Amidst the various intense local conflicts and uncertainties on-going all over the world (eg in Nigeria: Restructuring, IPOB, etc), one deafening background buzz is the possibilities of a global cataclysm, a singularity-type event (i.e. something unprecedented, not likely-to-be repeated) happening this very weekend.
Of course in the Jewish calendar, it’s the beginning of a new year 5778 (Thursday-Friday). To many people, across several shades of spirituality (Judaism, Bible Prophecy, as well as New Age - including Freemasons and the likes), the general consensus is that the long-prophesied new age would arrive sometime in 5777 after the landmark year 5776. Now that the year 5777 itself has expired, rather than the expectation for a coming new age fading with it, it is only being extra-ordinarily heightened, and now adjudged “overdue”.
The convergence of expectations across these diverse strange bedfellows of spiritualities is hinged on various premises. These range from the possibility of the famed “planet Nibiru” (which exists only in the alternative science world!) thumping onto planet earth in some form of catastrophic collision; to that of President Trump deciding on a pre-emptive nuking of the ‘Rocket man’ of North Korea; or ultimately, to the blaring of the long-awaited Trump of God, which presumably will signal the Rapture of the saints off the planet.
Our focus is on the Rapture, which according to the Scriptures is an event BOUND to occur – any time from now, and without any further warning. As will be evident shortly, TODAY Friday 22nd September 2017 is an especially appropriate and interesting day to examine the Rapture in relation with the feasts the Lord instituted for Israel. There are seven of these feasts, (celebrated as a cluster of three festivals) and they are elaborately described in Leviticus 23:1-44. The first cluster comprised of three feasts which are celebrated in the Spring season (around April), then there is one Feast for the summer, and another cluster of three feasts come up during the Fall season (around September).
It is generally accepted that the four feasts associated with Spring/Summer were fulfilled at Jesus first coming, exactly at the periods when the feasts were physically being celebrated in Israel. Thus the Lord was crucified at the feast of Passover, buried at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and rose from the dead during First fruits. Furthermore, seven weeks after His resurrection, on the exact day of the feast of Pentecost (“when the day of Pentecost was fully come…” Acts 2:1), He sent the Holy Spirit on the disciples, marking the birth of the Church. It is interesting to note that it was also on this day that Moses had brought the Torah from the Mountain, thus in a way, marking also the birth of Israel. (http://endtimepilgrim.org/jewishfeasts.htm)
Most Bible scholars therefore believe that the Fall feasts also would similarly be fulfilled in their exact times. Thus the trumpet to herald the arrival of the Lord Jesus back to earth is expected to sound exactly on the Feast of the Trumpets, which would then usher in the Day of Atonement, and ultimately heaven literally coming to earth at the Feast of Tabernacles/Indwelling. These last 3 feasts are not expected to be fulfilled in the same year though. In fact, the final literal return of Jesus to earth (expected for a Feast of Tabernacles) is not expected to happen until the final “week” (7 years) appointed for the nation of Israel (see Daniel 9:27) has been fulfilled.
Here then is what the time-table is expected to look like: The Trumpet sounds, heralding His coming, rousing the dead in Christ (1 Cor. 15:52, 1 Thess. 4:16-17), closing the Church age (Rom. 11:25, 2 Thess. 2:7), and automatically kicking off the final week (7 years) appointed for Israel (Dan. 9:27). Simultaneous with the sounding of the Trumpet, the antichrist shoots into prominence with the exit of the Church which had hitherto restrained his manifestation (2 Thess. 2:8), presumably aided by the emergence of a series of truly catastrophic global events that would need a man of extra charisma for their resolution. The solution to be proffered by the antichrist to these global problems will be purely humanistic and would only work for a while, about three and half years. Things will eventually become very rough for the Jews who would still want to honour the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For the next three-and-half years, persecuted and threatened, the Jews are nevertheless taken care of by the special Divine arrangement of Rev. 12:6, 13-14. This period eventually closes with the Lord Jesus physically coming to rescue Israel and usher in the millennial reign of the Kingdom (Zech. 14, 2 Thess. 2:8).
Now to some hard facts on ground. Tomorrow Saturday September 23, the skies over Jerusalem would witness a special configuration of stars, planets and other heavenly bodies which very much will vividly resemble the vision described in Revelations 12:1ff. Blaring of Trumpets, which started yesterday at Rosh Hashanah will also continue as the nation of Israel marks Shabbat Shuva (Shabbat of Returning), the Shabbat between Rosh Hashana and the Day of Atonement. All these events, which may not be out-of-the-ordinary on their own, assume gargantuan importance when considered in the context of the many special jubilees and associated momentous events, all converging in Israel in the year 2017. Now superpose all these with the increasing unprecedented upheavals in the environment, socio-economic, scientific, political, and spiritual sectors, at the global level, as extensively discussed on several occasions by Church Arise!
Something need to give, one way or the other!
The big question for us Rapture-believing Christians (unfortunately MOST Christians in the world today do not believe in a literal Rapture) is: would it be at these particular trumps, that the Heavenly trump will also sound, leading to the rising of the dead in Christ and us still alive and remaining being caught up in the skies?
Church Arise! says, “Why Not!”
To date, we have spoken against date-setting movements. Primarily, because, according to our understanding, events in Christianity, unlike those in Judaism, are not set in stones. They are to be fulfilled entirely at times the Father has put in His own power (Acts 1:7). Indeed, the Church is not directly captured in the Jewish Feasts and all our association of the Rapture with the Feasts are only based on deductions. THEREFORE WE BELIEVE THAT THE RAPTURE COULD VERY WELL HAPPEN AHEAD OF ANY PROJECTED DATE (NO MATTER HOW REASONABLE THE DATE).
In the present circumstances however, with only few hours to these buzz-dates, there is little danger of someone casting off restraints because they believed they still had some years, months, weeks, or even days before such expected dates for the Rapture. We therefore heartily enjoin Christians to enthusiastically keep alive in their hearts, the possibility of the Rapture occurring spontaneously anytime from NOW! This is exceedingly exciting indeed and it is a great priviledge to be able to dare have this hope (Mat. 13:17!)
Of course there is also the big danger, which has repeated itself countless of times in the past, of people developing apathy or even hostility to the subject in the event of a no-show at some previous expected date. In order words, what happens if the Rapture does not happen this weekend? Perhaps it will be a week after. Or we might even have to wait another year, or even longer?
It will be foolish ruling out this possibility! While there are abundant evidences confirming that we are operating as it were in “injury time”, nevertheless, there would remain some fundamental uncertainties in the calculations. And unlike the famous “Uncertainty Principle” of quantum mechanics, we can’t really be sure of the magnitude of deviations we are dealing with. Consider for instance that, even though the Lord Jesus was evidently sacrificed at Passover as our Passover Lamb; that same year, He himself still partook of the Passover meal with His disciples! He would therefore have been seriously mistaken, anyone who seeing the Lord eat the Passover jumped to the conclusion that He (the Lord) would not be fulfilling the Passover that particular year. Bible scholars have addressed this issue. A citation attributed to Josephus explaining that people from the Northern Tribes eat their Passover earlier than those in Judea can be found here, while a more rigorous discussion of the situation can be found here. Furthermore according to an article we posted on our blog several weeks ago the exact time of the Feast of Trumpet is NOT predictable as it depends on the actual local weather condition over Jerusalem. Other scholars also strongly argue that The Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) might actually be different from Rosh Hashanah (see Shabbat-Shuvah, NehemiahWalls)
The point being made here is that tomorrow, September 23, is indeed as good as any day ever calculated for the Rapture to occur; but we must also realize that our best calculations are liable to some minor uncertainties. Even when we can’t be 100% sure of any particular date, we can be 100% sure that the season is here. The day the Rapture would occur would dawn like any other day. Like today.
As with other Kingdom-minded children of God, our prayers at Church Arise! are that there would be no more delays in the ushering in of God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. That His counsel finally overtake and prevail over the current chaos and counsel of hell on our beloved planet. And that this will indeed happen this weekend!
However, if any of this analysis would require you having a drastic change in your schedules, it only confirms you have not had your priorities right as a Christian, all along. The Lord’s instruction is that we occupy till He comes. Thank God there is still room to make amends! Whether the Lord bids us come up this weekend, or tarries a little longer, we must live in such a way that no news or speculations need make us break our strides or schedules. We should endeavour to always put the Kingdom first, at all times!
Do you have issues about your salvation? Simply ask the Lord Jesus to have mercy on you, and believe He is good and will honour His words not to reject, under whatever circumstance, anyone who humbly asks for His mercy. (John 6:37., Rev 3:20, John 8:11)
Meanwhile, we are still here and there is work to do. Hands to the Plough. Eyes on the Master, OCCUPY!