Why I think we are in for the long haul.
1. God is using Covid 19 to enforce a Sabbath's rest on the UK.
2. That Sabbath rest will last for 1335 days from the date lockdown was announced on 23rd March 2020 until Saturday 18th November 2023.
3. This period is based on the 1335 Sundays denied proper rest since the relaxation of Sunday Trading on Friday 26th August 1994 until the announcement of lockdown on Monday 23rd March 2020, and following the principle of 2 Chron 36:21 when the Exile to Babylon lasted the same number of years that the land was denied its Sabbath rests.
4. This will be a stressful time. The duration of the stress, but not its nature, has been determined by the 1335 Sabbaths' rest denied.
Since the pandemic first struck, I have been asking God what is going on. I have re-read the Bible this year, searched the internet for opinions and shared my findings (see the feedback at my website www.turntojesus.co.uk).
Early on in the pandemic my attention was drawn to 2:23 on our digital clock. I kept waking at that time. It seemed like a biblical reference. I found it in the end, at Exodus 2:23. "The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God."
I interpret this to mean that when we really are brought to our knees and seek God, he will act. The rest of the book of Exodus, indeed the whole of the rest of the Bible, is about the deliverance of the people.
My attention was also drawn to James 5:1-5, especially the part about shedding innocent blood. It addresses the rich people who have exploited the poor. I have been shocked to discover that out of every four pregnancies in the UK, one is aborted. The number of deaths from Covid has been less than half that caused by abortions during that time. How did we lose our belief in the sanctity of life?
I found I was also thinking about the Sabbath principle, one day off in seven. We used to have Sunday as a day of rest in this country, but that came to an end 26 years ago Our Sunday Trading act was passed in 1994. It had the nasty effect of forcing the poor and marginalised to work on Sundays while the rest of us still put our feet up. Not good. The Israelite exile lasted for seventy years because of the previous 490 years when they had trashed the Sabbaths. Do the maths yourself, but on my reckoning we owe three and a half years of sabbaths, which implies that our present sabbath rest may last until the end of 2023.
In November 2020, my reckoning appeared to be corroborated independently by Chris Bright who had also been thinking similarly and replied to my post on The Command to Rest on the UK Prophecy Today (Clifford Hill) website. On Monday 20th April, four weeks after the lockdown was announced, Chris had also wondered whether one consequence of lockdown was that God was enforcing a Sabbath rest on the UK and that the duration of that Sabbath rest would follow the principle of the duration of the Israelite exile in Babylon, namely that the duration would be set by the Sabbaths denied, according to the pattern of 2 Chronicles 36:21.
Then, a thought came to Chris, "Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days (Daniel 12:12)". Although Chris was well aware that verse has no obvious connection to Sabbaths, he nevertheless wondered if the UK had been denied 1,335 proper Sabbath days' rest before lockdown was announced and. if so, when did that period start?
Chris also thought, like me, that the relaxation of Sunday trading in 1994 was a likely start of this period when the UK was denied proper Sabbath rest. He used the Time and Date website to calculate the number of Sundays that had elapsed between the Sunday Trading Act coming into force on Friday 26th August 1994, and the announcement of the start of the covid lockdown on Monday 23rd March 2020.
That number is 1,335 Sundays.
The calculation of the 1335 Sundays between Friday 26th August 1994 and Monday 23rd March 2020 may be confirmed by using the Time and Date website to calculate the workdays between those two dates. As a consequence, it also lists the Sundays not counted.
Is the figure of 1,335 Sundays is a coincidence? I don't think so.
The disobedience of Israel led to them going into exile for seventy years. The law required the land to have a Sabbath's rest of one year every seven (Leviticus 25:4) so it was the neglect of that requirement that decided the length of their exile in Babylon. They had failed to observe that sabbath rest for 490 years, so the exile lasted seventy years.
I am therefore expecting our time of stress to last for 1335 days from the start of the first lockdown, until Saturday 18th November 2023. Also, in a similar pattern to 2 Chronicles 36:21, the 1,335 Sabbaths denied has determined the duration of the stress, but not its nature; so, prepare for the long haul.
As I write, there is much excitement about vaccines. My belief is that whatever things may look like, we have a long way to go and that life will be difficult. It will be a time when we need to trust in God and keep our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). No other prop will do.
Read the story of Elijah to see how he survived the three and a half years of drought in 1 Kings 17 - 19. God provided for him all the way. The book of Revelation also refers to a three-and-half year period. It speaks of what is to come. Its message is that God has everything under control, and that Jesus will defeat the powers of darkness (Revelation 17:14). So no matter what happens, fear is not appropriate. Hold your head high! (Luke 21:28).
David Pennant, Chris Bright, December 2020
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