Those Days Shall Be Shortened :: By Ronda Lane

Is there a time change coming in the future?  Jesus said: “…those days shall be shortened…” (Matt. 24:22). We know that Jesus was speaking of the foretold time of the tribulation, the 70th week of Daniel, when this event will occur. But what did He mean? I believe the answer to this question is also found in scripture, if we are willing to take God’s word literally and reverently.

Here, in most of the US, we recently set our clocks back one hour (From Eastern Daylight Savings time to Standard Time).  But there is no mystery to that. Yes, it is a change in time-keeping, but there are still 24 hours in the day; there is no deficit in hours… No puzzle there.  But there is a puzzle in scripture. Jesus said: “…those days shall be shortened” (during the tribulation). Many a Bible scholar has been puzzled by what Jesus meant in Matthew 24:22. Let’s first look at the verse in question:

“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”

We know for a certainty that the actual number of days (the day count) cannot be changed. We are given a day count numerous times in prophetic scripture. We know the tribulation will last for a duration of one “week” of years. According to Daniel 9:24-27, we know that seventy weeks were determined upon Israel (Daniel’s “thy people” of Dan. 9:24). And we know that 69 of those prophetic weeks have already been fulfilled. We then find that the last remaining week (the 70th week of Daniel) is yet to be fulfilled.

We see when the foretold 70th week will commence in Dan. 9:27… when the antichrist (“the prince that shall come” of Dan. 9:26) will confirm a covenant with Israel, and the covenant will last one “week” (of years). We also know the antichrist will break the covenant in the midst of the 7 years (3.5 years into it, exactly 1,260 days on Israel’s 360-day a year calendar). So we recognize that each half of the 7-year tribulation will be 1,260 days.

We find many more clues in that chapter, as well as in Revelation, pertaining to exact day counts. Let’s next look to Revelation chapter 11. There we find the two witnesses who will be testifying and prophesying in Jerusalem. They will be given exactly 1,260 days to prophesy in Jerusalem, to Israel, clothed in sackcloth and given special Spiritual gifts and power (Rev.11:3-6). They are then overcome and killed by the beast (Rev.11:7), and their dead bodies will lie in the street for 3.5 days (Rev.11:7-12); then they are resurrected and taken up to heaven as the world witnesses the event.

What we can logically deduce from that scripture is that the two witnesses will be testifying in Jerusalem, to Israel during the first half of the tribulation. We know it must be the first half because the 1/3 remnant Jews will flee Israel (at the mid-point) and be kept in a place prepared by God for the second half (Rev.12:6, 12:14). So the remnant Jews won’t even be present IN Israel to testify to during the second half of the tribulation. The two witnesses must then be testifying during the first half of the tribulation while the Jews are still in Israel. The exact day count is 1,260 days (the first half of the tribulation).

We then find that the second half of the tribulation is also 1,260 days (Rev.12:6) and is reiterated in Rev.12:14 as “time, and times, and half a time” (3.5 years). The remnant Jews will flee when the antichrist defiles the temple and falsely proclaims himself to be “god” (Matt. 24:15-22, 2 Thes. 2:4, and Dan. 9:27).

Most Bible scholars concur that the remnant Jews will flee to an area that is currently in modern-day Jordan, in an area near Bozrah (as per Isaiah 63:1, Jer. 49:22, and others). Many believe the place to be Petra, Jordan, and that is a good possibility due to the location being near Bozrah. But the point is, the remnant Jews won’t be in Israel during the second half of the tribulation; therefore, the two witnesses will be testifying to the Jews in Israel during the first half (1,260 days) of the tribulation.

So to sum up the precise timeline given in scripture, we have found a year count (7 years, or 7 “weeks” of years) in Dan. 9:24-27, the division between the first and second half of the tribulation (Dan. 9:27), a day count for the first half (Rev.11:3), and a day count for the second half of the tribulation (Rev.12:6, 12:14).

With that precise day count given… what did Jesus mean when He said: “…those days shall be shortened?” How could that be possible with such a precise day count given? We know what it does NOT mean; it cannot mean that the day count is shortened. The actual amount of days is the entire 7 years (360-day years). This time frame cannot be changed; the number of days cannot be shortened since scripture is our ultimate authority.

But what if we’ve overlooked something in scripture? What if most are looking at it altogether in a different angle? (expecting entire days to be chopped off, and knowing full well they CAN’T BE, because of the precise day count). What about the amount of HOURS in each Day? What if we are even told in scripture how that happens? I believe this to be the case. Let’s look at another part of scripture to see how this may happen.

Revelation 8:12 “And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.”

Let’s read that scripture again and think carefully about the ramifications of such an event. I believe we are to take this scripture literally. When that event takes place, 1/3 of each…the sun, moon, and stars are smitten; they then “shone not” for a third part of the day and a third part of the night.

Have we ever really thought about what that means? That would be a reduction in the daylight coming from the sun during daytime hours, and the ‘moonlight’ (the sun’s reflection on the moon) for the nighttime hours. The word says they “shone not” for a third part of both the day and night. Let’s put our math caps on and figure out what this 1/3 reduction would mean.

When the sun, moon, and stars are smitten for an entire 1/3 of the time they currently shine, it would be a reduction of 8 hours. (8 hours is literally 1/3 of 24 hours: 24/3=8). When we take away those 8 literal hours (1/3 of the day/night), we come up with 16-hour day/night cycles (24-8=16).

That would fit perfectly with what Jesus said in Matt. 24:22, “those days shall be shortened.” There would still be the foretold 1,260 days in each half of the tribulation, but after Rev. 8:12 and 1/3 of the sun, moon, and stars are smitten (literally), then there would only be 16-hour days— if we take Rev. 8:12 literally (as I believe we should). The days would be shortened exactly as Jesus foretold would be the case.

Here is yet another part of the study which is relevant. We have what would seem to be yet another puzzling verse that many debates have hinged upon. Matt. 24:50 tells that Jesus will come (speaking of the Second Coming) in an hour that [mankind] is not aware of.

The reason this has puzzled many is that, since the EXACT number of days of the tribulation is given… how could they be taken by surprise? Wouldn’t they be counting down the days beginning with when the antichrist confirms the covenant? Of course they would! But they may be attempting to count down 24-hour days!

What would happen if the number of HOURS IN THE DAY were shortened? Not the amount of actual days; we know the number of days is a SET number (7 years: 1,260 days in the first half of the tribulation and another 1,260 days in the 2nd half of the tribulation). We’ve already looked at the scripture that gives the exact day counts. God would never go against His own word! “God is not a man, that he should lie...!” (Numbers 23:19). Yet Jesus Himself said: “...those days shall be shortened.” And how else could it be possible except that the actual hours in the day are shortened? That surely would shorten a day; in fact, it would shorten every day/night cycle.

Would that not also lead people to wonder exactly what day it was? Many would not be sure HOW to count the days after the hours are reduced by the sun being smitten and daylight (“shining”) 1/3 less of the time, exactly as foretold in Rev. 8:12.

Imagine the scenario…  Let’s say (as an example) that the sun was smitten on a Monday, and would shine 1/3 less of the time, then the actual hours in the day and night would change to 16- hour day/nights… The next day (on Tuesday) the sun rising and setting would be during different hours (on our current clocks). There would be instant confusion about HOW to count the days. The clocks wouldn’t align with the day/night cycle any longer. Imagine how much confusion regarding day counts there would be.

Try to picture that happening. What would the world do? On Monday it would be sunrise at 7 am, then 16 hours later it would be sunrise AGAIN at 11 pm. Tuesday it would be sunrise at 3 pm, and again it would be daylight at 7 am on Wednesday (if they tried to keep the current calendar). And on and on… mass confusion of how to keep time. Imagine when the sun isn’t rising and setting as it did on the previous 24-hour-day calendar. The (current) clocks being 12-hour segments would no longer represent the days properly. They would have to either change their clocks to two 8-hour segments, or one 16-hour segment. Otherwise, the time the sun rose and set would not be near the same time each day!

Let’s also look at the fact that the devil will be FURIOUS about this… absolutely enraged! The devil was thinking he had an entire 3.5 years (the second half of the tribulation) to wreak havoc on Earth (which he does during the time of “great tribulation” that Jesus spoke of in Matt. 24:21). BUT when he finds out the number of hours in the day has been shortened (exactly as Jesus Himself said: “those days shall be shortened“), that nasty devil will come unglued!

I believe this is why he does these two things:

Rev.12:12 “…Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

Dan. 7:25 “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”

We see in scripture that the devil is angry that God is the One who ALONE can change times and seasons. Yet he (the devil) will try to usurp God’s power and change the times and laws himself. Yet, the devil will FAIL.

Let’s look closely at Dan. 7:25 again. Specifically at the part that says he (the antichrist) will “think to change times and laws.” We’ve long understood why the antichrist will want to change LAWS (Dan.7:25), but we may have misunderstood why he wants to change TIMES. It may be time itself that the devil seeks to change. When the sun/moon/stars are smitten (Rev. 8:12), effectively shortening the HOURS in each day… and the days being shortened (Matt. 24:22), no wonder the devil would want to change time THEN. He would want the 24-hour days back to have enough time to completely corrupt and kill off believers as well as the remnant Jews.

In fact, his plan is likely so devious that IF he were given the full time to complete his plan, then “there should no flesh be saved” (Matt. 23:22). But God will thwart the devil’s evil plan to kill off all of mankind. How?

God’s word tells us in the same verse: “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”

That nasty devil is going to be furious when God Himself smites the sun, moon, and stars by 1/3, when he sees that “the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise” (Rev. 8:12). No wonder he will come down “having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Rev.12:12). Also, we know that IF the days were NOT shortened, “there should no flesh be saved” (Matt. 24:22). So the devil must have what he considers to be a foolproof plan that would actually destroy all of mankind IF the days were not shortened. But we are told those days will be shortened… and scripture even tells us HOW.

This would allot the same number of days on GOD’s prophetic timetable exactly as foretold in scripture… but it sure would confuse the devil, and most of mankind, when the hours themselves are reduced, and thereby the days themselves shortened in hours.

The devil will be SO MAD that God has shortened the number of hours in the  DAY, that he will take it out on the earth-dwellers (Rev.12:12).

The antichrist will desire to change times (God’s word says he will THINK “to change times and laws“), but God’s word also tells us it won’t happen!

Why? Because the devil isn’t given that power. That is God’s power ALONE. WHO changes times and seasons? God Alone!

Dan. 2:21 (speaking of God): “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.”

And Jesus said that God will do this very thing! The days will be shortened! And yet we also know the devil will THINK to change times, but he can’t… because God ONLY can change the times. And He will!

Matthew 24:22 “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”

Revelation 8:12 “And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.”

God isn’t going to reduce the number of days in the year (He cannot do so, because His word already declares specifically the number of days). God instead will shorten the days, (Matt. 24:22) reducing the number of hours in each day (Rev.8:12) exactly as foretold. Let’s look again to scripture for more clues.

Gen.1:14 “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.”

We see that God Himself decreed that the day/night cycle by the “lights in the firmament” (sun, moon, stars) would be to count DAYS (as well as seasons and years), the very things that will be smitten in Rev. 8:12. More so, we see that the combined dark part (nighttime) and light part (daytime) count as one full day.

Gen.1:18-19 “And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.”

No wonder He will come in an hour that they “think not.”  They may still be trying to count days by worldly calendars… 24-hour cycles, when the sun, moon, and stars are no longer on 24-hour cycles after being smitten by 1/3 each, to shine 1/3 less than previously.

Matt. 24:44 “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”

The unsaved world won’t consider what God Himself said would be considered a full “day” according to Gen.1:4-5, and Gen.1:14-19. He set the “lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night.” He said: “to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness.

That is the reason our current clocks are divided into 12-hour segments of day and night. We didn’t create time, of course; mankind only made clocks to keep track of time according to when the sun rose and set. But imagine when the sun rises at 7 am and then again at 11 pm (16 hours later) and how OFF the clocks would then be. Imagine the confusion. They will be confused about exactly what date it will be! No wonder the antichrist will seek to change not only laws, but times as well.

We know a day/night cycle is currently 24 hours. But is there any part of scripture that tells us it must always be 24 hours? There is only one argument to this brought forth which states (in scripture) where a day was 12 hours (Jesus speaking in John 11:9). Obviously that meant 12 hours to a day and 12 hours to a night (making our 24 hour days). But nowhere does He say there will ALWAYS be 12 hours in a day… just that there were then, at the time of His speaking, 12 hours in the day (24 hour day/night cycles); and as we know, there are still currently 24-hour day/night cycles. But where does scripture state that will always be the case? It doesn’t.

Jesus Himself said that the days would be shortened. Since He spoke of 12-hour day/night cycles in John 11:9, and then said the days would be shortened in Matt. 24:22, we can reasonably assume the days will be shortened to LESS than 12-hour day/night cycles, or 24 hour “days.” It was Jesus’ own words which foretold the days would be shortened. Then when we consider Rev. 8:12 and understand that when the sun, moon, and stars are smitten so that they no longer shine for a third part of the day and night likewise… it makes sense how the days may be shortened. Scripture interprets scripture. I believe the answers are all there in scripture.

Luke 21:25-26 “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;  Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”

Men’s hearts “failing them for fear“… it truly will be a fearful thing when the fourth angel of Revelation 8 sounds, and God smites 1/3 of the sun, moon, and stars. I wonder if we’ve ever really thought about what that would entail? It surely WOULD cause massive changes to time-keeping. Of that, there is no denying. The question is, do you take God’s word literally or not? I believe He meant what He said and said what He meant. I believe the sun, moon, and stars will truly be smitten and will truly “shine not for a third part” exactly as His word says. Do you?

We also should note that this in no way adds to, or takes away from scripture. If anything, I’m encouraging fellow believers to take God’s word as literally as possible (when it’s not apparent, He is speaking to us in symbolic/parallelism). I believe both Matthew 24:22 and Revelation 8:12 are to be taken literally. I also take the very severe warning in Revelation 22:18-19 very seriously and literally. I do not believe I’ve added to God’s word… but rather instead have shown that we are to take God’s word literally and reverently, even more literally and reverently than most are taking it today.

Jesus Himself said the days should be shortened (Matt.24:22). Scripture also tells us how that will come about: Rev.8:12 tells us that the sun, moon, and stars will be smitten “and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

We either believe God’s word is true and literal or we do not. I’m hoping the readers will be encouraged to study this for themselves, in scripture. I don’t consider myself to be a ‘teacher,’ but just a fellow believer who loves the word of God, and hopes to encourage others to dive deep into God’s word daily. Be like the Bereans and search the scriptures daily (Acts 17:10-12). Studying scripture is what we are told to do (2 Tim. 2:15). We are also told that we receive a blessing by reading and hearing the prophecy revealed in the book of Revelation (Rev.1:3).

This study pertains to events to transpire in the tribulation. We believers in the age of grace recognize that we won’t be here for any part of the tribulation. We are promised Jesus will deliver us from the wrath to come (1 Thes.1:10, Rom.5:9, 1 Thes.5:9). We are even told when the “wrath is come” (Rev. 6:17), leaving no doubt. We are even told how we will be delivered (1 Cor.15:49-53, 1 Thes.4:16-18).

As we watch other scriptural prophetic events line up with precise accuracy (such as Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38-39), we take great comfort in knowing that the rapture is near.

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).