A Google search of the exact phrase, “when is the end of the age”, (when put in quotations so those exact words, in that order will be found), produced 5,390,000 results! This question has invoked intense interest since the time of Christ.
There have been scores of books written on this subject ranging from science-fiction to serious eschatological studies; and there have been, undoubtedly, millions of sermons offered by mostly well-intentioned preachers on this subject, most of which are so convoluted by denominational strictures they are hardly intelligible.
I may fare no better than others, but it is my intention to clear away the denominational clutter by taking the Bible at its face value, and when required, recognizing the appropriate parts of speech, the metaphors, similes and parables, then to read and study, allowing the Bible to interpret itself keeping all scriptures in context of the entire Bible.
A final note before we answer the question, “What will be the sign of Jesus’ coming and of the end of the age?”
Daniels 70 weeks
If you ever find yourself asking “can these matters, found in the Bible about ‘The End of All Things’ really be true”, then consider the incredible accuracy and timing of the unfolding events of the prophecies contained in ‘Daniel’s Seventy Weeks’.
Daniel 9:24, “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the wrongdoing, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy Place.
Verse 25. So, you are to know and understand that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, until Messiah the Prince, there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with streets and moat, even in times of distress.
Verse 26. Then after the sixty-two weeks, the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
Verse 27. And he will confirm a covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come the one who makes desolate, until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, gushes forth on the one who makes desolate.”
QUESTION & ANSWERS ABOUT “DANIEL’S 70TH WEEK”
- When did Daniel have his vision about the End of Days?
- What is Daniel’s Seventy Weeks?
The prophecy contains a statement concerning God’s six-fold purpose in bringing these prophetic events to pass. Daniel 9:24 tells us this purpose is,
(1) “to finish transgression,”
(2) “to put an end to sin,”
(3) “to atone for wickedness,”
(4) “to bring in everlasting righteousness,”
(5) “to seal up vision and prophecy,” and,
(6) “to anoint the most holy.”
Notice that these results concern the total eradication of sin and the establishing of righteousness. The prophecy of the 70 weeks summarizes what happens before the End of the Age, and when Jesus sets up His millennial kingdom. (From Gotquestions.org, seventy weeks)
- When did the 70 Weeks (490 years) begin?
Gabriel said the prophetic clock would start at the time that a decree was issued to rebuild Jerusalem. From the date of that decree, 445 BC, to the time of the Messiah (30 AD) would be 483 years.
(a). We know from history that the command to “restore and rebuild Jerusalem” was given by King Artaxerxes of Persia c. 445 B.C. (see Nehemiah 2:1-8).
(b). The first unit of 49 years (seven “sevens”) covers the time that it took to rebuild Jerusalem, “with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble” (see Daniel 9:25). This rebuilding is chronicled in the book of Nehemiah.
(c). Using the Jewish custom of a 360-day year, 483 years after 445 B.C. places us at A.D. 30, which would coincide with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (see Matthew 21:1-9). The prophecy in Daniel 9 specifies that after the completion of the 483 years, “the Anointed One will be cut off” (verse 26). This was fulfilled when Jesus was crucified.
(d). Daniel 9:26 continues with a prediction that, after the Messiah is killed, “the people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” This was fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The “ruler who will come” is a reference to the Antichrist, who, it seems, will have some connection with Rome, since it was the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem. (From Gotquestions.org, seventy weeks)
- When does the final week, the 70th Week of Daniel, begin?
Read again, in Daniel 9:26, the prediction that, after the Messiah is killed, “the people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.”
This was fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem and the 2nd Jewish Temple in A.D. 70, with uncanny accuracy. This entire prophecy was fulfilled in exactly 483 years, just as foretold.
Since that date we have been in a period of time of an undetermined length known variously as The Age of Grace, The Dispensation Gap Theory or The Eschatological Gap, wherein God, by His mercy, is allowing time for many to come to Christ in faith and to be saved from the destruction that is to follow.
This issue of ‘The End of The Age’ has been hotly debated for centuries. Scriptures have been clear, and a simple face-value reading of scriptures leads to the conclusion that the final 7 Weeks, the ‘times of distress’ also known as a period of tribulation (not to be confused with the Great Tribulation Period or the “Wrath of the Lamb”), will begin with the breaking of the breaking of the 6th Seal of Tribulation.
Now, let’s move on to Matthew chapter 24 and hear what Jesus says about when these things will occur, what the sign of His coming will be, and what He says will be the end of the age.
NEXT: THE ANSWER TO “WHEN” – PART 1: MATTHEW 24 – “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”