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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading
In today's reading, there is a very confusing passage in Mark 13. It's found in Mark 13:20:
Mark 13:20 "And except that Yahweh had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom He hath chosen, He hath shortened the days."What's confusing about this verse? It seems to go against the timelines of Daniel and Revelation. Many students of Bible prophecy read this verse and think that none of the timelines even matter, since they will not be experienced in their full length. They believe this, citing Mark 13:20, which says that the days will be "shortened". Surely that means the final prophetic timelines will not actually last for the length of time foretold by Daniel and John the Revelator. It is this way of thinking which has caused me to do some major wrestling with the meaning of Mark 13:20.
In Daniel and Revelation, we read about the 2300 day timeline, which Daniel 8:17 tells us is for the Latter Days. Both the 2300 days and the 1290 days are prophetically foretold to begin when the final Abomination of Desolation is set up (Daniel 12:11 and Daniel 8:13-14). Then there's the 1260 days, also known as the time, times and dividing of times, which is the Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation (Daniel 12:1). And there are a few other timelines also, not the least of which is the Jubilee cycle itself, which culminates on the final Jubilee, which will be the 120th.
What is the point of all of these timelines? Why did Yahweh give the prophets timelines if they weren't really going to be fully played out? For example, if the final 1260 days of trouble is going to be cut short to (pick any random shorter number)... to... say... 960 days, then why didn't God just give Daniel a vision of 960 days of trouble (or whatever other shorter number it may be)? What is the point of giving a timeline at all, if God doesn't mean what He says about how long it will be?
Frankly, I find it impossible that the timelines are shortened. This simply cannot be the case, because God wouldn't foretell a length of time that wasn't the truth. He always tells the Truth. And His word (which includes the prophecies of the timelines) cannot fail to be fully accomplished.
Isaiah 55:11 "So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My Mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper (accomplish) in the thing whereto I sent it."When the 1260 Days played out in the past - in prophetic time (which is day for a year), it certainly lasted for the full 1260 years. And when God foretold that Joseph would have seven years of preparation, followed by seven years of famine, those timelines played out in exact length, just as God foretold.
When Yahweh told the Children of Israel that they would return to live in the wilderness for 40 years, because they didn't have faith in Caleb and Joshua's report, they spent exactly 40 years in the wilderness. And when Yahweh told the prideful king Nebuchadnezzar that he would be insane for 7 years, eating straw like a beast, he spent a total of seven years living like an animal.
In all of Scripture, when a timeline is given by God, it always takes place in its full measure. After all, if God didn't really mean for the timeline last for the foretold time, why tell His prophets that it would last for such a length of time? It would actually mean that He hadn't told the Truth. And of course, it is impossible that God would ever lie (Hebrews 6:18).
So, if not a shortening of the timelines, what could be meant by the Saviour's Words in Mark 13:20?
Mark 13:20 "And except that Yahweh had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom He hath chosen, He hath shortened the days."It isn't the timelines that are shortened, but the persecution and martyrdom, which God's people are suffering during the timelines can be shortened. During the 1260 day timeline, Scripture tells us that many will be martyred for their faith. But the promise in Mark 13:20 indicates that the threat of death will not continue for the full 1260 days. The timeline will continue in its full length, but the events occurring within it will be shortened, for if they weren't "no flesh should be saved"!
I find that this understanding of Mark 13:20 is the best as it allows Mark 13:20 to be true while the timeline prophecies are also true. All of the prophecies fit together, instead of the idea of God giving useless timelines, all of which are trumped in Mark 13. As we study Scripture, it is vitally important to know that we never have the truth on a subject until all the Scriptures on that subject fit together in harmony. One Scripture does not trump others, negating or overriding them. Rather, Scripture interprets Scripture and a harmonious, doctrinal truth emerges when every applicable Scripture is included in our understanding. And this is how to solve a puzzle like we find in Mark 13:20.