Olympic Torch Route

In a blaze of publicity the Olympic flame arrived in the UK on Friday 18 May and started its tortuous 70-day tour of the country. It will arrive in Lowestoft on 5 July and will then visit 15 other towns and villages carried by local torchbearers in Suffolk over three days.

The torch will travel as follows:-

Lowestoft -The morning of Thursday 5th July 2012

Southwold, Saxmundham, Aldeburgh, Woodbridge and Felixstowe - Late Morning/Afternoon Thursday 5th July 2012.

Ipswich - Late Afternoon/Evening Thursday 5th July 2012.

The torch will travel to Ipswich by water from Felixstowe, landing at Ipswich Waterside Marina by the James Hehir Building. It will then be carried to Christchurch Park arriving around 6.45pm for cauldron lighting followed by an evening celebration. At around 6.35am next morning, it will go through the Town Centre before heading off towards Haverhill, Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket.

Councillor Kathy Gosling, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member responsible for the Olympics, said "I am urging everyone who can to line the streets and cheer on the torchbearers as they travel through our county. "This is a once in a lifetime spectacle and I am confident that the people of Suffolk will join the celebrations whole heartedly."

A Twice in a Lifetime Phenomenon



This year we have also been able to experience another once in a lifetime spectacle, the transit of Venus. A momentous event, even if only seen on the TV screen; putting a whole new meaning to ‘accurate timetable’. Understandably, the time tables for the Olympic Torch run are approximate; who can say with any accuracy that the Torch will arrive as planned in Ipswich at exactly 18:09 on July 6th and depart the next day at 07:03 on the dot. And yet in the Universe, created by a loving and all powerful God, we see absolute precision. Take the transit of Venus across the face of the sun, this occurrence is very rare, only to be repeated every 243 years when there are a pair of transits 8 years apart. The last pair were seen in December 1874 and December 1882 and the next won’t be until December  2117, and December 2125. Yet because of the perfect regularity and order of God’s Universe,  Astronomers can be absolutely confident of these dates, and more amazingly they can also tell us the exact time when this will happen to the second! You can see this by going to the website  http://transitofvenus.nl/wp/where-when/local-transit-times/  where you will be able to see at what time  the transit of Venus was visible from your home. In Ipswich the first sighting was, as predicted, at 23:03:50 on June the 5th and the last moment, before it moved completely past the sun, was the morning of June 6th at 05:54:54. How is that for precision!

Biblical Precision

We ought not to be surprised that just as all the elements in God’s Creation work with orderly precision, so too in His Scriptures, God’s plan is worked out with precision. He has a clear plan and agenda for the world. A world which He has created for His pleasure (Rev 4:11) and which He will fill with His glory (Numbers 14:21). Throughout history God has made both His plans and His Divine Schedule known. He prophesied that Israel would stay in Egypt for 400 years and then be delivered (Ge 15:13 )‘ And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years’; and it happened to the exact day! (Acts 7:6 Ex 12:41). He prophesied that the Nation of Judah would be cast out of their land for 70 years and it happened just as He had commanded (Da 9:2) ‘ In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet (Jer 25:11), that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem’.

The Seventy Weeks Prophecy

 Perhaps most wonderful of all, was what is known as the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel where Christ is most clearly identified in the 9th chapter. This prophecy accurately predicted when the Messiah would become the sacrifice for sin. We read in Daniel 9: 24:

"24  Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25  Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26  And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:

27  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,”

The starting point of the prophecy leading to the time of " Messiah the Prince", is  the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. (v.25) The king of the Persians made this commandment in 457 BC.

A principle of Bible prophecy is that one day equals a year. Thus seventy weeks represents 490 years.  1 day = 1 year, therefore 1 week = 7 years.  The first 7 weeks of the prophecy (7 sevens. 49 years) takes us from BC 457 to BC408. After this, adding threescore and two weeks (62 sevens making a total of 69 weeks-483 years) takes us to AD 26 and adding a further week to complete the 70 weeks brings us to AD 26+(1 week. 7years)  ie AD33.

The simple substitute of a year for a day indicates that in 33 AD, in the middle of the last week of the prophecy, the Messiah would be "cut-off" in sacrifice; which of course happened when our Lord was crucified. History has again demonstrated the incredible reliability of the Word of God.

When will Christ return?

And yet, there is one prophecy where the Word of the LORD is silent as to when it will be fulfilled and that is the Return of Christ. Before he ascended into Heaven Jesus told his disciples that He would be returning to reign but that unlike other prophecies, the precise time was not to be revealed. We read in Acts ch.1 that for 40 days Jesus had spoken to the disciples about the Kingdom of God and (v6) ¶  ‘When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  And he said unto them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.’

This agrees with our Lord’s teaching concerning his return to judge the world. In Matthew 24 His disciples asked him (v3) ‘Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?’

And he stated at the time of the end He would appear for all to see  (v27) As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ And at this time he will gather together his faithful servants (v31) ‘ 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.’

And yet that day will come as a complete surprise to all mankind. No-one knows when that momentous day will be, not even the Angels!  Mt 24:36 ‘ But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.’

Also in his parable of the 10 virgins which was intended to teach his disciples that they ought always to be in readiness, watching and waiting for his return and he said  Mt 25:13 ‘ Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.’

We can see, then, that as previous fulfilled prophecies have shown, God has a purpose with this earth. Yet only He knows the day and the hour when Jesus will return ‘as a thief in the night’ (1 Thess 5:2) to rule the world. God’s plans will certainly come to pass and that day will come as surely as Venus crosses the Sun every 243 years and the Olympic Torch arrives at its destination on time. Yet, for the sake of developing the faith and watchfulness of those who ‘love his appearing’; that day and hour, is not revealed in the Scriptures. The rest of that verse we have just quoted is greatly encouraging to all who faithfully wait and watch... 2Ti 4:8 ‘ Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.’ For then, in that day the Lord Jesus faithful disciples will be awarded, not an Olympic gold medal but something much, much more precious - a crown of righteousness and everlasting life. May that time soon come.

Acknowledgements: www.retailbirmingham.co.uk,  NASA  and http://transitofvenus.nl/wp/where-when/local-transit-times/