With all the proposed “high watch dates”, calculations, and signs flooding the prophecy community, amidst cries of “no one knows the day or the hour!”, what should we be watching for? Should we be watching? Are you ready to throw in the towel as the last possible date for Pentecost 2018 passed?
Don’t be discouraged! We aren’t wrong to watch! We aren’t wrong to hope! Jesus wants us to watch and to eagerly anticipate His call.
Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. Luke 12:37 ESV
So let’s go through what we are to watch for one by one!
The Feasts of God
God set appointed times on His calendar from the beginning of creation. Genesis 1:14 declares “And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years”. (ESV) The sacred times, or seasons, are the fixed or appointed times when God would meet with His people. Note that they are the appointed feasts of the Lord, and as such, they transcend Israel. These appointed times are the “Moedim” and are detailed in Exodus 12-13, Leviticus 23, Numbers 28-29 and Deuteronomy 16.
The appointed times all find their fulfillment in the Messiah – Jesus Christ. Some of these appointed times have been fulfilled; others await fulfillment until the exact moment that God has decreed from the beginning. There were 3 times when all Jewish men were required to go to Jerusalem to honor the Feasts: Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.
The first 3 Feasts – Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits, are grouped together and were fulfilled at the death and resurrection of Christ.
The middle Feast – Pentecost – stands alone and marked the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell the Church. I personally believe that Pentecost is the highest watch Feast for the rapture, as I believe the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ (the Restrainer) will quite possibly leave on the day that He came. I do not believe that this Feast has been fulfilled to completion. Many would disagree and that’s fine, I’m just stating what I have come to believe.
The last 3 Feasts – Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles, are grouped together and will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ. While many say that the Feast of Trumpets is the next in line to be fulfilled, remember that the spring feasts were fulfilled in quick succession all in the same year. I believe the fall feasts will be as well.
With that said, the spring feasts had shadow fulfillment at the time of the Exodus Thus, the fall feasts may have shadow fulfillment at the time of the rapture and beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week. The Feast of Trumpets in particular contains symbolism of the rapture. Thus, I believe Feast of Trumpets is a secondary “high watch feast”. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is clearly associated with judgment and as such does not involve the church. However, it might be associated with the start of the 7-Year-Tribulation period. Tabernacles is clearly associated with the Millennial Kingdom. The “8th Day” seems to be associated with the eternal state – when the 7 1000-year-days of humanity are complete and the eternal state (8th day) begins.
I have more articles on the Feasts of God here: The Biblical Feasts – God’s Appointments.
I personally believe that the Feasts of Pentecost and Trumpets are “high watch dates” for the rapture each year, particularly up to 2021.
Are there any events connected with the rapture of the church? Well, I believe there are markers that indicate we are “in the season” that the rapture could occur. These include:
- The Fig Tree sign – Jesus tells His disciples that when they “see the fig tree leaf out”, they would know that the time of His coming was near. Many prophecy scholars agree that this sign refers to Israel’s rebirth in May 1948.
- Israel Reborn – Regardless of whether or not the fig tree refers to Israel, Israel’s rebirth as a nation after 2000 years of not being one is a flashing neon light! The Kingdom of Heaven is Near!!!
- Jerusalem Recaptured – Jerusalem features heavily in end times prophecy. The 6 day war of 1967 was very significant prophetically! It’s possible that war fulfilled Psalm 83; alternately, the complete fulfillment of Psalm 83 may be yet future.
- Jewish Aliyah – Along with the re-establishment of Israel as a physical/political nation, God’s chosen people are foretold to return to the Promised Land. This has been slowly but surely occurring over the last 120 years or so, with approximately 45% of the world’s Jewry living in Israel at this time (2016). According to Jewish tradition, conditions are set for prophets to appear when at least 50% of the world’s Jewry is located in Israel.
- The Third Temple – We know from the book of Daniel, the gospels, and Revelation that there will be a functioning Jewish Temple during the “70th Week of Daniel“. While the Temple has not yet been built, the plans are complete, Levite priests are trained, and Temple equipment/furniture is made. This indicates the 70th Week is ready to go.
- Apostasy in the Church – It seems that as we approach Christ’s second coming, churches will fall away from preaching sound doctrine. Instead, they will focus on a social gospel that “tickles men’s ears” (tells them what they want to hear to feel good).
- Immorality in Society – Society will move further and further away from God and His laws/morals. We see this most clearly in the last several decades through Abortion (1.5 billion since 1980), Homosexuality (general worldwide acceptance in non-Muslim nations), and Human Euthanasia (legal in some nations, including Canada).
- As in the Days of Lot – Society will be marked by violence, homosexuality, and sexual immorality.
- As in the Days of Noah – Society will be marked by violence, DNA manipulation, and sexual immorality.
- Knowledge Will Increase – In the latter days, people will travel “to and fro” and knowledge will increase. We are approaching a “technological tower of Babel” situation!
- The Gospel Will be Preached to All Nations – While there are still unreached people groups within nations, the gospel has been successfully taken to all nations around the globe. The gospel will continue to be preached during the coming times of tribulation.
- A Great Sign in the Sun, Moon, and Stars – It appears God may be announcing the imminent rapture of the church and the nearness of His Second Coming through a great sign in the sun, moon, and stars described in Revelation 12:1-2. This great sign appeared in the sky on September 23, 2017. Interestingly, satan also seems to think September 23 is an important date.
I personally believe that there are no further events necessary to set up for the rapture of the church or Daniel’s 70th Week. Being aware of the signs that have aligned over the last seven decades affirms that we are “in rapture season”.
Wars, and rumors of war, strike black marks along the entire span of human history. That humans fight with each other is not unique. Israel, as God’s chosen nation and people, is the central focus of Bible Prophecy. Throughout the Old Testament we are presented with prophecies and fulfillments of many wars involving Israel as she moves in to occupy and preserve her Promised Land.
When we study what is written in the Bible, there are a few prophetic wars that remain to be fulfilled around the time of the rapture. These are detailed in Matthew 24/Luke 21/Mark 13, Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, and Ezekiel 38-39.
One of the first true “Birth Pains” that will indicate that the “time of the end” has finally arrived is Nation Rising Against Nation and Kingdom Rising Against Kingdom.
Psalm 83 is a prayer of the prophet Asaph. In it, he requests for God to break His silence towards Israel and protect her. He mentions a specific group of nations wanting to wipe Israel off the face of the map. The nations include Edom, Ishmaelites, Moab, Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, Tyre, and Asshur. Modern day equivalents seem to be Egypt, Jordan/Palestinians, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon.
This war appears to have been at least partially fulfilled in the Six-Day War of 1967. The exact nations described in Psalm 83 issued a coordinated attack against Israel, and Israel was victorious. It’s also possible that the complete fulfillment, or a dual fulfillment, of this war is yet future.
Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 detail a very specific war against Israel. A future leader or supreme commander, Gog (the spiritual entity behind the geographical region of “Magog”), of the land of Magog (Russia? Turkey?), will oversee a vast military alliance which will be heavily armed. The alliance appears to be primarily Islamic, and their goal will be to overtake Israel’s resources. It seems that Russia (Turkey?) will be joined by Iran and Islamic nations from north and east Africa (Ethiopia, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and others), plus Islamic nations of the Middle East and Central Asia (Turkey, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and others). There may be mild protest to this invasion from unspecified nations (USA?), but there will be no intervention in support of Israel and Israel may not even have time to defend itself.
God will completely destroy the invading armies and send destruction to their homelands through a global earthquake, internal chaos and infighting, pestilence, torrential rain, hail, fire and brimstone. What begins as divine judgment on the troops surrounding Israel will expand to include the whole world.
Basically, God will raise Israel’s enemies up against her in such a way as to guarantee her destruction, just so that He can prevent her from being destroyed. It’s impossible to overemphasize the significance that God Himself is arranging this war exactly according to His schedule. God has one final test for Israel. He will use Gog / Magog as a challenge for both Israel and the nations. It will be deliberately presented so that it can be interpreted by Israel as the final war (Battle of Armageddon). Will Israel then turn to Jesus as the true Messiah, or will she embrace the anti-Messiah that satan will raise up?
In watching for signs of war, I am watching for:
- Wars and Rumors of Wars – Possible lineup of WW3.
- Wars and Rumors of Wars centered around Israel and the Middle East, including a specific interest in Damascus, Syria.
- A lineup of players matching the nations found in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39.
There is suggestion in Ezekiel 38 that Israel doesn’t see this war coming (is in a state of “Betach” – peace and safety). Thus, it’s possible that we won’t see this war begin… and I believe it’s safe to say we won’t see it end.
I personally see connection between Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, and Ezekiel 38-39. I think they may occur concurrently, in connection with the rapture, and lead to global scale war.
Birth Pain Signs
We seem to be in limbo between “rumors of wars” and “all-out war”, which suggests that “the end is not yet”. How will we know when “true labor” – the actual time of the end – begins? The Bible speaks of the “time of the End” as being similar to labor pains and childbirth. When it hits, there will be no mistaking it. And true believers get to skip that part through the “early delivery option”.
Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 ESV
These are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah: “Thus says the Lord: We have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace. Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale? Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it. Jeremiah 30:4-7 ESV
Labor and delivery, for me anyways, involved a lot of screaming, writhing, and pain. Unmistakable and incomparable. The “beginning of birth pains” are defined by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse:
7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matthew 24) 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains. (Mark 13) 10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21)
When the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (“Tribulation”) arrives, it will be marked all at once by the arrival of widespread war, global earthquakes, famines and pestilences, terrors and great signs from heaven. Collectively, “all these” are the “beginning” of the birth pains. What we are currently seeing are still the “Braxton Hicks’ contractions”. I do believe we may see the *very beginning* of the birth pains; thus, I am scouring for signs of a rapid upsurgence in all of these things at once:
- Wars (as discussed above)
- Earthquakes and Volcanic Activity
- Pestilences / Plagues
- Terrors and Great Signs from heaven (I believe Sept 23/17 fulfilled a singular “great sign”)
I have written more on the Birth Pain Signs here, Braxton Hicks, Labor Pains, and the Time of the End, and here, The End of the Age According to Jesus – Matthew, Mark, Luke.
I believe that if we see war, terrors from heaven, and earthquakes break out on a global scale all at once – it’s the Day! It’s the Hour!
Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Luke 21:28 ESV
Blood Moons and Eclipses
The blood moon is a major key in Biblical Prophecy. You probably already know this. What you may not know, is that “blood moons” (plural) and “blood moon tetrads” are NOT found in the Bible. There is one and only one prophetic “blood moon” mentioned in the Bible, and it most certainly has not occurred yet. Nor is it going to be an eclipse. Nor is a blood moon the same as a dark moon (which occurs at the second coming and is described in Matthew 24 and Zechariah 14).
The Blood Moon prophecy occurs 3 times in scripture. Once, prophetically in Joel 2, once prophetically in Acts 2, and once, the fulfillment, at Seal 6.
I believe that the cause of the global blood moon is the resurrection of the dead and the rapture itself. There is strong connection in scripture between resurrection of the dead and earthquakes; put this on a global scale and you have global earthquakes. These would trigger volcanic eruptions worldwide, resulting in atmospheric ash. Atmospheric ash darkens the sun and makes the moon appear blood red.
There are no eclipses documented in scripture in association with end times prophecy.
I have written more on the Blood Moon Sign here:
- The Blood Moon Sign
- The Prophetic Significance of Blood Moons and How They Relate to the Rapture of the Church
I do not believe we will SEE the Blood Moon Sign – it happens after we are gone. I’m not watching for any eclipses, supermoons, super blood moons, super blue bloodmoons, or anything of that sort.
While God is outside of time, He has allotted humanity 7000 years of existence. We are on the brink of 6000 years – the last 1000 years will be Jesus’ Millennial Kingdom! See more about that here – God’s 7000 Year Calendar. When studying calendars and calendar corrections, my best interpretation places us at year 5991 or 5992. The rapture would theoretically occur at year 5993 with the Second Coming at year 6000.
The books of Daniel and Revelation also provide us with some interesting day counts that deserve serious study. The periods of time we are introduced to include “1 Week”, “Half a Week”, “Time, Times, and Half a Time”, “42 Months”, “1260 Days”, “1290 Days”, “1335 Days”, “2300 Evenings and Mornings”, “Day”, “Hour”, and “Approximately Half an Hour”. I believe all these day counts come into play AFTER the rapture of the church, which I believe will cause the Earth to be knocked back into a 360-day-year orbit. So although I have studied these timelines, I don’t believe they are useful markers for rapture watching.
I believe that the rebirth of Israel as a nation on May 14, 1948 represented the “Fig Tree” leafing out in the Fig Tree Parable. Ezekiel’s 430 Days of Laying – It appears that the rebirth of Israel, to the very year, was foretold 2500 years ago through the prophet Ezekiel. This, I believe, started a 70-80 year countdown until the Second Coming of Christ based on the Generation That Won’t Pass Away Parable. With a pretribulation rapture, the countdown would be 63-73 year countdown. I believe there is scriptural precedence to possibly applying a 360-day-year correction to these numbers, placing the rapture countdown at 62-72 years from 1948.
From the Revelation 12 Sign of September 23, 2017, I believe we may possibly have been given up to a 3 year window for the rapture. I believe this based on the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem announcing Jesus’ birth, and the fact that it took the wise men up to 3 years to find Jesus from the appearance of the Great Sign. Thus, rapture timing of up to 3 years after the Great Sign of Revelation 12 would seem to be reasonable to me.
We seem to have 2-3 witnesses from Scripture that confirm a rapture in the 2017-2020 window. I personally see no indication in scripture to study other number patterns.
I believe we can know for certain that we are in the rapture “season”. We seem to have 2-3 witnesses from Scripture that confirm a rapture in the 2017-2020 window. I personally believe that the Feasts of Pentecost and Trumpets are the most likely “high watch dates” for the rapture in those years.
I also see connection between Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, and Ezekiel 38-39 and think they may occur concurrently in connection with the rapture of the church. I believe that if we see war, terrors from heaven, and earthquakes break out on a global scale all at once – these are the birthpains – it’s the Day! It’s the Hour!
Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Luke 21:28 ESV
Noah was told to enter the ark 7 days prior to the Great Flood beginning – perhaps we will know 7 days in advance of the “great flood of fire” that is to come upon the earth? We may or may not get advance notice. Regardless, I believe that on the day and in the hour, we will KNOW that it is TIME.
I have truly been blessed by the watching community this last year. I can hardly wait to meet all of you in person! I treasure all the brothers and sisters I have had the pleasure of watching alongside as we wrestle with feelings of excitement, discouragement, insight, defeat, and above all – hope and faith in our coming Redeemer. He is coming.
The Spirit and the Bride say “Come, Lord Jesus!”
Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape? If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!