I've tried my best not to throw the baby out with the bathwater concerning the events surrounding September 2017. Like most watchers, when I first heard about the September 23rd 2017 alignment, I approached it with an abundance of caution. I mean, haven't we already danced this kabuki dance already over the last few of years?
Why I am cautiously optimistic concerning this coming Feast of Trumpets, is not so much centered on Revelation 12 Sign, nor even the convergence of years and Jubilees for 2017. But when you take them in all together, that for me was just too much to ignore. Could 2017 turn out to be a fizzle-dud year? Sure it could. As I've said in the past, my hope is still a blessed hope and while I may get the timing wrong, God's timing is not. This still leaves me with a mental hurdle I am having a hard time jumping over.
If 2017 is a fizz-dud year, why are so many things seemingly pointing to it?
Honestly, I don't know.
But what I do know is that none of us who study eschatology, are islands unto ourselves. We all stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before us (Darby, Larkin, Scofield, Pember, Bullinger, Anderson, Ironside, Walvoord, Lindsey, Missler, etc.) and build off of the things God had opened in their understanding during their day. And I'm fairly certain they all didn't agree lock, stock, and barrel on every issue either.
So it is with the new group of scholars, thinkers, writers, teachers, and pastors who aren't afraid to go out on a limb on certain topics. I applaud men like Daymond Duck, Randy Nettles, Chuck Missler, Gary, and Scott (to name a few) for their deep dives into Scripture, history, and astronomy while at the same time not being dogmatic about what they have found when it approaches the realm of speculation. IF we are being honest with ourselves, anytime we teach on Scripture, we all, to varying degrees, speculate. We speculate because none of us can see thousands of years into the past, so we will take certain liberties with filling in the blanks. Nor can we see into the future. The future is God's domain. The Bible may give us a broad outline and some specifics on certain things to come, but it usually doesn't specify who, when or how. God keeps those details to Himself.
The important thing to remember is that if we do speculate, we call it for what it is and do so in a forthcoming manner so as not to lead anyone astray if we are wrong. It's not wrong to speculate. However, it is wrong when you expect others to treat your speculation as infallible.
And if we are really being honest with ourselves, we would realize that 99% of the world thinks we Christians are already crazy for even believing in the Bible in the first place, and to an even greater degree, the Rapture. Why then are many respected prophecy teachers, experts, commentators, and pastors so quick to form a circular firing squad on our own at the first whisper of something they don't understand? As Chuck Missler was fond of quoting....
He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him. Proverbs 18:13
When I say they "don't understand it", what I mean is I don't think they have really taken the time to study it. It is either dismissed out of hand or studied so superficially, that when they come out against it, they do more damage to their own reputation than what it is they are trying to refute. There are probably many reasons why they come out against it, but at least one of those reasons is that it challenges a long-held view they don't want to admit they got wrong.
And I will admit that with as much as I thought I knew, I am still learning a thing or two (or more) that surprises me. I am by no means the expert on Scripture or Prophecy, but I do consider myself fairly well read. So the same guy who really got the internet abuzz with the Revelation 12 Sign, is the same guy who opened my eyes to some things I had always taken for granted as being what everyone else was parroting. This put Acts 2 and Revelation 12 in a whole new light that tweaked and peaked my understanding of everything else. Consider the following logic:
1 -The Church was not "born" at Pentecost. But rather, was conceived. (I had mislabeled this for a long time)
2 - If the Church is the body of Christ (we are), then we should be modeled after the birth of Christ. If this is true, then Jesus wasn't born the moment the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary. She went through the normal pregnancy time frame until He was born in Bethlehem. (She conceived in Nazareth, delivered in Bethlehem)
3 -The giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost then is simply a corporate representation of that singular moment with Mary's Immaculate Conception.
4 - Both Israel and the Church are often referred to in both the singular and corporate sense throughout scripture. The Church is referred to both in the male sense (we are members of His body), and figuratively as a chaste virgin or like a bride.
If 1, 2, 3, 4 are correct, then Revelation 12 is simply following that same model of singular/corporate representation in its symbolism. No crazy conspiracy or wild theological reconstruction. It is simply staying consistent with our hermeneutics.
Woman Male Child Dragon
Mary/Israel Christ/Church Satan/Beast system
Some of the eschatological greats of the 19th and 20th centuries like Darby, Blackstone, and Ironside also believed that Revelation 12 supported the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position. Michael Svigel, who is being presented here as one who brought this position back into the mainstream states this about chapter 12:
So, to sum up, the catching up of the male child and the resulting war in heaven both take place at the beginning of the seven-year tribulation. The war in heaven and casting down of Satan, followed by the earthly invasion, attempted attack on Israel, and the flight of the woman, all take place in the first three-and-a-half years. Then the reign of the Beast take place in the second half of the tribulation. Therefore, the catching up of the male child (the rapture) takes place before the seven-year tribulation.
For my sense of well-being, if men like John Darby and H.A. Ironside could hold this view, and I have tremendous respect for their biblical knowledge and understanding, why is it so difficult for others to do the same? Is it because chapter 12 is nestled snuggly in the middle of chapters 6-19, for which many Pre-Tribulation scholars, pastors, and even I, had cordoned off as "tribulation territory?"
Dr. Andy Woods once called the veranda views within Revelation as non-chronological, parenthetical insertions, and likened them to scenic views along the way a hiker would stop at to enjoy the view of the mountain he was climbing. Revelation 12 then is simply a one chapter overview of the entire seven-year Tribulation from God's perspective as much as chapter 13 is from a human perspective. We see this in Daniel's book when comparing man's view (the multi-metallic statue) with God's perspective (the chimera animals). They both represent the same thing.
Have many within the Watcher community guilty of becoming the very things we so often rail against? Are we becoming like the skeptics and mockers out there who ridicule everything they don't understand? Nobody who is seriously discussing 23 September is saying the Rapture is happening on that day. What they are definitively saying, is that a sign in the heavens will appear on that date, which happens to fall on the Feast of Trumpets. So what does that mean? Nobody knows. None of us can see into the future.
What does it mean for me?
I look at all the convergence of historical events, this astronomical anomaly and I am admittedly curious. But I am not quitting my job or telling my boss to take a hike whilst simultaneously moving me and the family to the top of a mountain. For me, I will keep doing what I have been doing...occupy until He comes. I am going to do what I feel the Lord has called me to do, first and foremost, is to be a Godly, loving, husband and father. I will keep writing. I will keep teaching and preaching. I will keep being used wherever and to whomever, God puts in my path. When we do this, we will inevitably draw criticism and skepticism from various factions, to include those within our Christian community. In the military we call this moving out and drawing fire. We stay busy. When we do this and we are doing what God has called us to do, we cannot be wrong, even if the entire world tells us we are.
The question then becomes, what are YOU going to do?
If the Rapture happens on 21, 22, 23, 24 September...AWESOME! It could happen before or after that time. All I know, is that with all the significant events surrounding this year and next, something will happen. President Trump, Israel, Russia, Iran, North Korea, CERN, etc....too many wheels are spinning for this not to be a prophetically significant year.
Let me conclude by saying this...and I hope you share my sentiment. My hope is and will always be, that Christ WILL return. My hope is not in WHEN He will return. There is a long, long list of failed dates from every religious and secular group out there that predicts every kind of doomsday or apocalypse imaginable. Failed dates are not just unique to Edgar Whisenant or Harold Camping. Just ask Al Gore. I think he said the US was supposed to be underwater last year. Yet, in the meantime, I'm not committing friendly fire without first doing a topic or subject its due diligence. Let's not do the circular firing squad routine again. Yes, there will be teachings that stretch our understanding. But until we be Bereans, and actually see if these things be true...well, don't take my word for, just read Proverbs 18:13 again.