As always at this time of the year, there has been a lot of speculation concerning the rapture of the church, and if it might occur on one of the Feast Days celebrated in Israel. This week will see the end of the feasts with the conclusion of the Feast of Tabernacles, and many are wondering if we again will pass by this season without seeing the return of Jesus for His church.
Now if you have followed my thoughts for any length of time, I’m sure you understand that I am a believer in what is called the doctrine of imminency, or the belief that Jesus could return for us at any time and not necessarily on one of the Jewish Holy Days. There is, however, something I would like to share with you for your consideration that might just give us a clue as to just how close we might be to our time of departure.
One of the reasons many look to the feast days is the amazing occurrence of numerous major events in Israel’s history which have taken place on those particular days over the past 5000 years. It would seem that God, by intent, has chosen to reveal Himself by orchestrating events to occur on the anniversary of many special days throughout Israel’s calendar. Since these occurences are, according to the odds, almost impossible it would seem that we are faced with the inescapable conclusion that not only is God at work, but He uses certain days to do certain things. Does this seem hard to believe? If so, we might look at that question in light of the following passage.
"For I [am] the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
Malachi 3:6 NKJV
If we consider that God Himself tells us that He does not change, and we know He has chosen to act throughout history on the anniversary of certain events, is it logical to assume that He will again do so in the future? I think we can, and I want to share a thought with you today concerning the endtime events many of us see, and the possibility that the time of Jacobs’ Trouble might be just around the corner.
Rather than discuss the rapture of the church as so many have, I want to draw your attention to the period of time we know as the Tribulation. In the Old Testament we find that God gave a prophecy to his servant Daniel concerning the future of Israel which is known as the Seventy Weeks of Daniel. In it God predicts that following the release of the nation of Israel from their Babylonian captivity, a period of seventy “weeks of years” would occur. The word for “weeks” literally means a period of seven years, so what was being said was that Israel’s future history would be contained in a period of four hundred and ninety years.
He also foretold that after the first sixty nine weeks the Messiah would come but be rejected, and an indeterminate period of time would occur between the sixty ninth week and the seventieth week. Not surprising, the length of time between the release of the Jews from Babylon, and the entry into Jerusalem by Jesus of Nazareth on Palm Sunday was exactly four hundred and eighty three years. So where we are today is waiting for the beginning of the seventieth week of Daniel, also known as the Tribulation, when God will judge the unbelieving world along with unbelieving Israel for a period of seven years.
The question I want you to think about though is this; based on what we have already seen, is it possible we might already have a clue as to when the Tribulation might begin?
For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world [that] then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth [which] are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
2 Peter 3:5-7 NKJV
What Peter tells us here is simple enough; the world will experience the judgment of God twice. The first was by water, which was as we know the flood of Noah, and a second time by fire which will be during the period known as the Tribulation. In light of what we are discussing, the next question is do we know when the flood of Noah occurred? If we look closely at the Genesis account we find this;
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
Genesis 7:11 NKJV
This passage tells us that the flood began precisely on the seventeenth of Cheshvan, the second month of the Jewish civil calendar. Many of you know the fall feasts occur during the first month, Tishri, beginning with Rosh Hashanah which began September 29 this year. As the Jewish calendar is lunar rather than solar, each month begins with the first sighting of the new moon. If the new moon is sighted as it should be on October 28, then the seventeenth day of the second month, the anniversary of the flood, should be on November 13 this year.
Now considering the fact we know that God has allowed many events to occur on the same day of the year throughout history, and He has clearly stated that He does not change, is it possible that by knowing the exact day the flood began we can assume the next judgment of the world could begin on the anniversary of the first judgment? I believe our answer to that could certainly be “why not”? It would follow the pattern that God has already established, and might, in light of other passages of scripture, be logical when we know that Jesus talked of His return at the end of the age by referring to the time of Noah and the flood.
In light of the state of the world right now, and the events which many believe are building up to an "apocalyptical" type of event, is it possible we are fast approaching the beginning of that period of time which the Bible tells us so much about? It would probably not surprise anyone who makes it a point to study current events with regards to biblical prophecy, yet as we have seen in the past, the patience of God towards His people could best be described as longsuffering. Yet even God has foreordained a point in time when His judgment will fall on an unbelieving world, and as many believe, it could be very close.
An obvious question that follows from this discussion would then be, if you subscribe to the pretribulational rapture of the church, how close to the beginning of the Tribulation could the rapture occur? I will save the answer to that for next week, along with even more evidence from scripture that would appear to support the position that we are indeed entering the season of judgment.