Appendix 1: Biblical Chronology
No One Knows…
What God has (and hasn’t) told us
about the chronology of the Last Days
My thoughts on God’s timing were scattered throughout The End of the Beginning, since the book wasn’t, strictly speaking, about His schedule. However, because my conclusions are apt to raise a few eyebrows, I have provided the following appendix to bring all the data together in one place, hoping to clarify the issue.
The End of the Beginning was written to explore every yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecy in the Bible. It was not written to advance some previously held theological agenda of mine. In fact, quite the opposite is true: when I began my study I determined a willingness to abandon any of my long-held beliefs concerning prophecy if the weight of scripture demanded it. And I must admit, there were a few areas where I got surprised (nothing fundamental, I was pleased to discover—just nuances and details).
For instance, I found out there was a lot more to God’s revealed timetable than I’d previously realized. Like most evangelicals, I had long believed that Yahweh had given us no more than hints and generalized signs as to when the events of the Last Days would occur, and I was okay with that. I had a vague notion that there was an order of events that might be worked out to some extent, but in absolute terms, I was “certain” that God had decided to keep all the dates a secret—for our own good. Now, I’m not so sure. No, let me rephrase that: now, I am virtually certain that God did reveal many of the dates pertinent to a study of the Last Days (though not all of them—the rapture’s date is left unspecified).
My cherished mindset on the subject was, like everybody else’s, shaped by such passages as, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matthew 25:13), or “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (Matthew 24:36) In light of these scriptures, most Christians today simply throw their hands in the air and say See, we can’t know anything about the timing of Christ’s return. Careful exegesis, however, will reveal that there are some things we can know. We’ll return to these texts later, for if we want to know what Yahshua was really talking about, we’ll need to study the words and the context—carefully.
The pitfalls of “date setting,” of course, are legendary and well documented. History is replete with people who, for one reason or another, thought they could predict when the “end of the world” would occur. The following list of second-coming prognostications is from a wonderful website, Todd Strandberg’s RaptureReady.com. Although almost certainly incomplete by a wide margin, it makes two things perfectly clear: (1) There is no end to mankind’s fascination with apocalyptic theories—it’s as if something within us knows our fallen race can’t last forever, and (2) nobody’s paying much attention to the actual words of scripture.
53 AD Even before all the books of the Bible were written, there was talk that Christ’s return had already taken place. The Thessalonians panicked on Paul when they heard a rumor that the day of the Lord was at hand, and they had missed the rapture.
500 A Roman priest living in the second century predicted Christ would return in 500 AD, based on the dimensions of Noah’s ark.
1000 This year goes down as one of the most heightened periods of hysteria over the return of Christ. All members of society seemed affected by the prediction that Jesus was coming back at the start of the new millennium. None of the events required by the Bible were transpiring at that time; the magic of the number 1000 was the sole reason for the expectation. During concluding months of 999 AD, everyone was on his best behavior; worldly goods were sold and given to the poor; swarms of pilgrims headed east to meet the Lord at Jerusalem; buildings went unrepaired; crops were left unplanted; and criminals were set free from jails. When the year 999 AD turned into 1000 AD, nothing happened.
1033 This year was cited as the beginning of the millennium because it marked 1,000 years since Christ’s crucifixion.
1186 The “Letter of Toledo” warned everyone to hide in the caves and mountains. The world was reportedly to be destroyed with only a few spared.
1420 The Taborites of Czechoslovakia predicted every city would be annihilated by fire. Only five mountain strongholds would be saved.
1524-1526 Muntzer, a leader of German peasants, announced that the return of Christ was near. After Muntzer and his men destroyed the high and mighty, the Lord would supposedly return. This belief led to an uneven battle against government troops. He was strategically outnumbered. Muntzer claimed to have had a vision from God in which the Lord promised that He would catch the cannonballs of the enemy in the sleeves of His cloak. The prediction within the vision turned out to be false when Muntzer and his followers were mowed down by cannon fire.
1534 A repeat of the Muntzer affair occurred a few years later. This time, Jan Matthys took over the city of Munster. The city was to be the only one spared from destruction. The inhabitants of Munster, chased out by Matthys and his men, regrouped and lay siege to the city. Within a year, everyone in the city was dead.
1650-1660 The Fifth Monarchy Men looked for Jesus to establish a theocracy. They took up arms and tried to seize England by force. The movement died when the British monarchy was restored in 1660.
1666 For the citizens of London, 1666 was not a banner year. A bubonic plague outbreak killed 100,000 and the Great Fire of London struck the same year. The world seemed at an end to most Londoners. The fact that the year ended with the Beast’s number—666—didn’t help matters.
1809 Mary Bateman, who specialized in fortune telling, had a magic chicken that laid eggs with end-time messages on them. One message said that Christ was coming. The uproar she created ended when an unannounced visitor caught her forcing an egg into the hen’s oviduct. Mary later was hanged for poisoning a wealthy client. History does not record whether the offended chicken attended the hanging.
1814 Spiritualist Joanna Southcott made the startling claim that she, by virgin birth, would produce the second Jesus Christ. Her abdomen began to swell and so did the crowds of people around her. The time for the birth came and passed; she died soon after. An autopsy revealed she had experienced a false pregnancy.
1836 John Wesley wrote that “the time, times and half a time” of Revelation 12:14 were 1058-1836, “when Christ should come” (A. M. Morris, The Prophecies Unveiled, p. 361).
1843-1844 William Miller was the founder of an end-times movement that was so prominent it received its own name, Millerism. From his studies of the Bible, Miller determined that the second coming would happen sometime between 1843-1844. A spectacular meteor shower in 1833 gave the movement a good push forward. The buildup of anticipation continued until March 21, 1844, when Miller’s one-year timetable ran out. Some followers set another date—October 22, 1844. This too failed, collapsing the movement. One follower described the days after the failed predictions: “The world made merry over the old Prophet’s predicament. The taunts and jeers of the ‘scoffers’ were well-nigh unbearable.”
1859 Rev. Thomas Parker, a Massachusetts minister, looked for the millennium to start about 1859.
1881 Someone called Mother Shipton had, 400 years earlier, claimed that the world would end in 1881. A controversy hangs over the Shipton writings as to whether or not publishers doctored the text. If the date was wrong, should it matter anyway?
1910 The revisit of Halley’s comet was, for many, an indication of the Lord’s second coming. The earth actually passed through the gaseous tail of the comet. One enterprising man sold comet pills to people for protection against the effects of the toxic gases.
1914 Charles Russell, after being exposed to the teachings of William Miller, founded his own organization that evolved into the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 1914, Russell predicted the return of Jesus Christ.
1918 In 1918, new math didn’t help the Witnesses from striking out again.
1925 The Witnesses had no better luck in 1925. They already possessed the title of “Most Wrong Predictions.” They would expand upon it in the years to come.
1941 Once again, Jehovah’s Witnesses believed that Armageddon was due. Before the end of 1941, the end of all things was predicted.
1967 When the city of Jerusalem was reclaimed by the Jews in 1967, prophecy watchers declared that the “Time of the Gentiles” had come to an end.
1970 The True Light Church of Christ made its claim to fame by incorrectly forecasting the return of Jesus. A number of church members had quit their livelihoods ahead of the promised advent.
1973 A comet that turned out to be a visual disappointment nonetheless compelled one preacher to announce that it would be a sign of the Lord’s return.
1975 The Jehovah’s Witnesses were back at it in 1975. The failure of the forecast did not affect the growth of the movement. The Watchtower magazine, a major Witness periodical, has over 13 million subscribers.
1977 We all remember the killer bee scare of the late 1970’s. One prophecy prognosticator linked the bees to Revelation 9:3-12. After 20 years of progression, the bees are still in Texas. I’m beginning to think of them as the killer snails.
1981 One author boldly declared that the rapture would occur before December 31, 1981, based on Christian prophecy, astronomy, and a dash of ecological fatalism. He pegged the date to Jesus’ promised return to earth a generation after Israel’s rebirth. He also made references to the “Jupiter Effect,” a planetary alignment occurring every 179 years that supposedly could lead to earthquakes and nuclear plant meltdowns.
1982 It was all going to end in 1982, when the planets lined up and created magnetic forces that would bring Armageddon to the earth.
1982 A group called the Tara Centers placed full-page advertisements in many major newspapers for the weekend of April 24-25, 1982, announcing: “The Christ is Now Here!” They predicted that He was to make himself known “within the next two months.” After the date passed, they said that the delay was only because the “consciousness of the human race was not quite right...” All these years and we’re still not ready.
1984 The Jehovah’s Witnesses made sure, in 1984, that no one else would be able to top their record of most wrong doomsday predictions. The Witnesses’ record currently holds at nine. The years are: 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1984. Lately, the JWs are claiming they’re out of the prediction business, but it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. They’ll be back.
1987 The Harmonic Convergence was planned for August 16-17, 1987, and several New Age events were also to occur at that time. The second coming of the serpent god of peace and the Hopi dance awakening were two examples.
1988 The book, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988, came out only a few months before the event was to take place. What little time the book had, it used effectively. By the time the predicted dates, September 11-13, rolled around, whole churches were caught up in the excitement the book generated.
1989 After the passing of the deadline in 88 Reasons, the author, Edgar Whisenant, came out with a new book called 89 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1989. This book sold only a fraction of the number of copies his prior release had sold.
1991 A group in Australia predicted Jesus would return through the Sydney Harbor at 9 a.m., March 31, 1991.
1991 Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan proclaimed the Gulf War would be “the War of Armageddon…the final War.”
1991 Menachem Schneerson, a Russian-born rabbi, called for the Messiah to come by September 9, 1991, the start of the Jewish New Year.
1992 A Korean group called Mission for the Coming Days had the Korea Church in an uproar in the fall of 1992. They foresaw October 28, 1992 as the date for the rapture. Numerology was the basis for the date. Several camera shots that left ghostly images on pictures were thought to be a supernatural confirmation of the date.
1993 If the year 2000 is the end of the 6,000-year cycle, then the rapture must take place in 1993, because you would need seven years of the tribulation. This was the thinking of a number of prophecy writers.
1994 In the book, 1994: The Year of Destiny , F. M. Riley foretold of God’s plan to rapture His people. The name of his ministry is “The Last Call,” and he operates out of Missouri.
1994 Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church in Los Angeles caused quite a stir when he announced he had received a vision from God that warned of apocalyptic event on June 9, 1994. Hinkle, quoting God, said, “On Thursday June the 9th, I will rip the evil out of this world.” Some people tried to interpret Hinkle’s unscriptural vision to mean that God would the rip evil out of our hearts when He raptured us. The date came and went with no heart surgery or rapture.
1994 Harold Camping, in his book Are You Ready?, predicted the Lord would return in September 1994. The book was full of numerology that added up to 1994 as the date of Christ’s return. [Camping would guess wrong again, but this time amid widespread (and gleeful) mainstream media hoopla, predicting that the final destruction of the world would take place on October 21, 2011.]
1994 After promising they would not make anymore end time predictions, the Jehovah’s Witnesses fell off the wagon and proclaimed 1994 as the conclusion of an 80-year generation; the year 1914 was the starting point.
1996 This year had a special month, according to one author who foresaw September as the time for our Lord’s return. The Church Age, he said, would last 2,000 years from the time of Christ’s birth in 4 BC.
1996 California psychic Sheldon Nidle predicted the end would come with the convergence of 16 million space ships and a host of angels upon the earth on December 17, 1996. Nidle explained the passing of the date by claiming the angels placed us in a holographic projection to preserve us and give us a second chance.
1997 Two widely known time estimates were Monte Judah’s prediction that the tribulation would begin in February/March and another prediction based on numerology and the Psalms that targeted May 14 as the date of the rapture.
1997 When Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed their peace pact on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, some saw the events as the beginning of tribulation. With the signing of the peace agreement, Daniel’s 1,260-day countdown was underway. By adding 1,260 days to September 1993, you arrive at February 24, 1997.
1997 Stan Johnson of the Prophecy Club saw a “90 percent” chance that the tribulation would start September 12, 1997. He based his conclusion on several end-time signs: that would be Jesus’ 2,000th birthday and it would also be the Day of Atonement, although it wouldn’t be what is currently the Jewish Day of Atonement. Further supporting evidence came from Romanian pastor Dumitru Duduman. In several heavenly visions, Dumitru claimed to have seen the Book of Life. In one of his earlier visions, there were several pages yet to be completed. In his last vision, he noticed the Book of Life only had one page left. Doing some rough calculating, Johnson and friends figured the latest time frame for the completion of the book would have to be September 1997.
1998 Numerology: Because 666 times three equals 1998, some people point to this year as being prophetically significant.
1998 A Taiwanese cult operating out of Garland, Texas predicted Christ would return on March 31 of 1998. The group’s leader, Heng-ming Chen, announced God would return and then invite the cult members aboard a UFO. The group abandoned their prediction when a precursor event failed to take place. The cult’s leader had said that God would appear on channel 18 of every TV in the world. Maybe God realized at the last minute, the Playboy Network was channel 18 on several cable systems, and He didn’t want to have Christians watching a porn channel.
1998 On April 30, 1998, Israel was to turn 50 and many believed this birthday would mark the beginning of the tribulation. The reasoning behind this date has to do with God’s age requirement for the priesthood, which is between 30-50.
1998 Marilyn Agee, in her book, The End of the Age, had her sights set on May 31, 1998. This date was to conclude the 6,000-year cycle from the time of Adam. Agee looked for the rapture to take place on Pentecost, which is also known as “the Feast of Weeks.” Another indicator of this date was the fact that the Holy Spirit did not descend upon the apostles until 50 days after Christ’s resurrection. Israel was born in 1948; add the 50 days as years and you come up with 1998. After her May 31 rapture date failed, Agee, unable to face up to her error, continued her date setting by using various Scripture references to point to June 7, 14, 21 and about 10 other dates.
1999 At least you can’t call Marilyn Agee a quitter. After bombing out badly several times in 1998, Marilyn set a new date for the rapture: May 21 or 22 of this year.
1999 TV newscaster-turned-psychic Charles Criswell King had said in 1968 that the world as we know it would cease to exist on August 18, 1999.
1999 Philip Berg, a rabbi at the Kabbalah Learning Center in New York, proclaimed that the end might arrive on September 11, 1999, when “a ball of fire will descend . . . destroying almost all of mankind, all vegetation, all forms of life.”
2000 Numerology: If you divide 2,000 by 3, you will get the devil’s number: 666.66666666666667.
2000 The names of the people and organizations that called for the return of Christ at the turn of the century is too long to be listed here. If there were ever a day on which Christ could not return, it had to have been January 1, 2000.
2000 On May 5, 2000, all of the planets were supposed to have been in alignment. This was said to cause the earth to suffer earthquakes, volcanic eruption, and various other nasty stuff. A similar alignment occurred in 1982 and nothing happened. People failed to realize that the other nine planets only exert a very tiny gravitational pull on the earth. If you were to add up the gravitational force from the rest of the planets, the total would only amount to a fraction of the tug the moon has on the earth.
2000 According to Michael Rood, the end times have a prophetically complicated connection to Israel’s spring barley harvest. The Day of the Lord began on May 5, 2000. Rood’s fall feast calendar called for the Russian Gog-Magog invasion of Israel to take place at sundown on October 28, 2000.
2000-2001 Dr. Dale SumburËru looked for March 22, 1997 to be “the date when all the dramatic events leading through the tribulation to the return of Christ should begin.” The actual date of Christ’s return could be somewhere between July 2000 and March 2001. Dr. SumburËru is more general about the timing of Christ’s second coming than most writers. He states, “The day the Lord returns is currently unknown because He [Jesus] said these days are cut short and it is not yet clear by how much and in what manner they are cut short. If the above assumptions are not correct, my margin of error would be in weeks, or perhaps months.”
2002 Priests from Cuba’s Afro-Caribbean Yoruba religion predicted a dramatic year of tragedy and crisis for the world in 2002, ranging from coups and war to disease and flooding.
2004 This date for Jesus’ return is based upon psalmology, numerology, the biblical 360 days per year, Jewish holidays, and “biblical astronomy.” To figure out this date, you’ll need a calculator, a slide rule, and plenty of scratch paper.
2011-2018 For the past several decades, Jack Van Impe has hinted at nearly every year as being the time for the rapture. Normally, he has only gone out one or two years from the current calendar year. However, Jack’s latest projection for the rapture goes out several years. His new math uses 51 years as the length of a generation. If you add 51 years to 1967, the year Israel recaptured Jerusalem, you get 2018. Once you subtract the seven-year tribulation period, you arrive at 2011.
2012 New Age writers cite Mayan and Aztec calendars that predict the end of the age on December 21, 2012.
2060 Sir Isaac Newton, Britain’s greatest scientist, spent 50 years and wrote 4,500 pages trying to predict when the end of the world was coming. The most definitive date he set for the apocalypse, which he scribbled on a scrap of paper, was 2060.
Thanks again to RaptureReady.com and Todd Strandberg’s sagacious recounting of the history of prophetic foolishness. Most of these dates, of course, can be explained with the simple phrase, You weren’t paying attention to what Yahweh’s scriptures actually said, were you, boys and girls? Obfuscating the issue, Strandberg goes on to note, “An untold number of people have tried to predict the Lord’s return by using elaborate timetables. Most date setters do not realize that mankind has not kept an unwavering record of time. Anyone wanting to chart, for example, 100 BC to 2000 AD, would have to contend with the fact that 46 BC was 445 days long [due to badly needed adjustments imposed at the introduction of the Julian calendar], there was no year 0 BC, and in 1582 we switched from Julian Years (360 days) to Gregorian (365 days).” Strandberg is wrong here—the Julian year worked out to 365 days and six hours—about eleven minutes longer than the actual astronomical year. Pope Gregory merely fine-tuned the Julian calendar, introducing the provision to suppress certain leap years in order to keep the vernal equinox hovering around March 21. Strandberg concludes, “Because most prognosticators are not aware of all of these errors, their math is immediately off by several years.”
This is all somewhat misleading. Ancient man was fully aware that a solar year was about 365¼ days long. (As early as 200 B.C., the Babylonian Jew Rab Adda had calculated the year to within seven minutes of the correct value—an amazing achievement.) The only thing that’s changed is the method we’ve used to reconcile the lunar cycle with the solar—tinkering with the number of months per year, the days in each month, and the number and placement of intercalary (compensating) months. But how we’ve chosen to manage our calendars over the years has absolutely nothing to do with the actual passage of time.
There are a few factors that conspire to muddy the waters of our understanding even further. First, if there’s one category of text of which we can be less than confident in our translations, it’s numbers. Neither the Hebrew nor Greek originals used “numerals” as we know them; rather, letters were pressed into service to indicate numbers. For example, the Hebrew letter Aleph (א) stands in for “one,” as does the Greek Alpha (α). The context and conventions of usage are supposed to tell scholars what number was meant. Worse, some paleo-Hebrew texts used the old Egyptian system employing lines for numbers, markings which were easily obscured or obliterated on papyrus scrolls.
The disturbing fact is that there are many discrepancies in regard to numbers between the Septuagint (the circa-275 B.C. translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek), the Masoretic text—the Hebrew Old Covenant text handed down by generations of scribes called Masoretes (literally, “transmitters”) between about 500 and 1000 A.D., culminating in the widely accepted 1524 text of Jacob ben Chayyim —and the Samaritan Pentateuch. And the evidence, remarkably enough, indicates that the Septuagint and Samaritan translation may actually be more faithful to the original meaning in many cases. This might (or might not) adversely affect our accurate understanding of time periods discussed in the Old Testament. It surely makes it harder to be dogmatic.
Second, Yahweh is not using a man-made calendar. Our Gregorian date milestones—like 1000 or 2000—mean nothing to Him. His inspired explanation is found in Genesis 1:14, when He said, “Let there be lights in the firmament (or expanse) of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, for days and years.” Both the sun and the moon, and even the visible stars, would be used to define our reckoning of the passage of time. The earth spins on an axis tilted 23.5 degrees out of perpendicular to its orbit around the sun. It is this tilt that gives us our changing seasons, and without it we would have no convenient way of knowing that our year is 365.24219879 days long. The moon takes about 27.3 days (the “sidereal month”) to orbit the earth, but because the earth itself is in motion in its orbit around the sun, it takes 29.530588 days (the “synodic month”) to return to the same relative point in our celestial sphere—this synodic month is marked by our observation of the phases of the moon.
So since Yahweh has informed us that He’s not exclusively using the sun as our timekeeper, what sort of calendar is He using? Since His dealings with mankind have been primarily through the Hebrews, we should enquire as to how they historically calculated their years. But when we do this, we immediately run into trouble, because they were not consistent throughout their history. Under Egyptian captivity, they most likely conformed to the established local system of twelve months of thirty days plus five additional days (as recorded by Herodotus). But in Exodus 12:2 (the passage introducing the Feast of Passover) we are informed that the year was to begin at the new moon of the month of Abib (see Exodus 23:15), now called Nisan. That is, the first day of the year would fall on the new moon closest to the vernal, or spring, equinox. Passover, which would fall on the 14th day of that month, would thus coincide with the full moon.
So forget the Egyptian system of counting days. Yahweh had put Israel on a simple lunar calendar: twelve months whose beginnings were marked by the sighting of the first sliver of the new moon—totaling about 354 days. For a simple agrarian society, this was a practical, low-tech way to mark time. They weren’t stupid, of course; they knew they had to make adjustments now and then to keep the solar seasons in the right place on the calendar, so they added an intercalary month every so often, just as we add a leap-year day once every four years. With new-year’s day in the spring as Yahweh instituted, they could check their calendar by picking some barley from their fields and roasting it. If it was not yet ripe (which, not coincidentally, is what the Hebrew word abib means), it would jump around in the pan because of the excess water trapped in the kernels—telling them that they needed to add an intercalary month. In practice, it worked out to seven of every nineteen years that such an intercalary month would be added just before Abib/Nisan. (Speaking of stupidity, Muhammad, in his ignorant arrogance, outlawed the intercalary month being used in Arabia to keep the seasons in place—and thereby doomed dar al-Islam to a useless lunar calendar whose months wander around it in endless confusion—an apt metaphor for this whole satanic religion.)
The Babylonians used a similar lunar calendar, but their astronomers worked out a sophisticated nineteen-year cycle into which were interspersed seven intercalary months, either in the month of Ululu (August/September) or Addaru (February/March). Used as far back as the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 B.C.), it was accurate to within two hours, four minutes, twenty-five seconds per year. This calendar is practically identical to the Hebrews’ with the exception of the date of insertion for the intercalary years. The complexity of this lunar calendar, however, eventually led to the introduction in Babylon (as it had in Egypt) of a simplified civil calendar of twelve months of thirty days each, with a five-day chaser at the end. The Chaldeans ran this “schematic calendar” right alongside the lunar version, without regard for the actual phases of the moon. Thus the Israelites under Babylonian captivity would have been familiar with this system of reckoning as well. Indeed, in captivity, Israel abandoned their God-mandated springtime New Year’s Day in favor of the Babylonians’ fall date, making their Rosh Hashanah, or “head of the year” fall on the feast of Trumpets in autumn instead of in our March or April, where it belongs.
The currently used Hebrew calendar is lunar based, but with a complicated formula that will give an ordinary (non-leap) year either 353, 354, or 355 days. (It’s been tweaked by Rabbinical tradition to avoid putting Yom Kippur on a Friday or Sunday, among other things—factors that Yahweh never ordained. The rabbis are clueless to the concept that the seven annual “feasts” of Yahweh—the moedim (appointed times) or miqra’ey (convocations)—are to have only one definitive occurrence each in an historical setting. The first four took place on the very dates of their scriptural mandates—on Sabbath days when required—so we can count on the last three following suit.) A rabbinically adjusted leap year (one that includes a thirty-day intercalary month called Veadar, or Adar II) will have 383, 384, or 385 days. The three lengths of the years are termed “deficient,” “regular,” and “complete,” respectively.
But during the age of the prophets, this kind of Rabbinical meddling hadn’t yet taken hold. Either the Levitical lunar year or the simplified Babylonian 360-day schematic calendar was in use among the Jews. The question is: what system did God use when delivering His prophecies? To find out, we need to do a little reverse engineering: if there were a prophecy that specified an elapsed time, we could figure out when it had been fulfilled and then work backward to calculate the length of Yahweh’s “prophetic year.” Is there such a prophecy? (Gimme a break. Would I have asked the question if there weren’t?)
Daniel’s sweeping prophecy outlining the course of Jewish destiny contains this statement: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.” (Daniel 9:25) The whole story is recounted in detail in chapter 7 of The End of the Beginning, so I’ll just hit the high spots. The “command to restore and build Jerusalem” was issued by the Persian king Artaxerxes Longimanus on the first day of Nisan, 444 B.C. Seven “weeks,” or seven-prophetic-year periods later, Jerusalem’s “street” and “wall” had been built, just as the prophecy had specified. And sixty-two septades (Is that a word? It should be.) later—i.e., another 434 prophetic years, adding up to 483 total—Messiah the Prince was to come. And only after that time would he be “cut off”—killed for crimes he had not committed.
If you count your “weeks” or “sevens” (Hebrew: shabua) with 365¼-day solar years, the date comes out to March 3, 39 A.D. (or thereabouts). Was anybody with Messianic aspirations doing anything to announce or advance his mission in 39? If there was, history doesn’t record it. Ask yourself this, especially if you’re a Jew: “What are the chances that the true Messiah showed up in Jerusalem and nobody noticed?” So Daniel’s “sevens” are apparently not comprised of solar years (nor did his prophecy say they were).
There is a persistent hypothesis among some Christian researchers that the antediluvian earth year was not 365¼ days long, but an even 360. We are not told this outright anywhere in scripture you understand, but the record of Noah’s flood in Genesis 6 through 9 provides some hints. Comparing Genesis 7:11 with 8:3-4 we see a period of exactly five months (i.e., the 17th day of the second month to the 17th of the seventh month) identified as “150 days.” This works out to five months of thirty days each, a reckoning that fits neither the lunar calendar nor a 365¼-day year, but extrapolates out nicely to an even 360-day year. Add to this the evidence that all fifteen of the most ancient calendars used a 360-day system. Herodotus reported that the ancient Greeks had a 360-day year, as did Plutarch of the early Romans. In the new world, both the Mayan and Inca calendars employed the same system. So did the Sumerian, Hindu, and Chinese cultures. Granted, this is all circumstantial evidence, but it’s evidence nonetheless.
Now factor in the enigmatic promise God made to Noah in Genesis 8:22—“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” This would really be an odd thing to say under the circumstances if Noah and his forebears had always experienced radical seasonal weather changes. But if Yahweh tipped the axis of the earth to its present 23.5 degrees relative to its orbit around the sun at the time of the flood, then it all makes perfect sense. And if He changed the earth’s axis, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that he slowed down our planet’s solar orbit by a percentage point or two at the same time. The differences between the way the earth was described before the flood and what we see now could all be accounted for by an increase in axis angle and decrease in rotation speed.
The case can also be made that the shift from 360 to 365¼ day years came about in 705 B.C., when a very large object in space flew past the earth—close enough to shift the position of the poles. (All of the available ancient archives mention this auspicious event as well.) It’s recorded in the Tanach thus: “And the word of Yahweh came to Isaiah, saying, ‘Go and tell Hezekiah, “Thus says Yahweh, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city. And this is the sign to you from Yahweh, that Yahweh will do this thing which He has spoken: Behold, I will bring the shadow on the sundial, which has gone down with the sun on the sundial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward.”’ So the sun returned ten degrees on the dial by which it had gone down.” (Isaiah 38:4-8) Patten, Hatch, and Steinhauer, in their fascinating book The Long Day of Joshua and Six Other Catastrophes (1973), make the case that this “space object” was actually the planet Mars, which as a result of its near collision with earth in 705 B.C. assumed its more conventional present orbit (but not before earning itself a reputation as “the god of war”). At any rate, the case can be made that Yahweh’s original design for the earth’s solar year was 360 days.
Okay, so let’s recalculate Daniel’s prophecy using a 360-day year. 483 (i.e., 69 x 7) 360-day “years” comes out to 173,880 days, or 476 solar years plus twenty-five days. The target date on the Hebrew calendar works out to the 10th day of Nisan, or according to our Gregorian calendar, March 28, A.D.33. The 10th of Nisan is significant in any year, but especially in years when the Jews had a temple and a Levitical priesthood in place—from 967 to 586 B.C. and from 515 B.C. to A.D. 70. Why? Because this was the day each year when the Paschal lamb was to be brought into each Jewish home (Exodus 12:3) and kept there until it was sacrificed on Passover—an event mirrored on a national scale with the selection of the Passover lamb to be sacrificed by the High Priest at the temple.
The historical significance of this particular 10th of Nisan should be thankfully acknowledged by every Christian (though few even know about it). You see, this was the very day that Yahshua of Nazareth entered Jerusalem amid the adulation of the teeming throng who had lined the road from Bethlehem in anticipation of the High Priest’s selection of the perfect Passover Lamb. It’s commonly known as Palm Sunday, but Constantine’s people, fixated on blending sun-god worship with Christianity, got the day wrong: it was actually Palm Monday. The adoring crowd, of course, thought His appearance there was a happy coincidence—the Hope of Israel making His entrance on such an auspicious day. It was nothing of the sort, but a startling conclusion to a 483-year-long prophecy. Yahshua, the Lamb of God, had presented Himself for examination. He would be found without fault and then offered up for the sins of mankind four days later on Passover.
The point of all that was to demonstrate that Daniel’s chapter 9 prophecy was based on a 360-day year. Why should we care? Because the prophecy isn’t done. “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24) The prophecy spans seventy weeks of years, of which only sixty-nine were fulfilled before the Messiah’s advent. There’s still one “week” to go, and now we know that that septade will be comprised of seven 360-day years, totaling 2,520 days. This period of time is generally known as the Tribulation, and the second half, lasting 1,260 days, is called the Great Tribulation.
Yahweh is always more precise with His terminology than we are. Case in point: the prophetic “year” used to describe the future history of Israel is never specifically called a “year” in Scripture. Daniel calls seven of these units a “seven” (usually translated a “week”), and he uses the term “a time” to describe one of them. He also measures intervals in terms of days. Likewise, John doesn’t usually describe events in terms of “years,” but sees durations of days, months or “times.” So when I use loose terms like “prophetic year,” bear in mind that God’s Word doesn’t actually call it a “year” at all.
There are a surprising number of Tribulation prophecies (concentrated primarily in Daniel and Revelation) that predict events spanning specific time periods, and they’re invariably listed as “times” (i.e., 360-day “years”), months, or days. It’s clear that Yahweh wants us to know something about the schedule of the Last Days. Therefore, I consider it highly presumptive of my fellow Christians to dismiss the entire subject of prophetic chronology with a shrug and half a verse taken out of context—No one knows the day or the hour. This is like any other doctrine in the Bible: we need to pay close attention to what Yahweh actually told us.
The errant date-setting prognosticators listed above had a tendency to lump all the target dates of the Last Days into one nebulous and ill-defined package, calling it things like “the second coming” or the “return of Christ” or the “end of the world.” But God’s word, like I said, is quite precise in its use of prophetic terminology. I find that many of the misunderstandings concerning God’s timing stem from the erroneous idea that the rapture and the Tribulation are somehow linked. The fact is that nowhere in the Bible are they causally or chronologically associated with each other (except for establishing the order of events, of course).
Moreover, I believe that the only significant date that God has kept a secret is the year of the rapture. We have been given precise and detailed information about the timing of many other Last Days events, from the commencement of the Tribulation onward—information we can correlate to our own Gregorian calendar. This theory is based on two scriptural principles that are usually overlooked by the majority of Christians. First is God’s six-plus-one pattern as embodied in the creation account, the fourth commandment (keeping the Sabbath), and His seven appointed Feasts. Second is the equation of one day with a thousand years, enumerated in both Psalm 90:4 and II Peter 3:8.
I’m convinced there’s more here than meets the eye: more than obscure Jewish rituals and tradition, more than Old Testament rules that Christians don’t pay much attention to because they think the Law was “nailed to the cross.” We ignore God’s word at our peril. But who knows? There could be another explanation. I’ll present the data. You be the judge.
Let’s begin with the rapture, since it’s a stand-alone event in the prophetic timetable. I covered the subject in detail in chapter 8 of The End of the Beginning. The classic passage quoted to delineate our inability to know precisely when Yahshua will return is in the Olivet Discourse. He says, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” (Matthew 24:32-35)
It seems obvious (at least to me) that this is a wrap-up of the whole discourse that begins in verse 4, speaking of signs preceding the Tribulation, and then what Israel is to do during the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” itself, including being wary of false christs, recognizing the abomination of desolation, subsequently fleeing to the wilderness, seeing His coming in glory at the very end of the Tribulation, and His bringing with Him the elect saints who have been “gathered together…from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:31) Considering the fact that these events are generally listed in the order they can be expected to happen in Israel’s history (much of which will transpire after the church is gone) this “gathering together” speaks not of the rapture, but of a later time when the angels will collect the elect from heaven—that is, not from the earth, and not from sheol (a.k.a. Abraham’s Bosom or Paradise), the places from which the saints will be raptured. But it’s a perfect picture of what John described in Revelation 19:11-15—King Yahshua returning to the earth, with His saints, after the Tribulation has run its course.
I realize verse 31 sounds at first blush like the rapture. But if you think about it, to be “gathered from the four winds” implies that those who are thus assembled already have their immortal bodies. Yahshua began this summation by stating that His followers can and will know the general season when all these things will commence. He then flatly states that after the signs begin, no more than one generation (an imprecise term, but clearly implying a time limit not to exceed the age of the oldest living human) will pass before the whole process is finished.
Only then does he say, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (Matthew 24:36) Nobody knows (a misleading translation, but we’ll come back to it) “the day and hour,” the precise moment. The day of what? His coming in glory? No, because that day is linked to events in the Tribulation, which will begin with a specific sign (the Antichrist’s “covenant with many,” Daniel 9:27). Once you’ve seen the sign, you could simply count the days: the Tribulation will run precisely 2,520 days (i.e., 7 x 360, according to the Daniel 9 prophecy), after which Yahshua will bind Satan and reign in glory for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4). As far as the timing goes, there are no surprises here.
But in the verses immediately following, Yahshua illustrates His comment with an allusion to Noah’s flood, saying some would be taken and some would be left. That is the defining characteristic of the rapture, the harpazo described by Paul in detail in I Corinthians 15:51-58 and again in I Thessalonians 4:13-18. Yahshua punctuates His teaching with a warning to those who might fall asleep on the job: “Watch, therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” (Matthew 24:42, repeated almost verbatim in 25:13) This admonition applies only to those to whom Yahshua is “Lord,” in other words, the Ekklesia, those who are “called out.” The unknown day of Matthew 24:36, then, must refer to the rapture of the Church.
The word “know” here is not the Greek ginosko, which means to have knowledge of something, in a beginning (i.e., coming to know) or completed sense. Ginosko would imply empirical knowledge, becoming aware of a fact through inquiry or experience. Rather, the term used here is eido, which means: “to see, literally or figuratively: to be aware, behold, consider, know, look, perceive, see, or understand.” Therefore Yahshua is not actually telling his disciples that knowledge of God’s timing of the rapture is impossible, only that nobody will see it coming. “As the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:27) Contrast this with verse 30: “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” These events are apparently differentiated. One—the rapture—is as sudden as lightning; the other—Yahshua’s coming in glory—is leisurely and majestic, and everyone will see it (which is not to say they'll all like it).
Underscoring His teaching that the master of the house would have been better prepared if he knew what time the thief would come, Yahshua says, “Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.” (Matthew 24:44) This explains why God is keeping the date of the rapture a secret: He doesn’t want Satan, the “prince of this world,” to know when He’s coming to take back what’s His. Paul, supporting this metaphor, reminds us that “The day of Yahweh comes as a thief in the night,” (I Thessalonians 5:2) that is, surreptitiously and unexpectedly.
A similar illustration is related in Mark’s gospel, where Yahshua speaks of a man going on a journey and leaving his affairs in the hands of his servants, who are expected to keep working and stay watchful. The “master” this time is Yahshua, who has been “on His journey” for almost two thousand years now. He says, “Watch therefore, for you do not know [eido: perceive] when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:35-37)
I’d say the principle is pretty well established, then. Nobody is aware of—nobody perceives—the exact moment Yahshua will return for His people. As hopeful (or merely curious) as we are, that’s a good thing, because if this information were available, Satan could create havoc among the faithful. He tries to do that anyway, as we have seen. He doesn’t really need reliable information in order to distract us. All he needs is a theory, an idea based on bits of isolated scriptural content, and he can get otherwise serious believers to forget all about feeding Yahshua’s sheep. I think we can safely take a lesson from Nehemiah here: all the distractions, the threats, the ridicule, and the violence we endure in God’s service must not deter us from continuing to do what He told us to do. We need to both work on the wall and keep a sharp lookout.
All that being said, however, there is one important Biblical clue to the timing of the rapture—not a specific calendar date, but an annual day of observance, a holy appointment, a convocation, that Yahweh instructed His people to observe throughout their generations. Seven such days populate the Hebrew calendar. As we saw in chapter 3 of The End of the Beginning, they are prophetic: four have been fulfilled and three are yet to come. Known as the feasts of Yahweh, these seven holidays tell us a great deal about God’s program and prophetic modus operandi.
The first, Passover, predicted Yahshua’s sacrifice for our sins. It was fulfilled as Yahweh ordained, on Friday, April 1, 33 A.D. The second, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, looked forward to His burial, when our sin (represented by leaven, or yeast) was removed from our lives. It was fulfilled the very next day, on the Sabbath (as required), April 2. The third, the Feast of Firstfruits, celebrates Yahshua’s resurrection on the third day: Sunday, April 3. The fourth, the Feast of Weeks (called “Pentecost” because it came fifty days after the Feast of Unleavened Bread) marked the filling of the Ekklesia, the “body of Christ,” with His Spirit—Sivan 6 on the Hebrew calendar: Sunday, May 23, 33 A.D. Each one of these appointments was fulfilled in the person of Yahshua or His Spirit on the very date of its Levitical mandate in the year 33. Jews who refuse to see the connection must somehow explain away the seventeen-billion-to-one odds against these things happening by chance on the right dates.
The next holy appointment on the Levitical calendar is the Feast of Trumpets, Yom Teruah. “Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh.’” (Leviticus 23:23-25. Numbers 29:1-6 enumerates the sacrifices to be offered on that day.) Note that although the Jews were to be the keepers of these feast days, it is clear from the fulfillment of the previous Feast, Pentecost, that the significance of these holidays would extend beyond Israel to the rest of the world. All seven feasts are described as holy convocations. The Hebrew word for convocation is miqra, meaning “something called out, that is, a public meeting, an assembly.” Significantly, the word also means “a rehearsal,” telling us that these seven convocations were designed to be prophetic of milestones in Yahweh’s plan of redemption and in the corporate life of His called-out people.
The only unique thing about this miqra is the “blowing of trumpets,” conveyed by a single Hebrew word: teruah. Baker and Carpenter describe the word thus: “A shout of joy; a shout of alarm, a battle cry. It refers to a loud, sharp shout or cry in general, but it often indicates a shout of joy or victory (I Samuel 4:5-6); a great shout anticipating a coming event (Joshua 6:5, 20). It can refer to the noise of a signal put out by an instrument [especially a shofar, or ram’s horn trumpet] (Leviticus 23:24; 25:9). Amos used the word to refer to war cries (Amos 1:14; 2:2). The Lord puts shouts of joy into His people (Job 8:21, 33:26).”
Okay, compare that definition with the description of the rapture found in I Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” Then look at I Corinthians 15:51-52: “We shall not all sleep [i.e., suffer physical death], but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” When Yahweh shouts, when we hear the voice of the archangel, you can be pretty certain that it’s a battle cry—He’s getting ready to go to war with an unrepentant world. The trumpet of God is a metaphor for the same thing. But here, this trumpet blast or shout of victory—this teruah—is said to be the signal for the rapture. The words “caught up” are from the Greek harpazo, from whose Latin Vulgate translation (rapiemur: first-person plural future passive indicative of the verb rapiō) we get the word “rapture.” (“Deinde nos qui vivimus qui relinquimur simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Domino in aera et sic semper cum Domino erimus,” if you must know—I Thessalonians 4:17.) You won’t find the word “rapture” in your English Bible, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
The inescapable conclusion, at least to me, is that the Feast of Trumpets is predictive of the rapture in the same way that Passover is predictive of the crucifixion of Yahshua. And that means, presuming Yahweh doesn’t change His modus operandi in mid-stream, that the rapture will occur on the very day mandated for the Feast of Trumpets, the first day of Tishri. (Tishri is the seventh month of the Torah calendar that starts in Nisan, the month in which Passover occurs. Depending on where we happen to be in the intercalary cycle, the first of Tishri can fall in either September or October.)
If the rapture is scheduled for some other day of the year (and it should be obvious by now that God is on a schedule), then two things must be explained. First, why has Yahweh neglected to prophetically memorialize what has to be one of the most important milestones in the history of His redemption of mankind? And second, what possible fulfillment could He have planned for the Feast of Trumpets that would top the rapture in terms of its significance? Stumped? Me too. The only other trumpets that loom large in prophecy are the seven trumpet judgments of Revelation 8-11, and the first six of these describe a war that can’t possibly be confined to one day, the first of Tishri. The sounding of the seventh angel, which could be fulfilled in a single day, occurs not on earth, but in heaven. It describes the announcement of the coming of Messiah’s kingdom—an event that is fulfilled not in the Feast of Trumpets, but in the Feast of Tabernacles, which comes later in Yahweh’s timetable. (Because the seventh trumpet is the “last trump” of the series, some have put two and two together and concluded that the rapture will happen here, at the end of the Tribulation—a position known as the “post-Tribulation rapture.” But there are a score of prophetic passages that converge to correct this misconception. See chapter 8 of The End of the Beginning.)
But if the Feast of Trumpets is predictive of the rapture, how could Yahshua say that “No man knows the day or the hour?” Because we still don’t—we don’t know which year He has chosen. Besides, as I pointed out in The End of the Beginning, there’s a cultural factor, completely lost in the translation, that brings new meaning to the phrase “No man knows….” The Jewish observation of the Feast of Trumpets (erroneously referred to as Rosh Hashanah—“head of the year”—because it’s the first day of a Jewish “civil” calendar that shouldn’t even exist) had by Yahshua’s day grown its own traditions and practices—things not necessarily prescribed in the Mosaic Law. The shofar is blown, so they say, to confuse the devil on the one day a year he goes before God to accuse the Jews of being bad. (I know it sounds ridiculous, but that’s what the legend said.)
That’s why this convocation was also known as Yom Hakeseh, “the Day of the Hiding.” According to Rabbinic tradition, this “Hidden Day” had to be symbolically concealed from Satan so he couldn’t do his job. Yom Hakeseh introduced an idiom into Jewish speech that was reflected in Yahshua’s enigmatic statement. Even though everybody knew that the Feast of Trumpets fell on the first day of Tishri, nobody actually said so. They merely observed, tongue in cheek, “Of that day and hour no one knows, only the Father.” If only our accuser were so easily confused.
At any rate, in first-century Jewish culture, the Feast of Trumpets was the only day of the year that was characterized as being “hidden.” So Yahshua wasn’t telling us that we were to be blissfully uninformed as to the timing of the rapture. Rather, He was telling us He would “gather His elect” on the Feast of Trumpets in some unspecified future year. There have been almost two thousand Feasts of Trumpets since Yahshua spoke those words. Theoretically, He could have returned for His Ekklesia on any one of them (especially one that fell naturally on a Sabbath—see Leviticus 23:24). But He didn’t. I’m pretty sure we would have noticed.
That leaves a rapidly shrinking list of dates from which Yahshua could choose. Not only is the proverbial “fig tree” sprouting leaves like crazy, I’m convinced that he has given us the very date when He will begin His Millennial reign. If we start from that date, subtract seven years (i.e., 2,520 days) for the Tribulation, and perhaps take off a couple more years for a gap that will almost certainly (due to prophetic requirements) fall between the rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation, one of the Feasts of Trumpets between now and then will coincide with the rapture. As of this writing, we have fewer than a dozen possible dates left.
By the way, there is one wild-card factor that could have a bearing on all the dates alluded to in this appendix. Everything is based on the calculations of modern Hebrew scholars whose task is to correlate our Gregorian calendar with theirs. Although I have no reason to doubt their conclusions, since they’re based on the phases of the moon and simple mathematics, it is nevertheless possible that they’re off. (After all, they have been known to tweak things to compensate for “Ha-Shem’s” perceived shortcomings. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.) If they’re off, I’ll be off as well. Yahweh, however, is guaranteed to be right on schedule—His schedule. Yahweh’s annual prophetic calendar tells an incredibly beautiful story of His love for us and the lengths He was willing to go to save us from ourselves. The rapture will be an exciting episode. But it’s not the final chapter.
After reading the list of loonies at the beginning of this appendix who thought they knew the date Christ would return, I’m hesitant to bring up the next subject. Why? Because it puts me in the same boat with them. I’m about to tell you the precise date when Yahshua will return to earth to rule in glory. Good grief, I can’t believe I’m doing this.
On the other hand, I’m not the only one to have noticed certain principles in scripture that seem to point to this very thing, though no one else to my knowledge has actually done the math, or has been crazy enough to tell anybody about what they found. What keeps going through my head is: God told us these things for a reason, and nobody has ever satisfactorily explained what that reason is. I may be crazy, but I just might be right. And if I am right, I would be wrong to withhold the information from you, wouldn’t I?
Also, to be perfectly candid with you, the date is far enough off that I expect to be gone (one way or another) by the time it rolls around. I’m already way too old for a mid-life crisis. At least if I’m wrong, I won’t have to listen to all you Monday morning quarterbacks telling me how badly I blew it. Convenient, huh?
I need to stress that I wasn’t looking for this information when I began my prophecy study. I was happy not knowing. But as I studied, it presented itself—no, let me rephrase that—it jumped up and grabbed me by the ears and said Hey, look at this, dummy! I’m not smart enough to figure this out on my own; I’m praying that it was the guidance of the Holy Spirit. After all, He clearly predicted that as the end approached, we would see things more clearly than our forebears did. “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4) At the moment, the amount of data available to us is doubling every two years or so. “The anger of Yahweh will not turn back until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the latter days you will understand it perfectly.” (Jeremiah 23:20) I’ve got nothing to gain if I’m right, no books to sell or anything like that. I’m not trying to gather a following, or even convince people I’m right. But because I expect the rapture to take place quite a few years before the ultimate coming of Yahshua, the things I’ve discovered, if not lost to Internet posterity, might be of some benefit to those left behind. And believe me, the Tribulation saints are going to need all the help they can get. Knowing when it will all be over—how long they have to hang on—could be useful information indeed.
The specific Biblical principle that led me to start looking at dates was Yahweh’s ubiquitous six-plus-one pattern. It’s everywhere you look, especially in the Old Covenant scriptures where God was laying the foundations for everything else. We start with creation itself: it was described in Genesis 2:2 as six days of “work” followed by one day of “rest.” The creation week was mirrored in the ten commandments as the Law of the Sabbath: again, six days to work, one to rest. Yahweh was really serious about it, too, so serious in fact that He instructed the Israelites to execute any of their number who worked his regular job on the seventh day. Exodus 31:13 explains it, sort of: “Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am Yahweh who sanctifies you.” The same passage describes it as being a “perpetual covenant” between Yahweh and the Jews, something that was to be “a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever.” (verses 16, 17) There was more to this Sabbath thing than merely wanting to give these former slaves a day off once in a while.
But if it was a sign, what did it signify? Like the creation itself, there were to be six days of one thing, followed by one of another. The units of time specified weren’t always days, either: a third permutation of this principle was seen in the Sabbatical year: “When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to Yahweh. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to Yahweh. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard.” (Leviticus 25:2-4) The same sign given to men applied as well to the very earth: six years of “work” and one of “rest.” The passage goes on to describe the Jubilee, an additional Sabbath intermission at the end of the seventh septade, or seven-year period—i.e., once every fifty years.
The recurring theme that’s emerging seems to boil down to this: following God’s example, we should work to provide for our needs and those of our loved ones. This is a good thing; it’s what God wants us to do in this present world. But there will come a time when such work will no longer be necessary, or even proper. Why? Because Yahweh wishes to supply all our needs directly—the gift of a loving Father to His kids. Perhaps it’s His way of giving His children an inheritance upon coming of age and completing our education.
Receiving the gift. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? We can’t work for it, for if we did, it would no longer be a gift, only a payment received for a job performed (and let’s face it—none of us perform all that well). Put yourself in God’s shoes for a moment. No, that’s a bit beyond our ability to visualize. How about imagining yourself in Bill Gates’ Gucci loafers. The Microsoft billionaire has three kids, and I have no doubt that he loves them dearly. Now let’s imagine that he has a trust fund set up for them, let’s say, a hundred million dollars each, payable upon graduation from college. That would be some incentive to finish school, wouldn’t it? How would Bill feel, however, if upon graduation one of his kids told him, I don’t want your money. I have my pride: I want to earn my own fortune. So I’m getting a job in the mailroom. Over at Linux. Would he feel proud that his kid was showing initiative? Maybe, but I think it’s far more likely that he’d just feel hurt—he’d long for the days when a simple gift of a three-dollar toy would have been met with an excited hug and genuine thankfulness.
Okay, back to reality: God’s gift to us is eternal life—all we have to do is accept it, and upon “graduation” from this mortal life, it’s ours. As in our illustration, our inheritance is secure; it’s just sitting there in the bank waiting for us. In comparison, though, Bill’s hundred million bucks is a pittance; Yahweh’s gift of eternal life was far more expensive. Incredibly though, most of the world looks at it, yawns, and tells God to take His gift and shove it.
In our illustration the gift had a timetable, and I believe God’s gift does too. My purpose here is to reveal this schedule. Our key is the six-plus-one pattern. Yahweh is practically screaming to us that we are to work and learn and live our lives as mortal humans for six “time units” (of some specific duration) and that at the end of that period, there will be one more “time unit” in which we will receive our inheritance—the first installment, anyway. (Remember, Bill’s kids’ awesome graduation gift is understood to be only a token or down payment of their real inheritance: when I last looked, Bill was worth over $70 billion, and when he dies, he won’t take a penny of it with him.)
What, then, are these “time units” that God’s clock is ticking off? We shouldn’t be too surprised to find the answer in scripture. “Beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with Yahweh one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Yahweh is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:8-9) Because of what follows the “formula,” most of us gloss over the significance of the formula itself. Peter’s primary point (and an extremely important one) is that Yahweh is patient with us. But not even Peter (I’m guessing) perceived the full implication of what the Holy Spirit revealed to us through his phrase, “With Yahweh one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” As a matter of fact, he unwittingly (perhaps) confirms in the very next sentence that God has a schedule to keep: “Yahweh is not slack concerning His promise.” No, He’s not at all slack. He’s running a very tight ship, precisely on time. He will come when He said He’d come, not a moment sooner or later—whether or not we have taken the time to read His itinerary.
The thousand-years-equals-one-day formula is confirmed by comparing the creation account to the first-century advent of the Messiah in light of an obscure prophecy from Malachi. In Genesis 1:14-19, the sun was listed among God’s accomplishments on the fourth “day”—after plant life. Since this is obviously impossible, we (or at least I) explain it in terms of visibility—the sun, moon, and stars were obscured by the atmospheric conditions on earth until the fourth day. But this begs the question: why did Yahweh relate the creation story in such a convoluted way—why did He list the coming of the sun on the fourth day? It’s because He planned, even then, for His Messiah to come during the fourth thousand-year period. “To you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings.” (Malachi 4:2) The Messianic “Sun” became visible during the fourth day—the fourth millennium. As a matter of fact, if Yahshua’s coming had been delayed for a few years, the “healing in His wings” (literally fulfilled in Luke 8:42-45—the “wings” are the borders, or tsitzit, of His garment), would have been pushed over into the fifth millennium. Yahweh’s timing, once again, is flawless.
The six-plus-one time unit, then, is one thousand years. But when are we supposed to start counting? At the beginning, of course. Not the beginning of creation, but the beginning of man’s need for a savior. The whole point of this six-plus-one plan is the redemption of mankind.
Early in the 17th century, Irish bishop James Ussher added up all the dates provided by the Biblical genealogies, correlated them to known historical events, and came up with a date for the beginning of creation (including the six days, of course) of Sunday, October 23, 4004 B.C. (actually, sundown of the preceding day, which would have been reckoned by the Hebrews as the beginning of the first day of the week). Pioneering astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571–1630), the man who formulated the laws of planetary motion, calculated a creation date of 3992 B.C. I’m not asking you to choose between them, you understand. I merely want to point out that the history of man as recorded in the scriptures only goes back about 6,000 years. We really can’t be sure, because we haven’t been given all the details needed to establish a complete chronology. Complicating matters, textual discrepancies among the oldest extant manuscripts make the data impossible to pin down with certainty. In addition, it’s quite possible that there are gaps in the genealogies, and some sequences of events may be concurrent rather than consecutive. For these reasons, I’d consider any date we have before the time of David—about 1000 B.C.—questionable.
Be that as it may, notice that Ussher and Kepler were adding up genealogical data; what they were actually calculating was not the creation of the universe but the fall of Adam, the first man with a God-breathed spirit. I am convinced that Yahweh intended the creation/Sabbath six-plus-one format to be a picture of the unfolding history of mankind’s redemption—the tenure of fallen man upon the earth, from beginning to end. If you think I’m wrong about that, then you need to satisfactorily answer the question, what did He mean by it? Why did He reiterate this pattern time and again? Did the God who so carefully orchestrated His holy feasts to be fulfilled by His Messiah on the very days of their historic observance—fifteen hundred years after they were mandated—formulate the Sabbath law on a pointless whim? I think not. The cycle of sevens is so ubiquitous in scripture, the significance of the pattern surely must be of the utmost importance.
That is why I am of the firm opinion, although scripture doesn’t say it in so many words, that God’s six-plus-one pattern indicates that He has ordained only six thousand years in which man is to live and labor upon this planet in our current condition. We are fallen creatures, separated from God by our sin, but blessed with the ability to choose to accept His gift of eternal life. Choice, in fact, is our work; it is what we were put here to do: “They said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’” (John 6:28-29) According to the creation/Sabbath pattern (not to mention overt prophecy), this six-thousand-year period in which our “work” is learning to rely on Yahweh will be followed by a seventh millennium in which God will honor the choices we made in the previous age: to love Him or reject Him, to trust in Him or something else, to live or die—to thankfully accept dad’s hundred million dollar graduation gift, or go to work in His competitor’s mailroom.
Presuming you’re willing to concede the point then, let’s move on to the next question—Is there any way to pinpoint precisely when the six thousand years of man’s fallen state will come to an end? I believe there is. This is where the vast majority of theologians would part company with me, and I will admit right up front that I’m drawing a conclusion that is not overtly spelled out anywhere in scripture. But the hints are plentiful indeed, and the “theory” (if that’s all it is) explains a lot about what otherwise might be construed as pointless scriptural rambling. So hear me out. You may find merit in my observations.
Each millennium in God’s seven-thousand-year plan has been or will be marked by a significant event—something that illustrates either the need for our salvation or Yahweh’s work in providing it. Let’s begin at the beginning. Our starting point is Adam’s fall into sin. This was the event that made the whole plan of redemption necessary, for by inheriting Adam’s sinful nature, all of us have “fallen short of the glory of God.” The clock started ticking with that first disobedient little nibble of forbidden fruit.
The precise dates of the first three milestones are impossible to verify through historical or archaeological methods but the ballparks are intriguing, to say the least. Milestone number one came at the time of Noah, a millennium after Adam’s sin. If you add up the generations between Adam and the flood as presented in our English translations (based on the Masoretic texts), you wind up several hundred years off, though I’m told the Samaritan Pentateuch comes out on the money. Like I said, dates this far back are automatically suspect—for half a dozen reasons—and numerical data is more susceptible to errors in transmission than anything other kind.
Because of the wickedness of mankind, Yahweh opted to destroy our race, saving only a small remnant of humanity—Noah and his immediate family. God told Him, “Behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath [Hebrew: ruach—spirit] of life; everything that is on the earth [’erets—land, soil, country, or the surface of the earth] shall die.” (Genesis 6:17) Our Sunday School traditions notwithstanding, note that according to the actual words used in the scriptural record, a worldwide deluge submerging the highest peaks on the planet is not required, nor is the death of every living thing on earth implied. Rather, God’s objective was “only” the destruction of every human being indwelled with an immortal spirit (which is not to say a horrendous amount of collateral damage wasn’t inflicted upon the biosphere). This leads me to the conclusion that demonic spirits had taken up residence in the vast majority of the neshamah-equipped human race. As horrible as that sounds, please recall that this scenario will be repeated during the Last Days, when the whole world will follow the beast (the Antichrist) and the dragon who empowers him (Satan), while the belated followers of Christ (those who missed the rapture) will be slaughtered by the millions, powerless to stem the tide of evil.
Yahshua noted the ignorance, apostasy, and indifference to the will of Yahweh during Noah’s time, comparing it to the demon dominated Last Days, saying “As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:37-39) I believe the reason Yahweh was happy to let us “read into” the flood account a universal deluge (even if it wasn’t) is that it was intended to be a warning of the devastation the world will suffer during the Tribulation. When it’s all over, no one will be left standing on earth who doesn’t honor the true and living God.
Milestone number two falls about the time of Abraham, though again, the dates are still a matter of conjecture this early—the scholars don’t agree on the precise timing of the patriarch’s life. The date we’re looking for is 1967 B.C. (The reason for this will become apparent in a moment.) Abraham was an old guy by this time, that much is clear. I found two independent chronologies that said this may be the date that Isaac was miraculously conceived. Significant enough, I suppose—but I’d like to suggest that it was actually the date of Abraham’s almost-sacrifice of his promised son on the mountains of Moriah—at the very spot where Yahshua, the Lamb of God, would be offered up for the sins of the world precisely two thousand years later. (Just one misreading of one number in the tens place somewhere during the years of textual transmission is all that it would take to account for the discrepancy.) It is here that we see the poetry of the millennial milestones beginning to emerge.
Like the flood of Noah, the near-sacrifice of Isaac was intended to be a dress rehearsal of a much more significant event that would take place in the very same place, exactly two thousand years later. And as I said, each of these millennial milestones, beginning with Adam’s fall, are events that mark either the need for our reconciliation with our God, or His response to that need. The fact that five of them (five being the number of grace) would take place at Mount Moriah—i.e., in what would become the city of Jerusalem—is a factor that also begs us to heed the emerging pattern. To my mind, this can’t be mere coincidence.
The third milestone falls in 967 B.C. Again we see Mount Moriah in Jerusalem playing a central role, for it was in this year that Solomon began construction of the temple. This event is a logical bridge between the dress rehearsal played out between Abraham and Isaac a thousand years before and the “final performance” played out between Yahweh and His Messiah precisely a thousand years later. The temple, of course, is significant because it is the very picture of our redemption—from the altar standing outside to the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies, upon which the blood of atonement was sprinkled. Every detail of its design and construction, its furnishings and its service, pointed unequivocally toward the mission of Yahweh’s Messiah.
Milestone number four (i.e., the conclusion of millennium number four—remember Malachi 4:2) is the passion of the Christ. If there is one event critical to our redemption, this is it. The entire Old Testament looks forward to this moment. Every word of the New Testament is built upon it. The first three Feasts of Yahweh were fulfilled at this time, and the pivotal prophecy pinpointing the advent of the Messiah—recorded in Daniel 9:25-26—came to pass this very week. The year? 33 A.D.—exactly one thousand years after the building of the temple, two thousand years after Abraham’s rehearsal of Yahweh’s sacrifice, three thousand years after God demonstrated His willingness to separate good from evil on the earth, and four thousand after Adam’s sin made the whole exercise necessary. Again, the central events of this milestone took place on Mount Moriah, in Jerusalem.
Milestone number five fell in 1033 A.D., right smack in the middle of the “Church age.” Remember the inventory of errant apocalyptic dates I listed at the beginning of this appendix? One of them caught my eye as being “close, but no cigar.” 1033 was “cited as the beginning of the millennium because it marked 1,000 years since Christ’s crucifixion.” Ooooh, they were so close! They recognized (perhaps) that there were millennial markers of which we should be cognizant, and that the most important marker of all was 33 A.D., the year of Messiah’s sacrifice. At the same time, these believers failed to perceive Yahweh’s rule of seven: six days of work, one of rest: 1033 was only mile marker number five.
They also missed the fact that the Millennium wouldn’t start until after the Tribulation, and the Tribulation wouldn’t commence until after the Ekklesia had been “caught up” to be with their savior in the air—the rapture. But I, for one, am willing to cut the 1033 theorists some slack here. They were doing what they were supposed to be doing: watching expectantly for the return of the King. It’s not really their fault that they got some of the details wrong. From that distance, they couldn’t even see the “fig trees” (Matthew 24:32)—all they could perceive was a brown blur on the hillside. Nowadays, it’s just the opposite: we can’t seem to see the forest for the trees—the fig leaves are sprouting out all over the place, and we’re so close to the forest we can count the buds on the branches.
So what was going on in 1033? The fulfillment of the prophetic letter to Thyatira was going on. “These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.” (Revelation 2:18-23) The Church had grown rich and powerful—and sick. 720 years earlier, Constantine’s Edict of Milan had made “Christianity” the state religion of Rome—creating an adulterous liaison between pagan practice and Christian worship. Now the children of that evil union had grown up and taken over the family business.
In 1033, the papal throne was assumed (okay, bought) by Benedict IX, arguably the worst in a long line of excrementitious popes. This murderous bisexual pontiff practiced witchcraft, necromancy, bestiality, and Satanism while running what one contemporary critic called “the best brothel in Rome.” The Roman Catholic Church had hit a new low, and that was sayin’ something. The church, however, was still unified. (It would split forever into warring factions before Benedict’s untimely death in 1055.) This was united Christianity’s last chance to repent, and we blew it. Never was the need for our redemption quite so obvious.
But the church hitting rock bottom is pretty generalized, as these signs go. The rest of the millennial milestones are far more specific—and symbolic. Besides, the leadership of the faithful, whether in Christian culture or Judaic, had never been a fair barometer of the true state of Yahweh’s relationship with His people. Even in idolatrous Thyatira, there were those whose “works, love, service, faith, and patience” were commended by Christ. But something happened in 1033 that revealed just how far gone the household of faith was. And God gave us all a wake-up call that had been foretold back in the Torah, if only we had been alert enough to recognize it.
Since 1033 was the millennium of the Passion of the Christ, faithful pilgrims in droves set out to visit the Holy Land. These weren’t crusades, mind you: they weren’t going in order to wage a land grab in the guise of “holy war” against the Muslim occupiers—something that was never authorized by God. They merely wanted to walk where their Messiah had walked. It’s a pilgrimage I myself have made, a sweet memory of mine, still vivid years later. But in 1033, a good-sized earthquake shook the city of Jerusalem—not an unusual occurrence, since it sits in an area riddled with seismic fault lines. One result of this one, however, was that the Spring of Gihon—the sole water source for the City of David and the adjacent Kidron Valley, situated in the shadow of the temple mount—was rendered septic, and this noxious condition persisted for forty years. This was taken as a bad sign by the Rabbis at the Jerusalem Academy, so they left town and set up shop in Damascus. The Islamic overlords then raised the jizyah taxes for all non-Muslims (dhimmis), driving the last remaining Jewish farmers out of the area. And the Catholic pilgrims, like the departing Jews, found the waters of Gihon unfit to drink, in effect taking Jerusalem off of the pilgrim itinerary.
So far, this all sounds like an interesting coincidence, but there’s more to it. In Numbers 5:11-31, there’s an obscure precept for determining the guilt or innocence of a woman suspected by her husband of infidelity. The jealous husband was to bring her before the priest with an “offering of remembrance” of barley meal, without the customary olive oil (representing the Holy Spirit) or frankincense (symbolic of purity through sacrifice). It’s an exceedingly odd sounding procedure. The priest was to take dust from the floor of the sanctuary, dissolve it into “holy water” in an earthen vessel, and make the woman swear her innocence. She would then drink the water. If she was guilty of being unfaithful to her husband, her “belly would swell and her thigh would rot,” but if she were innocent, she could be blessed with children. (Of course, if she were innocent, she would probably never willingly share her husband’s bed again—a man would have to be positive of his wife’s infidelity, and be angry enough to see her painfully punished, to invoke the Numbers 5 test. For any normal man, it’s the original lose-lose proposition.) So not surprisingly, once we leave Numbers 5, we never see or hear this precept being referred to or brought to bear in scripture.
Why, then, is it there in the Torah? It’s because Yahweh knew that in 1033, as the fifth millennial milestone, He Himself would have to demonstrate (once again) that the human race—even (or should I say, especially) those who considered themselves “married” to Him, the Catholic Church and the rabbinical Judaism—were actually unfaithful and idolatrous religious whores, in need of His healing, forgiveness, and redemption. The earthquake literally mingled the “dust from the floor of the sanctuary” (in this case, the temple mount) with the only water there was to drink. There was no purity in evidence, and the Holy Spirit was nowhere to be found. As a result, not only did the Jews’ “belly swell and thigh rot” (so to speak), but the prophecy concerning the Church of Thyatira had come about as well: “Indeed, I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.” (Revelation 2:22) The beginning of the sixth millennium of fallen man, 1033, was thus characterized by spiritual adultery on the part of both Yahweh’s “wife” Israel and Yahshua’s “bride,” the church. God had made His point. The need for Yahweh’s salvation was never more crucial—or more obvious.
At this point, I must reiterate that God never specifically told us to “Find the most significant year in history and calculate the schedule of My grand plan from this point.” All He did is lay heavy-handed hints throughout scripture, clues to a mystery that He didn’t expressly command us to solve, clues like: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahweh your God. In it you shall do no work… For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it [set it apart from the others].” (Exodus 20:8-11) God didn’t make the “heavens and the earth” in six 24-hour earth days, so it is incumbent upon us to ponder why He presented the creation story to us in such a symbolically pregnant manner.
Add to that: “With Yahweh one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Yahweh is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:8, 9) Moses phrased the same truth like this: “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night.” (Psalm 90:4) Not only is a single day equated to a thousand years, the “watch in the night” comment tells us that God is on a pre-set schedule: when our assigned “shift” is over, He’ll take over once again. The timing has been part of the plan from the very beginning.
Next, consider what Hosea reported about the timing of Israel’s restoration: “Come, and let us [Israel] return to Yahweh; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight.” (Hosea 6:1-2) Two days? The third day? From when? From 33 A.D., when Israel abandoned Yahweh by formally rejecting His Messiah. Yahweh has painted a picture that’s impossible to misconstrue. After “two days” (i.e. two thousand years of “tearing” and “striking”) Yahweh will revive Israel; and on the “third day” (the thousand-year period following the first two), Israel will be “raised up,” and will “live in His sight.” That two-thousand-year marker is practically upon us. Israel is already back in the Land, but their wounds haven’t yet been dressed; they haven’t yet been “revived” or “raised up” to Yahweh’s satisfaction. Don’t assume they won’t be, just because it hasn’t happened yet.
We have but one millennial milestone left to go. Because it’s yet future, we need to consult Scripture to establish it’s nature and purpose. It’s timing, however, is predetermined: the seventh millennium must begin in 2033—a mere two decades off as I write these words, and within the natural life spans of the vast majority of those reading them.
John described what is to happen as Hosea’s “third day” commences: “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God…And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” That is, the seventh and last millennium of fallen man—the one that corresponds to Yahweh’s “day of rest,” the Sabbath. “But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4-6) Living and reigning are not the normal activities you’d expect from people who have been beheaded for their witness. Clearly, the seventh Millennium, with Christ Himself on the throne, will not be business as usual.
Are you still willing to settle for a shrug and knee-jerk recitation of “No man knows the day or the hour?” Do you still believe that Yahweh doesn’t want you to know anything about His chronological intentions? Are these special scriptures—ones we’re not supposed to ponder and scrutinize? I find the evidence to the contrary overwhelming. I’ll grant you that during the bulk of the “Church age” prophetic chronology was way down the line in order of doctrinal importance. But as the Last Days descend upon us, this study will gain significance—and it will be a matter of life and death to those who don’t find Christ until after the rapture.
What biblically prophesied event, then, kicks off the seventh millennium? We can rule out the rapture immediately, because as we know, “Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (Matthew 24:36) As we have seen, the rapture is predicted by the Feast of Trumpets—therefore, if we knew the year, we would know “the day and the hour.” Or looking at it from another angle, the last seven years of the Daniel 9:24-27 prophecy predicts Israel’s restoration—not the Church’s temporal triumph over evil (as is so often errantly preached). The Ekklesia (the Philadelphia profile, anyway) is nowhere to be seen during this time; the only logical conclusion we can draw is that the rapture has already taken place when Daniel’s seventieth septade begins—perhaps several years before.
But we’re on the right track. After the fifth miqra, the Feast of Trumpets (prophetic of the rapture), there will still be two holy convocations left to be fulfilled. The “Feasts of Yahweh” are (if the first four were any indication) prophetic of the seven most momentous events in the unfolding of God’s redemptive plan—fulfilled in their Levitical order. It’s only reasonable that the most significant of the millennial milestones—the one that begins the long-awaited “day of rest,” would be memorialized as one of these celebrations.
But of these last two “Feasts,” the next one in line after Yom Teruah isn’t really a feast at all, but a solemn convocation, a day of national mourning for Israel. Here’s how it’s described in the Torah: “The tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls and offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh. And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before Yahweh your God. For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people.” (Leviticus 23:26-29) The characteristic feature of this miqra is the “affliction of the soul.” Everybody’s supposed to be mournful and introspective on this day. Why? Because of what it prophesies.
Zechariah explains: “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo [when Israel mourned the death of King Josiah]. And the land shall mourn, every family by itself…all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.” (Zechariah 12:10-12,14) The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippurim) predicts the day when Israel will witness the return of Yahshua—the One they “pierced” in crucifixion—coming back to the earth in royal splendor. Zechariah speaks specifically of Jerusalem here, for this will transpire upon the Mount of Olives, just east of the temple mount. The event will be followed in short order by the Battle of Armageddon, so it’s pretty obvious that the Day of Atonement doesn’t in itself usher in a thousand-year “day of rest.”
However, five days later on the Hebrew calendar—after the Battle of Armageddon—the last convocation—the Feast of Tabernacles—is scheduled. The last three convocations, by the way, come in the autumn: collectively, they’re known as the “Fall Feasts.” Trumpets is on the first day of the month of Tishri, which falls in our September or October (depending on where we happen to be in the intercalary cycle). Yom Kippurim, a.k.a. the Day of Atonement, falls on the tenth, and our final miqra, the Feast of Tabernacles, comes on the fifteenth day of Tishri. In real time prophetic fulfillment, it’s evident that the Feast of Trumpets, to be fulfilled in the rapture of the Church, will fall at least seven years—perhaps much longer—before the last two Feasts. But I believe that both the definitive Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles will occur five days apart in the same year—2033.
The timing aspects of this Feast were prescribed as follows: “The fifteenth day of this seventh month [Tishri] shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to Yahweh. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it…. When you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of Yahweh for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest. And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook.” I have explained elsewhere that these four “kinds” of trees symbolically represent those who will populate the Millennial Kingdom—beginning with Christ Himself. “And you shall rejoice before Yahweh your God for seven days. You shall keep it as a feast to Yahweh for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days.” (Leviticus 23:34-36, 39-42)
Put into our vernacular, Yahweh was telling his people to camp out in the backyard and have a week-long party—a huge barbeque. He Himself was to be the Guest of Honor, so to speak. In marked contrast to the Day of Atonement, when they were instructed to “afflict their souls,” mourning over their nation’s past rejection of their Messiah and responding to His final plea for repentance (it’s the same word in Hebrew: anah), now they were to “rejoice before Yahweh their God for seven days.” Why do you suppose Yahweh would want people to build palm-frond booths, temporary shelters to live in for a week when they had perfectly good homes they could stay in? As usual, it’s a picture, a metaphor, of something He was planning to accomplish in their presence. In this case, it’s a picture of Yahweh Himself leaving heaven behind and camping out among men.
It would seem that the Feast of Tabernacles will have two fulfillments, reflecting the two advents of Yahshua. Many Christians today realize that Yahshua wasn’t actually born in late December, but since the Gospel record doesn’t overtly give us a date, we’re left to piece together the clues. Note that since the birth of Yahshua as fulfilled in the Feast of Tabernacles came out of order in the Levitical program, it can’t be the final realization of the Feast, but rather should be viewed as a precursor or partial accomplishment of the prophecy. Chuck Misler, in his informative online newsletter K-House News, offers the following insightful analysis:
“Most serious Bible students realize that Jesus was probably not born on December 25th. The shepherds had their flocks in open fields, which implies a date prior to October. Furthermore, no competent Roman administrator would require registration involving travel during the season when Judea was generally impassable.
“If Jesus wasn’t born on December 25, just when was he born? Although the Bible doesn’t explicitly identify the birthday of our Lord, many scholars have developed diverse opinions as to the likely birthday of Jesus.
“The early Christian church did not celebrate Jesus’ birth, and therefore the exact date was not preserved in festivals. [Actually, being Jews, they did celebrate it with a festival, as we shall soon see. Whether or not they realized this was Yahshua’s birthday remains a matter of conjecture.] The first recorded mention of December 25th is in the Calendar of Philocalus (AD 354), which assumed Jesus’ birth to be Friday, December 25th, AD 1. This was subsequent to Constantine’s Edict of Toleration in AD 313, which officially ended the government-sanctioned persecution of the Christians. The date of December 25th, which was officially proclaimed by the church fathers in AD 440, was actually a vestige of the Roman holiday of Saturnalia, observed near the winter solstice, which itself was among the many pagan traditions inherited from the earlier Babylonian priesthood.
“The year of Jesus’ birth is broadly accepted as 4 BC, primarily from erroneous conclusions derived from Josephus’ recording of an eclipse, assumed to be on March 13, 4 BC, “shortly before Herod died.” There are a number of problems with this in addition to the fact that it was more likely the eclipse occurred on December 29, 1 BC. Considerable time elapsed between Jesus’ birth and Herod’s death since the family fled to Egypt to escape Herod’s edict and they didn’t return until after Herod’s death. Furthermore, Herod died on January 14, 1 BC. Tertullian (born about 160 AD) stated that Augustus began to rule 41 years before the birth of Jesus and died 15 years after that event. Augustus died on August 19, 14 AD, placing Jesus’ birth at 2 BC. Tertullian also notes that Jesus was born 28 years after the death of Cleopatra in 30 BC, which is consistent with a date of 2 BC. Irenaeus, born about a century after Jesus, also notes that the Lord was born in the 41st year of the reign of Augustus. Since Augustus began his reign in the autumn of 43 BC, this also appears to substantiate the birth in 2 BC. Eusebius (264-340 AD), the ‘Father of Church History,’ ascribes it to the 42nd year of the reign of Augustus and the 28th from the subjection of Egypt on the death of Anthony and Cleopatra. The 42nd year of Augustus ran from the autumn of 2 BC to the autumn of 1 BC. The subjugation of Egypt into the Roman Empire occurred in the autumn of 30 BC. The 28th year extended from the autumn of 3 BC to the autumn of 2 BC. The only date that would meet both of these constraints would be the autumn of 2 BC.
“Another approach in determining the date of Jesus’ birth is from information about John the Baptist. Elizabeth, John’s mother, was a cousin of Mary and the wife of a priest named Zacharias who was of the ‘course’ of Abijah (Priests were divided into 24 courses and each course officiated in the Temple for one week [at a time, twice a year], from Sabbath to Sabbath). When the Temple was destroyed by Titus on August 5, 70 AD, the first course of priests had just taken office. Since the course of Abijah was the eighth course, we can track backwards and determine that Zacharias would have ended his duties on July 13, 3 BC. If the birth of John took place 280 days later, it would have been on April 19-20, 2 BC (precisely on Passover of that year). John began his ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar. The minimum age for the ministry was 30. As Augustus died on August 19, 14 BC, that was the accession year for Tiberius. If John was born on April 19-20, 2 BC, his 30th birthday would have been April 19-20, 29 AD, or the 15th year of Tiberius. This seems to confirm the 2 B.C. date and, since John was five months older, this also confirms the autumn birth date for Jesus.
“Elisabeth hid herself for five months and then the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary both Elisabeth’s condition and that Mary also would bear a son who would be called Jesus. Mary went “with haste” to visit Elisabeth, who was then in the first week of her sixth month, or the fourth week of December, 3 BC. If Jesus was born 280 days later it would place the date of his birth on September 29, 2 BC. If Jesus was born on September 29, 2 BC, it is interesting to note that it was also the First of Tishri, the day of the Feast of Trumpets.”
The only issue I have with these conclusions is that Elizabeth didn’t become pregnant the instant Zacharias stepped out of the Holy of Holies. He finished his priestly course before returning home to her (Luke 1:23-24). Pushing Mr. Misler’s whole schedule back fourteen days, though, makes everything fit like a glove: It would place Yahshua’s birth at the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as Sukkoth, two weeks after the Feast of Trumpets. This fits perfectly with Yahweh’s prophetic plan: Immanuel (“God with us”) is Yahweh “camping out” among men. John, in fact, told us as much: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) The word for “dwelt” tells the tale. Skenoo means “to tent or encamp, that is, to occupy or to reside, as God did in the Tabernacle of old, a symbol of protection and communion, to dwell.” (Strong’s) So Yahshua was born in the autumn of 2 BC, began His ministry when he was “about 30” (Luke 3:23), i.e., the autumn of A.D. 29 (remember, there’s no year 0), and was crucified three and a half years later, in the spring of A.D. 33. He may have been camping out, but this was no vacation.
Furthermore, Luke records that “[Mary] brought forth her firstborn Son, [Yahshua] and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger [a feed trough], because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7) The only place you’d find a manger is in a stable or corral, a place for housing livestock. It is not without significance that the Hebrew word for such a place is sukkoth, the very word used to describe the temporary shelters the Jews were to construct during the Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths), and thus the Hebrew name for the seventh holy convocation. The fulfillment of the miqra’s prophecy is therefore absolutely literal. Yahshua was born on Sukkoth, the Feast of Tabernacles. If you must know, Sukkoth in 2 B.C. (Tishri 15 in the Hebrew year 3759) would have fallen on September 24.
But as I said, there must (and will) be another fulfillment of the prophecy of the Feast of Tabernacles, because Yahweh placed it at the end of the annual series, not the beginning. (In confirmation of this whole line of reasoning, Yahshua described Himself as “the First and the Last” in Revelation 1:11.) The second and ultimate fulfillment of this Feast will occur when Yahshua the King returns to earth to reign in glory. (To be perfectly precise, the return happens on the Day of Atonement and the reign begins on the Feast of Tabernacles, five days later.) As I said, the Feast of Tabernacles is an annual week-long party. And what’s the occasion? In context, the harvest is now complete; the bountiful provision of God has been gathered; the work is done. I don’t know how Yahweh could have made it any clearer. This is a perfect picture of the seventh millennium. The final milestone will have been crossed when Christ reigns personally on earth, and we’ll be with Him! Our work, and His, is finished. There’s nothing left to do but celebrate, to revel in the bounty and grace of God. “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)
Recapping, then, I have made several assumptions—reasonable and scripture based, but assumptions nevertheless: (1) The six-plus-one pattern found in the creation narrative, the Law of the Sabbath, the sabbatical year, and Jubilee (and mirrored in less blatant ways scores of times in the Bible) is not accidental, incidental, or pointless, but was specifically designed to inform us of the timeline of God’s redemptive plan. (2) The statements in II Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4 equating one day to a thousand years in Yahweh’s eyes are not purely metaphorical, but are also literal indications of the milestones in God’s schedule. (3) The anchor date of these milestones is 33 A.D., the year of Yahshua’s atoning sacrifice. The other millennial mile markers are found spaced in precise thousand-year increments from this date. (4) The first day of the week-long Feast of Tabernacles is prophetic of the beginning of the seventh millennium—the Millennium corresponding to the “day of rest” spoken of in both the creation account and Sabbath Law. (The eighth day Sabbath indicates the eternal state that follows the Kingdom age.)
If I’m mistaken about any of those things, then the dates in this appendix will be wrong as well—I’ll leave it to you to figure out what Yahweh was really getting at. If my observations are correct, however, it means Yahweh has told us how to calculate the very day of His assumption of the government of earth, the commencement of His Millennial reign. The date falls—as required by scripture—on a Sabbath: Tishri 15 (October 8), 2033.
By the way, the 2033 date is confirmed (sort of) in the Levitical Law of Jubilee. The last recorded celebration of Jubilee coincided with the commencement of the last great Jewish revolt against Rome under Shimeon ben Kosiba, better known as Bar Kochba (“Son of a star”) in 133 A.D. The basic Jubilee program (as outlined in Leviticus 25) instructed that (1) Israelites weren’t to sow or reap that year, but rather live off what had been provided by Yahweh already; (2) land that had been “sold” would revert to its original owner; and (3) indentured slaves were to be released from their servitude. Jubilee meant a fresh start, a second chance—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have the slate wiped clean. It’s a poignant picture of our salvation as well as a great prophetic metaphor for the Millennium.
Jubilee was supposed to be observed every fifty years. So if Jubilee occurred during the first year of Bar Kochba’s revolt, on the Day of Atonement in 133, then the year of Yahshua’s death and resurrection (33) was also a Jubilee year. (In His very first sermon, recorded in Luke 4, Yahshua proclaimed that He Himself would be the fulfillment of Jubilee—“setting at liberty those who are oppressed.”) The next one (from our perspective) will begin on October 3, 2033—the very Day of Atonement on which Yahshua will reveal Himself to Israel on the Mount of Olives—five days before the final Feast of Tabernacles on October 8. Thus precisely forty Jubilees will separate His first advent from His second. And that number is significant as well. Forty in scripture is a number invariably associated with testing, trial, and preparation—as in forty days and nights of rain during Noah’s flood, forty years in the wilderness wanderings of Israel, or forty days of Yahshua’s fast and temptation. It’s a perfect description of the plight of Israel during the intervening years.
Another sideways confirmation of the whole “2033 theory” is the evidence from lunar astronomy. Because their orbits are all on the same plane the earth sometimes blocks sunlight from illuminating the moon, something we call a lunar eclipse. This can only happen, of course, when the moon is “full,” i.e., when the sun is lighting it up “straight on” (from the earth’s perspective in the night sky). If the earth had no atmosphere, the moon would simply disappear when the earth blocked the sun’s rays. But as it is, the air surrounding our planet refracts some of the sun’s rays, causing the moon to appear red instead. Thus it is that a total lunar eclipse is known in common parlance as a “blood moon.”
The prophet Joel described a time when Yahweh’s Spirit would be poured out upon “all flesh” (all mortal flesh belonging to Him, that is—His “menservants and maidservants”). Though hints of this phenomenon would be in evidence throughout the church age (as in Acts 2) this outpouring of the Holy Spirit was primarily described as a feature of the Last Days—when, with Satan in virtually complete control of the earth, with scriptural truth suppressed and the new believers (Laodicean Christians and repentant Jews) hounded, harassed, and hunted by the Antichrist, it may seem as if God is not actually there. But He is, even now—and the Spirit is witness to that fact. In the context of the Spirit’s outpouring, listen to how Joel describes the times: “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.” In other words, warfare and devastation the likes of which the world has never before seen. “The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of Yahweh comes.” In a general way, of course, there will be no shortage of reasons for the sky to grow so dark it’s hard to see the sun or the moon. But this is also a specific description of lunar and solar eclipses. Before we get into that, however, let us hear the conclusion of the matter: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh shall be saved.” (Joel 2:30-32, quoted in Acts 2:20) Even during the darkest days of the Tribulation, Yahweh’s salvation will be available. These who “call on the name of Yahweh” are the same mortals who will enter the Millennium as Yahshua’s blessed “sheep,” as they’re characterized in Matthew 25:31-46.
The “sun turning to darkness” (a solar eclipse) and the “moon turning to blood” (a lunar eclipse) have happened many times before, of course. But that’s no reason to ignore the significance of these things as signs of God’s coming wrath. The decades leading up to 2033 (what I call “the Next-to-Last Days”) are peppered with lunar eclipses, some of which fall on dates that ought to make your hair stand on end. In the years between 2000 and 2011, there were thirteen total lunar eclipses.
Since two of the seven Feasts of Yahweh fall on the fourteenth or fifteenth day of the lunar month (Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the spring, and the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall), there is always the possibility that a lunar eclipse will coincide with these convocations. But throughout history, when back-to-back years have seen all four of these appointed days marked by total lunar eclipses, it has invariably been a wake-up call for Israel. For instance, such a lunar “tetrad” (as they’re known) occurred in 1493-94, only months after King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled the Jews from Spain. Another lunar tetrad marked Israel’s war of independence, in 1949-50. Again in 1967-68, four lunar eclipses on Yahweh’s appointed days marked Israel’s defining conflict with the house of Islam—the Six Day War. Israel again (or is that still) has its back against the wall, and another tetrad coinciding with the Feasts of Yahweh during 2014 and 2015 is no doubt intended to be a reminder of God's protection of Israel through the Syrian Civil War, the Arab Spring, and the Hamas insurrection in Gaza. The purpose of all these blood-moon eclipses (if we may take the words of the prophet Joel to heart) is to encourage Israel to “call upon the name of Yahweh.” Every time there’s a blood-moon tetrad, you’ll notice, it happens after the “sign” designed to shake Israel out of its complacency.
There are other lunar tetrads as well, though they don’t completely coincide with Yahweh’s holy convocations. The first eclipse of the 2003-2004 tetrad, for example, came but two weeks after the fatally flawed “Roadmap to Peace” was shoved down Israel’s throat, as if to say, “the great and awesome day of Yahweh isn’t far off: call upon His name, ’cause the Americans are obviously lost. But to my mind, the lunar tetrad to watch will happen in 2032-2033, at the very end of the Tribulation—the biggest wake-up call of all. Both blood moons in 2033 will coincide with Yahweh’s holy appointments—the last of them marking Sukkot itself, the day King Yahshua will finally assume the throne of planet earth.
And what of solar eclipses? Yahweh was “thoughtful” enough to make our moon exactly big enough and distant enough to block the entire sun, leaving nothing but the corona, or outer ring of fire, showing during a solar eclipse. As Joel phrased it, “The sun shall be turned to darkness...before the great and awesome day of Yahweh comes.” Solar eclipses can happen only at the time of the new moon—that is, at the end or beginning of a month based on the lunar calendar, such as the Hebrew system. There is only one miqra that fits this description—the Feast of Trumpets, in the fall. Yahweh’s “new year’s day” (in the spring) also falls at the new moon: it’s not one of His appointments, but it’s significant nonetheless. There were two solar eclipses in 2015, one on Nisan 1 (New Year’s Day) and the other on the Feast of Trumpets, Tishri 1—which would have been a potential candidate for rapture day, though I’m not suggesting a total eclipse of the sun is a sign of the rapture (as cool as that would be).
The final year of the Tribulation will also witness a total solar eclipse—the sun being “turned to darkness”—on March 30, 2033. To put things in perspective, this is the last day of the Hebrew year, Adar 29; the next day is Nisan 1—the Hebrew New Year’s day, the real Rosh Hashanah. It’s as if God is saying: “I’m coming—before the year is out. This is your last chance to avoid eternal darkness. Repent!” Sadly, by this time, most of the world will already have made their choice—to follow the Antichrist and the dragon, Satan.
In view of what we know of the final eclipses of the Great Tribulation, let us review one final passage: As we shall see, several events that we can pinpoint chronologically with a fair degree of certainty are mentioned here. The sixth Seal Judgment describes events that will take place within a few days of the end of the Tribulation. (If you’ll recall, the seal judgments are the most generalized of the three judgment series.) “I looked when He [Yahshua, the Lamb of God] opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake….” This earthquake (as we shall soon see) will take place on the final Day of Atonement, when Yahshua makes a “hard landing” upon returning from heaven to the Mount of Olives (see Acts 1:10-12, Zechariah 14:4).
“And the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.” The “sun” reference couldn’t be an eclipse (unless it’s a reference to the one that took place seven months previously), but the “moon-like-blood” notice might be: we know that the last of the four total lunar eclipses of the Great Tribulation will take place on Tishri 15 (October 8), 2033—the Feast of Tabernacles that marks the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. By this time, of course, there will be so much pollution in the atmosphere, a blood-red moon might seem normal. So it’s hard to be dogmatic as to the cause here. “And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.” Meteor showers. “Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place….” This too seems to be a reference to the great Day of Atonement earthquake: Tishri 10 (October 3), 2033.
“And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” (Revelation 6:12-17) The “great men” of the earth are always the last to see reality, it appears. They’ve been riding the Antichrist’s coattails for the past three and a half years, deceiving themselves as they slew or enslaved the “little people” of the earth in order to gain some advantage for themselves. Here at last, when it’s too late to change course, they see how disastrous a path they’ve been following. A few pages back, we encountered the blessed “sheep” of Yahshua’s parable predicted in the prophecy of Joel. Here, alas, we see the cursed “goats,” those who, whether free men or slaves, refused the grace of Yahweh until it was far too late. The blood moon is an apt symbol to represent their dismal fate.
One of the reasons I didn’t slam the brakes on this whole timeline inquiry—numbly chanting the mantra “No man knows the day or the hour” over and over again—was that Yahweh provided dozens of blatant chronological statistics relating to the Last Days. Some indicate the order of things: this will happen, then that will happen. Others give specific time frames: this will happen precisely 1,260 days after that happens, or this condition will persist for exactly five months. Call me overeager, but I couldn’t get past the idea that Yahweh was very careful to tell us when many of these things would happen. He apparently wants us to have some specific knowledge about His schedule—besides the mere fact that He has one.
Figuring the whole thing out, however, is like working a big jigsaw puzzle. You have to figure out where each piece goes—not independently, but in relation to the pieces that interlock with it. My wife likes jigsaw puzzles; she always has one going. When she starts a new one, she’ll divide the pieces into piles based on their general characteristics: these are the blue sky pieces; these are the bright flowers in the lower left; these are in this nondescript textured area over here; and these are edge pieces that’ll help me get my bearings. We would do well to make use of the same technique: these are “edge pieces” we need to establish a chronological framework; these interlock with the abomination of desolation; this one is the same color as the two witnesses….
We just established two of the key dates in the whole affair. The first day of the Millennial reign of Christ will fall on Saturday, October 8, 2033. (You’ve heard the caveats already; from now on when I state something as a certainty, bear in mind the assumptions I’ve listed.) The Day of Atonement—the actual day of Yahshua’s return—will fall five days before this. We’ll come back to this, because lots of puzzle pieces lock into October 3. But for now, let’s concentrate on finding the rest of the “edge pieces.”
If the first day of the Millennium is October 8, 2033, then counting backward, we can determine precisely when the Time of Jacob’s Trouble will begin. If you’ll recall, Daniel 9 laid out the last seventy “weeks” or septades of Israel’s destiny—490 schematic years of 360 days each, the first 483 of which are behind us. “Then [after the seven weeks and the sixty-two weeks] he [the prince who is to come, i.e., the Antichrist] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.” (Daniel 9:27) The 70th septade, then, is defined as the period of a seven-year “covenant” that will be confirmed by the Antichrist with “many” (presumably nations or peoples, not individuals). The Hebrew word for “confirm” is gabar, which means “to be strong; by implication, to prevail, act insolently, exceed, confirm, be great, mighty, or valiant.” The idea is that the Antichrist will push the covenant through, steam-rollering all opposition before him with insolence and an unstoppable force of will. Treaties come and go, but this particular one will be signed/ratified/implemented (we’re not quite sure which) exactly 2,520 days before October 8, 2033. That comes out to Saturday, November 14, 2026. Black Sabbath.
As long as we’re digging out the “edge pieces,” lets determine precisely when the middle of the Tribulation is. It’s not only mentioned here in Daniel 9, it’s alluded to quite a few times in scripture—indeed, it marks a paradigm shift of catastrophic proportions for the earth, when it moves out of the Tribulation into the Great Tribulation. 1,260 days (forty-two months, or three and a half years) before October 8, 2033 works out to April 27, 2030.
And just for the sake of being thorough, let’s figure out the last possible date for the rapture. (I just can’t leave it alone, can I?) The Feast of Trumpets in 2026 falls on Saturday, the 12th of September. That’s about two months before the “covenant with many” is confirmed, beginning the tribulation. However, not only are there an awful lot of things to accomplish in the gap between the rapture and the Tribulation (it took me an entire chapter to explain it all in The End of the Beginning) there’s another reason this date seems highly improbable to me. You see, if it’s the last possible date for the big day, then somebody’s going to be expecting it, and as we have seen, “No man knows….” Logically, of course, you can play head games with this and say, if the last possible date is impossible, then the next-to-last possible date is the last possible date, and therefore that’s impossible…. But beyond a year or two, it gets pretty silly. For all practical purposes, I’m guessing that Yahweh will leave a gap of perhaps three or four years between the great catching up and the great cashing in. One thing’s sure: we’ll know it when it happens.
But how can I be certain that the rapture will precede the Tribulation? After all, you can find people who believe it will take place at the end, or in the middle, or will be split into two groups, or won’t happen at all. We can dismiss the split-rapture and no-rapture theorists immediately because both positions ultimately rely on the denial of God’s grace: we’ve got to work our way to heaven. Sorry, guys, it can’t be done. And what about the mid-tribbers and post-toasties? Both of them suffer from the same fatal flaw: because Yahweh has given us enough information to pin down the beginning, middle, and end dates of the Tribulation, holding to either of these theories immediately brands Matthew 24:36 a lie, insisting we do know—or more correctly, we perceive (the Greek is eido, not ginosko) the day and hour of His coming for His people.
Beyond simple logic, however, we are given clues as to the order of things that not only place the rapture before the Tribulation, but imply a gap of some duration between them. First, the prophetic dress rehearsals: Noah and Lot. In both cases, the people being taken out of harm’s way were sealed from harm before disaster struck. (I realize that Noah isn’t, strictly speaking, a picture of the rapture but of the protection of the Jews through the Tribulation. But the principle still applies. Actually, it was Noah’s great grandfather, Enoch, who provided the direct symbolic parallel to the rapture—before the flood, you’ll notice.) In the case of Lot, the angels told him they couldn’t harm the city until after he had been taken out. That establishes the order: rapture first, wrath later.
Paul gives us more specific information. First, he says that there is no divine wrath in our future. “God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” (I Thessalonians 5:9-11) If God had scheduled the rapture for any time other than preceding the Tribulation, then these verses would be a lie, for the Tribulation is nothing if not a day of wrath. The prospect of “riding out the storm” like Noah could hardly be construed as cause for comfort. Besides, according to the fifth seal of Revelation 6:9-11 (and compare Revelation 7:9 to 7:14), the Tribulation believers won’t ride out the storm. They’ll be slaughtered by the millions.
Paul goes on to establish the order of events: “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed….” (II Thessalonians 2:1-3) His readers were concerned about the “coming of Yahshua the Messiah” and their “gathering together to Him”—two separate things that won’t necessarily happen at exactly the same time. Before the “coming” of Christ (in contrast to the “gathering”), two things will happen. First, there will be a “falling away,” that is, a state of apostasy—a general forsaking of the truth—will prevail. And second, the “man of sin,” i.e., the Antichrist, will be revealed.
I’d say we’re well on our way toward seeing the first of these two conditions fulfilled. Yes, Yahweh has “reserved unto Himself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal,” and the Church of Philadelphia is still hanging on by its fingernails (as Yahshua prophesied in Revelation 3:8). But today as never before, the Ekklesia of Christ is either an object of ridicule—misunderstood, mischaracterized, and dismissed—or it’s openly attacked from within with destructive heresies, and from without with everything from legislation to gunfire. This sad process will be completed when the rapture occurs, leaving no one left on earth who hasn’t “fallen away” from the truth.
That leaves only the man of sin to be unveiled before the Day of Christ. Although it may seem elementary to us, Paul’s point was that Yahshua’s return in glory would come at the end of the Tribulation, after the Antichrist had taken his best shot. Remember, it had been predicted that false Christs would come and fool many. And the Thessalonian believers had heard rumors that Yahshua had already returned—and forgotten all about them. Paul was trying to set the record straight: first apostasy and Antichrist, then the second coming—that’s the order of events.
But Paul wasn’t through. He now pushed the timeline back a notch, prophesying that the Holy Spirit, He who now restrains evil in the world, would be “taken out of the way” before this “lawless one,” the Antichrist, would be revealed. “And now you know what is restraining, that he [the Antichrist] may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed….” (II Thessalonians 2:6-8) Here Paul has addressed his readers’ concerns about their “gathering together to [Yahshua]” (verse 1). The Antichrist would not be revealed (in his true nature, anyway) until after the Holy Spirit—the One who now restrains lawlessness—was “taken out of the way.” Because the Holy Spirit dwells within individual believers, that can’t happen as long as the Church is on the earth. Therefore the rapture—the “gathering together” about which Paul was trying to calm their shaken minds—must precede the unveiling of the Antichrist, which, in combination with a falling away from the truth, must precede the Day of Christ. Thus the pre-Tribulation rapture scenario that is established here foresees a two-part “second coming.” The gathering together of the saints (a.k.a., the rapture) will be followed years later by the return of Yahshua in glory—bringing those saints back with Him.
The Last Days events we’ve seen so far, then, will occur in this order:
(1) The rapture will take place on the Feast of Trumpets (the 1st day of Tishri on the Hebrew calendar) in some year between now and 2026.
(2) Apostasy—abandonment of Truth—will become virtually universal.
(3) The Antichrist (a.k.a. the lawless one, the man of sin, or the son of perdition) will be “revealed.” That is, he will begin doing the things that are prophesied concerning him, specifically becoming the leader of a ten-nation confederation from within the old Roman empire of which three nations have been merged into his own state.
(4) The Tribulation will begin on Saturday, November 14, 2026 with a treaty or covenant agreed to by “many” (the United Nations, in all likelihood), pushed through by the Antichrist. This treaty will “guarantee” Israel’s sovereignty, but at a price.
(5) The midpoint of the Tribulation, marking an escalation in Yahweh’s wrath (not to mention the Antichrist’s power), will arrive on April 27, 2030.
(6) Israel will recognize and receive their Messiah, Yahshua, upon His return to the Mount of Olives, on October 3, 2033, the Day of Atonement.
(7) The Tribulation will end 2,520 days after it began, on October 7, 2033.
(8) Yahshua will begin His Millennial Kingdom reign on October 8, 2033, the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
This isn’t remotely everything that Yahweh’s told us about His timetable, you understand. There are many prophesied events that can help us build a comprehensive picture of the Last Days, adding detail to this basic structure. These puzzle pieces may not seem to make much sense or have any special significance by themselves, but placed in their proper context, they work together to form a clear picture of these times. It is my purpose here to explore only those prophecies that have a specific time factor attached to them.
(1) The Jews will at some point rebuild their temple and reinstitute the Levitical sacrifices. We know this because Paul predicts the presence of the temple in his teaching concerning the Antichrist. The “man of sin” is described as sitting “as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” (II Thessalonians 2:4) Also, Daniel 9:27 reports that “[The Antichrist] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.” The sacrifices can’t be made just anywhere or by anybody. They must be, according to the Torah, made by Jewish priests from the tribe of Levi, from the family of Aaron, in a single appointed place of worship within Israel. Since 967 B.C. that place has been the temple mount in Jerusalem. (The fact that most observant Jews today don’t see a need to rebuild the Temple—because they’ve constructed an elaborate alternate reality based on the manmade traditions of the Mishna—doesn’t change anything. The scriptures strongly suggest that the temple will be rebuilt and the sacrifices reinstituted. They don’t say why.) The “middle of the week,” as we have seen, will fall on April 27, 2030 (but see #3, below). Thus the third temple will have to be in operation sometime before this.
(2) An all-out invasion of Israel will be perpetrated by the army of “Magog” and its allies, comprised of the majority of the Muslim nations in the Middle East and North Africa. The Antichrist will be involved in the “defense” of Israel (see Daniel 11) because it’s his treaty—and reputation—that’s being violated. A blow-by-blow account of the war is recounted in Ezekiel 38 and 39, where we learn that “for seven months the house of Israel will be burying [the slain enemy], in order to cleanse the land.” (Ezekiel 39:12) Here are our timing clues: it will take at least six or eight months to build the temple after the treaty is first put in place. It seems likely that the Muslims won’t attack until after it’s finished. (Total war as described would surely halt the construction, and we’ve seen that both the Antichrist and the Jewish priesthood will make use of it, so the temple must logically be completed before the attack.) And as we will see shortly, the Jews will be driven into hiding when the Antichrist calls a halt to the temple sacrifices in the middle of the Tribulation—April, 2030—which means they won’t be able to spend any more time hanging around cleaning up the Muslim corpses; thus the seven predicted months are already past when they flee. From these factors, we can deduce that the War of Magog (the opening phase of World War III) will take place during the first half of the Tribulation, beginning perhaps a year into it (October to December, 2027) and ending with Yahweh’s destruction of Magog’s Islamic Armies on the mountains of Israel no later than August, 2029. The nuclear war raging outside Israel could last a bit longer but not past about February, 2030.
(3) The precise timing for the next event on our list is provided not by scripture (which only describes what happens) but by NASA! The third trumpet judgment (Revelation 8:10-11) describes “a great star [falling] from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water… and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.” This follows not only a nuclear war (the first Trumpet Judgment), but also the second Trumpet, which speaks of a “great mountain burning with fire” being thrown into the sea, causing the death of one third of the earth’s oceans. (The Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma Island in the Canaries is poised to fulfill that one, precipitating tsunamis 150 feet high capable of destroying cities on both sides of the North Atlantic.) It is instructive to compare these things to the description of the violent demise of “Commercial Babylon” in Revelation 18, especially the reference to ships and their crews in verses 17 and 18. When will this “great star” (the Greek word is aster) strike the earth? NASA scientists have calculated that the massive asteroid “99942 Apophis” (originally named 2004MN4) will come very near the earth on Friday, April 13, 2029. They say it will come within 15,000 miles of earth—a mere fifteen percent of the distance from the earth to the moon—a razor burn, as these things go. It has one chance in thirty-eight of actually impacting our planet (or, more in line with the Scripture passage that predicts it, exploding in the atmosphere, like the similar 1908 Tunguska event did). Apophis is big enough to obliterate an area the size of Texas, and apparently it wouldn’t take much of an angelic nudge to plunge it to earth, causing precisely the type and extent of devastation spoken of in Revelation. Assuming the Trumpet Judgments will be fulfilled in chronological order, the asteroid’s calculated timing would place its arrival on the heels of the volcano, which in turn would follow worldwide nuclear war (which is described in the first Trumpet Judgment). It’s a one-two-three knockout punch, culminating about a year before the midpoint of the Tribulation—our next chronological stop.
(4) The “abomination of desolation” is an event that marks the “outing” of the Antichrist, when he will openly reveal that he is in league with Satan. This is when he “sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God,” as we saw above. At this point his false prophet will demand the worship of his image and institute the “Mark of the Beast.” Daniel reports that the halting of the temple sacrifices will happen in the “middle” of the seven-year Tribulation (9:27), but a bit later he informs us precisely—to the day—when the abomination of desolation will take place: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (Daniel 12:11) We are still in the context of the 2,520-day (or “seven week”) period. So when the angel says “there shall be 1,290 days,” he is obviously counting backwards from the end. Since the mid-point (April 27, 2030) is 1,260 days back, the date he’s referring to is thirty days before that: March 28, 2030.
(5) The Abomination of Desolation, a month before the middle of the Tribulation, commences the world-wide rule of the Antichrist. At this point he begins a campaign designed to root out and destroy all vestiges of the worship of Yahweh, driving the recently converted Tribulation saints—gentiles, but especially the Jews—into hiding. The halting of the temple sacrifices will naturally follow his victory. “Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.” (Daniel 7:25) The Antichrist’s Satanic government will prevail on earth for precisely three and a half 360-day “years”—the last half of the Tribulation minus one month, that is, from March 28, 2030 to September 8, 2033. This is confirmed by John: “[The outer court of the temple] has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.” (Revelation 11:2)
(6) At about this time, two “witnesses” will appear in order to dispense the wrath of Yahweh upon a sinful earth in a display reminiscent of the ten plagues of Egypt. We are told the precise tenure of their “ministry”: “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” This is exactly the same elapsed time as the unimpeded rule of the Antichrist we saw in point #5. I believe they overlap to a large degree, but they aren’t a hundred percent coterminous. Why? Because of what is said about their deaths. “Their dead bodies will lie in the street… [for] three-and-a-half days…. And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell.” (Revelation 11:8, 12-13)
I am admittedly going to make an assumption here, but one that’s eminently plausible. I believe this “great earthquake” that marks the two witnesses’ resurrection (seen here in the context of the sixth trumpet judgment) is the very same as that mentioned in both the sixth seal and seventh bowl judgments: “He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake…and every mountain and island was moved out of its place…For the great day of His wrath has come.” (Revelation 6:12-17) And “The seventh angel poured out his bowl…. And there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth…. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.” (Revelation 16:17-20) If the same great earthquake is being described here, then we know exactly when it will occur: October 3, 2033. (I’ll tell you why in a moment.) Subtract the three and a half days that the witnesses lay dead in the streets of Jerusalem, and another 1,260 for the days of their “testimony,” and we know when they first appear: Thursday, April 18, 2030. To put things in perspective, this is three weeks after the Abomination of Desolation—the signal, according to Yahshua (Matthew 24:15-21) for those living in Judea to “flee to the mountains.” And to make things deliciously poetic, guess what else the day signifies. In 2030, the 18th of April falls on the 15th of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar, on the Feast of Unleavened Bread—the one day of the year specifically set aside by Yahweh to clean all the sin and corruption out of the house of Israel. That’s pretty significant, if you ask me.
(7) The fifth trumpet judgment records a period of time when demonic locust-like beings are released from the bottomless pit, or abyss, to torment those not under the protection of Yahweh: “They were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them…. Their power was to hurt men five months.” (Revelation 9:4-6, 10) This plague is apparently directed against the same group mentioned in the first bowl judgment of Revelation 16:2, those who have accepted the Mark of the Beast and pledged loyalty to the Antichrist and the dragon he serves. Therefore it must occur during the second half of the Tribulation. And assuming the trumpet judgments are listed in chronological order, it would have to come early in this period, because of what follows:
(8) The next trumpet judgment, the sixth, speaks of an army of two hundred million “horsemen” who are incited to battle by four angels (presumably fallen) “who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year” (Revelation 9:15) for this task. I believe this phrase may mean more than that they were prepared for this precise moment, which is pretty obvious. Rather, we are (perhaps) being told when these spirits will be released to call the Eastern horde to their destiny: starting from the Abomination of Desolation (March 28, 2030) we count an hour, plus one day, one month (thirty days), and one year (360 days), a total of 391 days, bringing us to April 23, 2031. Looking at what this army must “accomplish,” (Revelation 9:13-21, 16:12) this is a plausible timeframe at the very least. Fortunately, nobody’s salvation depends on whether I’m right or not.
(9) As we saw back in point #5, the Antichrist’s unhindered reign of terror is confined to a three and a half year period (“time, times, and half a time”). That time began on March 28, 2030 with the Abomination of Desolation. Now, on September 8, 2033, his world starts to fall apart. He is no longer able to kill believers in Yahweh with impunity. Now that his power is broken, some of the Jews who had been hiding out in the wilderness begin to return to Jerusalem.
(10) The Antichrist isn’t entirely done killing believers, though. Ironically, he will kill two of them (perhaps his last two) after his time as king of the hill is over (Revelation 11:7), the last spasm of a dying regime. The two witnesses who were such a thorn in his side for his entire three and a half year reign will be slain in the streets of Jerusalem on September 29, 2033. Their bodies will lie there unburied and unmourned for three and a half days as the unrepentant world celebrates their death. But at the end of that time (on October 3), they will rise from the dead and ascend to heaven in full view of the TV cameras—giving their enemies a severe case of the heebie-jeebies. But these unrepentant souls will soon have something bigger to worry about.
(11) The “Big One,” the great earthquake of the sixth seal, sixth trumpet, and seventh bowl judgments (if my theory is correct), will occur within an hour of the two witnesses’ resurrection (Revelation 11:13) on October 3, 2033. Why at precisely this moment? As we have seen, this is the Day of Atonement, the 10th of Tishri, a day in which the Israelites were instructed to “afflict their souls.” (Leviticus 23:27) Thinking in prophetic terms, what would make them want to do that? It’s the recognition that they had been dead wrong about Yahshua of Nazareth—that their forefathers had murdered their promised Messiah and they had by their national rejection perpetuated their fathers’ sin. Zechariah records their epiphany: “[Israel] will look on [Yahweh] whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:10-11) This is clearly indicative of the Day of Atonement. And where will the Jews “look on” Yahshua? The prophet explains: “In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south.” (Zechariah 14:4) That’s our monster earthquake, in case you missed it, the very same earthquake described in such detail above.
But how will Yahshua get to the Mount of Olives? By bus? Not hardly. Two angels, if you’ll recall, told Yahshua’s disciples as they stood on Olivet staring skyward as He ascended from first-century Jerusalem, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11) So here’s what’s happening: Yahshua, resplendent in glory, descends to earth from the heavens. His point of arrival is the Mount of Olives. His date of arrival is the Day of Atonement, October 3, 2033. The result of His arrival is two-fold. First, the very crust of the earth moves aside in homage to its Creator, setting off the largest earthquake in the history of mankind. And second, the Jews who have returned from hiding in the wilderness to Jerusalem (remember, the Antichrist’s authority ended on September 8—see #5) witness the power of their Messiah, recognize Him for who He is, and immediately go into deep mourning—affliction of the soul, just as the miqra required.
(12) Yahshua, I’m sure, would love to stay in Jerusalem and chat with all His new friends. But there’s the little matter of two hundred million soldiers from the East plus multitudes of other “insurgents” from every nation on earth who have gathered up north in Armageddon (Har Megiddo, which means “mountain of rendezvous” or “hill of the gathering of troops”) with the express purpose of wiping the Jews off the face of the earth once and for all. So Yahshua, apparently beginning down south near the Dead Sea at Bozrah, immediately begins to pummel the advancing horde, squashing them all like grapes in a winepress, according to Isaiah (63:1-6). He has to work quickly because His thousand-year reign is scheduled to begin in a matter of days. Four days later, on the last day of the Tribulation (admittedly a guess) He captures the Antichrist and his false prophet and throws them into hell—without bothering to kill them first (Revelation 19:20). It’s all over as the sun sets on October 7, 2033.
(13) The very next day, the 15th of Tishri on the Hebrew calendar—October 8, 2033 on the Gregorian—King Yahshua will begin His thousand-year reign on earth. Naturally (because the Torah requires it) it’s a Sabbath, Saturday, the seventh day of the week. At this point, there is but one enigmatic bit of timing data left for us to ponder. It’s in a passage we examined before, one that will help us get our bearings: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.” (Daniel 12:11-12) As we saw, the only logical way to account for the 1,290 days is to count backward from the end of the Tribulation to arrive at the date of the Abomination of Desolation: March 28, 2030.
But what’s this other date? To get to that, we must count forward from the A of D 1,335 days—that is, the original 1,290 plus an additional 45. What does Yahshua intend to do with the 45 days? Why are you “blessed” when and if you come to the end of them? I believe that this is the time period required for the “separation of the sheep from the goats” described in Matthew 25:31-45. Yahshua will personally judge everyone left upon the earth. The question will not be, “Were you without sin?” Everybody knows the answer to that one. He could skip the formalities and just set the planet on fire. No, the criteria will be, “Did you feed Me when I was hungry, give Me a drink when I was thirsty, shelter Me, clothe Me, visit Me, protect Me when you had the chance?” You? will be the inevitable response. We didn’t even see you! Then He will explain that by taking care of His “brothers,” you were in effect taking care of Him—or not, as the case may be. Who, then, does He consider His “brothers”? The neoChristians aren’t a particularly good fit for this group, for the simple reason that they are the ones expected to be counted among the “sheep,” those who will populate the Millennial Kingdom. Yahshua’s brothers are, rather, the people most of the world has been trying to exterminate for the last seven years: Israel, the Jews, the recipients of Yahweh’s most enduring and unlikely promise: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3) This blessing and cursing will be complete 45 days into the Millennium. The Gregorian calendar date is absolutely beside the point.
I pray that all of these dates are beside the point for you—that you know Yahshua as your Savior already, that you have a personal relationship with Him, and that you will, as a result, be called home long before the real nastiness begins.
But if you have stumbled upon these pages after the rapture, take comfort in two things: first, Yahweh knows exactly what He’s doing; He’s in control of the schedule and He’s told you what will happen before it happens so you can plan for it (and more to the point, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that He is God—the One who exists outside of time). Second, the bad times won’t last forever. A few (relatively speaking) will survive to the end and will “be fruitful and replenish the earth” during the Messiah’s thousand-year reign. If you can do so without denying Yahweh, hold onto your life. In particular, don’t pass up the opportunity to assist, shelter, feed, or otherwise minister to any Jew who may cross your path during these dark days. Be aware that life is choice: it’s no bargain to exchange a few months of mortal earthly existence for an eternity separated from God.