LAST DAYS: Rapture and End Times Study

  1. PURPOSE OF PROPHESY

The bible is approximately 30% prophecy, which is history written in advance. Because so many prophecies have already been fulfilled, this is one of many ways to know the bible is true, with more accuracy than tomorrows newspaper. God always wants His covenant family to know what happens ahead of time (Gen 18:17, Deut 29:29, Amos 3:7, Luke 4:11, John 16:13). He also gives the length in time of the captivity (Gen 15:13, Jer 29:10, 25:11). Prophesy is written as encouragement for believers and a warning for unbelievers.

Those of us who know we are just pilgrims, here for a vapor like period of time look for our real permanent home in Him (James 4:14, Titus 2:13, Phil 3:20, 21, Hebrew 9:28, 2 Pet 3:12). He saves us by His grace, not by timing, giving us knowledge through His Word (2 Pet 1:2, 2:9). To sinners, or outsiders that day of the Lord will come as a thief (Mark 12:39, 1 Thess 5:2,2 Cor 3:3-6, 2 Pet 3:10, Heb 4:2. Rev14:9, 10), to His born again children (2 Cor 5:17), that day won’t surprise us (1 Thess 5:4-5), because He has not appointed us to wrath (Rom 5:8-9, 1 Thess 1:9-10, 5:9).

  1. DESCRIPTION OF THE DAY OF THE LORD

The Old testament describes “The Day of the Lord’ when His wrath is expressed on the earth for seven years and He takes vengeance on His enemies (Is 2:12-16, 13:6-13, 34:8-9, Jer 46:10, Eze 30:1-8, Joel 1:14-20, 2:1-11, Amos 5:15-17, Obadiah 1:15-21, Zeph 1:7-18, 2:1-2, Zech 14:1-2). These times are far from normal days of eating, drinking, planting and building like the days of Noah and Lot before destruction (Luke 17:26-30). But God took His people out before those afflictions, not during (Gen 7:16, 18:17).

  1. DESCRIPTION OF RAPTURE & 2ND COMING

The rapture and second coming are different period of time. The rapture is when we meet the Lord in the air, and the “second coming” is referred to the period after the seven year tribulation (42 months + 42 months Rev 6:16, 7:14/Rev 11:2, 13:5), when the Messiah rules and reigns for 1000 years (Rev 20:4). We know about different times that people were caught up in the clouds to be with the Lord. Enoch; after the 1st millennium (Gen 5:24), Elisha; after the 3rd millennium (2 Kings 2:11) and Jesus at the beginning of the 5th millennium. Then we see more caught up in the future, with the separation of the just and unjust for the marriage supper of the Lamb (1 Thess 4:16-18, Rev 14:14-19, Rev 18:4, 19:7-9, 20:6).

To understand God’s timing for past and future events, it’s helpful to look at Jewish holy days that are centered around harvest time(s) (Lev 23:1-42), which were a shadow of things to come (Col 1:27). Three times a year, all males 20 years and up were required to attend the harvest holidays (Ex 23:14-19). These were Passover, Pentecost and the Feasts of Tabernacles. There are three parts of the harvest: First-fruits, Main Harvest and the Gleaning. Traditionally, the priest would cut the first (1) ripened wheat with a sickle to sanctify the reset of the harvest (Ex 13:2), they would gather the main part (2) and leave the four corners (3) for the poor (Lev 19:10).

In the New Testament, we see the Lord waiting to come for His harvest (James 5:7). We see the first fruits gathering (1 Cor 15:23a, 1 Thess 4:17, 2 Thess 2:1), a main harvest (Rev 14:15) and a final gleaning (Matt 13:49, 1 Cor 15:23b, Eph 1:9, 10, Rev 18:4). In parallel, The barley harvest, which was winnowed with a big fork, tossed in the air, with the chaff easily separated by the wind. The wheat harvest, was harder to take away the wheat from the chaff. This was usually done with a ‘tribulon’ (Latin) or a hard board with glass and/or metal, sometimes pulled by animals. The grape harvest, the flesh of the grapes were crushed, to be harvested. In agreement, we pray for the latter rain for God’s harvest (Zech 10:1, 2). In turn, we’ve seen prophecies four prophesies fulfilled during the feast, and perhaps three others in the future:

Fulfilled (The First appearance of Jesus)

  • Passover – Jesus, the Passover lamb crucified (Rev 5:6)
  • Feast of unleavened bread (7 days) – Jesus buried & removed sin from us
  • First fruits – Jesus resurrected, the firstborn of every creature (Col 1:15)
  • 50 days after First Fruits: Pentecost – Holy Spirit fell on Jews and Gentiles

To be fulfilled (The Second appearance of Jesus)

  • Feasts of Trumpets (2 day feast) – Rapture prophesy: (1 Thess 4:16, 17 & 1 Cor 15:51, 52) On this holiday, Jews blow the shofar 100 times, with the last blow being the longest. 3500 years Jews have kept feast: AKA Rosh Hoshana; Yom Kippur.
  • 10 days after; Feasts of Atonement [All sins are forgiven]- 2nd Coming
  • 5 days after; Feast of Tabernacles (7 day feast, 7th month)- Eternity with God
  1. WHO’S GOING TO BE RAPTURED?

In the New Testament, Jesus made a distinction between servants and friends (John 8:35, 15:14-15). Friends were in God’s circle of revelation (Mark 4:11, Rev 3:10). Servants who didn’t know better were found beaten with a few stripes, servants who knew better were beaten with many (Luke 12:47-48). We’ve also seen another servant delivered to the tormentors until he paid his debt for unforgiveness (Matt 18:29, 30, 34). Some could go up in the first fruits rapture, others may go after taking stripes during the tribulation period. Incidentally Jesus describes 50% of people who knew better (Matt 25:2) and got shut out (Matt 25:10) of the wedding feast. There were also profitable and unprofitable servants (Matt 25:24-20). The latter would be cast into outer-darkness (Matt 25:31). He then describes the heart of people that were not servants of His brethren in need to go into everlasting fire (Matt 25:41, 46). And some people will depart from the faith, even commanding people not to eat meat (1 Tim 4:1) , following scoffers and teachers that fit their lifestyle (2 Tim 4:3, 2 Peter 3:3). These are likely to be fooled by pleasing their flesh (2 Thess 2:11).

5. WHAT ARE THE SIGNS?

In Matthew 24 the Jesus said every stone of the temple would be brought down. The disciples asked Him a three part question in private: “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” The first prophesy was fulfilled in 70 A.D. when Rome (led by Nero) surrounded Jerusalem and would not let them leave, killing over one million, including the ones who came from miles away to celebrate the Passover. After this destruction of the temple, John wrote the book of Revelation around 95 A.D., containing other events. Looking at perspectives from Mark 13:2-27 & Luke 17:20-37 we can see the prophecies of Jesus on latter day events.

The first to come is the beginning of sorrows and signs when the times are near; with the parable of a fig tree [represents Israel] (Matt 24:32-33), His coming in heaven (Matt 24:27), then the sign of the Son of man in heaven (Matt 24:30). Notice that people won’t just disappear without explanation (like in some movies), but every eye will see them (Rev 1:7, 6:15-17). In Luke He describes personal “raptures” in the day (Luke 17:31) and in the night (Luke 17:34). During the quick rapture, time will be different around the world when the Son of man is revealed (Luke 17:30).

6. WHAT IS THE TIME-LINE?

Jesus says this generation shall not pass, until everything is done (Mark 13:30). Although some count the generation from when Israel became a nation in 1948 in Jer 30:3 and Is 66:8, others count from the prophecy of Joel 3:2 and Zech 14:2—gathering the nations to war against Jerusalem. This gathering could not have taken place before the 1967 Six Day War, as it was not a “whole city” of which a half could be taken. A portion of Jerusalem had been captured 19 years earlier by Jordan, and no Jew was allowed in that part of the occupied city. There was no freedom of religion; only Islam was allowed. After 1967, it was reunited and administered wholly by the State of Israel. Currently, Jews have been able to have services their and blow the shofar. If you count generations from either point, you would have to estimate 40, 60, 70, 80 years as a generation, some of which have already passed. If you used generations as a kind of people, then you would rule generation out altogether (Mark 13:32). Some use the fig tree as symbol of Israel (Matt 24:32, Mark 13:28) relating to what is happening to Israel, but Jesus may have been to a nearby fig tree, since He says behold at the fig tree, and all the trees (Luke 21:29). Of course, if you use all the trees, you can refer to looking at the activities of all the nations, like those mentioned in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39.

Jesus said only the Father knows the day and hour (Mark 13:32). At first glance, this looks like we (or Jesus) wouldn’t have a ‘ballpark’ area of the time period of the rapture, but one of the Jewish events that was related to this saying is the ancient Jewish wedding tradition.

Ancient Jewish Wedding

  • Audience & disciples were well aware of this tradition
  • First a ‘Ketubah’ or Covenant was made between the father, son & bride. Joseph & Mary shared this tradition (Luke 1:27)
  • The son would prepare a place (Hoopah) for the bride (John 14:3)
  • The bride and her bridesmaids would wait around a year for her seven day wedding celebration (Matt 25:1-11)
  • After the son was finished, the father would make the final touches and at any time he was ready, mostly at night after a workday, would make the announcement to those who were watching and ready (Mark 13:33-36, 1 Thess 5:2-6). Only the father knew the time.

As stated before, since God reveals secrets to His covenant children, and He tells us to watch. Let’s look at some biblical patterns. The bible follows patterns of times in sevens:

Weeks:

  • The Week of Days— Six days of labor followed by a Sabbath of rest.
  • The Week of Weeks— Seven weeks or forty-nine days between Passover and the Feast of Pentecost, concluding with a Sabbath day of rest.
  • The Week of Months— The seven months containing the seven feasts of Israel, beginning with Passover in the Spring and concluding with the Feast of Tabernacles in the Fall, which is a celebration of rest from the agricultural labors of the year.
  • The Week of Years— Seven years followed by a Sabbath year, when the land is allowed to rest from cultivation.
  • The Week of Weeks of Years— Forty-nine yrs. leading up to the celebration in the 50th year of the Jubilee, and that year is to be a year of rest.
  • The Week of Millenniums— The idea that 6,000 years of human labor and strife will be followed by 1,000 years of rest during the Millennial Reign of the Messiah.

We can see in the week of millenniums, a week in time is as 1000 years as one day to God (Ps 90:4, Is 46:10, 2 Pet 3:8). The first 2000 years (or 40 jubilees), the Father spoke to man (Gen 3:9, 6:13) , the next 2000 years; the ‘pre-incarnate’ Son spoke and appeared to men (Gen 18, Ex 24:9, 10). Now, during the church age; the Holy Spirit speaks to us (John 14:26, 16:13). Two days (2000 years) after the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus the LORD will raise us up in the latter rain (Hos 6:1-3). Although there were some discrepancies from Hebrew lunar calendar dates before the time of Moses, The lunar solar calendars that added a leap month in the Jewish Calendar has matched up well to the Gregorian calendar.

In the case of Daniel, a Week was equal to 7 years. He talked about 69 [62 + 7] weeks from building to the ministry of Jesus (Dan 9:25); then another Week [7 years] (Dan 9:27). As a revealer of secrets, God let Daniel know from the Ezra’s building of the temple and government of God in Jerusalem in 457 B.C. (Ez 7:11-26) to the time of the Messiah would be 69 weeks of years (483 years), coming out to 27 A.D. Daniel tells when our Messiah comes from the time of rebuilding the temple.

The prophesy of an anointed Messiah beginning His ministry would happen the exact time prophesied (Dan 9:24, 25).

In the Hebrew calendar [year currently starts in September], Jesus died in their date of 3790. The current Jewish year is 5782. 5791 will be 2000 years after Jesus died and the church age began. 5790; 10 years from now – 7 tribulation yrs = 5783. In the Gregorian, Jesus died approximately 30 A.D. With the week of millenniums pattern adding 2000 years, beginning the last day of the week, the millennium Sabbath rest would start in 2030. Subtracting seven years of tribulation from there would point to a rapture in 2023.

7. HOW CAN YOU DETERMINE THE START OFF THE 5TH MILLENIUM?

The discrepancies of the years that Jesus could have died between A.D. 28-33, can be looked at by two viewpoints. First; the day of the week He died, and also the time He spent in the grave (Matt 12:40, Mark 8:31, Matt 28:1).

There would have to be three full days; to fulfill the prophesy of Jesus. In Jewish order, night begins before day time (Gen 1:5). Since Jesus died at the 3rd hour, or noontime (Luke 23:44-46), you could not count that as a full day. Since He had already risen on the Sabbath, before Sunday morning, you could not count that day to total three.

The closest Passover with a Wednesday start day  in the 28-33 range is A.D. 30.

8. WHICH JEWISH HOLIDAY TIES INTO THE RAPTURE?

The festival of trumpets at the Jewish New Year would be signified by the blowing of the shofar: 100 times. The last trump would be held the longest. Trumpets also marked spiritual invitations (Ex 19:13, Rev 4:1), barriers (walls of Jericho) falling down (Josh 6:7), and the announcement for the rapture and  Day of the Lord (Joel 2:1, Matt 24:31, 1 Cor 15:52, 1 Thess 4:16). This is a timeline from the pattern point of view:

  • [69 weeks of years -457 B.C. to 27 A.D.)
  • Starts ministry 27 A.D.
  • Jesus died A.D. 30 on Wednesday. Three days in grave: Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He Rose after 3 days
  • Jesus died Hebrew calendar (HC) 3790 on Passover
  • Current year 2021 = 5782
  • Begans {Rosh Hashana} sunset Tishri 9/18/2021
  • Ends  sunset Tishri 9/20/2021)
  • *Hebrew year starts September
  • 2000 years after death and resurrection = 5790 H.C. start of Last (7th) Millennium
  • 5790 -7 years of tribulation = 5783.
  • 2000 years after death and resurrection = 2030 A.D. start of Last (7th) Millennium
  • 2030 -7 years of tribulation  = 2023
  • 5783 Jewish year comes before 2023
  • Rosh Hashana 5783 sundown Friday Sep 15,2023 until nightfall Sunday 17 Sep 17,2023

Many assume the tribulation will happen right after the rapture (which is most likely), but there is no absolute supporting scripture for that. There are many prophesies for the seven year tribulation period and millennium, but no prophecies left for before the rapture (if you exclude Zech 10:1, Eph 4:11-13, James 5:7). It seems likely, but not 100% certain, the rapture and 2nd coming would come on an upcoming Rosh Hashana (beginning of year); the 2 day feasts of trumpets of any future year before the start of the last millenium. The Mishna (Jewish oral tradition) also called this day Yom Teruah (Day of awakening or blast), Yom Hadin (Day of Judgment), Yom HaZikron (Day of remembrance), and the wedding day of the Messiah; the day that no one knows.

After the rapture of Jesus, He only showed Himself to His friends (John 20:28). Although initially Jesus told His disciples it wasn’t for them to know the times and seasons (Acts 1:7), after the Spirit was given, Paul ministered them by the Holy Spirit (1 Thess 5:1). Right now we can’t give the exact day and time, but God’s children will know His voice and His trump. For those who watch and look for Him, He will change our bodies to be like His (Phil 3:20-21), and we shall be with the Lord forever (1 Cor 13:12, 1 John 3:2).