Greetings, fellow eschatologists! In my study of end time prophecy, there have been times when I have been truly astonished at the mysteries found in the Bible. The mystery that is most astonishing to me is something I call the “Mystery of the Full Circle.” In a nutshell, the mystery of the full circle is the simple, yet profound, truth that the times of man run in full circles. You see this obvious truth in creation itself, where the whole universe is constantly running in circles. Like all of creation, the Bible is filled with all kinds of circles! You will be blown away when you see how the mystery of the full circle is connected to end time prophecy. If I have piqued your interest even a little bit, then join me for the new series on the Mystery of the Full Circle!
THE MYSTERY OF THE FULL CIRCLE
By Karen Thompson
First in a Five-Part Series
The mystery of the full circle is connected to the intriguing way in which Daniel chapter 11 was written. It helps us to understand the portion of chapter 11 that talks about Antiochus Epiphanes making war against the Jews; and then without notice to the reader, it abruptly stops talking about Antiochus Epiphanes and begins talking about the end time Antichrist. Yet the reader is not made aware of the subject change. The chapter is written in a way that makes it sound as though the same person is being talked about. This isn’t a mistake. These two men being placed back to back in Daniel’s prophecy has to do with the times of man running in circles.
FULL CIRCLE—THE BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS OF MAN
The mystery of the full circle sealed in chapter 11 is the final piece of the puzzle that brings the prophetic words of Daniel into a complete picture. It explains why in the vision of the four beasts in Daniel chapter seven the Grecian kingdom and Antichrist’s kingdom are positioned back to back—they complete a full circle. And it explains why chapter 11 was written in a way that makes it sound as though the characters of Antiochus Epiphanes and Antichrist are one in the same—they complete a full circle.
There are three keys necessary to open up the secrets and mysteries in the book of Daniel. First, you must have a basic knowledge of the history of the nations involved. Next, you must crack the code for all the symbols contained in Daniel. And the last and most important key to discerning the mysteries in the book of Daniel is you must have the “mind of Christ” as stated in 1 Corinthians chapter two: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). This means Daniel’s prophecies must be spiritually discerned.
The meaning of most portions of scripture is obvious, but there are some portions of scripture where the meaning is not obvious and, therefore, cannot be understood unless the Spirit of God supplies the understanding. Even Daniel didn’t understand the meaning of his visions until God gave him the understanding. For example, after Daniel had the vision of the four great beasts in chapter seven, he said, “I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. ” (Dan. 7:15–16). Daniel didn’t understand the vision until the angel gave him the interpretation. It had to be spiritually discerned.
The only time the Lord did not give Daniel the interpretation to one of his visions was the vision in chapter 11. Just as Daniel didn’t understand his prior visions, he didn’t understand this one either: “And I heard, but I understood not.” Just as he did with his other visions, Daniel asked for the interpretation of his vision in chapter 11: “Then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” But instead of receiving the interpretation, Daniel was told the meaning of the vision in chapter 11 was sealed: “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Dan. 12:8–9). Did you catch that? The words are sealed until the time of the end! Well, it’s time for these words to be unsealed, because we’re living in the end times. God is breaking the seal on His hidden mysteries and making them known to this generation, the generation that will usher in the Second Coming of the Lord!
The Times of Man Are Circular, Not Linear
The Lord revealed to me the knowledge that would unlock the mystery that is contained in chapter eleven. It is the knowledge that the times of man run in full circles. I’ll share with you exactly how the Lord revealed to me this hidden mystery of the full circle. One day as I was studying the Word, the Lord began to make me aware of the beginnings and the endings of the events in the times of man. This awareness began when I was reading in Daniel about the beginning of the times of the Gentiles. If you’ll recall, the times of the Gentiles began when God judged disobedient Israel by allowing them to be taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
As discussed earlier, King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the giant metal man serves as a clock counting down the times of the Gentiles, from beginning to end. Nebuchadnezzar’s capture of Jerusalem was the beginning of the times of the Gentiles, and Antichrist’s end time kingdom marks the end of the times of the Gentiles. When the Antichrist kingdom is destroyed, the times of the Gentiles will have come to an end, ushering in the millennial reign of King Messiah.
After Nebuchadnezzar had his dream about the giant metal man, he commissioned the building of a giant image made of gold. After it was built, he notified all the men who held governing positions in his empire to come to the dedication of the great image. When they were all assembled in front of the golden image, a herald made a startling proclamation to those present saying, “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (Dan. 3:4–6).
As I was reading about Nebuchadnezzar’s forced worship of the golden image, I remembered the portion of scripture in Revelation that says Antichrist will do the same thing: “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. [This is the false prophet, an associate of Antichrist.] And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast [Antichrist] before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast … saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Rev. 13:11–15).
I thought, Hmmm, that’s interesting. The times of the Gentiles begins with the creation of an image of a false god that people are forced to worship under the threat of death, and the times of the Gentiles ends with the creation of an image of a false god that people are forced to worship under the threat of death.
Then immediately, other instances of this same pattern popped into my mind. For instance, in the book of Revelation when God begins to pour out His wrath, it starts with an earthquake so violent that islands and mountains are shaken out of their places, and objects described as stars of heaven fall out of the sky. Revelation 6:12–14: “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; … 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.”
His wrath comes to an end with another massive earthquake; and this time, the earthquake is so violent that the mountains and islands are obliterated! And more objects described as giant hail fall out of the sky. Revelation 16:18–21: “…there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. … And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”
The wrath of God begins with an earthquake so violent that mountains and earthquakes are moved out of their places, and the wrath of God ends with another earthquake so violent that all the mountains and earthquakes are obliterated completely—thus the wrath of God is brought to a full circle, beginning and ending in the same place.
Then something else came to my remembrance. In Genesis, man’s rebellion against God began with Nimrod, who was the first Assyrian ruler and the city of Babylon. And in Revelation, man’s rebellion against God will come to an end with Antichrist, who is called the last Assyrian, and a city called Babylon. (The prophet Isaiah called the end time Antichrist “the Assyrian,” not because he will come from Assyria but because it is a spiritual name that reflects rebellion [Isa. 31:8–9].) Thus, mankind’s rebellion against God begins with a rebellious Assyrian (Nimrod) and a city called Babylon, and mankind’s rebellion ends with another rebellious Assyrian (Antichrist) and a city called Babylon, thus the rebellion of mankind is brought to a full circle, beginning and ending in the same place.
The next thing that came to my remembrance was something I had read years earlier in Halley’s Bible Handbook. I’m talking a long time ago, maybe 25 or 30 years. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember things that I have read 25 or 30 years ago. I knew it was the Lord bringing it to my remembrance. Halley’s Bible Handbook is filled with all kinds of fun facts about the Bible. One of those fun facts is a list of things that occur in both Genesis and Revelation.
- The Bible starts with God dwelling with man (Adam in Gen. 3:8), and ends with God, once again, dwelling with mankind (Rev. 21:3).
- The Bible begins with a new heaven and a new earth (Gen. 1:1) and ends with a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:1).
- Mankind had access to the Tree of Life in Genesis (Gen. 3:22–24), and in Revelation, mankind will again have access to the Tree of Life (Rev. 22:2).
- Life on earth began with no curse in Genesis but then became cursed after the fall of man (Gen. 3:17); in Revelation, the curse is removed and mankind lives on a curse-less earth once again (Rev. 22:3).
- Man’s primeval home was by a river (Gen. 2:10), and then in Revelation, man’s eternal home will again be beside a river (Rev. 22:1).
I could list many more, but I think you see the pattern. After all this, I began to realize that the beginning and ending of the times of man are not linear, beginning at A and ending at Z. Rather the beginning and ending of the times of man are circular; meaning, they begin and end in the same place, beginning at A and ending at A. When something begins and ends in the same place, it’s called a full circle.
Times of the Universe Run in Circles
By this time, my eyes had been opened to something I hadn’t seen before and I was fascinated. But the Lord wasn’t done making His point yet. Right at this time, I had the privilege of traveling to Washington, DC to attend eschatology meetings. The meetings were held in the mornings and evenings and so the afternoons were free for sightseeing. Some of us ladies decided to do just that.
One afternoon, we went to the Library of Congress. If you’ve ever been there, you know that it houses much more than books. We saw many fascinating things—books from Thomas Jefferson’s personal library, the possessions that President Lincoln had on him when he was assassinated, and an original copy of one of the Guttenberg Bibles made with the first printing press. These were only a few of the things we saw there.
But out of all the marvelous things we saw at the Library of Congress, the one thing that stood out most prominently in my memory was an ordinary plaque that had on it a simple yet profound statement. I can’t quote it verbatim, but its message was about how the times of man run in continuous full circles. The seasons rotate from spring, to summer, to fall, to winter, and then back to spring. Earth’s atmosphere is on a cycle beginning as a gas in the heavens, condensing and then falling to earth as rain, then evaporating and returning to the heavens again as a gas. The moon spins in a circle around the earth. The earth spins in circles while circling the sun. The sun spins in circles in the Milky Way galaxy while all the galaxies of the universe spin together in a circle. All of creation continuously spins in a circle, beginning and ending in the same place—completing full circles.
The times of man are, indeed, circular!
On top of that, when I got home from the eschatology meetings, I immediately listened to one of the teaching tapes that I had purchased. My ears perked up when I heard the teacher say, “It’s amazing to me because things always go in circles. I learned that from the Jewish people. When they have a service, they start with one song and end with the same song. And they say ‘We’re completing a circle.’ ”
In the next post, we’ll go over some of the many circles found in the Bible. You will be surprised how the Bible is filled with full circles, where the events of mankind begin and end in the same place, completing a full circle.
Until then, happy pondering on the mystery of the full circle!
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