I hear it called the “Church age” or the “Dispensation of Grace” or “The time of the Gentiles” and a continuing list of other things. The reference is obvious. Many spend piles of cash buying and reading books on this subject trying to get all that figured out. Predicting the date of the Rapture or even the second coming, or who the Antichrist is has filled many believers days and filled the wallets of many Christian authors. On web sites light Rapture Ready or the Five Doves and a host of others you can find all the latest theories and prognostications which usually cluster on the calendar in alignment with the Jewish Holidays or Moedim. There IS some logic to this and there is a prophetic pattern to the festivals because they all speak to the birth, death, resurrection , second-coming and Kingdom of Messiah. It would have been nice if God had just published a date from the start so that we could all just mark it on our calendars and be ready. But then again I think He knew that the majority of us would just live like the devil right up until the day before His return. Then we would be on our knees repenting and weeping over our sins. Perhaps that is why he left it rather ambiguous and tells us to be ready at all times.
The story is told that a man asked the Rabbi, “Tell me Rabbi, how should we live?” ” and the Rabbi answered, “ Live however you want. Do anything that you want. But on the day that you are going to die, repent.” Perplexed the man asks, “But Rabbi, how can a man know what day he is going to die?” And the Rabbi said, “That Is the problem. Therefore a man should live every day of his life in repentance.”
Well I have once again wandered off from the subject.
How long is the Church age. And with that what are the signs of the Lords return and how long is the Tribulation? And now in Typical Rabbinical form I will answer the last Question first.
Daniel tells us that the Tribulation begins with a particular event which he refers to as the “ Abomination that makes Desolation” It is the event when a world leader sits in gods place, proclaims himself to be god and demands that all worship him. Daniel is told that this will mark the beginning of a terrible time of Great Tribulation and that from that abomination until the end of all the Evil and terrible things that will happen will be 1290 days. And then after that an event of great blessing which from the text we know is the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth at 1335 days after the abomination. What takes place between these two counts, the 45 extra days is the final battle of Armageddon and the judgment of the nations. These days are called the Time of God’s Wrath. And the Church is not appointed to wrath. (Ro 5:9, 1 Thes 1:10, 1 Thes 5:9, )
Dan 12:  And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.  Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.  But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
Please notice that there is no mention of a 7 year Tribulation and also no connection to a 7 day (Year) wedding feast of Messiah. No! The scriptures tells us that the Tribulation is 1290 days long. If we are wise we can compare one scripture to another and get more detail. In Revelation Yeshua tells us that there will be two witnesses that will prophesy during the tribulation for 1260 days and then they are killed and lie dead in the street but are then resurrected 3 ½ days later. (1263 ½ days after the Abomination.) But does that line up with what Yeshua said in the Gospels? Yes! Yeshua also connects the Tribulation to Daniels prophecy, which would include the 1290 day timeline, but adds another bit of Hope for us as He tells us that for the sake of the Righteous those days of tribulation shall be shortened. In other words the righteous will not be on Earth for the entire 1290 days.
Matt 24:  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: . . . 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.
So would anyone like to take a guess how long this shortened time of Tribulation for the Saints will be? Perhaps 1263 ½ days. When the two prophets are resurrected so also are all the righteous dead resurrected and the remaining believers who are alive will be Raptured , made immortal and taken to be with the Lord.
Now lets get back to the initial Question. How long is the Church age. We are not told. But we are given a set of markers, a Beginning Point, an End Point and then signs that indicated the end is near, (See Matt 24, and Rev Seals Chapter 5-6)
In the Book of Joel we are given the end markers of the Church age!
JOEL 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:  And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.  And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
You see verses 28 – 32 is the very passage that Peter on Shavuot, under the direction of the Holy Spirit connected with the sign of the beginning of what we call the church age or the time of the Gentiles etc. The Holy Spirit was being poured out on all fulfilling this prophecy. But the Sun and Moon didn’t go dark, and no pillars of smoke and fire no wonders in heaven. BECAUSE Those are the ending markers of the Church Age. The Church age ends when the Lord returns in judgment, the second coming. What did Yeshua say?
MT 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Joel tells us that this Church age begins with the outpouring of the Spirit on men of faith, and ends when the Sun and Moon are darkened beginning the day of the Lord.
What follows is the Lord comes with the Angels blows the trumpet and with a shout the dead in Christ are raised and the living believers are raptured into their Glorified Eternal bodies and meet the Lord in the air. Also at that time 144,000 Jewish men are sealed with the Glorified body to remain on the Earth and to stand with Yeshua as witnesses on the day of His wrath against the enemies of God. (Rev 7)
All the world will witness this glorious event. But for them it is not a time of celebration. No. It is the day they have all dreaded, the Time of God’s wrath against all evil.
REV 6 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;  And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
That’s all there is to it really. Matt 24 and the first 7 Chapters of Revelation covers all the Church age and the return of Messiah and the establishment of the Kingdom. If you continue reading in the Revelation you will get deeper and deeper into the details of those same event. The Seals are an overview of what the church will experience, the Trumpets give details of those final events and how they affect the unsaved world and the bowls (Vials) detail the affect of these same events upon the Kingdom of Antichrist and those who will suffer God’s wrath.
When someone tells you Jesus is coming tomorrow on a certain feast day, watch and listen. Has the sun and moon turned dark as blood? Have two miracle working prophets been prophesying in the streets of Jerusalem. Has the Antichrist been revealed and oppressing all the believers in the world. Keep praying and keep watching and keep repenting and trying to live a life worthy of our high calling.
As it stands right now, we are, as they say at the cape, T minus 1263.5 days and counting. We are in a holding slot, a preplanned hold until the Lord says it is time. When the Antichrist takes up a throne in Jerusalem and proclaims to be God the Clock will start it’s final countdown of days. Let’s all be wise. Let’s all be READY.
"When you awake in the morning, learn something to inspire you and mediate upon it, then plunge forward full of light with which to illuminate the darkness." -Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
Jewish adventures in the diaspora.
Scripture, ethics and spiritual formation