A World Timeline with Purpose

timeline of the world


A World Timeline – with a Planned Outcome

Timelines can be on any topic and on any timescale. For example, they could focus on the progress of human endeavor – as in politics, religion, literature, science, agriculture and technology. Let’s focus on major events in the history of modern man (homo sapiens).

A RANDOM TIMELINE: It has been said that history is merely “one damn fact after another”. Indeed, mankind’s history can look like a sequence of unrelated facts – a time sequence of random events. Such a sequence of events has no order and does not follow an intelligible pattern. Individual events are unpredictable; empires seem to rise and fall and wars come and go in a most unpredictable way. This is a common way of presenting a world timeline.

A CHAOTIC TIMELINE: Alternatively, is man’s progression through time, is world history, chaotic in the mathematical sense? In such a complex system no events are random and all events follow a determined pattern. Progression would be ‘fully determined’ in the sense that it can follow laws, and yet its final outcome remains in principle unpredictable since the outcome is highly sensitive to the initial conditions. This is found in computer weather modelling, where minute numerical changes in the initial conditions have dramatic changes in the final outcome, link, link. So the outcome of what we might term a ‘chaotic timeline’ would be unpredictable since it would be highly sensitive to the ‘initial conditions’ – however they might be defined. On this model, world history is leading … well … no where!

AN INTERACTIVE TIMELINE, WITH PURPOSE: There is an alternative to the common random (sequence of facts) timeline, and to the concept of a chaotic (complex, unpredictable outcome) timeline. This timeline focuses on key events which reveal purpose and meaning throughout history. Such a timeline implies that the final outcome is planned, but the actual historical sequence followed depends upon complex processes (man!) and requires continuous transcendent interaction in order to achieve the planned objective. So, unlike a ‘chaotic timeline’, the outcome of this timeline could be less dependent upon the ‘initial conditions’ (man’s action) due to transcendent interaction. Put another way, this timeline exhibits essential transcendent but caring control over history, when required. A similar concept is discussed by Professor Peter Saltzstein:

It’s no surprise that for much of human history observed regularities made people believe that the world was the result of an intelligent designer, and that he, she, or it organized the world in a meaningful way, and preordained the fate of everything starting from an initial act of divine creation.

So imagine a world timeline which is neither random or chaotic; it is deterministic i.e. not random and meaningless, but not mathematically chaotic and unpredictable either. Yes, it can have various sub-outcomes dependent upon man’s ‘initial action’, but the overall outcome of history is not unpredictable. In fact, it could be increasingly ‘declared’ as time progresses. To achieve this the timeline can be altered during history by the interaction of a transcendent intelligence. As Saltzstein suggests, it’s as though an ‘intelligent Planner’ is guiding history in a meaningful way to a pre-determined (and good) outcome. Many major world events associated with mankind can be traced to such transcendent interaction, and often they can be traced back to the biblical nation of Israel. This is because Israel has a major and on-going role in the world. Speaking to the nation Israel, God says:

“You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen” (Isa 43.10)
Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name (2 Sam 7.23)

So it seems that throughout the ages (past, present and future) God often speaks through Israel to a spiritually blind and deaf world. Somehow, the timeline of many key world events is tied to Israel.

An Interactive World Timeline: A Timeline with a Purpose

Here we consider key world events that have had, or will have, a lasting effect upon the spiritual status of mankind. We commence at the start of homo sapiens and progress to the present era. The timeline is interactive in the sense that it is steered by the interaction of the God of Israel. So each of the following key events in the life of mankind contributes to a meaningful historical sequence as seen through the eyes of the Bible. The timeline has purpose and leads to a planned and good outcome. Frequently this view does not agree with contemporary thought, so it is followed by an apologetic (justification for this view) and, where appropriate, an explanation of how the event relates to Israel. The large dating discrepancy between the presented view and evolutionary theory is discussed at earth dating. The timeline ends with a warning to mankind, and hope for the futrue.

c10,000 BC: The Appearance of Mankind

A literal person, Adam, lived some 6,000 years ago in the Middle East. He was intellectually brilliant and, initially, in perfect communion with his Creator. Initially the world was at peace and there was no animal killing; Adam ate fruit and herbs. This is the creationist, ‘young-earth’ view of origins. The ‘young-earth’ view is adopted here due to anomalies in traditional radiometric dating (which gives an ‘old earth’), and significant scientific support for an earth less than 10,000 years old, link.

APOLOGETIC: It is true that, linguistically, the term ‘Adam’ sometimes means the species ‘mankind’ (Gen 1.26), but the first permissible use of the proper name (a person, Adam) occurs in Gen 2.20 where, using his high intelligence, Adam gives names to all the creatures brought before him. A genealogy tracing Adam to Noah is given in Gen 5.3-32, and a ‘reverse-time’ genealogy is given from Jesus to Adam in Lk 3.23-38. It is illogical to see these lists as morphing from mythical people to real people (or vice-versa) somewhere in the timeline. Also, Jesus referred to the “blood of Abel” (Adam’s son) in Lk 11.51 – a reference to a real person. See also Adam: real of symbolic?.

Scientific support for Adam’s wife: Using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), geneticists have concluded that every person on Earth right now can trace his or her lineage back to a single common female ancestor, link, link.

c10,000 BC: The Edenic World and the First Civilizations

Initially Adam and his wife Eve lived in a perfect environment, the so-called ‘garden of Eden’. The Sumerian word ‘Eden’ means ‘delicate, delight, pleasure’ i.e. an earthly paradise where there was no death or killing! Eden’s location could have been in ancient Mesopotamia, part of the ‘Fertile Crescent’ of the Middle East. The garden itself is said to be ‘towards the east, in Eden’ – possibly in the Persian Gulf region. A more radical view is that the garden was centered on what later became the land of Israel, the Israel-Eden connection“>link.
world timeline

The Fertile Crescent. Map: Robert Simmon, NASA’s Earth Observatory. Enlarge

APOLOGETIC: In Adam’s day it seems that lush vegetation grew worldwide, possibly explaining why we find coal and oil deposits near the poles. An explanation for this pleasant earth-wide environment could be that, initially, there was only a slight tilt of the earth’s axis (much less than the current 23.5 degrees), link, link. The ‘Fertile Crescent’ was characterized by unusually fertile soil, and the massive oil reserves here could be the result of the sudden destruction of the region by the Flood c2300 BC. So it is not surprising that humans first created agricultural settlements here over 8,000 years ago. Archaeological investigations in the Zagros Mountains of Iran reveal that people were grinding wheat and barley about 11,000 years ago, link. And the archaeological site of Gobekli Tepe in southern Turkey has been carbon dated at around 10,000 BC – older than any other known site, link. This evidence is in broad agreement with the concept of a ‘young earth’.

LINK TO ISRAEL: The Bible suggests a strong link between the land of Israel (Canaan – as given to Abram and his descendants) and the biblical Eden. The two are not isolated entities and the Edenic vision of an earthly paradise can be seen in both historical Israel (the land of Canaan) and in the future Israel. More at the Israel-Eden connection.

c10,000 BC: A Corrupted World

Today’s world is certainly not idyllic. What went wrong? Without intervention, doesn’t an ordered garden always tend to look ‘disordered’ after time? Where did that thistle come from? Why decay? Why does moth and rust corrupt, and why is the weather sometimes destructive!

APOLOGETIC: The Bible says all this happened because man was tempted away from his Creator (do you have a better explanation?) At that point in time things changed. The idyllic Edenic world became corrupted and man’s life became difficult. Agriculture became difficult as the ground came under God’s curse, and women experienced pain in child birth (Gen 3.16-19). Death and decay also entered upon the scene (Gen 3.19). Upon death the body energy is converted to heat energy according to the Law of Conservation of Energy. It is the same on a macro-scale. The universe began the process of converting one type of energy or another into heat energy, and when all the usable energy is converted into heat the universe will suffer so-called ‘heat death’. Scientifically, the universe is seeking the maximum number of ‘states’ or maximum entropy (entropy = heat content/temperature) in order to achieve maximum stability, link, link. Is this an explanation of why the ordered garden looks ‘disordered’ after time?

That said, for many generations after Adam, man’s lifespan remained extremely long (typically 900 years), and the world retained (and still does) amazing evidence of an intelligent Creator, link.

c2300 BC: A Global Flood and its Effects

There is ample scientific evidence for a catastrophic global flood around 2,300 BC, link. Man’s lifespan gradually reduced after the Flood, from typically 900 years to about 70 years. There are also scientific indications that the world’s climate changed significantly, with more extremes of weather (the poles became cold). And it seems the beautiful rainbow is a visual reminder of the Flood (Gen 9.8-17).
timeline of the world

The Flood changed man’s lifespan
Graph: Bible Student Chronology. Enlarge

APOLOGETIC: A global flood is suggested by the ‘geological column’. This is a thick layer of sedimentary rock i.e. it has been deposited by water. It is found virtually worldwide in the form of up to ten layers of sandstone, limestone and shale. The fossil record also supports a single global cataclysmic flood. For example, Polystrate fossils (vertical fossilized trees spanning multiple strata) are found all over the world.

Let us assume a global flood leaving just 8 people; Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives (Gen 7.13). It is still perfectly possible to populate the earth to it current value from just 8 people on the reasonable assumption that earth’s population doubles every 150 years, link.

Was there enough water? Here it is helpful to note that ocean-bottom sediments, full of marine fossils are found at the top of great mountain ranges like the Himalayas. This suggests that large mountain ranges were formed after the Flood, enough water. The Flood mechanism has been described by the ‘hydroplate theory’, and by Catastrophic Plate Tectonics, link. Both models claim that the earth’s oceanic crust was fractured and subterranean heat generated powerful worldwide ‘fountains’ of water and subsequent torrential rain (Gen 7.11). This could have been very high energy explosive water called super-critical water (SCW).

Man’s Decreasing Lifespan: One theory is that the Flood generated new radioisotopes, link and these entered the atmosphere and were absorbed by subsequent generations. The isotopes produced defective protein molecules in body cells. Specifically, protein misfolding can arise from radioisotopes and damage can be cumulative. So it is plausible that a significant increase in radioisotopes in the atmosphere after the Flood caused the observed progressive reduction in the lifespan of man after the Flood.

LINK TO ISRAEL: Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, and they had sons (Gen 10.1). Detailed genealogies of Noah’s sons are given in Genesis chapters 10 and 11. Shem lived 600 years and his descendants included Terah, father of Abram (Gen 11.26). God promised Abram (later renamed Abraham) that he would become a great nation. That nation was Israel.

c2300-1800 BC: Earth’s Axial Tilt and the Ice Age

The Ice Age probably occurred soon after the Flood, perhaps in the days of Job (see, for example, Job 38:29). Current thinking on the causes of an ice age favours slight shifts in solar radiation caused by predictable changes in Earth’s rotation and axis, link. But a post Flood mechanism, with unusually warm oceans leading to copious rainfall, and heavy snowfall near the poles, coupled with reflective volcanic dust in the atmosphere also seems plausible, link. Also, around this time there was a sudden and significant change in earth’s axial tilt (see below). This would have had a severe effect upon climate, introducing sudden severe cold at the poles. Sudden freezing of herds of Siberian mammoths could explain why many of these creatures are found in perfectly preserved state, link.

APOLOGETIC: After the Flood, oceans were warmer than today due to hot super-critical water, and volcanic magma spilled onto the floor of the Pacific Ocean from the Mid-Ocean Ridges. Warm oceans produced extensive evaporation and precipitation which on the cold continents resulted in extreme snowfall rates that built up glaciers. Increased glaciation reflected solar radiation back into space, which led to cooling. Large scale volcanic activity, which resulted in atmospheric dust, also reflected solar radiation and enhanced the cooling effect.

Around this date astronomical studies show evidence of a sudden a change in the tilt of the earth’s axis relative to the ecliptic). Currently it is 23.45 degrees. One proposal is that a change from about 5 degrees i.e. near vertical to about 26.5 degrees suddenly occurred around 2345 BC, link. Such a change would result in a sudden change in earth’s climate from warm and lush (even at the poles) to severe seasonal changes. Seasons are first mentioned after the Flood (Gen 8.23). The sudden change could have been due to asteroid impact, like the Yucatan impact that killed the dinosaurs around 3000 BC (date corrected to young-earth dating).

c2200 BC: Sudden Civilization Collapse

Archaeological evidence points to a sudden collapse of ancient civilizations in the Middle East around 2200 BC, link, link. The 6th Egyptian dynasty (2345-2181 BC) appears to have suddenly ended in confusion in the reign of pharaoh Pepi II. The years following the death of Pepi II are obscure and none of the names of kings of the short-lived 7th dynasty are known. Sudden collapse around 2200 BC is also seen in the Akkadian Empire which ruled Mesopotamia from the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers to the Persian Gulf. Overall, the confusion lasted several centuries.

APOLOGETIC: The time of the sudden collapse of these civilizations correlates with sudden climate change due to the Ice Age and axial tilt change around 2300 BC. Global cooling started around this date and lasted some 300 years, with arctic conditions in Iceland and a shift to a drier climate in SE Europe (there was a 100 meter drop in Dead Sea level). A pronounced shift in atmospheric circulation has also been detected c2150 BC, link.

c2200-1800 BC: Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel described in Genesis 11.1-9 is historical, not mythical. It was probably a ziggurat (a rectangular stepped tower) in southern Mesopotamia (today’s Iraq region). It was built on a plain in the ‘land of Shinar’ (Gen 11.2) i.e. in Babylonia. The Mesopotamians believed that these pyramid-like temples connected heaven and earth.
timeline of the world

Early EU poster depicting the Tower of Babel

APOLOGETIC: Archaeological evidence for this type of structure is found on an engraved stone tablet, which clearly shows a stepped tower. It is claimed that this depicts the Great Ziggurat of Babylon [Andrew George, Professor of Babylonian history at the University of London], and the inscription shows King Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled Babylon from 605-562 BC, standing next to it. In fact, nearly 30 ziggurats in the area of Mesopotamia have been discovered by archaeologists, link. The Tower of Babel itself has been dated c2200 BC or c1800 BC.

The tower itself was seen by the God of Israel as man’s proud rebellion against Himself (Gen 11.4-9). Today, many see this as being repeated by the proud, godless defiance of the European Union. For example, the EU Parliament building in Strasbourg is modeled on the Tower of Babel, with a clear ‘unfinished’ appearance, link. An early EU poster, known as ‘the construction site poster’, showed a painting of the partly constructed Tower of Babel, with a crane in the background. It showed inverted stars above the tower (an inverted star is a witchcraft symbol) and the logo was ‘EUROPE: MANY TONGUES ONE VOICE’.

c1996 BC: Abraham

Abraham was born Abram at the beginning of the second millennium BC in Ur, the capital of Mesopotamia. According to Bishop Ussher, Abraham was born in 1996 BC, link. Genesis 12 tells us that God called him to leave Ur and travel to a land that God would give to him and his descendants – Canaan. Scholars date this migration from Ur somewhere between 1900 and 1750 BC. By obeying God, Abraham’s descendants would become a great nation and that through this nation all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen 12.1-7, Gen 22.16-18). Christians see this ‘blessing’ in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Certainly, Abraham is regarded as one of the most influential people in history and is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims.

APOLOGETIC: On the day of the covenant, God defined Canaan’s boundaries to be from the river (brook) of Egypt to the River Euphrates (Gen 15.18). Historically, the kingdoms of David and Solomon c1000 BC did indeed stretch from the brook of Egypt on the Sinai peninsula, across the Syrian Desert to Tiphsah on the Euphrates. Prior to these kingdoms, God gave Moses the boundaries of Canaan as the children of Israel entered the land (Num 34.1-12). The southern border went through the Wilderness of Zin to the brook of Egypt, the western border was the Mediterranean Sea and the eastern border ran north from the dead sea along the Jordan up to Zedad (modern-day Sadad in Syria) in the north east. Virtually identical boundaries to those given to Moses are given in Ezek 47.13-21.

LINK TO ISRAEL: God made an unconditional covenant with Abraham and his descendants. He promised all the land of Canaan as “an everlasting possession” (Gen 17.7,8). So, irrespective of how Abraham’s descendants behaved, it was certain that from Abraham would come a great nation and a great blessing to the nations, and Abraham’s descendants would be given the so-called ‘Promised Land’ of Canaan as an everlasting possession. In line with His promise to Abraham (a Hebrew), God renamed his grandson Jacob as ‘Israel’ (Gen 32.28) and said to him: “The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your descendants after you” (Gen 35.12). So the descendants of Jacob (the 12 tribes of Israel) inherited Canaan as their own land – forever. Although God warned Israel that they may suffer (temporary) exile if they were disobedient to Him (Deut 28.15-37) – as in the Jewish diaspora – this promise to Israel stands today.

c1897 BC: Sodom and Gomorrah

Before their destruction, Sodom and Gomorrah were two cities in the plain of the Jordan (Gen 13.10). The area was ‘well watered – like the garden of the LORD’. The term ‘Gomorrah’ comes from the Greek name for the land that could mean “a heap of manure” – a reference to the depravity of its inhabitants. The cities were inhabited by people so wicked and evil that God could do nothing except destroy them. One of the main reasons for their overthrow was homosexuality (Gen 19.4-11). According to Ussher, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed around 1897 BC, although more recent estimates place the destruction between 2300 and 1900 BC.

APOLOGETIC:. A popular belief is that these cities were located in what is now the shallow southern part of the Dead Sea. Alternatively, there is convincing evidence of occupied cities in the area southeast of the Dead Sea, on the east side of the Valley of Siddim, link. This valley has bitumen deposits (a substance that has a high sulphur component), and “many asphalt (tar) pits” are mentioned in Genesis 14.10. Excavations suggests modern day Bab edh-Dhra was Sodom, and Numeira was Gomorrah. It is found that these cities were destroyed by fire and possibly earthquake. During the 1960s, a huge cemetery with some 500,000 bodies was excavated at Bab edh-Dhra.

LINK TO ISRAEL: Jesus sent His disciples to preach ‘to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’. He said that the inhabitants of those cities who rejected the good news would suffer worse judgement than the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Mat 10.5-15). Harsh words. What would Jesus say to the gay-pride of modern western cities?

c1500 BC: Birth of the Nation of Israel

The descendants of Abraham formed a nation (Israel) around 1300 BC after their Exodus from Egypt to Canaan under the leadership of Moses, and around 1004 BC King David established Jerusalem as the capital of the Kingdom of Israel. This is why 1996 AD was set as Jerusalem’s 3000th anniversary of the capital of the Kingdom of Israel.

APOLOGETIC: An early biblical reference to the people or nation of Israel is found in Exodus 3.7. Here, God calls Moses out of the burning bush and refers to the Egyptian oppression of “My people”. This is dated c1531 BC (Ussher). Ussher’s date is compatible with biblical archaeology which points to the year of the Exodus around 1446 BC. This places the initial occupation of Canaan around 1400 BC, whilst Jewish history places the occupation after 1250 BC.

c1446 BC: The Ten Commandments

God gave the nation of Israel ten laws summarizing the entirety of the Old Testament Law. The Ten Commandments are made up of ten specific laws, the first four dealing with man’s relationship to God and the last six dealing with man’s relationship to his fellow men. The date of the Ten Commandments is traditionally put around 1446 BC, a date compatible with archaeological evidence for the Exodus.

timeline of the world

APOLOGETIC: Many people say the Ten Commandments are not applicable to today’s western society. They argue that they do not sit well with today’s politically-correct and largely secular society. Keeping the Sabbath is seen as inappropriate for Gentile nations. Others believe the Ten Commandments were abolished by Jesus when He made a new covenant between God and man through His death and resurrection.

In reality Jesus didn’t say this; He upheld the Law (Mat 5.17-18). But what sort of society would we have if we abandoned the commandments against murder, stealing, lying, or unfaithfulness? Is it sensible to abandon the command to take care of our health and our environment? Why abandon the commands against greed or the neglect of the elderly? The alternative is social chaos.

LINK TO ISRAEL: The first commandment declares, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). It refers to the God of Israel. There is only one true God, the King of Israel:

The Lord, who rules and protects Israel, the Lord Almighty, has this to say: ‘I am the first, the last, the only God; there is no other god but me’ (Isa 44.6 GNT)

c1000 BC: Birth of the Arab Nation

The Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula commonly believe that they are descendants of Shem, the son of Noah, link. Shem had five sons, but the only one of interest in scripture is Arphaxad, the ancestor of Terah, the father of Abraham (Gen 11). According to Genesis 16, Abraham had a son, Ishmael, by his wife’s Egyptian servant Hagar. Although this was not God’s plan for Abraham (but it was the custom of the day), God nevertheless promised to bless Ishmael and his descendants in that they were to become ‘a great nation’ (Gen 17.20). Some, especially Muslims, claim this nation was the Arab nation. It is true that Ishmael fathered twelve sons (Gen 25.13-16) and one daughter, and Arabs claim he is the ancestor of Muhammad. So the Arab nation is often taken to be the ‘great nation’ mentioned in Gen 17.20, a nation descended from Ishmael, link, link. That said, the detailed genealogy from Shem is complex and it is claimed that not all Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, link. A detailed Bible timeline places the start of the Arab Nation at around 1000 BC, link.

LINK TO ISRAEL: The debate over Abraham’s sons Isaac and Ishmael is at the heart of today’s Arab-Israeli conflict. The question is: ‘who are Abraham’s ‘descendants’ in God’s covenant promise? Initially Abraham thought Ishmael the older son would be the line of covenant descent. But God said:

“No, Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him (and his descendants) … as for Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), I have heard you; … I will bless him, and make him fruitful … and I will make him a great nation … but My covenant I will establish with Isaac.” (Gen 17.19-21)

So, as already mentioned, according to the Bible, the ‘everlasting possession’ of Canaan was actually made to Isaac, Jacob and their descendants and not to Ishmael and his descendants (Gen 35.12).

c722 and 586 BC: Israel is Scattered amongst the Nations (the Diaspora)

In 922 BC the twelve tribes of Israel split into a Southern Kingdom (the ‘House of Judah’, embracing Judea and Jerusalem) and a Northern Kingdom comprising ten tribes and called the ‘House of Israel’, or simply ‘Israel’ (Jer 11.10). Despite warnings from the prophets, both kingdoms repeatedly rebelled against God, and eventually God’s warnings gave way to judgement – as foreseen in Deuteronomy 4.27. They were uprooted from the ‘Promised Land’ and scattered throughout the nations.

The Assyrian scattering of the Northern Kingdom throughout the Middle East was complete in 722 BC and the scattering of the Southern Kingdom under Nebuchadnezzar was complete in 586 BC. Both kingdoms had broken God’s covenant and were now scattered throughout the nations (James 1.1). In 538 BC Cyrus II of Persia decreed that all peoples originally from Jerusalem could return to their city, although only a remnant actually returned. The dispersion was complete in 70 AD when Titus sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the (second) temple.

RELEVANCE TO TODAY: The Jewish Diaspora is highly significant in the timeline of the world. First, it shows that the God of Israel deals sharply with nations (even with His own people) when they ignore His repeated warnings. Today, the nations are walking away from God’s word as revealed in the Jewish Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures) and in the Christian Bible. As prophesied, the world is growing increasingly spiritually dark and rebellious as the end of the age approaches:

Darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness will cover the peoples; but the Lord will rise upon you [Jerusalem] and His glory and brilliance will be seen on you (Isa 60.2)

The book of Revelation describes God’s future dealings with a rebellious, godless world. It does not make light reading! Secondly, the Diaspora was prophesied to end towards the end of this age as God brings His people back to the land covenanted to Abraham. Today, this is referred to as the ‘aliyah’ or ‘going up to Jerusalem’, and it has been underway since the end of the 19th century. In just 100 years the Jewish population of Israel has risen an amazing 7,700 percent! The significance for the nations is that Christ is soon to return to earth as King (Zech 14.9)

c586 BC: Jerusalem Attacked and Destroyed

On July 10, 586 BC the Babylonian forces of King Nebuchadnezzar broke through the northern wall of Jerusalem, tore down the walls, burned the city, and destroyed Solomon’s temple. The Bible says this was done because the LORD was angry at the repeated rebellion of the Southern Kingdom – Judah (2 Kings 24:20). During 536-516 BC, under Cyrus II of Persia, Zerubbabel oversaw the rebuilding of the Temple (Ezra 3-6), and during 458-432 BC, Nehemiah the governor and Ezra the priest oversaw the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2-7).

RELEVANCE TO TODAY: During its long history, Jerusalem has been attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times, and destroyed twice, link. The second time Jerusalem was destroyed was under Titus in 70 AD. Why is this city so important to be under almost constant attack? A few reasons:

  • Jerusalem is mentioned 809 times in the Bible, beginning with Joshua 10:1 and ending with Galatians 4:25, link. Apparently it is important to the God of Israel
  • Mount Moriah in Jerusalem’s Old City is where Abraham would have walked when he came up to sacrifice Isaac c1800 BC
  • Jerusalem has prophetic names like “the City of the King” (Ps 48.2), “the City of Righteousness” (Isa 1.26), “the Holy City” (Isa 52.1), “the Throne of the LORD” (Jer 3.17), “the LORD is there’ (Ezek 48.35), “the City of Truth” (Zech 8.3)
  • Jerusalem is the city where Christ chooses to dwell in the Millennial Age (Ezek 43.7). He will “dwell in the midst of the children of Israel”, and rule the world from there as King, see world government

Jerusalem will be attacked several more times in the foreseeable future, but it will not be destroyed, link.

c63 BC: The Roman Empire

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Roman seige of Jerusalem. Public Domain

The Romans invaded Greece and also conquered the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire in the Middle East. Though the Jews were granted some measure of autonomy in Jerusalem, Judea was in reality ruled from Rome. At its zenith, the Roman Empire included most of modern Europe, coastal northern Africa and the Balkans.

The Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate in the early 5th century under Germanic invasions, but the Eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire) survived for nearly a millennium after the fall of its Western counterpart and became the most stable Christian realm during the Middle Ages.


RELEVANCE TO TODAY: Although the first two centuries of the empire’s existence were a period of unprecedented political stability and prosperity known as Pax Romana (“Roman Peace”), in reality Rome was brutal and controlling in its enforcement of its religious views. Infamous examples are the sacrifice of Christians to lions under Nero, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD under Titus, and the siege of the Jews at Masada in 72 AD under Flavius Silva.

Prophecy points to an end time world government with similar brutal and controlling characteristics to ancient Rome. In fact, a Roman revival and ‘Christianised’ empire (the Holy Roman Empire) has been at the heart of Europe’s leaders and aristocracy for well over 1,000 years. It can be identified with the foregoing six empires (Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman) as the one “not yet come” (Rev 17.10). The European Union fits the role of a Revived Roman Empire.

Biblically Significant World Empires

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Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of Four Empires

At this point we pause the world timeline to consider issues of end time significance. Many empires have come and gone, link, and attempts have been made to identify the most important empires in history. The Roman Empire often ranks ‘number one’. But which of these are biblically significant in the sense that they are prominent in scripture? Put another way, which does God see as important? In this case the list narrows to a relative few. These particular empires were each used in time sequence by God to influence Israel, and the influence of some extends to the end of the age. Some have deep prophetic significance for the future. In historical order, with approximate dates, these empires are:

  • 1. Egyptian Empire: the last period of Ancient Egypt declined c1070 BC. The Exodus of Israel from Egypt c1446 BC was used to demonstrate the reality and power of the God of Israel to a pagan world
  • 2. Assyrian Empire: fell to the Babylonian Empire c609 BC. Assyria was used by God to punish the rebellious Northern Kingdom of Israel (Samaria). In 721 BC, Assyria captured the Israelite capital at Samaria and carried away the citizens of the Kingdom of Israel into captivity
  • 3. Babylonian Empire: fell to the Medo-Persian Empire c539 BC. Babylon was used by God to punish rebellious Judah (the Southern Kingdom). Babylon conquered Judah in 587 BC, destroying Jerusalem and its temple, and carrying the elite members of its population to Babylon (the Babylonian captivity). Prophecy stated that Judah would be in exile in Babylon for 70 years (Dan 9.1-3)
  • 4. Medo-Persian Empire: fell to the Greek Empire c331 BC. This empire ruled over the Jewish nation for more than 200 years. In 538 BC Cyrus II of Persia decreed that all peoples originally from Jerusalem could return to their city. God used Cyrus to fulfill the prophecy of an end to the 70 year exile in Babylon (Jer 29.10)
  • 5. Greek Empire: fell to the Roman Empire c146 BC. The division of the Greek Empire after Alexander’s death resulted in Jerusalem changing hands seven times between 319 and 302 BC, link. The Seleucid (Greek) king Antiochus IV Epiphanes (“God Manifest”) is infamous for persecuting the Jews. He reigned 175 to 164 BC and is seen as the forerunner of the end time world dictator and persecutor of Israel (see below). Jews bitterly resented the Greeks, the gods of the Greeks being particularly offensive.
  • 6. Roman Empire: fell c476 AD. Roman rule over Israel commenced c63 BC. Though the Jews were granted some measure of autonomy in Jerusalem, Judea was in reality ruled from Rome. The destruction of the (second) Jewish temple in 70 AD under Titus was predicted by Christ because the Jews would not recognize Him as their Messiah (Mat 24.1-2).


Not only were these six empires used in God’s plans for His people, they are prophetically very significant for the rest of this age. For example, in 167 BC (before the fall of Greece) Antiochus IV attacked Jerusalem, outlawed the Jewish religion and set up the “abomination of desolation”. Many see Antiochus as an archetype of the secular end time persecutor of Israel (Dan 9.26-27 and Rev 13.1-10) leading to the Great Tribulation of Israel (Mat 24.15-28) known as Jacob’s trouble (Jer 30.7).

A similar archetype is seen in the great statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Dan 2.31-35). This described the last four empires over Israel (Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman) before Christ returns. Besides giving an accurate foretelling of actual historical events, the dream also looked forward the last empire (a form of Rome) that would rule over Israel at the end of the age. Put another way, historic Rome is seen as an archetype of the last World Government centered on a Revived Roman Empire.

A ‘revived Rome’ is also seen in the secular beast of Rev 13.2. This beast ‘speaks like a lion’ (Babylonian Empire), tramples with ‘the feet of a bear’ (Medo-Persia Empire) and moves fast ‘like a leopard’ (Greek Empire). This verse alone strongly identifies a ‘latter day Rome’ with ancient Rome, having the characteristics of the three preceding historic empires. This world government or last empire will be controlling and brutal just like historic Rome. All six historical empires and the seventh (the Revived Roman Empire) can also be seen in Revelation chapter 17:

There are also seven kings. Five have fallen [Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian and Greek], one is [ancient Rome], and the other [Revived Roman Empire] has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time (Rev 17.10)

c4 BC: The Coming of the Jewish Messiah – Jesus Christ

Over 300 Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled some 2,000 years ago by a unique person, a Jew, called Jesus Christ. The term ‘Christ’ (Gk: Christos) means ‘anointed one’, and is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word ‘Mashiach’, or ‘Messiah’.

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The Anglicized name Jesus relates to Yeshua in Hebrew and was given by an angel (Lk 1.31). It means ‘God saves’ (Yeshua means ‘salvation’ in Hebrew). So ‘Jesus Christ’ conveys the thought of salvation through God’s anointed One. God comes down to man.

The actual year of Jesus’ birth is debated. Biblical and scientific studies place it between 2 BC and 7 BC, link. The date of 4 BC aligns with Herod’s order to kill all male infants under two years in an attempt to kill Jesus. Herod died around 4 BC. The time of year could be June, but it is definitely not Christmas time.

APOLOGETIC: A computer science based analysis of Wikipedia and other data sources ranks Jesus Christ as the most significant figure in history, link, link. The analysis technique was similar to Google ranking rather than an assessment of a person’s achievements. But what of Jesus’ achievements? What claims made Him unique?

  • Born a baby, He was also destined to rule the world (Isa 9.6)
  • Born fully man, He was also God incarnate (Isa 7.14)
  • Jesus linked Himself with God the Father and the Holy Spirit; all three are linked under a singular name (Mat 28.19). No mere man would do this
  • Jesus claimed that anyone who has seen Him has also seen the Father (Jn 14.9). Again, no mere man would do this

RELEVANCE TO TODAY: Unlike other prophets who have passed away, Jesus the expected Prophet (Jn 6.14) rose from the dead and lives today. As man’s High Priest before God, He is now the one true way to the one true God, the God of Israel (Jn 14.6). His suffering and death reconciles all who trust in Him to God the Father in heaven (Heb 10.19-22). And Jesus is soon returning to earth to rule the nations from Jerusalem (Zech 14.9). So, yes, Jesus is very relevant to today’s world.

c33 AD: The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ

The biblical records say that an earthquake occurred at the time of the crucifixion (Mat 27.51-54). Recent geological research [Williams et al, International Geology Review, 2012] confirms that a significant earthquake did indeed hit the area in the time frame 26-36 AD, link, link. The researchers examined outcrops of laminated Dead Sea sediment on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Earlier research in the same area [S.A. Austin, 2001] found a narrow but distinctive ‘mixed layer’ sediment which was associated with an earthquake of possible magnitude 5.5. It was dated to be around 33 AD, link. Combining such geological data with biblical citations suggests the crucifixion date may have been Friday April 3, 33 AD.

Assuming this date for the crucifixion, the resurrection would have occurred April 5, 33 AD. It appears another (perhaps greater) earthquake occurred to remove the burial stone blocking the entrance to the tomb (Mat 28.2). Or was this the earthquake detected in geological research?

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The empty cross and the risen Christ showed God’s love to us

APOLOGETIC: Few question the historical figure of Jesus; the evidence is too substantial, link. It is the resurrection of Christ which is the great divider of mankind. On the one hand, nearly all New Testament scholars accept the ‘basic facts’ as found in biblical records, namely:

  • Jesus died by crucifixion
  • The tomb was empty
  • The disciples had real experiences of the risen Christ
  • Christ appeared to many others
  • The church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed
  • The skeptic James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed
  • Belief in the resurrection drove the growth of the early church
  • The resurrection was never proved fallacious by people living at the time

On the other hand, some skeptics claim “evidence for the resurrection is nowhere near as complete or convincing as the evidence on which historians rely to justify [for example] the destruction of Pompeii” [Larry Shapiro, ‘The Miracle Myth’, 2016 (Columbia University Press)]. It is true there is little secular historical evidence for the resurrection, but modern-day evidence is strong. Today, the living Jesus changes lives and heals bodies.

LINK TO ISRAEL: Jesus the Christ is the Messiah the Jews rejected. Even today the vast majority of Jews do not believe that Jesus Christ is their promised Messiah (the Moshiach). They believe the Messiah will be a mortal man, a descendant of King David. But soon God will pour His Spirit on Israel and they will “mourn for the One who they pierced” (Zech 12.10-14). See also proof that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah.

c33 AD: Birth of the Christian Church – Pentecost

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After His resurrection Jesus was seen by the apostles over a period spanning 40 days (Acts 1.3). Just before His ascension, whilst on the Mount of Olives, Jesus commanded them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait a few more days until they had been “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1.4,5). Some ten days later the disciples were gathered together for the Jewish spring harvest festival of Shavout or Feast of Weeks. Jews also know Shavuot as Pentecost, link. Suddenly they were filled with the Holy Spirit and experienced an amazing move of God (Acts 2:1-13). Empowered by the Spirit, Peter stood up and preached his first sermon, urging the crowds to repent, to believe in Jesus Christ as their Messiah and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. That very day, some 3,000 people were baptized as the people of God (Acts 2.41). The Christian church had begun!

APOLOGETIC: Pentecost (Gk: pentekostos) means 50th. Following God’s command (see Leviticus 23.15-21) it is celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover, link, link. It is traditionally a joyous time of giving thanks and presenting offerings for the new grain of the summer wheat harvest in Israel.

Why 50 days? For Jews it commemorates the giving of the Law (the Torah) at Sinai 50 days after the Passover. Now fast forward to the time of Jesus. Some 50 days after Christ’s Passover supper (the exact dates are debated, link, link), on the Jewish Day of Pentecost, God gave His Law, not on tablets of stone, but by the giving of His Spirit. Through His Spirit God wrote His Law on the hearts of those who were open to Him. This marked a step change in God’s relationship with man. This present ‘church age’ will end as Christ returns for His bride – the (true) church of Spirit filled believers.

LINK TO ISRAEL: Jesus, a Jew, gave the baptism of the Holy Spirit to His Jewish disciples. At that point the Law was written on their hearts. And at the end of this age God will do the same for all His people – the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Jer 31.31-34, Joel 2.28). So the Jews come under the same New Covenant as the Gentile Church (Heb 8). The church has not replaced God’s people, Israel. The apostle Paul likened the nation of Israel to the natural branches of a cultivated olive tree and the church has simply been ‘grafted in’ to that tree.

c321 AD: The Rise of the Apostate Church: The Papacy

In a ‘church sense’ apostasy can be defined as ‘a falling away, a withdrawal, a defection from biblical truth’. Jesus predicted this would happen at the end of the age (Mat 24.10-12) and today it is seen in ‘multi-faith worship’, religious cults (as in the Unification Church – the Moonies), and false teaching (as in Replacement Theology) in the institutionalized church. But there is an even more serious form of apostate church, and it is global, powerful and very deceptive.

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Around 312 AD the Roman emperor Constantine blended paganism and Christianity into one, giving an opportunity for the power of papal Rome to increase. The Church accumulated more power and influence and Rome became the religious capital of the world. Church leaders now had access to the machinery of the state to exercise ecclesiastical control. Moreover, it also gave the church some political control as it became modeled on the political structures of the Roman Empire it served, and not on the Bible. The church assumed the power of the state to establish ‘right thinking’ on the part of its members, rather than rely upon the Holy Spirit to change the heart.

The pope inherited the power, prestige, and even titles of the Roman emperors. The most significant of such titles is Pontifex Maximus, a pagan title meaning “greatest bridge-builder”. It appears on buildings, monuments and coins of popes of Renaissance and modern times. In reality, Christ is now the Mediator between God and man, not the pope. Such moves led the papacy away from the non-institutionalized, non-political, non-controlling, non-centralized early church. Rome became an apostate church.

APOLOGETIC: A graphic description of this global apostate church is found in Revelation chapter 17. Here we see an end-time ‘ecclesiastical Babylon’ – a compromising, wealthy, powerful, political, controlling and cruel church. The text clearly points to the papacy. For example, when it comes to politics, the Holy See (the office of the pope) has ‘Observer Status’ at the UN, link. When it comes to ‘right thinking’, Rome martyred at least 50 million Christians during the Middle Ages for heresy (Rev 17.6). And when it comes to control, Rome claims that it is the only true church, all others being ‘defective’: “The Catholic Church is the one, holy, apostolic Church of Christ” [Vatican doctrinal congregation].

RELEVANCE TO THE FUTURE, AND TO ISRAEL: Rome’s claim to be the one true church was recognized as unbiblical by Wycliffe, Huss, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Whitefield, the Wesley’s, and others, link. These men saw the papacy as the Antichrist – the “beast from the earth” (Rev 13.11-18) which, along with a controlling World Government, persecutes God’s people, particularly end-time Israel (Jer 30.7, Dan 7.21, Mat 24.15-28, Rev 13.7). Today the Vatican tends not to support Israel and has a history of supporting Palestinians, link, link.

c800 AD: Charlemagne:

In 800 AD Pope Leo III crowned King Charles of France Holy Roman Emperor (800–814). In fact, Charles was founder of the first empire in western Europe after the fall of Rome and is regarded as one of the greatest emperors from the eighth through to the nineteenth century. He restored education, improved law, supported the church, backed attempts to produce an accurate Bible and in many other ways did much that was good. So in France, his name was blended with his greatness, and he is known as Charlemagne (literally ‘Carl the Great’).

APOLOGETIC: Charlemagne envisaged a unified Christian Empire (a Holy Roman Empire) and other leaders have had that vision after him. In fact, a Roman revival and ‘Christianised’ empire has been at the heart of Europe’s leaders and aristocracy for well over 1,000 years. In 962 AD, the pope crowned the German king Otto the Great ‘Holy Roman Emperor’ and between the 14th and 18th centuries the Habsburg family in Europe continued the idea of a unified Christian Empire. In 1936, Mussolini (a Roman Catholic) perceived himself as a modern-day Caesar and declared the resurrection of the old Roman Empire! Today, the idea of a theocratic United States of Europe is pursued by the Habsburgs and secret societies, and theocratic rule undoubtedly comes from the Vatican as it exercises strong influence over Europe. The symbol of a woman (Europa, aka the Vatican?) riding a beast (aka World Government?) is seen across Europe and can be seen as a fulfillment of Rev 17.3.

LINK TO ISRAEL: Prophetically, the last secular empire to rule over Israel is the fourth empire of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. Historically this was ancient Rome, but this empire is being revived, link, prior to the return of Christ (Dan 2.40-43, Dan 7.19-25). Like Rome it, its leaders and armies will persecute Israel for a brief period before being destroyed at the return of Christ (Dan 2.34-35, Dan 9.27).

c1440 AD: The Printing Press

Printing first appeared in China as early as the second century AD, and movable metal type was used in Korea c1377. But it was in Europe that printing first became truly mechanized. The printing press was invented in the Holy Roman Empire by Johannes Gutenberg (a German goldsmith) around 1440. This semi-mechanical production revolutionized the world in that people could now read and increase their knowledge more easily. And it paved the way for the eventual world-wide distribution of the common Bible (as foreseen in the gospel of Mathew chapter 24). In fact, the Latin Gutenberg Bible was the very first mass produced book c1455. In God’s providence, the scene was set for the printing mogul of the 1520’s – Martin Luther.

c1517 AD: Martin Luther and the Reformation

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Luther’s 95 theses, Wikimedia Commons

Martin Luther started asking why church services were not conducted in a language that all levels of society could understand. And through his studies at the University of Wittenberg he realized the key to spiritual salvation was not to be enslaved by religious dogma (as in ‘indulgences’) but to believe that faith alone would bring salvation. Indulgences were a payment to the Catholic Church that purchased an exemption from punishment (penance) for some types of sins. So, in 1517, angry with Pope Leo X’s new round of indulgences to help build St. Peter’s Basilica, Luther nailed a sheet of paper with his 95 theses on the University of Wittenberg’s chapel door. They were a strong critique of the practice of indulgences. This marked a major change in Luther’s life and set in motion the Protestant Reformation. Following repeated criticism of Rome, Luther was officially excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church in 1521.

The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century changed Christianity forever. The Reformers were guided by the conviction that the church of Rome had become apostate in that it had drifted away from biblical teaching, and especially in regard to its teaching about salvation. The Reformers, spearheaded by Luther and Calvin, laid out their theological convictions about the essentials of Christianity in The Five Solas.

LINK TO ISRAEL: Luther expected the Jews to convert to his purified form of Christianity. But when they did not, he turned violently against them. Read some of Luther’s anti-Semitic comments. Why did Luther not rest on the biblical statements that, having rejected Christ as their Messiah, the Jewish nation was ‘broken off’ from their Abrahamic roots and so was blind to the truth (Romans 11). We can only conjecture, link. It is claimed Luther’s name and work were used to prepare the ground for the Holocaust since he advised the German princes to “destroy synagogues, to burn their books and raze their houses”. He wanted to forbid Jewish practice and teaching, and considered Jewish people to be “just devils and nothing more”. So it is claimed Hitler was simply following the advice Luther had given the German princes all those years before.

c1700: Rise of the British Empire

The empire was driven by maritime expansion and commercial ambitions – wealth and prestige were the primary driving forces behind British imperialism. By the mid-1700’s Britain had a large empire with colonies in America and the West Indies, and the empire became worldwide in the 19th century, embracing India and Africa. The period 1815 to 1914 is referred to as Britain’s “imperial century”. Sadly, the slave trade acquired a peculiar importance to Britain’s colonial economy in the Americas, and it became an economic necessity for the Caribbean colonies and for the southern parts of the future United States. The trade was abolished in 1807.

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APOLOGETICS: Putting aside the imperialist aspects, many see a positive side to the empire. The British flag and the Bible were part of the same colonization process and by the end of the nineteenth century there were over 10,000 British missionary workers across 47 territories, link, link. Britain became one of the leaders in missionary activity, spawning many missionary organisations. As a result, the word of God was spread to many nations, including Africa, China, India and North and South America. Many see God’s hand here, first in using Britain to translate the Bible into a common language (English), and then using Britain to spread the gospel throughout the world.

LINK TO ISRAEL: The 19th century saw the worldwide dissemination of the God’s word largely through the British Empire. And many see the 20th century as the time when God again used Britain to help establish a Jewish home in Palestine, as in the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the ensuing 1922 British Mandate for Palestine.

c1776: The Birth of America

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress declared the independence of “the United States of America” in the Declaration of Independence. So July 4 is now celebrated as the nation’s birthday. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States (1787) set out the universal principles of freedom and democracy and were of fundamental importance to American history. America’s founders identified themselves as Christians and were influenced in important ways by Christian ideas. On the other hand, they were committed to the proposition that all men and women should be free to worship God (or not) as their consciences dictate, link.

LINK TO ISRAEL AND THE FUTURE: Americas tiny, 6 million Jewish community (just 2 percent of the population) has proved one of the most vibrant, creative and useful groups in American life. It is credited with curing polio, building the Atomic and Hydrogen bombs, and winning more than 15 percent of Nobel Prizes in science. So the loss of the Jewish community would be a loss for the entire nation. Today, the United States and Israel are the closest of friends and allies. Why? Possibly because they have shared values – especially the mutual commitment to democracy. But will this last? According to prophecy, all nations will be drawn into battle against Jerusalem at the end of this age (Zech 14.2). If this does not include America then possibly America ceases to exist at the end of this age? Many see a marked absence of America in Bible prophecy. It seems Europe rather than America dominates the end-time world scene!

1882: Aliyah – Start of the Return of Jews to Israel

world timeline This Hebrew word refers to “the going up to Jerusalem”. Jews see it as “moving up in holiness” as they move from gentile nations to the land given to them by God through Abraham. The first aliyah (1882 to 1903) was a wave of about 30,000 Zionist immigrations mostly from Eastern Europe, Russia and the Yemen. Another wave of about 40,000 Jews came between 1919 and 1923. This was triggered by the 1917 October Revolution in Russia, anti-Semitic pogroms in Eastern Europe, the British occupation of Palestine, and the 1917 Balfour Declaration (see below). Between 1929 and 1939 some 225,000 to 300,000 Jews arrived from Europe and Asia.

Image: The Palmach, Immigration to Israel, PikiWiki Israel. Enlarge

APOLOGETIC: Aliyah is a prophesied event to take place at the end of this age:

Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone … and bring them into their own land (Ezekiel 37.21)

It is still on-going, with millions of Jews still residing in gentile nations. As of January 2018, Israel’s population stood at 8.7 million of which 6.5 million were Jews. This corresponded to 45% of world Jewry [Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics].

1917-1922: The Balfour Declaration and British Mandate for Palestine

On November 2, 1917 the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour declared that the British Government was in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. This declaration layed the basis for the British Mandate for Palestine at San Remo in 1920. Article 2 of the Mandate provided for the eventual creation of a Jewish state once “political maturity” had been reached.

APOLOGETIC: The Mandate was formalized by the League of Nations in 1922 and transferred to Article 80 of the UN Charter in 1946. So the UN implicitly reaffirmed the 1922 Mandate and Article 80 preserved the mandated rights of the Jewish people. According to the final Mandate, the Jewish people have the irrevocable legal right to settle anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, link. This legal right is conveniently ignored by the UN today. A caveat to the Mandate was that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. This was not achieved, partly at least because there was no common ground between Arab and Jew (as in different language, culture and religion), link. Finally, increasing Arab aggression towards the increasing Jewish population led to war, refugees (on both sides) and today’s Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

1933-1945: The Holocaust (Heb: “shoah” – “the catastrophe”)

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Rail to Auschwitz, Poland. Image Max Pixel, Creative Commons

It is widely claimed that this infamous event in history was fueled from the thoughts of Martin Luther in the sixteenth century. Luther’s 1543 book, “On the Jews and their lies” took anti-Semitism to a new level when he proposed to set fire to their synagogues and schools and to take away their homes. Luther wanted to eliminate the Jews. Hitler’s autobiography ‘Mein Kampf’ listed Luther as one of the greatest reformers, and Hitler’s Nazi government in the 1930s and 40s fit Luther’s desires perfectly.

So Luther unconsciously set the stage for the future of German nationalistic fanaticism. The Nazis believed Germans were “racially superior” and that the “inferior” Jews were a threat to the German community. So between 1933 and 1939, the Nazi regime brought radical social, economic, and communal change to the German Jewish community. This started with the boycott of Jewish shops and businesses, and by 1939 only a small fraction of Jews had steady employment, link. Between 1941 and 1944, Nazi German authorities deported millions of Jews to ghettos and to extermination camps, where they were gassed. Overall, Nazis systematically murdered some six million European Jews, around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe. This amounts to the most heinous of crimes against God’s people, Israel, and God will have the last word:

the one (individual or nation) who curses you I will curse (Gen 12.3)

APOLOGETIC: The holocaust was an extreme example of what would happen to God’s chosen people if they rebelled against God (Deut 28.15-68). God would scatter them amongst the nations and often they would live there in fear:

Among those nations you shall find no rest … there the Lord will give you a trembling heart … your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life (Deut 28.65,66)

c1948: The Sun sets on the British Empire

Unfortunately Britain failed her Palestinian Mandate responsibility. Between 1922 and 1948 she illegally traded land originally mandated for the Jewish homeland; she proposed partitioning the Mandated land (non-biblical); and she severely restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine when Jews were fleeing Nazi Europe. In 1948, having failed her Mandate in several ways, Britain turned over her Mandate responsibility to the UN and withdrew from Palestine. How serious is such action against Israel? Very serious if we take God’s promise to Abraham seriously:

the one (individual or nation) who curses you I will curse (Gen 12.3)

APOLOGETIC: In 1923 Britain illegally traded the Golan Heights (originally part of the Mandate) to France in exchange for the oil-rich lands of Mosul in Iraq. Then, in 1937-38, the Peel and Woodhead commissions recommended partitioning Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state (but biblically, all the land was given to Israel under God’s covenant with Abraham – it was not to be divided). The 1939 McDonald White Paper again compromised the British Mandate. While it may have mollified Arab opinion, it certainly alienated Zionist Jews as its enforcement prevented the free settlement of refugees who desperately needed to leave Europe. In the 1939 White Paper, the limitation on Jewish immigration was made permanent: only 75,000 Jewish immigrants would be allowed to enter Palestine over a five year period. The policy therefore repudiated the Balfour Declaration and Britain’s commitments under the League of Nations just at the time of greatest need for a sanctuary for Jewish refugees. The White Paper remained the basis of British policy until the end of the Mandate. Even after the holocaust, Britain still locked the gates to Palestine, link. All this was a sad indictment against Britain.

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BRITAIN’S EMPIRE FADES: Britain’s decline in the world from around 1950 can be attributed in-part to her failure to support Israel in the 1930’s and 1940s. Other reasons are given at Britain Under Judgement. Britain started to lose her empire, link. For example, to the three colonies that had been granted independence in the 1950s (Sudan, the Gold Coast and Malaya) were added nearly ten times that number during the 1960s. In 1980, Southern Rhodesia, Britain’s last African colony, became the independent nation of Zimbabwe. The New Hebrides achieved independence (as Vanuatu) in 1980, with Belize following suit in 1981. The passage of the British Nationality Act 1981, which reclassified the remaining Crown colonies as “British Dependent Territories” (renamed British Overseas Territories in 2002) meant that, aside from a scattering of islands and outposts, the process of decolonization that had begun after the Second World War was largely complete! Currently the British government takes an anti-Israel stance, notably by pressurizing Israel to make peace with an Arab coalition that states it wants to obliterate Israel.

1948: The Birth of a Nation – Israel

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Declaration of the State of Israel. Enlarge

On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared the establishment of the State of Israel. David Ben-Gurion became Israel’s first Prime Minister. The new state was declared open for Jewish immigration. So 1948 saw the start of mass immigration to Israel, averaging nearly 200,000 a year until the early 1950s. On 5 July 1950, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) passed the Law of Return. Subject to certain security conditions, this Law gave every Jew in the world the right to go and settle in Israel as an ‘oleh’ (a person who makes aliyah). Immediately after the declaration of the State of Israel, five Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq) invaded Israel, starting the War of Independence. Israel, the modern nation, was literally ‘born in a day’, as prophesied in the Bible:

Has anyone ever seen or heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a day? Zion will not have to suffer long, before the nation is born (Isa 66.8 GNT)

APOLOGETIC: Zionism means different things to different people. “Zionist Jews” (mainstream Orthodox Jews) see the formation of the Jewish State of Israel as accelerating the process of redemption, with themselves playing a major role in doing God’s will by serving the state. On the other hand, some Jews are “religious Zionists” in that they accept the Zionist concept of a homeland for the Jews, but pay little heed to the State of Israel (which they see as secular, even blasphemous). These “anti-Zionist Jews”, as in ultra-orthodox Jews, reject modern Zionism and the State of Israel on the grounds that only God could restore Israel, link.

RELEVANCE TO THE FUTURE: Israel has a God-defined purpose. According to the Bible she is a special nation, chosen by God to bless mankind and to make a name for Himself. God said to Abram (Abraham): “I will make you a great nation … and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen 12.2,3). And King David exclaimed: “And what one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went … to make a name for Himself” (2 Sam 7.23).

Historically, the world was blessed through the life, death and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus. Today we see that purpose again as Israel takes center-stage in the world. Prophecy reveals that, at the end of this age, world events will be centered around Israel. Unseen spiritual principalities and powers raged against Christ at His birth (Rev 12.4), and today they are raging against Israel by aligning nations against her (Rev 12.9, 20.8). This spiritual warfare culminates in the final war of this age (Armageddon) as all Gentile nations are gathered against Israel (Zech 14.1-3).

1957: Birth of the European Union – the Revived Holy Roman Empire

On March 25, 1957, representatives of six countries (Belgium, France, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) met in Rome to sign the Treaties of Rome. One of these Treaties established the European Economic Community (EEC), creating a common market and customs union among its members. The treaties were the cornerstone documents of what eventually become a strong political entity, the European Union (EU). The 1991 Maastricht Treaty was a huge step towards closer political and monetary union between member states.

APOLOGETIC: From its inception, the EU has been underpinned by dark spiritual forces. The Treaties of Rome were signed in the Palazzo on Capitoline Hill in Rome. This was constructed in the Middle Ages on top of the Temple of Jupiter, a successor to Zeus. Historically, the altar to Zeus in Pergamos was described as Satan’s Throne (Rev 2.13). But it has not disappeared! Today, Berlin’s Pergamon Museum now exhibits the reconstructed altar to Zeus! So the treaties were signed in a location linked to Satan’s throne, and Germany, the EU’s economic powerhouse, now proudly exhibits a Satanic throne! More at Europe’s Satanic roots. Did the very presence of this altar in Berlin (completed 1930) drive Hitler on his quest to kill Jews, link?

LINK TO ISRAEL: Bible prophecy points to an end-time world governmental system that hates and attacks Israel at the end of this age. Many believe this system will be based upon the fourth empire described by the prophet Daniel in Daniel chapter 2. See Biblically Significant World Empires above. Historically, this empire was Rome, but there are strong prophetic indications that this will revive at the end of the age. The concept of a revived Roman Empire dates back to Charlemagne (crowned emperor by the Pope in 800). His ideal was a unified Christian empire. Many see the EU as the kernel of this ‘revived empire’. Prophecy also clearly states that this spiritually dark world system will be destroyed at the return of Christ (Dan 2.31-35).

1991: Collapse of the Soviet Union – The Russian Federation

world timeline An unsuccessful coup by Communist Party hard-liners in August 1991 sealed the Soviet Union’s fate by diminishing Gorbachev’s power and propelling democratic forces, led by Boris Yeltsin, to the forefront of Russian politics. On December 25, Gorbachev resigned as leader of the USSR and the Soviet Union ceased to exist on December 31, 1991. The Communist monolith split into multiple separate nations, and the Soviet hammer and sickle flag was replaced by the Russian tricolor. The new state, called the Russian Federation, set off on the road to democracy and a market economy.

RELEVANCE TO ISRAEL: The Russian Federation extends south towards the Caucasus region – an area between the Black Sea in the west and the Caspian Sea in the east, see map of Russian Federation. The southern-most region of the Federation is the North Caucasian (or Southern) Federal District. In military terms, this is the South Military District of the Russian Federation – the South Strategic Command with their headquarters in Rostov-on-Don (a port on the Black Sea), link.

Why is this relevant to Israel? A glance at a map of this geographic area shows that south of the Southern Federal District lies Georgia and then Turkey, link. Bible prophecy points to an imminent end-time invasion of Israel from the north. This is the Gog-Magog war of Ezekiel 38 and 39, which will probably be led by Russia, and will probably involve the Islamic nations of Turkey and Iran. Today, the Russian South Strategic Command in the North Caucasian Federal District seems well placed for such an invasion.

c2000 onwards: Electronic ID and Cashless Trading

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Governments have been increasingly pushing for a cashless society. Ostensibly, by having a paper trail for all transactions, such a move would decrease crime, money laundering, and tax evasion. Cash transaction limits are now common in most EU countries e.g. in France the limit is €1,000 [2016]. But Sweden is blazing the trail, with banks, buses, street vendors and even churches expecting plastic or virtual payment. About 60% of all consumer transactions were cashless in 2016. In India, Aadhaar uses a 12-digit unique identification number, strengthened by a fingerprint and iris scan of citizens for increased authenticity and security. This online platform enables an individual to claim government benefits and services, and access services like banking and mobile phone connections.

BACKGROUND AND IMPLICATIONS: The 1980’s saw early forms of cashless trading with the introduction of magnetic-stripe cards. This period saw the development of debit-based transactions using Electronic Funds Transfer (at) Point of Sale (EFTPOS). Today, the contact-less smart card contains an antenna embedded within the plastic body of the card. When the card is brought into the electromagnetic field of the reader (within about 10 cm), the chip in the card is powered on and a secure 13.56 MHz wireless link is established between the card and the reader for secure data transfer. Similar but cheaper technology is used in RFID tags for low security applications e.g. animal identification.

Cards can be lost or stolen and one solution is human implants. This approach embeds the smart RFID chip (the size of a grain of rice) into the human body, usually the hand, link, link. The chip would have a unique ID number that can be linked to information contained in an external database. This is a significant step towards the biblical ‘mark of the beast’, where the identity of an individual is associated with the individual themselves. Government control of all financial transactions, commercial and personal will be complete once cash has been eliminated, link, link.

LINK TO ISRAEL: Computer controlled financial transactions (cashless trading) via a personal ID is foreseen in Bible prophecy:

And he causes all … to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead … and no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark (Rev 13.16,17)

This prophecy refers to a time of worldwide governmental control and monitoring of individuals. It could not have occurred 100 years ago since the technology had not been developed, but it is here today. It is probably implemented during the last seven years of this age (Daniel’s 70th Week) – just prior to Christ’s return. And where does Christ return to? He returns to the Mount of Olives on the east of Jerusalem (Zech 14.4). When Christ returns to Israel He will destroy the secular world government (Dan 2.34-35), together with the financial control of individuals. So cashless trading is a sign of the imminent return of Christ to Israel.

A WARNING: do not take this final ID:

If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God … And a severe and malignant sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast (Rev 14.9-10, Rev 16.2)

HOPE: There is hope for the believer in Christ. See the rapture

A World Timeline with a Purpose

At the start we claimed this is a timeline with a purpose. It is not a sequence of seemingly random events. Rather, through transcendent intervention, the timeline is guided to a planned and good outcome. Mankind is not quite there yet – but what is the ‘planned and good outcome’?

Milestones at the end of the Timeline: Take a look at the ‘Biblical Timeline’ on the sidebar. It shows the Dispensational Interpretation of the Bible, where the so-called ‘Age of Grace’ or ‘Church Age’ is followed by the so-called ‘Kingdom Age’ or ‘Millennium’. The time for world-wide preaching of salvation through Christ (the Church Age) closes when He comes to take the true church to Himself (Mat 24.36-44):

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Mat 24.14)

Jesus put it bluntly, ‘the door (to salvation) shuts’ (Mat 25.1-13). We might refer to this future point in the timeline as ‘the fullness of the Gentiles’ (Rom 11.25). It is seen as a time when salvation through belief in Christ’s sacrificial death comes to an end, link. Many believe that the Age of Grace will end soon.

The Great Tribulation of Israel: Between the Church Age and the Kingdom Age is a short period during which the rebellious nations governed by the beasts of Revelation 13 will suffer the judgments of God. You do not want to be there! Israel in particular will suffer persecution (Jer 30.7, Mat 24.15-28), although, as always, a remnant survives persecution (Rev 7.1-8). The ‘futurist’ view of prophecy sees all this happening during Daniel’s 70th Week, – a short period of about 7 years.

The Kingdom Age: This is the last milestone on the planned world timeline. As promised, Christ, the Messiah rejected by the Jews some 2,000 years ago, returns with His resurrected Church to the Mount of Olives east of Jerusalem; see the Second Coming. This is the start of the last time dispensation – the Kingdom Age:

And the Lord shall be King over all the earth (Zech 14.9)

This will be a glorious time on this earth, when nations no longer learn war and ‘swords are beaten into plowshares’. The whole earth will be at peace and worship Christ as He reigns from Jerusalem. The world timeline therefore concludes with a glorious time on this earth; a time when man can once more dwell in fellowship with His Creator, as Adam did at the start of creation. Will you be there? More at The Millennial Age.