Thursday, September 20, 2012


Every year there's a rash of people declaring that THIS Rosh Hashanah will be WHEN Jesus Raptures the Church, and each year, it does NOT happen.  Why does this go on and on?

The usual answer this is given is this:  "Well, this WASN'T the year, so we'll NEED to wait until NEXT Rosh Hashanah."  However, that statement runs totally AGAINST the IMMINENCY of the Rapture.  How do we rectify these conflicting ideas?  What IS the truth here, and DOES the Bible give us any clues?

I believe it does!

As Rosh Hashanah proceeded into it's final moments PRIOR to the expected "blowing of the Last Trumpet" in Israel's feast, I decided to go with the flow of the event (even when deep in my heart I sensed I WOULD NOT hear "the Trump of God" from heaven concurrently).  I wrote in my journal and prayed throughout the countdown of the minutes (watching and hoping) yet already knowing I would be writing this article an hour or so later.  According to the calculations I saw posted on Facebook, the Last Trumpet in Israel would blow at around 8:39 am (my time).  As as it came and passed, I sat over my journal, recording my thoughts, and then I added the outcome that I expected.

I will begin by a direct quote from my journal in those minutes before 8:39 am (my time):

"It is now 8:32 am.  There is now 7 minutes until the expected Last Trumpet blast.  I will stop writing momentarily and pray.

"4 minutes to go now...  I continue to pray.

"The moment of truth is coming...

"8:40 am.  The time has come and passed.  I'm still here, and NOT surprised...

"Okay.  What happened?

"First of all, I DID observe the significances underlying the feast of Trumpets, and thought of those significances as the minutes passed in prayer.  I DID perform a "dress rehearsal" OF SORTS for the wedding of the Bride and the Lord, waiting and watching for the Bridegroom to appear.  That felt spiritually beneficial to me (even exciting), but it still leaves the question:  DOES the feast of Trumpets REALLY refer to the Rapture at all?  IS there an answer?

"Yesterday, when it was determined that the Last Trumpet in Israel would blow at 8:39 am (my time), I thought this:  It's setting a most specific date!  Even down to the minute!

"People, who expect the feast of Trumpets to fulfill the Rapture of the Church, get around the "not knowing the day or hour" issue by SAYING:  "This feast IS ONE in which the day or hour is NOT known, because the new moon MUST be seen by two witnesses BEFORE the the feast can begin.  Therefore, the day or hour of the feast of Trumpets IS unknown." 

But they FAIL to consider this:  Once the START of the feast is KNOWN, the timing of the Last Trumpet CAN BE determined.  The countdown begins.  Well, THE END of that countdown is to KNOW the day and the hour!  It's something that Jesus said WOULD NOT OCCUR.  We CANNOT KNOW the exact moment, or minute, of the Rapture--PERIOD!

"Yes, I had HOPED this Rosh Hashanah of 2012 would ACTUALLY be the time, but DEEP INSIDE, because of NOT KNOWING the day or the hour, I KNEW it could NOT be.  Yes, I watched and prayed--following the significance of the feast of Trumpets.  However, watching and praying is NOT a new thing for me.  I DO IT EVERY DAY!

"This morning, as I EXPECTED, I sit now and write THE REASONS why the Rapture could NOT happen concurrent with the events of Rosh Hashanah.  For one, Jesus said, 'Therefore be ye also ready:  for in such an hour as YE THINK NOT the Son of man cometh.'  Matthew 24:44."  (End of journal entry, for now)

I insert a teaching here:

Jesus was giving the example of the goodman (or master) of the house who DIDN'T WATCH.  Because that goodman did NOT WATCH, then his household would be broken up as the thief arrived.  Jesus elsewhere, said he is coming LIKE a thief to the people who are UNAWARE of the signs of the times around them.   IN the second half of Revelation 3:3 (to the dead Church of Sardis), Jesus warned:  "IF therefore you shall NOT WATCH, I will come on you AS A THIEF, and you shall NOT KNOW what hour I will come upon you."  This is paralleled by what Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in the the first epistle, chapter 5 and verses 1 to 4:  "But of the times and seasons, brethren, you have NO NEED that I write unto you.  For yourselves KNOW that THE DAY OF THE LORD so comes as a thief in the night.  For when they shall say, 'Peace and safety'; then SUDDEN DESTRUCTION will come upon them as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall NOT escape.  But YOU, brethren, are NOT in darkness, that THAT DAY should overtake you as a thief."

In other words, these scriptures tell us that a WATCHING and PRAYING Church will be WELL AWARE of the season we ARE IN!!!  We will SEE THE SIGNS that point to the nearness of the coming Tribulation hour, and THROUGH THAT we'll KNOW that the Rapture is even nearer!  There's a certain TENSION involved, because BY THE SIGNS, we'll KNOW that the coming of the Lord for His Church IS NEAR, but at the SAME time, we will NOT KNOW the exact day or hour.  So, we are exhorted to KEEP WATCHING, KEEP PRAYING and BE READY.

In Matthew 24:44, Jesus said, "...for in such an hour as YOU THINK NOT, the Son of man cometh."

To "think not" is TO NOT KNOW EXACTLY WHEN the Lord will arrive!  This means, that AS we watch and pray, and AS we KNOW by the SIGNS that the season of His return IS HERE, we still will NOT be able to determine THE DAY OR HOUR of His actual arrival!  On some particular day, in some particular moment, as we DO OUR DAILY ROUTINE, the Lord WILL appear, the Trumpet WILL blast, and we'll be CAUGHT UP in the air to meet the Lord in the Rapture.  The exhortation continues: BE READY!

Back to journal entry:

"There's ANOTHER reason why I DO NOT think that ANY Rosh Hashanah will fulfill the Rapture of the Church.

"These feasts of the Lord were GIVEN to Israel to OBSERVE.  (While the Church can indeed glean many PRECIOUS SPIRITUAL INSIGHTS from these feasts, and even ENJOY WHAT THESE FEASTS POINT TO in the powerful works of Jesus, these feasts still remain the primary domain of God working in His people, Israel.)  When Jesus FULFILLED the first 4 feasts ON THE VERY DAYS they were observed, it happened IN ISRAEL.  The Jews were the recipients of those fulfillments (and the Church was later GRAFTED into them).  Even PENTECOST, that feast which GAVE BIRTH TO THE CHURCH, was FULFILLED IN ISRAEL, and upon THE FIRST to enter the Church--who were JEWS!  The believing Apostles and 120 followers of Jesus, and the first Jews who were converted (3000 of them), entered THE CHURCH upon PENTECOST, in ISRAEL! 

"A little later, AFTER the majority in Israel had rejected Jesus, the message of the gospel, AND refused to believe in Jesus' death and resurrection for REBIRTH and NEW LIFE in the Lord under the New Covenant, God turned to the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name (in the Church).  The door was opened for THE FULNESS OF THE GENTILES to come in.  Romans 11:25.  The FULNESS of the Gentiles is THE FULL NUMBER who will enter the Church TO COMPLETE the Body of Christ.  When THE LAST Gentile comes into the Church, and makes up THE FULL NUMBER, then Jesus will come to Rapture His Church.  ONLY GOD KNOWS THAT NUMBER!  This is a STRONG REASON why we will NEVER know the day or the hour of our Lord's appearing to Rapture us.

"There remain 3 feasts of the Lord YET TO BE FULFILLED!  The feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah--the "head of the year"), Yom Kippur (the day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Tabernacles--when God will dwell among His people--the Millennium).  These last 3 feasts cover the events of the Second Coming of Jesus.  Because the first 4 were fulfilled IN ISRAEL, upon the VERY DAYS they were observed, then I'm confident that the last 3 will be fulfilled IN ISRAEL, and upon the VERY DAYS that they will be observed.

"A final reminder:  The Rapture is ALWAYS imminent!  While we WATCH the signs day by day, and sense so strongly in our spirits that the coming of the Lord is near, we also MUST UNDERSTAND, that NOT ONE PROPHECY MUST BE FULFILLED before the Lord appears. 

"We 'probably' WILL NOT see the fulfillment of Psalm 83, Isaiah 17, and Obadiah.  The MIDDLE EAST will EXPLODE into violence and destruction, with SHOCK WAVES which will reach out to INCLUDE other nations!  SUDDEN DESTRUCTION will have arrived.  And through the fulfillments of those prophecies, God will RESUME 'working' His program to restore and redeem Israel.  There's NO REASON to 'suspect' that the Church will witness those wars, because the Rapture is IMMINENT, and NO prophecy MUST be fulfilled BEFORE the Church is Raptured."  (End of journal entry.)

Additional insight:

Another understanding is this:  The Rapture of the Church will NOT be THE START of the 7 years of Tribulation!  Some time will UNFOLD between the Rapture and the start of the Tribulation.   Into that time BEFORE the day of the Lord, several events take place (I think there are four--but I'll cover the TWO I remember): 

(1.)  War in the Middle East.  (Unknowing people will THINK that the NEXT Middle East Wars will be the Tribulation and Armageddon!  Because of that, when Antichrist ARRIVES to bring his "peace", the world will think he is "their savior"--they will think he is Jesus, Messiah, and any other "god" that they follow.  It will ADD to the tremendous deception of that horrific time.) 

Where in scripture is it SHOWN that there will be war BEFORE the actual start of the Tribulation?

Joel 2:28-31 (which Peter quoted from in Acts 2:16-20 on the day of Pentecost, at the BIRTH of the Church):  "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:  and also upon the servants and handmaidens in those days will I pour out My Spirit.  And I will SHOW WONDERS IN THE HEAVENS, and in the earth, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND PILLARS OF SMOKE.  The sun shall be darkened, and the moon into blood, BEFORE the great and terrible DAY OF THE LORD come."

What causes blood, fire and pillars of smoke?  WAR!  This war will be BEFORE the day of the Lord, BEFORE the start of the 7-year Tribulation!

Fire is shown in Obadiah verse 18, which is a prophecy of the upcoming destruction of Esau, the plain of the Philistines (Palestinians)--thereby showing a parallel to the battle waged as in Psalm 83.  "And the house of Jacob shall be a FIRE, and the house of Joseph a FLAME, and the house of Esau for stubble (burned up), the they shall KINDLE (fire and smoke) in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the Lord has spoken it." 

Israel's IDF, backed by God Who is WITH them, will destroy the enemies who surround them (or as Bill Salus writes, "the INNER CIRCLE" of Israel's enemies will be brought to total ruin).

Where else do we see blood, great hailstones, fire and brimstone in conjunction to a war?  This war will also occur BEFORE the day of the Lord, BEFORE the start of the 7-year Tribulation.

Ezekiel 38:22:  "And I will plead against him (Gog/Magog and all the other countries joined in that invasion upon Israel) with pestilence an with BLOOD; and I will rain upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, FIRE, and BRIMSTONE (which will indeed create smoke)."  Many great hailstones will come WITH the fire, which tells me that Gog/Magog will be destroyed by a massive shower of meteors, or by accompanying volcanoes.  Zechariah 14:3 says that THE LORD will fight for Israel AS HE DID in the day of battle, and that "day of battle" was the long day of Joshua, recorded in Joshua 10:11-14.

Where is the Rapture of the Church in line with these wars? 

We look at what Peter quoted in Acts 2:16-20.  Peter DIRECTED this prophecy to the Church (already quoted above as seen from the book of Joel).  The FIRST PART of the prophecy speaks about the Holy Spirit being poured out upon ALL flesh.  That INDEED happened as the Church was BORN, and people were filled with the Holy Spirit.

But why did Peter include all that description of blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke?  How does THAT apply to the Church?

Look at it this way:  The prophecy includes THE FULL SCOPE of the Church Age--from it's beginning UNTIL it's end.  At THE FIRST, the Church was filled by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  At THE END of the Church Age, when the FULNESS OF THE GENTILES have come in, there will be seen BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND PILLARS OF SMOKE.  This suggests that THE END of the Church Age comes in conjunction with (or at the same time) as an EXPLOSION OF WAR in the Middle East which will bring SUDDEN DESTRUCTION upon the whole world.  Days that continue "as usual" will be OVERTURNED by destruction--through war, missile strikes, blood, fire, pillars of smoke, Martial Law, the collapse of the economy and the rise of a New World Order (which Antichrist will SEIZE THE REINS OF--when it's his time to come upon the scene).

So BEFORE the start of the Tribulation, wars in the Middle East WILL occur.  We see, even right now, that THE START of Middle East wars are ON the very brink--in a time BEFORE the start of the Tribulation.  In one instant, the missiles could fly--and the Church could fly, too, right into the air to meet Jesus in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture! 

And through the wars, God will resume His program for Israel, which will move forward to destroy the Gog/Magog Invasion, which would, in turn, bring in the Antichrist to proclaim "peace" and confirm the covenant with the many for 7-years (which will give Israel a 3 1/2 year respite, BUT will NOT bring peace to the world--because in heaven, the second seal will be broken, and the red horse of EVEN MORE WAR will be sent across the earth).

Therefore the Psalm 83 War, Isaiah 17, Obadiah, parts of Isaiah 19 and parts of Jeremiah 49 WILL be fulfilled BEFORE the start of the Tribulation.  In addition, the Gog/Magog Invasion of Israel will be fulfilled BEFORE the start of the Tribulation.

The Church will witness the blood, fire and pillars of smoke at THE END of it's time on earth.  When the SUDDEN DESTRUCTION of the Middle East Wars commence, the Church will be Raptured.  We may even fly up to meet Jesus through pillars of smoke.

I had one dream (in 1980) in which I was Raptured at the same time that Washington, D.C. was set on fire.  We will be gone--and THE SUDDEN DESTRUCTION will hit the world.  Evil will then be totally UNRESTRAINED!

(2.)  The prophet Elijah will appear on the earth BEFORE the start of the Tribulation.  Where can we find that in scripture?

Malachi 4:5-6:  "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet BEFORE the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.  And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

We can assume that SINCE Elijah the prophet will come BEFORE the start of the Tribulation, then the second prophet (who is most likely Moses) will arrive then, too.  These will start the process of reconciliation in the hearts of the Israeli people.  When is this likely to begin?

It's when God starts to restore and redeem Israel AFTER the age of the Church is complete.  What is one result of the Gog/Magog Invasion as recorded in Ezekiel 38 and 39?

We see it recorded in Ezekiel 39:6-8:  "And I will send FIRE on Magog, AND among them that dwell carelessly in the isles:  and they shall KNOW that I am the Lord.  So will I make My holy name known in THE MIDST of My people Israel; and I will not let them pollute My holy name any more:  and the heathen shall KNOW that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel.  Behold, is is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God; this is THE DAY whereof I have spoken."

This is THE BEGINNING of the Lord bringing His people back to Himself.  It is THE DAY the Lord has declared, THE DAY OF THE LORD has finally arrived--and it will yet be FILLED with judgments and God pleading with His people.  God will strive with them, not allowing them to get away with polluting His name anymore. 

In the midst of the destruction of Gog/Magog, the two witnesses for Israel will arrive.  The prophet Elijah will come BEFORE the start of the day of the Lord, BEFORE the start of the 7-year Tribulation (perhaps just days or weeks BEFORE).  They will do the work of the Lord--in turning the hearts of the Israeli people toward God.

The Church MUST be Raptured BEFORE God turns His attention to the restoration and redeeming of His people, Israel.

Along with the Middle East wars occurring, the final stages of establishing the New World Order (a One-World-Government) must happen.  IN the outcome of all of that, the U.S. Constitution will be taken over (or be brought down) by the New World Order.  As part of the world system of the end, the U.S. will align with the 10 Regions (or 10 kings) which will give themselves to the Antichrist.  Of course, this will be GREATLY JUDGED by God.  That's part of the SUDDEN DESTRUCTION which will befall the end time world.

The Church will have NO PART in that according to 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11.

When will the feast of Trumpets be FULFILLED?  It will occur in the events of the Second Coming of Jesus, as it APPLIES to Israel.  It may be that the feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah ("the HEAD of the year", the START of the year) will be THE DAY when the Antichrist confirms the covenant and BEGINS the 7-years of The Tribulation. 

As I have noted above, WHEN the Church is Raptured, it does NOT MEAN that the Tribulation INSTANTLY STARTS then.  By a careful look at the scripture, we can see several events which will happen BEFORE the Tribulation.  So therefore, the Church will be Raptured (during a time of blood, fire and pillars of smoke), and then weeks, months, or maybe even years--COULD transpire BEFORE the actual START of the Tribulation.

I wrote all of this to say:  there are SOLID REASONS why the Rapture can NOT happen concurrent with the events of Rosh Hashanah. 

We DO NOT NEED to wait until NEXT YEAR before we AGAIN EXPECT Jesus to Rapture us.  The Rapture is ALWAYS imminent.  So keep WATCHING, keep PRAYING, and EXPECT Jesus to appear for us in ANY MOMENT, in ANY TWINKLING of the eye.

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

In the same way, with events in the Middle East being such a POWDER KEG, we can expect THE SUDDEN DESTRUCTION to happen in ANY INSTANT, too!  Keep looking up, for our redemption draws near!  Luke 21:28.

Luke 21:36:  "WATCH ye therefore, and PRAY ALWAYS, that ye may be accounted worthy TO ESCAPE ALL these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

To STAND BEFORE the Son of man is to be at His Throne in heaven.  To be ACCOUNTED WORTHY is to HAVE FAITH (absolute belief, confidence and reliance) in what He did to take away our sin when He died on the cross.  It's to BE BORN AGAIN by inviting Him into our hearts and lives, and therefore we LIVE by faith IN HIS RESURRECTION life.  For we are made NEW CREATURES in Him.  2 Corinthians 5:17. 

We ARE accounted worthy WHEN we have placed such TRUST in Jesus.  Therefore, rejoice, because we have A BLESSED HOPE (even in the midst of such an increasingly evil world)!

Titus 2:13:  "Looking for that BLESSED HOPE, and the GLORIOUS APPEARING of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ."


In the precious name of Jesus,