The End of the World

When Will the End of the World Occur?

A reader asked: "How long do you REALLY think we (the New Testament 'church which is His body' (Ephesians 1:22-23)) have left before the Rapture? I'm not asking if you are Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, or Post-Trib, and I'm not asking you for a 'day and a hour,' and I'm not asking if you believe in imminency, but for your best guess estimate as to how much longer we have to wait for our Lord's coming for us in the air?"

I do believe that the rapture is imminent, and I will give you a direct answer to your question as to when I believe the rapture will occur. However, I would first like to give you some background on my thoughts.

Over the years I have done a lot of thinking about when the rapture will occur. However, I have had mixed feelings about discussing it, for several reasons:

- The Bible does tell us that nobody knows the day or the hour when Christ will return (His Second Coming).

- Many foolish people have spent way too much time on this when their time would have been better spent in other pursuits. This includes the many people who have predicted the end of the world, only to have been proven wrong when the time of their prophecy came and went without incident (so they usually just established
another date in the future.

- Regardless of when we believe the rapture will occur, I believe that this should have no impact upon how we live our daily lives. We should live our lives today for Christ, no matter if the rapture occurs today or in a thousand years. This is especially true considering the fact that we could be wrong in our expectations, just like so many others already have been.

I have a B.S. degree in Mathematics, and I have always been intrigued by numbers, dates, etc. When combined with my desire to know God's Word, this has resulted in my spending quite a bit of time in thinking about when the rapture (the next prophecy of Scripture) would occur. However, like many before me, I have had to be careful about staying intellectually honest about this subject, without letting my emotions interfere. After all, it's only natural that a believer would hope that the rapture would occur soon, and sometimes our hope (wishes) can sway our sound judgment. At one time, I felt quite certain that the rapture would occur in the year 1988, primarily because that would have been 40 years ("one generation"; i.e., Matthew 24:34) after Israel was re-established as a nation on May 14th, 1948. When 1988 passed and the rapture did not occur, I went back to the drawing board.

So, during the past few years, I have developed a new "prediction" about the rapture, based on several different trains of thought, and I'll know share those with you here:

1) In 1987, I published a book (that is available for free) entitled, Believe: A Synopsis of the Entire Bible. While doing the research for that book, I decided to construct a timeline of Biblical events by using the Bible as my only source. I went through the painstaking process of recording every event in the Bible that had a timeframe associated with it. This included every place where the Bible noted a certain number of years between events, etc. Then I had to sort of backtrack in order to determine the historical perspective for all of these events, including the date (in B.C. years) as well as the number of years after Creation. As a result, I included some timeline charts in the appendices at the end of my book. (You can view these charts at the above link.)

When I had completed my timeline, my results showed that God created the earth in the year 4,241 B.C. My extra-biblical research indicated that this did not agree exactly with anyone else's timeline. The most widely accepted date for Creation was/is 4,004 B.C. I decided that I could still accept my date with a fairly high level of confidence, based upon the fact that others included extra-biblical sources for their timelines, while my timeline used only the Bible.

Then one day I happened to be at the library (back in the days before the Internet), and I decided to do some more research to see if I could find any reference to the date 4,241 B.C. What I discovered was that this is the first date recorded in the ancient Egyptian calendar. Although all sources do not agree on that fact either, I decided that it was good enough for me. I chose to interpret this as direct confirmation from God that my calculations were correct, so I suddenly had an extremely high level of confidence in my timelines.

2) There is an extra-biblical book called The Book of Barnabas which was not included in our New Testament Canon. I think that there is the possibility that it does indeed belong in our New Testament. However, regardless of whether or not it was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit, I believe that we can learn much from many of these ancient extra-biblical books.

The Book of Barnabas 13:3-5 says, "And even in the beginning of creation He makes mention of the Sabbath. And God made in six days the works of His hands; and He finished them on the seventh day, and He rested on the seventh day, and sanctified it. Consider, my children, what that signifies, He finished them in six days. The meaning of it is this: that in six thousand years the Lord God will bring all things to an end. For with him one day is a thousand years; as Himself testifieth, saying, Behold this day shall be as a thousand years (Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8). Therefore, children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, shall all things be accomplished." It just makes sense to me that God would follow this pattern: 6,000 years of toil (six days of creation), and then 1,000 years of the earthly kingdom (the Sabbath day).

3) I am a dispensationalist, so I believe that God grants stewardship to certain groups of people throughout certain eras of time. This included the Age of the Gentiles, the Age of the Jews, and the (current) Age of the Church. Now, I also believe in the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18) at the end of the Church Age. Based upon the above, it makes sense that the same amount of time will be granted to the Age of the Gentiles, the Age of the Jews, and the Age of the Church. The charts mentioned above can be summarized as follows:

 The Age of the Gentiles
   From Creation through the call of Abram
   4241 B.C through 2218 B.C.
   2023 years
 The Age of the Jews
   From the call of Abram through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
   2218 B.C. through 29 A.D.
   2247 years
 The Age of the Church
   From the death burial, and resurrection of Christ through the rapture
   29 A.D. through the rapture (see below)
Now, you can see that these first two time periods are not equal in length, but there's a caveat: There are many places during the Age of the Jews when the Bible says that "God forsook Israel." Most of these occurrences are during the times of the Judges, and they're all denoted in my charts. I believe that God is not counting the time when He forsook Israel; i.e., He didn't count those years when He decided how long to extend time. So, here's how the numbers work out when this is considered:
 The Age of the Gentiles
   2023 years
 The Age of the Jews
   2247 years; less the 224 years when God forsook Israel; This results in 2023 years.
 The Age of the Church
   If this is also 2023 years, then this is from 29 A.D. through 2052 A.D.
   So, this is when I believe the rapture will occur:  2052 A.D.

4) I received some unexpected confirmation on this as well. It turns out that Sir Isaac Newton was also a mathematician, as well as a theologian. Some of his notes have indicated that he expected the world to end in the year 2060 A.D. Now, I don't know how he came to this number, but it seems to coincide with my calculations. If the rapture occurs in 2052 A.D., as I expect, and this is followed by the seven-year tribulation period, then Christ's second coming (the end of time, as we know it--as well as the beginning of the Millennium) would occur in 2059 A.D. This is a difference of only one year from Newton's date, and this could easily be due to a rounding error or a different reconciliation for the year zero.

Now, I know that 2023 years for each dispensation results in 6069 years instead of exactly 6000 years, like Barnabas indicated. I can't explain this for sure, but the difference could be due to something like the way that years were represented in the ancient calendars. There is, however, an interesting coincidence here. If we considered that the 2023 years was given in terms of a 360-day Jewish calendar, then we can calculate that this would be 1993 years in terms of our 365.25-day calendar. If this period of time actually corresponds to 1993 years, and we added that to the year 29 A.D., we get the year 2023 B.C. So, again, the number 2023 shows up--this time as a date instead of a number of years. So, I guess the year 2023 A.D. could be an alternate date for the rapture.

5) While speaking of the end times in Matthew 24:34-36, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." I believe that Jesus was referring to the generation during which Israel would once again become a nation.

In Matthew 24:32, He said, “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near." He seems to be telling us that when we begin to see historical changes concerning Israel, He is preparing the world for the end times. Well, after more than 2,000 years of the Jews roaming the world, Israel got its nation back in the modern day. On May 14, 1948, the British Mandate for Palestine ended and David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of a Jewish state in Israel. In order to fulfil Jesus' prophecy then (if my prediction is correct), in the year 2052 there would have to still be some (Israeli) people living who were living in 1948. This means someone would have to be the age of 104 in 2052. This is entirely possible, because currently the oldest living person is 117 years old.

So, of course, I could be wrong, but I believe that the rapture will occur in about 35 more years. What about you? When do you think the rapture will occur? Do you think that my argument above is worth considering? I'll tell you what: If we're still here in the year 2053, send me another e-mail, and we can discuss how I need to modify my prediction! However, I'll probably be long gone by then!

Owen Weber 2017