Sunday, August 22, 2010

Before 2011?

"The harvest is past, The summer is ended, And we are not saved!"
Jeremiah 8:20 NKJV

We talked a little a couple of weeks ago about the "Dog Days of Summer", and if you don't mind, I think we will revisit that subject once again. In ancient Israel, the calendar revolved around the harvest seasons of the major crops that were needed for their survival. Those crops are listed in the Old Testament where we find the following verses;

"For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; "a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey;
Deuteronomy 8:7-8 NKJV

In Old Testament times, the harvest season ran roughly from April to November beginning with the Barley harvest, and ending with the olive harvest. The three main harvests were considered to be the grain, grape, and olive harvests, with a celebration of the first two at the Feast of Tabernacles.

"You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress.
Deuteronomy 16:13 NKJV

Now why do I bring all this up? Well by now you should realize that God and I discuss what I am going to talk about each week, and this week was no exception. As we have been discussing the season of summer, and the fact that Jesus refers to it, I was interested in when summer ends in Israel. So what did I find? Well, in the western world, the seasons are calculated by the solstices, but in Israel it is a different matter. In ancient Israel, the seasons were determined by the harvests, so when I looked into summer in Israel, I found that traditionally summer ends at the end of the grape harvest. So when I asked God the question about when is the grape harvest and when does summer end in Israel He replied "no man knows". Can you see where I am going with this?

When talking with His disciples about the end of this age, and in referring to the rapture, Jesus said this;

"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
Matthew 24:36 NKJV

As we approach Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Feast of Trumpets, many believers get excited as it has traditionally been thought to be a strong possibility for a day for the rapture of the church. Since the calendar in Israel is lunar rather than solar, the beginning of the month is determined by the sighting of the new moon which may or may not occur on the day you determine to be the first of the month. That is why Rosh Hashanah is celebrated for two days rather than just one since there is a possibility the moon won't be sighted when you would expect it. Like many, I have always thought it no coincidence that this holiday is described as one where "no man knows", so I certainly found it curious to discover that there could also be another day that can be described in the same terms.

I began this post with a verse from Jeremiah where the cry in Israel is a lament over the fact that summer is over and they are not saved. The question that came to mind is if the summer is over, it should be a time of rejoicing and celebration for the harvest. If indeed God is trying to tell us that the rapture may come at the end of summer, is the cry of Israel a response to that event? We know the tribulation is the time where God turns Israel back to Him by means of judgment so is it possible we find here another clue as to when that might occur? Summer ends with the completion of the grape harvest, and no one knows exactly when that will be. It is supposed to be a time of rejoicing, but the Bible tells us there will be a future time where it won't be.

Now after considering all of that, there is one more thing I want to share with you. If you have followed my posts for any length of time, I'm sure you have figured out by now I am a conservative, fundamental kind of believer. I'm not out there looking for anything strange or unusual to keep me going, while acknowledging that God does on occasion use supernatural means to make a point or two. I guess some of my Dad rubbed off on me seeing as he was from Missouri, if you know what that means.

So imagine my surprise this past week when something happened, not to someone else, but to me. My job sends me on the road a lot, so naturally I have plenty of time to talk with God about what He wants me to write about each week. On Friday afternoon I was parked and talking with God about all these things while wondering as always just how much longer we were going to have to wait. Suddenly a car pulls up in front of me and my attention for some reason was drawn to his license plate. Know what it was? B42011. People I kid you not! B42011. I almost fell out of my van. I even read it three times wondering if I was having a senior moment. Nope. B42011.

Now am I going to stand up and say the rapture is definitely going to happen this year? Nope. Am I going to say it could? Absolutely! With everything that has been happening in the world lately could there be a chance the Church will be taken before the summer is over? You bet your life. And that my friends is the point. You just might be betting your life. My prayer is that you have made the decision to accept the gift of eternal life offered by God with the sacrifice of His Son Jesus for our sins. By simply asking Jesus to come into your life you can be assured that whenever He chooses to take us home to be with Him, you won't be left behind. But don't wait too long. Summer is almost over.

Keep watching.