John Ecob DD
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt.24:21-22).
What did Jesus mean when He said that “those days shall be shortened?”
We know from many scriptures that the Great Tribulation will be the seven-year period of history that immediately follows the Rapture of the Church-age Christians and that will be divided into two 31/2 year periods on the Jewish calendar; that is, two periods of 1,260 days.
At the end of the seven years there will be a further 75 days according to Daniel chapter 12 before the kingdom is finally established. All those who gave allegiance to Antichrist will be judged (Matt.25:41) and those who joined with redeemed Israel and gave allegiance to the Lamb of God, will go alive into the kingdom (Matt.25:34).
The time frame is set in concrete and repeated again and again in Daniel’s prophecy and in the Revelation so how could such a specific time be “shortened”?
Some have thought that the length of each solar day will be reduced from 24 hours to 16 hours because during the first half of the Tribulation when the trumpet judgments are upon the earth, one third of the sun will be smitten that it will not shine for a third part of the day and the moon will not shine for a third part of the night. This would require the earth’s rotation to speed up from 1,000 miles per hour at the equator to about 1,500 miles per hour.
We have no problem believing that the God who created the sun, moon, stars and earth can do anything. In Joshua’s day He caused the sun and moon to “stand still” for about the space of a whole day and made the sun dial return 10 degrees in the time of Hezekiah. But does the scripture indicate the rotation of the eath will change?
The context of the passage of scripture is obviously geographical. Before the sun ceases to shine for one third of the day there are three other judgments that are clearly geographical.
1) Rev 8:7 “the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.”
2) Rev.8:8-9 “a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.”
3) Rev.8:10-11 “there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”
These three trumpet judgments are clearly geographical and impact on a particular area of the world that covers one third of its area!
When the sixth trumpet judgment sounds there is the great Asian war when 200 million men are mobilized for war and one third of all human beings on the face of the earth die. Only in Asia could this number of fatalities occur so it suggests that these great calamities that occur in the Trumpet judgments impact on Asia.
Also Asia is the largest continent and occupies 30% of earth’s surface so that when one third of the rivers are contaminated by a star (meteorite or nuclear weapon) it would likely be located in Asia.
The Pacific ocean has 46.6% of the surface of the oceans so 33% of the oceans could easily be located around Asia. The Atlantic is the second largest with only 24%. a The Indian ocean is only 20% of earth’s oceans. The Pacific Ocean is ringed by great volcanoes under the ocean in the trenches around its perimeter and from Hawaii all the way to Alaska.
Krakatoa was an island that exploded near Indonesia in 1883 and was cast into the sea. More than 30,000 perished and the dust from the explosion was sent into space so that the earth’s climate changed for years and there were famines. The sound of the explosion was heard in Japan and Australia!
With all of the facts listed above there seems to be no doubt that the Trumpet Judgments are specifically located in Asia and follow the seal Judgments that relate to the Russian/Islamic invasion of Israel.
So it becomes quite evident that the “one third trumpet judgments” have nothing to do with the shortening of the 24 hour day but rather that one third of earth’s surface will be clouded over so that the sun and moon cannot shine upon them. Just as Egypt was plunged into darkness when Pharaoh refused to allow the Children of Israel to leave Egypt!.
How Will Those Days be Shortened?
God originally intended to send seven Thunder Judgments on earth after the Trumpet Judgments and in Revelation chapter 10 John saw an angel come down from heaven and “a rainbow was upon his head” (Rev.10:1).
The rainbow in Scripture is a symbol of the mercy of God. It first appeared after the Flood with the promise that the earth would never again be flooded and this angel with the seven thunder judgments told John “write them not!”
We remember that Jesus said that if those days were not shortened “no flesh would be saved”! But God wanted to preserve life, especially His redeemed elect nation of Israel who must reign in the millennial kingdom. Therefore He said “for the elects’ (Israel’s) sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt.24:22).
“Those days” that are shortened obviously refer to the days of judgment that had just been falling upon the world. They have nothing to do with the hours of each day but a reduction in the days of tribulation judgments.