Millennia

Ever since the year 2000, when all the Y2K doom and gloom predictions failed to come true, I have pondered the significance of the end of the 2nd millennium. There are of course those experts who claim that the Gregorian calendar which we follow does not even accurately reflect the number of years since Jesus Christ’s birth. Not many know that the AD or “Anno Domini” (“Year of the Lord” in English) dating system did not come into existence until the year 525 AD, when the Pope at the time decided that a new calendar was needed to replace the Roman calendar which had been in existence since the city of Rome was founded, and more specifically so that Easter could be celebrated on the right date. The job fell to a monk from Scythia (now Romania) by the name of Dionysius Exiguus, who did some historical research and calculations and came up with the year 753 on the Julian calendar as the year that Christ was born. From that, it was determined that in honour of Jesus Christ, the year would change from 1278 to 525 AD. And we have been counting the years in that fashion ever since.
 
Fast forward to the year 2017, just under 1500 years later, and experts are still debating whether Dionysius got it right. Mostly, they say he didn’t.
 
Some would say, so what? It’s ancient history. Some have even stopped using the AD designation and have changed it to CE to denote Common Era, presumably as they do not consider Jesus Christ to be worthy of recognition. As a Christian, of course I beg to differ. And for many Christians the calendar has more significance than just a way of counting the years. For those Christians who believe in the Millennial Day theory, the 6th millennial “day” or thousand year period, could end in the near future. In fact, according to the revised calendar theory set forth at BiblicalChronology.com, Jesus Christ was born in 15 BC, and therefore we are currently in the year 2032 since his birth, and by inference, the 2000th anniversary of His death can’t be far away. For those Millennial Day advocates who might accept this revised calendar, the 7th millennium could therefore start in 2017 or 2018, possibly as early as this Easter, if we assume that the 2000 year church age began at the time of Christ’s death, or perhaps at His resurrection. How soon the next millennium would begin really depends on the duration of Christ’s ministry, which is stated in the Bible to have begun at the age of 30, and could have lasted for 2 or 3 years, depending on which experts you believe.
 
We know that the 7th millennium is the age of the Kingdom of God, during which Jesus Christ rules and reigns for 1000 years. But what happens after that? I’ll let Jesus answer that question, as quoted in Matthew 24: 35-36.
 
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
 
Which brings me to a commonly held belief by many Christians, that Matthew 24:36 refers to the day and hour of the rapture. By reading the preceding verse, we see that the event referred to by Jesus was the passing away of heaven and earth, which clearly is not the day and hour of the rapture, because the earth has to continue for another 1000 years before passing away.
 
So could the rapture occur in 2017 or 2018? Possibly. Is it possible that Christians who are paying attention could know the day and hour of the rapture, given that Christ was speaking about a different event when he said “But of that day and hour knoweth no man”. Possibly. Do I think I know the date of the rapture? Possibly, but like everybody else I won’t know for sure till I hear the trumpet sound. In the words of 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17:
 
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
 
By a strange coincidence, Easter Sunday this year falls on the 16th of April (4/16/17), if we use the American way of abbreviating dates.
How serendipitous would it be if the dead in Christ were to rise exactly 2000 years after their Saviour rose from the dead, on 4/16/17, followed by “we which are alive and remain” being caught up together with them, just as outlined in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. What a way to kick off a new millennium. Then again, if I am wrong (it has been known to happen, quite frequently as my wife well knows), then I will continue with my life until either I pass away, or this generation passes away. (Matthew 24:34)
 
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
 
Which generation? Again, we need to read the preceding verses, just as in the other excerpt from Matthew 24.
 
32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
 
Apparently, it is well known that the fig tree is symbolic of the nation of Israel, which began to come back into existence exactly 70 years ago. It is also commonly thought that 70 years, or “threescore years and ten” is the best estimation of the length of a human lifespan, or a generation, based on Psalm 90-10.
 
10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
 
I did some research on this, and while the official beginning of the modern state of Israel was May 14, 1948, it was exactly 70 years ago in April 1947 that Britain officially announced in the first special session of the United Nations that it was giving up its governance of Palestine, which had effectively been in existence since 1917 when Britain captured Palestine from the Turkish Ottoman Empire in the closing months of World War 1. Of course, it was already decided that the state of Israel (along with a proposed Palestinian state which never materialized due to the state of Israel winning the 1948 war of independence) would replace the Palestine mandate, and this was officially announced in the United Nations in November 1947. In fact, it was exactly 50 years prior to 1947 that planning for the modern state of Israel began,at the First Zionist Congress in Basel Switzerland in August 1897.
 
Theodor Herzl (the convenor of the First Zionist Congress) wrote in his diary (September 3, 1897):
 
“Were I to sum up the Basel Congress in a word – which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly – it would be this: At Basel I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today l would be greeted by universal laughter. In five years perhaps, and certainly in fifty years, everyone will perceive it.”
 
How prescient, and how precise, those words turned out to be. Exactly 50 years after that first congress, the foundation of the modern state of Israel was already underway, and was certainly perceived by everyone that counted in international politics.
 
So here we are in April 2017. As I write this, the state of Israel is once again facing the possibility of a major war, as the war in neighbouring Syria threatens to escalate to a major conflict between the United States and Russia, along with their respective proxy armies. With multiple Islamic armies camped out in Syria, none of whom have much of a love for Israel and would love to “liberate” Al Quds (Jerusalem) at the slightest opportunity, the outcome of the Syrian war is going to be pivotal to Israel’s continuing existence.
 
But of course God has His plans both for Israel and the rest of the world, and the Kingdom of God is His solution to the governance of humanity. Regardless of what happens in the next 24 hours, we shall see God’s plan unfold in His perfect timing.

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