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24 July 2014 | Massei

The Key to End-Time Prophecy / January 2013

The Key to End-Time Prophecy
YAVOH Cover graphic

For many years I have paid close attention to the subject of end-time prophecy. Not only have I done my own study but I have attempted to understand others who have offered their understanding and insight into the subject. I have concluded that most prophecy teachers—those who advocate their proper way to handle the subject—think that they are smarter on the subject than the Messiah Himself.

A multitude of these prophecy teachers focus in on a variety of things, saying that those items are the key elements to understanding the end-time prophecies. It varies from the pretribulation rapture of the church to signs of distress in the world's socio-political order or the world's economic chaos. I understand that the collapse of the U.S. Dollar is almost the "end of the world" for some Americans, and I can understand that social disorder and change have dire consequences to the good order of the community; but all of these are just the "beginning of sorrows," not the sign of the end of the ages and beginning of the Messianic era.

So why do people chase after things that are not true cause and effect for the end of the ages? Every one of the signs cited by those proclaiming the end is about to happen have existed previously in the world's history and, in many cases, were much worse than those happening today. It wasn't the end of the world then.

The most recent goofy sign is even goofier than rehashing Nostradamus videos. The Mayan calendar has now rolled over like a car odometer (back to zero). So what! Cars don't blow up when that happens. Why do people wonder if that will happen with a calendar and why do so many people give attention to that? Most people are not Mayans and very few in this world can read Mayan script. Do you really think that an extinct people group in world history somehow was smart enough to predict everyone else's demise but couldn't manage to survive themselves to the end?

The Messiah spoke directly to this question. He warned us of false predictions and of numerous troubles being interpreted as signs of the end. So, let's set aside all the distracting confetti of the end times, even if it comes from Christian sources, and refer directly to what He had to say was the sign of the end.

The key prophecy cited by the Messiah that marks the end of the age and the start of the 3 ½ year Great Tribulation is called the Abomination of Desolation. It is the key prophecy that leads to the "Day of the LORD" and finally the return of the Messiah to establish His kingdom from Jerusalem. It is a prophecy that originates from Daniel and cited by the Messiah Himself when answering questions about the end of the age and His return.

The Abomination of Desolation prophecy has two parts. First, an altar must be atop the temple mount with the daily sacrifice being presented each morning and evening. The daily sacrifice is called the tamid offering, which means "continual." It is the first offering made after the altar is dedicated and it is first and last offering for each daily service.

Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one year old lambs each day, continuously. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; and there shall be one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering with one lamb. The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it the same grain offering and the same drink offering as in the morning, for a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the LORD. It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the doorway of the tent of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory.
Exodus 29:38-43

This commandment is also repeated in Numbers 28:3-8. As long as these morning and evening lambs are presented, the LORD recognizes that altar as His table. However, if for any reason the morning or evening lamb is prevented from being offered, the altar immediately ceases to be proper before the LORD. He no longer recognizes it as suitable for worshipping Him. It must be torn down, a new one built, and it must be dedicated with bulls and goats for seven days to begin the daily tamid sacrifice again.

According to the prophecy the altar to be built in modern Jerusalem in our day with its daily service will be stopped. This is the first part of the Abomination of Desolation.

The second part of the Abomination of Desolation involves a statue or image of the antimessiah to be set up on the wing of the temple (which means to the North or South of the altar). The false prophet (so named in Revelation) will somehow enable or be a part of the statue performing a miracle, namely, the statue will speak. The false prophet will then call upon mankind to bow down before the antimessiah and worship him and the statue. The day that the image is set up on the temple mount "standing in the holy place" is the second part of the prophecy and cited by the Messiah.

Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
Matthew 24:15

Daniel's prophecy reveals this:

It [the little horn – the antimessiah] even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down. And on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper.
Daniel 8:11-12
… he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.
Daniel 9:27
Forces from him [the antimessiah] will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.
Daniel 11:31
From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days [to the end of the tribulation].
Daniel 12:11

It is believed that it will be about 30 days between the first and second parts of the prophecy. This is based on the difference of the prophetic counts of 1290 and 1260 days.

The altar shutdown starts a 1290 day count for the days of the Great Tribulation. The two witnesses and those in Judea who flee begin their activities when the image is set up. Their day count is 1260 days to the end of the tribulation.

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.
Revelation 11:3
And the woman [a "type" of those fleeing from Judea] fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she might be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
Revelation 12:6

The difference of 1290 and 1260 suggests a 30 day gap between the first and second part of the Abomination of Desolation with the image being set up after the altar is shut down.

There is also another 45 day difference between the 1290 days of the tribulation and another dimension at the end of the tribulation.

And from the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!
Daniel 12:11-12

Yeshua referred to the sign of the Son of Man being seen and His return in the days immediately after the tribulation. The 45 day difference seems to be this period of time for the LORD's return and the fulfillment of the fall holidays.

But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
Matthew 24:29-30

The fall holidays of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), Atonement (Yom Kippur), and Tabernacles (Sukkot) will also be the focus of the days immediately after the Tribulation. Trumpets signifies the trumpet blast of the LORD's return and the resurrection. Atonement signifies God's judgment of the whole world. Tabernacles is the "Season of Joy" where we are commanded to "rejoice before the LORD." In fact, the prophet Zechariah says that we will celebrate Tabernacles first in the kingdom. Tabernacles is the 1335th day, the blessed day, at the end of the Great Tribulation.

Tabernacles comes each year at 15 Tishri on the Hebrew calendar, corresponding to the September/October time frame. It is interesting to note that if you backtrack from future Tabernacles dates by 1335 days, it results in the Abomination of Desolation occurring in the February/March time frame, which is the season of winter. This is consistent with Yeshua's warning in Matthew 24 when He told of those who would flee from Judea that winter would be a hazard.

But pray that your flight [after the abomination is set up] may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath;
Matthew 24:20

If you believe that 15 Tishri (the first day of the celebration in the kingdom) is the blessed day 1335 days after the altar is shut down, then the tribulation days end 45 days prior to Tabernacles on 1 Elul. The month of Elul is called the month of repentance as it begins 40 days prior to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), which foreshadows the Day of the LORD (final judgment).

So let's do a quick review. The Great Tribulation begins first with the altar shutdown, and this starts the 1290 day count of the Great Tribulation. Thirty days later the image is set up and the two witnesses begin prophesying for the remaining 1260 days to the end of the Tribulation. Those in Judea who see the image set up and heed the warning of Yeshua flee into the Judean wilderness east of the temple mount. They are preserved for 1260 days to the end of the Great Tribulation. There is a period of 45 days immediately following the Great Tribulation. During this period, the sign of the Son of Man appears, the gathering of the saints occurs (rapture and resurrection) followed by the Day of the LORD (judgment). Then we are gathered to Jerusalem for the LORD to enter the city and begin the Feast of Tabernacles. The entire process beginning with the altar being stopped to our keeping the Feast of Tabernacles after His return is 3 ½ years.

Let's look again to the first part of the Abomination of Desolation, the key sign we were told to look for by the Messiah. If you take a pulse of the average believer today about the building of the altar to satisfy the prerequisite requirement of the Abomination of Desolation, they generally react in a negative manner saying that "altars were done away with; Jesus was the final sacrifice." I have found that most believers, even pastors and leaders, are not aware of the reason for altars and why God used them in the past. It follows then that they are generally confused as to why God would use an altar for the key sign of the Abomination of Desolation. Some have argued that "setting up an altar is the abomination" as opposed to it being shut down.

The altar on the temple mount is God's ownership symbol of the earth, with homage being served by the daily sacrifices as Israel recognizes that God is the King and Owner of the earth. Unbelievers do not want to believe that God is sovereign and has any influence in their lives and hence will find worldly reasons to protest the establishment of the altar. The antimessiah, who believes he is the savior of the world, will reject any sovereignty of God and His ownership symbol of earth. Hence, the climatic end of the ages.

Last month, we all watched as the December 21 date occurred and the world did not suddenly end. When end-of-the-world prophecies don't happen, most people adjust quickly and return to their daily routine with some wondering what happened and others laughing it off. It dulls the ears of everyone hearing the real end-time prophecies. We live in such a day that has many believers "dull of hearing" about any end-time prophecy. In January 2013 it will be worse. Any suggestion that the real sign of the end is an altar in Jerusalem on top of temple mount being shut down will be immediately be dismissed as more nonsense.

The stage is set for the true prophecies of the end just as the Scripture said.

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,
II Peter 3:3
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
II Timothy 3:1-7

There are compelling reasons why many prophecy teachers and students believe we are the last generation. Yeshua said that the last generation would not pass away until all is accomplished. This means that the true end-times prophecies and signs occur within a single generation. One of the most compelling end-time prophecies that mark the final generation is the re-establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The capture of Jerusalem in 1967 also added to this conclusion. The reason is simple. Most of the end-time prophecies require Jews to be back in Israel and Jerusalem is the seat of controversy for the world. We certainly have that in this generation. There are other signs and prophetic elements as well, including the dividing of the land and the covenant of death. These are perpetually in the headlines in negotiating the Middle East peace process. The title of the Oslo Accords is the "Peace and Security Agreement." The prophets say that while they are saying "peace and security" sudden destruction (the Great Tribulation) will come.

The Prophet Daniel also gave some precise prophecies about events in the last generation called the "70 weeks of Israel." That prophecy lays out a time frame that leads to the Abomination of Desolation and the Great Tribulation. The word "weeks" is a particular Hebrew holiday commonly called Pentecost in the Christian faith. It is a holiday that occurs once a year by counting seven weeks after the Feast of First Fruits. On the day after the seventh Sabbath, the 50th day is called Shavuot (weeks) in the Hebrew and Pentecost (50) in English. The decree that precedes the count of the 70 Shavuots appears to be the UN decree of 1947. The division of the 62 and 7 given in the prophecy appears to match the international efforts to divide the land of Israel for the two-state solution. If this understanding of that prophetic count is correct, then this winter of 2013 is the middle of the last seven years and the Abomination of Desolation must occur.

With that possibility in mind, let's project to the Feast of Tabernacles in the year 2016 (3 ½ years later). Tabernacles 2016 begins on Monday, October 17 at sundown. If you count back 1335 days to the altar shutdown event, the date is Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Thirty days after that is March 22, 2013 for the image set-up. Therefore, we do not have to wait long to see if this combination of years is the fulfillment of the Abomination of Desolation and the start of the Great Tribulation.

This is not a prophetic prediction of future events, and anyone saying that we are "date setting" is willfully misrepresenting this discussion. The counting of days is part of the prophecy and looking for the Abomination of Desolation is exactly what the Messiah told the disciples and us to do.

For the moment, let's weigh the possibility that the Abomination of Desolation does occur on February 20 next month. First, the altar must be built and dedicated prior to February 20. While it is true that there are Jews in Jerusalem waiting to build that altar, and the materials for the altar have also been collected and stored in Jerusalem, the temple mount is under Palestinian control and they are not going to permit such a construction. That means that the political landscape of the temple mount must rapidly change. How could that happen?

A war in the Middle East involving the Palestinians could be one way. Israel would gain control by military conquest. This possibility is not as improbable as you might think. Tensions in Israel and with their neighbors are straining right now. There could be another way as well. The Palestinians now claim to have a state and are proclaiming all Jewish settlements as illegal in the West Bank area (this includes the old city of Jerusalem). The Jews could just announce an annexation of the temple mount and take a portion of the area. I don't think they would take the ground for the Dome or the Mosque, but they could easily take control of a small portion to the north of the Dome and begin a shared use of the upper mount below the Kotel (Western Wall). Given the "tit for tat" going on right now over settlement building plans and international condemnations, this is not beyond the possibility either. On January 20 a new Israeli government will be in power. It will be the most right wing government in recent Israeli history. That government has several members calling for the rebuilding of the temple right now!

I am not sure if the altar will be rebuilt in time for an altar shutdown on February 20, but it is something I am watching for expectantly.

When it comes to the image being set-up, we need a candidate for the antimessiah to come to power in Europe in the March/April time frame. The image is to be of this leader as he rises to power at the start of the Great Tribulation. The subject of who this leader is has been an on-going discussion among prophecy students for all of my lifetime. But it interesting to note that in the last six months a call for a single leader to lead the European Union has been voiced by powerful political forces in Europe, born out of the economic chaos now happening in Europe coupled with the need for a single foreign policy strategy to represent Europe. This is radically different from the current European Union and appears to be a subset of only ten nations within the EU.

The prophecy says that the "little horn" (the antimessiah) rises suddenly out of ten rulers. All of the symbolism is there for the European Union to be the foundation for these prophetic events, and it is not out of the question that such things could occur before the spring of 2013. But will they happen to support the March 22, 2013 date of the image set up?

There is another issue looming that will surround an altar and image event on the temple mount. Will people believe that the Great Tribulation is beginning and that we are at the end of the ages?

I don't think many will believe it and here are my reasons for saying that.

1. Given all of the hype about the end of the world from the Mayan calendar naming December 21, 2012, the world will be "burned out" to hear anything about the subject for a long time. Satan will have been successful in sowing confusion and frustration to blunt the true warning from God.

2. Theologically, the Christian Church will be opposed to the altar being re-established. They will actually promote the effort to shut the altar down. To them, Christ is the final sacrifice and they will accuse the Jews of blasphemy.

3. Politically, the Muslim world will be threatening World War III on the rest of the world because they have not stopped the Jews and from assisting the state of Israel. The other nations will play along with the Muslims and demand that Israel cease and desist, classifying Israel as an illegitimate state. This most likely will be why the altar will be shut down – for security reasons.

4. Animal rights activists will unite world-wide against the dedication sacrifices and daily sacrifices offered on the altar.

5. There will be a general feeling among the religious masses that Israel has "gone too far" in setting up the altar to worship God. This will be despite the fact that they are aware of the ancient temple and its former altar practices.

6. For those evangelical believers holding to a pre-tribulation rapture, panic will set in. Those who teach this theory will have to discount the altar shutdown as not being the fulfillment of the prophecy.

7. Many believers will feel so threatened by the prophetic consequences of the Great Tribulation and God's judgment in our days that they will literally "give up the faith" in an effort to escape its coming.

For Messianic believers, the altar and the controversy following it will be a bucket of cold water in the face. We will know the Great Tribulation is in fact beginning. We will know that our lives will not go on as before. The Great Tribulation will dictate terms to us for the next 3 ½ years. It will be decision time. Will we arm ourselves and attempt to fight? Will we just hunker down in our living rooms and wait for the arrests to come? Or, will we look for a way to escape, find a place to hide, or find out what others are going to do?

I believe that these days will soon be upon us. Will they be in 2013, a year later, or five years later? We won't know until the prophecy of the Abomination of Desolation is fulfilled. Then and only then will we fully understand these prophecies. This is what the Apostle Peter spoke of in his letters to the brethren.

Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Yeshua the Messiah.
I Peter 1:13

In Peter's final letter, just before his own death, he reminded us that the prophetic word we have been given is not a cleverly devised story of deception. He testified directly to laying hands on the Messiah and hearing God's own voice declare Yeshua to be His Son. As a consequence, the prophecies of the Messiah were true. He concluded it this way, alluding to something even greater to happen to us!

And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
II Peter 1:19

Trying to understand the prophecies today is like trying to spy out a dark room with a single candle for light. We move from one place to another, shining the light and trying to remember what we saw before and compare it with what we see now. We do the same by studying the events of the past to catch the gleam of prophetic themes and patterns to understand the days and times we now live in. But the Apostle Peter says that at the end the light of the new day (the beginning of God's kingdom on earth) will shine forth with understanding that far exceeds the written prophecies. We will see the events for ourselves and the understanding of our times will flood in like sunlight filling the entire room with light. It is a striking comparison!

It will be nothing short of amazing when the altar is shut down and the image is set up on the temple mount as well. All of the speculations and alternate prophetic theories will evaporate. The events of the day will be so compelling that we will be left with the realization that God's word is true. This is what the prophet Jeremiah was referring to.

The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; in the last days you will clearly understand it.
Jeremiah 23:20

Maybe this is why the Messiah injected that special comment while explaining the Abomination of Desolation as the sign of the end.

Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
Matthew 24:15

Didn't Yeshua say that many would not understand what was happening, comparing the end times to the days of Noah and that judgment?

and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.
Matthew 24:39

Even the prophet Daniel didn't understand the prophecies of the Abomination of Desolation and the end. When he questioned the LORD about this lack of understanding, he was told that he would not understand it, that the understanding would come in the last days, in the days of the Abomination of Desolation.

As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, "My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?" He said, "Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. Many will be purged, purified and refined; but the wicked will act wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand."
Daniel 12:8-10

If the altar is shut down in February 2013, will we understand the outcome of these events better than the prophet who gave them to us? Will we see and understand while others will reject the prophetic sign? Will we have the insight to understand what is happening? The next two verses give the day counts.

From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!
Daniel 12:11-12

Will you begin the counting of the days of the Great Tribulation? Will you look forward to the joy of the 1335th day?

Here is a diagram that gives all of the tribulation counts while we wait to see if this is the time or that we should look to another year.