abomination happens twice or anything like that. Also the same person who has the abomination placed in verse 31 is the same vile person in verse 21. In verse 31 it says And arms shall stand on HIS part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. That HIS is the same person in verse 21. I think Joel Richardson even made a comment about that in a video if I remember right. Thanks
The abomination of desolation does happen twice. Once with Antiochus (its a historical fact) and once with the future Antichrist. That’s one of the reasons Antiochus is seen as a foreshadow or forerunner of AC. I disagree with Joel that Dan 11 takes the turn from past to future at verse 21. It turns at verse 36.
The fig tree fruit is not merely the 1948 Israel but as I am convinced representing that of the Messianic faith living in Israel in which there are estimated 15,000 living among the other Israelites.
Very Interesting article. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n01/seymour-m-hersh/military-to-military
Here’s a question for all. Based on the assumption and my belief that Christ will return in my lifetime as a 36 year old. What is the value in saving for retirement? I’ve recently been pondering if I should cash out the 401(k) and pay off debt thus having extra cash flow each month to use towards ministries and furthering the gospel. Also, if we expect the dollar and the economy to nosedive at the second signpost then why not get what I can out of my 401(k) while it’s still worth something (even with penalties and taxes deducted).
I appreciate any thoughts/widsom on the subject and thanks in advance. Blessing to all this season.
JKA, you already describe exactly what I think is the right thing to do. So I think you already know.
Even if Jesus tarries longer than we think, a near economic nosedive obliterating retirement (and other) savings is a very real possibility.
However, I would counsel you to have some cash (real cash, not on credit card) for (medical?) emergencies and other unforeseen events in the near future – even if it is to help others with it, if these events do not hit yourself.
“Near” being pretty undetermined of course… Ranges from tomorrow until Jesus’ return…
As you say, assuming Christ returns in your lifetime, what is the point to saving for retirement? And this is a good question, and I am still hoping it will stimulate at least a bit of conversation.
Its always good to have some savings in the form of cash on hand, for emergencies like Adamant suggests. I believe that when the Second Signpost hits the fan that will be the black swan event to take down the banking house of cards as I’ve written about before. When this happens the US government will likely try to keep spending and preserving itself. This will require it to raid 401k’s, forcing people to sell their investments and buy US Treasuries which will become worthless like old Confederate money. And who knows, they might even make it impossible to pull any money out until you are 65. Also any dollars we have whether in 401k’s or cash will go to nothing – it might as well be used.
Jim Sinclair at jsmineset.com (whose opinion I have come to respect over the years) has been saying this for years – eat the 10% penalty and pay the taxes so that the money is yours to do with as you truly wish. My wife and I have been raiding our 401k’s so the kids can go to college. The 401k’s are almost empty but the kids are almost done, too.
Your question made me think, too, that “retirement” really is an American 20th century invention. It is definitely a great blessing that comes from living in a very rich nation, but in the big picture of global history it is an anomaly – almost all people work until they die.
And yes this whole topic requires each one of us to pray and seek His wisdom.
JKA, I think you bring up an excellent question. Given that Jesus is coming and coming relatively soon, what should we do economically, but more than just economically. How are we going to prepare ourselves for the return of Christ spiritually, emotionally and physically; and how are we going to awaken our churches to prepare as well? It is the challenge of our generation. If we have truly entered the “two minute warning” (American Football term) we have to change our strategy and intensity of effort. Bless you brother as you, Mark, myself, and all the others here search for answers to that question.
God often works in numbers of significance. Purely speculation here but it will be two thousand years since the Lord ascended to heaven in 2033. This date looks to fit well for his return in light of current events and the signposts. That would mean the tribulation starts in 2026 or ten years from now. Again speculation but since Christ will rule for one thousand years, it would not seem strange that the Lord gave man twice as long to usher in utopia on his own before the Lord put a stop to it.
William, using your speculation as a basis for considering the year of the Lord’s return, it could be sooner than you think! I believe that it is more likely that Jesus died and rose again in 30 AD. I explain that here:
In any event, let us be prepared should we still be alive when He comes!
Mark, I am re-reading Daniel Revisited. God is certainly opening the prophet’s book these days: our Bible study group is studying Daniel; our teens group is also, independently from us; and a congregation in Arad has been having teachings on it for the past 1 1/2 years! Your book for our study has been of real help. Thank-you.
A couple of things:
1. You mention several times that the “Aramaic” word means such-and-such. Actually, in all the references you have made, the language is Hebrew. Daniel ch 1 thru 2:4 is written in Hebrew; from 2:5 thru ch 7 it is written in Aramaic, with a few Greek and Persian words thrown in for authenticity; and from ch 8 thru to the end of ch 12, it is again written in Hebrew. It is interesting to me that the Holy Spirit inspired Daniel in this way: here and now, at the end of the age, with the many of the Jewish people back in their land and speaking Hebrew, the Lord has provided His people these last-days prophetic current events in their own language!
2. I am still grappling with the verse that the Antichrist is not revealed [for sure] until he sits in the temple as if he were God, and demanding through the false prophet that his image be worshipped. How, then can he be known certainly during or after the fourth signpost before the Tribulation begins?
Thanks for your comment and question.
Regarding Aramaic vs Hebrew I’ll check on that. Any original word in Daniel 7 would be in Aramaic, and in Daniel 8 would be Hebrew.
As far as your question is concerned about the unveiling of the Antichrist, I gave that one quite a bit of thought too. This topic probably deserves a post. You’ve probably noticed that popular theology makes interpretations of Scripture based on what theologians think is going to happen rather than what the text simply says. Let me know, but I assume you are looking at 2 Thess chapter 2. That passage never actually says the AC is revealed when he sits in the Temple. Our popular theology filled in the blank and made the assumption.
It only says he will be revealed after the rebellion (whatever that might be and it may have already happened) has occurred. Then it says he goes on to the Temple. And look at verse 8 – it might say the AC is revealed when Jesus destroys him but we know that is not the case, so interpretation must be done carefully. Verses 6-7 mention a restrainer. It might very well be Saddam Hussein – after all with him gone all the other signposts can now happen. The 1980s Iran-Iraq War proved that. And this would allow the AC to emerge. When Paul said “and now you know”, he could have told the Thessalonians in person, it is the leader of end time Babylon that must be removed. But if he wrote that in his letter, the signposts may not have been able to be sealed.
One thing I have learned about the Signposts is you cannot assume anything popular theology tells you – you must re-read and rethink.
Thanks for your quick response, Mark. We’ll definitely have a few things to wait and see with discerning expectancy.