Faithful Christians have always been interested in the time of the end of this world and the beginning of the New world of Jesus Christ. We do not know the precise date: “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Маr.13:32). Nevertheless, we must know that the Bible is the book of a history of relations between God and people from the beginning of the world to its end. Therefore, we have the history of not only the past, but the history of the future. The biblical history is represented as a sequence of events, and as a precise chronology. The Bible tells us what and when happened in the past, and what and when will happen in the future. Despite the mystery of the precise Date of the Second Coming, the Scripture gives us clear sings, features and dates of the so called “Last times” – the époque which immediately precedes the End of the world history, and maybe Scripture gives the date of the beginning of the Millennium Kingdom. There are many interpretations of the biblical future history. Most of them are mistaken and outdated. We want to present the new conception of exegesis of Apocalyptic predictions and prophesies. It is a very difficult task, but the longer we live in history the better we understand the Apocalyptic prophesies: “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Dan.12:4). So, let’s do this!
In the Babylonian captivity, Daniel the prophet received his famous revelation, where time frames for the incarnation of Jesus and the Last times had been given. The Daniel’s apocalyptic time frame was completed in the Apocalypse of John.
During one of the visions, the archangel Gabriel tells Daniel: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Dan.9:25-27).
Five centuries before Christ, Daniel received an accurate prediction of the date of Christ’s incarnation, death and the destruction of the Second Temple. The Jews perfectly knew the prophecy of Daniel and looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. Israel during the 1st century BCE — 1st century CE was waiting the Messiah. The majority of the Jews represented the Messiah as a super-king who would free Israel from Roman occupation and give Jews world domination. However, when a meek provincial on a donkey came to them, they did not recognize Him, killed Him as an impostor and continued to wait for their king. The tension in society was growing; numerous of false messiahs were appearing. Finally, the Jews, believing that the time of Messiah indicated by Daniel in the chapter 9 had come, raised rebellion in 66 CE. However, the Romans suppressed the uprising and in 70 CE destroyed the Temple.
During the first centuries of Christianity, there was a serious chronological discussion with pagans, when Christians tried to adapt a pagan chronology to the biblical chronology. If we talk about times closer to the New era, the Christian chronology from the 5th century BCE until the 5th century CE has a good conformity with pagan sources. However, the earlier secular/pagan chronology is very different from the biblical. Already during ancient times, Christians paid attention to the incredibly elongated pagan chronology, which contained tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of years in the past. If the biblical chronology before the advent of Christ was written out quite clearly, then there is no consensus on the issue of the chronology of the Bible after Christ, — the so-called “apocalyptic chronology” and the existing interpretations cannot be considered satisfactory.
Christians and Jews start their chronology from the creation of the world. Early Christian authors based their chronology on the Septuagint, according to which the world was created in 5500-5600 BCE. The most popular date of the beginning of the world is 5508 BCE. The second key date is the dating of the Resurrection of Christ, which is most reliably calculated as 30 CE. It was believed that since God created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh day (on Saturday), it means that the history of the world should have 6000 years of ordinary history, and then the extraordinary, blessed seventh millennium. In the Apocalypse, John mentions the “Millennial Kingdom” of Christians, and Christians in the first centuries really hoped that this time would soon come and many believed that the history would last 6000 years plus 1000 years of the Millennial Kingdom. According to the Septuagint, the end of the sixth millennium from the beginning of the world should come in the 5th century CE (a popular date was 492 CE) and the end of the whole world history and the Second Coming of Christ should come after the 7000 years from creation, i.e. in the 15th century CE.
In turn, the Jews were also waiting for the era of Great Saturday. There is a mention in the Third Book of Ezra (chapter 7) about the 400-year enjoyment in the earthly kingdom of the Messiah, after which the Messiah and all people would die, and after 7 days would be resurrected for the final judgment and immortal life. The period of 400 years before the final judgment and the end of the old world correlates with the Jewish expectation of the coming of the Messiah in the 1st century CE. Thus, the end of this period falls on the end of the 5th century CE — on the end of 6000 years of earthly history (492 CE according to the dating of the Septuagint).
However, after the catastrophe of the 1st-2nd centuries CE, the Jews realized that they could not expect any Messianic kingdom in a short time, and another version of the biblical chronology became popular. According to the Masoretic texts, the world was created in 3760 BCE. Another important point in the dating of Jewish chronology is the date of the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. As a result, the era of Great Saturday should come sometime in the middle of the 23rd century CE (circa 2240 CE).
Over time among Christians, the hype surrounding the apocalyptic date of 6000/7000 years from the Creation has dried up. The date 492 CE had been reached but nothing happened. In addition, the interpretation of biblical signs does not give us any reason to say that the Millennial Kingdom from the Apocalypse (chapter 20) will continue for exactly a thousand years. If it had been mentioned “2 thousand years”, or “999 years”, or “1500 years”, then the date would have been reliable. But “a thousand” in the biblical language is a rather arbitrary period of time, and it is difficult to include it into the chronology: “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). On the other hand, there are no direct indications in the Bible that the last times should come precisely after 6000 or 7000 years. Yes, the number seven, as a symbol of completeness and the symbolism of the seven angels in Revelation, gives some reasons for considering the 7000 year in chronology, but this hypothesis needs additional confirmation, which we do not have yet.
In the Book of Daniel, there is an essential basis for compiling an apocalyptic chronology. Daniel describes the vision of the last times: «And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, «Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days» (Dan.12:1-13).
The book of Daniel was well known by Christian authors, but if the seventy weeks prophecy (about the dating of the Christ incarnation) was commented a lot, then the above-mentioned dating of the last times was not much commented. Commentators generally used to give three kinds of comments:
Either, they use the early Jewish interpretation (mentioned by Josephus Flavius), according to which, this prophecy of Daniel does not refer to the last times, but to the events of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE, when Antiochus Epiphanes defiled the Second Temple.
Or they comment in the context of the last times, but literally: the abomination of desolation is the coming of the Antichrist (1290 days, 3.5 years of the reign of Antichrist, from Antichrist to the Last Judgment there will be a period of forty-five days, etc.).
Or they consider the prediction of 1290 days as the prediction of 1290 years, but they try to tie it to the contemporary political or confessional events (for example, the emergence of modern state of Israel or the capture of the Vatican by the French army in 1798).
Unfortunately, the true apocalyptic context in these cases is getting lost.
We should research the apocalyptic chronography, and first of all consider the main units of time and chronographical methods in the book of Daniel, Apocalypse of John and the whole Bible.
Daniel and John use such units of time in their books:
“Year” — שָׁנִים is used for measuring years.
“Month” חֹ֫דֶשׁ — a month in Daniel and throughout the Bible this is definitely the month (approximately 30 days), and nothing else.
“Day” — יוֹם in the book of Daniel and the Bible in general, is an ambiguous time period, which means strictly speaking “day”, but often it is used for replacing the unit of time “year”. There is a long biblical tradition to replace the term year with יוֹם “day”. The word יוֹם “day” is often used in the meaning of chorographical terms “calendar day” i.e. 24 hours or “day-time”. We clearly see it from the context. But when Daniel or John makes predictions of chronological dates and periods, it’s appeared ambiguousness. What did they mean – day or year? It would have been an unsolvable puzzle, but Daniel gave us the key to resolving this puzzle.
“Evening and morning”, or rather “evening-morning” בֹּ֔קֶר עֶ֣רֶב. Some of exegetes mean it as a day (24 hours), but there is a tradition to understand it as a year. This phrase is only twice mentioned in the Bible. Firstly, in the first chapter of Genesis in the phrases like “And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5). It means that the value of “evenings- mornings” is connected with day, but not year. Secondly, it is only once mentioned in the book of Daniel. Why did Daniel use this rear phrase? – In order to uncover the mystery of his chronography, he separates the values of the words “day”. Making a chronographic prediction about the cleansing of the sanctuary after the desolation by Antiochus Epiphanes (Dan. 8:14), Daniel uses a special time unit “evening and morning” (in KJB it is translated as a “day”). In the prediction “2300 evenings and mornings” Daniel clearly tells us about the period of time – days (it could be 2300 days if calculating 2300 evenings and 2300 mornings, or 1150 days, if calculating 1150 evenings+1150 mornings). Therefore, when making predictions like “a thousand two hundred and ninety days” – he tells us about another value of the word “day” — year. This conclusion is also very important for understanding the chronological prophesies in the Apocalypse of John.
“Week” שְׁבֻעַ — the Jewish religious calendar was measured in weeks (seven days) and seven years. The precise value of “week” whether 7 days or 7 years is determined from the context. The famous prophecy about the date of the First arising of Christ is represented by seven years, but it is written as a “week”. As for the events of the religious history of the ancient Jewish nation till the first coming of Christ, Daniel uses the unit of time from the Jewish religious calendar. But when he says about period close to the Last times and the Second Coming, Daniel uses more universal dating in days-years. It’s as if he tells us — this is not only Jewish, but the whole world history. Moreover, John in Apocalypse does not use the time unit “week” at all.
Finally, “time” מוֹעֵד (used in “it shall be for a time, times, and an half”) — this word in the Books of Daniel and Apocalypse of John have the meaning of a some period of time. But the exact length of this period is not known. Judging by the use of the term מוֹעֵד in the Bible, the duration of this period does not have any definite meaning. There is a tradition to interpret that “a time, times, and an half” is 3.5 years. This is interpreted on the basis of decoding of 1290 days in Daniel or 1260 days in the chapters 11 and 12 of the Apocalypse. However, such an interpretation is not reliable, because 1290 and 1260 are close, but different numbers; moreover, there are no evidences of such understanding of this term anywhere in the Scriptures. This is not about a period of 3.5 years, but about some long period of time of 1260, 1290 or 1335 years. Probably we deal with the widespread biblical literature method — parallelism, where the author tells us the same sense by different words and phrases. Daniel gives us a time period, which is mysteriously called “a time, times, and an half” and then it is uncovered: “a thousand two hundred and ninety days”. This parallelism is not only a literature method, but also a notional thread which ties the Book of Daniel with another apocalyptic book – the Revelation of John. John gives us in chapter 12 the same parallel, but using the period 1260 “days”.
In order to achieve the notion of the Daniel’s chronology, we need to tie Daniel’s chronography to certain point on the historic timeline, from which we would have the ability to count Daniel’s 1290 or 1335 years. Daniel gives us this precise historical turning point: “the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up”. It is very strange that the concept of “the abomination” is mainly commented as the only event of the Maccabean Revolt in the 2nd century BCE, when Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Second Temple. Each competent exegete must know that Daniel says about the two historical events of “the abomination”. The story of the Maccabean Revolt and “the abomination” by Antiochus Epiphanes are represented in the chapter 11 of the book. Also, Daniel says in the chapter 8 that the horn of the Greek king (obviously Antiochus Epiphanes) ceased the sacrifice only during the “2300 evening and morning”, i.e. days, which is close to the history of the book of Maccabee. But in the chapter 9 Daniel reports about another event of “the abomination”, which would happen after the death of Messiah. These two events have also a very important distinction. Antiochus Epiphanes in the 2th century BCE only defiled the Second Temple (but did not destroy it). But during another event of “the abomination” after the death of Messiah “the city and the sanctuary” would be destroyed and there is nothing about the purifying of the Temple and renewal of the sacrifice.
And what does Daniel says in his prophesy in the chapter 12 about the anchor historic point of 1290 years? Formally it could be interpreted as the first or the second event of “the abomination”. But Daniel says “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away… there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days”. He didn’t mention the purifying of the Temple and renewal of the sacrifice. Moreover, this prophecy is also about the resurrection of dead people, which could be only close to the end of the world history: “and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:1,2). But the most important is how Daniel received the revelation in the chapter 12: “And I heard the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that [it shall be] for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these [things] shall be finished” (Dan. 12:7). Linen clothes – the clothes of high priests in Judea. This is a definite sign for every competent Christian theologian. Indeed, both the priest Melchizedek, and One of the Trinity who appeared to Abraham at the oak grove of Mamre, and the One with whom Jacob fought — is the same Personality of the Son of God, who appeared to people even before the Incarnation. The man clothed in linen is Christ. Many visions were told and shown to Daniel by the archangel Gabriel, but also God personally speaks to him about the Last times and dates, and not only speaks, but swears, and not just swears — but He swears by Himself.
In the Bible, when God promises something that is purely important, He doesn’t just say “it will be”, but swears (שָׁבַע). And only in some exceptional cases, for example, when promising Abraham, or when promising David that the Messiah will be of his clan, God swears by Himself. And only in the case of Daniel, God not only swears by Himself, Daniel not only hears the oath, but also sees it, sees God raising His hands as a sign of the oath. This is an unprecedented case in Scripture, which confirms that we are talking about the most important events of the biblical history. Any prophet besides Daniel did not see such a whole completeness of the God’s oath. Therefore the only possible interpretation of the chronology in the chapter 12 is that Daniel says about the end of suffering of the Last times. This end will be in 1290 years after the destruction of the Second Temple.
We have to mention one more conception of the interpretation of the chapter 12 of the book of Daniel. Its essence is that the second abomination will be in the beginning of the Last times and the kingdom of Antichrist. This theory is rejected by Jesus Christ. He says: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:15-22).
Christ says about historical Judea of 1st century CE. That is, not about the latest global apocalyptic times, but most likely about times closed to the époque of Christ. Christ says that the abomination of desolation will come later, when Christ will no longer be on earth. Jesus calls to run to the mountains. If it were the Last times or times of Antichrist, then how can people would hide from him in the mountains? Christ warns that according to Daniel as soon as the sacrifice ceases and the abomination sets up, people must flee Jerusalem and Judea. As we know, during the Judean wars I-II centuries CE, the Romans destroyed the Temple, Jerusalem and massacred the Jews: Josephus reports that the Romans slaughtered more than a million Jews. It is clear, that the first abomination was in the époque of the Maccabean Revolt, and the second abomination (from chapter 12 of the book of Daniel) was in the 1st century CE, probably in 70 CE, when the Second Temple was destroyed.
Ultimately, the book of Daniel is not the only source of the apocalyptical chronology. We have a similar apocalyptic chronology in the Apocalypse of John. In the Apocalypse, John endorses and develops the chronological conception of the chapter 12 of Daniel.
The book of Daniel presents two parallel chronological histories: the story about the short events of the Maccabean Revolt from the desecration by Antiochus of the Temple till the renewal of the sacrifice (2300 evenings and mornings), and the story about the long period from the destruction of the Second Temple till the end of the apocalyptic Last times (1290 years). Apocalypse of John also contains two chronological timelines in chapters 11 and 12.
In the chapter 11 of Apocalypse, there is a short story about the sermon and death of two prophets: „Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty [and] two months. And I will give [power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days, clothed in sackcloth“ (Rev. 11:1-3). “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies [shall lie] in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (Rev.11:7,8). We clearly see the time length 1260 days, not years because people don’t live so long time and we have the parallel dubbing of this time period – 42 months, i.e. 1260 days or 3.5 years.
John prompts us that here “day” means a day. The prophets will serve to God for 3.5 years and their dead bodies will have been observing by nations in Jerusalem for 3.5 days: “And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves” (Rev.11:9). John also gives us the date of these events. The duration of 42 months is mentioned in Apocalypse one more time, in the chapter 13: “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months” (Rev.13:5). It is a historic point of the beginning of the Last times. Some exegetes suppose that 42 months is the whole duration of the events of the chapter 13, or even of the whole Last times. However, John in this chapter clearly tells us that the époque of the Beast consists from at least two parts: the First Beast and the Second Beast. The period of 42 months concerns only the time of the First Beast. The sermon and death of two prophets will be in the time of the First Beast. This is likely the most fearful part of the Last times, but it is only the beginning of the Last times, which duration will be much longer.
In the chapter 12 of Apocalypse there is a long story (parallel to the previous one) about the woman clothed with the sun: „And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days“ (Rev.12:6). And then this period of time is parallel duplicated: “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent” (Rev.12:14). As we found out in the chapter 12 of the book of Daniel, the phrase “a time, and times, and half a time” means a long (many years) period of apocalyptic history. John uses this Daniel’s term in order to prompt us what kind of chronology gives in the chapter 12 of the Apocalypse. Here is the period of by no means 1260 days, but definitely 1260 years.
The interpretations of the chronology of John have the same destiny as the Daniel’s one. Its exegeses are false and basically contradict the spirit and the letter of the Scripture. There is somebody very powerful who during the centuries is interested to widespread a falsehood concerning the worldly and biblical chronology. The vast majority of interpretations accepts the time intervals of 11 and 12 chapters of the Apocalypse as the same and interprets them as 3.5 years of power of the Antichrist. They don’t want to see the difference between these parallel stories.
So, in the Revelation of John we see the same period as in the Book of Daniel, but its duration is 1260 years. John prophases about the same historical period as Daniel, but John proposed another method of calculation of the chronology. This is the same chronology of the same époque, but its basic time points are another then Daniel’s ones. The Daniels time points are given in a rather clear form. The beginning of his apocalyptic chronology is the destruction of the Second Temple, and the end — is the end of the Last times, probably before the so-called Millennial Kingdom. But the historic points in Apocalypse are not so evident. The articulation of the historic points of John needs a deep exegetical research of the chapter 12 of the Revelation. The style of writing of the prophecies in the Bible is such that direct, clear and precise statements are rare. It is necessary to use the intellect and wisdom in order to comprehend God prophecies: “the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” (Dan.12: 10).
III. Woman clothed with the sun
Let’s consider the most informative verses of chapter 12 of Apocalypse:
“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (Rev.12:1-6).
“And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev.12:13-17).
The main question – who is this Woman? This is obvious that in our case the word “woman” does not mean a woman as human. At least because of the tremendous, overwhelming scope of the events. Even the most important woman in the religious history – Virgin Mary cannot be an actor of such events. John says “appeared a great wonder (σημεῖον) in heaven”. Greek σημεῖονmeans “a sign”. This woman is the sign of something. In the Bible, there is a very widespread, well-known and unequivocal sign. The words “woman, bride, wife” symbolize the nation of ancient Israel (the so called “Old testament church”) and the Christian church. “Husband” or “bridegroom” symbolizes the God respectively. “Clothed with the sun”: the sun is one of the signs of the Son of God. “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (Mal. 4:2). Then, Apostol Paul says to Christians: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 2:27). Therefore, the people who believed in Christ Jesus, who have been baptized into Christ, in other words, the Christian Church is clothed with the Sun — Christ Jesus. Upon her head a crown of twelve stars. The number 12 (12 tribes of Israel, 12 Apostols of the Jesus Christ) in the Scriptures symbolizes the basis and completeness of the Church of the Old and New Testament. She brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. This is about Jesus Christ. Physiologically, Jesus was born by Virgin Mary, but theologically He was born by the Old Testament church — the nation of ancient Israel (Virgin Mary was a Jew woman). It is the main part of the Testament between God and ancient Jews. After His sermon, Crucifixion and Resurrection, Jesus was received up into Heaven, caught up unto God, and to his throne. Thus, there is no doubt that the Woman from the chapter 12 of Apocalypse is the Christian Church.
But then this Church runs away from the devil-dragon into the wilderness. What does it mean? Wilderness is a very important concept in the Bible. Wilderness is a period of the ordeal in the worldly life of the Church. Ancient Jews escape into the desert from the devil slavery of Egypt pharaoh. There during the certain period of time God was maintaining and preserving Jews. And only after that, the Jews triumphantly captured and settled the Holy land. This story is one of the parallelisms of the Old Testament, which symbolically anticipates the history of the New Testament church.
Satan is the prince of this world, and he has been persecuting the Church from the moment of its emergence. The instruments of such persecution are temptations and violence. Therefore, before the triumph in the kingdom of God at the end of this world, the Christian church has to flee into the wilderness where it could live with a help of God. The ancient Jews lived in the local territories, they could physically move from one place to another, their Holy land was geographically put in the Near East. But Christians have been widespreading over the whole world; they do not have their own native territory. Jesus warns: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John.15:19). Christians are not of the world, and when living there, Christians become as a foreign body. The prince of the world would have removed and kill the all Christians. They need to escape from this world-Egypt and its Pharaoh-devil into the wilderness. However, the Christian church is global, not local like the Old Testament church, so where is such a desert? Considering the life of the ancient Jews in the wilderness, we see neither sand and stones nor cactuses. First of all, we see the specific lifestyle which contents permanent communication with God and preparing for obtaining of the Holy land. From the religious point of view, the most important is the spiritual life of the people, but not the geography of the place. Concerning the geographical desert, we must know the only one thing: the life in desert is impossible for human itself, but it becomes possible with the help of God.
Therefore, Christians should look for not geographical place but the proper lifestyle, which enables to live in the world but not to be of the world and not to be annihilated by its prince. We are talking about the life parallel to the world: the Church lives in the world but is not of the world, operates in the kingdom of Satan, but does not obey him, the Church is being hated by the world but it is immune from its. Such the lifestyle is impossible for people themselves, but becomes possible with the help of God. There is the only one condition: true faith in Jesus Christ.
In the Bible, this help of God exists as the concept of the wings of an eagle. The words like bird, dove (a dove is a universal sign of the Holy Spirit), hen, and eagle often symbolized the God. In the Old testament Jews were preserved by the Gog’s wings, but finally they rejected them: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”(Matthew 23:37). The new testament Church received the permanent presence of God as the presence of the Holy Spirit: “he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16,17). This enabled to receive not only the protection of the “God’s wings”, but obtain these wings of God. It gave the Church not just a static protection, as it had been with the Ancient Israel tied to the land and the city, but an incredible active freedom: the Church can fly wherever it wants, penetrate wherever it wants, it has no institutional, territorial, social, economic, political or technological restrictions. Conversely, the Church, if it is needed, can use all of attributes of the world matrix without being captured by its.
Please, pay your attention. We are speaking about the true Christian Church which existence is based on the Evangelic principles. This is a horizontal communicative environment of the free and equal Christians where the authority of any leadership is based on the spiritual gifts of God, knowledge of the Scriptures and right life. All this community of the Christians is under the direction and protection of the charisma of the Holy Spirit. Only such a Church can be a true Christian Church and live in the world without being absorbed by the world matrix. Unfortunately, there is very popular understanding of the Church as a bureaucratic institution, profitable corporation, politic structure, NGO or destructive sect. Of course, in the world there are many of such developed multi-level religious institutions, which call themselves as a “church”: Roman Catholic Church, orthodox churches, some of protestant’s churches and sects. Nevertheless, these religious structures are the parts of the world; they are integrated into the devil’s Matrix, and by no means can be as Church from the New Testament.
IV. The sequence of the events of the last times.
The Revelation of John gives us the strict order and the criteria of each era of the Last times.
The Revelation could be divided into two parts. Before the chapter 12, events are not global; after the chapter 12, they are entirely global.
Until the 12th chapter in the Apocalypse there is not any mention of phrases like “whole earth”, “all people”, “all kingdoms”, etc. However, after chapter 12 they are used widely.
After the chapter 12, Apocalypse says neither about individual nations, nor about individual churches, but about the whole Church, about the whole world, about all nations and kingdoms. The chapter 12 tells the story of true Christianity from its beginning to the end of times.
All the famous events of the Last times, namely: the Babylonian whore, the Beast, the last seven plagues, the Millennial kingdom, the Last judgment – are global and are possible only in the globalized world that arose recently, at the end of the XX century. Therefore, all the interpretations that the Beast of the Apocalypse is Nero or something like that are mistaken.
The Millennial kingdom can arise only AFTER the end and defeat of the Beast. The kingdom of the Beast and the False prophet will be defeated, and thus: “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Rev. 19:20).
And then, when the Millennial kingdom ends and the Last Judgment comes: “the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev. 20:10). That is, the devil will be finally cast into the lake, where the Beast and the False prophet are already cast before him. It means all the interpretations, – that the Millennial kingdom could have arisen before the globalization of the world, before the Babylonian whore, before the kingdom of the Beast and before the last seven plagues, – are mistaken.
Concerning the Babylon whore, on the one hand, the story about her in Apocalypse comes after the story of the Beast, but it is clearly shown that Babylon the Great will fall BEFORE the kingdom of the Beast.
Christ prophesied that before the Last times, the Gospel should be preached throughout the universe and to all nations: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Mat.24:14). Note that such a sermon can only be done in the global world, that is, in the future after our days and certainly not in the past.
The same idea is developed by John in the Apocalypse: immediately after the story of the kingdom of the Beast, there is a description of three angels in a certain order:
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb” (Rev. 14:6-10).
That is, even before the description of the Babylonian whore, the last seven plagues and the Millennial Kingdom, – John gives us the clear sequence of events:
Firstly, the universal preaching of the gospel, – the last attempt to enlighten the world.
Then secondly, Babylon the Great and its fall.
And the third stage is the kingdom of the Beast, followed by the last seven plagues.
All these stages imply the high level of informatical, transport, economical, political and in the end religious globalization. Such a global world has been arearing only from the end of the XX century.
Only after the expiration of the third stage of the Beast and plagues, the Millennium kingdom will come. And when it will end, there will be the Last Judgment, the end of this world and the creation of the New World.
V. Reconstruction of the biblical apocalyptic chronology
Now, we can come back to the chronology of John. As well as the ancient Jews had been staying in the wilderness for 40 years and preparing to enter into the Holy land, the Christian Church also will have been living in wilderness (parallel church reality) for a certain period and waiting for coming of the kingdom of God. According to the chapter 12 of Apocalypse, the period of staying the Church in the wilderness is 1260 years. Nevertheless, after the end of this period the Kingdom of God will not come. John says, that by then fearful global events will have happened: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev 12:17). Then John continues: “And it was given unto him (the Beast) to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:7,8). After the end of 1260 years the Last times will come. Jesus said: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luk. 18:8), “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). Probably because of the religious decline in the Church, it will lose some of the support from God. Devil will get the power to overcome the Christians and to build his “Kingdom of the Beast”. Overcoming of the saints by Satan signifies the beginning of the Last times. After arising the global kingdom of the Beast/Antichrist, will be the judgment (but still not the last judgment) and the seven last plagues, which are described in the chapters 14, 15, 16 and 19 of the Revelation.
Then John in the chapter 20 writes what will be after that: «And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years» (Rev.20:1-6).
About the same events also says Daniel in the chapter 12 of his book: «and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt» (Dan.12:1,2).
Only few of Christians will resist the Beast. John does not tell us when these Last times ends, but Daniel tells: “O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? … And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be 1290 “days”. (Dan.12:8,11).
So, now we have all the information for the reconstruction of the biblical apocalyptic chronology. According to most estimates, Jesus Christ was received up into heaven and the Church appeared approximately in 30 CE. Then, the beginning of the Last times and kingdom of the Beast are to be in 30+1260=1290 CE. The Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE. Then the end of the époque of Last times is to be 70+1290=1360 CE. The time between the emergence of Christianity and destruction of the Temple is 70-30=40 years. The duration of the Last times is 1360-1290=70 years. In the Bible these time periods (40 and 70 years) have the very important symbolic meaning, which is used in biblical parallelism. After the resurrection of Christ, God gave Jews 40 years in order to adopt the religion of Jesus Messiah, as He had given them 40 years in the desert in order to adopt the religion of Moses. Jews had been living in the Babylonian captivity for 70 years. This is an anticipation of the future captivity of the Christians in the global empire of Devil\Beast during 70 years of the Last times.
According to the sequence of the events in the Apocalypse after the Last times (the Beast, judgment and the last plagues) the Millennial Kingdom will start. And Daniel says us about period of 1335 days: “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days» (Dan.12:12). Here we have a date which is 45 years later than the end of the Last times.
So we know only three points concerning the Daniel’s date 1335.
The first. This date would fall on the period after the end of the Last times, when according to the Apocalypse, are to be the Millennial Kingdom.
The second. And the who one will come to this date is blessed. Hence, what does it mean “blessed” in the Scripture? The word “Blessed” אַשְׁרֵי has such meanings: happy, successful, the one who goes in the right way. This word in the Old Testament is always used in the only context: “Blessed” אַשְׁרֵי is the one who is faithful to God, who complies with the God’s commands, who serves God, who is chosen by God, etc. “Blessed” cannot be without a connection to God. Nevertheless, the mentioned above verse from Daniel 12 does not contain references to God. There, “blessed” is he that only waits and will have reached 1335 years, but according to the Biblical language the word “blessed” אַשְׁרֵי is not being used without God. Hence, the connection to God is there, and it will be in 1335 years. Obviously that few people will have reached this date. Daniel is not among them, but those who will have reached 1335 days will meet the God, and this meeting will be unique. Daniel was speaking with God and His angels, but Daniel had never been called “blessed”. Therefore, this meeting with God would be grander. It is difficult to imagine something grander then when people “shall reign with Him a thousand years“ inthe Millennial Kingdom.
The third. The future of the Daniel’s fate also gives us some prompts: “go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days” (Dan.12:13). Daniel died, then he will raise from the dead and his fate will be determined by the God’s Judgment. However it is not the Last Judgment, but the Judgment before the Fist Resurrection before the Millennial kingdom: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” (Rev.20:4-5).
When it will happen? – “at the end of the days”. The phrase “the end of the days” is widely used in the Christian discourse, but in the Bible it occurs only once, in the Book of Daniel. הַיָּמִֽין לְקֵ֥ץ “at the end of the days”, — what are these “days”? This word is written with the definite article הַ, so this is a definite date. The previous mention of “days” was 1335 days/years or 1405 A.D., so there is a probability it could be the date of the First Resurrection and the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom. We realize, that our hypothesis concerning the date 1335 days/years is rather weak, but it has the right to existence.
In this context, it is interesting to consider again the case with attempts to calculate the apocalyptic chronology as the end of the 7000 years from the creation of the world. 1360 CE means 6868 year from the creation of the world (AM), and 1405 CE is 6905 year AM. However, this is calculated on the base of the most popular date of creation (according to Septuagint) — 5508 BCE. There are some another dating of creation: for example, Theophilus of Antioch suggested 5515 BCE; Clement of Alexandria suggested 5589 BCE. According to these dates, 1360 CE is 6875 from creation and 1405 CE is 6912 from creation (Theophilus); 1360 CE is 6947 from creation and 1405 CE is 6984 from creation (Clement). These dates are close to 7000. As we see, the concept of the 7000-year duration of the worldly history may also have some validation.
And in the end of this Millennium kingdom will be the Last Battle and Jesus will come: “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev.20:7-15).
The prophets don’t tell us the real duration of the Millennial Kingdom straightforwardly. Peter hints that it may not last 1000 years: “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2Pet. 3:8). The precise date and time of the Second Coming, the Last Judgment and the New World nobody knows, but the Father.
Now we see that according to the Bible, the Last times are to begin in 1290 CE, and are to finish in 1360 CE. And there is a probability that the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom would have been in 1405 CE.
However, today is 2020 CE. We still have seen neither the kingdom of the Beast nor the total persecution of the Christianity nor at least final demolition of Babylon the Great. Then our reconstruction of the biblical chronology is wrong, isn’t it? However, there is another version: Our reconstruction of the biblical chronology is right, but the official chronology is wrong. In is incredibly difficult to believe that today could not be 2020 CE, but for example 1220 CE. or something else.
Today’s dating as 2020 CE and dating of many others historical events are the result of the chronological timeline which is constructed by a worldly science. It is good that true Christians don’t accept some false worldly «scientific theories» like theory of evolution. Such theories not only oppose the Bible but also don’t have proofs and they content their own inner contradictions. If the Bible has its own explanation of a problem then why should we use the worldly “science”? It is astonishing that true Christians have been using the worldly variants of history and chronology. The Bible has its own history, futurology and chronology, then why should we use something else (at least in the field of apocalypse). Worldly chronology could be the same lie as theory of evolution. It was constructed in the XIV – XVII centuries from many false suppositions. These mistakes caused artificial prolongation the history CE. One question could appear, — is the distortion of official chronology a result of scientific mistakes or the purposeful falsification? The basis of modern chronology was finally constructed in the XVII century. From those times, the science received a lot of new data, instruments and methods, but the outdated chronological model of the XVII century hasn’t still been revised. There is not any explanation than criminal design. But why? At least one evident theological motive we can recognize: the prince of the world by means of the worldly “science” eagers to deceive people concerning the date of the Last times. The prolongation of the chronology is to confuse people and encourage them to doubt the Bible. Fortunately, a new direction of chronology (the so-called New chronology) has been developing during the last 100 years. It criticizes the official chronology and tries to construct the new. Later we will come back to the new chronology and its problems.
We will also propose our own hypothesis about the answer of the question: «What year after Christ is now?»