In our previous post, we showed
the contextual correlation of Daniel
12 and Matthew 24. Here, we want
to know did Paul time the great
In answering this question, we explore
the Paul’s comments on Daniel 12
found in Romans 13:11–12.
This verse is significant in that it
further establishes the resurrection
within the first century generation.
Our interest here is that the great tribulation precedes the resurrection spoken of according to Daniel 12:1, 2 and Matthew 24:21, 31.
What does Paul write that suggests the imminence of Daniel 12:2 and therefore the imminence of the great tribulation, Mathew 24:21?
Did Paul Time The Great Tribulation?
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. (Rom. 13:11, 12).
Here, Paul quotes from Daniel 12:2 on the resurrection. Daniel stated that following the great tribulation many who slept in the dust of the earth would awake to everlasting life.
Something signaled to Paul that that time had drawn near, otherwise how and why could he speak of the knowing the time, i.e. the hour to awake out of sleep?
The reference is made from the time “when we first believed.” This both identifies first century Christians at the beginning of their faith. There reference could either mean the apostles, or it could be inclusive of the Romans.
If it is the apostles then sometime before Pentecost of AD.30 is when they first believed. If it includes the Romans, then Acts 2:10, would mark the time they heard and believed the gospel.
Nearer Than When We First Believed?
In order to establish that their salvation and time to awake out of sleep was nearer than when they first believed, they must know two things. First, they must know their starting point. Secondly, they must know their ending point.
In other words, there must be some time parameters in order to make the comparison valid. For example, let’s say you want to take a 60 mile trip. Once you past mile marker one, you know you have 59 miles to go.
You have some means of determining how much farther you must go. Once you past the 50 mile marker, you know that you are much closer to your destination than when you first started.
Likewise, if you’re driving 60miles per hour, you can drive about 1 mile per minute. Thus, after 50 miles, you know you have traveled about 50 minutes and thus can calculate you have approximately 10 minutes to arrive at your destination.
What these illustrations show, is that you must know when and where you began to know when you will arrive at the destination.
Likewise Paul, knowing the time of salvation was in the first century generation, when the temple would be destroyed, and also knowing when they first believed, could know with a certainty that that salvation time to awake out of sleep was near.
Just as one travels a journey or watches the passing of night for the sun to rise marking the hour to arise from sleep, he said the night was far spent, the day was at hand.
Implication for the Great Tribulation
Now that we have shown Paul’s quote from Daniel harmonizes with Christ’s in that he places the event within his own generation, i.e. within the first century, what does an imminent fulfillment of Daniel 12:2 mean?
It means that since the great tribulation precedes, the resurrection and Parousia, the former must likewise take place within the first century generation.
Since the great tribulation of Matthew 24:21, is not to be repeated, then there can be no future event beyond that which occurred within the first century to fulfill this event.
For more information, see “Who Came Out of the Great Tribulation?”
Learn more about the Lord’s first century return. Pick up your copy of our book, The Re-Examination. Order today over our secure server.