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How Long Will "The End Time" Last?
This study will address two questions regarding the "end time." The first, how long will it last, overall? The second, how long will the "abomination of desolation" last? Many assume that they are the same, or will be happening through the same time, but as we shall see, one is the culmination, the final act, of the other.
Overall, the "end time" will last 42 months ("power was given unto him to continue forty and two months," verse 5 below), during which the Satan-empowered "beast" (see Daniel's Vision Of End-Time Rome) will deceive the entire world into surrendering to its mis-leadership:
"13:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
The ministry of the LORD's "two witnesses" will begin, and end, with that same 42 months:
"11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days [i.e. 1,260 days, which is 42 months], clothed in sackcloth. 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will." (Revelation 11:3-6 KJV)
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation"
The first part of Christ's famous Olivet Prophecy (so-called because He gave it while they were on the Mount of Olives) describes conditions in the entire world in the 42 months just prior to His return (which will occur first on that same Mount of Olives: "14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east" Zechariah 14:4 KJV):
"24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Some believe that the abomination of desolation is the present-day occupation of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem by the Muslim people. But that has gone on for centuries already, with no response from the LORD - and according to the Scriptures, the LORD's response to the abomination of desolation will be immediate.
Others believe that it will be the Pope and/or a great European military dictator who will desecrate the Temple, or some "Holy Place," that will exist at that time - and that is correct, overall. But the actual abomination of desolation by the Pope and/or a great European military dictator will be brief, so brief that when it is seen to happen, God's wrath will come at that hour. Christ instructed His followers, those of them who happen to be in Jerusalem at that time, that when they see it, they are to get out of the city fast - they aren't even to go back to their homes or hotels to get supplies or clothing.
The martyrdom of the two witnesses, in Jerusalem, will occur just before the abomination of desolation happens. They will not have left the city, in obedience to the LORD's command, because the ultimate "abomination of desolation," although about to happen, will still not have occurred. Their deaths will be part of the about-to-happen abomination of desolation.
"11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 11:8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 11:9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
Then, at the very end of "the end time," with the two witnesses resurrected from their lying dead in the streets of Jerusalem (the Scriptures don't necessarily say that they will be killed together, only that they will be killed in Jerusalem - but they most-likely will go down together in a blaze of heavenly defensive "firepower" i.e. "11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed" - before they run out of "ammo," that will permit their martyrdom), Christ's plain command to get out of Jerusalem immediately when you see the abomination of desolation happen because the great wrath upon Jerusalem itself will begin - as described also in Revelation 11:13, quoted above (see the Fact Finder below to understand how the Ark of the Covenant will be the prime focus of that event).
"24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth, let him understand: 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 24:25 Behold, I have told you before.
Fact Finder: How is it that anyone who desecrated the Ark of the Covenant has always only been able to do so briefly - because of God's wrath that immediately comes?