The God of Israel controls the future. Here’s what the God of Israel says:
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do. (Isaiah 46: 10-11)
One of the most fascinating aspects about the people of Israel is their sacred book (which we call the Bible) and its mind-boggling prophecies. These are God-inspired predictions of events declared long before they happened, written by people who lived ages before the concerned generation even came into being. What people and what God does this? In a world of many religions, one cannot help but be amazed by the God of Israel’s bold declarations of the future. Today we see predicted events unfolding before our eyes, and especially those concerning Israel’s future.
Predictions Concerning Israel and the Gentile Nations
When we trace a timeline of recent world events we find that many are closely linked to Israel. We see that Israel is increasingly the vortex of the world. For example, the following events are prophesied:
The return of the Jewish people to their homeland [commenced late 1800’s, ‘Aliyah’ continues today]
The liberation of Jerusalem from Gentile domination [commenced 1917, completed 1967]
Establishment of a Jewish homeland [commenced late 1800’s, legalized 1922]
Continuing persecution of Jews outside Israel [encourages ‘Aliyah’ today]
Attempted division of the Jewish homeland and Jerusalem [sought by the UN, the EU and the PA]
Establishment of the State of Israel [the Jewish nation was ‘born’ May 1948]
Why look at Israel, or even think about this tiny little country? After all, Israel has only some 8 million people and is only the size of Wales. And isn’t stubborn little Israel a thorn in the flesh for the Palestinian people and a hard nut to crack for the UN politicians?
Yes – all that is true. But there is more to Israel than meets the eye – and the vast majority of the population fails to see it. A look at the facts, and a little reading of the Bible shows that Israel’s history and future are extremely important for the nations; she cannot be ignored. Like it or not, the milestones in Israel’s history and the prophesied milestones for the future are crucially important for the world. They affect all nations and all individuals.
The aim of this site is to be an eye-opener to the mystery of Israel. We want to spread the truth about the amazing role of Israel and how it can give us hope in an increasingly violent and chaotic world. Don’t walk away – this divine timepiece is running fast and events surrounding Israel will soon embrace the whole world. Whether you believe in the Bible or not, this site offers food for thought that you might find interesting and worth studying.
The timeline below is best viewed on desktops, laptops and tablets
If you’re viewing this on a mobile phone, click HERE for a PDF version
About the times of the End, a body of men will be raised up who will turn their attention to the prophecies, and insist upon their literal interpretation, in the midst of much clamor and opposition. [Sir Isaac Newton, 1642 – 1747]
Some claim that modern Israel a special nation amongst the nations of the world. And they claim that Israel will have an increasing role in the world as we near the end of this age. Prophecy fulfilled by Israel is a good test of these claims, and we need look no further back than the 20th century. During this time there are at least FIVE prophecies about Israel that have clearly been fulfilled: 1) the return of Jerusalem to the Jews, 2) the return of millions of Jews to their promised land, 3) the rebirth of the Jewish nation, 4) the protection of Israel against aggressors, and 5) the blessing of the land of Israel.
Here are Five Recent Examples of Prophecy Fulfilled by Israel
1. Prophecy Fulfilled: Jerusalem and the Times of the Gentiles
Historically, Jerusalem was under Jewish rule until the invasion of Judah and Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar around 600 BC, link. Although some Jews returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile, Jerusalem was always under some form of Gentile rule until the 20th century. Then, in 1917, things started to change when General Allenby liberated Jerusalem from Turkish rule. Jerusalem then came under the 1922 League of Nations (British) Mandate for Palestine – a mandate to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Scroll on 50 years and we see Jerusalem being fully liberated from Gentile rule after the 1967 6-Day War. At this point, all of Jerusalem came under Jewish rule for the first time in some 2,500 years and Jesus’ prophecy was fulfilled:
Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Lk 21.24)
2. Prophecy Fulfilled: the In-gathering of Jews from the Nations
In just 100 years the Jewish population of Israel has risen an amazing 7,700 percent (see Aliyah). Why this mass immigration to Israel? It is a fulfillment of prophecies which say that God will take His people from all the nations and bring them back into their own land (as promised to Abraham).
Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone … and bring them into their own land (Ezekiel 37.21)
Jews are coming from all over the world, from wherever they have been scattered amongst the nations. The first wave of immigration started in 1882 and particularly involved Jews from Russia and Romania. By 2008 the number of Jews living in Israel was more than any other country since the year 70 AD. Why this return? This prophecy fulfilled by Israel is an end-time sign to the nations that God is about to intervene in world affairs:
He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; He will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:12)
3. Prophecy Fulfilled: Israel – A Nation Born in a Day
Many prophecies foresaw the end-time gathering of the nation Israel from out of the Gentile nations – they were to come from the east and the west, the north and the south. This has happened over the last 100 years: in 1915 there were just 83,000 Jews in Palestine but this increased to over 6.2 million Jews in 2015, link, corresponding to an amazing 7400% increase! In comparison, over the same period the UK population increased just 55%. Equally amazing is the fact that the nation Israel was “born in a day” when the State of Israel was declared on 14 May 1948. This was fulfilment of prophecy:
Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? (Isa 66.8, NLT)
4. Prophecy Fulfilled: Israel is the Apple of God’s Eye
ISIS-HAMAS-HEZBOLLAH – don’t Touch!
In 1967 the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon (and later Iraq) attacked Israel with the goal “to wipe Israel off the map”. Israel defeated the attack in just 6 days even though the Arab armies had huge superiority in armour, aircraft and troops. After the war Israel held the Sinai, the Golan Heights, Gaza, the West Bank and all of Jerusalem. In fact, the area controlled by Israel after this war was the same area allotted to Israel for Jewish settlement under the 1922 Palestine Mandate!
In 1973 Egypt and Syria launched a coordinated attack on Israel in an attempt to win back territory lost in the 6-Day War. Iraqi forces soon joined the war, and Syria received support from Jordan. The Arab armies used up-to-date Soviet weaponry. The war was launched on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar when Israel is at rest and prayer, link. This took Israeli Defense Forces by surprise and Israeli causalities were heavy. Nevertheless, after just 20 days Egypt and Syria suffered military defeat.
In 2016 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said their new Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile is capable of intercepting weapons bearing chemical, biological or nuclear warheads while they are still close to their launch pads. In other words, if a missile is launched from Iran it will fall on Iran!
These wartime victories against all odds, and superior anti-missile technologies are seen as fulfilled prophecy:
Whoever assails you will fall because of you … no weapon that is formed against you will prosper (Isa 54.15,17)
I will be a wall of fire around her … he who touches you, touches the apple of (the Lord’s) eye (Zech 2.5,8)
Did God Protect Israel against ISIS?
Early December 2016: Amidst increasing ISIS activity on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, Israeli soldiers stationed there reported that a literal pillar of cloud descended on the border. Reports say the strange storm (dust and rain) stopped on the border of Syria and was ‘unable’ to enter Israel’s Golan Heights area. It seems the storm cloud put a barrier between Israel and ISIS. Many believe God intervened on behalf of Israel to prevent ISIS from entering Israel, link, link.
5. Prophecy Fulfilled: Blessings of City and Land
Today, Israel’s industries include diamond processing, textiles, food processing, mining, agriculture and forestry. Despite the fact that more than half of Israel’s land is desert, Israel still manages to produce 95% of its own food requirements, link. Israel is also a major exporter of dates, avocados, olive oil, pomegranates and almonds, and is a world-leader in agricultural technologies, such as drip irrigation.
Israel’s scientific and technological advances are astounding: her industry now boasts many thousands of hi-tech companies in a wide range of fields such as computer science, electronics, genetics, optics, biotechnology, medical electronics, solar energy and electric cars. The majority of these companies are from startups. All major hi-tech companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Intel and Samsung now have R&D centres in Israel. In particular, cyber-security is big business there, link, involving some 200 Israeli companies and accounting for US$3 billion worth of anti-hacking exports in 2013.
The country has been described as an “economic miracle” since it has consistently had more companies listed on NASDAQ than all of Europe combined, and consistently scores as one of the top countries for patents per capita, see Venture Capital. According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s export of ‘goods’ (excluding services) has risen consistently over several decades, from $6 billion in 1980, to $31 billion in 2000 to over $63 billion in 2014.
Clearly, Israel’s cities and land are prospering. Why? Is it simply God’s end-time plan for Israel? Or is it a blessing from God because a majority of the Jews in Israel honour God by observing “halakhah” (the “Jewish Law”) e.g. by observing God’s feasts, keeping Shabbat, and praying once or twice a day? Or is it both? We are seeing the following prophecies being fulfilled:
Israel shall blossom and bud and fill the face of the world with fruit (Isa 27.6)
If you observe carefully all His commandments … (then) blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country (Deut 28.1,3)
Prophecies about Israel – Abraham to the Millennium
Here are 54 Bible prophecies about Israel, many of which have been fulfilled.
Tiny Israel punches above her weight. Geographically she is just the size of Wales and she has less than ten million people, but she still stands unique amongst the nations. Why? The answer is that her existence (past, present and future) is mapped out in the scriptures. No other nation has such a well-defined timeline. Nations come and nations go, but according to the Bible, Israel will never disappear! Today we are seeing prophecy fulfilled by Israel.
The following slides give 54 key Bible prophecies relating to the people and the land of Israel. They give a clear timeline of Israel – past, present and future. They clearly predict the present regeneration of the land itself, the recent discovery of natural resources, and the current unprecedented immigration (aliyah) to Israel. They also describe the future world government and how the nations will one day honour Israel. And prophecy describes a future harmony between Jew and non-Jews; they live at peace alongside each other in a Millennial age. That’s better than any “two-state” solution!
God’s People: Israel
God promised Abraham and his descendants (the people of Israel) all the land of Canaan (modern Israel) as an everlasting possession. He promised Abraham that he would become a great nation, and that this nation would be God’s own people, a unique people on the face of the earth. They are God’s chosen servant to be a witness to Himself and to make a name for Himself. Today, after 2,500 years of exile through disobedience, Israel is once more on the world stage as millions of Jews return to their own land. Today there is a State of Israel and she is becoming the focus of world attention as we approach the end of the age. God is leading them, just as a Father leads his little child.
Aliyah: the Ingathering of Israel
For a time rebellious Israel was forsaken by God and they were scattered (like dry bones) amongst the nations. But Ezekiel the prophet saw a valley of dry bones that became alive as God brought the people back to their own land. In these last days God has reached out to His people and wants to blot out their sin and unite them with Himself. So He is calling His people out from the nations, back into their own land, the land of Canaan. Jews call this ingathering or mass immigration back to their own land ‘aliyah’ or ‘ascent’. It has been underway now for over 100 years, drawing in some 8 million people. The Gentile nations cannot help but see an amazing thing: a nation born almost overnight. It is a very clear sign to the nations that the God of Israel is working in the world!
The Refining of Israel
Israel was scattered throughout the nations because she rebelled against her Creator. The prophet Ezekiel says she was like a captive behind bars, experiencing great suffering. But even when Israel returns to her own land, the vast majority of the Jews will still reject Yeshua, their true Messiah. So God brings them through a time of severe trial to refine them, like the refining of silver and the testing of gold. It is so severe that only one third survive. But this remnant at last sees Yeshua as their Messiah, and they mourn for their rejection of Him and how they pierced Him on the cross. God then pours out His Spirit upon this remnant, cleanses them, and writes His law on their hearts. From this time onwards, Israel is reunited with her God.
God’s Protection & Blessing of Israel
The refined remnant of Israel receive God’s protection and blessing. He protects them from their enemies and humbles those who have afflicted Israel. At the final assault on Israel, God causes great geological changes as the Mount of Olives splits in two (to provide protection for Israel). Israel then sees great blessings in both land and sea (possibly abundant gas and oil). Her well-watered hills produce abundant crops to fill the world with fruit and the formerly desolate land becomes like the garden of Eden. At last the nations acknowledge that Israel is God’s true witness of Himself and that His glory rests on the people of Israel.
Millennial Israel will live in peace, with the land divided equally amongst the tribes of Israel. The people will grow vineyards and build houses, and any foreigner (Gentile) will be treated equally as though they were God’s own people. Part of the land near Jerusalem will be set aside for Christ’s sanctuary, the seat of His Kingdom on earth. It will be a beautiful, glorious place. From there Christ will be King over all the earth and will the rule the nations with a rod of iron. Each year the nations will go up to Jerusalem to worship Him and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
The Jewish State of Israel occupies the land the Jews call Israel (and Christians refer to as the Holy Land). The Gentile world and the Arab nations also refer to this land as Palestine. The (so-called) Palestinians want to establish a Palestinian state on some (and preferably all) of the land called Israel. Hence the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Let’s summarize the facts.
No Palestinian People: There is no historical Palestinian people. Despite the strong Muslim presence over the centuries, by the early 20th century Palestine was simply a mix of many peoples representing some 50 languages [1911 Encyclopedia Britannica]. ‘Palestine was ethnologically a chaos of all the possible human combinations’ [Richard Hartmann, historian], and so it did not share a common Arab identity. A ‘Palestinian people’ only came to prominence from the indigenous Arab population in response to increasing Jewish immigration after WWI.
It was not as if there was a Palestinian people in Palestine and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them … they did not exist [Golda Meir, Prime Minister, 1969]
No Palestinian Land or Country: Although referred to a ‘Palestine’ from Roman times, the biblical land of Canaan (today’s Holy Land) was not a ‘country’ and had no frontiers, only administrative boundaries [Prof. Bernard Lewis]. The term ‘Palestine’ was used as a general term to describe the land south of Syria, and it was applied to the territory placed under the 1922 British Mandate. Historically, there was no such country as Palestine:
There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not
[Arab Prof Philip Hitti (Princeton University), 1946]
Palestine does not exist at all
[Ahmed Shkari (PLO founder), 1956]
Birth of a ‘Palestinian People: Palestinian nationalism and an identifiable ‘Palestinian People’ emerged after WWI, probably in response to the threat posed by Zionism when waves of Jewish immigrants arrived in Palestine between 1919 and 1939. Prior to this time, these Arabs were citizens of the Ottoman Empire. A Palestinian identity was given further impetus with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. This was a political maneuver:
The Palestinian people does not exist … there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people [Zahir Muhsein, PLO, March, 1977]
The ‘Promised Land’: The Bible says that the Jews have been promised a land of their own. God made an unconditional promise to Abraham:
I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you … I will give to you and your descendants … all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God
Land Partitioning – a Two-State Solution: Under the 1917 Balfour Declaration Britain supported the creation of a Jewish home in Palestine, with the proviso that the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities were preserved. This Declaration was based upon the biblical promise to Abraham and was formalized by the 1922 British Mandate for Palestine, where Palestine was defined as the land west of the river Jordan, including Judea and Samaria (now called the West Bank). In 1947 nearly half of Palestine was owned by Arabs, nearly half was “Crown Lands” under the 1922 British Mandate, and about 8% was Jewish. In the same year UN Resolution 181 recommended that this area be divided equally into an Arab state and a Jewish state, and Jerusalem was to be ‘internationalized’. The Jews accepted the resolution but the Arabs rejected it. When the British left Palestine, the Palestine Mandate was absorbed into Article 80 of the UN Charter, and still stands today.
Palestinian and Jewish Refugees: Since the two-state solution was rejected, immediately after the Declaration of the State in 1948 the Arab nations (notably the Egyptian and Syrian armies) invaded Israel. So Arab nations started the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which led to the refugee problem. In this so-called ‘War of Independence’, many Palestinians evacuated their homes under direction from Arab armies, hoping to return soon after the inevitable Arab victory, link. Instead, over 700,000 Palestinians became refugees that year in what is known as the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe). A further 250,000 Palestinians fled to the West Bank or Gaza Strip during the 1967 war, link.
What is not so widely known is that this war also displaced Jewish inhabitants of East Jerusalem link, and between 1948 and 1951, over 800,000 Jews were effectively forced out of Arab countries by oppression and persecution. These also became refugees, link.
Israel’s Temporary Borders: After the 1948-49 war, the Arab countries refused to sign a permanent peace treaty with Israel and so the 1947 UN Commission proposals never received legal international recognition. Instead, Israel’s temporary borders were established along the so-called ‘Green Line’ of the 1949 UN armistice agreements. This line excludes Israel from the West Bank and Gaza. Its originators never intended it to be Israel’s permanent borders.
The Concept of ‘Land Occupation’: Since the 1967 Six-Day War, the international community (notably the media) has claimed that Israel is “occupying Palestinian land”. But in international law, a territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state is declared terra nullius, and sovereignty over such territory can be legally acquired through occupation. This is the case of the West Bank and Gaza; neither have been legally recognized states and so legally cannot be occupied territories. So in the 1967 war, Israel simply took back Palestine Mandate land that was taken from her by war in 1948-49.
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Today
Today, Israel’s legal borders are still defined by Article 80 of the UN Charter and span from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. According to Article 80, “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. The land of Israel was meant to be home for the non-Jewish peoples as well as home for the nation, Israel. Sadly this has not happened because the Arab leadership refused, and still refuses to accept the State of Israel and so peace cannot be achieved.
The revised Hamas Charter re-affirms the Palestinian long-standing hatred of Israel:
Hamas will not give up on any part of the land of Palestine no matter the reasons, circumstances or pressures, and no matter how long the occupation remains. Hamas rejects any alternative to completely liberating Palestine from the river to the sea.
The Hidden Spiritual War
In all the conflicts with Israel it is important to recognize that they are driven by unseen spiritual forces. The root cause of such conflicts is the relationship of Israel to Jesus (Yeshua):
the dragon (Satan) … persecuted the woman (Israel) who gave birth to the male child (Jesus) (Rev 12.13)
Put simply, the salvation of mankind comes through the Jewish Messiah, Jesus, link. This fundamental truth is why the enemy of mankind persecutes Israel. There is a spiritual war against God’s chosen people, Israel, and aggressive nations and leaders (including the UN and the Palestinian leadership) are simply Satan’s pawns. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is just one example of this hidden but very real spiritual war.
The current land disputes with Israel over the so-called “occupied territories” will be relatively short-lived. Bible prophecy points to a soon-coming age (the Millennium) when the people of Israel (Abraham’s descendants, the Jews) live at peace within the boundaries promised unconditionally to Abraham. Those boundaries span from the River Jordan in the east to the Mediterranean in the west, and embrace the disputed territories of the West Bank and Gaza. It is interesting to observe that the boundaries given to Moses as he was about to divide up Canaan for the twelve tribes (Numbers 34) correlate well with the Millennial boundaries given in Ezekiel 47.
Biblical Borders: The Future Borders of Israel According to the Bible
The current borders of Israel are disputed by the international community, from the UN to the Arab leadership. But these parties insist on ignoring the true legal position, link. Even the US, Israel’s greatest ally makes misleading statements:
We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines [Barack Obama, 2011]
Obama gave US support for a future Palestinian state based on borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war. Thankfully, Israel’s border disputes will be short-lived. When this age ends and the 1,000 year ‘Millennial Age’ of earth begins, Israel’s borders will be firmly established by the God of Israel. In fact, Israel’s future borders are already clearly written in Bible prophecy (if only the world would read it).
The Promised Land: Israel’s Biblical Title Deeds
God promised that He would give all the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants. He made a covenant with Abraham:
To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt (Jewish tradition: the Nile) as far as the great river, the River Euphrates (Gen 15.18)
I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines (Gaza coast), and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates (Exod 23.31)
Despite Israel’s future disobedience, this promise was unconditional in that the land was to be theirs forever; no strings attached:
I will give to you and to your descendants … all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession (Gen 17.8)
Where was Canaan, this “Promised Land”? Where did the twelve tribes of Israel settle? They settled mainly in the area currently referred to as Israel, including the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights, although the tribes of Benjamin, Gad, Reuben and part of Manasseh settled east of the Jordan (Fig.1). So there we have it: Abraham’s descendants, Isaac, Jacob and the twelve tribes of Israel are promised their own land, their own piece of real estate in the region we now call Israel.
Location of Israel’s Future Borders
Let’s try and identify the biblical geographic boundaries. As the Israelites conquered more territory the term ‘Canaan’ was gradually applied to all the lands west of the Jordan valley, and there are references to Canaanites living in the valleys and plains of this region (Num 13.29)(Josh 11.3)(Judg 1.27). In time the LORD gave more detail of the geographical boundaries. For example, in Num 34.1-12 we find the boundaries given to Moses as he was about to divide up Canaan for the twelve tribes. These are:
Western: the Mediterranean Sea
Eastern: from Kadesh-barnea, via Zin and the salt sea to Zedad and Hamath in the north
Southern: from Kadesh Barnea to the Brook of Egypt (Jewish tradition takes this as the Nile)
Northern: from the Mediterranean Sea (Mount Hor) to Hamath to Zedad
The boundaries defined in Numbers 34 are shown in Fig.2 and in Ezek 47.13-20 we find more boundary detail which confirm these boundaries. It is clearly stated that the Jordan is the eastern boundary (v18) and the western boundary (the Mediterranean Sea) goes north as far as ‘opposite Hamath’ (v20). The southern boundary is defined by a ‘brook’ in Num 34.5 and Ezek 47.19 and by a ‘river’ in Gen 15.18. As mentioned, Jewish tradition takes this to be the Nile (although some dispute this, link, link).
The significant point here is that many understand Ezek 47 (in fact, Ezek 40-48) to describe Millennial Israel. And it is interesting to see how the Old Testament boundaries in Num 34 align closely with Israel’s future borders in Ezek 47.
Future (equal) land Division
Historically, the tribes occupied only some of this land and, as already mentioned, in addition occupied some land east of the Jordan (see also Israel’s History). Under Moses, the land was divided according to the size of each tribe (Josh 13) and so resulted in very unequal division e.g. the tribe of Manasseh took a large share. In contrast, Ezek 47 and 48 state that the land in Millennial Israel will be divided equally between the tribes, and in an east-west way (parallel sections):
The Sovereign Lord said, “These are the boundaries of the land that is to be divided among the twelve tribes … I solemnly promised your ancestors that I would give them possession of this land; now divide it equally among you. (Ezek 47.13-14)
So each tribe will have one portion, starting with Dan in the north and ending with Gad in the south, and all sections run east-west, Fig.3. There are several important points to note here.
The LORD’s Temple
Firstly, there will be a portion of land between the section for the tribe of Judah and the section for the tribe of Benjamin that is “set apart for the LORD” (Ezek 45.1-5, 48.8-22). Why? Recall that one day soon, in the Millennial age, the law will emanate from Zion (Mic 4.2). In the Old Testament, Zion came to mean Jerusalem, and the temple area in particular. This indicates that Christ will rule from some future temple and it’s surrounding area. In fact, Messianic Jews expect such a temple to be built in the near future, and we find a graphic description of such a temple in Ezek 40-48.
So the land “set apart” must include a holy place for the LORD’s temple or sanctuary. It’s precise dimensions are given in Ezek 45.1-5 and it is in the center of this special section of land (see Fig.4). It is the place of Christ’s throne on earth – a glorious place in the midst of the children of Israel. This is the place described as “THE LORD IS THERE” (Ezek 48.35).
Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever (Ezek 43.7)
The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the juniper, the box tree and the cypress together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; And I shall make the place of My feet glorious (Isa 60.13)
Israeli-Palestinian Problem Solved
We should also ask, “What of the non-Jewish population – those who currently war against the Jews?” In the coming age this conflict is resolved by the LORD. Israel is instructed by God to treat “the stranger” (non-Jews) as one of themselves and let them live in the land:
“… and for the strangers who dwell among you and who bear children among you. They shall be to you as native-born among the children of Israel; they shall have an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. And it shall be that in whatever tribe the stranger dwells, there you shall give him his inheritance,” says the Lord God (Ezek 47.22-23)
This of course is nothing new. Thousands of years ago God instructed Moses to tell the people of Israel how they should treat foreigners (non-Jews). They were commanded to love “strangers” and to let them live normal lives amongst them (Deut 10.19):
When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall do him no wrong … (he) … shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself (Lev 19.33,34)
So under the new (Millennial) borders of Israel, God repeats this instruction via the prophet Ezekiel. During an interview in 1989, Arial Sharon was asked: “Do you think of Arabs as your friends, neighbours, your enemies?” He replied:
From my childhood, I have believed Jews and Arabs can live together, and I believe now they should live together. All the rights to this country, to the land of Israel – especially Judea and Samaria – are Jewish … but everyone who lives in the country should have all the rights of the country”. [Ariel Sharon, TIME, April 1989]
Unfortunately, as long as Arab countries refuse to recognize Israel and continue to attack her, such peaceful cohabitation is impossible. But it will happen in the Millennial age under Christ’s rule.
A Border Discrepancy?
At first sight it appears that there is some discrepancy in the northern boundary, since initially God told Abraham this boundary would be the River Euphrates, much further to the north (Gen 15.18). The kingdoms of David and Solomon did indeed stretch from the river of Egypt on the Sinai peninsula, across the Syrian Desert to Tiphsah on the Euphrates, but the Euphrates boundary is absent from Num 34 and Ezek 47.
A possible explanation is that God is giving boundaries for two time periods. At the Second Coming of Christ, link, there will be significant geological changes in the Middle East (Zech 14.4,10)(Isa 11.15,16) and one of these is the drying up of the Euphrates (Rev 16.12). So whilst the Euphrates served as a boundary for David and Solomon, it virtually ceases to be a landmark in the Millennium.
Comparison with Today’s Borders
It is interesting to compare the future biblical borders and land division with the current situation in Israel. Clearly, the future borders include both the Gaza strip and the West Bank! They also include significant parts of present-day Syria i.e. up to Hamath, and probably all of Lebanon. Are the politicians listening?
The Bible liken’s the nation Israel to a fig tree. A fig tree produces both good and bad (inedible) fruit. So it was with the nation of Israel. Jews who were whole-hearted followers of God were likened to ‘good figs’, and rebellious Jews were likened to ‘bad figs’. The Bible also says that at the end of this age Israel will ‘blossom and bud’ and ‘put forth new leaves’ like a fig tree, and that this will be a sign of the imminent return of Israel’s true Messiah – Yeshua (Jesus Christ). Put simply, the Bible says that end-time events in the world will be closely linked to modern Israel.
Go directly to an interactive timeline for Israel-related events HERE
Signs of the End of the Age and of Christ’s Return
When Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Mathew 24.3), He identified four types of end-time sign (see also Mark 13 and Luke 21):
Signs in the world – wars, earthquakes, famines, lawlessness, wild weather …
Signs in the church – worldwide gospel preaching, persecution, apostasy, false prophets …
Signs in Israel – invasion, severe persecution of Jews …
Signs in the heavens – fearful solar and cosmic disturbances, asteroids …
Jesus said that when we see these signs then “know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21.31). He said these signs point to His imminent return and the establishment of His kingdom on earth. So Jesus stressed that it was important to watch for these signs:
Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming (Mat 25.13)
After describing the above signs, Jesus gave a mysterious parable. He associated the observation of these signs with the Parable of the Fig Tree. Why? It turns out that understanding this parable is the key to unlocking the mystery of what is now happening in the world. The parable leads to a very important sign, and one promised by the prophet Isaiah:
He will set up a sign for the nations (Isa 11.12)
What is it?
An Important Sign: The Parable of Israel the Fig Tree
After describing some end-time signs to watch for, Jesus ends with the parable of the fig tree. He told His disciples:
Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near – at the doors!
Why did Jesus associate a fig tree with the end time signs? Some argue that Jesus was just using a simple horticultural observation. Quite simply – the fig tree is one of the last trees to bud in the spring and so when it’s leaves are budding we know that summer is just around the corner! So, they argue, Jesus was simply saying; “when the fig tree buds you know that summer is near – likewise, when you see all these things happening, know that the end is near”. They deny that there is any positive association of Israel with a budding fig tree, link. On the other hand, Jesus used the concept of a parable, implying that underneath He was teaching a deep truth. Was He referring to Israel in the last days? Should we view the Parable of the Fig Tree as The Parable of Israel the Fig Tree?
Consider A Little Horticulture
The common or edible fig (Ficus carica L.) is native to the Mediterranean/Israel region, where it can produce three crops per year, link, link. Breba figs develop in the Spring (May) on the previous year’s shoot growth. They are generally inferior to the main crop and are often discarded to encourage growth of the main crop, link. Two main crops follow in July-November, with pollinated (caprified) figs in August-September. Pollination (caprification) of the common fig can markedly increase fig size, link and is done by fig wasps transporting pollen from Capri fig flowers. In contrast to most fruit trees, the Autumn figs (the main crop) develop on the new wood that grows in Spring.
Ficus carica was cultivated for its fruit thousands of years ago and figs are often referred to in the Old Testament. It is interesting to note that the Bible also refers to three crops of figs:
‘early, first ripe, first fruit before the summer, very good figs’ (Isa 28.4; Jer 24.2,3; Hos 9.10) – a relatively small crop with the best flavour, June-July
‘sweetness and good fruit, the season for figs’ (Judg 9.11, Mk 11.13) – main crop, August-September. Made into cakes for winter use (1 Sam 25.18)
‘green, bad, inedible figs’ (Song 2.13; Jer 24.2,3; Jer 29.17) – green or winter figs, small, unripened, unsweetened, inedible fruit, link, link
Spiritual Implication: the End-Time Budding of Israel
Fig horticulture identifies good sweet figs, the first of the summer figs, and poor, unripe and often inedible figs. The significant point here is that the Bible associates these qualities with the people of Israel. For instance, the ‘fathers of Israel’ or Patriarchs are seen as the best figs – the first-fruits of the summer crop:
I found Israel .. your fathers as the first fruits on the fig tree (Hos 9.10)
God sees this minority of Israel as the first and best of the nation. These figs contrast with the green, inedible figs. Both types of fig symbolize the people of Judah before their deportation to Babylon; they are seen as good and bad figs:
The LORD said to me ‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’ And I said, ‘Figs, the good figs, very good, and the bad, very bad (Jer 24.3)
Jeremiah 24.5-8 shows that God is referring to those Jews who are whole-hearted followers of God (the good figs), and to those rebellious Jews who had rejected God (the bad figs). Likewise, in the time of Christ, most Jews rejected Him and remained dead in their works and legalism. They were like green, unripened, unsweetened figs. Today, most Jews can be seen as green figs, whilst a few (the messianic Jews) are like sweetened ripe figs.
The consequences of rebellion against God is well illustrated in the incidence of the ‘Withered fig tree’ (Mat 21.18,19). Jesus found no fruit (apparently, not even the unripe breba crop), and so He cursed it and it died. This was prophetic, looking to the destiny of the Jews when they were to be scattered by the Romans in 70 AD. Like the cursed fig tree, the nation of Israel seemingly died. In contrast, Jesus gave an extremely important prophecy that applies to our time. To repeat:
Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near – at the doors! (Mat 24.32,33)
Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom is near (Lk 21.29-31)
Note that Jesus refers to the tender branch, implying new wood and the coming good summer fruit on the new wood. Since the fruit of the fig tree is established in the Old Testament as symbolizing the spiritual state of the people of Israel, many see this coming ‘summer crop’ as the restoration of the people of Israel (generically referred to as ‘Jews’) to their own land. The fruitless dead wood of scattered Israel is replaced by fruit on new wood. It is likened to a people drawn back into their own land and a nation that becomes a sign to the Gentiles. A remnant of this people become ‘the good, sweet crop’. This process has been underway now for over 100 years, link.
So when we refer to ‘Israel the fig tree’ we see both Old Testament Israel, and modern re-gathered or ‘budding’ Israel. The ‘good crop’ could include the 144,000 Messianic Jews drawn from the twelve tribes of Israel who will evangelize the gentile nations at the very end of this age (Rev 7.4-8). The result is the salvation of a countless number of Gentiles during the Great Tribulation:
I looked and saw a great multitude … of all the nations … clothed with white robes … these are the one’s who come out of the great tribulation (Rev 7.9,14).
The Message behind the Parable: Regathered Israel is a Sign to the Nations
It seems that when Jesus spoke of the appearance of new shoots on the fig tree as signalling that summer is near, He was actually alluding to the restoration of Israel and His imminent return. He was saying that when we see Israel regathered in her own land and ‘budding like a fig tree’ then His return is near – even ‘at the doors’. This will be the time of the coming of the fullness of the Kingdom of God on earth.
Israel and the Timeline for the Last Days
In Luke 21 Jesus said ‘look at the fig tree (Israel) and ‘all the trees’ (the Gentile nations) and so observe the signs of the times. He implied that Israel will be the vortex of the nations. So let’s now apply the parable of Israel the fig tree to the observed world scenario and ask the question, ‘When did the fig tree (Israel) start to bud?’ ‘When did Israel emerge onto the world scene?’ When we trace a timeline of world events from this time we find that many issues of today are closely linked to Israel! We see that Israel is increasingly the vortex of the world.
The timeline below is best viewed on desktops, laptops and tablets. If you’re viewing this on a mobile phone, click HERE for a PDF version
Historic Babylon and historic Rome were seats of power and authority over the world in their day. And today we see the ‘big five’ governments (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) in similar but larger seats of power. What do all these governments have in common? They were and are secular and Godless. Despite strong Vatican influence over Europe the EU has a ‘Godless Constitution’, and even ‘Christian America’ has a ‘Godless Constitution’, link.
What about a Future World Government?
There is much talk today about the coming (Godless) World Government. But in contrast to secular world governments, the final world government on earth will honour the God of the Bible. In fact, we know from prophecy who will lead this government. In the book of Isaiah (chapter 9) we read:
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders … There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace
This prophecy clearly states that the leader of this government will be Jesus Christ. Now let’s ask some pertinent questions:
Is this a ‘World Government’ in the modern-day sense? Yes. When Christ returns to earth (and that is soon) He will be “King over all the earth” (Zech 14.9)
Is this a strong government? Yes. Christ will rule the nations “with a rod of iron” (Ps 2 8,9)
What about the secular Godless government on earth when He comes? It will be dashed to pieces and no trace will be left (Dan 2.35)
How long will this government last? Christ will reign on this earth for 1,000 years (the Millennium) (Rev 20.4)
Lastly, where is this seat of His government? The prophets tell us that too:
Thus says the LORD, I will return to Zion and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth … for the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem (Zech 8.3, Isa 2.3)
Yes – it is certain that Jerusalem will soon be the seat of the future and final World Government. The eyes of the nations will be focused on tiny Israel and her King.
The Connection between Jesus and Israel is Fundamental
What is written in the Christian Bible about Jesus and Israel is deep and mysterious. Yet this mystery will soon be revealed to the world through end-time world events. It will affect everyone. So with national Israel in world focus today, it is natural to ask:
Is there any connection with the risen Jesus Christ and the Israel we observe today (the people and the land)?
In particular, some ask
What do Jews and Gentiles think of Jesus?
Will today’s Jews every recognize Jesus as their ‘Messiah’. If so, when?
Are there two biblical Covenants, one for Jews and one for Gentiles? Or does the covenant promise to Israel merge into the New Covenant given to the church?
What is Christ’s relationship to the nation, Israel?
Did Jesus’ teaching replace the laws of the Hebrew scriptures?
Does Jesus fulfill the promises of blessing given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Put another way, does Jesus and His church fulfill the role originally assigned to the nation of Israel – to be a light to the nations?
If Jesus and His church have taken the place of Old Testament Israel, what is the status and role of the nation of Israel today?
Is the modern State of Israel a product of man’s will, or a fulfillment of God’s prophetic word?
Does God recognize as ‘spiritual’ Israel all who respond in faith to follow Jesus?
Is the church related to the so-called ‘Ten Lost Tribes’? Are their descendants scattered amongst the Gentile church, link?
Did Jesus’ primary ministry (reconciliation of man to God) fulfill all that the Old Testament temple symbolized? Is a new temple in Jerusalem needed (as some maintain)?
Does the modern State of Israel have any claim to the land (Canaan) promised to Abraham and his descendants, noting that Israel failed to keep God’s covenant? Put another way, are modern Jews still the true heirs of the land promised regardless of their continued unbelief in Jesus?
Bible Prophecy Holds the Answer to many of these Questions
In his book Jesus and Israel: One Covenant or Two?, David Holwerda (professor of New Testament Studies, Calvin Theological Seminary) argues for a spiritual fulfillment of Bible prophecies, link. He rightly concludes that there is only one covenant and that “The way of salvation for both Jew and Gentile is the same because both must call on the name of Jesus to be saved“. But does a spiritual view of prophecy fit with the facts, with observed reality, with what we see happening in Israel today? Why can’t we take a pragmatic view of prophecies where the text is quite clear?
Jesus’ First Mission: He came primarily to His own people, the Jews (at that time, essentially from the tribe of Judah), but they rejected Him as their expected Messiah (the Moshiach):
He came to that which was His own [that which belonged to Him—His world, His creation, His possession], and those who were His own [people—the Jewish nation] did not receive and welcome Him (Jn 1.11, Amplified)
And He came not to abolish the Jewish Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them (Mat 5.17).
Jesus’ Second Mission: Why does Jesus return to the Jews in Jerusalem and not to the politically important people in the UN or the EU, for instance? The answer is that prophecy explicitly states that Jesus returns to rule the Gentile nations with justice as King from Jerusalem (Zech 14.9,16,17). He returns to sit on the ancient throne of king David, who reigned 33 years in Jerusalem (Isa 9.7).
He returns to usher in the fullness of the Kingdom of God – a Millennial age of peace when the nations go up to Jerusalem to worship Him (Isa 66.23)! He returns to dwell with His chosen nation, the people of Israel (Ezek.37.26-27). Perhaps most important of all, Jesus returns so that His people recognize Him as their true Messiah, their looked-for Moshiach:
They (the Jews) will look on Me whom they pierced … they will mourn for Him … in that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem (Zech 12.10,11)
Again, these promises are difficult to spiritualize.
Jesus returns to Jerusalem: Bible prophecy says that Jesus will return at the end of this age. And the place of his return? Jerusalem! So at the outset, Jesus and modern Israel are inextricably connected via modern-day Jerusalem. Geologists have even discovered a fault line running through the Mount of Olives, as required for the mountain to split in two at Christ’s Second Coming (Zech 14.4). That is difficult to spiritualize.
Jesus’ return is Unexpected: It will be preceded by deception (false Christs), but his actual return will be sudden, unexpected, and globally observed. In the gospel of Mathew, chapter 24, we read:
Many false prophets will appear and fool many people … if people tell you, ‘Look, he is out in the desert!’ — don’t go there; or if they say, ‘Look, he is hiding here!’ — don’t believe it. For the Son of Man will come like the lightning which flashes across the whole sky from the east to the west
Who Takes Jesus Seriously?
Most Jews are confused over Jesus
As the video implies, most Jews in Israel today reject Yeshua (Jesus) as their looked-for ‘Messiah’ or ‘Moshiach’. Apart from a minority, those who claim to be religious follow Judaism, not Yeshua. This is alarming – but a fulfillment of prophecy. According to prophecy, God’s people (generically, the Jews) will return in unbelief to the land promised to Abraham and his descendants. The New Testament says that these Jews are suffering a temporary spiritual blindness and a temporary hardening of the heart towards God and especially towards Yeshua (Rom 11.25). Only at the very end of this age, under tribulation, does the vast majority of Jews recognize Yeshua as their Messiah (Zech 12.10-14).
In an ever-darkening western world, skeptics claim that nobody of our era has seen Jesus of Nazareth as the person who lived some 2,000 years ago. Where is he? He died didn’t he? For example, a vast majority of young people in Europe now reject Christianity, link. Some 70% of young people in the UK identify with no religion.
Yet billions of people worldwide who call themselves Christians believe he is a living person, trust him, and hang on to every word he said, as written in the New Testament writings of the Bible. And it is these same scriptures that give shocking warnings to those who don’t believe and consciously reject him. The warnings are so radical that they are brushed off as delusional ideas of the disciples of this controversial personality. The warnings are seen as fundamentalist dogma.
Here’s a series of four thought-provoking exposés about Jesus of Nazareth, born in the land of Israel as a Jew and predicted to return to Jerusalem to become King of a world-ruling government.
Jesus the man Jesus the Jew Jesus the Creator Jesus the coming King
Scientific and Biblical Explanations of Interesting Facts
Here’s some interesting facts to get you thinking …
What you think affects your health!
Why does the moon look the same size as the sun, when the sun is 400 times larger than the moon?
Why is the number 3,168 associated with Jesus (Hebrew: Yeshua)?
Why are some Jews super intelligent?
Why don’t polystrate fossils fit nicely into evolutionary theory?
Why is the Jewish nation, Israel, still in existence after 2500 years of severe persecution?
Why was the design of Noah’s Ark close to modern naval practice in terms of stability, strength and comfort?
What caused mankind’s lifespan to decrease exponentially from around 2300 BC?
Your thoughts affect your health!
Research shows that a positive mental attitude can benefit our health. Scientists from Harvard School of Public Health, the University of Pittsburgh and Boston University linked an optimistic outlook with lower risk of heart disease in older men and less thickening of the carotid artery walls in women, link. An American study of 2,564 men and women who were 65 and older also found that optimism is good for blood pressure. Overall, “optimism appears to protect the heart and circulation”.
So optimistic people live longer and, conversely, pessimism is linked to negative affects on health. Also, studies show that speaking negative words e.g the word “No” can have negative effects on our health. Fear-provoking words – like poverty, illness, and death also stimulate the brain in negative ways, link, link.
This scientific research simply echoes advice given in the Bible:
A calm and peaceful and tranquil heart is life and health to the body, but passion and envy are like rottenness to the bones (Proverbs 14:30)
The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the bones healthy (Proverbs 15:30)
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones (Proverbs 17.22)
Human Ageing Suddenly Got Worse!
This is a really interesting fact since it applies to everyone alive today. Man’s lifespan is currently about 70 or 80 years. But Bible records suggest that man originally lived much longer – hundreds of years. That is, until a certain date, link. Why? Some claim that date was the time of a universal Flood, perhaps around 2300 BC, link. Does science have an explanation for such an exponential decrease in lifespan?
A major model of human aging is based on human cells and how the many proteins inside a cell coexist and interact. It is claimed that defective proteins result in aging and that ‘proper aging’ depends upon proper protein folding. Put another way, it is claimed that protein misfolding is strongly related to age-related degenerative diseases, and that misfolding, link, can arise from radioisotopes that speed up or slow down protein folding. Moreover, damage caused by radiation can be cumulative, link.
So it is scientifically plausible that a significant increase in radioisotopes in the atmosphere after the Flood could cause the observed progressive reduction in the age of man after the Flood. More at lifespan change.
Optimal Medical Timing
The number 8 is important in male circumcision. God instructed Abraham to circumcise a male child when he is 8 days old (Gen 17.12). Why day eight? Medical science has shown that on the eighth day the amount of blood clotting factor prothrombin present in the body is more than 100% above normal, and this is normally the only day in the male’s life when this is the case, link. Vitamin K and prothrombin levels are at their peak. Today, Prothrombin Complex Concentrate (PCC) is used to accelerate blood coagulation, link. So day eight is the optimal day for minimizing hemorrhaging during circumcision!
The Solar Eclipse – fluke or design?
Scientists say “it is a happy accident of nature”, “a striking coincidence”, “a sheer chance”, “a fluke of celestial mechanics”. They refer to the amazing geometry associated with the Sun, Moon and Earth. During a total eclipse the Moon casts its umbra (shadow) upon Earth’s surface so that the Sun is totally obscured. The Earth, Moon, Sun geometry is such that only the beautiful corona of the Sun is left (permitting astronomers to analyse the Sun’s atmosphere, link).
Since the Sun’s diameter is about 400 times that of the Moon, the eclipse can only happen if the distances of Sun and Moon from Earth are just right. It turns out that this is the case and both Sun and Moon subtend virtually same angle such that they look virtually the same size in the sky. Do the maths here. Sheer chance, or God’s design?
In recent years there has been much interest in so-called “blood moons”. This phenomenon is caused by the scattering of red sunlight onto the moon as the earth passes between the sun and the moon (a lunar eclipse), link. Such events are entirely predictable, see NASA lunar eclipses.
Even so, blood moons generate a sense of public awe, and for Jews their timing seems especially significant when they occur on a Jewish festival. For instance, during 2014-2105 four total lunar eclipses occurred as follows:
Note the near perfect correspondence of dates with Jewish festivals. In the past, such strange coincidences have been difficult times for Jews. A similar awesome scenario is prophesied at the end of this age, link:
I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes (Joel 2:30,31)
Polystrate Fossils don’t make Evolutionary Sense
In geological excavations, tree trunk fossils are frequently found cutting across many geological layers. Hence the name “polystrate fossils”, link. Curiously, these fossilized trees stand vertically i.e. in growth position through geological layers supposedly created over many thousands of years! For example, evolutionary theory might claim a coal seam of 1000m would be laid down in about 10 million years, link. So it could take 100,000 years to bury a tree 10m high. Ridiculous!
In order to be fossilized, a tree must be buried rapidly to deprive it of oxygen – a necessary ingredient for decay. The watery mud and sediment from a sudden flood would meet such requirements, link. And since polystrate fossils are found in many countries e.g. in the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany, and Australia, this suggests a global flood.
Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth (Gen 7:17)
Observations point to a Young Earth
Classical Old Earth (OE) dating – radiometric dating – is based upon the spontaneous decay of atomic nuclei, where a radioactive parent atom decays to a stable daughter atom. The exponential decay rate equation is N(t) = N(0).exp [- K t ] where K is the (assumed) positive decay constant. The ‘half-life’ of the decaying quantity is simply ln(2)/K. The clash between OE dating (billions of years) and Young Earth (YE) dating (thousands of years) centers on the decay constant K. OE dating rests on the evolutionary concept of uniformitarianism and an assumed constant decay rate for all time. Is this true?
There is scientific support for an exponential reduction in the speed of light ‘c’ shortly after creation, see Atomic Constants Light and Time. Hundreds of measurements of ‘c’ since 1675 indicated a small but statistically significant decrease in ‘c’, link, link. In fact, between 1880 and 1941 there were over 50 articlles in the journal Nature alone addressing the topic of the decline in the actual measured values of ‘c’, link. Montgomery and Dolphin made a statistical analysis of the measurements and concluded: “The evidence for a decrease in the measurements of ‘c’ is very strong”. In 1999, Albrecht and Magueijo proposed a reduction in ‘c’ over time as a solution to cosmological puzzles.
Accelerated Decay: It is well known that the radioactive decay ‘constant’ K can be changed i.e. half-life can be changed, link, link. In particular, Setterfield has shown that K is strongly related to ‘c’. So if the speed of light slows down, then the radioactive decay rate also slows down, link.
On this analysis it follows that radioactive decay rates were much higher in the past. In other words, when ‘c’ was higher, atomic clocks ticked more rapidly and ‘atomic time’ ran fast. So standard radiometric dating must be corrected for this early accelerated decay rate, reducing millions of years to thousands!
Corrected Earth dating then fits much better with scientific, historical, geological, archaeological, demographic and biblical observations, link. For example, corrected earth dating and a YE model help explain: world-wide flood evidence, the ice age, earth tilt change, polar coal, ancient civilization collapse, human demographics, human aging and global warming.
Prophecies that are now Reality – Fact
Increase in Travel
Do you travel a lot? Holidays abroad perhaps, or perhaps you fly around on business? One hundred years ago commercial air travel was unheard of, but now there are typically 100,000 commercial flights each day! Just Look at the statistics:
Annual air travel in the US: in 1950 less than 100 miles/person, in 1978 about 1000 miles/person, in 2000 about 1500 miles/person
Aircraft fuel consumption: 130 million tonnes in 1992, increasing to 450 million tonnes by 2050
Tourism is the world’s largest industry: annual revenue of $500 billion, and is one of the major sources of foreign exchange in 83% of countries. International tourism: 1950: 25m , 2003: 693m , 2020: 1.6 billion [WTO].
Bible prophecy: “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro …” (Dan 12.4)
Increase in Knowledge
Only a few hundred years ago man communicated by drums and smoke signals. Now he brings back images from the planets and monitors our weather from satellites. For millennia man has worshiped the sun; now he understands it is a nuclear reaction turning hydrogen into helium. In medical knowledge, we now have MRI scans, ultrasound, pacemakers, radiotherapy, IVF, artificial hearts, DNA, organ transplants and vaccines against major killers (typhoid, cholera, polio, smallpox). The rapid increase in knowledge is reflected in US Patents: 1900-1920: 25,000 … 1995-1998: 150,000 [University of Maryland]. Bible prophecy: “in the last days … knowledge will increase” (Dan 12.4)
Water tables are falling on every continent e.g. falling 1.5m/year in China and 1-3m/year in India. Taken together, India, China and Pakistan pump about 400 cubic km of underground water for irrigation in a year – twice as much as is recharged by the rains. Aquifers are emptying. Two out of every three people will be short of water by 2025 [National Geographic, Worldwatch Institute, and Tearfund]. In Africa, persistent drought since the late 1960’s has caused Lake Chad to shrink by 95% in the last 38 years. Bible prophecy: “The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away; the haughty people of the earth languish.” (Isa 24.4)
Air pollution fatalities now exceed traffic fatalities by 3 to 1 [Earth Policy Institute]. In developing countries, 70 percent of industrial wastes are dumped untreated into waters where they pollute the usable water supply. An area some 80km x 80km around the Chernobyl nuclear plant is still an exclusion zone due to soil pollution by Caesium 137, link. Contamination from the Fukushima nuclear disaster link affected an area nearly as big as Cyprus and included some 6,500 villages. In 2013 some 300 tons of contaminated water (an Olympic-sized swimming pool) was seeping into the ocean EVERY DAY. In 2019 there was still no end in sight to seepage of radioactive water, link. Bible prophecy: “the earth is also polluted by its inhabitants” (Isa 24.5).
Electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) in shops, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transactions (SWIFT), biometrics and RFID (radio frequency identification), all herald the cashless society. Financial transactions of every person will soon be totally computer controlled. This provides a mechanism for government monitoring and control of all personal details and activities (shopping, healthcare, invoice payments, tax returns, residency, lifestyle preferences, travel, beliefs etc. In 2018, UK cash payments accounted for just 22 percent of purchases, and the UK was the third most cashless society in the world.
Estonia (a member of the EU) is the most digitally advanced society in the world and is being used as a live social experiment on how we are all going to live, link. Estonia has built a technological hub with a universal database for its citizens. Everyone uses their mandatory ID card to access some 5,000 e-services, such banking, tax payments, healthcare, voting, travel, residency etc.. No card – no access! The personal ID card is issued by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board! Bible prophecy: (at the end of this age) “no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark” (Rev 13.17)
Massive Jewish Migrations to Israel
In 1915 there were just 83,000 Jews in Palestine/Israel but this increased to nearly 6.5 million in 2017, link – an amazing 7700% increase! In comparison, over the same period the UK population increased just 55%. Why such sudden migration to Israel? It is a fulfillment of prophecies which say that, at the end of this age, God will take His people from all the nations and bring them back into their own land (the land promised to Abraham). Jews call it “Aliyah” – a “going up” in holiness to Jerusalem. Today, organizations like The Jewish Agency and WZO help returning Jews get installed in Israel. Bible prophecy: “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone … and bring them into their own land” (Ezekiel 37.21)
Noah’s Ark – a stable design!
According to the Bible, Noah was instructed to make an Ark according to the following specification:
The length of the Ark shall be 300 cubits, its width 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits … You shall make it with lower, second and third decks (Genesis 6:15,16)
A naval study in 1977 assumed the common cubit of 18 inches, making the Ark some 450 long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. This study concluded that “the Ark was extremely stable” when four major stability features were examined, even in 210 knot winds, link. Another naval study in 1993 used a cubit of 20.4 inches and concluded that the biblical dimensions were optimal for stability, strength and comfort, and that the Ark could handle 30 meter waves, link. So, in major design aspects, Noah’s Ark was as good as modern shipping!
Jews are Top of the IQ Chart
Research shows that Jews are top of the IQ chart. Their average IQ has been measured at 108-115. A Jewish average IQ of 115 is approximately 40 percent higher than the global average IQ of 79, link. This may explain why about 22% of all Nobel prize recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2015 were Jews or people of strong Jewish ancestry. Prizes were given to Jews in such fields as Economics, Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Literature and Peace Awards, link. This is an amazing achievement bearing in mind that Jews comprise less than 0.2% of the world’s population!
Why are Jews taking a disproportionate number of Nobel prizes? Several reasons are advanced. Geneticists claim that Jews exhibit a distinctive genetic signature and as such can be defined as a ‘race’ (a people group with distinct biological traits). This is supported by genetic research from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. They suggest that the Ashkenazi bloodline branched away from other Jewish groups in Israel 2,500 years ago and that 40 percent of them are descended from only four Jewish mothers, link, link. It is claimed that it is the Israeli Ashkenazi Jews that the world sees in terms of Israel’s cultural, intellectual, political, and economic activity, link. High IQ could also be due to the Jewish practice of Eugenics.
The Amazing Survival of the Jews
The Jewish nation, Israel has survived for over 3,500 years despite some 2,500 years of exile and severe persecution. In recent years Jews have been drawn out of the nations to come and live in the land (Canaan/Israel) promised to Abraham and his descendants. Out of the 14.5 million Jews in the world, 46 percent now reside in Israel, link. Moreover, the ancient Hebrew language has been revived, link, and is now the official state language of Israel.
Isn’t all this unusual for a nation? When King Louis XIV of France (1643-1715) asked Blaise Pascal, the great Christian philosopher to give him proof of God, Pascal answered, “Why the Jews, your Majesty, the Jews!“. As Winston Churchill remarked:
Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world.
The Old Testament scriptures explain why. The prophet exclaimed:
And what one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went … to make a name for Himself (2 Samuel 7:23)
Jerusalem – the Special City
Jerusalem has been fought over sixteen times in its history. It has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times, link
The word “Jerusalem” is mentioned more the 600 times in the Hebrew Bible, but not once in the Quran
Mount Moriah is an elongated ridge in Jerusalem’s Old City and the top of the Mount is near the Muslim Dome of the Rock. The bedrock here is where Abraham would have walked when he came up to sacrifice Isaac around 1800 BC (Genesis 22)
Jerusalem has many names. For example, when Christ rules the millennial earth from Jerusalem the city will be called “THE LORD IS THERE” (Ezekiel 48:35), Hephzibah or “My delight is in her” (Isaiah 62:4) and City of Truth (Zechariah 8:3)
Clearly, Jerusalem has deep spiritual significance. It is God’s city (Isaiah 62:1-7), and it will again be fought over at the end of this age:
Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples … And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it (Zech 12.2,3)
The Maths of “Lord Jesus Christ”
The Hebrew and Greek alphabets use letters to represent numbers e.g. the Hebrews wrote “gimel” for 3 and the Greeks wrote “kappa” for 20. The numerical value of “Lord Jesus Christ” in Greek is:
Lord: kappa,upsilon,rho,iota,omikron,sigma: arithmetic sum = 800
Jesus: iota,eta,sigma,omicron,upsilon,sigma: arithmetic sum = 888
Christ: chi,rho,iota,sigma,tau,omikron,sigma: arithmetic sum = 1480
Total sum: 3,168
Is 3,168 significant? First note that 3 × 1 × 6 × 8 = 144 or 12 × 12. Now 12 and 12 is symbolic of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21.10-14) with its 12 gates (the 12 tribes of Israel) and 12 foundation stones (the 12 apostles). Also note that the number 12 denotes governmental perfection and Jesus is coming back to rule the earth with perfect justice (Zech 14.9).
The number 3,168 appears in other scriptures, each time underscoring the attributes of Christ. For example, the phrase “mediator between God and men” (1 Tim 2.5) sums to 3,168 in Greek, pointing to Jesus as the mediator. And the Hebrew letter values in Isa 53.11 (the suffering Servant) also sum to 3,168. Thus 3,168 not only highlights the Lordship of Christ, but also His Priestly and sacrificial roles for mankind.
Curiously, the latitude of Christ’s birthplace, Bethlehem, is about 31.68°, link!
Christ’s name is embedded in Solomon’s Temple
When Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem was completed the Lord appeared to Solomon saying:
I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there … (1 Kings 9.3)
Really? In what way? Usually, numbers and sizes in the Bible are not random but are given for a purpose. Do the dimensions of the temple give us a clue? Consider the footprint of the temple:
The length was 60 cubits (by cubits according to the former measure) and the width 20 cubits (2 Chron 3.3, 1 Kings 6.2)
So the perimeter of the temple was 160 cubits, where the cubit here is sized “according to the former measure”. What was this measure? Some claim that the temple cubit was 18 inches. But others claim that in large-scale construction projects, ancient civilizations typically used the long cubit, about 19.8-20.6 inches, link. Let’s assume that Solomon used the Babylonian royal cubit of 19.8 inches, link. Recent measurements on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem support the Babylonian royal cubit, link. In this case the perimeter is 19.8 × 160 inches = 3,168 inches. Applying Bible gematria, the Greek letters in ‘Lord Jesus Christ’ sum to exactly 3,168. Coincidence? No. It seems the Lord inscribed His name in the very dimensions of the temple!
Israel Restores her Land
The Problem: In 1869 Mark Twain described Palestine (Israel) as “a desolate country given over wholly to weeds”. The Negev Desert (Israel’s southern region) accounts for over half of Israel’s total land mass. It has an arid and semi-arid climate with an annual rainfall of just 2-6 inches. In fact, Israel’s total annual renewable natural sources of fresh water are well below the UN definition of water poverty. Add to this, only 20 percent of Israel’s land is arable.
Restoration: Given such a bad start, the first Jewish immigrants embarked upon an extensive program of afforestation, making Israel one of only two countries in the world that began the 21st century with more trees than it had at the beginning of the 20th century! Some 250 million sub-tropical trees have now been planted in all regions of Israel, from the Golan and Galilee in the north to the Negev in the south, link.
Then there’s agriculture. Today more than 40 percent of the country’s vegetables and field crops are grown in the Negev desert. Fish are also farmed in the desert. Fruit and vegetables amount to typically 50 percent of Israel’s total agricultural output, and Israel manages to produce 95 percent of her own food requirements.
All this is possible due to Israel’s cutting-edge agricultural technology, link. Bible prophecy is coming true:
Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit (Isaiah 27:6)
The Book of Leviticus lists seven mandated annual “Feasts of the LORD” for Israel. But since all seven feasts point to Yeshua (Jesus), they are in fact relevant to both Jew and Gentile today. Some claim that the Feast of Trumpets is of particular interest to the future of the church.
Seen prophetically each feast marks a distinct event or epoch in God’s eternal plan for mankind. For instance, Israel’s Passover foreshadows salvation through the shed blood of Jesus, and First Fruits foreshadows Jesus’ resurrection. So in the prophetic sense the first four feasts have already been fulfilled, culminating in the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (the birth of the church).
The last three feasts foreshadow events concerned with the soon return of Christ. In particular, some claim that the next feast, the Feast of Trumpets, will be fulfilled in the so-called “rapture of the church”. To justify this viewpoint it is necessary to study prophecy, and especially the Book of Revelation in the context of the final seven years of this age (Daniel’s Week 70). End-time prophecy might be seen as “filling in the detail” surrounding the events marked by the last three feasts. It’s a pity the institutionalised church usually fails to recognise Israel’s feasts in this way! Although only shadows of what is to come (Colossians 2:17), they nevertheless point to major events of the near future.
Leviticus chapter 23 prescribes seven annual feasts distributed over the first seven months of the Hebrew Calendar. They are actually mandated “Feasts of the LORD” or God’s feasts.
But they are not just of importance to the nation of Israel: they apply to both Jew and Gentile because they reveal major events or epochs in God’s complete plan for mankind. To this end they all point to the Lord Jesus Christ, link. The first four feasts (the Spring Feasts) have already been fulfilled by Christ and the last three (the Fall Feasts) will be fulfilled by Christ. It goes without saying that the last three feasts are of fundamental importance to any study of biblical end times.
The Spring Feasts (March-June)
Let’s look at these from a believer’s perspective: how do they point to Christ?
Passover (Pesach): Salvation from death – through His crucifixion Jesus became our Passover Lamb
Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMotzi): Jesus was without sin (without ‘leaven’) and so became the Bread of Life
First Fruits (Reshit Katzir): The resurrection of Jesus, and the future resurrection of all believers
Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Shavu’ot): Jesus sent the Holy Spirit and His Church (comprising both Jew and Gentile) was born
Exact Temporal Fulfilment
It’s important to recognise that Jesus fulfilled these four feasts in an exact temporal sense:
The Perfect Sacrifice: Jesus lived a sinless life (as in the absence of “leaven”). So not only was He “the bread of life” (Jn 6:35), but He was also the perfect Lamb of God who could take away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29)
Sacrifice: Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb of God, died on Nisan 14. This was the same day and time as the selected unblemished Passover lambs died, link (Exod 12:6)
Resurrection: Jesus resurrected three days later, on Nisan 17 – the day of the Feast of Firstfruits
Pentecost: The Jews were instructed to count 50 days from the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread on Nisan 15 (Lev 23:15-16), link. This brought them from Passover (also on Nisan 15) to Sivan 6, the Feast of Weeks (Shavout). So Shavout is celebrated 50 days after Passover, and commemorates history when, 50 days after the first Passover (after leaving Egypt), link, link, God descended in fire on Sinai and gave the Law via Moses. What happened? The nation of Israel was born (Exod 19:5-6). The important point here is that, in Jesus’ time, 50 days after Passover link, link, God descended in tongues of fire and gave the promised Holy Spirit to the disciples. What happened? A holy nation – the church – was born (1 Pet: 2:9), with God’s Law now written on their hearts
Will Jesus also fulfil the three remaining feasts at times related to the actual feast days?
The Fall Feasts (September-October)
These are the feasts of Trumpets (Yom Teru’ah), Atonement (Yom Kippur), and Tabernacles (Sukkot). They occur in the seventh month (Tishri) of the Hebrew calendar and relate to the return of Christ, the suffering and atonement of Israel and the setting up of the Kingdom of God on this earth. Note that seven is the biblical number of “completion”. So today we are between the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost, the birth of the Church), and the Feast of Trumpets:
In the seventh month, on the first day of the month [Tishri 1], you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation (Lev 23:24)
On the Feast of Trumpets the priest would sound the shofar (a ram’s-horn trumpet, see photo) in synagogues to call field workers to stop harvesting i.e. to “rest” and to come and worship in the Temple. The “memorial of trumpets” reminds Israel of when God came down upon Mount Sinai to covenant with His people amidst the sound of a very loud trumpet that caused the people to tremble. The trumpets remind Israel that she is still under this covenant and she must prepare herself for the coming Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur on Tishri 10) when she repents and finds atonement for rebelling and breaking this covenant, link, link, link.
Today, Yom Teru’ah is celebrated as the Jewish New Year or Rosh Hashanah (‘Head of the Year’), which relates primarily to the agricultural cycle and the beginning of a new harvest year. This renaming resulted from pagan influence on the Jewish people. The feast requires the sighting of the new moon, but because of the uncertainty of when exactly this will occur it is celebrated over two days [Tishri 1-2].
Today many see deep prophetic significance in the Feast of Trumpets. In fact, it turns out to be essential to include all three Fall Feasts (Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles) in any end-times study. They apply to both Jew and Gentile and follow God’s timeline right into the so-called Millennial Age. They mark major events or time epochs in God’s end-time plan, and prophetic books like Daniel, Isaiah, Zechariah and Revelation, as well as New Testament texts, fill in some detail around these events.
Daniel’s 70 Week Prophecy
Before examining the prophetic significance of the Feast of Trumpets it is necessary to outline this major prophecy. Whilst it is focused upon the nation of Israel (and particularly the Jews) it also applies to the whole world. Also, today it is common to take the “futuristic view” of this prophecy (as opposed to the historicist view) since it accommodates much of what is observed in the world today, link. This view maintains that Week 70 of Daniel’s 70-week prophecy over Israel is still future, but on a prophetic scale appears to be imminent:
Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. (Dan 9:24)
Here, each “week” comprises seven prophetic years each of twelve 30-day months. So Daniel’s Week 70 is 7 x 360 = 2520 days. This study concentrates upon Week 70 (the last seven years of this age) and the years immediately preceding and following this week. Those who follow the futuristic view of Daniel’s prophecy generally agree that the return of Jesus to earth occurs around the end of Week 70.
The Church Age and the Feast of Trumpets
Some see the time interval between the Spring feast of Pentecost and the Autumn Feast of Trumpets as foreshadowing the so-called Church Age, link, link.
A Picture of the Rapture
Although the Feast of Trumpets incorporates a memorial to how Israel broke her agreed Sinai covenant (Lev 23:24), many see in this memorial a picture of the so-called “rapture” of believers. They note from Exodus 19 that God called Moses up to the top of the mountain, and God came down to meet Moses in a thick cloud. And all this was accompanied with the sound of a loud trumpet, making the people below tremble. This event appears to foreshadow Paul’s description of the end time rapture of believers:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thes 4:16-17)
This alignment of the Hebraic scriptures with New Testament prophecy is remarkable, leading some to see the Feast of Trumpets as marking the end of the Church Age. It is claimed that at this time the true church (as opposed to the apostate church) is supernaturally removed from earth (or “raptured”) to meet the Lord in the air. In fact, this mysterious event appears to be the next major event on God’s prophetic calendar, as seen from the perspective of God’s seven mandated feasts. And observation of world events suggests it is imminent, link.
The Feast of Trumpets is not Christ’s Return to Earth
The Feast of Trumpets can be seen as one of God’s epochs – an event marking the end of the Church Age and the start of a brief but traumatic time upon earth (Daniel’s Week 70). But the rapture does not mark the return of Christ to the earth. This can be seen from at least two standpoints:
First, in 1 Thessalonians Paul refers to “the trumpet of God”, and not to “the last trumpet” as in 1 Corinthians 15:52. So, putting the Feast of Trumpets in an end-time context, the harvesting (of souls) stops, the harvest door “shuts” (Mat 25:10) and the saints are called up into the clouds to rest with the Lord. There is no mention in 1 Thessalonians of the Lord then immediately descending to earth with His saints.
Secondly, according to the sequence of the Hebraic feasts, the Feast of Trumpets is not the end of God’s timeline for this age (which sees Christ return to earth). Instead, the Feast of Trumpets is followed by the Day of Atonement, when a remnant of Israel under stress at last recognises and mourns for their true Messiah whom they pierced (Zech 12:10-14). So, as we approach the end of the age, the shofar’s of Yom Teru’ah and Yom Kippur increasingly sound like alarms, warning Israel of coming trouble and the need to repent (Joel 2:1,12-17).
The timing of the rapture is usually placed either at the end of Daniel’s Week 70 (Postribulation view), at the middle of Week 70 (Midtribulation view) or before the start of Week 70 (Pretribulation view). For reasons to be discussed, the latter view is favoured here.
Jewish Thought and Timing
The linking of the rapture to the Feast of Trumpets is also supported by Jewish thinking. In Jewish thought, the feast was said to be the opening of the gates of Heaven for the resurrection of the dead, link. Such a resurrection is referred to in Isaiah 26 verse 19 and also in 1 Thessalonians 4. In contrast, Jewish thought saw the Day of Atonement [Tishri 10] as the closing of Heaven’s gates after which there was no hope of salvation. This aligns with Jesus’ warning that there would come a day when the gospel door to salvation would shut (Mat 25:10).
Even the Jewish timing of the feast aligns with this thinking. In the Jewish calendar the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teru’ah) is actually celebrated over two days [Tishri 1-2], not one, link. This is because the start of the feast required the sighting of the new moon and the actual day this occurred was uncertain, link. So the rabbis later added a second day to this feast to make sure they didn’t miss it. Clearly, if the Feast of Trumpets is now aligned to the rapture then the actual rapture day is also uncertain. Is this the uncertainty Jesus talked about when He was referring to the “taking away” of believers (Mat 24:36-44)?
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only (Mat 24:36)
Jesus instructed His followers to observe signs of His return (as in the budding of Israel the fig tree), but they would not know the actual day or hour of His return.
New Testament Support for a Pretribulation Rapture
As already mentioned, each of God’s mandated feasts for His people Israel can be seen as foreshadowing an event or epoch which is part of God’s plan for mankind. For example, the Feast of First Fruits foreshadows the resurrection of Jesus and the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) foreshadows the church epoch. Similarly, the Feast of Trumpets appears to foreshadow the supernatural removal of the true church before the end of this age.
Let’s examine some New Testament support for this concept, as in 1) the sudden “taking away of believers” as taught by Jesus, 2) God’s harvesting of the earth, 3) the judgement (rewarding) of the resurrected saints, 4) the protection of the end-time saints, and 5) the absence of the church in most of the Revelation!
1: Believers are simply “taken”
Jesus taught that there would be a sudden and unexpected “taking away” of living believers from the earthly scene (Mat 24:36-44; Lk 17:26-37):
Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left
Jesus said life will be as in the days of Noah, when people were building, planting, marrying and eating and drinking until sudden judgement came upon them via the Flood. But Godly Noah and his family were taken out of normal life to protect them. It seems that life will be as today in that believers in Christ will be working alongside unbelievers without the need to have the “mark of the beast” (see later). But since such technology is virtually here, it seems the rapture is imminent!
2: The Reaping of Two Harvests
Revelation 14 refers to two “reapings”. The first one (Rev 14:14-16) describes Christ reaping the good and ripe harvest of the earth (believers). Note that the Lord does this “sitting on the cloud”, which aligns with Paul’s vision of the taking up of the saints into the clouds (1 Thes 4:17). So if the first reaping in Revelation 14 aligns with the rapture before Week 70 (Pretribulation view), there is a time interval before the second reaping (Rev 14:17-20). The latter gathers the godless of the earth to await God’s wrath. This time interval allows for the rewarding of the risen saints at the judgement seat of Christ (see below), and the brief reign of the beast of Rev 13:1 (to be discussed).
A Contradiction? Some point out that one of Jesus’ parables appears to put the reaping in reverse order; the “tares” (unbelievers) are gathered first, and the good “wheat” is gathered last (Mat 13:24-43). But note the difference to Revelation 14. First, Jesus’ parable is about the coming of the fullness of the kingdom of heaven at the very end of this age, whilst Rev 14 does not refer to the fullness of the kingdom, or to the end of the age. Secondly, both reapings in Jesus’ parable are done by angels and do not directly involve Jesus. So the two reaping scenarios seem different.
Continuing in Mathew 13, verse 48 foresees the separation of “the good and the bad” just prior to the Kingdom Age (the Millennium), whilst “the bad” are gathered to await judgement at the end of the Millennium (Rev 20:5). In contrast, Revelation 14 appears to foresee the rapture of the church, followed by a period of time to allow for the execution of God’s wrath upon the earth at the end of the age.
3: After the Rapture: The Judgement Seat of Christ
At the time of the rapture the saints are given glorified (resurrected) bodies and then judged at the Bema Seat of Christ. This is not a judgement for sin but a tribunal for giving rewards for how we have served Christ (1 Cor 3:10-15), link. Now arrayed in fine white linen, the church – the bride – is ready for the marriage of the Lamb (Rev 19:7-8). These resurrected saints form the “armies of heaven” at Christ’s return to earth (Rev 19:14).
4: God’s Protection of the True Church
Some view the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 as a timeline up to present day. But it is perhaps more usual to see all seven churches coexisting at any one time. There are just two of the seven churches whom Jesus does not criticise: Smyrna (the tested church in tribulation/martyrdom) and Philadelphia (the church with little power, but keeps God’s word). The latter is kept from “the hour of trial” coming upon the whole world:
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Rev 3:10)
Of course, there’s no neat division. So today those Christians suffering in North Korea for example – but who survive and overcome (the Smyrna church) – will surely be kept from that hour of trial alongside those of the Philadelphia church. Clearly, the prior “taking away” taught by Jesus is one possible way God can provide this protection. The true church does not experience the coming wrath of God (1 Thes 5:9).
5: The True Church is absent from most of the Revelation
After describing the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, Revelation 4 starts with the command: “Come up here”. Some take this to infer the rapture. Certainly, the true church is not mentioned again until she is seen as Christ’s bride in Revelation 21. Note that it is important to distinguish between the true church that Jesus loves and the apostate church, the “ecclesiastical Babylon” described in Revelation 17.
Summary so Far
The Feast of Trumpets supports the Pretribulation View
God’s seven Feasts for Israel clearly show how Jesus interacts with the world at key times in history. And the last three unfulfilled feasts provide the bedrock for interpreting end-time prophecy. For example, the Feast of Trumpets, when enhanced by other biblical texts, supports the Pretribulation interpretation of prophecy. According to the Feast of Trumpets and the New Testament, the true church appears to be supernaturally “taken” from the earthly scene to be with Christ before the start of Daniel’s Week 70. See also the rapture.
But taking this interpretation raises the question “who are the saints mentioned in Rev 4-20?” The following study of the Book of Revelation and related prophecies provides an answer. It also suggests how the two last Fall Feasts, Atonement and Tabernacles, can be seen embedded in the last seven years of this age (Daniel’s Week 70).
The Rise of a World Dictator
In the foreseeable future a clever, proud, pompous, secular, military world dictator or ruler will arise from the “sea of mankind”. He is the “little horn” of Dan 7:8, the “prince” of Dan 9:26-27, the “king” of Dan 11:36, “the man of sin” of 2 Thes 2:3, the “lawless one” of 2 Thes 2:8, the conqueror of Rev 6:2, the beast of Rev 13:1-2 and the beast of Rev 19:20. He rises to kingship rather subtly (hence the little horn) out of the fourth and last secular kingdom to subdue Israel (Dan 7:19). According to Dan 2 and Dan 7, this last kingdom is crushing and tyrannical and appears to be a revived form of the historic, Roman Empire.
A False Trinity: Many refer to this person as the “Antichrist”. But is this biblically accurate? The first beast of Revelation 13 is given satanic authority to rule the world for 42 months or 1260 days (Rev 13:5), and he rules alongside the “beast from the earth” (Rev 13:11). But is the first beast of Revelation 13 really the Antichrist, as many assume? Some identify the beast from the earth as the real Antichrist i.e. anti or false Christ, since it is this person who points the world to the first beast (Rev 13:12), just like Jesus points the world to the Father. But, unlike Christ, it is this beast who kills those who won’t worship the first beast, and it is this beast who eventually organises the imposition of the mark (Rev 13:11-16). With this view, the beast from the sea is seen as a false god. In fact, he eventually sets himself up as God (2 Thes 2:4, Dan 11:36). So a false Christ (Rev 13:11) points to a false God (Rev 13:6), all prompted by Satan, the false Holy Spirit (Rev 13:2). That’s a satanic trinity masquerading as the true Trinity!
The Papacy is the real Antichrist
With this view, the secular world dictator of Revelation 13:1 aligns better with anti-God than with anti-Christ, and the ‘ecclesiastical’ beast of Revelation 13:11 aligns well with the Papacy and the end-time apostate church of Revelation 17. Certainly, Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, Tyndale, Bunyan, Huss, Knox, Edwards and Wesley associated the Papacy with the Antichrist, link, link and this teaching gave rise to the Protestant Reformation. Note that, like the persecuting ecclesiastical beast of Revelation 13:11, Rome has persecuted the saints for centuries (Rev 17:6) and today heads an “ecclesiastical Babylon”, a confusion of faiths (Rev 17:5) – as in Chrislam.
For this reason it it is necessary to distinguish between the true church that Jesus loves, and the apostate church so evident in the word today.
It is probable that under the beast’s 42 month (1260 day) reign the Vatican strongly influences the secular world government or New World Order. This is symbolised in Revelation 17 by a woman, the apostate church, riding the ten-horned beast. Even today the Vatican is given “observer status” at the UN, link.
The First Half of Week 70 (42 months, 1260 days)
To many this brief period may feel almost normal. There will be a degree of global stability since the nations will be under the control of a new and all-powerful world leader (Rev 13:4) and his New World Order. Today the world is looking for such a leader. He is totally Godless (Dan 11:37), blasphemes God and all who dwell in heaven (Rev 13:6), and persecutes God’s chosen people, Israel for 3.5 years (Dan 7:25, Rev 13:5-7). However, all this doesn’t seem to worry a world that has turned to Satan worship (Rev 13:4)!
The Mark: Given some degree of economic stability, a cashless society, and hi-tech banking infrastructure, it is likely the 666 mark is imposed during this relatively stable 42 month period. Certainly, a well developed global telecommunications infrastructure using large computer systems linked by satellite and optical fibre cables would need to be in place for global financial control. Such a hi-tech system will undoubtedly be destroyed once God’s judgements begin in earnest under the Trumpets and Bowls. Also, it would bring the true church under severe persecution if she was present at that time. But is she? Is the answer in the “spiritual revealing” mentioned in Thessalonians?
The Revealing of the Beast
When does all this happen? The first beast is revealed to the world when a “restrainer” is “taken out of the way”:
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 … (2 Thes 2:7-8)
Whilst some see Michael, Israel’s protector (Dan 10:21, Dan 12:1) as the restrainer, the most likely reading here is that it is the restraining power of the Holy Spirit (and by implication the presence of the true church) that is “taken out of the away”. To restrain satanically inspired evil surely requires nothing less than the almighty power and authority of God. As discussed, Jesus implied such “taking away” of the true church in Matthew 24:36-44 and Luke 17:26-37 – texts which are difficult to explain in the Post-Tribulation view.
The False Covenant with Israel
Once he is revealed as the invincible world leader (Rev 13:4) the beast of Rev 13:1 makes a seven-year covenant of peace with unsuspecting Israel (Dan 9:27). In reality, blind unregenerate Israel makes “a covenant with death” (Isa 28:15) [note that the threat to Israel from militant Islamists may have been removed through their humiliation in the coming Gog-Magog war].
So the start of this covenant probably marks the start of Week 70 (seven prophetic 360-day years), and could align with the rapture of the true church about the time of the Feast of Trumpets on Tishri 1, link.
In order to make this covenant with Israel some speculate that the beast could well be an apostate Jew. A curious phrase is used in Daniel 11:37. Speaking of the end-time world dictator, it says “He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers …”. Prior to the days of Moses, the Hebrews knew God generally as “the God of the Fathers”, and so Dan 11.37 implies he could be an apostate Jew. More on this at World Government.
Note that if the true church was still on earth at this revealing and the setting up of the seven year covenant, the saints would be able to date the time of Christ’s Second Coming to earth. But since that time is not revealed in scripture, this implies the true church as been “taken” i.e. raptured from the earth before the start of Week 70.
The Tribulation Saints
Revelation chapters 7, 13 and 14 describe end-time believers who suffer under the reign of the beast.
The Saints in Revelation 7
According to the Pretribulation view, when Jesus gathers His church in the clouds the so-called Church Age closes and “the door is shut” (Mat 25:10). The true church has been “taken” to be with Christ. But if the church has been taken away at this point, who then are the believers in Christ seen in Revelation 7?
I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations … who come out of the great tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev 7:9,14)
These must be new believers in Christ who have come to realise the satanic nature of the New World Order. After all, the sudden removal of millions of believers and the sudden appearance of a prophesied world leader will surely make millions think! They will have the end-time prophecies to compare with reality and many will become believers.
How do they come to Christ? In the absence of gospel proclamation by the true church, it appears it is left to Israel to serve in her place. After all, Israel is God’s chosen witness and servant in the world (Isa 43:10). It appears that 144,000 chosen from the twelve tribes come to know their true Messiah and are sealed to serve God as evangelists to the world (Rev 7:3-8, Rev 14:1-5). A similar event happens at the start of the Millennial Age when saved Jews evangelise the Gentile world (Isa 66:19). As a result, a great multitude of people from all nations comes to recognise Christ through Israel’s witness, link, link.
The Saints in Revelation 13
Revelation 13 describes a 42 month (1260 days) world dictatorship under the beast of Rev 13:1. This is the first half of Week 70. Since the beast’s nature is “anti-God” he persecutes anyone, Jew or Gentile, who worships God and His son, Jesus (Rev 12:13-17). In fact, he eventually destroys the apostate church headed by the Vatican for the same reason (Rev 17:16). So during his 42 months of authority the beast wages war against any believers in Christ:
It was also given to him to make war with the saints (the holy ones) and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe and tongue and nation. (Rev 13:7)
Commentators generally agree that these are true believers in Christ, and so they probably correspond to the great multitude of new believers described in Revelation 7. But being young in the faith some appear to try and resist through armed conflict (war), but will be captured and killed (Rev 13:7,10). War is not God’s way, and today’s persecuted believers (over 260 million across the globe) tend to suffer rather than fight. Likewise, it seems that during these 42 months many new believers refuse to take the mark and worship the beast, but also refrain from fighting. Consequently they are killed (Rev 13:15). This is their “great tribulation” described in Revelation 7.
The Saints in Revelation 14
Is this the last gospel call of the age? As discussed, the 666 mark of the beast will probably be introduced during the first half of Week 70. The eternal consequences of taking the mark are so serious that God tries once more to warn rebellious mankind. In the absence of the true church, this time God sends three angels flying in mid-heaven (does this refer to satellite gospel broadcasts?). The first angel preaches the plain gospel and warns that judgement is imminent. The second angel says that the economic and ecclesiastical “Babylons” are about to fall (Rev 17 and 18). The third angel gives a strong warning not to worship the beast and his image, or to receive his mark on their body (Rev 14:6-11).
Whilst most appear to reject this call to repent (Rev 16:9), many of the new believers described in Revelation 7 appear to heed the angelic warnings. As just discussed, they reject the mark and suffer martyrdom (Rev 14:12,13).
The Middle of Week 70
The opening of the First Seal (Rev 6:1) and the vision of an angry conquering king (the first beast of Revelation 13) probably corresponds to the middle of Week 70. His permitted 42 months of reign has been declared over by the heavenly court (Dan 7:26) and the next 42 months or 1260 days will see a decline in his dominion, the start of world economic breakdown, and the intensification of God’s judgements. Man’s ecclesiastical and economic Babylons will soon fall (Rev 17 and 18). At this point in time many new believers may have been removed from the world economic system (via the need for the mark). But those remaining are told to escape such an evil system (Rev 18:4), link.
At mid-Week the beast turns on Israel and breaks his seven-year covenant with her and abolishes the Jewish sacrifices (Dan 9:27, 11.31). His subsequent actions closely follow the actions of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Dan 8:9-14) who desecrated the Temple in 168 BC. Antiochus was the archetype of the beast of Rev 13:1. So at some future date:
Forces from him [the beast] will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation. (Dan 11:31)
Although not immediately apparent in this text, there is a time interval between the Temple desecration (mid-Week) and the setting up of the abomination of desolation:
From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. (Dan 12:11)
Jesus refers to this abomination in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. At the end of 1290 days (1260 + 30) from the taking away of sacrifices, the forces of the beast set up the “abomination of desolation” in the Temple. What is this abomination? It could be when the beast takes up his seat in the Temple, declares himself to be God, and demands to be worshipped as God (Dan 11:31, Mat 24:15, 2 Thes 2:4), link. That act is surely an abomination in the sight of God. Alternatively, it could be that the image of the beast is set up in the Temple and has to be worshipped (Rev 13:15). This is another clear abomination.
The Last Half of Week 70 (Rev 6-19)
The last half of Week 70 is again a time of great tribulation for the new believers (Rev 7:14). Not only have they been targeted by the beast in the first half of Week 70; they also experience increasing world chaos as God’s judgements intensify through the Seven Trumpets and Seven Bowls of God’s wrath. Note that the fifth, sixth and seventh trumpets are described as “woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth” (Rev 8:13). So, whilst the seventh trumpet looks to the removal of the kingdoms of the world and the establishment of God’s Kingdom, it also heralds one last “woe” as it looks to the coming bowls of wrath (Rev 11:18).
The Beast Wages War
As mentioned, at the opening of the First Seal (Rev 6:1-2) the angry beast is given a crown by Satan (Rev 13:2) and rides a white horse like a king. He has a “bow” and, threatened with a disintegrating world empire he starts to wage worldwide war, resulting in widespread famine and death. It seems 25% of earth’s population dies (Rev 6:8). And, as in the first half of Week 70, new believers are martyred for their faith (Rev 6:11, Rev 12:17).
God Judges the World: Seals, Trumpets and Bowls
The Sixth Seal sees the first of God’s judgements upon the world through dramatic and frightening cosmic disturbances (Rev 6:12-17). The “great day of His wrath has come”. This again underscores the concept of the prior “taking out” of the true church since she is assured that she does not come under God’s wrath (1 Thes 5:9). So the true church will probably not be on earth during the Seals.
The Seventh Seal (Revelation 8) is a prelude to the Seven Trumpets. Each trumpet brings more of God’s wrath upon rebellious mankind. As noted, whilst the Seventh Trumpet gives a promise of God’s coming Kingdom, it is not the end of God’s wrath. Rather, it is the third and last “woe” (Rev 11:14) and brings “lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail” (Rev 11:19). Then follows God’s seven Bowl Judgements which “complete the wrath of God” (Rev 15:1).
The Final Day of Atonement
Israel’s Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur falls on Tishri 10, between the Feast of Trumpets [Tishri 1] and the Feast of Tabernacles [Tishri 15-21] (Lev 16:1-34, Lev 23:26-32). It is a time for “afflicting the soul” (Lev 23:27) and so is a solemn day on the Jewish calendar. The detailed Hebrew ceremony for Atonement is found in Leviticus 16.
Unlike the first four of Israel’s feasts, all three of these feasts are as yet unfulfilled in the prophetic sense; they are future events. But, as discussed, the Feast of Trumpets appears to align prophetically with the rapture, and is the next major event on God’s seven-point plan for mankind. After that comes the final Day of Atonement (which may occur just days before Christ returns to the earth). So how might the last Day of Atonement be fulfilled?
Note that the last half of Week 70 (42 months or 1260 days) is extended by 30 days, after which the “abomination of desolation” is set up in the Temple (Dan 12:11). Jesus said when the Jews in Judea see this they are to “flee to the mountains” (Mat 24:16). Why? Because this marks the start of extreme persecution of the Jews, also known as “Jacob’s trouble”. The trouble is the worst ever seen and those days have to be shortened to preserve a remnant:
Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he will be saved from it (Jer 30:7)
Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued (Dan 12:1)
Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short (Mat 24:22)
These three texts refer to the same short period of distress. Jeremiah calls it Jacob’s distress or trouble. It seems that after another 45 days these terrible days come to an end (Dan 12:12).
Who are “the Elect”?
In Matthew 24:22 Jesus refers to “the elect”. An alternative reading is “chosen ones”. So if the true church has been taken, who are the elect? A direct cross-reference here is Isa 65:8-9 which refers to “My servants … My elect”. God chose Israel to be His servant, so Matthew 24:22 probably refers to God’s people, Israel, and not to Christians. God has always preserved a remnant of His people despite some 2500 years of persecution. So these tribulation days of Israel are shortened to preserve a Jewish remnant. This conclusion is underscored in Daniel 12:1 which refers to the tribulation of “your people”. So since Daniel was a noble Jewish youth of Jerusalem, his people were Jews.
Some expand “the elect” to include not only Jews (the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Simeon) but also Israelites from the so-called Lost Tribes of Israel. According to prophecy, Israelites descended from the northern kingdom (Israel) are even now being drawn back with the Jews to their homeland (Jer 3:14, Jer 30:3). And it seems all are being drawn back in unbelief.
So according to prophecy, some from the northern kingdom, together with the Jews (Dan 12:1) could be “the elect” who suffer great tribulation during the last Day of Atonement. That said, note that it was the Jews, the men of Judah, who crucified Christ, whilst most of the other tribes had already been scattered.
Jews Mourn and are Saved
So let’s return to the question: “How is the final Day of Atonement fulfilled?”
At the end of this age the nations are satanically deceived and drawn together for “the battle of the great day of God Almighty” (Rev 16:12-16). They gather on the great plain of Megiddo in northern Israel, but their objective is Jerusalem (Zech 14:2). At the same time Christ returns to earth with the armies of heaven to defend Jerusalem. So this is a unique man-God war (Rev 19:19), with the world dictator (the beast) and his armies arrayed against Christ and His armies.
The return of Christ is highly visible, just as lightening strikes from the east to the west (Mat 24:27). And so the Jews in Israel see Him too as they come under great suffering (Zech 14:2). This traumatic time seems to open the eyes of the Jews such that they at last recognise Yeshua (Jesus) as their true Messiah. Of that day the LORD says:
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 … and grieve for Him … (Zech 12:10)
Note that Zechariah 12:10-14 is essentially referring to clans of Judah i.e. Jews. These are the tribes of Judah, Levi and Benjamin who were taken into exile and later returned. After all, it was the Jews and not the other tribes who crucified the Lord. During this terrible time there will be great mourning in Jerusalem. But, as mentioned, these days are cut short when Christ returns to earth with his armies of resurrected saints and the beast’s armies are defeated (Rev 19:11-21).
These are the days when “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rev 6:11), enabling the “partial blindness of Israel” to be removed:
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins” (Rom 11:26-27)
At last Jesus’ feet stand upon the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4) and His Kingdom comes in all its fullness upon earth (Dan 7:27). Jesus will then be “King over all the earth” (Zech 14:9)
The Binding of Satan
Many link the final Day of Atonement to the binding of Satan in Revelation 20:1-3, link. This can be seen in the Hebrew Atonement ceremony involving two goats (Lev 16:8-10). The first of the two goats is killed (a parallel with Jesus death) whilst the second goat, the Azazel goat, is paralleled with Satan since it is seen as unclean (bound with sin) and sent into the wilderness (Lev 16.20-22,26). So Christians view the Day of Atonement as the foretelling of Jesus’ sacrifice. He became the sacrifice and scapegoat for all who call upon Him.
The Resurrection of Tribulation and Old Testament Saints
Just as the true church appears to be resurrected at the close of the so-called Church Age, what about the tribulation saints? Consider:
I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or on their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Rev 20:4)
When does this resurrection take place? According to Hebraic Feasts, the dead in the LORD will rise again after the last shofar blast, which is the long, final and mighty blast at the very end of Yom Kippur, link. It is on Yom Kippur that the great trumpet, known in Hebrew as the Shofar HaGadol is blown, link. The concluding service of Yom Kippur, known as Ne’ilah, link, has been described like this:
“At nightfall the sound of the shofar blowing of the tekiah gedolah, a long blast, resounds around the synagogue for the last time as heaven’s gates are closing”
So these covenant people, Israel, were taught by God that it is at the very last trumpet (shofar) blast on the last Day of Atonement that their resurrection will happen. It is interesting that Paul, a Jew, could be referring to this same end-time event when he said:
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed (1 Cor 15:52, emphasis added)
The sounding of a great trumpet at the end of the age is also described in Isaiah 27:12-13 and Matthew 24:31.
According to both the Old and New Testaments it seems that the martyrs of the tribulation will be resurrected at the very end of the last Day of Atonement when Christ returns to earth. In other words, the resurrection of the tribulation saints occurs at the commencement of the Millennium, link.
The same goes for the resurrection of Israel’s past saints. They will rise at the same time as the tribulation martyrs (Rev 20:4) at the end of Israel’s great tribulation, link, link. For example, Daniel appears to foresee this resurrection:
There will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time … many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake … (Dan 12:1-2, emphasis added)
The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)
This is the seventh and last of Israel’s biblically mandated feasts and it completes, prophetically, God’s declared plan for mankind on this earth. It is held in the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, starting on Tishri 15 and lasting for seven days (Lev 23.34).
Historical Background: Sukkot means “booths” and it commemorates the time when Israel lived in tents or booths as they came out if Egypt. So it commemorates the historic transition of the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt to sovereignty in the Land of Israel, and is a feast of joy and celebration following the harvest.
Prophetic Implications: Sukkot foreshadows the in-gathering or harvesting of the saints (Rev 14:16) and the Millennial reign of Christ. During the Millennial or Kingdom Age the Lord establishes His great Tabernacle in Jerusalem (Isa 60:13, Ezek 43:7). Sukkot is one of the feasts that is a “statute for ever”, and so during the Kingdom age the nations of the earth go up to worship Christ the King in Jerusalem, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech 14:16).
The LORD has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God (Isa 52:10)
The prophetic implication of Sukkot goes even further. Note that the week of Sukkot is followed by an eighth day (Lev 23.36). The 8th day (also a Sabbath rest) has great significance. Number 8 symbolizes the start of something new – a new beginning. It foresees the new heavens and new earth and the New Jerusalem (Isa 65.17). The 8th day is preceded by the great white throne judgement of those who do not have their names written in the Book of Life (Rev 20:11-15). Only those who’s names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will enter the New Jerusalem.
All seven “Feasts of the LORD” found in Leviticus 23 are centred upon Christ. Given to the nation of Israel at the time of Moses, they foreshadowed how Jesus (Hebrew: Yeshua) would intervene in world affairs at times chosen by God. They point to events, or epochs, when God enacts His plan for mankind on this earth. So they apply to both Jew and Gentile – and that includes the church! Bible prophecy adds detail to this fundamental God-defined framework.
Jesus has accurately fulfilled the first four feasts, up to and including the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. Today the world is between Pentecost and the fifth feast, the Feast of Trumpets. Some call this epoch the Church Age or Age of Grace. The Feast of Trumpets appears to foreshadow the “taking away” of the true church into the clouds to be with Jesus before God judges the world (1 Thessalonians 4). Some call it “the rapture”.
The short epoch (probably just 7 years) that follows the Feast of Trumpets sees the most traumatic times of history. It seems that after the rapture many turn to Christ and suffer persecution under the beasts of Revelation 13. Towards the end of the 7 years, these “tribulation saints” are joined by a suffering Jewish remnant who at last recognise Yeshua as their true Messiah. God calls this Israel’s “Day of Atonement”. The birth pangs of this short but terrible epoch are seen in the relentless drive towards the cashless society (a technological requirement for the imposition of “the mark of the beast”). It all ends when God’s wrath is poured out upon the rebellious, Godless nations, as described in the Seals, Trumpets and Bowl Judgements of Revelation.
The Good News
The true church appears to be kept from earth’s “hour of trial” (Revelation 3). In fact, for all deemed worthy the seventh and last feast (the Feast of Tabernacles) ushers in the Kingdom reign of Christ on earth. Some call this “the Millennium”. So are you ready for Christ to call you up into the clouds before such traumatic times start and before the gospel door “shuts”? Jesus said:
Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21 verse 36, NKJV)
The Hebrew Calendar and the Prophetic Year
There is a distinct difference between the years and months of the Hebrew calendar and the years and months mentioned in Bible prophecy. For example, the prophetic books of Daniel and Revelation are based upon 30-day months, whilst the Hebrew calendar has variable length months.
The Hebrew Calendar Year
The Hebrew/Jewish calendar is based on the cycles of the moon (God explicitly commanded His people to celebrate the New Moon and the beginning of each month). So each of the twelve calendar months begins with the new moon, and each month is specified to be 29 or 30 days long, link. Now, even if all months were 30 days long, this would only lead to a 360 day year, compared to our solar year which is actually 365.2422 days long (and our lunar month is 29.531 days).
To compensate for this discrepancy, periodically an extra month (a “leap month”) is added to the Hebrew calendar to catch the Hebrew Lunar Calendar up to the cycles of the sun. So Jewish time reckoning is really “lunisolar” (and rather imprecise) and the calendar year can range from 353 days to as long as 385 days, link.
Importantly, the Hebrew calendar determines the dates for observing the Feasts of the Lord. So, the actual date of each feast varies from year to year, link.
The Prophetic Year
In contrast to the Hebrew calendar, the Bible uses 30-day months and 360 day years. This applies from Genesis to Revelation. For example, the Flood waters of Noah started on the 17th day of the second month (Gen 7:11) and increased (prevailed) for 150 days (Gen 7:18,24). After 150 days the Flood mechanisms ceased, the waters started receding and the Ark rested on Ararat on the 17th day of the seventh month (Gen 8:3,4). Aligning this “resting” with the end of “prevailing” gives a 150-day time span over exactly 5 months. So here God (and presumably Moses) used 30-day months and a 360-day year.
Another example is found in the Book of Esther. The book begins with a six-month long drinking feast given by King Ahasuerus. And in verse 4 it is described as lasting 180 days, again implying 30-day months. These events happened in the 5th century BC.
A Mystery: Historically there is evidence that many early civilisations also used a 360-day year, link. Look at the Mayan Calendar for example. Even Isaac Newton acknowledged that early nations used a 360 day year. Only later did it seem necessary to add extra days, link. One theory is that the need for extra days could be explained by a slight slowing of earth’s orbit speed around the sun, from 30.22379 km/s to its present value of 29.79 km/s, link. This would change the solar year from 360 days to the current 365.2422 days.
The 360-day Year in Prophecy: Leaving the science on one side, the fact is that God still uses a 360-day year in the future. Consider for example the end-time persecution of Daniel’s people (the Jews) under the World Ruler. Daniel 7:25 says that the Jews will suffer under him for “time and times and half a time”. It is usual to read this as three and a half years or 42 months. Revelation 13:5 confirms the period of authority of this despicable Ruler as just 42 months. Now look at Revelation 12:6. Here Israel is helped during this persecution for 1260 days. This aligns with the forgoing prophecies if we assume 42, 30-day months (=1260 days) and a 360-day year.
Conclusion: To understand Bible prophecy it is necessary to adhere to this timing, and not to the Hebrew calendar. Only time will tell if earth’s solar year suddenly returns to 360 days at the end of this age!
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