By Charles Wheeling
Words can often play tricks on the mind. When you use the word “distance,” you usually think of something way out yonder. But that’s not necessarily true. Two ends of a one-foot ruler are separated by distance. Modern science asserts that time equals space, and space equals time.
Let’s kick off with the idea of an equation:
An equation is the idea in reality that whatever is on one side of the equals mark is the same as, or equal to, what's on the other side — if it's a true equation.
The Bible, from cover to cover, uses an equation. Whether you want to talk about an hour, a day, a month, a year, or a thousand years, this important equation comes into play. We find God using a lot of stretch words when he talks to us through the prophets about this equation.
“When ye therefore shall come into the land ….”
There's the “when” and there's the stretch. In other words, you're not there yet; it’s going to happen.
“Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth.”
We’re not there yet; there's a stretch. But it’s still the same equation.
A few years ago we had a big to-do all over the planet about the Mayan Calendar, and the end of the world coming on December 21. The Mayans never said it's going to be the end of the world. That was just Hollywood garbage; newspaper-headline garbage. What the Mayans did say was that the earth and the sky above us would enter into a Fifth Heaven. Well, the time, according to the Mayans, has come and gone. The “stretch” arrived on December 21, 2012. We’re not talking about the Heaven where God lives; we’re talking about the sky we can see when we look up. And I’m not interested in proving the change; I’m interested in understanding why people engage in the idea … and why God engages in it.
Let’s ask this: if there's a Fifth Heaven, will there be a Sixth Heaven?
The answer, of course, is yes … when God shakes the heavens and the earth, and changes the times and the seasons. I believe that, prophetically, we are on the way to the Sixth Heaven. Right now we’re not going to relate it to salvation, only to time and circumstance.
According to the Mayans, on December 21 of 2012 earth and the skies above us entered into the Fifth Heaven, the fifth change, the fifth clock … the fifth something. Prophetically speaking, in Old Testament and New Testament, we’re headed for a change in the earth and the heavens. We're talking about big change, in the moon, the sun and the planets. And if you change the measurement, just by a fraction, between the planets, you end up changing the entire calendar. Even the smallest change will affect the clock. In the past it appears that the flood was one of those changes; something happened in the sky that changed the clock. And when the clock got changed … we got hit.
Whatever has changed in the sky is causing a whole lot more craziness. And it’s no good to say, “Well, we’ve always had crazy.” Things have changed. More people are going crazy in public places. Crazy dyes its hair pink and goes to the movie theater at midnight, then shoots as many people as appear at the end of the gun. This is happening everywhere; it’s multiplying, not just in America — the entire globe is going crazy. We're watching the same developments on this rock that were there before the flood and shortly thereafter at the Tower of Babel — confusion!
In reality we live amid an ever-shifting, ever-changing earth, and an ever-changing sky above.
The Creation we live in is all very complex. The earth is spinning. The moon is going around the earth. The earth and moon are going around the sun. The earth, moon and sun are going around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. In our own solar system there are other planets that line up at various angles. It takes an array of super-computers just to sort all this out, and to keep our minds on an even keel. People on earth are walking around doing their Walmart shopping, and they pay no attention to any of this … but they’re all affected by all of it. Everything down here is affected by everything out there.
God, through the prophets, refers constantly to “The fullness of time,” “Times and seasons.” What are these cycles all about? We’ve got long cycles: years. We’ve got short cycles: days and weeks (though weeks are not astronomical). We’ve got months. We’ve got a fifty-year Jubilee, which might eventually line up with some astronomical event which we don’t yet recognize. It may be seen one day that something astronomical happens in that fiftieth year. We ought not be surprised at such a notion; every seventy-six years Halley’s Comet appears for a short time in our sky as it speeds through its cycle.
Count backward from where we are now to the day of either the birth of Jesus, or the day of His leaving, and continue counting back and back; we know that something grand and awful happened at the flood that affected everything on the rock, and we have very good reason to believe that after the flood there were other grand and great events in the heavens that impacted our earth.
Is it possible that the whole scenario of the Sanctuary, the Bible, the ongoing “time,” is all very natural?
By that I mean to say that we are absolutely too small to see the big picture; we don’t live long enough to play the whole game. But God does see the big picture. He does live long enough to see the end from the beginning.
Pentecost is measured time. Through Jesus, God says to the disciples, “Wait here until you receive the promise of the Father.” The Father knew what day that was going to occur. The disciples didn’t know the day it was going to happen. “After that ye shall have received power …” or energy. They were to receive power … energy. Zapp! And they got it … every which way. Something lined up which affected the crowds, as well as the disciples. It affected the disciples first because they were praying to be affected. They were aligning themselves with the alignment.
God knows these moments of alignment; they are very real, and God knows exactly when they are, and when the astronomical wires get connected. I see the end of the world as either when all the wires are connected, or all the wires are disconnected — one or the other. Could even both be true? Perhaps some folk, because they anticipate the time, the moment, or the event, put themselves in alignment with it and the Spirit flows through them. God's energy will flow through them and they will blessed by it. At the same time, though, that same energy flows through other people and they just get fried by it.
Every day, year, century and millennium that goes by shouts to us that God is an observer of the times; He knows when things are going to come together. Jesus told the disciples in Acts Chapter 1 that God has the times and the seasons in His own hands. That means that all God has to do is speak, and He can change the clock. It looks to me like, at the end, everything is aligned for evil. Everything will be bad, not only for the human beings that are here, but it will be bad for the evil spirits that are here. These evil spirits have been captive in the pit, but they’ll be let out a little while to do their dirty work, then they’re going back into captivity for 1,000 years and then they'll be loosed a little season, whatever “a little season” is — two days, two weeks, two months, two years. Evidently there's enough time allotted that Satan can go out to the nations and sell them his wonderful plan … again, and get them all to march from wherever they are on the rock to wherever the city is.
The Scripture says the whole creation groaneth and travaileth.
Our world is not even a corner, not even a speck, in the grand tapestry. The whole creation groans and travails, awaiting the day of deliverance. Meanwhile, sin is a pox on the house; a disease draining good energy from everything and everybody out there, in order to feed its evil self.
God knows how long it's going to take until He intervenes, interrupts and interferes in order to save as many as can be saved in that present moment. A lot of folk have already lived and are dead; for them the resurrection morning hasn't come yet. We’re talking about the moment when everything that can go wrong … goes wrong. But when everything goes wrong for some, everything, for some others, begins to go right. God will demonstrate that He is the Master of time and space, He's the One that created it. It exists by, in and through Him.
It looks to me like there is a Pentecost to come before the clock runs out. Power from God will flow through people who choose to align themselves according to the time. The Scripture says, “Ye know not what hour … watch therefore and pray.” Timing appears to be everything. Those who make their own willful choices to align themselves with God's call can receive this energy, this Latter Rain, Holy Spirit energy.
What about the rest of the folk who didn't know it was time?
How are they going to be energized by the Holy Spirit? I believe it’s because the first choice was a willful choice. The final choice coincides with a true alignment, a true time, a true filling full. At that last time the power is going to be available to everyone. Jesus said again and again that every kindred, tongue, nation and people has to hear. We have all kinds of ways to communicate information, but alone these ways are not enough. Everyone hasn’t heard yet because the power has not yet been available; the time has not yet come; the deed is not yet done. God knows when that time is coming. God knows when the heavens speak, and He understands the language and the math.
All of this is of great significance to Adventist Christians. Daniel Chapter 4 portrays King Nebuchadnezzar going about his business in his attitude of egotistical “Me, Myself and I.” The Scripture goes on to portray a watcher and a holy one … who is watching what’s going on down here and what’s going on up there. When the watched-for time comes there is a command issued in heaven by the watcher and holy one, who by the way is no ordinary man, person or angel. This watcher is one that knows the time, the hour, and the day. The holy one orders the tree cut down, and shortly thereafter Nebuchadnezzar loses his mind. No one else loses their mind to the same degree because they weren’t in the way and interfering with God’s plans. If you or I are standing in the way of Heaven’s business, God has a way of taking care of business. It was great mercy on the part of heaven not to totally get rid of Nebuchadnezzar, or just let him go completely crazy.
No, Nebuchadnezzar was humbled, put out in the field with the rest of the livestock, and left to eat grass for … 7 years — there's that time and space again. At the end of Chapter 4 Nebuchadnezzar looks up and praises God; there’s a new vista. He knew the God of heaven was to be praised.
It appears to me that we're not just approaching the end, which would be the Seventh Heaven, but there's a time before it during which we should be looking, we should be expecting. God, through the prophets, is telling us that there’s at least seven years before this event. I believe Daniel and The Revelation are among the most valuable writings in the whole book; they are unlike the others in that God counts days and tells you how many days until ….
In the fourth chapter of Daniel we have time and distance, because the Lord is coming at the end of the process; at the end of this last seven years.
The coming of the Lord is the capstone of the whole prophetic structure.
The Scripture says at that time the sun is going to turn black. We might wonder how that can happen. Cosmologically-speaking it could happen in several different ways. Before this year's over we’re going to have a solar eclipse, which means, at least briefly, the sun is going to turn black. Many people who are interested in prophecy read about the events at the end, and they say the blackness will be caused by a solar eclipse. I believe there will be a solar eclipse; I also believe there will be a lunar eclipse; and not just any lunar eclipse, but a blood moon. There are other possibilities to consider: there are vast clouds of dust and gas in every known galactic system. Our earth is part of a galactic system called the Milky Way Galaxy. If a sun should live long enough, and move far enough in the system, it’s going to pass behind or through some of these immense clouds of dust and gas. Light doesn’t penetrate these clouds; the blackness is as the blackness of sackcloth. In whatever fashion, our sun is going to gather blackness.
The Scripture several times talks about the coming of the Lord as from the east, from the rising of the sun. It’s possible that Jesus is going to approach the earth from behind the sun, and is not seen or recognized until the last few moments (prophetically speaking). Ellen White speaks of the coming of the Lord as beginning as a small, black cloud. As He draws near the earth, with all the saints amassed, and all that energy and power collected in such a small space, is it possible that the energy and power is so great that it temporarily sucks the light out of the sun?
You have to wonder what all this would mean spiritually.
If a physical body as great … as energetic … as powerful and as hot and bright as the sun goes black in God’s presence, what could that possibly mean to us spiritually speaking? There is no light that outshines Him. There is no energy greater than His; no one greater than Himself. I believe Ellen White had it exactly right. With her impossible three grades of education in the early 1800s, she talks about the coming of Jesus in the clouds of heaven — the brightest most glorious event ever known in the history of this rock — as like a little black cloud, that, “As He drew nearer the earth the cloud became bright and overall glorious, and we could hear the angels singing.”
There was a darkened sun while Jesus was hanging on the cross about the sixth hour to the ninth hour. Now, that was the ultimate solar eclipse.
When God says the “fullness of time was come,” it’s not just chitter chatter; He’s not just trying to fill space on the page. God is the Master of Creation, and what He created was time and space. Time with nothing in it is boring. Space with nothing in it is beyond boring. God created time and space and immediately began to fill it. It’s possible that the principle stated in the Garden holds true all the way along the path of Creation: “Be fruitful and multiply.”
God did not create the heavens and the earth without purpose, without a plan. Sin has interrupted God's plan, and from our perspective the devil has almost won. “The meek shall inherit the earth.” But not this earth; no one wants to inherit this rock the way it is. That would be a nightmare — not a promise. New heavens and a new earth, wherein the former things are passed away; I'll take that, and so will you. Can you even put a price on what it cost God to get it back? and to get us back? He could have said, “Blow them away and let's start again.”
To try and define or describe God is a lost cause.
Shall we say God is a ball of energy? How ridiculous is that? Energy flows from him to everything that exists. But God is not just energy. God creates, but then He also upholds what He creates. That’s a marvelous thought. I build a house and move into it, and everything’s sparkling and new. But in fifteen years I’ve got to paint it again, and again; eventually I’ll need a new roof. In thirty years, when the mortgage is paid, I’ll have to put a match to it and start all over again. But this will not be true of the world to come. When the universe is perfect again, with a perfect heaven, a perfect earth, and perfect people, at that time supreme energy — love — is going to flow out from God uninterrupted by sin.
Let’s for a moment talk about families. Suppose you and I live 70 or 80 years down here, then suppose we have children, then suppose we lose a child before we ourselves pass away. Do we cry? Do we weep? Do we experience pain? We sometimes say, “Lord, why didn’t you let me die instead of my child?” We sometimes say, “If I can’t have my children or my wife or my whatever, then just let me die.” Some people, out of absolute despair, commit suicide. But what about angels? Angels are not blood kin to other angels; they're not married kin to other angels. But there's obviously some kind of kinship, some connection between them. There are families, called orders: cherubim, seraphim.
There have been several thousand years, maybe a few million years, that angels have existed.
Angels are family, they love God, and they love one another. When this rebellion breaks out kin start cursing kin to their faces. Words are heard: “You know not to trust Him; He's just out for self; you're letting us all down.” At the end of the fights those angels who remained faithful to God are still grieving over the fact that their family, their kin … are gone. We have this picture in our minds of the end of the Millennium: we see the City of God; the saved, ransomed and redeemed are inside the City. On the outside of the City are not just bad angels; outside are people who are kin to us. It’s going to be painful to be on the inside watching people you have known and loved in this life who are on the outside. Angels have never experienced death … yet. Those angels who lost loved ones in the angelic order are going to be standing there watching for their own family. And not until the end of all this process is the last tear wiped away. I don't think any of us are able to even begin to comprehend the pain that sin has brought to the heart of God. Angels are going to weep. Angels are going to burn. People are going to weep, and people are going to burn.
God will not be dispassionate through the end of this horrible mess. God is not going to shrug His shoulders saying, “Well, I tried to tell them, but they wouldn't listen.” No, not at all. Just like us, God is not looking forward to that day.
By God’s good grace we have an opportunity to be on the inside of the City. Only to that end do we look forward.