What Is a Timeline Prophecy?

September 24, 2021 E-Letter

Prophecies come in different kinds. There are typological, or symbolic prophecies, spoken prophecies, written prophecies and acting prophecies.

We are posting a number of e-letters Make Sure Ministries has received from David Henke, founder of Watchman Fellowship, Inc., an apologetics ministry, on a variety of subjects. They will post on Tuesdays into the foreseeable future. As always, we appreciate your comments. Please consider clicking on the link following this blog to learn more about Watchman Fellowship and what they have to offer. E-letters have been slightly edited for clarity.

A typological, or symbolic, prophecy example is Abraham as a type of God the Father. His offering of Isaac is a type of God the Father offering His Son, Jesus. Abraham’s servant (actually business partner) is a type of the Holy Spirit and Rebekah is a type of the Church.

A spoken prophecy example is Jesus’ words in Matthew 24 about the signs of His return.

An example of a written prophecy is Isaiah 11:11 which says that God will regather His people from around the world “a second time.”

  • The first time He regathered His people was from Babylon. This prophesy says the second time will be “in that day,” a frequent reference to the day of God’s judgment of the world.

An acting prophecy is in Ezekiel 4 where Ezekiel “lays siege” to Jerusalem for 430 days which represent 430 years according to the text.

The Ezekiel 4 prophecy was fulfilled in 1948 when Israel regained its national sovereignty, and again nineteen years later when they recaptured their capital Jerusalem in 1967.

First Phase of Israel’s Captivity and It’s Fulfillment

Ezekiel 4 is also a timeline prophecy. This kind of prophecy has a very specific ending time based on a very specific beginning time.

  • If you read only Ezekiel 4 you will never arrive at what I said about this prophecy being fulfilled in 1948. Prophecy teacher, Grant Jeffrey, applied what God said to Israel in Leviticus 26 and that unlocked Ezekiel 4.
  • Leviticus 26 is also a prophecy of how God will deal with His people. As you read this chapter you will be struck by how it describes the history of Israel perfectly.
  • If Israel obeys God will bless them. If they disobey, He will punish them. If when they are punished and they don’t learn their lesson God will multiply His punishment “seven times.”
  • He promises this four times in Leviticus 26:18, 21, 24 and 28.
  • Israel served seventy years of God’s punishment in exile in Babylon. That left 360 years of His punishment remaining. But Israel did not learn its lesson so God multiplied it by seven, or 2520 years.
  • When you interpret timeline prophecies you may have to take into account the differences in calendars. Israel used a lunar calendar of twelve 30-day months and a 360-day year.
  • Our calendar is the solar calendar of 365.24 days in a year.
  • The way to figure this out is to multiply the 2,520 years of punishment by 360 days. That gives you 907,200 days. Then divide the number of days by our solar calendar year of 365.24 and you get 2,483.8462.
  • We don’t have an exact starting date for this but we do know that Cyrus issued his decree in 537 BC to return to Israel thus ending the 70 years in Babylon.
  • Adding the 2,483.8462 years would bring us to AD 1948.
  • If you are doing the math on a calculator, you will notice you get 1947. That is because there is no 0 year so 1 BC to 1 AD is one year which is added on your calculator to get 1948.
  • This would end the first phase of Israel’s captivity, its loss of national sovereignty.

Second Phase of Israel’s Captivity

The second phase of Israel’s captivity, called the “desolations of Jerusalem,” began in 587 BC, nineteen years after the loss of national sovereignty, with the destruction of the Temple and city. Adding that nineteen years to AD 1948 brings us to 1967, the year Israel recaptured Jerusalem.

The judgment of God ran on two tracks, the nation and the city.

The best example of a timeline prophecy is in Daniel 9 about the coming of the Messiah.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem in His Triumphal Entry, He entered the city on the exact day prophesied by Daniel. In this prophecy we do have exact days for the start and finish. You can read this in my booklet “Look Up.”

Prophecies like those above are an apologetic for the reliability and inspiration of the Bible.

They also demonstrate that the Author, God Himself, must be outside of time, hence eternal, to be able to know the future with such detail.

Many critics of the Bible search for examples of prophecies NOT fulfilled (in their opinion) to bring doubt to the Bible.

However, I would prefer to reverse that and ask how they account for even one prophecy that has been fulfilled.

This is where they try to liken the prophecies in the Bible to the vague “prophecies” of Nostradamus, or fortune cookies or horoscopes. A timeline prophecy does not allow for such vagueness.

Copyright© 2019 Watchman Fellowship, All rights reserved. Used by permission of David Henke.

Website: www.watchman-ga.org

Email: [email protected] (If you would like to receive David’s current e-letters, request them here.)

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