Thursday, May 11, 2017

MISUNDERSTANDING THE "GREAT ESCAPE"





by Jack Kinsella
 
One of the principle misunderstandings concerning the Rapture revolves around its purpose. Critics of a pre-Tribulation Rapture deride it as some pie-in-the-sky 'Great Escape' for Christians living in the last days.
 
There is no such promise of 'escape' from tribulation, they argue, and (correctly) point out the Bible's promise that 'in this world ye shall have tribulation' so the pretribulational hope of a 'Great Escape' is not only delusional, it is unscriptural.
 
The fact is, if the pretribulational hope WAS for a 'Great Escape' from tribulation, they would be correct. There is NO promise that the Church will escape tribulation, but there is an iron-clad promise that the Church will not go through the seven years of tribulation described by Jeremiah as the 'Time of Jacob's Trouble' or outlined by Daniel as Israel's '70th Week.'
 
There are several reasons for a pretribulational Rapture, not the least of which is the purpose of the Tribulation in God's unfolding Plan for the ages.
 
The purpose of the seven year Tribulation Period is two-fold. The first reason is to fulfill Daniel's prophecy of the 70 Weeks. The angel told Daniel that:
 
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." (Daniel 9:24)
 
Note there are six elements to the fulfillment of this prophecy. First, to finish Israel's sin - the rejection of the Messiah at the First Advent.
 
Then there is a skip forward in time to His Second Advent, at which time, an end will be made of sin, reconciliation will be made for Israel's iniquity, everlasting righteousness will introduced to Israel, Israel's Scriptures will be vindicated by the fulfillment of all prophecy and finally, the return of Christ at the conclusion of the war of Armageddon, at which time He will be anointed and will take His seat at the Throne of David.
 
Between the First and Second Advents there is the Church Age, a 'mystery' unrevealed to the Hebrew prophets. That is why Daniel's outline of 490 years of Israeli history doesn't anticipate a gap between the 'cutting off of the Messiah' at the end of the sixty-nine weeks of years and the confirmation of the covenant by the antichrist at the onset of the 70th. (Daniel 9:27)
 
From Daniel's perspective, it is an unbroken narrative of what would befall 'his people' (the Jews) and 'his holy city' (Jerusalem), culminating with the 'anointing of the Most Holy' at the conclusion of the 70th week and the ushering in of Isaiah's Millennial Kingdom. There is no role set aside for the Church in prophecy during the 70th Week, since it is reserved for Israel's national redemption and their acceptance of the Messiah.
 
The Church has, by definition, already accepted the Messiah and was redeemed at the Cross.
 
The second purpose Scripture gives for the Tribulation Period is that it is a period of judgment against those who reject Christ and embrace the antichrist.
 
Since Christians who accept Christ were already judged at the Cross, there is no role set aside for the Church in the judgments pronounced because,
 
"Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts." (Revelation 9:21)
 
Repentance is a necessary condition of salvation, it is that repentance that causes us to seek forgiveness at the Cross in the first place. Since believers in the Church Age became believers by repenting, there is no purpose for bringing the judgment of an unrepentant world on the Church.
 
The Rapture isn't a 'Great Escape', contrary to popular belief. The Rapture occurs when the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is removed with the Church to allow the onset of the 7 year period of unrestrained evil that occurs during the Tribulation. (2nd Thessalonians 2:7)
 
The Rapture is the Blessed Hope of the Church, but it's primary purpose is not so much a 'rescue mission' as it is a necessary function of the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit's ministry of restraining evil. Since we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, when the Restrainer is withdrawn, so are we, since we are His vessels.
 
Therefore, it is certain to conclude that the Church won't be here for the Tribulation itself, since withdrawing the indwelling of the Holy Spirit from the believing Church would leave them spiritually defenseless at a time of maximum need, something Jesus promised He would never do.
 
Jesus said we could trust Him that He would never forsake His Church, and His Church is defined as being composed of believers who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
 
"And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you FOREVER. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
 
But there is no reason to conclude the Church will be Raptured for the purpose of providing a 'Great Escape' for, as I said, the Rapture is necessary to withdrawal of the Restrainer, rather than a rescue mission to the Church.
 
"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (John 14:16-18)
 
Christians have suffered in every generation, and continue to suffer persecution and death for their faith today in places like Vietnam, China, Sudan and most of the Islamic world.
 
There is no promise to the Church of the last days for a 'rescue' but rather, the Rapture is the fulfilment of an EXISTING Promise Jesus made that the Holy Spirit would Personally indwell believers and guide us in all truth 'forever'.
 
"In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:2-3)
 
For believers, our finite understanding of 'forever' begins with Pentecost and continues to the Rapture, at which point 'forever' takes on its eternal meaning for all believers covered under the Covenant between Jesus and the Church.
 
"Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

WHY TEACH PROPHECY


By pastor Mike Taylor

19 “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”( 2nd Peter 1:19-21)


That's the question...Why Teach Prophecy? This is a very broad subject and there are many reasons why we should pay attention to the signs around us that point to the fulfillment of the Words found in your Bible. But I will focus on a few of them to answer the question. Many of those who think prophecy has been fulfilled and nothing is awaiting out there save the return of Jesus, discount any mention of prophecy, as they are what is known as Preterist. These deceived people believe that all was fulfilled in 70AD with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Roman army and the nation of Israel was no more.

But has all prophecy really been fulfilled? I would question such folks as when the passages in Revelation had actually been fulfilled. Can they show me where the green grass all over the earth was burned up? Can they show me where 1/3 of the trees were destroyed, along with the sea and the rivers turning to blood as that of a dead man? How about the blazing mountain falling into the sea, which sounds like a comet, hitting the earth and destroying million of people who live along the coastlines, just to name a few of the destruction that befalls the earth?
12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:12-17)


Noting that none of the plagues and environmental disasters spoken of in Revelation have been recording in history , as when these events actually happened. Reason, the have not happened, and the time of their fulfillment is future.
I'm reminded of the Bible verses that Jesus spoke of when men will not have a clue what is coming upon the earth and will be going about their lives, like nothing is going to happen.
37  “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”( Matthew 24:37-42)


What was Jesus referring to? In the days of Noah, God commanded Noah to build an ark, as He was sad that he had ever made man.

6 “And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:6-7)
But thankfully for all who live today, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord:

8 “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.”( Genesis 6:8-14)


As the Bible story unfolds, Noah built the ark and it took him 120 years. And as he built, Noah preached a warning to the people around him. But the people laughed at him to scorn. “Who had every heard of it raining from the sky?” is what they thought, as the dew watered the earth before this time. So they heeded not the warning of Noah, and only his family and two of every living creature on the earth was taken into the ark. The people of Noah's day thought Noah was mad. So they continued their sinful lives not knowing that the end of all things was close at hand.


AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH


We see some of the same things happening today, as it was in the time of the flood that covered the earth and destroyed all mankind, save a remnant. God said He would not ever again destroy the earth with a flood, but next time, it would be by fire.
6 “ I have cut off the nations: their towers are desolate; I made their streets waste, that none passeth by: their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, that there is none inhabitant.
I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction; so their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them: but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings.
Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.” (Zephaniah 3:6-8)


Men today are doing exactly the same thing that the people during Noah's age are doing. They are oblivious to the danger that is lurking right over the horizon.
in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark”

WE ARE IN THE LAST DAYS


Jesus gave us markers to point to the time of His coming for this people of His church, and people have been trying to figure out for the last 200 years when the Lord Jesus would come. They have made predictions, and they have all been wrong. Why have they been wrong? First Jesus said that “no man knoweth the day or the hour”
"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (Matthew 24:36)

So trying to pinpoint the time of the coming of the Lord for His church is folly on anybodies part. Second to why the people have been unable to predict the coming of the Lord or even the seaon, Israel was not yet a nation. It all hangs on Israel as the door to end time prophecy and Jerusalem being the key. Jesus told us the season of His coming for His church and it surrounds Israel's becoming a nation again and being back in her own land.
32 “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:32-35)


As anyone should know, especially if you follow any of my messages in the past, the fig tree is Israel. She blossomed and put forth her leaves, and became a nation once again in 1948. But note that Jesus said that “this generation would not pass away, till all things be fulfilled”. What is a generation that Jesus spoke of ? If you search the Bible, God has been shortening the life span of man since the flood, when these people lived centuries of upwards of 900 years and more. Now modern man has an average of 70 years, as the Bible plainly reveals.

10 “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psalms 90:10)

A simple bit of math will render the season of the coming of the Lord. If you take the first number of 70 years, which is the time of a generation and add that to the time of the rebirth of Israel, you see that you get 2018, which is this next year. Or if you take the greater number, you add that also, and you come up with 2028...That means by the words of our Lord, that He will be back on this earth, reigning and ruling for a thousand years. Then will begin the Sabbath rest of the earth, as man has had 6000 years for his rule, now God will rule righteously for a Millennium with a rod of iron.

But note that if Jesus is reigning and He said that ALL things would be fulfilled, and that includes the Tribulation period of 7 years, and being a solid proponent of a Pre-Tribulation removal of the Church of Jesus Christ, folks have named the Rapture, you will see that subtracting from 2028 will result in 2021....That gives us a season of when Jesus said that all things would be fulfilled.

WAIT IT GETS MORE INTERESTING

I was reading here lately of an old Jewish Rabbi that made a prophecy prediction in the time of the 1200s..into the 13 century. It all related to the year of the Jubilee. Some of you may know, but Jubiless is the 50th year of four Sabbatical years which are 49. (7x7=49)...on this 50th year, this Jewish Rabbi, Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel prophesied the coming of the Messiah or more correctly, the Messianic period.

His prophesy predicted that Jerusalem would be conquered by the Ottoman Turks and hold it for 400 years, or 8 Jubilees (8x50=400) and that is exactly what happened, but he didn't see his prophecy come true for another 300 years after his death. It happened in 1517 AD and the Ottoman Turks held onto Jerusalem until 1917, exactly 400 years until they were defeated by the British.

The Mamluks, who had been reigning in Jerusalem since 1250, were conquered in 1517 by the Ottoman Turks. They remained for eight jubilees (8 x 50 = 400 years), that is to say they were in Jerusalem for 400 years. Exactly 400 years later, in 1917, the Ottoman Turks were conquered by the British. The League of Nations conferred the Mandate for the Holy Land and Jerusalem to the British. Thus, from 1917, under international law, Jerusalem was no-man’s land.” (Word News Daily, 12th century Rabbi predicts Israel's Future)


As was predicted, another 50 years, or another Jubilee, and Israel would recapture Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War. He then predicts that when another Jubilee is finished, the period of the Messianic years would have been fulfilled. But to summarize:
-Ottoman Turks rule Jerusalem for 8 Jubilees, or 400 years from 1517-1917
-the British would put “Palestine” under British rule and Jerusalem would be recaptured by Israel at the end of one Jubilee or 1917-1967.
-according to the Rabbi Samuel, from 1967-2017 is the Messianic “End Times”

My question? How could a 13th century Rabbi be so extraordinarily correct in his prophecy? Note what year we are living in?? We are in the middle of 2017..the end of the Jubilee year as prophesied. Now take what this Rabbi predicted that actually came true and coupling that with what Jesus said in Matthew 24, we can see that if this Rabbi is to be believed, then the season of the coming of Christ is close at hand. Do I believe a 13th Century Rabbi? I find it amazing that his prophecy was spot on. But that's not all.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS SPEAK OF THE COMING OF THE LORD

I have written many articles about signs that we are seeing right now, and what has already been fulfilled with the blood moons that fell on Jewish Feast Days for two years in a row and how they have only happened when they gave witness to something prophetic happening to Israel. This all happened in 2014-2015. God told us that He put these signs in the heavens for us during creation.

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:” (Genesis 1:14)

Note the words “and let them be for signs”...? Note that the solar eclipses and blood moons are more than just naturally occuring phenomenon. Also note that there will not be another set of Blood Moons or solar elipses that fall on another Jewish Feast day for another 500 years according to NASA...there will be blood moons, yes, but not on Feast Days in the order of what we just saw.

NO MAN KNOWETH THE DAY OR THE HOUR

I've posted sermons on this very subject and don't want to get too involved in what Jesus was saying, that any Jewish man in the time of our Lord living on this earth would have immediately recognized what Jesus was talking about. But to refresh anyone's memory of that message, go here:

What the message reveals is that God has used the Feast of the Lord to mark prophectic events and fulfilled them on the very day of their observance. Those were :
-Passover: Jesus became our Passover Lamb
-Days of Unleavened Bread-our sins were put outside the camp
-Feast of First Fruits: Jesus was before the Father as the First Born of the dead
-Pentecost: The Holy Spirit came in power and the Church was born.

We are now in the harvest time, between the spring Feast and the Fall Feast, when God is saving mankind through His Son Jesus Christ as in the parable of the wheat and the tares. I would call this the Age of Grace, or the Church Age.

But we are fast approaching the end of this Harvest Time, and the next marker for the plan for the redemption of mankind is the Feast of Trumpets, or blowing of trumpets to signal the return of the King. And the thing that made me stand up and take notice and found in the above article, what is the term used for the Feast of Trumpets. “NO MAN KNOWETH THE DAY OF THE HOUR”...Why? Because it is the only Feast day where they must wait for a sliver of a new moon for the time to begin, and since there is a descrepancy on counting days via their calendar, they keep two days, just to be sure. This year, that Feast of Trumpets fall in September 21-22.

SO AGAIN, WHY TEACH PROPHECY?

With all the quickly enumerated signs, predictions, the words of Jesus and the return of Israel as a nation being a generation will see all things fulfilled, I think it most important to warn those who have grown tired and slumber, or so enamored with their unrighteous living, that they are as in the days of Noah. They are eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage and have not a clue what is happening all around them. People in this world think they have their lives to live and not worrying about what is coming right over the horizon.
That is why we teach prophecy. To warn those who are not aware of the signs of the times, and will be taken totally by surprise when millions of people suddenly disappear. Now some will say, that this precedes the second coming of our Lord, but will men be living their lives in the usual manner leading up to this time? No, I think everyone that is still alive, will be totally focused on their very survival, and know that God in His Divine judgement has caused what has come upon the earth, but still they will not repent.

Some ask why can't we just live our lives, and love one another, and let everyone be whatever makes them happy and judge not anyone on their lifestyle...True to a point...we are not anyone's judge, as that is God's role and I will not judge anything but what is inside the church. We are commanded to judge righteously what goes on inside the Church, as instructed by Paul.

2 “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.” (1st Corinthians 6:2-4)
But to the rest of the world, we warn that the time is growing short to get on the “ark of salvation” much like the Ark in Noah's age, the ark today, is Jesus Christ. Only He can save those who are approaching the worst time in all of history of this world, as Jesus said:
21 “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:21-22)


Note that unless He shortens those days, “NO FLESH WILL BE SAVED”. Let those words sink into your mind for a moment. No flesh, nobody would be saved, as the carnage will cover this earth. Environmental disasters, Divine judgement that only be attributed to a Holy God in righteous indignation, and the earth convulsing in earthquakes that will level every mountain and move every island out of it's place. Men will not have confidence even in the earth they stand on. An conservative estimate is 6 billion people dying in 7 short years with the majority in the last 3.5 years. Can you imagine the carnage?

24 “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:24-26)
IN conclusion:
Why Teach Prophecy? Because God commanded that we warn those who in peril of their life, and their very souls to what is coming...a sword is coming upon the land.
7 “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezekiel 33:7-9)


But all we can do is warn, but as in the days of Noah, many...no, most will not hear, but will scoff at such a warning..

3 “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2nd Peter 3:3-7)

But that is why we teach prophecy, as a warning to those who are asleep, or scoffing, or acting as it was in the days of Noah. I hope as you read this, that the evidence found in your bible points to this end of days. We may not have much time longer to preach the Word of God and warn those who are too busy to give God a second thought, but have rejected the plan of salvation found in Jesus Christ. Christ our Lord Jesus is coming soon. The signs say so, the Bible says so, and the evidence I've presented, hopefully, gives you an idea of what I speak of. Jesus could...I SAY COULD, as I don't know for sure, as God has not revealed it to me personally, but with the evidence, Jesus COULD come even this fall. I know I will be watching a listening for that Trumpet call and the Lord Jesus coming in the air to bring those who have been sealed with His Holy Spirit and obtain VICTORY IN JESUS.

I want every one to be right there with me and others who have accepted Jesus as personal Savior standing before our Lord in worship and praise...How?

8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”( Romans 10:8-10)

16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 God sent not His Son into the world, to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
1818 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)

Prophecy is being fulfilled right now in front of our eyes, and the next moment of your life, Jesus could come and those who are found in Him will be taken out of this world. Those who are not found in Jesus will be thrown headlong into this coming horror known as the Tribulation and most likely, die a horrible death, one way or another. ..I beg you, don't let that happen...Accept Jesus today as your personal Savior and be ready for when He breaks through the clouds and as with a sound of a trumpet, yells “Come up here”...And so shall we ever be with the Lord.

This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying your hear the sound of this warning in your mind and in your hearts...if you need prayer, counseling or just a listening ear, email me at realteam1999@sbcglobal.net. God bless you all,


TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET

THE RAPTURE AND 2017

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BY  Pete Garcia -
 
Several years ago, there was a growing movement within the watcher community that really tried to justify the Rapture happening in 2011. I remember this being a high-watch year for the Rapture of the Church and people were coming out of the woodwork with dreams and visions trying to validate/justify this reasoning. 
 
The excitement centered on the idea that if we added 70 years to 1948, it would bring us to the year 2018. According to this logic, if the Second Coming took place in 2018, then by necessity we would have to subtract the required seven years for the Tribulation to occur, bringing us back to the year 2011. Well, 2011 came and went and we are still here. Clearly, there were some faults in this logic.
 
Although I remain hopeful every year, I did not throw my lot in with the majority in this group simply because I still had many reservations about the timing. My problem with 2011, was that it did not coincide with any other combination of years as they pertain to any pattern of historically significant or prophetic events as they relate to Israel...God's prophetic timepiece. Interestingly, I had my own "dream" if you can call it that in March of 2012. It was very vivid in my mind even after I woke up and I emailed Jack Kinsella about it.
 
Jack probably thought I was off my rocker a little, but I kept this dream to myself for the most part over these last five years. I tend not to give a lot of credence to dreams and I do not consider them divine messages per se...but I do not completely discount them either. I think we must use discernment in these issues. But back on point, if you added 50 years to 1967, you would get 2017. But if you subtracted seven years from 2017 for a Second Coming, it takes you back to 2010 which cuts the seven-year tribulation (Daniel's 70th Week) short by one year if you used 2011 as the benchmark. You could try this with any other year besides 2017 and you continually run into the same issues of numerical and prophetic incongruence.
 
Another high watch year was 2007, which if you were to subtract 40 years from, would bring you to 1967; the year the Jews recaptured Jerusalem in the Six Day War. Seeing as that time (and a subsequent seven-year tribulation) has come and gone, clearly, this could not have been the case, unless perhaps you happen to be a hardcore historical-preterist. (Just kidding) Other high watch years tended to be more symbolic than anything: 2012, 2000, 1999, etc. The truth is that Christ could have returned at any of those times but He didn't. If Israel is the SUPERSIGN of the last days (which I believe it is), then Israel has been back in her land since 1948. She has had control of Jerusalem since 1967. Why then are we still here in 2017 and the Lord has yet to return? What is He waiting on?
 
Assessment
 
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9
 
I do not think the Lord's patience is random or arbitrary. Neither do I think it is simply because He is longsuffering (even though He is). But if longsuffering were God's sole prerogative, then He could choose to wait until every last person alive today either dies in unbelief or converts and becomes a believer. This could take another hundred years or more which, in my opinion, would maximize longsuffering to its uttermost. But we then have two dilemmas; one which states that God is longsuffering and wants none to perish (this is true), and the other which is a Bible that states that the whole world (minus those redeemed) would enter into a time of judgment for their unbelief. Thus we must deduce that God's longsuffering, in regards to a Christ-rejecting world, has an expiration date. So why should we think 2017 is any different or more special than 2011, 2007, 1999, 1988, etc.? Let's recap what we know:
 
The significance of 2017:
  1. 1897-2017=120 years, (Warning till judgment) First Zionist Congress convenes
  2. 1917-2017=100 years, (God allows for time to store up judgment against the Amorites) Balfour Declaration
  3. 1947-2017=70 years, (Punishment for Israel's violation of the Land Sabbath) Israel wins right for statehood on 29 November 1947
  4. 1967-2017=50 years, (Jubilee) Israel regains all of Jerusalem back in Six Day War
  5. 1977-2017=40 years, (Period of testing) beginning of trials Vis a Vis "Land for Peace" beginning with the Camp David Accords
  6. 1987-2017=30 years, (Priestly duties begin at 30 years of age) Temple Mount Institute founded
  7. The Jubilees
    1. 1897-1947= 50 years=one Jubilee cycle
    2. 1917-1967= 50 years=one Jubilee cycle
    3. 1967-2017= 50 years=one Jubilee cycle
 
I believe that trying to justify anyone single definition of a generation in the Bible is futile. There are several examples of how long a generation could be, thus I do not believe the Bible pins its definition to just one. We know that before the flood, and just afterward, people lived for centuries which would make the standard 25-40 year generation seem awfully short. Likewise, we know that in the ensuing time different cultures have varying life spans. Thus trying to determine the exact length of a generation is pointless. Well, how then can we know what Jesus was referring to in the "Parable of the Fig Tree" when He said this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place (Matt. 24:32-34)? Well, about the only thing we can discern from this comes from the above-underlined portion, which harkens back to the length of time God has given a man to live in our present age.
 
The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Psalm 90:10
 
We know some folks live longer than 70 or 80 years, but there also many who do not even reach 70 years of age. I believe this is a general average for all mankind and still allows for exceptions. Psalm 90 was the only one Moses penned and he lived to be 120 years old (Deut. 34:7). But concerning 2017, there has been at least five different points that converge together at this particular year. Grouping them you have:
 
  • The biblically significant years (As shown above)
  • The Jubilees connection (Lev. 25:8-55)
  • Astronomical alignment (Revelation 12 sign, Luke 21:25)
  • The political connection: President Trump ends 40 years of continual pressure on Israel to divide her land for peace; the two-state solution against Israel
  • Geopolitical: Ezekiel 38, Psalm 83, Isaiah 17, etc. (All of these are in play today)
 
In fact, no other year has so many signs pointing to it that it could be confused for any other. No other combination works. This leads me to three points: the first by the angel Gabriel (to Daniel), the second by Jesus, and the third by the apostle Paul.
 
Daniel
 
The 70 Weeks Prophecy (as given to Daniel) would pinpoint the precise time period the Messiah would come to Israel by pointing out that He would be killed in the 483rd year (out of 490). This tells me two things:
 
  1. 1.    God does not shrink back from telling us precise things about the future.
  2. 2.    That if His people were to pay attention, they would know without a shadow of a doubt, when the Messiah would come.
 
Yet, only a handful of people were anticipating the Messiah's arrival at the correct time (Wise men from the east, Simeon, Anna the prophetess, and John the Baptist's parents). Jesus even remarked in Luke 19:41-44 that they (the Jews and Jerusalem) should have recognized their day (Palm Sunday) and that it was exactly 483 years to the day (173,880 days) since the recognizable commandment as was given to the cupbearer Nehemiah in his book, chapter 2.
 
Jesus
 
In His Olivet Discourse, Jesus explained that there would be 16 general signs marking the end of the age. Yet, these signs have been present in every generation. The distinction He makes is that they would escalate in size, frequency, and intensity until they reach a culmination point (i.e....birth pangs would not go on indefinitely). Then He gives an absolutely obvious, unmistakable sign that happens smack dab in the middle of the 70th Week (three and a half years into the seven years) which is known as the Abomination of Desolation (Matt. 24:15).
 
So if we backward plan from the Abomination of Desolation would first require that a Jewish temple existed again. Remember He told them at the beginning of His Olivet Discourse that the Temple would be destroyed to the extent that not one stone would be left on the other (Matt. 23:37-24:2). For a Jewish temple to exist again requires that Jews are back in control of Jerusalem which had not been the case for 2,000 years. For Jews to control Jerusalem means that they would have to be back in their land as a sovereign Jewish nation. Clearly, the Arabs would not have any need or desire to rebuild a Jewish temple. Only Jews, in control of their land, would have the need and desire to rebuild a Jewish Temple. What they had lacked for the last 50 years, is the political will.
 
But the interesting thing Jesus stated (this after chastising the Pharisees for not recognizing the signs of the times-Matt. 16:1-4), was that no man could know the day or hour (Matt. 24:36). He stated only the Father would know when He would send His Son back to earth to fetch the Church. We know this is in reference to the Rapture because once the Tribulation begins, it is clearly defined by two, three and a half year halves of 42 months or 1,260 days each (Daniel 7:5; Revelation 12:6, 14, 13:5). One could easily count down the time from either the covenant (Dan. 9:27) or the Abomination of Desolation (Matt. 24:15, 2 Thess. 2:4) to know when the Second Coming would occur.
 
I believe because Jesus is being so specific here (day or hour) He is simply telling us that for two thousand years, mankind would not know the exactness of His return. It is not that we won't know, but that we couldn't know simply because this was all predicated on Israel being back in her land. With the exception of a certain Evangelicals and Dispensationalists of the 19th century, nobody expected Israel back as a nation again. Even then, these men didn't know that it would require two World Wars for that to become a reality. In light of that fact, Israel is now back in her land. Now that we can clearly see this means we should know the season of His return is at hand. I would wager to say that the late 19th and 20th centuries were the ramping up of birth pangs and we all know what follows birth pangs? The Birth of the Church at the Rapture (Romans 8:22-23, 28-30)
 
Another thing to consider about those few Jews who read and anticipated Daniels 70 Weeks prophecy.  They knew the Messiah would die in the 483rd year (of the 490 years per verse 9:26), but what they didn't know was how old the Messiah would be when He died. Even the Wise Men had to follow a Star (a cosmic sign) to Bethlehem. So while they did not know exactly when the Messiah would be alive, they had a general idea. (See Daniel 2 for why I hold that view on the Wise Men).
 
So for the better part of 2000 years, men, women, scholars, teachers and everyone else has wondered...when will Jesus return?  But the missing key to making this whole puzzle come unlocked was the nation of Israel. Without Israel back in her land, there could be no AoD, because there would not be a Jewish temple, which means that those aforementioned 16 general signs would have had no frame of reference by which to place them. We even have a saying now that coincides with this: WWI prepared the land (Israel) for the people (the Jews), and WWII prepared the people (the Jews) for the land (Israel). Without Israel, those general signs would have just kept flowing cyclically both waxing and waning according to Satan's schemes and agenda.
 
Paul
 
The last reference is to the apostle Paul. He explains the Rapture of the Church to the fledgling Thessalonian church and in doing so (remember they didn't have chapter breaks back in the original texts) he states that they needn't fear because they (we) would recognize the season. After the Rapture, there is immediately sudden destruction, and they (Non-believers) shall not escape. Read it all together.
 
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:5
 
I believe Paul believed that the Rapture of the Church would/could be imminent. He didn't know (or at least we are not told whether he knew) when exactly it would occur. In his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians, Paul does clarify that the Antichrist (son of perdition) could NOT come, until the Restrainer (the Holy Spirit) was taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed (2 Thess. 2:6-8). Just as the Holy Spirit existed and operated on the earth prior to the day of Pentecost, so too will He exist and operate post-Rapture. What changes is His role in sealing a particular group of people known as the Church (salt and light) who being neither Jew nor Gentile, but a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).
 
Conclusion
 
Just as the Pharisees refused to walk the 5 miles from Jerusalem to Bethlehem to see this newborn King of the Jews (Matt. 2:1-12), so too are their modern day counterparts (the skeptical religious class) who are unwilling to recognize the signs of the time. They do so at their own peril (at a minimum is a loss of spiritual rewards) because they refuse to teach, watch, or listen to those who do wait for the Lords return (2 Peter 3:3-7).
 
Will Christ return in 2017? I believe all signs point to yes making it a strong contender year, but that's just my opinion.
 
Will my faith be shaken if He does not? No, because I know without a doubt we are in The Season, just not sure which season that means. Does Christ's return have to align with a Biblical Feast Date like Pentecost (Shavuot) or the Feast of Trumpets? From a historical and scriptural standpoint, it would seem logical...i.e., Christ fulfilled prophecies on the first four including the conception of the Church at Pentecost. But since I can't see into the future, I really do not know. Logically, given all the signs of convergence, it seems like a strong year to keep looking up.
 
To answer a previous question, if Israel was the SUPERSIGN, why has He yet to return? I believe Galatians 4:4-5 answers that for us.
 
When Jesus came the first time, it was at the fullness of times (Gal. 4:4-5). Since Rome was the world power in Christ's first century and they were the epitome of judicial law, regional order and stability (Pax Romana), military might, common language, accumulated knowledge, and so forth, that was God's definition of the fullness of times. I believe that God's longsuffering has been demonstrated quite thoroughly seeing that it is both 70 years since Israel become a nation again and 50 years since they've regained Jerusalem. Should the Lord tarry beyond 2017, all significance to the timing (see above) would move into the realm of random and arbitrary. This is not to say that God couldn't still extend the time though if He chooses.   
 
Fast forward to today, where mankind has dabbled and dominated in every domain of life to include playing God. The 20th century saw man break the sound barrier, walk on the moon, and built large hadron colliders. Communication went from messenger to telegraph, telephone, the internet, and satellite communication. Man has discovered and figured out how to sequence, alter, add, or subtract to his DNA and modern medicine continues to extend life beyond that which was prescribed to man. Man can control devices with his mind, create robots and is building artificial intelligence. I believe what we are witnessing now is the fullness of times once again, as foretold in Daniel 12:1-4...(keeping in mind Daniel was not told about the Church and the Church age was still a mystery).
 
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever. But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.