The SIGN of the
END of TIME
The SIGN of the
END of TIME
Wm . H. Grotheer
Bible Prophecy Lectures
P. 0. Box 69
OZONE, AR 72854
THE SIGN OF THE END OF TIME
Twice during His earthly ministry, Jesus sought to cleanse the Jewish Temple. At the first Passover, following His baptism, the record reads:
And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting. And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; and he said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. (John 2:13-16)
At the Passover, just prior to His death, Jesus attempted once again to cleanse the Temple. Coming to the Temple after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He "began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." (Luke 19:45-46)
On His approach to the city, Jesus had paused, and wept over it, "saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes, ... because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." (Luke 19:41-44) The days of the probation of the Jewish nation as the chosen people of God were rapidly drawing to a close. Jesus was entering the last week of His earthly life.
During this last week - Tuesday to be exact - Jesus exposed before the people, the hypocrisy of the religious leadership. He used strong language, declaring, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" He had sent to them prophets and wisemen, but they had killed these and persecuted them from city to city, with the result that "all the righteous blood shed upon the earth" was to "come upon this generation." (Matt. 23:33-36) The final generation had arrived for the Jewish nation. Jesus declared emphatically, "Your house is left unto you desolate." (verse 38) No longer was it "my Father's house." Twice He had tried to restore it to its original purpose as an house of prayer. Now it was their house, and it was desolate. Having thus spoken, Jesus left the Temple never more to enter its once sacred precincts. (24:1)
This stunned the disciples. Their whole religious life was centered on the Temple and its services. Annual pilgrimages had been a part of their life and practice. Now the center of their religious devotion, desolate! This could not be, so they pointed Jesus to "the buildings of the temple." His response only added to their consternation. "There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (24:2). Silence reigned as they made their way from the Temple back to a secluded garden on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. Finally, four of the disciples ventured to ask Jesus a question. Such a catastrophe involving the Temple had to be the end of the world, so they phrased their question - "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (24:3) They did not ask for "signs", but for the specific sign that would mark the event. Luke in outlining the response of Jesus gives the sign which would mark "when these things shall be," and the sign which would signal the end of time. He quotes Jesus as saying concerning "when these shall be":
When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. (Luke 21:20)
Jesus had declared the Temple desolate, now He gives the sign by which His disciples would know that the desolation of the city was nigh. The sign was to be an historical event involving the city, not the temple. When this sign was to occur, they were to depart from the city. He tells them why:
For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.... for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. (verses 21-23)
The sign occurred in AD 66. Cestius with his Roman legions surrounded the city. Josephus tells us that he then "retired from the city, without any reason in the world." (Wars of the Jews, bk II, chap. XIX, par. 7) The Jewish army poured forth from the city in hot pursuit. The gates were left open, and the Christians departed the city. Not a Christian perished in the destruction and desolation which followed when Titus renewed the seige of the city in AD 70. Why? The Christians believed the prophecy of Jesus, and acted upon it. Herein is the mark of the true follower of Christ - the acceptance of His words and acting in harmony with those words.
In this same setting, - the history of the city of Jerusalem - Jesus gave the sign that would mark the end of time. He declared:
Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (verse 24)
We need to take note of the words which Jesus used as recorded by Luke. First, one word in the text is translated two different ways. If not understood, it can limit our perception. The inhabitants of Jerusalem were to "be led away captive into all nations." The city was to "be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." There was to be "upon the earth distress of nations." Each word emphasized, "nations," or "Gentiles," is the same word in the Greek - ta ethne (τὰ ἔθνη) - and means those nations other than Israel.
These Gentile nations were to tread down the city. Nineteen centuries of history should provide adequate proof of this fact - "first the Romans, then by the Arabs, next by different Christian nations during the Crusades, fourth by the Turks up to the end of the first world war, then by the British, and finally by the Jordanians." Then in the Six-Day War of June, 1967, a dramatic change took place. The Reader's Digest (March, 1975) in an article, "Jerusalem - Too Holy for Its Own Good," gave the story:
A stone wall, rising starkly in the Walled City, figures strongly in Israel's adamancy over not wanting to give up East Jerusalem. This is the Western Wall, a fragment of the ramport of a platform on which the First Temple of King Solomon and the Second Temple of King Herod stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70, when the Jews were driven into diaspora, or dispersion. Throughout 19 centuries of diaspora, the wall, or the memory of it served as a spiritual beacon and a symbol of a lost homeland to Jews the world over. During that time, Passover and Yom Kippur services ended in the incantation in Hebrew: "Next year in Jerusalem."...
When the British withdrew from Palestine in 1948, and Jews and Arabs fought for the control of the state, the Jews managed to hold West Jerusalem... Yet, tantalizingly, the Western Wall remained just beyond reach. Jordan annexed East Jerusalem as well as the West Bank of the River Jordan, a territory that surrounds the city on three sides. For 19 years, a no-man's-land separated the two sectors, and Jordanians refused to allow Jews to worship at the Western Wall.
When war came again in 1967, Israel urged Jordan's King Hussein to stay out of it, promising, in return, not to attack Jordan. But, ... Hussein sent artillery shells crashing into West Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers counter-attacked, and poured into the Walled City. Their religious fervor was such that many headed directly for the Western Wall, where they paused to pray. For the first time in 19 centuries, the wall was under Jewish control. (p. 132)
The restoration of Old Jerusalem to Israeli control marked the fulfillment of the second part of Jesus' prophecy - "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the nations until the times of the nations be fulfilled." It also was the sign which signaled the beginning of the end of time.
Secondly, we need to consider, how the word, "times" is used in Luke 21:24. The Greek word translated, "times," is kairos (καιρος ). The same word was used by Luke in quoting Jesus as He wept over Jerusalem, because they did not know "the time of [their] visitation" (Luke 19:44). Paul used the word when he wrote of the accepted time for salvation. (II Cor. 6:2) It is probationary time - not chronological time (χποος). Thus the fulfillment of "the times of the nations" means simply that the probationary time allotted to the nations as corporate bodies was closing.
Thirdly, the record in Luke connects this event with a specific condition to begin among the nations - "distress of nations with perplexity." The word, "distress" is a translation of the Greek word, sunoche (συνοξηε), meaning a constricted passage way, or being "in the narrows." The prepositional phrase - "with perplexity" (ἐν ἀπορίᾳ)- carries the force of inability to meet the demands placed on the nations financially. The word, aporia, is found in the papyri used in an imperial edict, in this sense. The verb form is used of a weaver who disqualified himself from public service because, though having means, they were inadequate to meet the demands of the office. (The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, p. 68) We might illustrate the financial picture conveyed by the use of this word, aporia, by contrast. Following the Panic of 1837, an editor of a paper in the midwest declined an offer of a cow and calf for a $1.00 advance subscription for his paper "because he had no way of realizing that amount of cash from the transaction." There was almost literally, no money. Now there is money but it is not adequate to cover the increasing costs.
This financial crisis for the nations began in 1967 as predicted in harmony with the sign given. The late C. V. Myers, noted in the London Financial Times, as the "well-known Canadian financial expert" wrote in his Finance & Energy of July 4, 1974:
It has now been established over the course of the last seven years -- since 1967 -- that there is nothing in this world the international monetary authorities can do to stem the advance of gold, or to stem the collapse of inflation or to avoid the enormous deflation -- the global liquidity crunch -- and the resulting depressions.
In 1975, Myers wrote from Zurich, Switzerland, that the "monetary confusion deepens," stating:
From all that I have observed of international conferences since 1967, I do not believe that any conference is going to come up with any workable answer. It seems that the situation will just continue to deteriorate. Only six months ago we heard every monetary authority in the world shouting, "either we lick inflation or we are doomed. This is the battle of the century."
President Ford said, we have a war, and we intend to fight this war against inflation. The way he is fighting this war against inflation is to add a $70 to $100 bil. deficit to the U.S. budget.
What happened to all the dire predictions of the result of inflation? All brains have been stunned. There is no answer - - so now they begin to think no answer is necessary. Or at least they have decided there is no use thinking about it at all. Therefore I can only see as the end product, as I have repeatedly said in these letters -- and especially after attending the big world meetings of the IMF -- the answer is total collapse. Either the countries will have to go back to a system which will stabilize the money, such as gold -or the social order, not only of the United States but of all of the industrialized world, will disintegrate, and from this enormous confusion new governments will arise after much suffering and bloodshed, starvation and horror. These governments would be dictatorships.
Recently D'Estaing [Economist and former Premier of France] observed: `The world is unhappy. It is unhappy because it doesn' t know where it is going, and because it senses that if it knew, it would discover that it is heading for disaster. ... The crisis the world knows today will be a long one. It is not a passing difficulty. It is actually the recognition of permanent change." (ibid March 11, 1975, pp. 1-2)
Keep in mind this beginning date for the "distress of nations" - 1967. Newsweek, noting the great California Tax Revolt of 1978, observed that "since 1967, the value of the dollar has declined 47.6 per cent, and the average American working family is now barely better off in real dollars than it was a decade ago." (June 19, 1978, p. 21) The Consumer Price Index prepared by the U.S. Department of Labor uses as its "Base Period 1967=100." (See Appendix A) Jesus gave the signal when these things would begin to come to pass - the sign of the end of time - Jerusalem would again return to Israeli control. The beginning of the financial "distress of nations" coincides with that date!
The date 1967 marked significant movements in the "spirit" world. John Godwin in his book, Occult America, wrote:
The year 1967 was a historic milestone for the United States toy industry. In that year Americans ditched their longest-standing favorite among board games, Monopoly, and elevated Quija boards to its place. (p. 271)
In 1967, Eastern mystic religions were introduced into the West. The "hippie" phenomenon reached a peak in midsummer and turned to Eastern religions and their writings in an effort to provide meaning for a nonviolent generation. "The Beatles were the best known of the celebrities who turned to Eastern religion as they sought 'transcendental meditation' through contact with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, their chosen spiritual leader. Timothy Leary advocated drugs like LSD, but also literary resources of Eastern religion." (World Book Encyclopedia, 1968 Yearbook, p. 476) Isaiah predicting a time of religious revival "in the last days," indicated that the participants would "be replenished from the east, and [be] soothsayers like the Philistines." (See Isa. 2:2-6)
The year 1967 marked the beginning of the "New Age" movement with its spirit manifestations, and union of Western and Eastern religious philosophy. Kenneth R. Wade in his book, Secrets of the New Age, describes the roots of the Movement and the convictions resulting from "messages" received from the spirit world. He writes:
At the core of the current New Age movement is a community called Findhorn. Many if not most of the movement's leaders have visited or lived at Findhorn, The development of Findhorn illustrates what typically happens when people try to meld Eastern and Western religions.
The roots of the community go back to 1953 when Peter and Eileen Caddy visited Glastonbury, England. In her book The Findhorn Garden, Eileen Caddy describes Glastonbury as "a center of spiritual power"....
While meditating at Glastonbury, Eileen heard a voice speaking to her from within her mind. At first the voice said simply, "Be still, and know that I am God," but later went on to explain that human beings - indeed everything in the world - are a part of God. So the Caddy's started from a Western mystical background and soon progressed to Eastern pantheism....
In their spiritual quest to know the will of God, Peter and Eileen linked up with Dorothy Maclean, who had developed a facility for communicating with various spirit beings. The Caddys and Ms. Maclean were employed from 1957 until 1962 at the Cluny Hill resort hotel in northern Scotland. Peter served as the hotel manager. During his tenure there, the hotel prospered under the guidance that Dorothy received from the spirits.
Then at the end of the summer of 1962 the Caddys and Dorothy suddenly found themselves unemployed. But because they had learned to trust the god they knew, this did not worry them particularly. They simply took their small traveltrailer and moved, along with the Caddys' three young sons into
a trailer park on nearby Findhorn Bay
The soil at Findhorn was more suitable for a quarry than for gardening. Digging revealed that an inch or so down the soil gave way to sand, and below that was gravel. The entire area seemed incapable of supporting any type of garden crop. Yet the following spring, with the right mix of compost, organic fertilizer, backbreaking work and communication from beings they called devas, the Caddy's and Dorothy managed to raise several crops successfully.
In the following years they continued to expand their garden until it received local, then nationwide, attention. During this time they became convinced that the New Age would begin at the end of 1967. (pp. 23-25)
During the years various New Age-oriented people visited Findhorn. The ones noted by Wade in his book all had communion with some being from the spirit world. In 1970 a David Spangler and his soulmate, Myrtle Glines came for a visit and stayed for three years. During this time Spangler began to receive messages from a spirit that identified itself as Limitless Love and Truth. These messages are recorded in Spangler's book - Revelation: The Birth of a New Age. This same spirit being had sent messages to other people in England. "These [messages] formed the basis of their belief that the New Age began at the end of 1967." (ibid., p. 27)
A Greek Idiom
Twenty times in his two New Testament books - the Gospel and Acts - Luke uses the Greek word, achri(s) (ἄχρι) translated in Luke 21:24 as "until." However, in this verse and in two others in Acts, he connects it with the Greek relative pronoun, (hou), (οὗ) making it an idiomatic expression. How is it to be understood? In Acts 27:31-34, we have recorded the story of Paul's shipwreck on the way to Rome. During the storm, the crew and passengers had eaten nothing. Now it appeared the boat was about to be dashed to pieces on the rocks of an unidentified shore. The text reads "And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat." (v. 33). The word translated, "while" is the Greek, achri hou, as in Luke 21:24. It is obvious that it is used in Acts to cover that identifiable period of time between the first rays of light, and the full light of day.
How shall the idiom be understood in Luke 21:24? When Israel took control of Jerusalem in 1967, the government continued to function from Tel Aviv, On July 30, 1980, the Knesset passed a Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel. This Law read in part: (See Appendix B)
1, Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.
2. Jerusalem is the seat of the President of the State, the Knesset, the Government and the Supreme Court.
With this action, the prophecy of Jesus met complete fulfillment. During this brief definable period, 1967 to 1980, the probationary time allotted by God to the nations was closing.
As this period neared its end, Jimmy Carter was in the White House. When Pope John Paul II visited the United States in 1979, the President invited him to the White House. "It was the first time, not only that a pope has visited the White House, but the first time any pope had called on a governmental leader anywhere." (RNS, Oct. 6, 1979) Here on the North Lawn, Protestant, Baptist Jimmy Carter clasped hands with the Roman Catholic Pontiff, symbolized in Bible Prophecy as "the little horn" of Daniel 7; the second phase of "the abomination of desolation" of Daniel 8, and the wounded but restored head of the beast of Revelation 13. In welcoming the pope, Carter said, "I welcome you to the White House the symbolic home of all our people. On behalf of every American of every faith, I also welcome you into our nation's heart." (ibid.)
At the largest reception of the Carter administration, and possibly the largest ever held at the White House, attended by representatives of all three branches of the American government, the pope, at the conclusion of the reception, surprised the assembled dignitaries and guests by saying, "The pope wants to bless you -- with the permission of the President of the United States." (ibid.) Such an apostolic blessing by the pope for United States governmental officials would not have been possible a decade earlier.
An interesting correlation between this event, coming near the close of the achri hou of Luke 21:24 in 1980, and 1967 is the fact that Jimmy Carter stated, prior to his election, "In 1967, I had a profound religious experience that changed my life." ("Carter and Religion," Oroville, CA, Mercury Register, May 7, 1976)
In 1980, Reagan was elected to succeed Carter in the White House. Time magazine reported that Reagan set as one of his earliest goals as president, the recognition of "the Vatican as a state" and "to make them an ally." (Feb. 24, 1992, p. 31) The attainment of this goal and how it was realized with an assist from the ecumenically oriented Baptist, Billy Graham, is a matter of history. The contrast of how this recognition succeeded and the failed attempt of the Truman administration to appoint General Mark Clark as Ambassador to the Vatican dare not be overlooked. The strong protest which deluged the White House in 1951 caused the withdrawal of Clark's name. The appointment of William Wilson by Reagan met with little opposition largely due to Graham having defused the Protestant protest. A change had taken place, Jesus' prophecy indicated that such would be!
What is the prophecy of Luke 21;24 saying at its least common denominator. Simply, that the probationary time for the nations had closed, and that God had given them into the hands of Satan to work his will with them. The design of Satan is clearly defined in the Scriptures.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God revealed the heart of Lucifer. He declared of Lucifer' s intent "Thou has said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north" (14:13). The "mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north" is "mount Zion, the city of the great King" (Ps. 48:2), Jerusalem and the Temple site. This final objective will be realized in the last remnant of time. In describing the cause for the Sixth Plague of the final Seven, John the Revelator writes:
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs... for they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty ... And (they) gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. (Rev. 16:13-14, 16)
"Armageddon" is a compound word in the Hebrew - "Har" - meaning mountain, and "Mo'ed" meaning congregation. (See Appendix D) The final gathering of the rulers of earth is prophesied to be Jerusalem, at the mount of the congregation. Here the line needs to be clearly drawn. Jesus as He left the Temple site declared it desolate; now another is to come, and will seek to exalt himself at this very site. This will be the antichrist par excellence, with his vicegerent. Of this the prophet Daniel wrote:
And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end and none shalt help him." (11:45; see also 9:16)
On June 30, 1980, the Charge d'Affairs of the Permanant Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN lodged with the President of the Security Council a text from the June 30 issue of Osservatore Romano, official organ of the Vatican, asking that it be circulated as a Security Council Document. It was (S/14032), and set forth "the position of the Holy See concerning Jerusalem and all the holy places." Citing past actions of the General Assembly, the text reads:
As early as its second session, the General Assembly of the United Nations
approved on 29 November 1947 a resolution on Palestine of which the third part was devoted to Jerusalem. The resolution was confirmed in the next two sessions, on 11 December 1948 and 9 December 1949 while on 14 April 1950 the Trusteeship Council approved a "special stature" for the city on the basis of the Assembly's decisions. The solution proposed by the United Nations envisaged the setting up of a "corpus separatum" for "Jerusalem and the surrounding area," administered by the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations.
This "territorial internationalization" of Jerusalem was not of course put into effect, because in the 1948 conflict the Arab side occupied the eastern zone of the city and the Israeli side, the western. The position of the United Nations does not appear at least as yet to have been formally revoked. The General Assembly, as well as the Security Council, has repeatedly, beginning with the resolution of 4 July 1967, insisted on the invalidity of any measure taken to change the status of the city.
The Holy See considers the safeguarding of the Sacred and Universal character of Jerusalem to be of such primary importance as to require any Power that comes to exercise sovereignty over the Holy Land to assume the obligation, to the three religious confessions spread throughout the world, to protect not only the special character of the City, but also the rights connected, on the basis of an appropriate juridical system guaranteed by a higher international body.
Although Israel became a nation once again in 1948, it was not until December 30, 1993 that Israel and the Vatican signed an accord calling for full diplomatic relations between itself and the Holy See. Frank Dimant, Executive Vice President of B'nai Brith who has met with Vatican officials, emphasized to a Canadian audience assembled in the Calgary Jewish Center that "Rome would not have made peace with the Jewish state unless she was certain that Jerusalem would fall from Israeli control and become an international city." (The Jewish Tribune, April 13, 1995, p. 3)
In an editorial in The Jewish Press (September 2, 1994), it was revealed that just before the Oslo talks began, Israeli Foreign Minister Peres submitted a plan to the Papacy outlining the Vaticanization of Jerusalem. "The plan called for the extraterritoriality of the Old City and the airport at Atarot, which would become a world-wide meeting center." (See Appendix C)
What does all of this mean? Simply in point of time we stand between the fulfilled prophecy of Jesus as given in Luke 21:24, and the prophecy of Daniel 11:45 which can be seen to be in the process of fulfillment even now. What then? We read:
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. (Daniel 12:1)
Simply stated, this means Divine intercession ceases, human probation closes for all the inhabitants of earth. The end has arrived. Jesus said:
When ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (Luke 21:31-33)
Then He counseled:
Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all of these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:34-36)
For Appendices go to The Sign of the End of Time.