Conflict Over God's Appointed "Times & Seasons"
Kevin R. Swift
June 26, 2012
In the book of Daniel, we discover two very
interesting predictions about the final conflict of the ages. It involves
God's "times and seasons" or the "set times and the
laws" of Almighty God. While Daniel prophesies that our
Creator has the
ability to "change times and seasons," he also predicts the
Man of Sin will, in contrast, attempt to "change the set times and the laws"
of God. "Change" means "to
make the form, nature, content, future course different
to substitute; to
something else; to become altered or modified."
Clearly, prophecy is asking us to pay attention to these details, and to consider
the two opposing sides who are "changing" events, and what this means for the last-day saints.
There are verses in the book
of Daniel specifically connected to divine "secrets," which God
promises to reveal to the wise and discerning at the appropriate
time. Let's look at them. Concerning God, Daniel writes (2:20-22): “Praise
be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His.
He changes times and
deposes kings and raises up others. He
gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He
reveals deep and hidden things" to
those who seek wisdom and knowledge.
I'm reminded of a related promise in Daniel
12:9-12, where we are told the wise will
understand two important timelines of Bible prophecy when last-day events
are about to begin: “Go
your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the
time of the end. Many
will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue
to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise
will understand. “From
the time that the daily [worship at the Western Wall/Temple Mount]...is
abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up [on the Temple
Mount], there will be 1,290 days. Blessed
is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days."
The details have been hidden through the ages, but God is offer wisdom to the last-day saints. It involves
His prophetic timelines,
along with His plans to change His "times and seasons". It also involves another
personality on the
end-time stage--an evil actor who opposes truth, and opposes
man--the Man of
Sin (known also as Antichrist)--Daniel writes (7:25):
will speak against the Most High and oppress His holy people and try to
change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered
into his hands for a time, times and half a time,"
meaning, 3 1/2 years (1,260 days).
It's very important that you understand the meaning of the "set times
and the laws." The New Living Translation says, "He
will try to change their sacred festivals and laws";
and, the Wycliffe Bible says, "He
shall think, that he can change the times for the feasts, and the
laws." This points to the evil impostor as trying to change God's
Festivals, and other Biblical laws found in God's Word.
13:5-8 refers to this evil man and his deceptions: "The
beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to
exercise its authority for forty-two months
opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander His name and
was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer
them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and
inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not
been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the
creation of the world."
So what have
we learned so far? On one hand, the Man of
Sin (the Beast), a demonic human, will attempt
(although unsuccessfully) to
change what Scriptures call God's "set times and the laws," at a
period when he will be persecuting the holy people for 1,260 days. The fact is, although men have often tried
through the ages to
alter the Word of God to fit their own inventions and inclinations, no man (not even the
pope) can change the
declarations of Almighty God--whether the Sabbath, the Festival periods,
or any other law of God.
In contrast, God can and will change the "times and seasons"
by His mighty power. We know this by the fact
that Daniel acknowledges and predicts a world, earth-altering
event of global proportions (2:20-22)
that will alter the Festival "times and seasons"--literally,
the normal rotation of the spring, summer, fall and winter seasons on Planet
Earth. The question remains, how will
Messiah accomplish this, and when?
Sabbath and the Seven Festivals: Declaring the Past, Foretelling the Future
Long ago God established
His "moedim" (meaning,"rehearsals"), referred to as
His "set times" and also called "feasts", or seasonal Festivals, which He introduced to the Israelites
about 3,400 years ago in Leviticus
23. First, the weekly Sabbath ("These
are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord,
which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.
There are six days when you may work,
but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath
rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you
live, it is a Sabbath
to the Lord,"
verses 2-3). Then follows
in the chapter the seven festivals: Passover
(Pesach), the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzah), the Feast of
Firstfruits (Bikkurim) and the Festival of Weeks (Shavuot)--these four represent the
springtime Festivals. The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Ha-Shanah), the
Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) are
celebrated in the autumn season. These sanctuary Feasts have commemorated
leading of His people for many centuries, but also, and at the same time,
they foretell and predict events about the future. Many centuries after they were established,
Yeshua fulfilled the spring Festivals during the week of Passover and at
Pentecost. Likewise, He is bound to complete the fall
Festivals in His life and redemptive work. Therefore, the autumn Festivals portray the
unfolding of live events both in Heaven and on earth, and
will be fulfilled by Messiah leading up to and during His Day of the LORD climax of
human history. The annual Feasts offer the wise and discerning
students of God's Word divine dates of end-time disaster and
deliverance--the deep and hidden things that are in process of being revealed.
connected the "times and seasons" to the Day of the LORD--the
coming of Jesus our Messiah and destruction of sinners--when he wrote in 1
Thessalonians 5:1-6: "For
you yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord so comes as a thief
in the night. For
when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon
them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But
you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you
as a thief. You
are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of
let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober."
indicates that although sinners will not understand or acknowledge the times and seasons,
those who are awake need not be in darkness that the Day should overtake God's
people as a thief. As sons of light, we are not left in darkness
like the world. We are to be sober and wise, knowing the times.
this leads to another question. Why will the Man of Sin (Antichrist) attempt to change
God's "set times and the laws"? He likely will do so in an
attempt to preempt Messiah's final redemption plan that is promised to be
completed during the fall Festival season. He will do so by setting himself up in the Temple (on the Temple
proclaim himself "GOD" incarnate. Once the Man of
Sin sets up the abomination, Messiah's visitation will surely come.
Shrouded in darkness, the whole planet will quake at His fury, and the
earth will be shaken off it's normal course so that even the "times and seasons"
are altered--demonstrating God's supernatural power which Daniel wrote about long ago
when he said God "changes times and seasons" (2:20-22).
continued to advise the watching saints on the work of the evil one--the Man of
Sin/Lawlessness--when he wrote in 2 Thessalonians
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him, we ask
you, brothers and sisters, not
to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from
us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter —asserting
that the Day of the Lord has already come. Don’t
let anyone deceive you in any way, for that Day will not come until the
rebellion occurs and the Man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to
will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or
is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming
himself to be God."
wrote about that event (9:27): "He
will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven'
[one literal 7 day week].
In the middle of the ‘seven
he will put an end to
sacrifice and offering. And at the temple
[Mount in Jerusalem] he
will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end
that is decreed is poured out on him [Man of Sin]."
also warned the last-day saints living in the land of Israel, "So
when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that
causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader
those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let
no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let
no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How
dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray
that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For
then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the
world until now—and never to be equaled again,"
book of Revelation speaks of Messiah's response to the Man of Sin's abominable
act--God's earth-moving event that changes the "times and
seasons," when John wrote, "Out
of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!”
Then there came
flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake.
No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on
earth, so tremendous was the quake. The
great city [Jerusalem]
split into three parts, and the cities of the nations
collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled
with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every
island fled away and the mountains could not be found,"
16:17-20). How massive of an earthquake would send islands
into the sea and cause mountains to collapse? The
global quake Job wrote about long ago, when
mountains... and overturns them in His anger. He shakes the earth from its
changing its orbit and position in the Milky Way Galaxy, and changing the
seasons on the Day of
Atonement--the Day of the Lord.
gives answer to the question, why does prophecy predict the Man of
Sin attempts "to change the set times and the laws," of
7:25), while Daniel
2:21 proclaims of Almighty God--the
Creator of heaven and earth, who created the universe and aligned the
galaxies and planets--that He indeed "changes
times and seasons; He
deposes kings and raises up others." Antichrist,
thinking himself to be God, imagines that he can preempt the plan of
redemption, and change God's set times--the Sabbath (from Saturday to
Sunday) and the Festival celebrations--his attempt to change the sacred
Festivals of Leviticus 23; however, even he understands his
limitations. He boasts of His power and blasphemes the Creator, but he
cannot change the "seasons", which would mean control over nature itself--the earth, the sun,
moon and stars.
God is revealing the
"deep and hidden things," just as He promised us long ago.
Messiah promised, "He
will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His
will speak only what
He hears, and He
will tell you what is yet to come,"
16:13. He does not lie; God's promises are sure.
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